ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers November 2006


re Trust

Richard, I admire your faith; I too always defended Mr Moyes on the grounds of not having the money to buy and I also believed in Bill Kenwright. But there comes a time when sadly you realise that Santa is a myth ? much like our two heroes.

If Billy boy had not lied about investors and spent time actually attracting some instead of a buyer for Gregg's shares to make his life easier, I might have more faith. And as he waxes lyrical about our glorious past he stabs us in the back by moving us out of our home.

When Moyes came, I was pleased expecting entertaing games; I didn't expect glory, I dont think we`ve got the money to attract top players... But we should have a team we can rely on to give their all. Also, how can he name Van the Piss in the squad? History tells us "get rid" ? remember Maurice Johnston?
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (30/11/06)

And when the bough breaks

Richard Dodd, you are not alone ? nor do I think are you in the minority. Unlike others who try to monopolise this page with their pessimistic abusive moans, there are thousands with enough common sense to accept what cannot be changed etc and recognise that things are on the up. In any controversial debate, the vociferous minority gets more and more desperate as it tries to sway the silent majority. A good example of that is seen on this page.

I commend ToffeeWeb editors on creating what until recently has been a magnificent open forum in which gruntled as well as disgruntled fans could air their views. Over the years, it has become the first thing I looked for when firing up my computer. Sadly, the groaners and moaners are swamping my enthusiasm to the point where I am considering what was once unthinkable by removing TW from my list of favourites.

That would hurt me far more than you yet lately I am sick of seeing almost all contributors plus editors bent on dragging the club and everyone in it down. If things carry on as they are and to use my first descent into vernacular, ToffeeWeb will eventually disappear up its own arsehole.

Doddy, keep up the good work; don?t let the bastards grind you down as they are doing with me.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (30/11/06)

Oh come on, Dickie, don't be a dying swan. Yes, I do give the apologists a hard time, and perhaps I shouldn't... but we have always erred on the side of realism versus fawning sycophancy. There is no reason for you to stop posting, although I can fully understand how hard it must be to find anything positive to say right now. But don't be disheartened. Strength through adversity, er... I'm sure there other uplifting things I could add... but it's not my thing. ? Michael

Public Relations Manager

I read a recently submitted comment on the site , slating the negativity of Toffee Web. I think this person wants to look at the blogs on the Echo's website. At least the fans still care about how we play the game. It's fairly obvious to me, that David Moyes has become embroiled in the Club's attempts to quell all negative publicity and toe the party line.

This is I feel one of the main reasons (as well as performances) that the fans are less likely to listen to what the man says. If nothing else, Blues fans are willing to face facts. David Moyes has got to become his own person again ? the man who instilled a sense of belief in the club. He has got to stamp his personality on the team and believe that, whatever formation he chooses, the players will respond. I believe that allowing the players to dictate patterns of play has undermined his authority, especially with the fans.

If David doesn't face the facts and accept that the players are NOT performing to their ability, then I'm afraid he should either wait to be sacked or more honourably resign and let someone else have a go. It's up to you, David: if you have the stomach for the fight, then prove it by truthfully commenting on the players performances and ruffle some feathers before it really does go down the pan.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (30/11/06)

Some keen insights there, John. I wonder about the players driving the boat, though... is that really true? Do the players really want to play like this? Any defender has to be in sheer terror of Moyesie's withering icy stare should they be the one to dither a moment too long on the ball in a defensive position... it must be out of fear that the hoof-balls are lofted forward ? although did you notice how many times them Mancs chucked the ball forward? — Michael

Raising Standards

A quick thanks to all at ToffeeWeb for allowing healthy debate to contiue whilst not labelling those who crticise the team and staff as non-Evertonians.

It`s good that we can air our views on ground moves before it becomes official ? this is exactly the time to do so; any organisation should be driven by its customers. This is the key element in Blues like ourselves expecting higher standards. If we don`t continually push expectations upward and drive for the best, who will? Everton FC needs to know that what we are getting at present is simply not good enough, regardless of the state of the league in general and finances of clubs. We can see with our own eyes that huge improvements are needed.

And to all those stating the midfield or strikers are the key areas to improve; well I beg to differ. Two quality full-backs with pace is what this team has lacked for nigh-over a decade and would be a significant step in the right direction towards a successful side.
Mark Manns, Acton  (30/11/06)

Some great points there, Mark. Not sure about your emphasis on full-backks... but it is original. And what do I know. Me and Richard Dodd ? we know nothing about football... Cheers! ? Michael

Cut them some slack

This is my first post but felt I just had to repond to all the negativity found on your site. All the other supporters sites do try to see some good in Everton whilst your editorials and contributors seem intent on bringing the club to its knees.

  • Does no-one realise that we are fortunate in this great city to have clubs substantially owned by true and lifelong supporters just like us?
  • That all decisions are made in the best interests of everyone who supports them and not for personal gain?
  • That at Everton, at least, we have a manager with real feeling for the club and who is dedicated to re-establishing it as a power in the land.
For gawd`s sake cut him - and the Chairman - some slack will you before they both piss off and leave us all to become another Nottingham Forest!
Steve Shadlock, Prescot  (30/11/06)

Oh Steve, that's FUNNY! That has to be one of the funniest e.mails we've had in ages. Thanks for bringing a smile back and driving avay all that negativity.

Oh, here's a little puzzler for you: how much personal gain do you think Bill Kenwright will realize when he finally sells his Everton trainset? Okay, that's a tough one, so try this instead: How much personal gain did Paul Gregg realize from his partial ownership of Everton? [Clue: ?2M] Peter Johnson? [I think that one is just too painfull... I don't even want to know...].

And will we become Nottingham Forest before or after we win the top European honour ? twice? ? Michael

What Went Wrong?

What happed to our season? It started so brightly and the pro-Moyes Mob were crowing as we beat Spurs and Liverpool. Things have really turned sour lately, oddly enough the downward spiral seemed to coincide with the disappearance of 'Dutch' from this message board.

To be honest I don't bother reading 90% of the posts, too depressing, we need Dutch back, his mindless optimism at least kept things positive. I'd love to hear his opinion on things at the present, even he can't be happy and defend the floundering Moyes.
John Cottee, Romford  (30/11/06)

It's all our fault. We should get him back in and then we can start to climb back up the table!!! — Michael

Relegation?

Quite a few of us have known it for a long time: we are crap, have mostly crap players and have a totally crap manager. Looking at the table there is a lot of mediocrity around us, trouble is we are not even mediocre. Most of the teams below us have better players and play better football and I believe we will only just miss out on relegation this season.

Talk of Europe is a joke, the last thing this club needs is stretched resources in the Uefa Cup anyway. Luckily for us, there are a few teams below us finding that out right now but they are better than us and will probably finish above us anyway.

The facts are, with the football we play, we almost deserve to be relegated. It's getting to the stage when I'd put up with anything just to see a 'Moyes Quits/is Sacked' headline.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (30/11/06)

Relegated?!? But we finished fourth didn't we? How easily you forget! ? Michael

It's official

It's official now, we are mid-table. There's no arguing about it. We're far enough into the season to be able to say the table doesn't lie. Who's happy about it?

I never expect any points against Man United so last night wasn't a surprise but as we know it's the results at home to Man City, Wigan, Aston Villa that show our true form. So, what progress have we made in the last 5 years? I am not asking what progress have we made since Smith but what progress are we actually making under Moyes?

For those who justify his position by saying we finished 4th, we're worse off since then so he's actually taking us backwards. Will we still be here in 10 years time finishing 10th every season saying "I remember when we finished 4th, give Moyes more time"?

It's time for him to go and stop this stagnation.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (30/11/06)

Well, you are in the minority, apparently. He just needs more time. Patience and trust... Patience and trust... Patience and trust... [fades away] ? Michael

FourFourTwo formation

I posted an artilce on Monday night where I feared a hammering from Utd last night. While not an easy result to take, I think we did play better than the scoreline suggests and will happily take whatever kick in the pants is coming my way.

I think the team that was put out last night showed that the current squad is capable of playing in a 4-4-2 formation. With Johnson, Cahill and Howard back and slotted into this system, it would be interesting to see a 90 minute display.

I know it was good to see that David Moyes was prepared to give this formation a go against United and I do hope he does try it with the above-mentioned players back.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (30/11/06)

Out of touch

Moyes says a family problem for Davies meant he was forced into a last-minute re-shuffle against Man Utd last night. I have every sympathy for Davies but for Moyes to claim that the absence of the Welshman actually weakened the team shows how out of touch with reality he is becoming.
Simon Done, Coddington  (30/11/06)

Echoes of `Big Ron`

Wayne O`Rourke hits the nail on the head when he says the players must be as confused as the fans by Moyes`s constant changes in formations and tactics. He seems not to know the strengths and weaknesses of his players, expecting them all to be multi-functionaries ? the sort most liked by lower division managers with minute playing staffs. The more I see of his `work` and hear of his utterences, the more I am reminded of the hapless Peterborough manager in the TV series `Big Ron.` He didn`t know his arse from his elbow and the same can now be said of the increasingly desolute Moyes.
Roger York, Newton-le-Willows  (30/11/06)

"Desolute" ??? (Oops, here I go again.. no, please, bear with me here... what is an editor to do?)

  • Did you mean "desolate" (solitary, lonely, barrn, dismal, forlorn, unhappy)?
  • Perhaps "resolute" (firm or determined; unwavering)??
  • Or "dissolute" (Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices)?!?
No, I guess you're right: it's a biazrre combination of all three... our Davie in a nutshell! — Michael

Disappointed

Sitting in the United section at last night's match with a mate, why oh why did the majority of the travelling Evertonian's resort to singing the 'Munich' song? OK, the provocation was the silly chant of 'Murderer's' directed at us but for heaven's sake we're a bit better than that sought of response, aren't we?

Also, the little turd grabbing his badge in front of the travelling fans only further alienates himself from the city he used to call home. What an idiot he really is, great footballer but the lowest of the low in terms of the man's character.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (30/11/06)

Paul Traill's Article

I'm in total 100% agreement. Beattie's frustrating because he could be so much better (and he has proved it to a certain extent at Southampton). He's got a touch like, and as much pace as, Brett Angel. Like you, Paul, I won't Barrack him, because I agree that booing our own players is counter-productive. But, Christ, I do feel like it at times! Thought for the day - how does a professional footballer in this day and age (fitness coaches, diets/nutritional experts, etc) go through a pre season and then part of a full season, and have a pair ot Tits that would catch a few eyes in the Grafton? This may not be Beatties problem (what are the club doing about this?) but it amplifies why people think he is a lazy bastard.
Joe Woods, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

James Beattie: I've had it - response

Whilst I generally agree with the analysis of Beattie's performance to date, I do wonder what the alternative options are. I mean, hindsight is a wonderful thing in terms of looking at ?2M/?3M steals like Hulse or Darren Bent but who could we realistically afford? A straight swap for a ?5M Nugent does not gaurantee goals either. Personally, I would like Anichebe given more of a chance alongside AJ, but a proven quality striker seems to be at least ?8M nowadays and I am not sure we have the cash to replace Beattie.
Andrew Humphrey, London  (30/11/06)

Big Brother

Anyone else caught up in pathetic police escorts last night? about 30 of us got marched for 40 minutes to Oxford Street station, even though I was politly pleading with them that I was parked by the ground (near where the coaches where). It was disgusting. I was constantly pushed in the back into other fans in the escort an told to shut up an keep moving.

There was as many police as us and horses and vans. Why us 30 fans? What about the other 4000? Many of us not even needing to go the station but the police didn't listen. Many of the cops where sayiing they'd let us out to our car but it wasn't their decision, The policeman giving the orders was just a fuckin' bully lovin' every minute of it. Bastards!
James Smith, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

View of the majority

If it helps fellow Evertonians to vent their spleen on me then I`m happy to oblige. Like most of them, I know next to nothing about the game (at least I admit it!), being happy to rely on the manager and his staff to do their very best to make Everton successful, if only to ensure they get to keep their jobs.

From the outcry we have suffered following last night`s defeat, you would think we were bottom of the league. The reality is that we`ve lost only seven matches this year ? one more than Chelsea ? and are only a couple of wins away from a place in Europe ? again.

Whatever line YOU choose to take, I believe my view that patience and continued trust in David Moyes will see us through to success ? and do you know, sir, that`s a view shared by our Chairman and the huge majority of our fans!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/11/06)

Yes, Dickie, trust is a wonderful thing... and for those fans who can sustain it, good luck to them. One day, the question may come: how much more, and for how much longer?... or it may not, if we believe Billy, who says Moyes has a job for life!

You know, ever since he said that, Moysie seems to have lost a little of his edge... almost become complacent, I would say. Do you think perhaps he doesn't need to try so hard any more? He can tell us how well we played, how unfair the scoreline was, how he still believes in his stuttering stars... happy in the knowledge that he is still backed by the majority. Very comforting... ? Michael

Fed up

I have to say; I to am fed up of Everton not winning. I hate it when we concede stupid goals. I hate when our players spout off, all the usual crap about ?We?re gonna make such and such right? etc. But most of all, I hate feeling 100% positive that we will always lose to United. No matter what. Whatever the conditions, whatever the squads, whatever the form books, whatever the odds, Everton are not meant to beat United. Not any more anyway, and when we do, amazing as it is, I can never quite believe it. No other team has this effect on me, and seemingly the team too. The players always seem scared by their players, more so than against any other team we face. And their players always look so much bigger on the pitch than we do, even when we had Dunc and Rhino. Maybe it?s the imposing Red and Black.

I just keep a small pocket of hope during the build-up to these games that we can just maybe fool the history books in to thinking that the mauling we took on the day was actually a closely contested 2-1 loss. Or better still, a closely contested match that looks and sounds as though it was. It's in my own little Kev world, and is in the form of a match report the next day, and looks something like this?

"? The efforts of Rooney, Ronaldo and Scholes maybe could have brought them more than the 2 goals they managed to squeeze past the colossal centre-half partnership of Yobo/Lescott, and an inspired Richard Wright (we?re talking England form here, people ? in fact, rumours doing the rounds at the ground is that Seralex is planning a swoop in January, ?5M + the then surplus 4th choice keeper, who?s out on loan somewhere?)

"But the trio tired later on, and with the three of them exhausted, they where replaced by three of United?s finest fledglings, Les Battersby, Jason Grimshaw and Tyrone Dobbs, all making their first-team debuts. And then, from out of the blue (pardon the pun), Everton scored with their first attack in the game.

"Moyes's tactical switch and canny substitutions changed the game, and a sweeping move, started by substitute Andy van der Meyde, culminating with a dazzling run and cross towards the on-rushing Bjarni Vidarsson (himself a substitute having replaced Phil Neville after 12 too many passes went to the opposition team) and, when the cross was cut out, headed clear by John O?Shea, Beattie controlled a headed pass to McFadden, whose deft flick was the perfect return, and Beattie didn?t need a second invitation, lashing the ball home on the volley, in off the bar, from 30 yards ? surely a contender for goal of the season, if not the decade!

"In the end, Everton where unlucky to leave with nothing? "
But it doesn?t happen. Instead, we suffered another confidence-crushing 3-0 reverse, conceding individually poor goals after putting up a fight, which until it finally got away from us near the end, maybe gave a bit of hope to all the blue ranks, even if we had no way of actually scoring. No one really thought we?d get anything off United though did they? It just doesn?t happen? even my imagination limits me to an epic, battling loss. That 3-4 game has a lot to answer for?
Kev Kendall, Bootle  (30/11/06)

Vivid imagination, there, Kev. Almost reminds me of soemthing I used to watch years ago, and actually got excited by... Ho hum. ? Michael

re re Steady decline

Michael, you totally missed my point. It is what you always do with posts you disagree with, you pick on the one line (sometimes word) you can get your teeth into and disregard the rest. What is the point of putting forward opinion if that is the treatment you get. Re read my post, think about it (all!!!!) and then do me the decency of replying to the whole as apposed to the one line that referred to what we used to be.

I can't be bothered to explain my post again... what's the fucking point!!!
Jay Wilson, London  (30/11/06)

Wow... touchy! I thought it would be best if I didn't actually respond to the rest of it, but since you seem so desparate....

Comparisons with other managers cut no ice with me, I'm afraid. For one thing, I'm an Everton suporter ? I have no interest in any other teams or their managers. I judge our manager by how I think he should be performing ? not by the general level of dross that perpetuates the mid-table mediocrity of the Premiership also-rans. So the compasrisons you want to make have zero value to me. (Do you rally want me to go on?)

You claim we are now 'consistent'... We definitely are... but not in the way I think you meant it. We are consistently fair to middling to downright piss-poor. Okay, I proved myself wrong there: we are clearly not consistent. But we are definitely not very good. So what was your point again? ? Michael

Ground Move

Just heard that Wyness is meeting with Tesco's at the Marriot Hotel in Speke tomorrow to thrash out the move.... good news at last eh?
James Dinwup, Aigburth  (30/11/06)

I'm sure you shouldn't be blurting out commercial secrets like that, James. Maybe he's just ordering his Christmas hampers? — Michael

Fickle fans

Just a quick point: I've been readig some of the letters on ToffeeWeb and I have to say we have got some very fickle fans out there. Ok, I accept last night's performance was disgraceful. But did anyone really expect to get anything off the Mancs? I understand some blame must rest at the manager's door but not all of it; people out there must have a very short memory.

Let's not forget this man got us in the Champions League and when was the last time prior to that we have qualified for Europe? To be honest, most of the blame lies with the players. Excluding the odd few, the rest of them are a bunch of loser's really. That is the sad fact of it all; as for Beattie, well... Let's just remember this boy was smashing them in left right and centre for Southampton in 2002-03. But what did he have then? He had players around him capable of making something happen and sadly Everton don't have that.

So let's lay off the manager and Beattie and see what Moyes pulls out the bag in January. As far as I'm concerned people who slag the manager off should be ashamed to call themselves Evertonians.
David Foster, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

Years of confusion

First things first: can't we fuck Dodd off as he's wasting everyone's time? With regards to our manager, I would beg the question as to if he had a grand plan for EFC when he took over.

  1. Did he have a formation or a pattern of play that he wanted to instill throughout the club?
  2. Did he have a clear idea of what type of player he wanted to bring in?
I ask this because to me the last 5 years have been a mish-mash of 4-5-1, 4-4-2, 4-4-1, 8-1-1,etc with no apparent long-term blueprint. He is a week-to-week manager who will grind out some good results but as long as he's here we will suffer the roller-coaster effect.

To be honest, I now get fed up looking at him and listening to him when we are on the box and I am convinced at least half the players are pissed off with him. Let's get through to the end of the season, hopefully in one piece and then pray that he and the Board call it quits so that we can all move on to the next chapter of the club with the right choice of manager ? whoever that maybe.
Wayne O'Rourke, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

No hope for us!

Quote from Moyes:

`We didn`t deserve that... Faddy played just behind Beattie AND I THINK THEY DID VERY WELL!`
There`s no fucking hope for us I tell you!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (30/11/06)

From my seat

A good forty minutes when we prevented United from taking control of the game and one good chance that Faddy failed to convert. Then, as United's pass-and-move game seemed to drag more and more players out of position, the inevitable goal came amid confusion at the heart of our defence. From then on, as hard as we tried, United seemed well in control of proceedings.

A loss away to United is not so hard for me to take but having to take them on with no viable midfield and no improvement possible for further games makes me wonder just how long this team-building job is going to take.

I thought every player in the team tried thier hardest and put a lot of work in ? okay so it wasnt good enough against quality players but why hasnt that endevour been evident against the so called lessr teams?

Today when my local paper 'Daily Post' gave Faddy!! as our man of the match, I am left in despair. Still, Sunday is another day and who knows...? See you there -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (30/11/06)

`He`s better than Smith`

Interesting that the Moyes supporters are now down to `Well, he`s better than Smith` or `But who else could we get in?` I don`t bother to argue with them anymore because anybody who is content with the shite we have suffered for much of the last five years can`t really understand what being an Evertonian is all about.

To the likes of Dodd & Co, I would say only that it`s certainly not about blind devotion to whosoever is in charge but everything to do with the pursuit of excellence. That latter concept is a foreign language to Moyes and his band of happy followers.
Malcolm Davies, Whiston  (30/11/06)

Putting things in perspective

Reading the ToffeeWeb Mailbag makes me depressed to be an Evertonian some days. It seems that our fans, more than any other group I know (and I have plenty of mates who are Man Utd, Liverpool etc. fans) are unable to view games objectively and see them for what they were.

Case in point: the reactions to last night's game. I was there, in the North Stand, having been offered a spare ticket by a friend who is a Utd fan. The performance was not as awful as people are implying ? and I agree with Moyes: 3-0 makes us look worse (or Utd better) than was actually the case.

But let's start with a little perspective for those so devastated that we lost last night. United, in case anyone hasnt noticed, are top of the league, and have been destroying teams left right and centre all season. "But they played a reserve side" I hear you muppets cry. Hmmm... a reserve side that included Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, and Christiano Ronaldo ? arguably their 3 best players. Yes, they didn't play a full strength side, but it seems conveniently forgotten that we were with out Cahill, Johnson, and Howard ? arguably our 3 best players ? so we were under strength also.

As a couple of people have noted, heads dropped after their first goal went in, but on the whole it was not a 3-0 type of match. I think I counted maybe 2 or 3 other chances Utd had in the whole game. In the end we were undone by 2 good finishes and a final close range effort ? no less than one might expect from the Champions elect.

I agree with other posters that we offered nothing up front (although, of course, there was no Johnson or Cahill) ? and both Beattie and McFadden do need to be shipped asap.

There are positives to take from last night though. Primarily, I thought Osman was, in a thankless role, very impressive. He held his own and kept hold of the ball a lot better than he has done in recent games. I agree with whoever posted earlier that he should be tried in Cahill's position on Sunday ? I think he'd be perfect there.

Also, Lescott continues to impress ? although this might be a problem in the longer term as I am sure he will start to attract the attention of clubs with loftier ambitions than our own.

So, I say lay off Moyes: we were beaten, yes, but the scoreline was a little flattering. Add to that the fact that we were away at the league leaders with a depleted squad and it's surely not so inconceivable that we we never likely to come away with even a point.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (30/11/06)

I think everybody knows what you are saying and recognizes the truth in it. But the problem is that your analysis ? like that of Moyes himself ?simply does not go far enough. The whole thing was so predictable... so why not do something to make it unpredicatble? That's the manager's job. That's what Moyes failed to do.

And they were three well-taken goals, so I do not see how the scorleine was flattering. Each goal required a moment of skill to get the ball past our determined and generally effective defense. But it only tales a moment. Meanwhile, at the other end, such moments become the stock of jokes and blooper compilations... just what in the name of God was Beattie doing when the ball came to him? If watching that did not frustrate the hell out of you as an Evertonian... well, I just don't know. — Michael

Negativity & Missed Opportunities

People have been quetioning the criticism and abuse directed towards Moyes after a 3-0 defeat to Man Utd. Reasons for defeat:

  • we were never going to win anyway
  • our best players were injured
  • we put up a good show for 40 mins etc etc.
Admittedly this was a fixture that Man Utd were expected to win. What I think upsets Evertonians the most is that Everton didn't offer anything. Man Utd fielded a side without Giggs, Saha, Vidic & Scholes. We ourselves were missing Johnson & Cahill. However, it seemed that defeat had been accepted before we'd kicked off. A point was what we were playing for! THIS ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH, MOYES!!

I don't mind losing 3-0 if the team have played well and given a good account of themselves ? at least competed. Last night was a chance to have a go at Man Utd. We had nothing to lose. It is the negative and defeatist attitude/tactics that is frustrating the fans. Moyes seems incapable of picking a balanced side, or playing players in their best positions. I feel sorry for Beattie. You could put Henry up front for Everton but with the service Beattie receives he'd never score. The team is crying out for some width and creativity. Moyes seems so stuck to one gameplan. You could see the negativity from the manager spread to the team last night.

This isn't good enough and I'm afraid Moyes has taken as far as he can. This team isn't progressing under his stewardship. The worrying thing is that we'll probably have to be relegated before Bill Kenwright does anything.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (30/11/06)

re Steady decline

Just wanted to comment on the post Steady Decline. I too am disappointed with recent results ? not last night's, but the Charlton draw and the Fulham defeat ? not to mention the points thrown away to Wigan and City. But to say we are in steady decline is absolute garbage.

We are not, we are consistent, we are an average Premiership team who, before Moyes came along, were a useless lucky-to-be-in-the-Premiership team. We go on good runs and we go on bad runs and with the exception of Untied and Chelsea at the moment it is the same for at least 15 other clubs in the league.

Moyes isn't a Championship Manager at best, at the moment he is an average Premiership manager who is prone to mistakes as well moments of greatness. As are Mark Hughes, Martin O'Neill, Sam Allerdyce, Martin Jol et al.

As for the comment about what happened to Villa when they got a new manager well, everyone?s dream manager Martin O'Neill has managed to conjure 2 more points than Moyes and oversaw a 3-1 reverse at home to City last night. We were unlucky to draw with them so Moyes must be a better manager... (and for those of you who only have a literal brain, that was sarcasm!)
Jay Wilson, London  (30/11/2006)

"Before Moyes came along...' Ohmigod? Has he just arrived?? Are we only now benefitting from his brilliant management??? No, it's been FIVE YEARS!!! What you are talking about is now ancient history. Enough already.

It's the here amd now. And we are in a steady slide down the table, verging on relegation form over the last 11 games. Some people seem concerned about that. And rightly so, I say. — Michael

Downhill all the way

Maybe the start of the ski-ing season is coinciding with our slide down the league, but last night's shambles was unacceptable. Call me naive, but surely when we go two down, and don't look like we have a chance of scoring, it may be an idea to make a couple of changes? Even with his mate Ferguson dropping massive hints by replacing attackers with defenders, it still took him FOURTEEN MINUTES to make one change. Would any decent manager not make changes in the same situation?

The game on Sunday now looks difficult, and the frailty of our paper-thin squad has been exposed embarrassingly. I still find it incredible that Moyes persists with Beattie, McFadden and Osman to name but three when Vaughan, Anichebe and Shandy are available and surely couldn't perform any worse. There is no pressure on the players to up their game, as Moyes will still pick them, however badly they play.

United ? like Arsenal ? have shown that a decent side can rest their top players against Everton, and give some of the 'fringe' players a run out, as long as none of them are stupid enough to put the ball in their own net... oh sorry, I meant let Osman score with a bullet header.

Sunday should be interesting, if only to see who is in the starting line up. Maybe Richard Wright did enough to keep his place...
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (30/11/06)

Moyes: After Match Quotes

According to the icLiverpool site this morning,

  • "We didn,t deserve it"
  • "One of our important players Simon Davis was not available"
  • "We can leave with our heads held high"
  • "we certainly weren't turned over by Manchester United"
  • "If we were playing badly I'd be more concerned."
I'll stop there, shall I, becuase there is more of this shit from Moyes. Honestly, I have had enough of the excuses and aftermatch bullshit from Moyes. Moyes, if your reading this, be man enough to admit you have done all you can and fuck off.
Steve Hayes, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

Is it Moyes or our poor finishing?

Having watched the highlights of last night's game and listened to comments by both managers, I came to a rather obvious conclusion or two.

  • Poor finishing costs you games.
  • Poor management can also costs you games.
  • Good finishing can hide poor management.
  • But unfortunatly, poor finsishing can obscure sound management.
So where do we stand now? Is it no coincidence that Johnson's goal drought has come at the same time as our recent poor run of results? How many of the those games that we didn't win, were a due to a direct result of poor finishing?
  • The Man City game should have been dead and buried long before they scored their injury-time equaliser.
  • The Charlton game last weekend should have been wrapped up in the first half hour.
  • We should have won the Fulham game, but for poor finishing.
The trouble is, when we don't get the expected result, people are very quick to point their fingers at the manager. The stark truth is that McFadden has never had a record of scoring a lot of goals, and Beattie has only ever had one good season at Southamton. So is Moyes rather hoping that Fadds and BT are suddenly going to start banging in goals galore? Especially against the possible champions in waiting???

Last night, if Faddy had taken his chance in the first 40 miniutes, the game may have turned our way. Managers are very often a scapegoat for a poor team perfromance or poor individual performances on the pitch. Was there anything Moyes could have done last night to swing the game our way? Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe he is wrong to place his faith in BT and Fadds to score goals. If it was up to me, I would have thrown caution to wind last night and played Vaughan, Anichebe and Van der Meyde from the start, with Osman in the hole behind the front two.

I suppose if you wanted to critisise Moyes, it would be because he has no sense of adventure. He is very lothe to take a chance and try something different. But he is exactly the kind of manager we needed at the time. Someone to steady the ship and he has done exactly that. What do we need now? A new manager or just someone to bang in a few goals when it matters?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (30/11/06)

Moan Moan Moan

Is anyone else getting sick of Moyes and his constanting moaning after we get beat? We lost 3-0 Davey, ok 40 mins of equal battling is fine but surely you realise a match is played over 90 mins!!!! It must be the fourth or fifth time this season he has said this ? remind me again, Who's job is it to sort it out?????

I'm really getting sick of Davey, his constant complaining and too often his negative tactics ? or should I say total lack of tactics. I don't expect to go to Man Utd and play 4-2-4 but we did ok there last year with similar players.

Stop complaining, DM, and sort it out, and while we are at it stop COMPLAINING about your paper thin squad. You do it every year and YOU'RE the one who is in charge of the bleedin' squad!!!!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (30/11/06)

Just like Daffy Dodd!

So the slide into another season of mediocrity goes on. But we`ve got injuries and suffer badly at the hands of referees and fate. We don`t deserve to lose 0-3 but 0-2 would have been OK.

Can`t understand why our ?6 million man can`t buy a goal ? after all he scored plenty at Southampton and got a few for us eight months ago. About time Arteta started scoring more....

Bet you think I`m talking bollocks - well not me, actually, those are the words of the genius Moyes. He sounds more like Daffy Dodd every day!
Paul Tooze, Mere  (30/11/06)

Xmas shopping preferred!

Just how bad does the Everton midfield have to get before Van der Meyde gets a game? He must be bad beyond comprehension if he can`t break into this squad. If Moyes thinks that then he should get rid ? along with the useless Beattie ? in the New Year sales!

ps: I`ve persuaded the wife to take me Xmas shopping this weekend! How bad can it get?
Colin McGuire, Northop  (30/11/06)

Sinking

The one big issue I have with Moyes is that, in 5 years he has been our manager, he has not even attempted to change our style of play. Europe two years ago should have been the biggest lesson he has ever experienced. His style of huff and puff football has no place in top level football.

People talk about getting into Europe this season. But what's the point? Have we really moved on so that when we come up against the second-best team in Bucharest again we won't be thrashed?

Moyes insulted me the other day when he said he wanted his teams to go to Old Trafford and win. So why the hell does he set his team up on Wednesday so the best we can possibly do is lose 2:0? If I could see we were improving and playing attractive football then I would have patience with him, but his style of football is an embarassment and the drivel he spouts before and after games is complete nonsense.

It's not going to happen I know, but we desperately need to change to move forward. I know pro-Moyes supporters say there isn't anyone out there ? but I wouldn't mind the club taking a risk on Teddy Sheringham. At least we would have a chance of playing half-decent football
Mark Manson, London  (30/11/06)

The James Gang?

The James Gang (Beattie/McFadden) are failing to score goals so maybe its time we try someone else ? James Vaughan, maybe? Or maybe we have a striker somewhere whose name isn't James and can score some fucking goals?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/11/06)

Moyes Magic

I can't understand the reaction to today's defeat. Everton's top four players this season in any order are AJ, Cahill, Arteta and Howard, three of whom did not play tonight. What the fuck did you expect to happen? How many of our players would get a start for Man Utd? Fucking Zero.

Instead of looking at it like thi,s some people here instead expect Moyes to make the difference, to outwit Alex Fucking Ferguson with some ingenious plan. What are they on? There is no magic wand to turn Osman, Davies and Carsley into players able to compete with the best.

Moyes is not without fault, especially in games against our 'equals' this season, but to pick tonight as a tipping point for a "Moyes sucks" rant makes no sense to me.
Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA, USA  (30/11/06)

I think the point is, Ronan, if he was a really good manager, he would have come up with something that was a little different, that gave his team a new edge, that showed he too is watching the same games as we are. I guess the fact that he dropped Davies amd moved Yobo to right-back could have been it... but those moves only meant another goal needlessly given away.

It's pretty sad, I'm afraid to say. It would be nice to believe we were improving but I just see us sliding relentlessly down the table. The games we play are why this club exists, so for the fans to react to what they see in those games is only right and just. You can't tell people how to react: they will just react ? who are you to tell them they are wrong? ? Michael

Leon Osman

Leon Osman should be playing behind the frontman. He is being wasted on the wings, and is getting ridiculed by the fans. Let's give it a go while Tim Cahill is out.

The Scottish Rooney is a complete waste of space. I've been watching Everton for over 40 years and McFadden is down their with Biley, Mo Johnstone, Rod Bellfit, Brett Angel and Bernie Wright... get shut now! So let's put an intelligent footballer like Leon in his rightful position, which is not an out-and-out winger.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (30/11/06)

Lessons Learned... or Not Learned

Well, where does one begin? Wright concedes three, which is pretty much the average for him ? nothing new there. Our forward line is woefully low in confidence. The midfield is a shambles, we can't get hold of the ball and when we do we're dispossessed or all too often give it away. So is anything working?

Well, yes: defence was reasonably sound up until tonight. Enter Moyes, who decides to change things at the back ? well, why not? We may as well screw that up as well. Herald the return of one of the veterans. So Yobo gets moved to right-back ? a position he clearly is uncomfortable with ? and hence leaves us exposed. Stubbs is short on pace and unable to react quickly enough.

Arteta is forced to drop deep in order to shore up a shaky defence. Neville vacates the right-back slot ? possibly the only position in which he can actually perform ? in an effort to nullify Carsley's role in midfield. Sounds farcical, I know, but ? on reflection ? a real comedy of errors.
Gerry Western, London  (30/11/06)

Master tactician

The matchday programme for the United game said that David Moyes has 'proved a master tactician time and again, and has found a way of getting every ounce of effort and teamwork from his squad to remarkable effect.'

Am I missing something here? It's not that we were bad on Wednesday night, we were just absolutely anonymous. Once they scored, even the players seemed to know that the game was up.

For me, the defining characteristic of David Moyes's reign at Everton is the guy's absolute inability to read the game in front of him and make whatever changes the game dictates. We had no shape, no spine, no imagination and no chance against a very ordinary Man Utd side.

This is progress? I don't think so.
Andrew Conroy, Stoke-on-trent  (30/11/06)

Steady decline

As stated on many previous occasions, under the present manager, the decline of a once-great club will continue. I predict that, once again, Everton FC will achieve no silverware, will not get into Europe and will finish in the bottom half of the table. Moyes is a Cchampionship manager and will never win anything with Everton.

I have even given up saying "get rid" because, even if Everton are relegated in the next couple of years, it appears Moyes will stay. Look what happened when Aston Villa replaced their manager; I rest my case. Stop making excuses for a lower Premiership/Championship manger.

He has had nearly 5 years with Everton and how many trophies has he won? None.
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (30/11/06)

He did take us to fourth once. I remember that. A great achievement, they said. Qualifying for the Champions League... qualifying round. Better than a trophy, some said. That will be his zenith. ? Michael

James Meattie

According to David Moyes "we played well" and the scoreline was injust!! The scoreline obviously wasnt injust as they scored 3 goals and we scored none (again).

In the last 4 games, we have a wonder goal from Mikel Arteta and an own goal to show for 4 whole games work. The common theme?? Yes, our ?6 million wonder player James Beattie has played in all of these games when we have looked as toothless as we did this time last season. Who was our main striker then???

Fans saying "give him time" are clearly not living on our planet!! How long does he want? The rest of his career?? Just give him away, Moyes, and cut your losses on him as his wages over the next two years add up to nearly ?3M!! Two away goals in his entire Everton career (he's not having that goal at Peterborough) is a disgrace to every single person that has worn that No 9 shirt!!

I stopped applauding his name at the start of matches last season and I've noticed a few more around me in Lower Gwladys doing the same. I wouldn't suggest booing the lazy fucker but if his name is greeted with total silence it might shame him into getting his finger out of his arse and looking like someone who deserves to wear the No 9 shirt !
Steven Mills, Merseyside  (30/11/06)

Tonight's Dross

Well, just back from the game and a few points from my seat in the North Stand (yes, I was with their lot). The guys around me congratulated our support on being a good loud bunch and certainly better than the horde from across the park.

We watched the game and to tell the truth it was pretty poor, Man Utd put out the strangest and weakest team I've ever seen them play against us. Everton had their usual 30 minutes or so show of reasonable stamina then turned into a pub team. The goals were utter garbage.

Joe Yobo is a terrible right back but only Moyes would have the stubborn idiotic thought to play him there. Well, Moyes, where was Joe when Evra strolled in unchallenged to nutmeg Dicky "Couldn't Catch a Cold" Fingers? Predicting attack routes with the guy next to me he was amazed at each one I predicted just before they happened which makes me wonder if I a non-manager can see it why the hell cant the ginger PE Teacher?

To rub salt into the wounds, I am not sure but pretty certain Man Utd actually finished the game with six or seven defenders on the pitch and, despite being a terrible bunch, still put Everton to the sword and scored a third with great, almost comical ease.

Moyes needs to admit he is completely out of his depth and if he won't go get someone in to "help" who knows what they are doing and get shut of the shite which is Lard Arse and McFaggot, then turn their attentions on other clowns masquerading as players at this club and, with the remainder, teach them how to play football again.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (29/11/06)

Obsessive Moyes

Let`s face it, against quality opposition, Everton are just not good enough. Even Mikkel Arteta looks decidedly average against the better teams. You are 100% right about Moyes, he sounds like a Rugby `defensive coach` - obsessed by the goals we give away rather than the failure to fashion any decent chances.

All this talk of ground moving will be supurfluous unless we get a manager who can shape a team worth watching!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (29/11/06)

Fed Up...

...of exspecting the usual result against a below par Man Utd ? I mean, who got Patrice Evra for the second goal on a bet? I have given myself some sound advice tonight: don't care any longer 'cos the Premiere League is a joke ? and so is Moyes. Where oh where is our midfield, or our sublime winger who can turn a cross in. This club is going nowhere fast...
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (29/11/06)

Pathetic

How many times will I have to tell the world that David Moyes is an incompetent buffoon and should be replaced immediately! After another embrassing display I was only thankful that Rooney didn't score. The team United put out showed how much respect they had for Everton: four first-team players rested and we still lose 3-0.

Some fans even say it was a good performance? You bloody what!?? What cocaine they have been sniffing, I don't bloody know! At least believe you will have a chance to win at Old Trafford rather than going for an Arsenal draw tactic, but alas that is too much for the clueless dummy and his even more stupid followers.

Not only am I disappointed, I am also sick to death of watching Everton and I thought I would never say that. Two wins in eleven games just proves what the likes of myself and Tony Marsh were saying at the start of the season; do not get carried away, we have had more false dawns than the whole series of Sunset Beach!

We may have got marginally better under Moyes, but that is his limit! And the only reason it doesn't stick out is because we are in such a poor league. Teams like us can hover around mid-table comfortable.

Bollocks to this ? I'm going to bed!
Luq Yussef, London  (29/11/06)

Come on, now, Luq: we put in a fair shift until the buggers scored. 40 mins of reasonably good football. Then: Game Over. — Michael

What on earth??!!

Heaven help us what on earth is this bloke on??!!! He's lost the plot! Everton manager David Moyes: "I'm pleased with how we played, especially in the first half. There was no shame in how they played and they can leave here with their heads high. We don't feel 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game. When you are 2-0 down it is very difficult, but it was important we didn't go to pieces. I'm very disappointed with the way we lost the third goal, which was very poor from our point of view."
Kunal Desai, London  (29/11/06)

How long have you been following things, Kunal? This is the sort of stuff he always comes out with now. Nothing about our execrable inability to score... always devastated that we should concede. ? Michael

Nasty November

Once again our results in November have done nothing to aid our bid to secure a European place. I am worried about what is happening at Everton and hope, truly hope, that Dowie, Johnson and Lord Stevens have no relationship whatsoever. But what I find really really hard to believe is that, despite our current form, we are still only 1 win away from 3rd place. I know, so are half the bloody League.

If our current form is so bad, what the heck does it say for the Premiership as a whole? I only attend the games at Goodison and so far (Arsenal reserves apart) no team has impressed me ? not even Everton. Let's hope December is not desperate and come the New Year we can have new faces ready for a charge at those European places.

Come on, Davie lad, one last push for the rest of the season as a failure to secure a top 6 place in this current league has to be seen as an abject failure.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (29/11/06)

This is as good as it gets....

A typical spineless performance against the Mancs second team. There are now half-a-dozen teams with games in hands right on our arses. Moyes must now take a bold decision this January transfer window, sell Beattie and bring in a midfielder. If it comes off, we could take a European place seeing that we are still only 3 points from 3rd. If he plays safe then he risks mid-table obscurity and growing supporter dissent against him. I know what he will do: play it safe, knowing that Bellend Bill only wants a manager cable of keeping us in the Premiership (think of us at Kirkby in the Championship, Tranmere Mk II).

I've said it before on this site, Moyes isn't good enough, and never will be with all the will in the World. We are the worst side to watch in the Premiership and this is Moyes's doing. I again watched the Everton v Rapid Vienna, Cup-Winners Cup Final, on Sky yesterday: what style, what passion ? would any of Moyes's players today would get in that side?
Tommy Coleman, London  (29/11/06)

Who is Charlie Henderson?

I was following our demise via the BBC web page & the above mentioned Mr Henderson came out with this beautiful quote...

2043: Schoolboy control from James Beattie in the Manchester United box and an Everton chance goes begging. The sort of stuff you'd expect from the nerd who always got picked last for the lunchtime kickabout.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry?

I also noticed that Utd took their foot off the gas with 30 mins to go, Heinze & Brown came on. Everton didn't use a sub until the 75th minute. We were only 2-0 down, why not bring on Vaughan, Anichibe or even Van der 10 pints & a curry, what did we have to lose?
Colin Smith, Hopewell, NJ, USA  (29/11/06)

Time for a happy pill

Everybody chillax! Did anyone really expect a result at Man United with the English Beattie and the Scottish Beattie ? or was that the Scottish Rooney ? playing up front side by side? Was anyone really surprised when the Utd defence twice put "Welcome" mats in front of goal and each of them still missed?

We are still only three points off the Champions League spots, still well in touch with those above us, so please stop this nonsense about the wheels coming off etc etc. We need a good win Sunday to put us back on track. I'd like to see Anichebe given a start. McFadden is just not a Premiership striker and it's time to call it a day on Beattie and let him waste someone else's time after January.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (29/11/06)

Sorry, Peter, but the entire supply of Happy Pills has been sequestered by that bloke Richard Dodd. — Michael

Joyful night

No points but a very creditable performance against the Mighty Mancs. Nice to hear Sir Alex saying good things about the excellent James Beattie but the real joy of the evening is that we`re still in 8th spot as Liverpool fail to win at home ? again!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (29/11/06)

Nice to see you so happy in defeat, Richard. Is there any chance you could do us all a favour and just not post? You have an incredible knack of making things seems far worse than they really are.

And this may surprise you: a 0-0 draw earns Liverpool a point, they go above Everton, who slip to 9th. But you never were very good on the reality thing, where you, Richard? ? Michael

I'm not enjoying being smug but..

Like I said,

Davies: Where the fuck was he today? Was he stuck over the border because Welshmen aren't allowed within the walls of Chester on a Wednesday?

Faddy: Nice goals, mate - keep them coming..

Wright: Well, you only conceded three goals but at least your boss still has the faith ? even if no-one else does.

8 points off the bottom 3 - what a fucking great start to the season. Great job lads, you deserve all the plaudits for your half-season efforts. Your entitled to relax and start looking forward to next season already and your Lake District bondage sessions.
Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (29/11/06)

"Bondage"??? Perhaps that's were Moysey is going wrong. He thinks they are Outward Bound for bonding... all the while, there's kinky sex games going on in the tents at night. No wonder they don't have enough stamina to compete with the best! — Michael

Oh deary me!

Two league wins in 11 games now - ahhhh the wheels have well and truely fallen off now and by the looks of it so has any chance of finishing in a European spot. Ah well, mediocrity and perhaps worse to look foward to... Come on, Moyesy, let's hear your usual laughable excuses now after each game!
Kunal Desai, London  (29/11/06)

What Really Annoys Me

Most teams lose at Old Trafford and, with Dicky Wright in goal, things were always going to be difficult. I can handle Everton as a mid-table side, maybe this is as far as Moyes can take us, disappointing but still much better then being tipped for relegation every season. What really annoys me, what completely pisses me off, is that every season we struggle for goals.

Why can't we lose 2-1 or 3-1? Even 4-1 would be better then losing without scoring a goal. Other teams manage to score a goal when they lose but with Everton it's either winning 1-0 or losing and scoring zero goals. A consolation goal would soften the blow of defeat. Other supporters enjoy consolation goals so why can't we have some?
John Cottee, Romford  (29/11/06)

Simple: consolation goals make that negative goal difference Moyes favours just a little bit harder to achieve... — Michael

Two wins in 11 games...

The slide is well and truly back on and the season is falling apart. Everton need to get to 40 pts to ensure saftey... Moyes Out!
Micky Wilcox, Runcorn  (29/11/06)

Squad

For all the people talking Everton up after the Liverpool result, just look how things have gone from there. Yep and the good news is apart from Carsley, all the shit that is put out to play for our club has been signed by Moyes. All the talk of us qualifying for Europe... What Bollocks!
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (29/11/06)

Scenarios?

Oh dear,Michael, how you disappoint me! Mind experiments are not about predictions of truth and are intended only to encourage the thinker to look at a problem from a different viewpoint. Einstein conducted a mind experiment by imagining himself sitting on a light beam and this resulted in the Theory of Relativity which would have meant, if he hadn't made that contribution, Apollo 11 would have missed the moon by about 60 miles. I don't want Everton or Evertonians to make the same error.

Much concern has been expressed on this site recently about the prospect of a new stadium being removed from the City of Liverpool. All I was trying to do was encourage thought about whether the concern would be the same if the City of Liverpool was removed from the Stadium. Whether this is more or less likely than Einstein hitching a ride on a lightbeam is irrelevant. What matters is that it defines the problem... the origin of the concern. This is manipulation of the equation in order to provide a result that answers the question you want to ask, a useful tool in mathematics and logic.

As for the Church Meeting in 1878, you are right, I don't know what was on the agenda but one thing I do know is that whether or not renaming the Club 'Liverpool' was on it, the fact is the Club was renamed Everton and therefore the option was either rejected or not even considered. Either way, it demonstrates my point that Everton Football Club is (and was) not about any allegiance to Liverpool as a city.

Einstein's mind experiment prevented Apollo 11 from wandering off course. Mine was to try to prevent Evertonians from doing so as a result of a misplaced loyalty to location in terms of a political entity (the City) rather than what was best for the Club.
Dave Roberts, Rncorn  (29/11/06)

In a sea of relativity, your last line shows your space to be a little bent, I fear. It's perceptions that matter, and the perception is strongly held by those who have voiced the concern. I'll be very suprised if they now just sit back and say,

"Ya know, Dave 'Call me Einsten' Roberts has a point, and he seems to have the maths to back him up: we are obviously well off beam to be worried about such trivialities as which alternate Universe are in, never mind which alternate City.... Go 'ed Billy Boy: do you worst and we'll all follow along like sheep, 'coz you promised us it would be the best for the club." Baa-aaah! — Michael

West Ham ticket update

This is seriously obtuse marketing, you can buy the adult/child tickets from the Park End box office for ?35. Great, I live 70 miles away and wuld have to go in to pick up seats that Everton cannot sell. Shall I just enjoy my Sunday at home and watch Everton for free on Sky for a change? It will cost me ?20 in fuel. I always buy my tickets online, I know the software the club uses so it's easy to verify me as an Evertonian. So why not make them available online to people who have bought before... Doh!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (29/11/06)

I thought they had all that sorted now? Apparently not... — Michael

Validity of votes

I think the voting was adjudicated by an independent body.... certainly the KD one anyway. However, I think the GFE's main gripe (far be it from me to speak for them) was that the vote was heavily loaded in favour of the club's proposals. I think the KD one was too good to miss, sold itself to be honest, but the original Kirkby/Gilmoss offer was hyped up with images of the Millenium stadium (I think) airbrushed blue. Telling us we were going to get something like that, when of course we weren't.

I have to confess I voted both times to move. I know now that I was wrong in the first instance. I was blinded by the glossy images, and didn't know enough about the current site in terms of potential etc. Nor was I overly fussed about the extra travel. A stadium design project and 6 years travelling to and from Kirkby later... has changed my opinion dramatically. Next time we vote, and this was promised at the last AGM, people should be aware of the difficulties as well as the glossy benefits. Hopefully they'll have some glossy alternatives to view too!! Then the vote will be fairer.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (29/11/06)

A Stadium full of Scouse?

The Stadium Debate certainly seems to have wandered off course and developed into a discussion about local history and geography. May I offer my tuppence worth?

The home is were the heart is and Kirkby residents, or anybody else who lives outside the city boundaries, are welcome to consider themselves scousers (or not) as they wish. I've not lived within the city boundaries for 31 years and, if my mother had let me loose a week earlier than she did, I wouldn't even have been born in the City (it would have been Birmingham... jeez was I lucky!).

I consider myself a scouser, as does my wife who (coincidentally) was born and raised in Kirkby. It's where your centre of gravity is that counts and the City of Liverpool has always been mine. I love the place and I am intensely loyal to it and I always will be.

I am also intensely loyal to Everton Football Club, probably even more so, and personally I don't give a shit if Everton move to a stadium outside of the city. Loyalty to the city and loyalty to Everton are not particularly connected for me. The sacred ground for me (as far as EFC is concerned) is Goodison Park and it is the prospect of leaving there without full discussion and exploration of the potential for redevelopment which upsets me, not the leaving of Liverpool.

In case my point is hard to understand,let's conduct a mind experiment and consider this scenario:-

Everton decide to redevelop Goodison and, in due course, a magnificent stadium rises like a phoenix on the sacred ground. It may have to be turned 45 degrees but we don't even have to move Dixie's statue! Brilliant! We are all deleriously happy.

Then, a reorganisation of Local Government boundaries decides that the whole area should be decanted from Liverpool and handed over to Sefton. Would there be an outcry and demands from Evertonians to tear down the New Goodison brick by brick and have it rebuilt within the City boundary? Would there bollocks! And that's my point.

When the founding fathers had an opportunity to change the Club's name from St Domingos, I assume that at least one bright spark suggested Liverpool!? In any case, it wasn't chosen. Everton FC just happened to be located in Liverpool... it wasn't OF, ABOUT or REPRESENTING Liverpool. A message has come all the way down from those grand old men and we would be fools to ignore it. That message appears to me to be that Everton had a history and a purpose that transcended its mere location even if that location was the great City of Liverpool. Hear, hear I say!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (29/11/06)

It always makes me laugh when people develop a totally hypothetical and utterly spurious 'scenario' to support their position. Face it: the issue is if Everton move from a location now inside the City to a location that is currently outside the City... Some people have an issue with that, and are not likely to be swayed by some hypothetical concept that stretches the limits of credibility.

As for your imaginings of what went on in 1878 at a little church meeting on the outskirts of Liverpool, and the consequent "message" for all of mankind... get a grip, fella! You certainly have wandered off course!!! — Michael

Validity of the voting on Kings Dock

ToffeeWeb, I wonder if you could expand on the ground move vote which took place over the KD. I and other fans would appreciate another opinion on the so-called validity of that vote. Was it all above board?
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (29/11/06)

The 'original' ground move vote in 1997 is documented here. It relates not to Kings Dock, but to a 'The Hamperdome' at an undisclosed location... possibly Gilmoss. It was roundly criticised by the GFE group, who claimed the vote was rigged.

The next vote was in November 2000 and is documented here. It included a specific choice of moving to Kings Dock, which was overwhelmingly approved. GFE did not kick up much of a fuss (how could they?) and faded away thereafter, even though they claimed this was not 'the end'.

As a footnote, Everton have never responded fully to the question of redeveloping Goodison Park. They have, at various times, insisted it is infeasible, both financially and in terms of things like infrastructure, traffic, parking, etc. They claim a study exists proving this... but it has never been made available to anyone outside of EFC. ("Commercial sensitivity", don't ya know!) Valid questions, perhaps, for the upcoming AGM? — Michael

Cockney Reds

Can't believe the number of Evertonians moaning about the possible flak they may receive from fans of the 'dark side' should we move to Kirkby.

The stock answer to any name-calling should be 'I'd rather be a Kirky Blue than a Cockney Red'. That certainly shut up a workmate of mine recently. Try it.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (29/11/06)

The Dark Side

Some people are missing the point regarding the ground move. We are looking ever more likely to leave the city and future generations will not look on Everton as a 'Liverpool' club. The Dark Side have stolen a march on us either by their influence on the city council or just by having more streetwise people on their Board. The stick we will get from kopites will be unrelenting. More importantly, we will lose our identity as a Liverpool club and all that goes with it. Nothing against Kirkby as such, in fact it would be easier for me to drive there, but it would be disatrous for the future of EFC.

We now seem to have Kirkby apologists on this site as well as Moyes apologists and perhaps they are the same people. Anyone who says we will be the same club at Kirkby is deluding themselves. The core of the Goodison crowd is Liverpudlian born and bred and ? while they might transfer to Kirkby ? their children, the supporters of the future, might not. The Board of Liverpool FC must be rubbing their hands at the prospect of being the only club in the city.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (29/11/06)

BK will give us a vote....won't he?

If you cast your minds back to the Kings Dock fiasco, EFC carried a fans survey before making any decision on moving to the Kings Dock. Surely the club's respect for its loyal fans would still prevail, giving us a chance to vote on any planned move?

I can't really see BK risking the wrath of the fans and ignoring them before making such a huge decision like a ground move. BK will give us a vote... won't he?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (29/11/06)

There's been no talk of having another vote, and there was a lot of doubt raised about the validity of the voting back then (or was that the previous one?); all we have been promised is an announcement by the end of the year. The AGM approaches... — Michael

Rooney

Wouldn't it be awful if the fat-has-been Rooney scores tonight and decides to celebrate right in the faces of Moyes and the Everton fans. He did that last time; I will never forgive him but with Moyes now taking him to court, I really think Rooney is going to go overboard on the celebrations. Tosser.

Here's a thought, losing tonight would strengthen Man Utd's title hopes and edge us closer to another big Rooney payment. I wonder if Moyes and Ferguson have chatted and decided it would be best for both clubs? I hope not.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (29/11/06)

Here's a thought: You spend far too much time thinking. — Michael

Walton-on-the-Hill

In an effort to make the debate about whether Kirkby even sillier, I'd like to refer to Wikipedia and point out that our current location, Walton, wasn't part of Liverpool Borough Council until 1836. Wikipedia also has Anfield as originally being a part of Walton, so the same thing can probably be said of our previous home as well. St Domingo FC was not, of course, in existence at that time.

There is, another reference in Wikipedia which records Walton being added to Liverpool City Council in 1895. The Everton FC that we all know and love were, of course, fully formed by this time.

It all depends on how you define your boundary for Liverpool and in what period of time you want to do it. The political map and the type of political sub-divisions in that map have changed over the years, presumably in response to the growth of the conurbation.

The point, I think, is that our club were founded before the area that many see as ?Liverpool? had fully crystallised. At the very least we could say that the club was formed while the boundaries around our home ground were still in the process of being defined.

Any debate as to whether or not Kirby is in Liverpool and whether or not Everton FC should stay within Liverpool if Kirkby is not considered to be in Liverpool should not concern us. Perhaps we should consider Everton FC as an institution to be old enough to transcend any concept of which areas are in Liverpool and which aren?t? Perhaps Everton FC should be free to move to a ground anywhere in or around the conurbation of Liverpool and allow politics to continue to define or re-define the boundaries around it with impunity?

(As for potential wind-ups from Liverpool fans, since their club moved into our previous home, shouldn?t Liverpool fans be aware of the moving boundaries and what playing in an area once known as Walton-on-the-Hill and not Liverpool means to a team called Liverpool FC? If they don?t then just tell them to shut it. It?s a grand old team to play for?)
Myles Sunley, London  (29/11/06)

Oh, now you've just gone and made a right mess of the whole thing, Myles. But do you really think your average kopite could grasp any of the concepts you are putting forward? — Michael

Where are they now? - Part 2

I saw Peter Beagrie doing the Sky TV link from one of the games on Saturday to the studio and it got me thinking about other players who used to play for us. Anyone know what James Beattie's doing now?
Dean Peamum, George, South Africa  (29/11/06)

Arf, arf...

Just to check

I've read snippets re a possible ground move from official sources, but I just wanted to check to see why everyone is getting so excited about Kirkby - has there been off the record briefings about a decision that's been made, or are we getting over excited about nothing? I don't remember seeing anything that sais "the club will be moving in a few years to Kirkby". The closest was the Malaysian article where he was "mis-quoted".

As far as I'm aware, all this is based on rumour, and there's no reason for discussing this as if it's all a done deal. (I'd be against the club moving out of Liverpool for the record).
David Flynn, London  (29/11/06)

So when they announce it and it is a done deal, there will then be no point in discussing it, right? Best get the feelings aired now, while there might still be time to influence the decision, surely? ? on they slightly mistaken premise that they actually give a shit what the paying customers really think about their plans. — Michael

One Game At A Time

So David Moyes says in the Daily Post 29/11/06:

?I've been looking forward to this game (United) for a long time. We have got a good side this season and have played well in a lot of games?. The only way you really judge yourself is to find out how you do against the best teams, and this season against the top teams we've done well. That gives me a feeling that the players can go to these places, work hard and get results?.
I don?t understand how or why a manager should be looking forward to any particular fixture. All games carry the same reward for a win, and doesn?t this emphasis on ?glamour? fixtures mean that players will not try as hard in the less ?glamorous? games.

I think this shows that David is not the man to take Everton forward. His job as I see it is to produce an Everton side that perform consistently well, regardless of the opponents. The league table will show how far the manager and team have come, not a few results against the elite.

In the same article David says that we are taking Andy Johnson?s injury day by day, but that he is not convinced that Andy will be ready for Sunday?s game. Hmmm... I still think there is a disciplinary element to AJ?s absence from the team, we?ll see.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (29/11/06)

It's not what they say that matters, it';s what they do. All mouth and no trousers. — Michael

Match ticket

Any Everton fans looking for tickets for tonight?s game v United, I?ve got two spare tickets at ?40 each. If you?re interested, give me a call on 07797 774370 ? Thanks
Kevin Lloyd, Jersey  (29/11/06)

How dare you!!

Quit calling the place of my birth a shit hole, Mr or Ms Kunal Desai. How many areas of London could be termed "shit holes" ? quite a few I think.

My home town has wonderful architecture, two Cathedrals [the only City in the UK to boast this], marvellous shopping centre, good theatre, two top Premiership Football Clubs and people who are warm, generous and have a good sense of humour except when someone calls Liverpool a shit hole!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (29/11/06)

Damn Lies and Statistics

In response to everybody's question as to who is/was Everton's best Premiership manager, we are being bombarded slightly with who has won the higher percentage of matches, who has gained the higher percentage of draws and wins, etc, etc.

In order to try and make things slightly clearer for readers, the following table provides Everton's Premiership managers based on their record normalized for a regular Premier League season (i.e. I took the percentage of wins, draws and defeats plus the average number of goals scored and conceded per match and multiplied all of these by 38):

                 P   W   D   L  GF  GA  Pts 
Joe Royle       38  14  12  12  53  45   54
David Moyes     38  15   9  14  45  51   54
Howard Kendall  38  12   9  17  44  52   45
Walter Smith    38  11  11  16  46  50   44
Mike Walker     38   7  11  20  36  64   32
This would basically, give the title to Joe Royle on goal difference at the moment.

Also, as a matter of interest, the comparative records of our two caretake managers during the Premier League would be:

Dave Watson     38   6  16  16  38  65   34
Jimmy Gabriel   38   0   5  33  11  65    5!

Stephen Flanagan, Liverpool  (29/11/06)

Thanks, Steve. I like to see Joe on top! — Michael

Where are they now?

Does anyone know of a definite list of which Premiership clubs actually play in the place their name suggests. Manchester Utd are not based in Manchester, Bolton don't play in Bolton, Arsenal have moved to Ashburton Grove - are there any others and more importantly, do their fans care?
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (29/11/06)

Give us a K...I...

If Kirkby is part of Liverpool simply because a large number of people from Liverpool moved there in search of adequate housing and regular employment, then the same argument could be applied to Runcorn or Skelmersdale, whose new town developments were populated almost exclusively with Liverpool families in the sixties and seventies. So does that mean we could move to Runcorn and still be a Merseyside club and by extension a 'Liverpool' club? Surely not.

If you move out of the city, you've emigrated. Simple as that. My advice? If you feel that strongly, move back! The irony of all this argument about what is and what is not Liverpool is that, other than on the subject of the stadium, most people from Knowsley are at great pains to tell you they are decidedly not from Liverpool. Snotty buggers!
Stephen Daedalus, New York, NY, USA  (29/11/06)

In response to Michael

Michael, it seems the ToffeeWeb site is becoming more interested in the history and geography of Kirkby, so much so that you yourself seem to have felt the need to do some research on the matter. Subsequently you have come to the conclusion that it never has been part of Liverpool.

Let me put you straight were I stand on this as someone who was born and bred in Kirkby, I don?t really give a shit about Liverpool or being a scouser, if someone is telling me I?m not a scouser because I?m not from Liverpool, then great I?m not a scouser. What I am proud of is being an Evertonian for over 40 years, so I?ve done my time and paid my money, as much as any of you, so don?t make out us Kirkby?ites are some sort of lesser supporter.

Finally, I suggest next time you do your research on the history of Kirkby, don?t just believe in the first site you Google. Kirkby in fact was sold to Liverpool Corporation back in 1947 (when it was a manor) by the then owner, the Earl of Sefton. This should not be confused with the leasing and eventual selling of industrial estate land as you mentioned earlier.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (29/11/06)

I read the same bit as you did, and it occurs out of order in one of the narratives. Let's look at this bit from Wikipediea:

After the end of the Second World War, the Liverpool Corporation bought the [Royal Ordnance] factory, with plans to develop a trading estate on the site. In 1947, the Earl of Sefton sold the Kirkby land [i.e., the original 12 farms that were bought up for the ROF] to the Corporation, who intended to develop the area around the city in an attempt to alleviate the housing shortage caused by the Blitz, and to provide housing for workers on the burgeoning industrial estate. The town was officially designated a New Town in 1949. Large-scale development began in the 1950s, and continued in phases until the late 1970s.
By my reckoning, that gives you possibly two years (1947-49) when Liverpool Corporation perhaps 'owned' a large chunk (but probably not all) of land around Kirkby before it was designated as a New Town. Not also the emphasis added. I very much doubt that the land was ever actually within the city boundaries of Liverpool. If you're going to cling to that, then good luck to you. You're the one who feels these facts somehow affect your credentials as a scouser or an Evertonian; I never said anything about that.

What I did confirm was the fact that, and read this part slowly because it sounds like it didn't get through the first or second times: Kirkby has a Liverpool postcode, but it has never been part of Liverpool. But you don't have to believe me: read what David Kennedy wrote as well. Do we really need to dicuss it any more? ? Michael

In response to Mr Cribb

Mr Cribb, if you read what I have written and take it in you will notice I said that the Everton Board are over a barrel and probably willingly, meaning they are happy to be in this situation. I say this because it?s an easy get-out, that is to say they have no choice but to accept this type of investment because there is no other type of investment available.

As far as my homework is concerned please notice the quotes around the phrase ?Russian sugardaddy? so it's to be taken as an example of someone who?s willing to plough money into the club for players. Call it foreign investment if you want to be picky, but ? whatever it is termed as ?Kenwright and the rest of the Board have been unable to attract it, or (more likely) don?t want to attract it.

Last but not least, there is no gun to the supporters' heads at all, simply because the supporters won't get a fucking say in what happens!!
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (29/11/06)

Goodbye, goal difference

Today is the last day that we will have positve goal differential. Sad really because it's taken us so long to be in a position where we have scored more goals than we have conceded ? even during Moyes's good times of lots of 1-0 wins offset with the odd thrashing. I read Lyndon Lloyds optimistic preview and one or two other people on here thinking we may sneak a win but we won't. Here's why: Richard Wright. I can't remember him EVER keeping a clean sheet for us.

I would think he'll concede at least 5. Moreover, Tiny Tim ? who is kind of like Gavin Peacock ? was at Chelsea and has that habit of scoring suprise winners against teams like United, is injured. Worse still, Andy Johnson ? who may be the new Lineker or the new Campbell, depending on your level of optimism ? is injured. That leaves us with McFadden to score a Tony Cottee-style pointless consolation goal and, more than likely, David Weir will get a rare runout and, in Neil McDonald style, either score an own goal or concede a penalty.

It's just a shame that fate throws injuries and Richard Wright together with Man Utd in a winter-time optimism sapper. The only thing more predictable than a 5-1 thrashing is the fact that every year we get knocked out of the Coca Cola cup early on by Chelsea or Arsenal. It sucks.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, USA  (29/11/06)

Think yer so smart, eh? Well, clever clogs, a 5-1 defeat would still leave us with a plus 2 goal difference. ? Michael

A parallel to draw from?

As I've written on here before, I'm opposed to a move outside the city for the simple reason that I don't want to create a vacuum for the kopites to fill.

In thinking about such a move, I recalled the experience of Juventus in the recent past. Now if you can disregard the factors such as bad stadium design, running track, etc, which obviously played a part, see if you can see a parallel here.

And by the way, can someone check Dave Moore's maths? By my reckoning re-developing GP over 4 seasons would cost ?24M in lost revenue using his figures (based on 20 matches per season for ease of calculation). Alters the argument somewhat!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (29/11/06)

There's a little white light

Many expect disaster at Old Trafford yet they should not abandon hope. If Lady Luck smiles and little Leon lifts his game, we are in with a dog's chance. Across Australia, posted on dressing room walls, is this truism, "It's noth the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog! Meanwhile, move over, Doddy here is another to share your limb-clinging life. By golly, it's exhilarating up here in the topmost branches and so close to that Big Blue Heaven.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/11/06)

All Options?

After reading the articles written by Peter Fearon and Brian Baker, I'd firstly like to congratulate both for digging deeper and taking a little more time than the rest of us (myself included) to substantiate the reasons behind their views. Well done, lads, just goes to show how passionate Evertonians you both are!

I recently posted a rant about the need for us to move, and who cares if it's Kirkby or not. However, after reading the well-written statements of the above-mentioned, I realise all options have by no means been explored by the club, council or fans for that matter. I have to admit that after some deeper thought I would rather see a Goodison reconstrution on our present site.

Obviously this draws upon many issues that some may feel have already been exhausted. Although, I wondered if anyone knew whether there is the possibility of an option to re-route the road behind the Park End by taking what will be a mere slice of Stanley Park in comparison to the reds??? Surely this would create almost 50% of the space needed to rebuild Goodison, and the disruption on that side of the ground would be minimal due to the already existing space. There are no shops or houses that would be affected whatsoever!

After reading through many of the comments on the site, it's obvious I'm not alone in my change of heart. I would like to say that most who are supporting a move to Kirkby are probably doing so out of a feeling of desperation for improvement, and the fact that nobody is showing us any alternative options. I honestly know that this is true for myself.

This is not to say I'm willing to settle for the sub-standard ground and facilities that we currently have. I just want to see a steady progression in the right direction. If this means taking longer to do something, then so be it. As long as we're heading in the right direction and not killing ourselves whilst doing it.

Maybe David Moyes should also think about these things when he hopefully dips into the transfer market in January. Get the wrong player now and he can cause you problems for years to come. Get the wrong ground... could cause you problems for a century.
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (28/11/06)

Hard Ball

So Ferguson says Howard may come back to the Mancs at the end of the season, smart man is he as Yoda would say. By pushing the boat out he can either command a high fee for Howard and test how badly Everton, or anyone other club, really wants him!

I really want the club to go for SWP in January. Offer Chelsea an initial loan deal until the summer, then pay the rest at the end of the season. I think all will be agreed that it is these sort of players who will push this club forward, not the Davies's and Pistones of this world!

And personally a new stadium is the only way forward, but would we fill a 50,000 stadium playing baseball style football?
Luq Yussef, London  (28/11/06)

Why Bother?

How can you compare the records of Joe Royle and David Moyes? Moyes has been in charge for nearly twice as many games as Royle. Plus the Premiership is a higher quality than it was in Royle's day. Royle did a good job and Moyes is doing a good job. Why try and compare them? Can't we just appreciate them both?

We had dark days under Harvey, Kendall Mk II, Walker, Kendall Mk III & Smith. Royle and Moyes are the two high points and should be treasured; let's not try and pick points to bring them down.
John Cottee, Romford  (28/11/06)

Oh darn it. Just when we were on the verge of a real good ding-dong battle, you go and piss all over it. Spoilsport! — Michael

Kirkby in Liverpool?

Ray and some other people seem to be under the false impression that Kirkby was, at some point in the past (usually identified as the period pre-1974 boundary reorganisation), part of Liverpool. Whilst it's true to say that estates in towns like Kirkby and Huyton were built by Liverpool Corporation (back in the old days when local authorities actually had funds to do these things!), they were NEVER part of Liverpool. They always were under the control of urban district councils: Kirkby UDC; Huyton UDC, and came under the wider regional authority of Lancashire County Council.

Ray is right to suggest that Kirkby, along with other places on the periphery of Liverpool where people were decanted out to from the 1930s to 1960s, such as Huyton and Halewood ('slum-dumping' as the local press not so charmingly referred to the process) IS populated by Liverpool people and their descendants. And, with those links in mind, most would recognise as valid Ray's point that Kirkby people are part of a wider Liverpool/Scouse cultural scene. However, a cavalier lumping in of Kirkby with Liverpool (which I would argue Ray did) is questionable, as he underestimates the power of local identity.

For example, the population of Kirkby, along with Huyton and Halewood, felt sufficiently independent from Liverpool to vote overwhelmingly a decade ago to retain their status as districts of Knowsley, rather than be subsumed within the City of Liverpool. The 'Scouse Diaspora's' connections to the 'old sod', as it were, was not strong enough to overide more pressing, material considerations, such as getting your bins emptied on a regular basis!!

With the above points in mind, you have to wonder how much weight the assertion 'Kirkby is Liverpool' actually bears. As for a stadium for the 'People's Club': I'd naively suggest that the people of the People's Club who are going to sit in said dome must have a say on its location.
David Kennedy, Merseyside  (28/11/06)

Spot on, David. I just got there myself (see below). Many thanks for your comprehensive and unequivocal response. ? Michael

Get on EFC @ 17/2!

I note that David Hall?s item includes cup games. In Premier League games only, the records show:

Manager   Win%  Draw%  Loss%

Moyes    38.29  24.00  37.71
Royle    37.11  31.96  30.93
Smith    28.67  29.37  41.96
Kendall  23.68  34.21  42.11
Walker   19.35  29.03  51.61
Joe has a better points-per-game ratio, a better goalscoring ratio and a better defensive record. However, Moyes has a slightly better win ratio.

We would understandably be the team with the worst defensive record having spent most of the 15 years down at the wrong end of the table. United of course should be top scorers with the record they have had since the Premiership began. I suspect that some red-nose statto had too much spare time.

I hope that the Blues win at Old Trafford as it will keep the kopites quiet for another week. At the price of 17/2 for a win, it might just be worth a punt. Stranger things have happened. Remember the League Cup game in 1976 when the Blues were given no chance? The score: 3-0 to Everton.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (28/11/06)

Since winning and drawing earns points, I'd give it Joe by a nice margin of nearly six percentage points!!! ;) ? Michael

Ground move

This is not a rant ? I'm beyond that now and accept our fate is already decided. Well, today the kopite next door greeted me with, "How do you think the Kirby Blues will do tomorrow?" Then, with a smirk, drove off to work. Is this what we'll get from now on?
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (28-11-06)

We don't care what the red side say... apparently.

Or do we? — Michael

I didn't know that...

From the BBC website...

"This is the 15th season of Premiership football, and this fixture pits the highest scoring club in the Premier League era against the one to have conceded the most. United have netted 1,087 goals, Everton have shipped 751 goals. "
Oh dear...
Dick Bill, York  (28/11/06)

Mr Angry

Our team can't half infuriate me sometimes. Ahead of the Man Utd game, 3 of the 4 top stories on Everton FC.com:

  • "Davies: We need a repeat" ... well, start playing like a Premiership footballer then, you Welsh nonce.
  • "Boss: Faddy can deliver" ... and exactly when does he plan to do this? At the end of his contract, Nick Barmby-style?
  • "Moyes faith in Wright" ... faith in believing the talent is there is quite different from actually seeing it. He's just another Steve Simonsen.
This team will only get to the top when the self-plaudits and glorification stop coming after a string of half-decent results and are instead kept in reserve until the end of a full season. This club is all about half-season achievements at the moment... Reading are above us, for fucks sake!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (28/11/06)

I really get pissed off with the shite that gets talked by the club and its players. It has made the daily quest for Everton news now a grinding chore of wading through all this self-agrandising nonsense to find the snippets of real information and true 'news' that I have any interest in. The sheer volume of this sycophantic twaddle has now swamped out the meaningful stories to such an extent that it is becoming a real challenge each day to find anything even remotely 'newsworthy' to put up on the TW homepage. I really wish they would justy shut the fuck up, but it seems the quest for daily news (which we could be guilty of helping to feed) has created this monster.

Of course, it's the kind of pap the club would prefer us to be reading, so that we have less and less energy or inclination to probe behind the scenes into some of the real issues that should matter to the fans. Just look at the rubbish that now passess for 'content' in the Matchday Programme and The Evertonian.

There... that's my Mr Angry rant for the day! — Michael

Royle... by a whisker!

In responce to Sean Bradley, the records below show Joe Royle to be our most successful Premiership manager as far as percentage of wins is concerned. No doubt Richard Dodd could find an alternative criteria to illustrate his hero`s supremacy!

         P   W   L   D   %
Moyes   203 78  77  48  38.4
Smith   168 53  65  50  31.5
Royle   118 47  35  36  39.9
Kendall 42  11  18  13  26.2
Walker  35   6  18  11  17.1
Royle it is, then... by a whisker!
David Hall, Taunton  (28/11/06)

Coming full circle

Regarding the Kirkby Tesco Bowl fiasco, I did try and persuade myself it wasn't too bad, but have now come full circle to the view I held at the beginning - we mustn't move out of the city. Just hear me out on how I defended the move first:

Just as with Anfield and before that Priory Road (and not forgetting our first home, Stanley Park) Goodison doesn't have to be our home forever. Technically Liverpool are hoping to move from one of our former homes to a site near where we began. Ideally that should be our new ground not theirs, but we've neither the money nor I suspect the desire to build it.

OK, so we've clocked up 114 years at Goodison ? that shouldn't mean we can't ever leave for pastures new. We've done it before, and if it's in our best interests why not do it again? I originally persuaded myself that, as long as the stadium was special enough, and would guarantee (as best as you can) the added income streams we're so in need of, it was a good thing. I wasn't happy with the idea of Kirkby, but at the home game against Chelsea on the last day of the 96-97 season, the 36,000 fans in attendance voted largely in favour of a move to an unnamed location ? rumoured to be the old Cronton Colliery site. If that was good enough for them then, who was I to argue with a similar move to Kirkby now?

I decided that a move out of the city would be long term but not permanent, just like Goodison. I accepted that although I might not see a return in my lifetime,there would be a return "home" one day. I convinced myself that the move out of the city wouldn't be too hard on the majority of local fans. As I read the sort of abuse suffered by Blue Binman and Co I realise just how much the club fooled me both then and now about the impact of leaving the city. We'd probably never be able to return. Somewhere I've still got the glossy handout given to fans at the Chelsea game, and am not surprised it helped swing the vote in favour of a move. Peter Johnson was nearly as good at spin as Bill Kenwright and Shane Warne.

The second major ground move plan was the ill-fated King's Dock move. Better men than I have waxed lyrical about what missing out on this has meant to the club. Suffice it to say that I was right behind it then, and if we could magically resurrect the deal, and the site, I'd still be behind it today. As a newly crippled (well, relatively new...) Evertonian who lives miles away from Goodison, I'm the sort of person who the club claim they're doing this for. As long as it's within the city boundaries and a good site, deal and stadium, I'd support a move again. It's not Goodison For Ever for me, but we must stay in the city and if it's really viable, then why not redevelop Goodison and save 114 years of history. Anything else just doesn't live up to "Nil Satis".

And one more point: if I read about one more person who can't understand why West Ham are a more attractive investment proposition, I think I'll go mad. Look, they are a London club and that alone makes them a more attractive investment proposition than us. Frankly I'd say Palace and QPR, never mind the top flight London clubs, are probably more attractive than us. And I'm speaking with my financial head on there.

Speaking of which, a small number of shareholders (10% of shares I believe) can still make some difference. For one, we could prevent a conversion to a plc, which I think would ruin us if Bill ever chose to loosen his grip on the train set like this. So, by all means take a step back - Just mind out for the window :) but don't throw the towel in completely. Then Bill really could do what he wanted.
Nick Pennick, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury  (28/11/06)

Redevelopment, North American-style

First, thanks very much to Mr Fearon for his number-crunching. I agree with him that Everton would make its best deal by upgrading Goodison Park. Two examples from this side of the pond (Canada and USA) that might be helpful:

  • The Toronto Blue Jays (baseball) had their most profitable and successful seasons four and five years (World Series wins in 1992 and 1993) respectively after moving into the Skydome in 1988. 11 years later, in 2004, after trying hard to recover their fanbase after a baseball strike, they had to sell the stadium to a media conglomerate, and are only now starting to regain their World Series contending power.

  • When the Minnesota Twins (also baseball) were about to be kicked out of Minneapolis/St Paul because they needed a new stadium to remain a viable franchise, an influential businessman, Mr Harvey Mackay, used his contacts in the city and around the state to build a groundswell of support to "Keep the Twins Here." He put together a fantastic team that dealt with city council and state and county legislators to get land and other requirements to get a new stadium for the team. The Twins have been contenders for the World Series several times since then, most recently this past fall. Maybe someone in Everton's home town could build a consensus like this to "Keep Everton at Goodison Park".
Hope these ideas show clearly the advantages for Everton of staying at Goodison Park, which still looks pretty good on TV right now, although it needs to upgrade to meet the needs of the team and its fanbase. I will enjoy watching Everton wherever they play. Good luck to the lads for 2006-07.
Carol Shetler, Oshawa, Ontario Canada  (28/11/06)

Re: Over a barrell

Dave Moore, don't make me laugh! They way I see it, the ground-move gun is being held to the fans and Kenwight's grubby fingers are all over the trigger. Oh and by the way, do your homeweork next time: the vast majority of EPL takeovers are not rich Russian sugardaddies. It was Kenwright who nailed the "Not for Sale" sign over GP years ago. Kenwright's dream... not ours!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (28/11/06)

A New Stadium?

Peter Fearon has written an excellent article on the proposed plan to demolish Goodison Park, and build a new stadium possibly in Kirkby. I agree 100% with everything that he wrote.

He is correct in stating that the Everton Board have yet to reveal exactly how this stadium is to be funded, and made profitable. And the evidence from the other clubs that have "rebuilt" their existing stadiums would suggest that this is the best financial way to go. In addition, the club would remain in it's current environment and would keep it's existing fan base extremely happy.

An excellent article, Peter.
Norman Kearney, Toronto, Canada  (28/11/06)

Kirkby

Let's put this to bed once and for all. Kirkby was a village outside of Liverpool, until Liverpool City Council embarked on a slum clearance/re housing project after the Second World War in the early 50s. It has never been part of Liverpool and, unless they redraw the boundaries, never will. So if EFC move, they will be moving out of the city. Enough said.
Robert Mallanaphy, Douglas, IOM  (28/11/06)

You know, I hear what you are saying, and it is true now. But what about before the great tumult of Local Government Reorganization in 1974(?) that saw all these horrible metropolitan conurbations established at the expense of a tremendous history and heritage extending back centuries? Liverpool was a city in Lancashire; where was the City Boundary drawn then? I haven't done the research, I'm afraid to say, but I'd love to see a map. (Does anyone have a link to one?) The one I published before was from 1841 and clealy showed Kirkby/Knowsley as part of Liverpool. ? Michael

Well, with some more reading at Wikipedia, it seems the closest Kirkby came to being part of Liverpool was when Liverpool City Corporation bought the land on which the Royal Ordinace Factory sat to create the Industrial Estate. But Kirkby Urban District was established in 1958 and would have been separate from Liverpool. So, much like many of the suburbs around Liverpool you care to name that now boast a Liverpool postcode, Kirkby was not and never has been a part of the City of Liverpool. That does not mean the people living there are not scousers; it does not mean most of them can't trace their origins back to Liverpool proper. But you are dead right: Kirkby has never been part of Liverpool. Michael

Peter Fearon's article

Some interesting points from Peter Fearon in his article regarding stadium costs. However I have been led to believe the total costs for Everton will be nothing like the ?100M total he suggests. While the stadium would cost a little less than this in total (say ?85M for a 50,000-seater), the ?30M Tesco paid Kirkby council for a superstore and land would be re-directed straight in to the coffers as part of Kirkby's carrot for us to move, ?20M would be raised by selling naming rights, there would be ?5M-?10M private investment, leaving the club only ?25M-?30M to fund a new stadium. Of course, like Peter, this is all educated guesswork and we will find out for sure when the annoncement comes.

It is these attractive figures which I believe has led Everton to be so keen on this move, which would make sense when you consider the mounting costs of Liverpool's project to stay close to Anfield.
Dick Bill, York  (28/11/06)

Oh gawd... you have to laugh (or cry!) at that final figure: "leaving the club only ?25M-?30M to fund a new stadium"... Is that not exactly what they needed to come up with for the fabulous Kings Dock? And failed. — Michael

Tumbling down

I would like to congratulate Peter Fearon on a great article. I have watched Everton since 1947 and I worked for Everton for quite a while. I have been a agent for over 30 years ? the last thing I want to do is move to Krkby. EVERTON are the premier club of this city, NOT Liverpool.

I don't think I could bear it especially if Moyes was still manager, and knowing that Billy Liar had conned us all once again. That excuse for a man has never done a good thing for this club, and never will, unless he leaves in the near future. Please God, let it be soon!
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (28/11/06)

Bad news so, Colin - the current chairman is sitting pretty on a 70% bloc vote! ? Colm

... and woe betide any shareholder with the temerity to vote against his re-election to the Board in a fortnight's time! — Michael

Expanding the footprint Goodison Park

When people use the excuse of 'lack or room' when suggestions are made to expand Goodison Park, I am slightly puzzled at the lack of fore-thought.

Why don't Everton FC buy up the houses that they need to demolish? If they have to buy say 100 houses and a pub, offering 50% above market price plus moving costs, it would cost them about ?20M (with an average house cost of ?150k). With such a lucrative offer, most of the owners would have their hands off. This way, they would acquire most of the properties they need, but there will always be some arkward die-hard reds that won't sell. They can then include in the plans, some urban re-development and persuade the council to use their powers of compulsory purchase to buy up the remaining properties.

The main problem may be persuadiing the church to sell St Lukes (as the vicar maybe a red), but that may not be necessary if the stadium is shifted towards the park-end (where there is room to expand). You would only need to buy the houses and the pub in Goodison Road adjacent to the main stand, plus a few houses from the ends of Winslow St, Eaton St, Neston St and possibly Oxton St. The part of Goodison Rd between St Luke's church and Goodison Avenue would cease to exist and disappear under the new main stand.

Expanding at the Bullens Road side would prove more contraversial because of the school in Bullens Road. But a double-tier cantilever stand for the Main and Park End Stands may be enough expansion to give us a 55,000 capacity. Leaving the Bullens Road and Gladwys St Stands to be re-built as single-tier with new suspension type roofs.

Weighing up the cost of building a new stadium (about ?130M) in Kirkby against expanding at GP may prove to be an interesting comparison.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (28/11/06)

If you've not done it already, take time out to read the GFE Feasability Study from a few season's back. On another note, watch out for the Rev Harry Ross making a beeline for you, suggesting that the Vicar of St Luke's might be a Red... shame on you! ? Colm

We don't care what the red side say

Why do people keep saying we would be leaving Liverpool if we moved to Kirkby? Sure, Kirkby is not under the control of Liverpool City Council, but it still has a Liverpool postcode. And I for one would not like to go into pubs in Kirkby to inform the locals that they are not scousers, and I doubt that many posters on here would do so if it was not from the safety of cyberspace.

I work in Manchester, and I have to say that City fans use this argument as Old Trafford is located in Trafford Borough Council, not Manchester. If we move, and are then subject to kopite ridicule, should we not simply retort "is that the best you can do?".

If we sing "We don't care what the red side say", let us show that we mean it!
John Molyneux, Cheshire  (28/11/06)

Dicky on goals

Here's a thought people. Why not get behind the goalie chosen for our team on Wednesday? I get the impression that too many "fans" want to see Dicky ship 4 goals just to prove they are right. Just remember Dicky made the difference (in a good way) against Man U last year. I for one hope the boy plays a blinder. Or even better has nothing to do for 90mins! You can dream!
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena  (28/11/06)

Absolutely correct, Stuart! - Colm

Moyes best ever?

All my mates are convinced that Moyes has the best record of all our Premiership managers. Can you point me in the direction of a site to check out this claim? Better still, perhaps someone already has the figures to hand? Thank you.
Sean Bradley, Wavertree  (28/11/06)

Sadly it doesn't require much to earn that title of Everton's most, erm, 'successful' Premiership manager! Everton Managers links you to the record of our managers since the advent of Sky sponsored Premiership football. With Moyes now in the manager's position for five seasons, and noting the lack of success previously, well it's not hard to see why he's top of the pile. You can find his Premiership record here. Cue fawning praise from Dominic King! ? Colm

Attractive proposition??? Doubt it!

West Ham don't have a history anywhere near us but their location and being in the capital is always an added advantage for investors, it seems. And the quality players from abroad tend to come down south instead of up north due to the wealth of these clubs ? Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea all being able to pay excessively high wages and transfer fees.

Let's be honest: liverpool isn't the greatest city in England ? quite a shithole in most parts in comparison to other cities ? this being one of the main reasons deterring potential investors. So why would anyone invest in Everton? We have for so long lived in the shadows of the shite across the park and the facilities we have are so piss-poor and antique! The basics and infrastrucutre are non-existent at the club. This is why we have now been overtaken buy other lesser-known clubs.
Kunal Desai, London  (28/11/06)

So many points I could tackle you on there Kunal - but I think I'll leave that to others! - Colm

A question of heritage???

Why do we think we should be consulted on the ground move? What gives us the right to think we are better placed than the people we trust to run the cub for us? The fans have already been consulted over a ground move and it was overwhelming. It now seems that most people who want to stay at Goodison Park are locals who can?t be arsed getting on a bus every couple of weeks, but what about the fans who don?t live local who travel to Walton every home game, who gives a shit about them?

As for the bullshit concerning redeveloping GP to ?maintain our heritage? ? Let?s get real, if it is completely redeveloped it will be a completely different ground, which shits on the heads of this argument from a great height. Why has everyone got a downer on Tesco?s and Kirkby? Have we become snobs overnight? I don?t see the aisles of Sainsburys all of a sudden busier as the blue boys demonstrate on mass.

GP is not only a shithole but a laughing stock in the Premiership, it can?t be successfully redeveloped so let's forget that argument once and for all, the finances don?t stack up, or am I missing something? Maybe an answer is to move ground but leave GP open with a live TV link so that Walton boys can sit in the Ground, watching the piss run down the terraces whilst eating a thrice-baked meat pie behind a stanchion? ahhhh what bliss ?? ahhhh what heritage!!!
James Gardener, Chester  (28/11/06)

The concern over redevelopment (or lack of it) is the strong belief held by a section of the Evertonian fanbase that it has not been given fair consideration as a possible solution to the ground move problem. Taking your somewhat childish approach to the views of those who would like at least a amodicum of truth provided about the possibilities of redevelopment, calling the concept 'bullshit', only damages the credibility of anything else you might have to say on the issue. Let's try to keep this discussion on a sensible level please or contributions like this will not be published. Thanks. ? Michael

Over a barrel

The problem as I see it behind all the issues of a ground move is down to the investment Mr Kenwright has been supposedly chasing for so long. Whilst every supporter would like to see millions ploughed into a transfer kitty, the Everton Board have been unable to find, assuming they?ve been looking, for the type of investors who are prepared to do this.

They have now found an investor(s) who are prepared to put money into the club it seems, only on the proviso that a new ground is built on land that will also facilitate their own requirements. Could the Everton Board have refused this type of investor and carried on for another 10 years or so waiting for a Russian sugar daddy to appear? I don?t think so. This is why I believe the deal for a ground move was rubber stamped before or just after the American investment announcement.

Also, I read an article on the ToffeeWeb Mailbag a week or so ago explaining how Goodison Park could be rebuilt in stages along with a link to a feasibility report and plans of what could be done to the existing site. If this could be done over 4 years the club would only lose out on gate receipts of approx ?1.2M assuming that there would be a 10,000 capacity drop at an average price of ?30 per ticket, obviously there is also the cost of the rebuilding project itself. Obviously this would still be considerably less than the cost of a new stadium. This only goes to back up the theory that it is the organizations willing to invest money into the club for a ground move and all its ?bolt ons?, but not in much needed squad improvements, who are in effect forcing the ground move.

The Everton Board are being held over a barrel (although probably willingly) to move by the new investors. I would also expect a lot more names as investors to jump on the wagon once everything has gone public.

Just one comment on Peter Fearon's well written article, I quote ?The Reebok is technically in Horwich, but still carries a Bolton address? ? is Kirkby not technically in Knowsley but carries a Liverpool address?
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (28/11/06)

Why all the gloom.....?

The last time I looked, we were 8th in the Premiership and had only lost three games all season. Added to that, the Board are about to announce exciting plans for a brand new stadium which Tesco are going to pay for. Why all the doom and gloom?
Alan Spiers, Chester  (28/11/06)

Since you make no mention of the joy currently experienced when watching our team play their football, you can be forgiven for thinking everything is just wonderful. Call back later after you have watched every minute of the last 10 Premiership games... if you are still sane after that! — Michael

It all came tumbling down

Peter Fearon is the one who labelled everyone from Kirkby a vandalising drug addict in his original article some months ago ? so I don't have any time for this man who will have a dig at fellow Evertonians to get his point across. Yes, Kirkby is a part of Liverpool which is merely run by a council not connected to Liverpool City Council (very much like parts of Sefton).

I will wait and see the real figures from the club before I take any notice of anything this man writes. Let's also remember that the club has promised a vote to the supporters once a suitable site is found ? that?s if we move at all! Some have suggested that we will get stick off the kopites if we move to Kirkby ? oh please, I find it much more annoying them waving trophies under our noses then anything they can say. Surely if we remain at Goodison in its present state (which is looking more likely the alternative option) then we will be in for some stick when they move to a state-of-the-art Stadium (again, to me, water of a duck's back).

He mentioned the Reebok is technically in Horwich but still carries a Bolton address. Well get your facts right Mr Fearon, Kirkby is technically in Knowsley but carries a LIVERPOOL address, it has either a L32 or L33 postcode and any correspondence from a government department such as the DVLA clearly states LIVERPOOL on the address! The site is less then half a mile from the City council boundary and if you care to walk around Kirkby (being careful you don?t get mugged according to you) you will see it is every much part of Liverpool as anywhere else!

Some of the articles recently on ToffeeWeb (both for and against) have been really interesting and the emotion on both sides shows why this club is so special ? the fans and their passion for the club. Don?t get me wrong: I fully understand and accept people?s reservation about moving. That?s why I take exception to Peter Fearon's previous article and also saying we should be ashamed if we want to move to a new stadium (wherever that might be). ALL Evertonians have a right to the personal views and should not be made to feel ashamed either because of their views and/or where they live.

Let's keep this debate going and this website has proved to be a great forum to air our individual views ? but please let?s not tear each other apart in the process.
Charlie Skinley, Liverpool ? Kirkby!  (28/11/06)

First of all, if you re-read his article, he did not label everyone from Kirkby, so let's stop with the emotive generalizations please. I'm curious: which parts of Sefton are run by Liverpool City Council?

We do already have fans writing in about the kopites' banter. Yes, we can ignore what the Red side say... or can we? That's cetrtinly my policy but I was told in no uncertain terms that my utter disdain for anything related to Liverpool FC was possible only because I do not live in the city. So perhaps you shouldn't dismiss that one so easily.

Oh, and calling your fellow Evertonian an idiot and prick (as you did in the unedited original) is hardly going to achieve the somewhat ironic ideal of your last paragraph, is it. So, yes, please try to kept it civil. Thanks. — Michael

It all came tumbling down.

I have to say I agree with Colm Kavanagh's slant on the Stadium move to Kirkby. I too think it would be a backward step and give the Liverpool supporters bragging rights over being the only Premiership club in Liverpool. Everton are the original city representitives in this area and it seems ludicrous that the pretenders accross the park should then carry that mantle. I too think they could rebuild Goodison on its original site.
Mike McLoughlin, St Helens  (28/11/06)

Hang fire, Mike! It was Peter Fearon who wrote that fine article, though I'm of a similar train of thought. ? Colm

Mystic Gav

A short while ago, I posted questioning Moyes's decision to send out Turner on loan for a month with no other keepers available for the Man Utd game other than Dicky Fingers. Thanks for the reply ? if I remember right ? Michael asking was Howard inelligible. Guess what: as usual with Premiership loans, he is. Next one for the editorial crew to ponder, who is going to be our sub keeper as all are on loan and Howard can't play, hmmm masterpiece of planning that one.

I have a pair of tickets from a work colleague to sit amongst the home fans and just want a reasonable scoreline and not a tonking. Negative before a ball is kicked but, given our squad and Moyes's managerial and coaching kudos, I'll not be swayed it is not reasonable.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (28/11/06)

I know it might be a little devious but what's the odds on Moyes not fully comprehending the finer detail and rules surrounding the loaning of players to other clubs (Turner to Palace), and only realising it sometime last Saturday at Charlton? - Colm

Or knowing it all along and planning to recall Ruddy... Oh guess what: he's recalled Ruddy. — Michael

I'd listen to the man!

I agree that Peter Fearon's article on the proposed move away from Goodison raises some salient points that every Evertonian needs to consider when it comes to the debate. I was also interested to see that Andy McNabb is also backing Peter Fearon.

A bloke called Andy McNabb wrote a gripping book called Bravo Two Zero about an SAS mission during Gulf War I. Good man to have on our side, I reckon, Mr McNabb. Maybe he could help carry out a special-forces style mission to institute a regime change at Everton Football Club?!

Start plotting Mr McNabb, I'm sure you'll find a few willing volunteers!
Paul Kish, Maylands, Australia  (28/11/06)

Comment ? And it all came Tumbling Down

Scaremongering? I don't think so. This is cold, hard fact. Why are we considering building a stadium to hold 55,000 when we can't fill Goodison for 90% of the season? Excellent analysis of the amount of time it would take to merely break even financially ? and all for a shiny new stadium, which could very easily be the financial ruin of our Club. Somebody, somewhere, with an ounce of sanity, who is is authority at Everton needs to read and digest this article. My 'vote' doesn't really count. I get to Goodison about once every 4 years these days but this makes perfect sense. Excellent article.
Andy McNabb, Melbourne, Australia  (28/11/06)

So much common sense comes screaming at you from Peter's well composed article. Pity they're not listening at Goodison. - Colm

I'm taking a different view of this on the basis that only a total idiot (I know, I know) would go ahead with a stadium development that spelt financial ruin for the club, or that even carried a small risk of financial ruin, which is what Peter is saying in effect. I guess there is the highly cynical possibility that all the leading lights involved could be on the take, which I hope is not the case, but as the saying goes, "Follow the money trail..."

One thing we can be quite sure of: we are never going to see the full details of the financials that would either give you confidence or confirm your fears ? "Commercial Sensitivity" don't ya know! — Michael

Redevelopment

With all the talk about moving to Kirkby, why is it never mentioned that the Park End is a cantilever stand, and thus all you have to do is take off the roof, sit an Upper Park End on top, with an extra 7-8000 seats, and that way if we redevelop Goodison over another 3 season, our capacity never drops below about 35,000.

By not allowing away supporters in, like other teams were allowed to do while redeveloping, we would have enough seats for roughly the home support we get now. And we'd still end up then with a stadium holding about 52,000, and no debt.
Alan Dempsey, Birkenhead  (28/11/06)

Simple answer, apologies for repeating this ad nauseum: the current custodians of Everton are not one bit interested in even considering redeveloping Goodison Park. Never have been either... - Colm

Upcoming fixtures

What worries me most about the January transfer window is the fixture list between now and then. A currently depleted and I believe dispirited squad is struggling badly to get results and we all know that we need several new and talented players. However ,a hammering against United on Wednesday followed by defeat against a resurrgant West Ham on Sunday could really demoralise the squad even further. Can you just imagine what this could do to results over the Christmas glut of games?

I obviously don't want to see this happen but if it does I think it will make David Moyes's U-turn on January transfers pointless as we will have zero attraction for available players. The added rub is that, come the summer, Villa, West Ham and the like will possibly have more cash to spend following takeovers. Oh dear!
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (27/11/06)

Why stop at next weekend? Or Christmas?? Maybe we'll lose all our games between now and the end of the season??? Or maybe we'll win them all. One thing is for certain: you don't know what the results of those games will be. Why on earth would anyone go through such a mind-numbing exercise is beyond me... have you never heard the phrase "One game at a time"?

And then extrapolating the results to how they may affect the perceptions of players unknown who may or may not be considering a career move to Everton... Unbelievable! Don't you have real things in your life to worry about??? — Michael

Failure in all departments!

Refreshed from a little break, I come back to hear Everton getting out-played in midfield by Bolton. BOLTON! Then draw against the bottom side, which I feel is a sackable offense in itself. But what pains me most is not what happens on the pitch, it's the Boardroom shambles that is Everton FC.

How can West Ham be a more attractive club to invest in than Everton? I am sick of Kenwright and Co treating this club as nothing more than a play-thing! Money doesn't make a club successful, but it is the lack of interest from a money-bags buyers that states the obvious ? Everton are a club in free-fall! Now where are me slippers!
Luq Yussef, London  (27/11/06)

I wouldn't say Everton is in free-fall at all. In fact, the club has clearly leveled out into a pattern of mediocrity punctuated by occasional highs and lows. The only things we have fallen quite dramatically from are the expectations set by our great start to the season ? Lyndon

Wednesday's game

Like many, I'm not particularly looking forward to this game but a part of me believes that, if Moyes could remove the blinkers and leave Osman out of the side for once, we may just manage to grind out a result. With a midfield which lacks any kind of physical presence surly he needs to try something different. Perhaps the inclusion of Beattie or Vaughan in the middle ? the latter certainly demonstrated he can put himself about at the Valley. I have to confess that I know little of his passing ability but hell at least he won't fall over when someone sneezes in his direction. This may sound desperate but what's the alternative? Do we start with ten men as we have done recently.
Gerry Western, London  (27/11/06)

It would seem harsh to single out Leon Osman specifically but he does seem to have lost a certain something that made him one of our most valuable players last season. Right now, he seems to have lost his way and is, as you say, more of a liability at this point if his current poor level of form continues. Unfortunately, we have few other options. ? Lyndon

In response to the 'Kirkby rant'

Urm, I'm not from Liverpool but support Everton. The club itself seems unaware of that fact and when I phone up for a ticket I am told 'erm, just pop down to the ground, love'. Bit of a problem seeing as how I live in sunny Southend. This is the general thinking that seems to envelop Everton and perhaps some of its fans.

Until fans and the club accept and indeed, sir, welcome as it were 'outsiders', progress will be affected with ticket sales, merchandise etc. Also, Tesco is a crap name to be identified with ? who wants to be a corporate donkey for a company happy with ripping off farmers? I'm not a farmer nor from Liverpool ? do I still qualify to be a fan??
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (27/11/06)

You do if you have ever shopped at Tesco... ;) — Michael

Horror Show

The Return Of Dickie Wright! Oh dear, what a scary scenario. High-scoring Man Utd at Old Trafford with Dickie Wright in goal for Everton ? do I not like the sound of that?

Many people will argue that Moyes should have kept Iain Turner around to use in this game and certainly that may have been better for the team but what about the player? What's better experience for young Turner, one game at Old Trafford or a dozen games for Crystal Palace?

Moyes clearly thinks getting Turner games is more important then the single fixture. Prove us all wrong, Dickie, and have a really good game.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (27/11/06)

The league so far and us

With a third of the season gone, the only thing that seperates 3rd and 17th is 11 points. Slightly wistfully, I think that, with a tad more concentration, we would not be amongst the group of the also rans in this league. I will not blame the refs (although the temptation is strong); on balance at the end of the season you earn your league position by and large.

For our part, three points may see us in third if we beat Man Utd this Wednedsay. Now a very ordinary Celtic team beat Man Utd last week, and I do get pretty pissed off with people giving up on us before a ball is kicked in earnest. It will always be XI v XI.

We have seen a much better Everton this season and we know we need to strengthen in midfield. The truth is the Premier League is pretty competitive and Everton still have that chance to get to Europe again.

I started off with the expectation of us playing better football with the players we have, and certainly think we are capable of better, two-thirds of the season is still to go. COYBs ? it's still a long way to go. Lets hope for a good FA Cup draw come Sunday.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (27/11/06)

Do they sell guns?

I suspect we shall be down to ninth by 10pm on Wednesday, overtaken by Liverpool, which can only make it worse! Last Saturday`s display was apalling against a dreadful Charlton side and you have to fear what waits in store for us.

The move to Kirkby is as depressing a thought as you could possibly imagine and means me and the family can't walk to the ground as we have these last 47 years. Do they sell guns in the JJB outlet? I'd probably miss, anyway!
Sid Mansfield, Kirkdale  (27/11/06)

When we move out of the district...

Will our leaving the city mean our potential share of government grants and European regeneration money goes to the kopites because we no-longer qualify? It will hurt leaving Goodison, but helping to fund the kopites will rub salt into the wounds.
David McAlpine, Warrington  (27/11/06)

I suspect it would. Not to worry though, use your Evertonia card in the Planet Hollywood outlet in Kirbky and receive 5% off your next purchase in a JJB store (subject to stock levels)... Colm

Bad timing

The match against Man Utd on Wednesday could not have been timed more badly in terms of our injury list: No Johnson; No Cahill and no right back!! Also with a potentional striking partnership of James & James to look forward to, the words 'barndoor', 'cows ass' and 'banjo' spring to mind.

We will either need to play an awful lot better or Man Utd will need to play very badly in order for us to get anything out of this one at all. Maybe if BT donned the same shooting boots he had at Southamton we may get lucky.

Will Moyes play two up top or pack the midfield and play with a lone striker?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (27/11/06)

I do believe the term "round up the wagons" might be appropriate on Wednesday night. The Alamo, here we come! ? Colm

Pessimistic? Who me?

Normally I am a very optimistic person but today I am feeling very, very pessimistic.

With Dickie Bird in goal on Wednesday night against Man Utd and no Tim Cahill or Andy Johnson, I can see a 4-0 drumming coming up... at least perhaps the majority of us Blues will expect it so it might not feel so bad. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that Everton normally raise their games against "the big uns" ? let's hope they do so.

What's happened to dear Tony Marsh? He is very quiet lately ? a fact which worries me ? perhaps he is waiting to see what happens at Old Trafford.
Jonty Jones, South Wales  (27/11/06)

Man Utd on Wednesday night...

As I am a guest at Old Trafford on Wednesday night ? along with seven other blues, in a corporate box ? I am hoping our hosts are more generous on the pitch than off it. After another inept display from Everton at the Valley, and with one of our better players (Howard) not being able to play, I am praying we can get a similar result as last term. Our poor finishing when on top leaves a lot to be desired. We can only hope that AJ is ok, and the team battles for the FULL 90 mins.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (27/11/06)

Line up at Old Trafford

Richard Wright
Tony Hibbert
Joseph Yobo
David Weir (c)
Jorge Nuno Valente
Phil Neville
Leon Osman
Simon Davies
Kevin Kilbane
James Beattie
James McFadden
This is the side that played Man Utd last year and scrapped a point at Old Trafford. I'd imagine it'll be the same two upfront and midfield with the Arteta instead of Kilbane, and Lescott for Hibbert.

Hmmmmm there's always hope.
Kunal Dinejad, London  (27/11/2006)

You really think Lee Carsley won't be playing? But Yobo or Valente may be droppped for committing the unforgiveable crime of gifting the opposition a goal, thus ruining Davie's gameplan on Saturday, so Weir (or Stubbs) could well get a recall... — Michael

Good on ya, Colm!

Good to see that Colm, at least, is putting out some positive vibes ahead of Wednesday`s meeting with Man Utd.

Davey should need no apology for concentrating on defence with Stubbs in the centre and Yobo at full-back. This will allow him to pack the midfield and try to smother Rooney out of the game. I`d opt for Faddy up front after his super show on Saturday with Beats saved for the final 20-minute stint.

But whatever line-up he decides on, the Moyestro will have them charged up to grab at least a point. COYB!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (27/11/06)

Sorry to disappoint you Richard but I'm one of those fearing we'll be on the wrong end of a right old hammering this Wednesday night. By the way, are you related to Dominic King by any chance? ;) - Colm

In adversity there is hope

Everton formations on paper have little or no bearing on what happens on the field. Example: 4?5?1 suggests we have 5 players in the midfield when in actual fact we only have one. Lord knows what the other 4 are but they most certainly are NOT midfielders. These non-midfielders would hardly get a tick for most of the following criteria (top midfielders would tick the lot plus more):

  1. Ball winner.
  2. Create opportunities.
  3. Shoot on target.
  4. Long- and short-range of passes.
  5. Good in heading duels.
  6. Strength on the ball.
  7. Abundant stamina.
  8. Imagination.
Our glaring deficiencies in this vital area makes it incredible that we are not in a relegation battle. Should Moyes sign a proper midfielder or two, the sky is the limit.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (27/11/06)

Alarm Bells ringing loud and clear

Just returned from a weekend break with my wife and son and not caught up fully on the mailbag yet but did manage to watch Match of the Day on Saturday night and was absolutely disgusted.

To all the sycophants out there still worshipping at the alter of the PE Teacher, if you cant crush or even beat the worst team in your league, how the hell are you ever going to compete against the top teams in that league, and then against the top teams of Europe? Too many of the squad are mediocre, too many are not fit to be pushing the club beyond mid-table/lower-table average levels and as a paying customer it just isn't good enough.

You can argue who would come but it's been said plenty of times before that if Moyes leaves or is pushed he would be replaced. You can argue he hasn't spent badly; well, I can name several players I would not give the half-time oranges to never mind a kit to play in. You can rave about the magical fourth but it's been and gone and doesn't look likely to happen again any time soon.

Get ruthless and ship out the crap and look for better, admit the numerous faults of many of the squad, agree where they should be kept for numbers but be clinical is shipping out the shite. Don't say "Replace with who?", the management get paid more than the majority of us to do that they employ scouts to find quality (or I desperately hope they do despite recent history). Let's not put up with this shite any longer, voice our concerns at the game and on the web.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (27/11/06)

Smoke and Mirrors

I spend most of my working life trying to convince Liverpol supporters to be realistic. At the beginning of the season they din't have a team capable of winning the Premiership and after losing away to Man Utd, Chelsea, Everton and Bolton they didn't need to sack Benitez. Now it seems that I need to give the advice to Evertonians.

The new ground is a smokesceen. We need investment for the good of the game on he pitch and not a new pitch per se. I think that Evertonians' contempt for Liverpool and all things red is colouring their judgement. The idea of a new stadium before Liverpool FC have even broken the ground at Stanley Park fills us with delight as we think we have at last got one over on the 'other lot'. But at what price do we move on to Tesco's dream site in Kirkby?

  • We lose our identity. How can we call ourselves the 'People's Club' when we are not even in the city boundaries?
  • We lose our pride. How can we sing about 'our history' when we tear it up and move away?
  • We lose our tradition. Never in a million years will a new ground at Kirkby ever be like Goodison.
The away fans may be right when they sing 'shitty ground' but I'd sooner be at Goodison than in a souless Reebok or JJB. Take away their lucky cup wins and I think that Liverpool and Everton's fortunes have mirrored each other in the last few years ? poor signings, dodgy management, board inactivity ? it would be a shame if we followed them into a debacle of a new ground with rising costs and the Board's focus being taken off football. It would serve Everton and their fans better to fight Liverpools ambitions over Stanley Park than to cut and run to Kirkby.

It won't pacify Kenright's ambition or Wyness's greed but the Board must first invest in a team for us, the supporters.
Vin Ferguson, Liverpool  (27/11/06)

Easy options

So Moyes may have to change his plans and make some signings in New Year. Thank god for that at least! He is forever bemoaning the loss of Pistone and Naysmith but just one glance at their injury record (and that of Van der Meyde) would have set the alarms ringing for most managers before they offered this sad trio lengthy and expensive contracts.

The Ginger Whinger is getting his comeuppance for taking the easy options.
Don Ellerton, Rhosllanerchrugog  (27/11/06)

Over-simplification

Martin Nelson fails to pick up on the fact that 3 of Beattie`s 13 League goals were 'gifted' to him as penalties. Our problem with goal scoring is illustrated by the fact that, apart from Beattie`s penalty against Sheffield United, no Everton striker has found the net in the last eight League games.

But I do think it is an over-simplification to blame only the strikers. By any standards, our midfield has been dreadful under Moyes whose lower league background sees this department mainly as an extension of the defence. I honestly believe that no striker in the world could 'fill his boots' on the scraps provided by such inadequate service. Moyes is presiding over a mess of his own making.
Les Davies, Liverpool  (27/11/06)

Beattie flop

Further to my posting on Saturday, David Moyes steps up his defence of the useless Beattie again this morning via icLiverpool:-

`You`ve got to remember that ONLY EIGHT MONTHS AGO he went through a period when he got six or seven goals for us. That`s the sort of period we`re hoping he can go through again.`
I bet he is! After all, he paid over ?6 million for a guy who has scored only 13 goals in 55 League games for Everton. By any standards, Beattie has been a total flop at Everton ? and I ain`t only referring to his body shape when I say that!
Martin Nelson, Connah`s Quay  (27/11/06)

Sacking of the Ginger One

I agree: get rid of David Moyes. Continuingly being in the Top 10 is doing my head in. Let's go back to the days of Walter Smith and his long balls to Duncan, when the top half of the table was like a different league and Everton were relegation favourites every season.
Steve Fenn, Liverpool  (27/11/06)

Wide Gap

The huge gap between us and the top two never seemed larger than today. The speed, accuracy and movement of United and Chelsea compared with the sloppy, indecisive, clueless, tacticless crap from us is depressing at best.

Usually, I can dig deep enough to find a bright spot, a glimmer of hope, that there is a way that we can once again scale the heights. Our performances over the last month make it difficult to see how.

Moyes's post-game comments lead me to believe nothing is going to change. He seems happy with our overall play ? just 'disappointed' with the results. United will be licking their chops on Wednesday and as usual I'll be searching for a signal that we are on the right track.

I just bought a new spade, I'll start digging immediately.
Pete Gunby, Alta Loma, USA  (26/11/06)

Funny old game football ? I don't think there are too many Blues relishing the prospect of facing United this coming Wednesday night at Old Trafford. Fair to say most fear a right tonking? Yet, how often in the past have we witnessed this wonderful game being turned on its head, with a shock result? Who fancied Everton to get a point at United last season? Very few I'd wager.

You're correct though with your comments on our overall standard of play, and that is what disappoints me most. Earlier this season, we were at least trying to play a better passing game, ball kept firmly along the deck. Where's all that gone? ? Colm

Love and Hate!

I love Everton; always have always will... but I hate what David Moyes is doing to our club. They are piss-poor, horrible to watch, and going nowhere. I'm starting to dread it when we're live on TV because its painful to watch. God knows what neutrals must think when they see us on again... we really are 'anti-football'.

Like most of you, I've dreamt of playing for Everton and I know its still a longshot but my 15-year-old son is playing at a very high level and is being invited for trials at several Premiership clubs in the near future. The thing is I dont want him to go to David Moyes's Everton. Even if he was guaranteed to make it, I wouldn't want him there. They don't play football... I want him somewhere that skill is recognised and encouraged, I'd rather he went to West Ham, Spurs, even Reading. That's a sad indictment... I'm an Evertonian ? so are the Rooneys ? but I totally understand and agree with the decision they made.

I think David Moyes is probably a decent person but he's terrible for our club; if he's making Evertonians hate watching us, what future is there?
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (26/11/06)

Johnson spin?

I very much suspect that Vince Aughton`s damning of Johnson is well placed spin to soften us up for surprise news about the little man. Otherewise, Aughton is an idiot!
Alan Instan, Thornton  (26/11/06)

Hmmm... I guess we need a new rule then. You need to tell us if you are a genuine independent fan voicing your heartfelt opinion, or you are a club plant spinning us a line. I think we know already for Dickie Dodd... Michael

Quality needed

The midfield is looking more of a joke with every game that passes. Leon Osman must hold the record in all leagues for most time spent on your arse. Carsley does his best to break up play but is devoid of skill, passing ability, and can't shoot to save his life! As for Davies, the only possibility I see with him is to try a Snodin and see if we can convert him to a full-back at best. A ?3.5M midfielder he ain't!

Although the forwards were only recieving supply from our most gifted player, they looked like they have never kicked a ball between them. McFadden reminds me of that greedy little bastard who thought he could take on the world when you were in school, and never looks up for the simple pass (every school or team had one)!

As for Beattie, whoever will give us the most money for a slow, grossly overrated dog is welcome to him. Get shut of him and McFadden and use the proceeds to buy another quality striker. We need no more than four attackers, so Johnson and another backed up by Anichebe and Vaughan is ample in that department.

Unfortunately, we have a somewhat dodgy balance of good/quality players in our squad and a load of manager's pets/injury-prone utter shite. Unless this is sorted out soon, I fear we'll lose the chance to build a good side as our good players will be picked off by other clubs.

Moyes made a bold move yesterday by pulling Beattie and McFadden off the pitch for Anichebe and Vaughan in tandem. I honestly didn't think the man had it in him to make a decision like that and go all out for the win. Hopefully he'll have the balls to correct his previous transfer mistakes and make a habit of signing quality like Lescott, Howard and Johnson in the future.

As per bloody usual, we live in hope. It would be nice for the vast majority of us fans to have confidence in our manager. The ball is in your court, Moyes!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (26/11/06)

AJ rubbish

I can't understand why people are so quick to have a go at our better players - first Cahill now AJ. I am one of Moyes's biggest critics but I honestly cannot believe that Moyes dropped AJ and left big tits in the side.

Johnson is not a flop; our midfield is such utter garbage (with the exception of Mikel), that Johnson is starved of any sort of decent service. This is what needs addressing and the Board's true ambition will be shown in January when we fail to sign a midfielder.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (26/11/06)

Midfielders in reserve

Does anyone watch the Reserves? If so, are there any good midfielders who deserve a chance? We are so light in midfield, surely if we give the young forwards a chance, then the young midfielders deserve a go. Someone mentioned the lad from Huyton. They cannot be worse than some of the first team.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (26/11/06)

Yes: David Moyes. He watches the Reserves. And he decides who, if any of them, are ready to step up. Bjarni Vidarsson got close, with a place on the bench against Luton. But it's the same old story with these kids: Moyes will not overplay them. So I don't even know why you are going there. It will not happen. — Michael

Well fancy that

Well, another predictable result (so predictable actually, I won a few quid on Andy Ried scoring). I'll grant Moyes the excuse that he was missing Cahill and Johnson but it was still crap. Crap, crap, crap (I'm being polite here).

Utter crap for the past 5 years (bar one or two lucky streaks of form when the fixture lists have been kind to us), and probably more crap for the next 5 years. You know, I think I'm going mad when I read some of the contributions championing Moyes. It's just poor what we have to watch and the worst thing for me is that it's so effing predicatble.

To find some sort of bright point in his reign I start looking at the performance of the Rreserves and Academy sides (as surely all this stability will have ensured a solid production line flowing through the club)... but what is this? ? the Reserves have only won 2 out of 7 matches and the Academy side has only won 1 out of 13 games. If it wasn't for the Everton Ladies (who obviously get no help from Moyes) with 4 wins out of 7, I'd be even more depressed.

I think being an exile down south makes things look bleaker than they are but I went along to watch Reading the other day. And to all those people who want a shiny new stadium, the Reading one isn't all its cracked up to be. It's basically a medium-sized breezeblock warehouse with plastic seats stuck on one side. Looks nice on the outside but utterly souless, but that's the Premier League I suppose.

One last thing: I'll admit I never liked the look of Beattie; never rated him at Southampton. A player with a lucky knack of scoring in front of the TV cameras but that's about it. Even so, I feel a bit sorry for him currently as when he does put a bit of effort in (doesn't happen all that often I know) it's a total waste of time as he never gets the service he needs.

If a team is struggling to create, it's up to the manager to either (a) make the team play to the striker's strengths, or (b) if the current players can't do that, get new ones in.

I don't really see what the problem is. Johnson likes the ball played through the channels to run onto and Beattie would like some decent crosses. End of. Cloughy once said football is a simple game and I just wish Moyes would realise his team is never going to progress until he starts giving his front men some service... no matter who they are! At the moment it's just so frustrating watching him put out his usual team and do the usual three H's: Hustle, Harry and Hope. It's no coincidence in my book that we loose so many goals in the last few minutes as the players are usually so knackered from constant defending (because the ball never sticks up front or in midfield).

Same goes for Osman. Yes, he's lightwieght and often gets bullied out of games but again he's being played on the wings and he isn't a winger. He's not quick enough and ain't that good a crosser. What he does do though is score the odd goal when you play him down the middle in a role that doesn't require him to boss the midfield. He's a clever player, but again he's being wasted through poor tactics.

Ah, enough of my rantings... nothing's gonna change now, is it?.

ps: I bet you Beattie goes to Newcastle in January and then comes back to score against us... Hmm, think I will put money on that.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (26/11/06)

Extra ?1.5M due from Man Utd

The news that Rooney has signed an extension at Man Utd should trigger a ?1.5M payment to Everton. Rooney's next England cap will be his 20th while at Utd but that includes friendlies so I suspect we'll have to wait until Euro 08 for the 20th competitive cap and another ?0.5M. Still, if Man Utd win the Premiership that'll be another ?0.5M so if Utd beat Chelsea and lose twice to Everton...
Gordon Beattie, Cheshire  (26/11/06)

That's right, Gordon... unless... a different deal was subsequently agreed around the time of Phil Neville's transfer. I think the test will be if we see anything form the club related to these payments being made. — Michael

Trouble at mill

All`s not well at Goodison, I hear, with Johnson refusing to play out wide in a planned three pronged attack against Charlton. Perhaps Moyes should have chosen a better time than half way up a creek in the Lake District to tell him. But the rest will do him good!
Colin Maeers, Aldford  (26/11/06)

AJ Dropped?

After-match comment by a couple of the players fuelled speculation that Moyes had actually dropped Johnson for yesterday`s game after some less than scintillating performances. Opinon on the journey home was split down the middle as to whether Moyes has bought yet another pig-in-a-poke striker. Upwards of ?15 million for occasional scorers like Beattie and now Johnson does seem to indicate that he should look a bit deeper than the transfer gossip of the NotW for future targets!
John Webb, Wavertree  (26/11/06)

Faddy better than AJ

Although I shall probably be ridiculed for saying it, I genuinely believe that James McFadden offers Everton more options up front than does the greatly over-rated Andy Johnson. Whilst the latter is very much a one-trick pony whose undoubted speed is usually used to nil effect in wide positions, the Scot combines his fleet of foot with excellent close control and far greater impact on defences.

Now I am aware that an early goal flurry endeared the newcomer to Evertonians (who have been slow to embrace Moyes's `Scottish Rooney`) but ? now that Premiership defences know how easy it is to force Johnson wide and thus deny him goalscoring opportunities ? I am positive Faddy will prove the better player. Just you see!
Vince Aughton, Maghull  (26/11/06)

Prepare to don that well worn tin hat there, Vince! - Colm

Seventh and in big trouble!

Yesterday`s failure to gain a victory against a pathetically poor Charlton hammered home the fact that too many of Moyes's squad are not up to the job. Davies, Osman, Carsley and McFadden are Championship quality at best and when you add the pedestrian Weir and Stubbs as well as perennial `sick notes` like Van der Meyde, Pistone and Naysmith you have HALF the bloody squad not `fit for purpose`.

This, after nearly five years in charge in no way indicates to me that this manager is any more getting it right than was his predecessor. Regretfully, we have to accept that this wily Scot has got the naive Chairman up his sleeve and is here for the duration ? and so, although at first sight it sounds ridiculous, I feel we`re seventh but in big trouble!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (26/11/06)

Paper-Thin Moyes

I think all but the thick Evertonians now know we're going nowhere this season. We couldn't beat the bottom club and Moyes himself ensured that when he played his ?6M flop again ? in the vain hope that he would come good. I also like the way he uses his paper-thin squad, that he himself created, as an excuse. The whole thing is farcical. Thank God the overall standard of the Premiership is that poor we can survive.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (26/11/06)

Can Someone Pass The Digestives Please

Once again, Everton's soft underbelly raised it's ugly head at Charlton yesterday. This time in the guise of Laurel and Hardy playing in defence; what an embarrassment. The problem is, we simply do not have the personnel to drop either Valente or Yobo, all I was waiting for when Yobo had finished tying his lace was for the trainer to run on and ask him if he wanted a digestive bicuit to keep his energy levels up!

Overall, another three points totally wasted as the team continues to carry at least four journeymen amongst it's ranks. When will Moyes be big and brave enough to dispense with messers Osman, Davies, Carsley etc who simply can't cut it at this level? Week in, week out, we continue to put up with substandard performances from the same players. I can see it and so can thousands of others. Why not the Manager?!
Steve Hogan, Chester  (26/11/06)

Dispensing with the services of Messrs Osman, Davies, Carsley ? all players you say cannot cut it at this level ? would cost Everton money. Money we ain't got! ? Colm

Rooney deal

With Rooney signing a new deal at Man Utd, does it not mean more cash coming from 'the best possible deal' Mr Kenwright got us? Also was it not 40 caps and United winning the league that would also provide money for our much needed bank balance? Update please.

I would also just like to say maybe McFadden did not always play the right ball at the right time yesterday but he was very bright in that first half, showing plenty of skill and effort; I personally feel he was one the brighter aspects of the game.
Martin Bones, Wales  (26/11/06)

The small print in that initial Rooney contract upon signing at Manchester United reads as follows:-

Contingent payments of up to ?7.0M payable on the occurrence of the following events during the next 5 years:
  • Manchester United, European Champions League Winners - ?1.0M
  • Manchester United, European Champions League Runners Up - ?0.5M
  • FA Premiership Winners - ?0.5M
  • FA Premiership Runners Up - ?0.25M
  • FA Cup Winners - ?0.15M
  • Rooney signs an extension to his contract at Manchester United - ?1.5M
  • Rooney earns 20 England caps in competitive games whilst at United - ?0.5M
  • Rooney plays a further 20 England caps in competitive games whilst at United - ?0.5M
Even if these events do not occur, Everton will receive ?3.0M provided Rooney remains registered to Manchester United until 30 June 2007. This sum will be payable in equal instalments of ?1.0M on 1 August 2006, 2007 and 2008 if not already paid via the above incentives.

If the player is transferred from Manchester United then Everton will receive 25% of any excess sum over all amounts paid under this agreement.

It has to be stressed that, with Manchester United going into private ownership and Everton saying nothing on the matter, we do not know whether or not these clauses remain or whether Everton have settled upon a different final figure with United, as rumoured when Phil Neville joined the Club. - Colm

Short Memory?

"Err... Why? They've made their decision... you don't really believe they care what the fans think, surely? ? Michael"

The fans were asked Michael. They were asked at the Chelsea game some years ago and the vote was in favour to move. I will grant you that Kirkby was not on the minds of those of us who voted but vote we did and yes I voted to move and to be perfectly honest it can be in Kirkby, Speke, the docks, St Georges Hall, Maghull or Aintree for all I care as long as we move. Goodison holds some fantastic memories for me but so did my first house before I moved to this one. Look to the future not the past. The future is away from Goodison.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (26/11/06)

Was that the first vote or the second? Which one was rigged? Weren't you voting for Kings Dock? Does that result still stand? So many questions... Michael

Being Positive

Despite our symbolic performance, at least we're still 2 points of 3rd place. The Christmas period, the course over the next month, will determine everything. Hopefully Kilbane's replacement in January will turn out to be a catalyst for a good season-end finish, whoever he may be.

ps: Where was Van Der Mayde??? I thought he was on the bench against Bolton.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (26/11/06)

Symbolic performance? I presume you meant to say shambolic! Where was van der Meyde? Oh... off somewhere getting ready, no doubt, to be the end-of-season catalyst... Colm No, I think the Fruedian slip is accurate: this performance was only too symbolic of what we are and what we can achieve this season: not very much. — Michael

Arteta

One big question must be asked? How long can we expect Arteta to put up with this shyte midfield, we all know he can't do it on his own and surely the penny will drop for him and he'll be off. Even Moyes must know we have a diamond there and now must build a midfield to get the best out of him? If Moyes as he says is happy with his lot then God help us! Arteta will be gone next June ?and probably Johnson too...
Duncan Potter, Stoke  (26/11/06)

Saleable asset that young Spaniard... Colm

Johnson OK

Take it from me, there is nothing wrong with Johnson and he`ll be back on Wednesday. Moyes simply shared the view of a lot of Mailbag posters that the guy needed `a rest`. Can`t blame him for that, can we? ? particularly if it does the trick!
Paul Durrant, Waterloo  (26/11/06)

Bee Tee

Newcastle will try to sign Everton striker James Beattie in January. (News of the World)
Wayne Francis, Bangor, Wales  (26/11/06)

Give him it

So Osman is demanding the goal should be his. I would give it to him as a farewell present.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/11/06)

Delusion reigns... or perhaps the Official website are short on stories?! ? Colm

Fed Up

Must confess it's not very often I get to an away game these days. Even rarer is a trip to 'that there' London but, as it happens, a visit to the capital coincided with the game at the Valley, so I attended. Wish I hadn't bothered, at least if I'd watched it on TV there would have been the off button option.

Precious little skill on view, a lightweight midfield and no left side. The tactics were obvious, go for an early goal and sit back. Sadly the early goal didn't materialize and, despite playing the weakest team in the league, it was downhill all the way from then. Mr Moyes, as per usual, was clueless. This bloke has been in charge for nearly five years and I'm hard-pressed to see what he's done to strengthen the side.

OK we now have the illusion of Prem League stability but even that's debatable; I can see no evidence whatsoever of building for the future. Even more worrying, I see nothing to indicate the presence of intelligent, thoughtful training-ground coaching either. Hit and hope seems to be the way our sides play.

There's been some comment that us old farts need to give way to the next generation, of course that's very true. It's the way of the world. My biggest concern about the young dudes however is that so many of them seem, under the mistaken impression, that Kenwright and Moyes are doing good jobs. Kenwright has been on the Eerton Board of Directors throughout what has possibly been one of the worst-directed periods in our proud club's history. Moyes? I'm stuck for anything positive to say about this guy, who is so obviously out of his depth. He's better than Walker, possibly. He's not Walter, true but is he really any better? I don't think so.

Being an old fart, I remember well two "failed" managers in our history. Bingham and Lee. Bingham was probably at about Moyes level, even though his results were better, neither did he get five years in charge. Gordon Lee however was in a different league to Moyes, at the time I thought there was no way he was an Everton manager but I'd give anything to have him back now rather than the current incumbent.

Wednesday night? Thankfully I won't be there. Nothing personal towards any contributor here, just a let off steam rant. Feel better now, time for a lie down... Nurse!
Tom Collie, Maghull  (26/11/06)

I think there will be a fair measure of despondency seeping in after today's insipid display, Tom. Heaven help us on Wednesday if we turn in the same anaemic performance ? Lyndon

Absolutely Disgraceful

Have you seen the Charlton goal? What was Joey Yobo thinking??? Yobo was completely uninterested in the game while trying to put on his boot. It's another mistake from a good player who for some reason disconnects his brain every so often.

Many people complained when Stubbs and Weir were given contract extensions but neither of them would make mistakes like that. Stubbs gives 100% every game and would have chased down that ball regardless of his footwear.
John Cottee, Romford  (25/11/06)

Today:- Confirming What We Know

On the positive side: Lescott is the classiest defender we've had since Ratcliffe; Howard is safe as houses; Arteta is our only source of creativity; Anichebe and Vaughan look promising (no more). That's it.

On the negative side: Osman has some nice touches, but is too weak for a Premiership midfielder and can't shoot; McFadden has some fancy tricks but is selfish, loses the ball too much ? and can't shoot; Beattie is too slow and ponderous, and seriously lacks confidence; Davies is as useless an Everton player as any over the past 20 years; Carsley makes a nuisance of himself but can't pass to save his life. Without Cahill and Johnson we seriously lack penetration.

We desperately desperately need some strength and guile in midfield. If Moyes does not seriously strengthen in January (two additions preferably), I predict we will finish below mid table.
Neil Pearse, London  (25/11/06)

From my seat

Just back from the game and not impressed. If I had been watching on tele, I am sure I would have turned it off. Today's performance against the bottom team in the league proved that even at our lofty heights we were no better. I could go on about individual performances both good and bad but that would only serve to cover up our frailty.

After almost five years of the BK-DM partnership we are woefully short of a squad of depth. I felt sorry for the manager today in as much as, with just the odd couple of injuries to key players, he virtually had no options to replace them or players obviously out of form or to change much from the bench. Who's fault is that?

Whilst he replaced the front two with raw kids who in my view at least gave energy to the team, they had no chance of shining due to a lack of midfield craft, guile and strength, as had thwarted Faddy and Beats before them.

Apart from Valente's moment of madness I thought the back five did well and indeed they could have been rejigged if necessary. I forgive Valente on two counts: one, he didn't get a shout; and two, not a player showed for him to play to.

This leaves us again with a midfield unable to allow us to play joined-up football. This leads me to believe the progress we have made can see us scratch around 8th to 12th place but with little hope of seeing any decent football unless we have a spell of no injuries, no suspensions and no loss of form! It's no way for a club with any ambition to be run but this is Everton 2006-07 and painful to watch at times.

Man Utd on Wed... and, on today's showing, you fear the worst. Gritty draw anyone? See you Wed. -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/11/06)

Candid as ever, Ken. "joined-up football" ? ain't that the truth. — Michael

Growing frustration

Another lack-lustre performance. We needed substitutions but unfortunately the wrong players were taken off. Can Moyes not see that the problem we have is with the midfield. Beattie gets little or no service from midfield as there appear to be only two players actively participating in the game: Carsley and Arteta. Osman and Davies can be best described as bystanders who contribute absolutely nothing.

Frankly, I'm not sure I can take much more of Osman sitting on his ass in the middle of the park with his arms raised looking in the direction of the referee. Surely we'd be better playing someone else in the middle even if it's not their natural position but at least they would represent a physical presence. How on earth Moyes arrived at the conclusion Osman was worthy of consideration for England beggars belief. If he was transfer-listed tomorrow I doubt that any Premiership club would express an interest. His continued presence in the starting eleven is seriously damaging to Moyes's credibility.
Gerry Western, London  (25/11/06)

Back from the match

A few observations:

  • Two foul throws correctly given against us.
  • McFadden twisting and turning and doing nothing with it; falling over to hide his inabilty to deliver the through-ball. Was he trying to show Beattie up?
  • Neville passing to the opposition.
  • Valente giving the ball to Bent.
  • Complacent back-heel from Osman
  • No midfield releasing the ball to Beattie. Beattie can't score unless he gets the ball. He finds the space but no-one has the vision (but you don't see that on TV).
  • Lescott and Howard played well though. I didn't think Davies was that useless at least he had a couple of shots.
Schoolboy errors; manager's problems.
Alan Rooney, Lingfield  (25/11/06)

Cause for concern?

I may well be making a mountain out of a molehill, but there was something about the way David Moyes spoke about AJ that perhaps a hamstring injury was not the reason for AJ not travelling to Charlton. I hope I'm wrong, but would AJ be allowed to leave in January? I'm probably wrong, but it was a surpise, when I heard he was out of the team today.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (25/11/06)

Mystic Meg? Goorn ... start a rumour, why don't you? At least we might get a fresh flush of panicky letters that can talk about more intersting things than your choice of transport options between here and Kirkby... ? Michael

Feeling better

Just read Daffy Dodd`s letter of the week. He really must be a wind-up merchant as nobody, not nobody could be that gullible ? or stupid. Even if you bin this letter as insulting rather than offering any comment on Everton, I shall feel the better for writing it!
Paul Armstrong, Parkgate  (25/11/06)

Kirkby Kickers

If Kirkby is a part of Liverpool, how come they used to have a football team names Kirkby Town FC?

Maybe a move to Kirkby is a cunning plan to rid us of the name Everton. If we renamed the club Kirkby Kickers, then all the debts incurred by EFC could be removed at a stroke of the pen. I am only joking of course, but precedents have been set ? Milton Keynes Dons ring a bell.

On today's game, dissapointed by the result, even more dissapointed on the AJ news. Old Trafford next, no Tim x 2 and no AJ... I bet Fergie's quaking in his boots. Roll on the FA Cup.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (25/11/06)

Depressing Blues lack stamina

Bar the first 20minutes, what another disappointing performance that was. This Everton side just doesn't seem to be able to compete for 90 minutes. In every game, once the 30/40 minute mark is reached the energy/stamina levels drop and never recover. Sloppiness and misplaced passes occur.

Are they being worked too hard in training because, once the first goal goes in, it's backs to the wall... No attempt to increase the score, just hope to hang on. When the opposition score there is never the determination to go on and win games. We now look as likely to score in games as we did at the start of last season. Yet again the corners were totally ineffective.

Carsley, Davies, Beattie & Osman ? they are just not good enough and need to be sold. There's got to be better in the lower leagues. Yet another depressing display.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (25/11/06)

Come back Brian Rix

What a bloody farce! Not even Brian Rix at his best could have conjured up a scene where a central defender ignores the play to do up his laces! Every so often, Yobo totally switches off and it always ? but always ? costs us points although he`s not so totally woeful as the hopeless Osman and Davies. I don`t recall one decent attempt on goal from any of our four strikers. This team is going arse end up!
Peter Collins, Gresford  (25/11/06)

Good Point

A good away point and back up to sixth. Without AJ and Tim, we played some great stuff and Faddy had a wonder first half ? he really is a great prospect. Great to have some football to talk about as all the soul-searching about Kirkby was beginning to grate, particularly as no decision has been announced. Wherever we end up, you can be sure that with a true blue like Bill in charge, every pro and con will have been considered and a decision made in the best interests of the Club.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (25/11/06)

Hahahahahahahahahaha! Oh Richard, you are a riot! McFadden ? a great prospect? Bill, best interests of the Club??? You're a laugh a minute. — Michael

Re Boring old farts

In response to Jim Hourigan, I guess I can count myself in the ?boring old farts? category but not because I had an old man talking about Ted Sagar ?cos my old man was a red until the day he died when his last wish was to have an Everton scarf draped around his neck as he passed away. When I asked him why he said ?it?s better that one of them go than one of us?

Over the past few days there has been lots of talk about a ground move to the Tesco car park. Well I live in a place that?s got a modern World Cup Stadium on its doorstep and it?s a beautiful stadium, with a great car park in which a local team play (the stadium, not the car park for you pedantic buggers, but they might just as well!), AND it?s got a big name superrmarket chain as an integral part of the stadium building (that I won?t name in respect of our ?future? partners).

It happens to be a poorly supported team as most football teams here are (they love rounders for some reason??) so on a match day there?s more shoppers than supporters in the car park. But what of the Tesco Bowel? Can you imagine all those traditional weekly Saturday shoppers turning up at Tesco?s only to find that the car park is full of footy fans? Or vice versa? Has the logistics of this really been thought out properly?

I agree with Kieran Fitzgerald that the Board owe the fans, the customers that they will rely on for future income, and possible future generation support (I?m encouraging my daughter to be a Blue over the leanings of her red mother) and I may just be being a bit selfish in that I want to take her home to Goodison, but aren?t you all being selfish with your requirements for better parking (wish I could afford a car to have parking problems!), cold beer, hot pies (I thought you were there to watch the match?) etc,. to at least an explanation of what they are thinking and why?

But having had personal past dealings with our luvvie chairman in which his heart has been in his wallet (Saviour of the Playhouse anyone?? Not to mention championing the Kings Dock project???) I?m extremely sceptical of any cash being forthcoming from him (I?d bet my 3 houses on it) unless someone can come along and line his pockets with thirty pieces of silver and can take over the controls of the club or his ?sleeping? partners are prepared to put money into a bottomless pit?

I stated in a previous post that I?ve accepted the fact that although I don?t favour a move from Goodison Park the club needs to generate more income from outside football to help the team finances progress on the field and I?ve recently reread the argument and plans for redevelopment, which being in the construction business myself, makes a lot of sense (as do the arguments of Tom Hughes in support) but they just don?t seem to provide other alternatives for additional income (hotels, conference centres, concert venues or whatever). They would label us as a pure football club, with corporate facilities. But is that a bad thing for now? We just have to then generate the (right) corporate sponsorship and team sponsorship, gain success and develop from there.

I mean, if Tesco?s are such a big fan of ours that they want to build us a new stadium, why isn?t their name on our shirts already?
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (25/11/06)

Where are we going?

Kirkby is part of Liverpool and there is no argument about that. However, its obvious that moving to Kirkby is a bad idea all round. It will be intersting to see the results of your poll on the ground move, I predict it will come out in favour of the move to Kirkby, though I suspect this reflects the fact that most people who use this website live outside of the city, and to them it makes little difference. To the silent majority of our fans who live in Liverpool there is much more at stake: tradition, convenience, and of course pride.

What we need is a statement from Kenwright about his intentions, not more bullshit from that waste of space Wyness.
Phil Brennan, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

"Since I was a lad in the boys pen, I've dreamt of the day when we could move to a fabulous new state-of-the-art stadium that would do this club proud. It's hard to believe, but I've been working 24/7 ? every hour of every day God sends ? to bring in the investment that will make this project happen. It will happen. We wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't in the best interests of this wonderful club that I have given my soul, my heart, my life to." ? will that suffice? Michael

They`re on their way to Kerby

Blue Binman has my sympathy! Since Wednesday, Red workmates have made my life a misery with no-stop coruses of `They're on their way to Kerby but WE shall not be moved` usually followed by `Kerby, Kerby, here we come!`

In for ovies this morning, I found `Kirkby Shite` daubed on my locker. Do the powers that be know what they are doing to us locals? Then, I suspect NONE of the directors, executives or players actually live in Liverpool anyway, so why should they care!
Neil Roberts, Dingle  (25/11/06)

Ludites?

I agree that we have to listen to the aspirations of our younger fans too, but there is also a lot to be said about the wisdom of their elders. After all, we have seen this all before. Jim Hourigan asks us how we are going to compete with 6 different clubs if we don't move, yet 5 of those named have redeveloped their current stadia, and I would argue that we have regularly competed with at least 3 of them over recent years while at GP.

Sega promotes the business acumen of our Board..... A theatre impresario, and Aberdeen's ex-CEO. Are they really the visionaries, or are they being led by developers with ulterior motives?

I really don't know, but I can hazard a guess on past performances. We all want progress, and I've no doubt I will be as enticed as the next blue when the glossy renderings are served to us. But, we must be more discerning than the beggars we're painting ourselves as. Do we really want to surrender the middle ground to our main competitor? Normally commercial suicide for any business... Are we really convinced we can even get there? These are serious questions of progressive Evertonians ? not Ludites.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (25/11/06)

There you go, Micheal

"Tim Howard plays in goal but will have to miss Wednesday's trip to Old Trafford because of Premier League rules regarding loans between top flight clubs." Evertonfc.com
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (25/11/06)

You were right. And we will have Wright ? in goal. Oh dear... ? Michael

Majority say No to Kirby

Looking at the letters page over the days, weeks and months, it's clear the fans do not support Kirby. The lights should be burning very bright in the Boardroom over the next days and weeeks.
Alan Jones, Wavetree  (25/11/06)

Err... Why? They've made their decision... you don't really believe they care what the fans think, surely? — Michael

Boring old farts

How sad that in all the recent articles everyone has ignored Wayne Tardyce and his comment. I would suggest that many of the comments are from people over the age of 45 (including me), all talking about heritage, tradition, transport blah blah blah. Nobody has listened to the comment of youth - I suggest that what they want is a successful team and probably don't give a damn where we play as long as its in Liverpool.

Listen folks they are the future, they are our future fan base, they are the ones with the money to buy merchandise, they are the ones who will ultimately see us being successful, they are the ones who's voice must be heard - and not brainwashed by any particular viewpoint.

If any of you care to listen to this voice of youth you will find that comfort and image are far more mportant that tradition. Now I'm not saying that this means we ignore our age group but lets recognise that the future is exactly that and not 'old wine in new bottles'

The sad truth is under the present management at board and pitch level WE CAN NOT COMPETE. If any of you luddites think that Everton, placed where it is, with the present financial backing will compete with Arsenal, Chelsea, ManU, Spurs, Newcastle, Villa let alone the red shite you are living in cloud cuckoo land. If you think anyone will invest other than to keep Billy Liar in post you don't understand human nature.

To drive forward you don't use reverse gear, you look forward but use the rear view mirror to be aware of and recognise whats behind you (i.e. tradition). Lets move forward without ignoring or losing all of our heritage and tradition, but as with all progress some things have to go. For me what's most important is deciding what we keep and what we lose, not all tradition is good !!!

How many of us remember being bored by our old man talking about Ted Sagar and others when we were interested in Colin Harvey and Alan Ball ??? We don't forget these players we celebrate them and what they did to make us what we are, but we must move forward. Everton FC built among terraced streets with no parking, no facilities and no amenities - particularly for those of us who prefer not to drink before the game but in the evening because we drive, is a dinosaur. Wherever we go, and go we must, we must take with us the heritage and traditions that will keep this club in the top flight and be successful. All the talk of souless stadiums is valid, but lets not forget either the chasteneing experiences of Wolves and Sheff Wed. Both clubs filled with tradition and heritage but who, because they hung on to these aspects for far too long, have dropped to depths that would be unimaginable to any of us, but I bet there were lots of old farts who were saying it would never happen back in the 70's and 80's and that was before the age of Sky and the millionaires.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (01/10/06)

You're spot on about the necessity to listen to the young Blues growing up today, they and their kids are indeed the future of Everton FC. However, do you not agree that it's a valid fear most have, whether old farts or not, that a move out to Kirkby will in the years ahead be recognised as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in the history of the Club? - Colm

`Signs of Confidence`

Over the past four seasons, David Moyes has shown himself to be an expert in the art of damning his player ? and thus himself ? with faint praise. But this morning`s gem via icLiverpool takes some beating!

?He knows he needs to get himself up to a good standard but there were signs of confidence last week.`
Amazingly, this he said about a player (Beattie) who cost ?6 million plus and who is now in his THIRD season with the club! What a damning endictment of a player ? and the useless bugger who signed him!
Martin Nelson, Connah's Quay  (25/11/06)

Cue Beattie to pop up this lunchtime with a winner? ;-) ? Colm

There IS a limit!

In common with many Evertonians, I work in an environment hostile to persons of my `faith.` Indeed, not long ago, I successfully appealed against a disciplinary action on the grounds that a Liverpudlian had not been treated as harshly for the same transgression!

From this statement it will not take a genius to work out that my employer is Liverpool City Council and that I am the `Blue Binman` who enjoyed passing fame/notoriety.

Until just a week ago, I was more than happy for my club to relocate anywhere within the Merseyside region just so long as we got a stadium worthy of a Premiership team. This last week has changed my views entirely as supervisors and workmates have made life a misery since unattributed confirmation has come from the council that Everton are on the move.

Now call me a sensitive soul, if you will, but there IS a limit to the jibes one can put up with about `being run out of town`, `leaving the City to it`s own true team`, `giving up the fight to be top dog`,`following all the other scallies to Kirkby`etc.etc...

From this moment on, I have pledged to fight the move with every breath in my body and if that results in another `disciplinary`, this time I`ll put the compo into the `Everton to stay in the City Fighting Fund`. Promise!

(Name and location supplied but withheld by request)
Blue Binman, City of Liverpool  (25/11/06)

Nail on head, the grief many die-hard locally based Blues will endure is... well... you can't even put a bin lid on it, it will be constant. The next Anfield derby will be a 'mare on that front, having to listen to the jibes from the kopites. Sad thing is, Mr Binman, most Blues won't factor this into the overall situation about a new ground - the argument being that we simply need a new ground, no matter where it's located and that is that is THAT. ? Colm

Fans

No matter where we move, the results on the pitch is what determines the number of fans. I've read somewhere that most of LFC and MUFC fans are from outside the city. So why do they always make all those costly trips and fill the stadium? Isn't it because they are successful? Aren't the fans who make the stadium a fort and create an electrifying atmosphere?

If it's viable to redevelop GP, the club would do it as a first option because these are business people on the Board of Directors, who count every cent. So, don't worry about where we move to but where our team is heading to in the league. Let's focus on the team performance and the manager's tactical skills and continue to support our club. For whatever we spend on with the clubs name will eventually help the club improve the team.

I may get a lot of stick for this post but remember, 'Blues are born not manufactured. those who understand need no explanation and for those who don't, it doesn't matter'. NSNO.
Sega Saegaran, Malaysia  (25/11/06)

Sorry to say, Sega, but for some Blues it's more than simply results that determine whatever. Being Blue is a lot more than a mere 90 minutes on matchday watching our eleven out there kicking (or hoofing!) a ball and though, of course, it's always more enjoyable on the back of a winning streak it ain't necessarily dependent on good results. I seriously must pull you up on your belief that "if" Goodison Park can be redeveloped then the Club would do it ? you are so far from the truth on that matter: ask the GFE! ? Colm

Kirkby

Please note to those of us who live in Liverpool, have nothing against Kirkby (mind you, last time I was there, my car was broken into) but, as far as I'm concerned, it is out of the City. Although we will always be blue, there is no certainty that future generations will follow. My cousin's husband, a season-ticket holder, moved to Warrington and his kids are Evertonions in name... But they go to the rugby and have not been to a football match since he passed away.

I accept this is a waste of time. Bill & Co have shafted us. As I'm disabled, it's a struggle at times to drive so on these occassions I use a cab and it will cost more than my present fare to Walton.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (25/11/06)

Message to William Kenwright

Colm, Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I find myself sharing your concerns. I can only share these thoughts with the owners of the our beloved club.

Don't make this a crusade; don't throw away all of our memories because you have been challenged. There is still time and the chance to remember all that was good and all that we can be at Goodison Park.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (24/11/06)

A comparison

Have you tried to get a bus back into town after the game? When I say town, I mean Liverpool City Centre, so as to get access to Lime Street, personally.

Bus companies falling over each other to lay on services? That's a joke of Monty Python-esque proportions ? I got talking to one of the 'average joes' on the street that run a bus on a Saturday... basically him and his driver friend hire the bus for 150 notes and do at least two journeys, from the moment the game ends.

What's funny is, he is an on-duty fireman who is on a nice little earner on the side. Him and his driver buddy are at most home games and it is the same for all the double-decker buses happily waiting for passengers to pay 2 pounds a head to get back into Liverpool quickly (it only costs ?1.40 to Goodison, and the route is much less direct).

So far as I am concerned, with the evidence my eyes have assertained, the council, the borough, the bus companies, aren't interested in providing services to football fans. To believe a move either to kirkby or the moon will make any difference to their attitude is laughable.
David McAlpine, Warrington  (24/11/06)

Drink, a drink, a drink.....

Pity that Gareth Hughes has such a low opinion of his fellow blues; I suppose he will be the first to join the queue for a frothy cappucino in a Planet Hollywood themed diner on the Sylvester Stallone Boulevard. Maybe he can then wax lyrical with fellow progressive contemparies about the wonders of the new breed of Evertonian that the uber-cool Tesco Bowl has attracted, not a scally or Street-ender in sight.

Fact is, Gareth, if you apply such an Adrian Mole-like perspective with ridiculous and sweeping statements about your fellow blues, tarring everyone with the same brush so to speak, then you are seriously misguided and wide of the mark. Do you remember Brian Labone walking the length of Goodison road on our last relegation escape, popping into the local pubs for a chat with the common fans?

Heritage, my friend, cannot be manufactured. See you sometime in the Winslow.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Spot on again Colm

I've lost count of the number of times that I've had to explain to people that Everton are from Liverpool. Seriously, I was talking to a steward at Middlesbrough last season and he asked us where we were from! Moving outside the city would only aggravate that situation.

In reply to Dave Moore, as for my Warringtonian son being an Evertonian, that's because he was indoctrinated at an early age! I'm talking about future fans who don't have fanatical fathers (yes, there are some!) who will become reds by default because Liverpool are their City's team.

Apologies to Dave Moore ? I have nothing against Kirby per se. He's right ? let's talk about the football. Early rise for Charlton tomorrow!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (24/11/06)

Lets turn the M57 into a carpark!

Dave, clutching at straws playing the M58 trump card as further evidence to support Kirkby's claims, it's coming from the wrong direction to have any significant bearing on this argument. I think it's well-known that GP has one of the fastest dispersal rates of any football ground, and that we have one of the highest percentage following from within a 5 mile radius... the whole motorway lesson has been learnt and acted on in the US, where they are demolishing out-of--town white elephants and moving towards the centres.

You may be right about bus companies filling the massive gaps I spoke about, but at a total public transport provision of say 3-4,000 per hour in Kirkby, how are you going to move say 25,000 people after a match when they have got nowhere to go but Tescos and a handful of pubs? Even to do it in 1 hour would require over 400 buses... and 400 drivers ? is there really that much surplus in the Merseyside area?

Extending platforms won't come cheap neither, because if you want longer trains you will have to extend all platforms throughout the system not just Kirkby stations... that could come to more than the stadium costs. Why have LFC opted to stay put with 60,000 in Anfield, and with their massive out-of-town following? Who's experts are right?

I prefer facts and figures. It works where it is... undeniable fact, and it would appear from the most basic analysis the sums don't really add up for Kirkby without serious infrastructure remodelling and stress on car useage ? not very eco-friendly, and perhaps not very Evertonian-friendly. I'm open to any figures that might disprove that, as well as a proper analysis of road capacities to and from the proposed site. But regardless, the logistical comparison between a site at or near the centre of its catchment area and one at its edge is a weak one.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Okay, that's quite enough of the buses and trains and automibles... We seem to be driving around in ever decreasing circles here. Thank god it's Satdee... and we've got a game to watch! — Michael

128 years for what

A car park at a food outlet store. Is this it! Is this what we are to become? Christ how can one gobshite sell us all down the river. Folks, think about it: one man is going to destroy all that we are ? for what? Not for our benefit. It's not progress ? it's maddness.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Yet another response

This might be easier by MSN messenger! I can?t believe its Friday night and I?m typing away when I could be out or watching those ponces in the outback with my wife and daughter ? actually I think I prefer the typing and I?d prefer my wife to be in the outback!

I understand your point about our identity to people from other areas, but the most important thing is that we know who we are, where we came from and most importantly where we are going (by which I mean football-wise ? not location).

A move a couple of miles away surely wouldn?t change anything about Everton history. We would still have been the first Club on Merseyside, we had the greatest goalscorer in the game, the glorious 80s, we were the first club to introduce so many things into the game, etc, etc. But it will all have been for nothing if we don?t move forward.

As you?ve been kind enough to post all my mailings today, I am sure most people who?ve read them are thinking I?m biased towards a move to Kirkby. However, I?m quite the opposite ? I?m just not keen on people slagging off Kirkby or making up statistics to show it?s not viable to move here when all they are really saying is they don?t like its reputation.

Given the choice of redevelopment or a city centre move, I would take either any day. I?ll be honest and say that the added matchday traffic in my home town would drive me mad. I am also concerned that the proposed site is actually the biggest bit of green we have near the town centre and I do not want to see it disappear myself.

As far as petrol costs and the environment go, I believe the re-introduction of the Merseytram project would actually be of benefit here and, if utilised on a matchday, would help provide additional funds to getting it off the ground again.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

GP

I just wandered over here to this website & was going to ask whether Andy van der Meyde would ever cross a ball from the left wing again & whether he is paid enough without bonuses to run his Ferrari. But there was no such topic in view, so, on the subject of the ground move, the walk up the hill from the Waterloo-Bank Hall train trip was surely part of the legend of the previous generation. Never actually read about it in any of the books, or videos of the Golden Vision.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg  (24/11/06)

Uh?

In response to Colm

Colm, a couple of things ?

  1. Kirkby isn?t out of town
  2. It's close to two motorways (the other being the M58 which can be accessed by either the M57 or through Kirkby towards Maghull)
  3. Also, it?s not exactly easy now to get away from Goodison on match day
  4. The point I?m trying to make is that I don?t believe there is actually much difference to getting away from the ground now as to what it could be anywhere else between Walton and Kirkby.
    Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Check out the rising cost of petrol and factor that into the match day costs!!! Think of the environment! - Colm

In response to Mr Robinson

First off, Mr Robinson, there was no bait in my post for you or anyone else for that matter, although I admit to a little bit of retaliation here and there. It?s very rare that I actually send posts in and would say that today I have sent in more than in the last couple of years.

However I don?t understand your concerns about the future of our fanbase. You are concerned that if Everton move out the city boundaries that the youth of the City will grow up red. How is this when you tell us your own son is an Everton fan, yet he was born a bit further away from Goodison than Kirkby? Do you think our generation of supporters like you and me will allow that to happen because of where a very narrow line is drawn?

I live in Kirkby and if I go to the city centre its Liverpool city centre, not Manchester, Birmingham or London. If I walk around Kirkby I see as many if not more blue than red. I?ve lived here for over 40 years and nearly all my friends are blue, there are more Evertonians in my street than Liverpudlians (come and have a look ? they have a red cross painted on their doors!)

I put it to you that people don?t want to come to Kirkby because of a reputation ? but most just won?t come out and say it. What really pisses me off, though, is that I am on a football supporter?s website and all I have talked about is Kirkby ? should we not be talking about football?
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Dave, valid points aplenty you make but from reading your thoughts am I correct in thinking that you're focused solely on the views of those living in and around Merseyside and not even considering those further afield?

I now live in Ireland, though born a Blue, in Walton, and my early childhood spent in Fazak. I know it's not the main issue here but I often get asked what city is Everton in? North or south? Explain it to some that Everton are from Liverpool, in fact the senior club in the City, and you invariably get asked why then are Everton not named after the City?

I'm not attempting to excuse their ignorance of our Club and our history but so many people, whether they matter or not, simply do not know a jot about Everton, or where we're from. All they know, or think they know, is that Everton is the club that continues to play second fiddle to that lot from across the park. And that is an "ouch"! ? Colm

On the Buses

Mr Hughes has obviously gone into the whole transport issue very seriously and come up with what I am sure are very realistic figures for both the city and Kirkby. However, his figures are based on the current transport systems and not what they would be should Everton move to Kirkby, or anywhere else for that matter.

I think bus companies would be killing each other to put buses on the road for match days. As for the trains, I hardly think that there would be 15,000 supporters travelling to the match by train... who knows, maybe if the move happens, the Merseytram project would be brought back to the table. Also the trains into and out of Kirkby don?t really handle that many passengers except for peak times and thus are only a few carriages long. Again as said earlier carriages can be added and platforms extended.

It?s ok telling us how many roads ther are in and out of Walton; however, the problem is congestion and this congestion is caused by the local roads not being able to clear the traffic quickly enough away from the ground. In my eyes this traffic would clear much quicker away from a ground that is nearer to part of a motorway network and one that will service almost all if not every destination that Mr Hughes has mentioned.

I believe that people more qualified than myself and maybe Mr Hughes (apologies for assumptions) have looked into this matter already. It seems to me that everyone wants to believe that all Everton supporters live in Walton or the City centre.

I put it to you that transport is a lot more ?flexible? than first thought and should this have been of any great concern then I think Kirkby would have been thrown out of the hat by now.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Have you seen how long it takes to get away from an out-of-town stadium like the Reebok? Being nearer to a motorway network doesn't automatically mean a quicker exit! ? Colm

In response to Dave Moore

I suppose that I shouldn't rise to the bait in response to Dave Moore's earlier post but I'll do so anyway.

Firstly, Colm's reponse summarises my feelings far more eloquently than I managed to do in my post.

Secondly, of course I would not give up supporting EFC to watch Warrington Wolves ? I'm too in love with the Blues to ever do that. Nor would my son who has only ever lived in Warrington but is as passionate about EFC as I am. It's the future generation of Liverpool born kids that I'd be worried about. I don't want to see the City become any redder than it already is. My point is that if you don't already have a pull in the direction of one club, you're more likely to go with the team that actually plays in your town / city (cue arguments again about city boundaries!)

I recognise that Kirkby people are just as Scouse as the rest and I've absolutely nothing against the good people of Kirkby, but I don't want the rest of the world to know us as "that other team that plays near Liverpool" (if they know where we play at all).

If the good times come back, then it probably doesn't matter where we move to but if we struggle, I could see this as the first step to oblivion. If I'm not making sense, I apologise. It's just a sense of foreboding that I have over such a move.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (24/11/06)

In response to Kevin Bennet

"Go to the Emirates, City of Manchester or Old Trafford then sit halfway back in the "modern" main stand at Goodison. Then try to justify an argument "why we shouldn't move" We have to move on... " ? Kevin Bennett, Chester (24/11/06)

Old Trafford is a redeveloped stadium, is it not? Mind you, sitting at the back of any of their 3 big stands would be like sitting 40 metres beyond our back rows. I have drawings in my possession that would show how our Main Stand could be totally transformed, and the rest of the ground for that matter... all done in bite-size, and relatively affordable stages. At the end of it, we would remain at our home of 114 years in a stadium to match any of those mentioned, only with greater intimacy, atmosphere, and er.... history!!

Also if LFC are set to receive funds as part of the redevelopment of the Anfield area in general, why can't we claim similar for the Walton district? Also, as regards the city council and moving, why have they not offered more central sites to Tesco... Everton Park for instance? I'm sure Tesco could be enticed to become part of the edge of city-centre/North Liverpool redevelopment plans.

A march towards town and all its benefits should be the only option to entice us away from our historic home!!!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

007.5

I've been under cover for a while now and have used a number of contacts to find out where Everton actually are up to with this ground move business. I can report the following:

  • Agreement has been reached by all parties involved, lawyers are already hard at work and, barring some last minute hitch, the site for the new stadium is Kirkby.
  • A number of investors are involved, including Tesco, but don't underestimate the input which will come from our newest investor and his friends behind the scenes.
  • The new stadium will NOT be directly associated with Tesco ? their shareholders will not allow it ? the naming rights to the stadium will be auctioned off separately. This is NOT a Tesco takeover, with a football pitch just off their car park
  • The designers HOK have already been appointed and are drawing up the initial plans. They designed the New Wembley and Emirates stadiums so it may be a top venue yet.
I've known all this for a little while now, but the angst shown in the mailbag over the last few days has been overwhelming and I felt that supporters (and minority shareholders) should now start to lobby hard for the look and feel of the Ground and the associated infrastructure ? not waste their time ranting against the move... Too late! It's already happening and will probably be announced at the AGM, if Heads of Agreement are finalised.
James Bond, Monte Carlo  (24/11/06)

Thank you, Mr Bond. I take it that our new investor is not a Mr Goldfinger, nor indeed from Russia with Love? And what to make of a new Casino Royale? Casino Royale Blue, perhaps? Guess a lot of Evertonians are about to be shaken, if not stirred... - Colm

Message for Colm

I wanted to ask ToffeWeb's Colm why he had stated in an earlier post this week, why he fears for Everton's long term future if we move to Kirkby? I think we should be moving closer to the city center ? not away from it.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (24/11/06)

On your last point, I most certainly agree with you, on a number of levels. I know fans can get easily sidetracked over the issues surrounding Kirkby being in Liverpool or not being in Liverpool and if we bog ourselves down in such trivial matters then nothing is to be gained as the Club sneaks further away from the central site it has today, and has had for over 128 years.

I personally have nothing against Kirkby, having lived next door in Fazakerley for a number of years as a kid, but I will be horrified if this move there is bulldozed through. Quite simply, we'd be handing the City on a plate to the club that emerged from ourselves back in 1892.

Whether people are prepared to accept it or not, it's a fact that a lot of people do not connect Everton with the City of Liverpool. Because of this, we miss out on maximising our "brand" to a degree and somehow try to deflect that reality by claiming the moral high ground, Everton being more of a local club. Wrong.

Pass through John Lennon Airport and you'll find yourself reminded that this is the city home to Liverpool Football Club. Walk through the city centre and you'll find the Liverpool FC megastore, their presence slap bang in the middle of town. Where are Everton? Do they exist? Try telling a tourist that he'll have to trek out to Kirkby to find Everton's presence, retail or otherwise and you'll not be overly impressed.

Somewhere down the road (not the M57 by the way!) Everton's identity, if we move to Kirkby, is bound to alter. The perception, surely, will be that Liverpool FC is, and remains, the team of the City of Liverpool. And Everton? Well, I shudder to think what people will think.

I genuinely believe that Everton must remain as central as possible to the City of Liverpool ? whether at Goodison Park, a shared stadium on Stanley Park, or another site (along the waterfront?) yet to be declared. ? Colm

Transport in response to Dave Moore

Maybe I didn't explain it very well... But at the risk of sounding patronising, it is not possible for a peripheral site to be more accessible than a more central one, especially with a city layout such as Liverpool's.

Firstly, I was talking about Sandhills station (serving the soccer bus); however, you were incorrect about Kirkdale too, since it handles trains from town, Ormskirk and Kirkby ? a total of 20 trains per hour, with Sandhills also taking services too and from Southport ? making a total of 30 trains; total capacity at say 500 per train of 15,000 per hr. Kirkby at 4-5 trains per hr equates to 2,000 per hour max, and that's including those non-match-going passengers.

Now for buses, I think there are only about 4 bus services to Kirkby from Liverpool. Even if they run every 10 mins (which they don't), that's only 24 buses per hour at say 60 passengers per bus ?thats still less than 1,500 per hr. So, just looking at those figures, for which I think I've erred on the generous side that's only a max of approx 3-4000 people per hour on public transport (in the city with one of the lowest car ownerships in the country).

Walton is on the main arterial routes to all north and northeast parts of the city, and consequently most of the Kirkby services pass through it. Furthermore, as I keep saying, they can be utilised both ways thus doubling their match-going capacity. There are also the cross city routes from Aigburth and Speke going around Queens Drive and through town.

I had to do a study of this once and I think it was in the order of 40,000 per hr through the Walton area via public transport alone. Even by car, Kirkby has two main routes from the main conurbation crossing the M57, and a third if you do the M57 from either the M62 or the express way ? this is a total of only 6-7 lanes. Walton is fed by numerous routes out of the city centre such as County Road both directions 4 lanes, Walton Lane (East Lancs, both ways) 4 lanes, Queens Drive 2 lanes, Priory Road 2 lanes, Westminster Rd via commercial road/ or Dock road or Great homer street 2 lanes, Walton Breck and St Domingo Rds 4 lanes. The bottleneck to cross the M57 from Liverpool to Kirkby will be horrendous, as i often found when part of only a few thousand commuters in rush hour. Like I said, it's just not possible to have the same accessibility for a peripheral site as you have for the more central.

Nearer town, accessibity improves further, Walton is about the limit to take advantage of major convergent rail and road routes and inner ring roads. Oh, and the small fact that big crowds manage to get there on a regular basis already and have done for over 100 years. Don't get me wrong ? the logistical problems at Kirkby are not insurmountable, but those figures should ring a few alarm bells, because there is no comparison between the two.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Tom ? keep hammering home the message! -? Colm

Keeping fans in the dark

While new to this website, I have spent some time going through the back catalogue of pieces submitted to it. What I have noticed is that obviously the whole debate about a ground move is not a recent one.

To bring myself up to speed I read all of the factual information to hand on the various offers of sites for new grounds by the local councils. I also received the Goodison redevelopment feasability study from the website's editorial team and studied that. I also took the time to read alot of the pieces posted by fans onto the mailbag section of the site.

What struck me about all the that I have read is that there have been no regular statements from the Club itself keeping fans up to speed with the whole ground move issue. Fans have been left trying to second-guess the Board's intentions and basically fumble around in the dark for months now. (I do not mean this as a slight on any of the pieces I have read in the mailbag section by the way as most of them have been well written pieces and all of them have been heartfelt.) In my view, the Board has behaved disgracefullly in not keeping fans up to speed with what has gone on and why it has conducted things to date in the way that it has.

For example, the feasability study on redeveloping Goodison looks like a perfectly viable option. We get to own and keep control over our own ground. It will still be a proper football ground, as opposed to being an athletics or multi-purpose arena. While ?37m quid isn't exactly pennies, it's a much more modest sum than I would have thought and will be offset by state grants, advanced ticket sales, advanced corporate sponsorship and the fact that it will be spread out over a number of seasons. Most importantly it will still be Goodison, just a new and much improved version.

The only down side I can see is possibly planning permission and/or local residents' committees. If it is not a good plan, then it would be easy enough to prove why. Yet the Board does not seem to have any interest in the plan and has not taken the bother to explain to the fans why something as close to their hearts as Goodison would seemingly have just been dismissed out of hand.

Instead, it has allowed speculation to develop amongst fans that it has gone with the Kirkby plan without seeming to notice, not caring about or wanting to set the record straight. The only benefit that I can see to the Kirkby plan, by the way, is that Tesco would appear to be prepared to bear the brunt of the cost. Most of what I have read about the move, as well as my own opinions on it, have actually been fairly negative yet the Board has made no effort to explain the proper benifits of the move or any of the possible moves.

All it takes to keep fans informed on this is a fortnightly or monthly report on the club website. Here are the pros and cons of each move, make your own mind up and then we'll find some way to get the best one up and running. It's that simple. Instead, we're left to argue and debate with each other on websites like this one and be none the wiser as a result.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (24/11/06)

You have got to be joking if you truly believe that the Club would willingly divulge all intimate details, the pros and cons of whatever ? despite an increase of almost 33% in marketing and media costs this past financial year.

Regarding the GFE Feasability Study and the quoted costs therein, those figures are now a few year's old. There's a story to be told one day about that Feasability Study and our Club, totally exposing the appalling sham / charade that is our Board saying over the years that they've options on the table to redevelop Goodison Park. The truth is that they've offered nothing, not a Plan A, not a Plan B.

Bottom line though, it remains FACT that Goodison Park can be readily redeveloped, in stages, leaving us with a state-of-the-art stadium on site. However, as repeated ad nauseum at this stage, the current custodians of the Club are simply not interested in pursuing this when there's a less expensive option on the table courtesy of our friends in Tesco. ? Colm

Resonse from Dave Turner

"People?s Club"? don?t make me laugh. We stick our money in the pot? shout out our lungs for the club, and get screwed to the wall. The truth is, we are nothing more than walking money to the Goodison suits and they want us to walk away from all that we love and cherish into a food market car park.

I am one of the people and this is not a People?s Club ? it means nothing but hollow words from the suits upstairs. Bill: shove Kirkby up your arse, mate, you have overstayed your welcome.
Dave Turner, Walton  (24/11/06)

Dave, do you honestly believe that telling Bill Kenwright to "shove Kirkby up your arse" really does anything constructive for the credibility of fans who are opposed to such a move? It may make you feel better that you have voiced your frustrations, but you really need to put yourself in their position for a moment, and realize that such pureile statements merely reinforce the perception that they can safely ignore the views of "druknken Evertonian knobheads". — Michael

A question of funds

Stop moaning about Stanley Park and other sites, WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM! We are only going to Kirkby because the ?30M Tesco paid Kirkby council for the land and a superstore will be re-directed straight into the stadium construction. Didn't you lot learn anything from King's Dock? This is our only option and it is better than nothing!
Dick Bill, York  (24/11/06)

There should be no debate

This stadium debate is boring ? bring on the transfer window.

Go to the Emirates, City of Manchester or Old Trafford then sit halfway back in the "modern" main stand at Goodison. Then try to justify an argument "why we shouldn't move" We have to move on...
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (24/11/06)

Re: Kirkby

As a blue I want progress on and off the pitch. Kirkby is not progress: it smacks of panic, nothing more, and nothing less. All Everton Fans should be very worried.
Tony Ruane, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Everton Shareholders and Fans

To the Shareholders: If you don't back Kirkby, I ask you to stand up and be counted at the AGM.

To the Fans: Let Bill know how you feel at the next home game, in the mailbags, and on the radio.

ToffeeWeb: could you provide Bill Kenwright's e.mail address at Everton Football Club?

Say "No" to Kirby and to Bill Kenwright.
Peter Hayes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

You could try firstname.lastname@evertonfc.com...

Fanbase

Whilst I'm still to be convinced about a move to Kirkby, I wouldn't worry about the fanbase with regard Steve Ferns's article. I actually don't know a single Everton fan from Liverpool ? all the Evertonians I know are from around the country. Being a Cheshire lad, it really makes no difference whether I travel to a game in Kirkby rather than Liverpool. If anything, it's probably easier.

For the hecklers who argue I?m not a die-hard, visit Goodison week-in, week-out fan, I do try and attend games when I?m back at home. A good proportion of supporters who visit games do so only a handful of times a year but the aggregate of these supporters probably counts for a lot of seats over the season.

And when I have kids one day (hopefully), I?ll try my hardest to make sure that they?re Evertonians as my Father did with me. Our family has never lived in Liverpool, but Blue blood runs through our veins and as the old saying goes, you?re born an Evertonian.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (24/11/06)

How Very Dare You!!

Having just sent in a post for the mailbag in which I suggested people start discussing issues other than the ground move location, I decided myself not to be drawn into any more bullshit over Kirkby.

However, I have just read Bill Edwards? post and felt compelled to say, ?how very dare you? (or words to that effect). Where the fuck does someone from Croxteth get off in calling Kirkby a shithole. Crocky!!

I know everyone has an opinion but I would think your site is better suited for opinions on Everton Football Club and not neighbouring towns. Just in case you haven?t noticed, Mr Edwards, Croxteth starts where Kirkby ends.

By the way I find all the talk about any ground share with Liverpool FC to be very hypocritical, as I seem to remember that when the Kings Dock dream was alive it was never up for a ground share. You can?t really blame them for not wanting to ground share (thank fuck).

Can I also suggest that the anti-Kirkby brigade stop banging on about Kirkby, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons etc and put there energy into hassling Liverpool council why they can?t come up with a counter offer to that of Knowsley council.

Michael, if you go on post codes Kirkby is L32 & L33 the L standing for Liverpool, however if you go by wards you are quite right in saying Kirkby is in Knowsley and not in Liverpool.

In response to Mr Hughes? post I would disagree with his argument over transport, there are two main bus terminals in Kirkby and I?m sure buses could be increased on match days. The Kirkby line does handle 4 trains an hour but I think you might find Kirkdale is the same; anyway all it takes is for Thomas to pick up a few extra carriages.

The road traffic would be better or no different to the current situation. The East Lancs is near by as is the dual carriageway through Fazakerley and into Walton. Then there is the M57 which can be used for routes to either the M62, South Liverpool, Huyton, Knotty Ash, Southport, Crosby via Switch Island and Dunningsbridge Rd, etc, etc.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Am I missing something?

Why would moving 4 miles down the road to Kirkby result in a smaller fan base?

If fans stop supporting our great club because we move 4 miles to Kirkby then they are NOT true fans. They are casual fans who go to games because they are local. If these same casual supporters moved to London then they would quite happily go and watch a London club. Good luck to them!

So we lose a few casual fans from around the city centre and gain a few from around the Liverpool district of Kirkby. So what? The club is still the same club. It will still have the same history of honours and will keep the majority of a loyal fan base. It just won't be at Goodison Park anymore.

We will even gain more fans who would now be willing to come to games in Kirkby, who wouldn't feel safe parking their cars in the side streets in Walton. Having somewhere safe to park your car is big incentive for out-of-town fans.

We would also sell more season tickets based on the availability of a greater choice of quality seating. Would you buy a season ticker sitting behind a piller, or with a pillar blocking the view to one of the goals?

If anything, moving to a new modern stadium in Kirkby will increase our fan base. We may lose a few fans but we will gain a lot more.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (24/11/06)

Who gives a stuff?

I know I speak for all the young fans I mix with when I say we don`t give a stuff where Everton play as long as we have a winning team. All this history and political crap does my head in ? let`s just concentrate on singing the lads to victory tomorrow!
Wayne Tardyce, West Derby  (24/11/06)

Embarrassed Evertonians

If it's true that we are going to Kirkby for a new ground then great. As long as it has decent legroom and no obstructed views, I don't care where it is in the local vicinity. The best solution would be a shared ground with Liverpool but there are too many boneheaded fans on either side who have unforgiveably prevented that happening.

There is no way that we should allow the same sort of luddites put the kybosh on a move to Kirkby though. Who cares about Goodisons history, or the effect such a move would have on Walton? The ground and the general area are a dump. Let the Government, city council or Liverpool FC deal with regenerating the areas around Goodison.

To be honest, whether its fans railing against a ground move or wannabee hoolies throwing coins (one of our followers started the current rash of missile throwing, lest we forget) some Evertonians never lose the capacity to thoroughly embarrass me. Even our celebrity fans have the same effect, whether it be Degsy 'man of the people' Hatton, that fat buffoon Mike Parry or Matt Dawson who has been a right arrogant tool on that dancing malarkey. As for Tony the Evertonian on Radio Merseyside's Monday night programme, have you ever heard a more smug name dropper than him? His second name isn't Marsh is it?

Basically, an Evertonian isn't someone I would necessarily want to have a drink with... although, if I had to, I would prefer it to be at a shiny new stadium in Kirkby than a crummy boozer on Goodison Road.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

What a furore!

What a furore over the impending move to a marvellous new stadium. Most Evertonians would be glad to watch their team if the new ground was in Southport or Runcorn. Last time I looked it didn`t say anything about Liverpool in the title ? thank God ? and we haven`t actually played in Everton since St Domingo`s day! The more balanced view is that the farther we get away from the Reds the better!
Fraser Worrall, Widnes  (24/11/06)

No more shit!

Totally agree with the posters who have said that a move to Kirkby will be the beginning of the end for the Blues. It makes me angry that the club still use the old 'People's Club' bullshit when they don't listen to the fans, don't share any information or plans ? not to mention paying Buster Wyness hundreds of grand when it's obvious he cant do his fucking job properly (JJB, flights, CL tickets + flights, investment, crap ad-covered website...). It seems to me he is one of those people who can lie, lie, lie, with no real action. You would think Bill would be wise to it as he himself is a bullshitter but somehow he gives him a fucking RISE!

Anyway, I propose the climbing of the Park End and the removal/burning of that bogus sign as a protest to treatment of 'the People' by 'the Club'. Its about time they took notice, we will NOT stand for any more!
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Location, location, location

I should start by saying that I consider Kirkby, and Huyton and Halewood for that matter all part of greater scousedom. The border thing is rather arbitary and almost irrelevant and not an issue to me. My problem with Kirkby, is that it is peripheral... The end of the line so to speak. This extra 15 mins thing up the East Lancs... will that be the case when 30,000 - 50,000 extra bodies are trying to travel along it in a 1-hr window?

Until earlier this year I spent the previous 6 years travelling to and from Kirkby, via various routes and modes of transport from South Liverpool. I do not believe there is anything like that spare capacity to readily cope with this increase. There are only a handful of roadlanes feeding this site from greater Liverpool ? unlike Walton which has all the main arterial routes in/out of town (especially with people able to use them in both directions), and the inner ring road that is Queens Drive.

The nearest train station handles up to 30 trains an hour (as opposed to 4 per hr at Kirkby) and it's only a short shuttle on the "soccer bus", a service that can be filled by just a hand full of double-deckers. There are also dozens of different bus routes serving the Walton Area, with only a handful for Kirkby.

Personally, I don't drive; there are no direct services for me and most of Southern Liverpool. There really is no comparison in terms of Public transport, or even personal transport provision. Surely it is a major pre-requisite that the majority of our support should be able to get to it better than the current site by whatever mode of transport we choose. As a comparison, in the US, the home of auto-culture and freeways galore, they tried the out-of-town malarkey throughout the 50s, 60s & 70s. They too have been undergoing a stadium building revolution in the past 10 years, and predominantly they have been opting for downtown sites, even shoe-horning them into tight city-centre blocks, to take full advantage of transport hubs and networks that are intrinsic to these locations... to go to Kirkby would be backward thinking in this respect.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

In response to Steve Ferns

I've commented before on the Kirkby issue, so I'm not going into the whole "does that mean Stevie Gerard isn't scouse?" thing again. But after reading Steve Ferns's piece I've got to say something, as the anti-Kirkby prejudice is starting to become quite wearisome.

Moving to Kirkby is in no way equivalent to moving to St Helens or an equivalent satellite town. St Helens has its own indigenous population, with their own (non-scouse) accent; from the start, Kirkby was populated with the scousest of the scouse (South End, Scotty Road etc) and was seen very much as part of the new post-war Liverpool until Ted Heath, not the citizens of Liverpool decided otherwise.

St Helens has its own seperate sporting culture, with many young kids being Rugby League fans; Kirkby is a football hotbed, with the youngsters split more or less equally between blue and red. Do you really think the next generation in Sefton, Wirral and the rest of Knowsley, let alone Liverpool will stop supporting EFC because they moved FOUR miles? What a ridiculous argument.

And while we're there, what percentage of our support resides within the metropolitan borough of Liverpool Mr Ferns? Do the rest of us not count? Are we not proper blues?

That distance of four miles is roughly the distance of the school that I teach in in South Manchester to Old Trafford. NOT ONE United fan I know feels any less kinship with their team because they don't play within the city boundaries. Only the most bitter City fan ever mentions it.

If we moved to Runcorn, St Helens or West Lancashire I'd agree; the club would have lost its soul and identity. But the short move to Kirkby would see us surrounded by Scouse people and culture in, as I've said above, a football hotbed.

I'm afraid it's about time somebody said this; read between the lines on the internet forums and the pieces written about the proposed move and what shines through is pure snobbery and anti-Kirkby bias for reasons other than football and tradition. I'm proud to come from Kirkby, I'm scouse, and I love my club.

At the end of the day, EFC belongs to the people of Merseyside, will always do so, and is not just the preserve of the relatively few supporters who won the postcode lottery and ended up living within imaginary lines of the city boundary created by a long dead Tory Government.
John Morgan, Manchester  (24/11/06)

Ah, now it's becoming clearler. So what I need is a map of pre-1974 Liverpool? How about this one from the 1841 census, with Goodison in 5C and Kirkby in 5E:

Kirkby part of Liverpool?

Let's not start debating whether Kirkby is part of Liverpool or not. It is. No question end of.

My recent article was not to have a go at Kirkby; it is more to say that if Everton move, then they must stay within the realms of the District of the City of Liverpool. It must not under any circumstances move to Sefton, Knowsley. It should not even consider sites such as in Childwall or other places on the fringe of the City. Everton must remain within touching distance of the city centre otherwise it will be jeopardising its future fan base. I hope that I have already made clear the reasons why.

Any move must be in order to secure our future. I fail to see how a move to the outskirts of the city would secure our future.
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

Er... it's not. My map shows Kirkby is in Knowsley. Knowsley, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens and Liverpool make up "Merseyside" ? I thought your point was that we wouldn't be in Liverpool? ... Now I'm getting very confused. — Michael

For fuck's sake again!

It seems the latest article ?The Kirkby Effect? has stirred up the great debate as to whether Kirkby is in Liverpool or not, what does it matter? It's not exactly Christmas fucking Island is it? Some stupid responses to this especially from Mr Turner and Mr Robinson.

Is Mr Robinson now telling us that because he now lives in Warrington he feels the urge to give Goodison a miss and go watch Warrington Wolves? Is Everton in Everton or is it in Walton? Is the Grand National held in Aintree (a ward of Sefton) or Liverpool? If it?s Aintree, why call it the Liverpool Grand National? Who gives a shit?

Why does Mr Robinson think that we can?t return to being one of the best teams in the Premier League because we may end up playing in 15 minutes down the road in Kirkby? I always thought winning football matches was what made a team great.

If the club want to move, they will move; if the club want to move to Kirkby, the club will move to Kirkby ? end of. If Mr Turner thinks saying bollocks to the Board will keep the club at Goodison, well think again. If he chooses to stay away from the new ground, who has he been supporting over the years? ? Everton FC or Goodison Park?

Can?t people stop talking shit about Everton, the ground move, where Kirkby is etc and move on to more constructive discussion?
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Of course they`re scousers but......

Let`s be honest, the other lot stole a march on us by `claiming` a huge tract of Stanley Park ? the common land which divided the grounds of the two clubs in the CITY OF LIVERPOOL. Our useless Board pinned their hopes on negotiating a ground share with them as Everton haven`t got a pot to piss in!

When the other lot said `no chance` (it was nothing to do with the fact that 99% of Evertonians were against it!) they were left with the scraps offered by a neighbouring authority only too happy to accept Tesco money to develop an area which all of us know has been a shithole since it was first `settled`.

Of course the majority of Kirby residents are scousers and good people, but then so are most of the folks in Skem! But what the hell has that to do with it? The City of Liverpool seem happy to see it`s original senior football team leaving it`s boundaries to enrich a neighbouring authority. Where the fuck is their sense of tradition and pride in this great city? I bet there would be a massive outcry if the Phil or the Moores Museum were on the move!

As far as Kenwright and `Turnover is Everything` Wyness are concerned, the crocodile tears they will shed fool nobody ? they`d be happy to move to Birkenhead if ASDA made them a better offer! What a bloody disgrace.
Bill Edwards, Croxteth  (24/11/06)

To Kirkby and the unknown... or is it?

Just to put the minds at rest of all of those in the anti-move lobby, as yet there has been no planning permission lodged to LCC by Everton FC for a new stadium for anywhere in Liverpool, including Kirkby. Yet!

What does that tell us? That EFC still haven't decided where to go, if they are indeed moving. Maybe they have decided, with deals already agreed verbally. Some would say that planning permision would be a formality, but beleive me it isn't. Ask those on the dark side, even with all of their support at LCC.

Do you think that the local residents in Kirkby will sit back at let a massive football stadium, with all the baggage it brings, be built in their back yard without any protest? Maybe they will, maybe they won't. In my opinion Kirkby is a poor area and anything will be an improvement. But I am not a proud resident of Kirkby, and not in a postition to really pass comment.

For those firmly in the anti-move lobby, what are you really afraid of? Is it not knowing what the effect of such a move will have on the club? Will fans leave in droves? Will fans stop coming to games? Will corporate interest in the club diminish? Well nobody will really knows the answers to these questions until we actually move, after which it will be too late.

So what are your own feelings on the matter? Would you suddendly stop being an Everton fan because they have moved to Kirkby? Would you stop coming to games? I know my own feelings on the matter. I would still be an Everton fan, and I would still come to games in Kirkby.

Admitedly there would be some fans who would stop supporting the club, and stop going to games. But what kind of football fan suddenly stops supporting their club, because they move to a new shiney ground 4 miles from the old one? If they do, I would challenge their claim to being a real fan.

As for the geopraphy and identity of Kirkby: If I met someone from Kirkby down here in sunny Aldershot and asked them where they were from. They would say Liverpool. So Kirkby in my mind is part of Liverpool, as is Aigburth (where I lived for 10 years), Garston, Old Swan, Knotty Ash, Formby, Speke and all the other outlaying districts that I can't think of. They are all regarded as being part of Liverpool. So whats the problem?

Is it the not knowing that fans are afraid of? Not knowing what a new stadium in Kirkby will look like? Not knowing what the atmosphere in the stadium will be like? Not knowing whether you would park at Tescos next to the ground? Not knowing how it will affect our fanbase?

Maybe the market research people are asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking Everton fans "Are you in favour of the move?", they should really be asking "If Everton moved to Kirkby, would you still come to games?", "Would you still support our great club?", I personally think that most Evertonians would answer YES to both questions.

So maybe it wouldn't be such a leap of faith after all.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (24/11/06)

What makes a scouser?

So according to quite a few mailbag contributors, Kirkby isn?t part of Liverpool. In that case, which one of you boys and girls is going to go down to Bellefield and inform Alan Stubbs that he isn?t a scouser, and could you please let me know what reaction you got.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (24/11/06)

For fuck's sake

Just read Steve Ferns article ?the Kirkby effect? and I have to agree with you Michael on your response, however you missed a line out which should have started with ?for fuck's sake? and ended with ?Kirkby is only a 15 minutes away from Goodison.?

The great debate is about whether Everton should move or not. Where to, although still important is secondary so long as it is close enough for Everton to maintain its identity with the City of Liverpool. I know this is going to kick people off arguing whether Kirkby part of Liverpool or Khazistan but let's be sensible about geography here. I?ve been travelling to Goodison for years and years from Kirkby and not once have I got in the car and thought to myself ?Bastard, I have to drive to fucking Walton?. Before people start thinking I am for the Kirkby move just because I live in Kirkby, well my preferred choice would be as close to the city centre as possible, as I have stated a number of times here over the last 12 months or so.

Unfortunately, I don?t think neither I nor any other supporter will get to choose where the new ground will end up or if we are to move at all.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (24/11/06)

Penny dropped

So the penny has dropped at last. We are moving to Kirkby! I, and thousands of others, have known this for some considerable time. The fans who are now writing in and expressing their disgust at this have been suffering from what is known as the Ostrich syndrome, and guess what? the Lion has bit them on the arse. Forget it, boys: you should have taken notice months ago instead of burying your heads in the sand and thinking it will never happen.

By the way, the France Collection is going to be housed in the city centre and not within the confines of an Everton stadium as some of you are expecting. So don't say you weren't warned about that either. Think very carefully about contributing to its purchase because it will not belong to the fans but to the money men who will be looking to make a fast buck out of it.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (24/11/06)

David, it's been well known now for quite some time that upon securing the France Collection, it is to be housed in the Liverpool Records Office on William Brown Street so no need for the advance warning on something that's already known! ? Colm

Well grounded?

I don't know what all this fuss is about the location of the new ground. Sure I'd want it in the vicinity of the City of Liverpool, rather than somewhere more remote, like Hull, but I for one wasn't solely attracted Everton by its postcode.

I hear people who say that places like the Riverside, Reebok and Pride Park are souless hulks, but surely at the end of the day it's the fans and the football that make the stadium. If a new stadium is a soleless hulk, then it's we as fans and the players on the pitch who will be to blame.

You also have to remember that Goodison is no Wrigley Field or even a Wembley. The fondness for the old lady is well meant, but it's not the bricks and mortar that make a home, it's what goes in it. We had our chance with the King's Dock which the current Board messed up, and if there's anyone out there who thinks you can pick any brownfield site in the city and build a state-of-the-art stadium without significant Board funds or outside investment, could they give me the name of their pharmacist?

We may stand around berating Tescos and the Kirkby plans but, at the end of the day, the finger of blame should be pointed at the ineptitude of a certain theatre impresario rather than supermarket chains or themed restaurants. In the meantime, we need to wake up and smell the reality of the situation. To attract inward investment we need to demonstrate that the club is going forward. Building a stadium is one way of doing that; however, with Bill increasing his stranglehold on the train-set, don't expect revolution soon.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (23/11/06)

Kirkby

I can't understand it when fans keep saying "we would be moving outside the City of Liverpool". The last time I looked, Kirkby was still classed as being in Liverpool. Also, would the stadium be named the Tesco stadium?
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (23/11/06)

Oh dear... so all this fuss has been over nothing at all? Or you are sadly talking shite. Which one do you reckon it is, Brian? — Michael

Everton temporarily

The question's been asked where could Everton play while Goodison is being redeveloped. Well why not play at our original home at Anfield on alternate Saturdays to LFC? Yeah I know, over my dead body etc, etc but why not?

Well, the dark side would probably demand some incredible rent for the privilege and their fans would probably also use the "over my dead body" bit as well. Anyway, just a thought. After all, it would only be for say one season. AC and Inter Milan share all the time and they're bitter rivals too...

BTW Berne Young Boys have built a brand new stadium at the same location for Euro 2008. They played elsewhere during the demolition and rebuild. However, the team's not playing much better, so the crowd numbers are the same as before. At least the facilities are vastly improved and include underground parking and a shopping centre.
John Schrempft, Berne, Switzerland  (23/11/06)

Reply to Steve Ferns

While I agree with many of Steve's sentiments, I feel that it is possible to be too sentimental in the face of change. We are not talking about selling our soul, we are simply talking about moving home. We will always have our rich history, wherever we currently play.

For instance, I am 38, and have changed address on a few occasions, while each of these house moves were tinged with sadness, each one was necesary to accommodate changes in my life. And I can assure you that I still fondly remember my childhood days in my parent's house.

Some people say that we should not be moving out of the city; while Kirkby may not be under the contol of Liverpool City Council, it is still in Liverpool the City, as it has L33 postcode ? it is not the other side of the world.

One thing I do take exception to is Mr Ferns's apparrent assumption that Everton will continue to yo-yo between 4th and 17th, while that lot will remain dominant. This may be the case, but no-one knows what the future holds, and who is to say that Everton will not be top dogs in 5 years time?

In conclusion change happens. When the winds of change blow, you either bend or you snap. We have moved home before, if we must do so again to thrive, let us not stand in the way of progression. EFC, onward and upward.
John Molyneux, Cheshire  (23/11/06)

Bill, shove Kirkby up your arse

No chance, no way will I be forced to go there because of a few suits. It is fucking criminal that we are being frog-marched away from our history to a supermarket bowl. Back me and say "Bollocks" to Bill.
Dave Turner, Walton  (23/11/06)

Please not Kirkby!

I agree with the sentiment in Steve Ferns's piece today about the move to Kirkby.

I've long since thought that Everton's support has held up remarkably well over the years given the dark side's monopoly of the silverware in recent times and the fact that they've got the name of the City in their club name.

Evertonians are born not made. Well, yes I agree with that. When I was 8, 45 years ago, I pledged my allegiance to Everton despite my old man being a rabid red. I don't really know why but being from the city of Liverpool, I was able to choose one of its two teams.

Now, picture, the situation if Everton had been based in Kirkby. Despite my obvious contrary nature, I'd probably have chosen Liverpool because they were from the city of my birth. It's situations like these that will gradually diminish the support of an out-of-town team.

As long as we're inside the city boundaries, young people will feel that they can choose. Once outside the boundaries, they'll probably no more choose Everton than any of the other Lancashire teams.

Another reason for staying inside the city boundary is, I firmly believe, the fact that Liverpool (the city) will manage to re-invent itself on the back of its 2008 Capital of Culture status. Tourism may boom and it might even become fashionable to live in the City again. As I've stated on this site before, I can't see the tourist bus making a detour to Kirkby, can you? - no matter what state-of-the-art stadium we might have!

No, despite my dislike of Liverpool (the team), my allegiance is to Everton, a team from Liverpool. That's our identity and that's where we belong. I'm not averse to a move from Goodison but please stay within the city boundaries and preferably somewhere near the Mersey.

If the Red shower continue to flounder under Benitez and we move to a site that becomes integral to the city skyline, we might build on our wonderful fanbase and even take over as the premier team in Liverpool again! We won't do that in Kirkby!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (23/11/06)

Michael's Micky Wilcox comments

"If Evertonians had any real desire to be involved in the running of the Club, they would become shareholders, they would develop a Fans Trust, they would establish a mechanism for their voice to be heard. It would take a long time, and it would not affect the simple truth that the ones with the biggest power are the biggest shareholders ? they are the ones who make the decisions. ? Michael"
That, mate, is a noble dream, but in the face of commercial reality it is not a good way to take Everton forward. You cannot change the past only make inroads to the future now that commercial reality has taken over. We need commercial heads to steer us through troubled waters and back to calm seas. Did I just write that bullshit... er yes.

I don't think you have any right to demand fans to have that commercial acumen? The bulk of us go and spend the most of our leisure money supporting the blues and kids and houses and bills! To suggest our fans do not have desire is absolutely wrong. You are I suggest showing your own frustrations that we all share.

A Fans Trust you suggest, does not deal with today or running Everton and it would take a miracle for it to come about. If it did you might end up with a committee! Save us from that please. Miracles happen, but we are more likely to be in a new stadium, with new owners before it ever takes off.

The fact is if someone staked a West Ham type bid on Everton, the shareholders would take it and us fans would follow in tow... provided we liked what we saw. We would still all dream of new signings.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (23/11/06)

The 'committee' bit was bang on, Eamonn, and that's why it is a doomed dream, I think. It'll never happen. — Michael

What Stadium?

I came home from work and logged in to the mailbag to ascertain the latest thread. The first thing I read is, 'So we're moving to Kirkby then...' I scrolled down to find the expected announcement of some kind and I found nothing. I went to News and found nothing. I went to the Propoganda (Official) Website ? nothing!

Am I missing something here? Whether or not we believe we are actually moving to Kirkby, I am not aware of any announcement or confirmatory statement being made by Everton, so can I suggest we all calm down. If a statement is made at the AGM then this should be followed (surely) by a detailed plan explaining the rationale for such a move and the proposed benefits. Let's read that before we panic.

It is feasible that the add-ons (if there are any) could make the whole thing a great adventure. What would posters be saying if the plans included night clubs, an Everton Museum (with the David France Collection), a Supporters Club, wine bars, a couple of pubs, and an architectural layout that at least 'reflected' where we came from?

This is probably a pipe-dream but at least let us remember that the bloke in charge of the organization that will be paying for this IS an Evertonian and, while looking after his company's interests will no doubt be his priority, he won't want his club moving from one 'shithouse' to another.

As for the poster who described The Grand Old Lady as just that, don't say it in front of me, pal, because ? as old as I am ? I might just fucking nut yer! If the bulldozers ever move in to demolish Goodison, a large part of me will die with her and my dad's and uncle Peter's graves in Everton cemetery will be spinning that fast there could be an earthquake.

This was where 55 years ago my dad used to park me in the boy's pen because he couldn't afford the full price for me and I would meet him at a specified spot on the other side of a wire fence. This is the place, while knowing he was dying, my uncle Peter could not restrain himself from going to watch his beloved team, and it was in the Grand Old Lady that he did die in 1963.

This is the place where I have seen Everton parade seven trophies around the pitch (not including Charity Shields) and this was the place that was the second venue after Wembley for the 1966 World Cup.

Her tights may be wrinkled now but she sure was a good looking gal in those days! I don't want to move to Kirkby or anywhere else away from Goodison. Just look at the footprint of Goodison on Google Earth and there is bags of room, even more if we could get the school and the transport company next door. We could build a new Wembley if size was important. If regeneration of the area is a priority, then a new school and the relocation of an eyesore would surely not be a bad thing.

But let's see what we are being offered first before we start spouting. We will never be offered better than the Grand Old Lady, but it's a matter of how close the alternative is to what in my mind is the most pertinent statement in football as to what a stadium should mean to the supporters of a football club: GOODISON PARK!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (23/11/06)

Did you not read what that bloke said in that Malaysian paper? He was *ahem* misquoted, of course. The problem is, once it is announced it will be a done deal. I think people are right to react now to the prospect and at least give the Club a heads-up regarding the range of attitudes out there. — Michael

Just a thought

Has anyone told Tesco`s that if they fund an Everton stadium they`ll lose half their customers on Merseyside?
David Parsons, Kirkdale  (23/11/06)

Making a gesture

Shopped at Morrison`s this week - well, it's a bloody start ain`t it?
Trevor White, Walton  (23/11/06)

A call to arms

Linking two recent postings and the Editor`s reponse, the followers of Saturday`s opponents, Charlton, didn`t just sit on their arses when their return to Greenwich was threatened by apathy at the club and total indifference from the local authority. They organised themselves into the most effective pressure group in football history, stood in and won seats in many local wards of the council and gradually persuaded the powers-that-be that a Charlton base was vital to the economy and general well-being of the area. What they didn`t do was fuck off permanently up the road to Croydon! Let`s do something, not just moan!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (23/11/06)

Stink in the Boardroom

So we're moving to Kirkby and the fans never had a shout. Oh well... since when did the fans ever have a say in anything that is the future of Everton? We are always the last to know and usally when it's too late. The club belongs to the fans but it doesn't feel like it to me anymore.
Micky Wilcox, Runcorn  (23/11/06)

The fans of Everton think the club belongs to them because they are "supporters". But for a very long time ? since 1889, in fact ? the club has been a business, run like a business, and the supporters have been loyal customers.

The club is owned by the shareholders, and it has been that way ever since the earliest days, when clubs were allowed to form limited companies to protect the people involved in running them from being personally liable. The people running the business, who are (or have been appointed by) the biggest shareholders, are the ones who make the decisions.

If Evertonians had any real desire to be involved in the running of the Club, they would become shareholders, they would develop a Fans Trust, they would establish a mechanism for their voice to be heard. It would take a long time, and it would not affect the simple truth that the ones with the biggest power are the biggest shareholders ? they are the ones who make the decisions. — Michael

Run-down area

Goodison Park is sited in a post-industrial part of Liverpool. It does have most of the problems associated with inner-city areas. The economics and the plight of the local people will be exacerbated when Everton vacate Goodison. So, does EFC owe anything to this area? Yes, if it is a so-called Club of the Community.

Our friends and neighbours also (to those of you not familiar with the Anfield District) has the same conditions and problems as Walton has. So the arguments that EFC has to move due to socio/economic factors are extreme and way off-beam. LFC are moving into a public park, which is sited between their current home and Goodison Park. Therefore how will it escape the problems affecting Walton and Anfield districts?

More importantly, in 10-20 years, how will the area have changed. Everton leaving Goodison Park will allow the financiers and City leaders to ride roughshod over the unfortunate people who reside in these areas and what used to be called 'home' will become a theme park for the managers and the well-to-do to spend their leisure time. Meanwhile, the people who currently live in these areas will be swept out to Runcorn, Skelmersdale and other outlying areas.

Regeneration, my arse! ? a chance to make loads of dosh on the back of the vast unwashed and unwanted is more like it.

So there is far more to this debate than what we as Evertonians want for our club. I'm afraid that 'our' club has neglected its responsibilies and shat on all those people who have helped the club directly or indirectly in the past 125 years. For that reason, Everton may be selling far more than the family silver and I believe will pay a heavy price for its complete lack of understanding of its place in the community and the heritage ? something it currenty trumpets for commercial reasons.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (23/11/06)

Don`t get too excited!

I wouldn`t get too excited about a ground move. Unless Tesco are prepared to fund the whole shebang, Bill`s record on fund-raising indicates that he`ll never be able to fund the balance. Even ?30M was beyond him for King`s Dock!
Compton Watkins, Pen-y-stryt  (23/11/06)

Jim, I'll hold your coat

As an Evertonian from way back, my occasional contribution to the mailbag comes from wanting only the best for the club. Being somewhat removed from Merseyside and rarely able to visit, I have refrained from entering debate on a new stadium. However, I am obliged to say that Jim Hourigan?s letter covers everything I might have penned. Except to say that a new stadium is badly needed and I hope everyone supports whatever is decided. I will not make other comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, Charlton being a candidate for relegation, this week's game ? regardless of referee decisions, bad luck or other pathetic excuse ? is a must win. Anything less than clear-cut victory would be a bad omen for the rest of the season.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (23/11/06)

It's ironic, in a way, that we travel to Charlton this coming weekend. This is the same club who were forced out of their home, condemned to years as a nomadic club, moving from ground to ground. Eventually, they turned a corner and were in a position to move back to The Valley ? a ground that over recent years has seen steady redevelopment, and continues to do so. Pretty soon, on a site that was derelict not that many years back, they will have a fine stadium with a capacity greater than Goodison Park ? which only serves to give weight to the argument that Goodison Park could indeed be redeveloped. If only the goodwill was there... ? Colm

Thirty pieces of silver

In reply to Lee Sprargo ? my recent piece on La Bombonera was not intended to suggest that staying at Goodison in its current state is an option or to question the merits of redevelopment. My article did lead with the conclusion that all debate and conjecture from a fans perspective will remain academic as the powers that be will cite the economic factors which will exepdite the relocation to Kirkby our wherever the new stadium may be. The comparrison with Boca Juniors was intended to focus on the similarities in the identity of the fan-base and their rivalry with the more affluent and prestigious River Plate.

Jim Hourigan may be true in that Goodison is located in a deprived and disadvantaged area; this has, however, always been the case and a move to Kirkby may change the surroundings but the fanbase will stay relatively the same. Is the People's Club a mere soundbite or does it ressonate much deeper into the fabric of the identity of an Evertonian?

The one factor remains that, in considering the clubs who have relocated in the past 20 years, how many of them have prospered? Middlesborough and Bolton to a degree; Southampton; Derby; Man City; Coventry; Sunderland. It's early days for Arsenal at The Emirates but home form this season has been problematic, lack of atmosphere and identity being cited as factors and almost the feeling of playing away when at home.

In looking at the Clubs who have redeveloped: Celtic, Rangers, Newcastle Utd, Manchester United ? all big Clubs who have stayed put; Liverpool, planning to move only a couple of hundred yards.

The move to Kirkby appears inevitable, thirty pieces of silver as a seduction to fans keen on relocation. Like a new new car without sustainability and investment, the novelty will soon wear off. Anyone who has been to the Riverside stadium will know that it's just another new-build stadium that is already starting to show its age, marooned in a brownfield site with little else for company.

Identity, heritage and tradition have little cach? in the Sky-age Premiership, yet it is these factors who make Everton who they are ? a Grand Old Team to Play For, St Domingo's FC, and the People's Club.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (23/11/06)

Daring to be different

I have long thought that Everton ? and Evertonians ? would never have got round to this new stadium nonsense if `them over yonder` hadn`t mooted it first.

I love my Goodison and I hate bloody Tesco`s and all they stand for. Why, for once, can`t we be different fron them and re-develop Goodison to maintain our sense of identity? Ellis did just that with Villa Park and although the mob eventually hounded him out for not spending enough on the team, the ground remains sacred to all who have ever supported that club.

In spite of record turnovers, Kenwright & Co seem incapable of controlling expenditure and I have no doubt that ANY move will see us end up in deep shit. We`ve rode our luck on relegation, time and time again but, like so many other clubs, I am convinced a move will tip us over the edge.
Peter Lapsley, Speke  (23/11/06)

Shaun's Article

Well said, Shaun Sparke; these 3 particular "happenings" are often remarked upon by us older hands, although the impact on Everton is of no consequence compared to the tragedy of war and mass murder. I remember me dad being dead worried during the Cuban Missile Crisis in Oct '62 because we were heading for the Title; in Jan '63, me mam was convinced a new Ice Age was going to stop us being champions.

More trivial (?) bad-luck incidents, but true nonetheless, in no special order:

  1. Tony Kay ? sod all to do with EFC but we were the victims; if it happened today it'd be laughed out of court
  2. Jimmy Husband being cut in half by Dave Mackay and ever after being half the player
  3. Paul Bracewell's "floating ankle bone-flake" ending his best years
  4. Mark Higgins's career-ending pelvic thingy; two years later, a minor op would have fixed it
  5. Clive Thomas being born

Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (23/11/06)

The streets of Liverpool

In response to Jim Hourigan's mail about the surrounding area of Goodison Park.

For me, the streets around GP make up part of the club's atmosphere and history. Liverpool, like many other North West towns/cities, is very much working class. The ground situated right in the middle of the community around the terraced houses shows what the club is ? the People's Club. Too cite this as a reason to move to a new green-belt site in the middle of nowhere, with no charisma or character is short-sighted.

Personally, I enjoy the walk to the ground. Only when this is not there will people realise what it meant and signified. So what if other people don't like the area. If we could re-build GP, more from selling out to Tesco, while keeping our identity and history.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (23/11/06)

"... we could achieve more than selling out to Tesco,"? ? is that waht you meant? — Michael

A total disgrace

So the move to Kirkby is a done deal. Everyone in control of our club as well as the scheming charletons who run Liverpool City Council should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. To even contemplate losing such an institution to a neighbouring authority is a total disgrace and a decision that will haunt eveyone concerned in it till their dying day.

One councillor of my aquaintance ? a Red ? told me proudly the other day,`It will allow Z-Cars to return to it`s spiritual home`.

With the wets in charge of the club these days and a council who have changed the meaning of Red, what fucking chance have we got? I predict that in five years time the club I love will be `gone` in every sense!
Freddie Kilfoyle, Chidwall  (23/11/06)

Might be a tad melodramatic but I too have genuine fears for the long term well-being of Everton FC if we relocate in Kirkby. ? Colm

Watch yer car la?

Having lived in Aigburth in South Liverpool for over 10 years, and at the same time being a season-ticket holder, I have many fond memories of games at Goodison Park.

I also remember the poor facilities on offer at GP: cramped room in the stands; toilets that smelt like they hadn't been cleaned for years; very basic catering facilitiesv, serving sub-standard food; no merchandising available inside the ground; virtually no parking at the ground; obstructed views.

I also remember parking my car in the same backstreet about a mile from the ground and having the same bunch of youths come up to me and ask "Watch yer car la?". I always agreed and dutifully paid the oldest youth a fiver after every game. Surprisingly my car was always unscathed.

Friends of mine who have also driven to GP from outside the city have all had bad experiences of parking in the streets while watching a game. Each have returned to their cars to find they have either been vandalised, broken into or are without wheels. It's no laughing matter, as it makes me feel ashamed of our proud city. It also deters people from coming to future games. How much do you think that our poor facilities are directly responsible for stopping people coming to games?

I think a new modern stadium with secure convenient parking, clean toilets, comfortable seating, quality catering and onsite merchandising, would not only appease the existing diehard fans, but attract a new breed of fan whowould feel safe and comfortable at games.

It's easy for the diehard fans to say it's all about the football and the atmosphere, but I think coming to a football game can be much more than that. You only need to look at the facilities at soccer stadiums in the USA.

The morale is, if the club looks after its fans, then the fans will look after their club.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (23/11/06)

I think you'll find it's more a case of these diehard fans, as you call them, saying "enough's enough" and opting instead for the pub to watch the game on television. - Colm

You Choose!

With the debate regarding new stadium hotting up again, I would be intrested in what the fans vision/expectations are. Why not visit StadiumGuide.com and give the mailbag a view, it even has images of new stadiums from across europe. If we are to move (and I think we should) let's at least fantasise about what it should look like.
James Gardener, Chester  (23/11/06)

What? Give fans a say?! Pure fantasy indeed! ? Colm

Has this been answered?

I was just wondering, where would we play while either Goodison was being redeveloped or the new stadium was built. It could start in the off season, but it would take months and months so we'd need a temporary venue. if we were to go to a new stadium, we could still play at Goodison, but if we redevelop the old girl?
Nathan Round, berri australia  (23/11/06)

Plain and simple, Nathan ? Everton are not interested in gradual redevelopment of Goodison Park. ? Colm

Stanley Park

Why can't Everton have a ground built on Stanley Park? After all, we was here first. Or more than likely too many of the darkside are on the Liverpool Council. Is there not enough room in Stanley Park for two grounds?
Lee Rogers, Coventry  (23/11/06)

Re: We must move

Lee, firstly it's good to have an article offering a different perspective and opinion to the mail that has recently been sent in about the ground move. However I think there are a few key points here:

  1. Goodison CAN be redeveloped. That's a fact.
  2. The ground capacity would be 50,000 which I think would be an ideal capacity.
  3. While redeveloping, the capacity wouldn't fall below 35,000, which is currently the average attendance.
  4. Moving away from Goodison would mean loss of ownership.
The last point you make about sentimentality I agree with. Goodison is too old to continue. What me musn't lose sight of here is our heritage and history. By moving from Goodison we lose our identity, not just with the ground but the surrounding area. All we would take with us is our name.

To move 5 miles away from Goodison into the middle of a Tesco car park fills me with dread. What is it that we are actually going to gain? Extra revenue? Somehow I think not. The problem is this, that the people who run the club don't give a damn about what is right for the club. Just how their pockets can be lined and to hell with the average fan. I for one will oppose any potential move away and I'm willing to lobby them until the day the bulldozers move in. The Grand Old Lady deserves more respect.
Craig Heywood, Liverpool  (23/11/06)

We must move

Lee Spargo is right ? we must move and I'll offer some other reasons. Perhaps my next few comments may appall some people but the sad fact is that Goodison is in an awful area.

As I walk to the ground each game, and have done for over 40 years, through streets full of dog shit, litter and the sense of a depressing environment it does not provoke a positive feeling.

As distasteful as these comments may seem to some, they are not said to deliberately insult but to highlight what people outside the area think. I also have many friends who support other northwest clubs and their comments are almost always the same ? old stadium, living in the past, in a crap part of the city, depressing to walk or travel to, no amenities and in a time-warp.

Now if these are the views of 'ordinary Joes' who have no particular axe to grind, what would a business man or an investor think? It's not rocket science to recognise why people don't invest in Everton ? just step outside the ground and take an objective view of where we play and what we have to offer.

Now I'm not proposing Kirkby or anywhere else, but what I am saying is MOVE and move away from the area. We must move to somewhere that has modern facilities that will attract the modern supporter.

I don't subscribe to the view that tradition is all ? cannabalism was a tradition but it was wrong!!! We have to move on, as we all grow older, it's not the present that is the issue but the future ? the future for my kids who I've brought up as blues, and their kids. I'm sorry to say, but the fact of life for the modern youth is comfort, appearance and style.

Go and speak to any group of youngsters about image and se what response you get. Me and people of my age (>45) have had our great times enjoying the Old Lady, the time is now for the younger Sky generation to have theirs ? and that will only be achieved in a modern stadium in a more appealing environment with amenities to match.

ps: My sincere intention is not to offend anyone who lives in or around the ground but to offer a perspective from outside the city on this important debate.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (22/11/06)

The truth that dare not speak it's name. You are a bold and brave man indeed, Jim Hourigan. And, I must say, 100% nailed on in every respect. Maybe that's what Scott Edwards below meant when he called it a shithole. ? Michael

Blue Bill 24/7

?One of the twenty richest clubs in Europe"

Remember that! It was only 12 months ago and how Bill and his print lackeys lauded it and blew their trumpets. This year, they will all be sticking there heads in the sand and spinning all they can.

I can see it now, Bill will announce were moving to Kirkby in the AGM because let's face it there is fuck all else to announce. Did I forget to mention that your opinion on the move counts for shit? Bill will have Dominic King of the Echo all wired up to go with good copy and the lackeys will sing his name.

So try not to forget that we are a club with crippling short- and long-term massive debts and an owner who has had 7 years to get expenditure under control and has failed on all accounts.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (22/111/06)

Ah yes but, I am reliably informed, we can boast the second-best-ever figures for turnover. Now isn't that worth celebrating? — Michael

Short and Sweet

I run a couple of companies. So I have the ability to understand the accounts. I have not yet seen the published results.

Anyone who doesn't know accounts needs to understand something: published results are accurate for the date they where published. The interpretations you make on them are down to the individual interpreting them.

It's equally important to understand that the people who make these decisions do so in the belief they are acting on Everton's best interest.

As a fan, not a shareholder who actually has a financial interest in the club, I think we are on the right track. As a shareholder I may be less than happy, because I want to see my investment make money.

That's it in a nutshell: I am an Everton customer, people who now own the football club have their own interests at heart. And the much lauded potential investor will have their own agendas.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (22/11/06)

Now, I didn't know that. I thought the financial results were supposed to reflect a full financial year of activity, in this case, up to and including 31 May 2006? And I always thought the purpose of the accountants was not necessarily to make them accurate per se, but to cook the books sufficiently to make it look like things were reasonably rosey.

Also, what about this idea of Football Trusts? You'd have thought that would have tremendous interest among the fanbase (read David Conn's latest article) but I guess the Man Utd experience is a salutary lesson to all fans who think they can become part-owners of their clubs, an dthus more involved in the decision-making process... Michael

ps: On that point, is there a link anyone can provide that would lead me to a good article describing what the Manc Supporters group went through, and what their status is now with the club? They call themselves a trust, but they presumably don't have any shares....

Response to Scott Edwards

Goodison Park the shithole?

Ok, it's antiquated and in need of updating, but shithole? Are you sure? From my seat, admittedly in the newest stand in the ground, it is truly a beautiful sight... despite its obvious failings. The imposing scale of the Goodison Road side, the two classic Leitch stands running around Bullens Road and Gwladys Street.

OK it's got more obstructed views than the Pride Parks and Riversides of this world... It's also got more unobstructed seats than them. It more importantly offers more variety of viewing angles and elevations than most of the modern identikit bowls, with the double deckers bringing fans closer to the action than it's single-tiered counterparts.

Furthermore, the historic value of the site of this ? the world's first purpose-built footy stadium, the site of the first double-decker stand, first stadium with two, then three, then four Double-decker stands. The first triple-tier in this country... etc etc ? should command more respect than shithole surely. Especially from Evertonians!!

All that is new is not necessarilly better than all that is old.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

22 players, a Ref, a Ball, and a Crowd

All this talk about stadiums, sites and facilities leaves me dizzy.

I may well be viewed as a dinosaur, but the reason I go to the game is to see football. Not to have a shopping experience which I can get at somewhere like the Arndale Centre. Not to eat the latest fad food or try the latest wine from Australia before the game. Income streams, Point of Sale and other such nonesense is for accountants and shareholders. I go to watch Everton play football against their opponents.

Wembley was a dung-heap and its facilities were crass but anyone who likes football will tell you that it had a certain magic which came from it's place in football history and the stories which were attached to it.

Goodison has that same historical relevance and to Evertonians, I would argue, even moreso. I would rather the club lowered the capacity and raised the admission prices than move outside of the City of Liverpool. Because, when we move to Kirkby, we will be asked to pay a significantly higher price for the same product, albeit in a nice shiny shopping centre.

For me, as a season-ticket holder, the priority will always be what is the team doing. For those who believe that moving ground will be a panacea for all the club's ills, just look at Southampton, Derby and Sunderland as examples as to what can happen...

Also, think how many excuses the club will have for not being a top-six side. The players haven't settled into the stadium yet, the crowds are down because we underestimated the costs of travel. We cannot buy new players because: a) they don't know where Kirkby is; b) the overheads have been higher than expected; c) the City of Liverpool has better facilities than we have in Knowsley.

So, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (22/11/06)

Does this topic not have the makings of a classic Evertonian schism? Perhaps even the whole spectrum, given there are opinions across the board on what we need / don't need and what will happen / won't happen. I think you can guarantee that only a portion of the fanbase is going to be happy with the outcome, whatever it is to be. How does that pathetic lament go, again? Oh yes: "We're all Evertonians, we only want what's best for the club, why not put aside our differences and get behind the team / club / manager / chairman / Board..." — Michael

Impact Required!

Seeing as Victor Anichebe has failed on a number of occaisions to make an impact or get a goal at reserve level, maybe people should stop demanding Moyes play him and instead start supporting James Beattie?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

Obsessed Evertonian

In response to Dan Weston, who accused me of being ?One of those Evertonians obsessed with past glories and disappointments?, I have to agree he may have a point. But I would also like to add I am lucky enough to be one of those Evertonians who have tasted success and know what it is like to watch good entertaining football week after week ? as opposed to the endless defensive dross we have been watching over far more years than I care to remember.

As for quoting Alan Bennett at me, what was that all about fella? I can think of a far more appropriate quote attributed to Sam Levenson, which you would do well to read. ?It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it.?
Shaun Sparke, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

FC K?ln

I heard a rumour that FC K?ln's World Cup stadium has been looked at by Everton as a model for the new ground:


© Thomas Vergouwen

Rectanglur shape (no bowl), high sided steep stands, holds 50,000, in blue of course. Thoughts?
Dick Bill, York  (22/11/06)

I think curves are more visually appealing. Michael

Comparisons with 1892

To say that people probably complained when we left Anfield is hardly comparable with now and over 115 years at Goodison Park. Probably like most Evertonians I have no problems with moving per se. But location and quality of the stadium we will be getting must come into it surely. It's not good enough to simply say that GP is old, so let's move, end of.

Then there is the point that GP and all the history stacked up behind it holds a lot of real value... and to give that up for anything as long as it's new, and no matter where it is, cheapens our history greatly. If we are to move, it has to be to a great stadium, and in a location superior to the current site.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

Changing times

I find it hard to believe how so many fans are still so against moving away from Goodison. What's the downside?

  • A bigger, modern stadium which will be capable of attracting much more in the way of finances through corporate boxes, better functions, added areas like shops, bars etc.
  • Higher quality players will more likely want to come to the club to play in better surroundings.
  • Fans from visiting clubs will be more likely to make the trip to a ground where they'll recieve better facilities, and will be prepared to pay more for it.
  • There will be far more chance of being a recognised venue for European Championships and World Cups of the future, and even Champions League finals if we do it right.
So what if we do move to Kirkby? It's only ten minutes down the road from where we're based in Walton now! I can sympathise with people who feel it is our historical home, but Highbury was Arsenal's, where they won numerous trophies. Yet the Gunners have taken the bold step of shifting (albeit a short distance) and even renamed their stadium for what is surely a hefty sponsorship deal.

I fear if Everton do not take advantage of the European cash that's available in this city before it's gone then, our only option will be to renovate what we've got. That can't be real progress because of the limitations in comparison to starting from the ground up in a place where you're not surrounded by houses and schools etc.

Personally, I'm fed up with not being able to park my car somewhere secure, sitting on shite wooden seats, having obstructed views, crap facilities... Do I need to go on? I'm happy to suffer it for as long as it takes, but I'd like to see progress both on and off the pitch.

For those who think we're selling out, do you really want to pass the now shithole that is Goodison Park onto your kids and grandkids? If so, I reckon they're ten times more likely to be watching future relegation or even promotion battles than scraps for the title or European places!

If you paint over the shit, there's still shit underneath no matter how many layers you add. I hope next months AGM brings some news of progression, but I struggle to see anything that can be more of a progression than what a "NEW" stadium will bring!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

New ground

I am willing to bet that the same excuse was given when we moved away from Anfield. The atmosphere will be gone ? tough luck; we need to move with the times. Living in the past may be good for some things but if we want to compete with other Premiership clubs, we must move on.
Doug Hastings, Bootle  (22/11/06)

Tesco`s a done deal

Unless it`s wilful mis-information, I got confirmation last night from a Council `high up` that the Kirkby Tesco site is a done deal and will be announced at the AGM. This leaves the Liverpool local authority free to throw loads of funding at the rival`s development in `our` park on the grounds that Everton have `walked away` from the city. Such are the vagaries of local politics!
Ian McArdle, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

Land Manager 2007

Never going to happen especially when BS Billy now has full control and the only money leaking from the club is into his lapdog Wyness's already bloated pockets but anyone notice Warren Bradley has passed redevelopment of the former Garden Festival site to be rebuilt? Surely on a piece of ground this big we could build a stadium?

Maybe Tesco's don't see nearby Dingle as customers.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (22/11/06)

Look at Uncle Jack

Anybody who thinks it`s easy to bring success to a football club should take a look at the situation down here. Poor old Jack Hayward ? as honest as the day is long ? has squandered upwards of ?100 million of his own money on trying to re-invigorate his beloved Wolves. A superb new ground, limitless funds given to managers (including three ex-international chiefs) and still the team is in the doldrums. Only goes to show, it ain`t all bad at Everton ? Kenwright may be a luvvie prat but he`s kept us `in contention` and he`s not having to put the `sell to anyone for ?20M` signs up like Uncle Jack.
Barry Middlemore, Wolverhampton  (22/11/06)

Kenwright can`t win!

Everton owner Bill Kenwright stands no chance with ToffeeWeb. Fail to provide funds to strengthen the team and he`s a mean old bugger; indulge the manager in his every whim (as he has done) and he`s accused of being profligate! In a multi-million pound business like Everton, a ?10 million loss hardly registers and so long as the cash flow is under control, it has little significance for the well-being of the club.

The truth of the matter is that unlike many club supremos, there`s nothing in Everton for Kenwright apart from the cudos of controlling his own dream team. For God`s sake leave the old bugger alone ? he`s doing his best for us!
Peter Simpkins, Maghull  (22/11/06)

No big deal but.....

Must say I find it difficult to get too excited over a ?10million loss. Most clubs and many large companies make losses but as long as the borrowing to cover it can be managed then it`s no big deal. What is becoming clear is that perennial mid-table mediocrity will not be good enough to keep us in the black so one day there will have to be a reckoning!
Walter Inglis, Aintree  (22/11/06)

Accepting the ordinary

Comments from a recent post from Brian Baker (Aldershot), "Remember, we will only look good if the opposition let us" are all to symptomatic of some of the club's support of late. Mate, I have to disagree with you here, if you are good, it don't matter what the opposition do.

"If we play a good side, expect us to look ordinary sometimes" Can't get to grips with this one either, fella. Everton look ordinary at the moment because that is exactly what we are. The squad Moyes has assembled has no natural balance, a bit like the Board we have in place.

After 40 years of watching the Blues, I can at least console myself that I have seen far from ordinary sides in the Royal Blue shirt and I am a long way away from accepting what for some, has become the norm. The only way we will get change is to make ourselves heard, it's unfortunate we are not all united about what we deem is acceptable for Everton FC.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (22/11/06)

Obsessed with the past

Shaun Sparke is yet another of those Evertonians obsessed by past glories and disappointments. Living down here, all you hear of is Villa`s magnificent heritage and how they were denied another `First Division Championship` in 1919. Who bloody cares? As Alan Bennett famously wrote "history is just one fucking thing after another!" The only history most of us care about is seeing another win on the record come Saturday!COYB.
Dan Weston, Birmingham  (22/11/06)

Who gives a stuff?

Only ToffeeWeb ? and John Cribb ? care a stuff about Everton `losing` ?10M! That`s just about the cost of buying AJ and Lescott ? show me an Evertonian who`d swop them for a clean balance sheet! Every club loses a fortune ? just look at Liverpool and Man Utd`s borrowings. All in all, Kenwright`s done a decent job keeping us competitive and if he can persuade his mate at Tesco to buy us a new ground he`ll be a bloody hero!
Mike Dempster, Llay  (21/11/06)

Parking around the ground

I'd like to know if the club have an input on parking around goodison. The reason being that, in the past, not all the streets had permits only, so if you got their early enough, you could get a parking speck.

Now that all the streets around the ground are permit only, I have to get public transport to the game, which can be a pain either if your running late and more important, if there is a night game and the club advertise to bring your family. I'm going to get home close to midnight, which for me is a no-no.

Now, I get off the train at Kirkdale at about 2:40pm and all these streets I walk through have loads of spaces because they have not got cars. If you walk through the streets near the ground there are hundreds of spaces, surely through the council and the club something can be done?
Colin Malone, Wirral  (22/11/06)

Re La Bombonera

Unless things have changed since I left, and I doubt they have, you would think, if Peter Laing wanted to pen a serious article on the relocation of the Blues, he would at least do his homework and be able to get the right town with the correct spelling. It is Kirkby.
Paul McNulty, Australia  (22/11/06)

Re La Bombonera

Being an advocate of the increasingly unlikely redevelopment of Goodison I was amused by Peter Laing's references to the 'Tesco Bowel' and 'Kirby Bowel'.

Hopefully not typos or editorial oversights!

It might take longer (than having a new stadium in 2011????), be an inconvenience for some seasons, and cost more. But it would mean a lot more to a lot of Blues than a new location.
Eric Myles, Seoul, Korea  (22/11/06)

Hmmm... who let that get through! I can feel a new form of irritable bowel syndrome coming on! ? Michael

I allowed it through, presuming it to be an author's poetic license and clever too! - Colm

Anichebe Draws A Blank

Say it quietly but Victor Anichebe failed to score again for the reserves in their 3-0 defeat last night. Everyone holds Anichebe up as the great goalscoring hope but Moyes is no fool and if he was better then Beattie, I think Moyes would play him.

Nobody questions the potential of Anichebe but Beattie did a good job against Bolton and hopefully will soon get back to the form which saw him almost get an England call-up and finish last season as our leading goalscorer.
John Cottee, Romford  (22/11/06)

Attendances

I find it encouraging to see that, despite the current levels of dissatisfaction amongst supporters with the way the season has turned out, attendances at Goodison have not dropped in any significant way (still averaging 35 or 36 thousand I think). Even this time last season, with the whole 4th-place finish / Champions League thing still fresh and a horrific league run in place I don't remember attendances dropping that much.

I appreciate that, even with 'obstructed view' seats and away fans' ticket allocations, we could still fit a few more in, the ground ain't half empty like a lot of Premiership grounds seem to be when you watch any of the highlights packages. While we seem to be moaners of the month right now, it's heartening to see we're not quite the fickle bunch football fans are made out to be! Take a bow, folks.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (21/11/06)

I was thinking the last couple of games had shown a downturn but both attendances were almost identical to the corresponding fixtures last season... which reminds me: what's happened to Steve Flanagan's Season Comparison!? ? Michael

Bill Kenwright to resign at AGM!

Breaking News ? Bill Kenwright will resign at the AGM... and it?s just a fucking shame that he will be voted back on to the Board within 2 minutes.

  • This Pied Piper is going to lead us to Kirkby and we won?t have a say in the matter.
  • This Fool has handed over nearly ?70 million in transfer money with an ROI of a big fat Zero.
  • This Man has lied through his teeth to make us believe that he could attract investment while he nailed the 'Not for Sale' sign over Goodison Park years ago.
  • This Visionary has hired football managers and yet all we have become is a mid table team over 7 years.
  • This is the man who told us all that there were no rich investors while the investors came and snapped up other clubs left, right and center.
  • This is the Chairman who handed a 77% pay rise to our CEO while the club posted a ?10 million brick worth of losses.
  • This Chairman is living in his own dream but it was never our dream.
So the AGM will come and Bill will go and them he will be back like a bad dream then never goes away. I wish for better times but with this selfish old man... we have no chance. Bitter? You bet I am ? and I wish Santa would take Bill to the fucking North Pole.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (22/11/06)

Wow! I guess you really don't like Our Billy! But we're seventh? We're in the top twenty richest clubs in the world... And we finished fourth a few years ago... and... and... He did promise to stand down if it would be in the best interests of Everton FC. Ooops, I missed out some vital words... "if he thought it would be in the best interests..." Er, I guess we have your answer John! ? Michael

Re: article about La Bombonera

Regarding the lack of corporate facilities at this stadium. I think you will find that one whole side is dedicated to private Boxes, creating one of the most unbalanced stadiums in the world. That said, a spectacular sight nevertheless.

Redevelopment of GP has been shown to be feasible by several people.... it's a case of how much value you put on staying at our home of almost 115 years ? evidently not that much, according to our current leaders.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

Steel required!!!

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am I totally missing the Neville thing, I really don't get it.

A few observations from the season so far. Fristly Hibbert is a better full back ? no honestly. I also thought that we paid all that money for a tenacious midifelder who could pass a ball. Alsa not... my mid contuinually wonders to Johnathan Greening ? Nicky Butt.

The answer is easy: get rid to someone who has rose coloured glases on or he is totally found out. Use the money and add Nolan and yes, I will say it: Joey Barton.

Take the bitterness away; I would take him tommorow. Cahill, Atreta, Barton & Nolan... and before we ask "Are your dreaming?", get rid of "Sir Phillip" & "Fat Man" up front for about ?8 million for the two of them, and use it on these who can put it about and play ... then we will not be over-run pysically by average outfits every week.

And by the way it's called being ambitious and positive Mr Moyes... Deaf ears, I think.
Bobby Dempster, Huyton  (21/11/06)

Moyes has invested a lot in Pip ? not just money. So don't expect to see him dropped any time soon ? nevermind sold on! Moyes probably assesses his skills and overall contribution using the same monocle through which he views that other technically gifted player he bought: Simon Davies. — Michael

January Window

The simple fact is, as the accounts you had on the site yesterday showed, we don't have any cash to spend in January. Unless of course we offload first. And even then there's no guarantee the proceeds will be spent on new players.

Moyes has said the last two Januarys that he doesn't like using the window to bring in players. Whether that's true or just reflecting the financial realities nobody knows. But there certainly has been a U-turn today from his comments as reported in the Daily Post this morning. Maybe somebody's shown him the accounts!

Actually I've seen no other mention of them as yet, although I've not been looking very hard. They made grim reading and I wonder to what degree they've been 'padded' by including in the early take up of this season's season tickets. Presumably this sort of offer will need to become an annual event now so that the income figures don't look even worse by comparison. From the 'best figures in the club's history' to bloody near the worst. And we thought the team was inconsistent!
Chris Williams, Neston  (21/11/06)

Shhh... the Annual Report, and the information it contains on the accounts, is only for the eyes of Shareholders until it is formally unveiled at the AGM next month. So please, pretend you didn't see anything. It's better that way, isn't it? — Michael

Arteta

Didn't we sign Arteta in a January transfer window? I appreciate it was on loan at first, but to simply dismiss the January sales is surely wrong. Or is Moyes just saying that so he doesn't get bombarded with calls from agent's trying to sell us Nyarko's younger and 'better' brother. Who knows...
Dennis Marshall, London  (21/11/06)

He bought Beattie in a January window... er... perhaps I should have kept that one quiet. — Michael

Not As Good As We Thought?

The critism of Andy Johnson is probably most down to disappointment. When he was scoring all those goals, we all thought we had something special. Now that the goals have dried up it's very disappointing to accept he may not be as good as we all thought.

I think it's that disappointment that is causing so many people to give AJ stick. He's doing a good job for the team (as did Beattie against Bolton) and the goals will surely return.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

Playing to Strengths

A dreadful game with two dreary sides won by a great individual goal? Yes and no. Not for the first time this season, Moyes got his tactics spot on. It's becoming increasingly clear that at his best, Moyes is adept at producing sides who are well-organised with some fighting spirit. His main strength is to send out such a team, so he plays to it.

Will he ever be able to do this consistently, well, for a whole season for starters? And can he do anything else? And is anyone really, honestly enjoying watching us at the moment?

Yes, I'm grateful that, like all Everton managers over the last 40 years, Moyes hasn't got us relegated. It's just hard to get excited by any of this, isn't it?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (21/11/06)

I had the game on tape delay. I watched about the first 15 mins, then fast-fowarded to the goal, which was fabulous. I tried to watch the rest but quickly tired of that idea. Entertainment it ain't. — Michael

Working 24/7

In answer to the recent question with regards to the valuation of Everton FC Plc, would it be feasible to suggest that if Robert Earl can acquire 23% of the Club at a clandestine ?9M then the total worth would be circa ?40M? This is considerably less than the recent acquisition of West Ham at ?85M and Aston Villa at ?70M, both Clubs with history but not exactly located in the real estate locations of London and Birmingham respectively.

The 'For Sale' signs on Goodison Road are certainly not up or likely to be in the near future, Bill Kenwright calling on an old pal in Robert Earl to shore up his control on the family jewels and put the old Hornby train set away.

The forthcoming AGM is the perfect opportunity to elucidate the burning questions that seem to be troubling most fans, e.g. the ground move, investment and future direction of the Club. If we are to see the usual high glossed and PR spun presentation from Mr Wyness concerning the future then don't expect many answers ? Wyness and Kenwright are duty bound as custodians to provide the information concerning Robert Earl and the future of Goodison. My opinion is we are likely to hear the usual empty promises and soundbites about the 24/7 search for investment and the fans being informed about any significant proposals.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

"Duty-bound" Hahaha... that's funny. The only duty they have is to give away as little meaningful information as possible, hiding forever behind the cloak of 'commercial sensitivity' and more PR spin. Yes, we might get something about a new ground... if they are really serious about it. Buster did promise something by the end of the year... but I don't think you'll hear anything meaningful about investment in the club or its future direction. — Michael

Calm down!

God, what a re-actionary lot Evertonians are. Johnson ? a hero a month ago ? is now branded a flop whilst Arteta who is repeatedly anonymous away from Goodison is elevated to icon status on the strength of one super strike. Neville was the man who `must be` captain` in early season but is now the man they love to hate; and as for Osman, well....

The real truth is that all these players and, indeed, the rest of the team, have good games and bad ? very much dependent on the quality of the opposition. Please let`s not get so carried away in both our praise and deprication. But I guess that`s football fans the world over!
Colin Tunstall, Crosby  (21/11/06)

It is indeed, Colin! ? Colm

What did you expect?

I was interested to read all of the negative comments voiced in this mailbag on the recent win over Bolton. We did win, didn't we? The way some people were talking, you might have mistakenly thought that we lost.

What did people expect from a game against Bolton? Free-flowing football? A game that was a glowing example of the beautiful game? A an exciting end-to-end fluent passing game? No, No, and No!

Let me remind you, we played BOLTON! What kind of game would you expect from playing Bolton? Let me enlighten you. For a game against Bolton I would expect a turgid midfield battle, with few chances on goal, which is exactly what we got.

Don't forget, we lost the same fixture last season 4-0. Bolton are a good side and are always difficult to play, so beating them 1-0 is a very good result. We will only be allowed to play attractive passing foowball if the opposition let you, and Bolton don't give you that kind of space.

I expect the game against Charlton next week to be a more open game and hopefully more attractive to watch. Charlton are the home side and will try to attack us, giving us the chance to hit them on the counter with AJ's pace.

Remember we will only look good if the opposition let us. If we play a good side, expect us to look ordinary sometimes. That's Football.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (21/11/06)

I was well delighted with the result last week - and to be honest am not overly concerned with the performance put in by the team. A win is a win is a win. Particularly against arguably the most horrible team we'll face in the Premier League. It's a fact of life that we'll play well and lose one week and the next pick up three points on the back of a woeful performance. It happens. ? Colm

Andy Johnson

As a long-time supporter of Everton, I have been amazed to read and hear the criticism directed at Andy Johnson from local radio and press and more so from BLUE WEBSITES, some have even suggested he was a waste of money? I cannot understand most of the moans that have been directed at him.

Sure he has missed some chances, more so against Villa than Bolton, but in my opinion he is not getting the service his style needs. His running on Saturday versus Bolton helped to make the space for Arteta's great strike.

All great strikers have lean spells, and it will be sooner rather than later that AJ puts his to bed. For all the fans who have started to doubt his signing, all I will say is you'll be punching the air like you were last September, when he helped to destroy our red friends who still reside in our tent in Anfield.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

I too fail to comprehend some of the unfounded criticism aimed Johnson's way. But, hey, that's footy fans for you! ? Colm

Fan Mail ? honestly!

Dear Bluff-a-loan Bill,

I am writing to let you know that I am extremely pleased that your wonderful club are now competing tooth and nail with former Division Three sides, such as Bolton, Charlton, Middlesborough, Sheffield United, Wigan, Blackburn, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Reading, Man City and Fulham. I realise that it has been a difficult task in allowing your great club to flounder during your time as Director / Chairman whilst waiting for these clubs to arrive in the top-flight. But I congratulate you on achieving this feat.

I must also admit that your success in allowing your fans to believe that a new ground will materialise within 3-4 years is a masterstroke. Having them wait between 12-15 years for any significant progress has been a joy and I watch in awe as your former rivals see gates improve with rapidity and therefore help you to gain parity with those former 3rd Division clubs mentioned above.

Replacing one dour Scottish Manager with another and then selling the greatest prospect produced in England in half a century are surely only achievable by the most visionary of people. Bluff-a-Lot Bill sorry Bluff-a-Loan you are definitely one of those rare people, who manages to see visions without any substance.

Your able assistant, unlike that cheeky bloke, Trevor Birch, obviously agrees with your master plan and is doing a marvellous job in alienating supporters and thus reducing income streams still further. Asking for season-ticket money for this season to be paid in by the end of the last financial year also shows us mere mortals how to manipulate in order to decimate.

Obviously buying the David France collection could have been problematic as it was bound to gain value and once again you are to be congratulated for your ability to deflect the ownership to a charitable organisation. If, in the New Year, you could convince the ?Boss? to sell Beattie, Lescott and Andy Johnson for substantially less than you paid for them, then you could well be crowned the King of Entrepreneurs.

Too many people believe that good housekeeping and producing a good product are the secrets to long-term success. But this is to ignore the sheer excitement and thrill of living on the edge. Where is the joy of seeing a long-term strategy come to fruition when you are able to simultaneously meander in different directions and produce the same result? Why be prudent? You only get one opportunity to achieve your goals ? you have to go for it.

On a negative note, whilst the sponsorship deal with a little-known brewery is OK, there is a danger that your other partners may take advantage of your notoriety and make your plan too obvious too soon. After all Everton haven?t beaten their team since their arrival in the top flight and they have already finished above yours last season.

Whilst I am writing this complimentary letter, West Ham United, are looking good for a takeover, phew! Thank God it?s them eh! What with Villa and Newcastle also attracting new money, it won?t be long before the spiral of wages and transfer fees gets out of hand. This in turn will enable you to eclipse your former nemesis of the Hamper Empire and, who knows, by the time of the next World Cup you may even see the local derby that we have all dreamed about for so many years.

Good luck in all your endeavours and I hope you have another family friend to step in when you?re American pal gets fed up waiting for developments and a return on his investment.

Yours truly Stagehand ?Simple? Simon
John McFarlane, Lancs  (21/11/06)

Oh you cynic, you!!! We've never had it so good, y'know... ? Colm

What's it worth?

83% of West Ham sold for ?85 million. If West Ham is worth around ?100 million pound can any of you financial geniuses (genii??) out there work out how much it would cost to buy Everton?

Just out of interest like. My Euromillions numbers didn't come up unfortunately. And how much of that ?85 million will go towards investment (i.e. players)?
Thomas Farley, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

How much would it cost to buy Everton???? Sorry, but I think the "Not for Sale" sign is well and truly above the door! - Colm

But if it were, the recent transaction between Earl and the Gregg family would suggest no more than ?40 million for the shares. Then you should add the debts... oh look! that's another ?40 million! So we are probably "worth" about ?80 million is my guess. — Michael

Not fit to wear the Royal Blue

You either like or dislike a player and I for one don't know why Neville continues to play for our great club (bigger for him anyway). It totally defies me beyond belief how he can be made captain while he hasn't got the desire or determination to perform in Royal Blue ? let alone lead on the field.

How can fans defend this so-called England international? It's my belief that he's one of the players holding Everton back and the sooner Moyes takes off his rose-tinted glasses, and sees reality like Evertonians, then theres no reason why Europe can't be our destiny. I'm just like any other fan who wants our club to aspire fto bigger and better things. NSNO.
James O'Neill, Liverpool  (21/11/06)

Sorry, JJ, but you're just going to have to accept that Mr Moyes believes "Pip" is pivotal to the success and cohesiveness of his teams. Neville is one of the first names on the teamsheet, and sometimes he has a good game... while, on other occasions, he doesn't. A few months back, everyone was sceraming that Neville had to be captain while Weir needed to be put out to grass. Now you whip away the rug... who'd be a Premier League manager, eh? — Michael

The New Goodison ? Response

I was going to write a few weeks ago in response to Ed Bottomley's piece about the comparison with American Football - but issues in this piece are equally applicable.

I went to see New England Patriots in the middle of September. They have a new 70,000-seater stadium, no roof, an open end, and are just about to relay it with artifical turf. The playing surface was awful. There is more to a good surface than stadium design.

People who watch American Football do it in a different way to real football. We sit glued to our seats 45 minutes at a time - they get up and wander around and have a drink - because there are so many TV screens around that you can get the atmosphere - watch the game - and eat and drink at the same time. It means the 15 minute rush at 3:47 doesn't happen. You don't have to miss anything.

No club shop outside the ground ? they were inside. Quite a few of them so you could make your purchases before, during and after the match.

The car park was huge, but that was part of the pre/post match festivities. I just hope our new stadium doesn't mean two hours before you get out of the car park. Now we know why they all bring gazebos and bar-b-qs!

Finally - nothing to do with stadium design, but I was disappointed to find the crowd was louder than I have ever heard Goodison. Disrupting the away team's "play calling" was part of the game and the crowd could (and did) make a difference. The Patriots should have won easily but scraped home, it was so much like watching Everton!
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (21/11/06)

Ah, but what about them cheerleasders? ? Michael

In defence of Neville and in praise of Valente

Yes, he had a nightmare on Saturday but has anyone else noticed how he tries to inject a bit of pace into midfield by hitting a first-time pass instead of fannying around? Yes, these passes do sometimes go amiss (hell, on Saturday they ALL went awry) but at least I can usually see what he's TRYING to achieve with his passing ? unlike some of the other clowns.

Hibbert's passing is notoriously bad but I have to say that Joey's is pretty awful from right back too. If you want to watch how to control and pass a ball, take a look at Valente, who was my man of the match on Saturday. And to think he regularly cops for so much abuse! That dummy on Davies was pure class!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (21/11/06)

Is it for real?

Johnson?s goal famine, Beattie's laziness, a lousy midfield, a load of injured left backs, bad signings, a temporary keeper, debilitating virus, negative tactics, rubbish over-cautious manager, boardroom shenanigans, ground-move distractions, lack of investment, myriad other big and small complaints.

7th place must surely be a mirage. Our small army of doomsayers, scaremongers and nitpickers will succumb to fits of apoplexy if things don?t get worse pretty soon.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (21/11/06)

Stop being silly, Dickie. If thse things don't concern you, fine. But there are some fans who are concerned about them. To them (and me!) it's a bit more than just looking at the table and saying, "Mmmmm yes... seventh place... lovely jubbly!" — Michael

One year on

Just read the ''One year on'' article, only thing I can say is that if I went to my boss and said that I had just increased the costs of his business by nearly 12% then I would be looking at no pay rise and definitely no bonus. If I then had the gall to consider my boss or shareholders to be gullible, and try to explain it away with a positive spin then my feet would not touch ? it would be the situations vacant for bedtime reading.

In the real world your expense target is the maximum, not the amount you cannot drop below. In the real world you need to reduce costs or increase income to cover the increased costs. In the football financial world I would be happy with a bit of consistency, not being told that one year we are one of the richest top 20, then this year we make a big loss?

We all recognise that you have to speculate to accumulate and let?s be honest as a fan who has never argued for buying certain players, but let?s be sensible ? we don't want to do a Leeds. In reality, Moyes will probably have to sell to then buy, which explains last week's pre-emptive statement about lack of funds.

In conclusion, Wyness is survivor and will no doubt ride out this blip in his master plan, but how long he survives if it does not come right with a new major and influential shareholder on the scene is anyone?s guess; well, anyone on the Board ? not us mere mortals.

As an aside, with these financial results, who is paying for the new ground? Sorry... got to go, can't see much longer ? the smokescreen is getting a bit thick.
Pat Ahern, Cheshire  (21/11/06)

Simon Davies

I can't believe that Simon Davies was once rated at between ?10M and ?12M by Tottenham. He has no pace, negligable skill, too weak, and runs around like the a headless chicken. Moyesie has made a massive error in bringing him to the club. We will be lucky to sell him for ?1M, the same price Tottenham paid for Davies's replacement ? Aarron Lennon!!!!
Ben Temple, Holywell  (21/11/06)

Ouch!

Response to New Goodison

Peter Stanley is absolutely correct about the need for stands that start out shallow then become steeper. My apologies for the error.

It is interesting that many supporters have ideas about what our future home should be like. However, I have the sad thought that somewhere in Keith Wyness's office there are some dusty plans that were done a while ago, which will get trotted out and implemented without much consideration for what we've been suggesting. Obviously, what our new home will be like is out of our hands, I just wish that whoever is in charge of the project is diligent enough to do a good job and do the club (and it's supporters) proud.
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton Anymore  (20/11/06)

Great Incentive

With our game kicking off at 12:45 on Saturday it gives us a great incentive to go into third spot with a win for a couple of hours at least. With Charlton being bottom, surely we have got to take it this time after our last morning kick off at Fulham when we blew it.

Let's just hope we don't get the ultra cautious approach from Moyes as we can't play 4-5-1 without Cahill. How about this: 4-4-2, Beattie and Anichebe up front with Johnson on the right wing (he has the pace, and usually ends up chasing the ball out there anyway and beattie might get a decent cross then); drop Phil Neville to right-back as he is hopless in midfield; play Lescott and Yobo centre-half where they should be with Arteta, Carsley and and Davies making up the final three midfield places.

A good attacking line up with plenty of pace to play on the counter.
Colin Hughes, Norris Green  (20/11/06)

Meet the players

After the Luton game at Goodison, my sister and myself wandered into the carpark at the ground to see the players coming out. I wasn't that interested in this but my sis was nagging me so I thought What the heck. I didn't expect the players to be so friendly, especially as it was after 11 pm.

Granted some of the players just drove off ? no names . However, Cahill, Johnson and Arteta all signed shirts etc and posed for pics for over 15 mins. I thought this was a nice gesture and shows that they have some other feelings. Arteta's wife is stunning, by the way ? got a pic of her in his 911. She loved it, smiling like a Cheshire cat!
Jon Taylor, St Albans  (20/11/06)

Intriguing... Send it in! And wot happens to Prem players after 11pm? [Hmmm... all we need now is a punchline] ? Michael

Jeremiah!

Here's me, coming home from work feeling great. Had a big row with the boss which I won to such an extent that I got an apology. I don't give a fuck anyway because I retire in 18 months and that gives me the added benefit of a cheaper seaon ticket (I think... doesn't it?).

My very expensive dog is pregnant with six pups which means with a bit of luck I've a couple of grand coming my way... and my missus has made me my favourite tea!

BLISS!

Then.Michael, you had to reply to Richard Jones' post in the way that you did. All about Everton, and Mikel Arteta not being able to resist a big club coming in for him, especially a Spanish one. It's not that I disagree with you because I do, that's why on this website on Saturday I recommended doubling his wages (how much would that cost us each?) but why the fuck did you have to remind me, you miserable git!? Totally spoiled my day.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (20/11/06)

Hehe.... That's my job, init?

Poll... An alien?

Is it possible we are all missing the obvious when considering Graham Poll? We have all seen the movie: a group of aliens, masquerading as humans, start to take over a small community or group. Often clad in innocuous grey these aliens appear to merge in with the local populace. However, they always have a weakness that distinguishes them from real humans. They cannot eat sausages, the sight of milk makes them ill, or they faint whenever forced to watch Strictly Come Dancing.

In the scenario of aliens donning the mantle of referees, their giveaway is the full-time whistle blown as the ball is mid-air towards the back of the net. Poll has done it, so did that alien called 'Clive' posing as a Welshman.

A genuine human knows that, given the inevitable stoppages in a game, it is impossible to call an end to a game within a half second of accuracy. Thus is the alien exposed.
Robert Holden, Northampton  (20/11/06)

No cause for concern

Another big stick to beat the Club with. Do you lot ever tire? Virtually every club in the Premiership turns in figures like ours ? even the parsimonious Villa lost ?10M and their Chairman paid himself ?400k ? so no cause for concern there. What is important is that we`re seventh in the league and looking good. Lay off will yoose!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (20/11/06)

Richard, here's some sand... here's a hole... now ? where are gonna put that head of yours? — Michael

I also love Everton

I agree with Nick McCann's article. I also live in Grimsby and don't get to Goodison as much as I'd like to. It's a very special place and I'm in awe every time I go. Everton have been the biggest constant in my life and I'm so proud to be a supporter of the People's Club.
Paul Evans, Grimsby  (20/11/06)

Out of Stock

Several people have posted about lack of stock in JJB in various locations. Last week I was in Rochdale and called in on JJB. They had one (1) EFC top in XXL on a reduced rail. I asked the spotty assistant when there might be more Everton merchandise arriving and he replied - "Dunno, mate." I have contacted our overpaid CEO and expect a similar reply any day now. Retail partner, my arse.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (20/11/06)

?450k????

Just a quick pointer that John Clare (the CEO of Dixons Stores Groups - Turnover ?7.4bn, profit ?300m p/a) earns ?600k per year for his efforts while Old Bully earns about 80% of that for generating turnover of ?68m and losing ?11m. By anyone's book Bully isn't exactly providing great value for his hard-earned cash at current market rates.

Any other CEO producing those figures either has to be incomptent, negligent or just sheer bloody mad. Just to put it into context - his salary actually accounts for nearly 1% of all Club income ? or pretty much the cash receipts from one home game.....
Richard Jones, Hemel Hempstead  (20/11/06)

Tired

Boy am I tired of reading the negative crap that appears on here week-in, week-out. We're having a solid season, and I would much rather be in our situation than the likes of Newcastle, Spurs and our dear neighbours from across the park who have spent a fortune and are struggling. Get a grip people. Progress may be slow, but it is being made.
Richard Price, Gloucester  (20/11/06)

AJ away?

Maybe Steve McClaren did Everton fans a big favour by playing AJ out of position. As it seems obvious to me at least that the financial situation has not improved one iota. Therefore if a bid for one or any of our more celebrated players came in, we as always would be hard pressed to resist. If AJ had played and scored for England, he may well have attracted the Premier big-guns.

In a similar vein, Kevin Kilbane looks more like it was forced upon DM due to financial pressure. I don't particularly like the link with JJB due to its association with a Premiership rival namely Wigan Athletic. After all, it was Wigan along with Bolton who forced up the price of AJ. Everton should be big enough to obtain sponsorship alone, without unholy alliances with smaller clubs. We have already been through this type of association with Tranmere and looked what happened then.

For once, I wish Kenwright and company would just tell it like it is rather than revert to spin. If you need to know what type of chancer Bill is, just watch his testimony on BBC4's Petula Clark story ? Blue Lady.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (20/11/06)

Massive Everton Loss in 2006

"Is it true that Everton will announce a loss of ?5M to ?10M for 2006? Meanwhile, the CEO has taken a 77% pay rise to nearly ?450k. So can we assume that, both on and off the pitch, the club is a train wreck."

Do you remember this... you should do ? I wrote it (bar the editing of the bad lanagauge).

My guess is Kenwright saw this comming and another ruse was born in the shape of our american friend. Kenwright should go..now. Apart from the mistake on the CEO payrise I was close enough.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (20/11/06)

Sorry, seems our fella Gary made the mistake in the CEO salary, and your figures were spot on. — Michael

Changed your mind Michael?

Your reply to the Arteta letter below states 'The truth is if a big club comes sniffing... we would find it very difficult to hold on..' When I dared to suggest that same sentiment a couple of months ago ref Arteta, Cahill etc. saying we where something of a selling club, you shot me down in flames saying something like 'your about 18 months too late daft lad' so what's changed Michael?
Craig McManus, Mold, Flintshire  (20/11/06)

I think I was lulled into believing that, since we were then one of the 20 richest clubs in Europe, and were able to hold on to both Yobo and Arteta despite some strong indictations otherwise, then perhaps those days were passed.

If we continue to under-perform and are unable to sustain our new-found status among the elite, then perhaps we will see a return to those dismal days when we sold on our best players. — Michael

The Last Straw

I have to say that I am so browned off with Everton ? or should I say the people who profess to run the club that I have supported all my adult life ? and it?s running into quite a few years, let me tell you.

A week or two before the Carling Cup game, I ordered a couple of tickets from the box office. I was told they would be with me by Wednesday morning a week before the game. Needless to say, they were not. I was told by numerous people on the end of the phone that, "Yes, they are in the post," etc. Come the night of the game, no tickets; so I had to queue up in the Bullens Road for duplicates. This took 45 minutes. I did get a ?sorry? from the very young woman who eventually found the tickets but it's not good enough, is it?

Add this to the fact I can?t get a home shirt from JJB ? they have limited stock!! But, hey, the Liverpool home shirt is the first thing you see when you enter the store! And they have all sizes and colours.. hang on, isn?t JJB our official outlet for our official replica football shirt, etc???

The list just keeps getting bigger for me so I think it?s the end of the road. I will still watch us on the TV and go to the odd game or two but I will no longer be a mug and give my hard-earned cash for a season ticket anymore to a club that quite frankly does not give a rat?s arse what it?s fans think, say or buy. I don?t think that the above are the only reasons ? there are far too many to list.

Oh and by the way, I was one of the many stranded at John Lennon Airport for the flight that never was ? you would think I would know better by now wouldn?t you?
Sheila Heis, Merseyside  (20/11/06)

I think you should be letting Keith Wyness know how you feel. ? Colm

Bad signings

Thanks for finally agreeing with me, Michael. You hit the nail on the head. Watching Everton is one big yawn.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (20/11/06)

;) Come on now, Ged ? you're supposed to be an Everton supporter: get behind the team! ? Michael

Midfield angst

Have to say I rate Andy Johnson but then again I think Beattie is a half-decent player so what do I know! Big problem with both of them is they don`t get much service as our midfield has been a joke since Gravesen moved on. Arteta`s goal on Saturday was a classic but he is non-descipt away from home and Davies, Osman and Neville are Championship at best.

The sale of Kilbane was so short-sighted as to be sinful and unless Moyes moves to solve the problem at New Year we shall never be able to get the best from the ?15M spent on strikers.
Will Campion, Shotwick  (11/19/06)

Mikky Arteta

Am I the only one who picked up on the 'I could have left in the summer...' comment in the link about Arteta? Why does that scare the living bejesus out of me?
Richard Jones, Hemel Hempstead  (20/11/06)

I was hoping no-one would catch that... I nearly said something to laddo below but for once thought better of it. The sad truth is that, if a big team comes sniffing, especially a Spanish one, I think we would find it very hard to hold on to him. And the better he plays, the more likely this is to happen. ? Michael

Binger Johnson

I spoke to a guy in our London office who I know is a mad Palace supporter and he described AJ as a `binge scorer` who would often score two or three in successive games and then go nine or ten without success. He said Dowie used to nurse him out of these spells by letting him take all penalties and `in range` free kicks in order to break the spell.

He also told me that latterly defenders started forcing him out wide where he could cause little damage which frustrated him to hell. But as long as AJ can binge himself for three or four games in every ten, he`ll do for me!
Antony Plesser, Ormskirk  (20/11/06)

Arteta praise

I have to write to say how delighted I am with the comments from Mr Arteta.

It is such a great feeling to see a player of his quality and class speak out about playing for the force that is Everton. We constantly read about Everton not being the side they were and our league positioning; I totally agree with what is said but I still have masses of pride for the team I have grown up with. When you hear about a player like Arteta speaking out about playing for the badge, it rekindles that sense of pride.

Just a quick story. A while back I worked on the boats in Chester and a certain Chris Armstrong hired one. I had my Duncan Ferguson T-shirt on and it was around the time we were looking to sign Mr Armstrong. He told me he was awaiting a call from the gaffer and come Monday he would be an Everton player. As a result of this, I got him to sign my shirt... I guess the rest is history.

And he ruined my shirt.
Danny Latham, Wilmslow  (20/11/06)

Now if stamps printed by mistake get to be worth so much, you'd think a shirt like that might be worth a bob or two on eBay... no? — Michael

Tactics, Tactics

In the course of the last 12 months I have regularly used these columns to openly question the 'technical ability' of David Moyes, mainly based on his fondness for hard work and graft as opposed to attempting to get the team to play through the middle and actually try and keep the ball through regular passing movements.

Whilst still not wholly convinced about Moyes and the brand of football Everton currently employ, I have to say whilst not pretty to watch on Saturday, he just about got it right in employing the more 'physical' back four (with Yobo at right back) against the battering ram style employed by Bolton.

Credit where it's due: normally, Kevin Davies is used to far greater effect than what he showed on Saturday. As to the long term, I'm afraid I'm going to sit firmly on the fence as I still cannot decide whether the 'Moyes Factor' is actually benefitting Everton or not.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (20/11/06)

A record

Sanctimoneous lot, us Evertonians. Not one of us didn`t brand AJ a diver when he was at Palace but now it`s a sin to even suggest it! Be that as it may, we`ve all taken to the little man because he `puts in a shift` whether he`s scoring or not. Just let`s recognise that he`s found the net in five of our thirteen games so far and that`s a bloody record for a striker who rarely gets a decent pass!

Carry on (non-)diving all you like for me, little man!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (20/11/06)

Bad signings

Sorry, Michael, but I'm going to keep on about Moyes's pathetic signings because I have to sit there week-in and week-out watching Neville struggle to come up with one decent pass, watching Beattie do absolutely nothing and watching Van der Meyde warm up along the touch line knowing he'll never be brought on. Its ridiculous.

And let's nail this argument that Moyes has bought some good players too. Out of about 15 signings any idiot is going to make 2 or 3 good ones. The point is a good manager doesn't waste so much money and Moyes has wasted ?20M. And when your spending figures like ?6M on a player you expect that player to be class. And Beattie is the opposite to that. Shite.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (20/11/06)

Yaaaaaawwwwnnn! — Michael

Wasted Talent

Hopes of a 20 goal season from Johnson have all but evaporated and that alone will condemn Everton to a midtable finish at best. However, I don`t blame the little man as his effort is exemplary. The real problem is the failure of Moyes to address the glaringly obvious and long-standing deficiencies of the midfield. In the last close season his only action was to flog off Kilbane ? the one genuine wide (and sober) player he had. In the present setup, Johnson is a wasted talent!
Yves Forneau, Gresford  (20/11/06)

Frustration

Have to say that the berating of Andy (perhaps he`d score again if we called him Andrew?) Johnson is somewhat premature. As you pointed out, the service he gets is hardly first class and there are other features to his game.

However, I do feel the criticism is mainly frustration on the part of Evertonians who have had to put up with a string of non- or `once in a blue moon` strikers in recent years. Radzinski, Ferguson, Bent and Beattie all fall into this category and yet all had/have their attributes which kept them in the side.

My feeling is that AJ will come good again as he is among just a handful of Moyes signings of truly Premier standard.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (20/11/06)

I cannot simply fathom some of the criticism that's aimed Johnson's way. ? Colm

Note to Jonathan Martin

Hi Jonathan,

Just thought I would say I thought it was a bit unfair to criticise Moyes for playing Yobo at right back. If you recall, on more than one occasion in the past, Kevin Davies has targeted our diddy full backs to knock in headers at the far post. I think Moyes's decision to play such a tall backline (and especially Yobo at right back) was in light of this.

Bottom line is 3 points, clean sheet, well done Mr Moyes - always nice to see he's learning.

Great site.
Dan Sheriff, London  (20/11/06)

Many people cite Allardyce as being one of the game's best managers, seeing as "plucky little Bolton" are now able to give most of the deemed superior sides a run for their money. Whatever ? I hate his brand of ugly football and will rightly or wrongly label him as the man who turned Jay Jay Okocha from being a dazzling midfielder with an eye for flair into an occasionally used long throw-in merchant. Horrible.

Moyes knows he's in for a scrap when facing Allardyce's team and Saturday was no different. I genuinely didn't expect to see Moyes come out on top ? but that he did, no thanks to getting it right at the back. Tackle height with height. He did similar last season when we went to the Reebok and though on paper we had a three man attack (Bent, Ferguson and Kilbane) the reality was they were there for their height in defensive situations. Great win, performance aside, on Saturday. ? Colm

Well said Mickey!

Great comments from Mikel, making the hairs on the back of my neck tingle with pride. Long may this excellent footballer grace us with his presence in an Everton shirt, a player truly worthy of the School of Science.
Dick Bill, York  (19/11/06)

Loyalty

Well done, Mr Fulwood and Co ? you're just the sort of fans we need... NOT! Have you heard of patience? Up to last couple of games, Rooney was poor for Man Utd so, on your timescale he was a waste of money. I suppose AJ could win the ball in midfield pass to himself and score as he cost a lot. Remind me how mmuch he caost? More than Heskey, Diouf or Kyut cost Liverpool. Oh, my mistake ? he was a lot cheaper but has still scored more.

Get a life and give the guy a chance. I dont know if over the long term he will be a success or not but to write him of at this stage is beyond belief.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (20/11/06)

AJ Diving? Behave!

What's with you guys? Spouting all this nonsense about AJ diving. Are you being paid by Arsene Wenger or something?

If you want to see diving, try Diouf at Goodison yesterday, Kanu robbing Watford in the last minute ("falling in installments" as somebody put it), and indeed Rooney's most recent penalty. Where is the media and manager outrage directed at these players?

Lay off AJ. He is working hard, still causing defences a lot of headaches with his movement and his speed, and with some decent service he will be scoring again soon. COYB!
Neil Pearse, London  (19/11/06)

Johnson doubters

The goals may have dried up but his work rate is of the high quality he has always shown since his arrival. He continues to make runs and pull defenders away. It's not his fault that we don't have the tactics or players to capitalise on this. If you look at Arteta's goal against Bolton, he ran across the area taking a defender which then opened up for Arteta to score a great goal.

I would like to see Johnson set up more by team mates. The football we play though will only give Johnson limited chances. A lot of the chances he has are coming from opposition mistakes were he is quick to see this (two against Liverpool). While Cahill is out, I can't see Carsley and Neville providing the service for Johnson. Arteta moving into the middle may help but we lack pace from midfield. Osman to me is never going to be more than a run-of-the-mill player.

Let's hope for something in January or another early exit from the FA Cup will be all we have.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (19/11/06)

New Goddison suggestions

Not sure if anyone can do anything about this but it is worth thinking of. The surrounding road network has to be able to cope with large volumes of traffic before and especially after the game. How many times have you been stuck in a jam for absolutely ages because everybody wants to go home straight after the game and the roads cannot cope!
Steve Batchelor, Stoke-on-Trent  (19/11/06)

Andy Johnson, WTF!

I cannot believe the stick Johnson is getting from Everton fans ? it is beyond belief. Some have even called him a flop?? Some genius even pointed out that managers have worked out that if they stop the flow of passes, he is ineffective? I would dearly love for someone to explain how this sets him apart from 99% of strikers on the planet!

May I suggest that even these fickle fans would have been very happy with his goals tally at this point had it been evenly spread. But because he's gone a few games without scoring he's labelled a flop by some people??? Some have also suggested that now he is unlikely to win as many penalties, we are left with an expensive flop??? It's a bit tenous to say the least seeing as his tally so far doesn't include a single penalty!

I am hoping, and fairly confident, that these comments are coming from an ...errm 'ill-advised' minority. But some things I read from 'fellow' blues makes me wonder what he would have to do to make these people happy. Once upon a time, rightly or wrongly, a brace against the kopites would have bought any cretin a bit of time. I guess those days are gone eh??
John Prior, Liverpool  (19/11/06)

I get the feeling both sides of this are over-reacting a little. He's not a flop, but he is going through a bit of goal-drought. He hasn't had that many chances he has missed, though. Yea, savvy defences/managers may have figured him out a little better... but that's what was said about Cahill in his second season, and look what he did this time around. All said and done, we have to do a far better job of getting good balls in to him... that needs a decent midfield ? something we apparently haven't got! — Michael

Good so far

Well, here we are, sitting 7th in the table. Moyes hasn't got the cash the big four have but, apart from Chelsea, Man Utd, were doing ok. The team is small in numbers, maybe, but it's a team that is together, gives it all. Now there's talk of a new ground... blimey! Only a few years ago, things wernt looking good at all: an old team and ground... Keep it going, lads, at last we seem to be looking up. Still a lot to do, but good so far.
John Daley, Cumbria  (19/11/06)

We won again!

I'm glad we can all celebrate a good win together. Yes, it could have gone either way, but such a superb goal deserved all three points, and the lads did well to hang on, despite not playing particularly well for the rest of the game. I'm sure we will get better in time... and that's what Moyes needs: more and more time.

It's good that we have sites like ToffeeWeb adhering to the higher standards reflective of our club motto, and that we have a sufficient portion of the fans who don't settle for mediocrity but want us to strive to play decent football and hopefully become great again. Keep up the good work!
Phil Edwards, Liverpool  (19/11/06)

Waht a nice letter, Phil. Much appreciated. — Michael

A team that cannot pass

I am very pleased with yesterday's result. That's were it ends. Our performance was just as bad as the week before but this time fate was on our side, we rode our luck and our star player came up with a cracking goal.

As I've said before, our midfield is shite. It cannot protect the defence, it cannot create and no one but Arteta can pass with reliability. Osman is now awful, Neville can never find a blue shirt and Carsley is very ordinary. And with Beattie in the team, we are so limited for ideas.

But this lack of passing ability throughout the team is embarrassing. And Moyes must take the blame. God knows what he's telling the payers. Is it 'just whack the ball forward and see what happens?' Because that's what it looks like.

The Rooney money has been well and truly squandered on players of dreadful quality and Moyes has the cheek to keep saying he will only buy player who will improve the squad when most of his signings have made us worse:

  • Neville - is nowhere near worth the ?3.5M we paid for him. The guy cannot pass.
  • Van der Meyde - Moyes is scared to play him.
  • Davies - although I feel sorry for him as the guy tries, he has not done anything to suggest he was worth his price tag.
  • Kr?ldrup - at least we got some money back
  • Beattie - is the most laughable ?6M signing ever.
Pathetic
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (19/11/06)

Oh god no, don't start all this again! Some of his signings have been great, others have been garbage and a few in-between. Please, let's all agree on that and not rehash stuff that we've all seen and read before. — Michael

Huh?

Blimey, we see some strange things in this Mail Bag, but Peter Fulwood's last one has really got me bamboozled.

"When will he ever learn?"

To whom was this addressed? Moyes, I presume, but what on earth does it mean? Was this some strange form of attack on Moyes for buying Johnson? Astonishing, if so.

An expensive flop? What a load of nonsense. Johnson has bagged 5 or so goals already and continues to cause all sorts of problems. Even when he isn't being picked out by the men behind him, his work rate is absolutely incredible and he is causing major anxieties for the best defences in the country.

Most sensible managers absolutely rave about him and admit they would love to have him in their team. Wenger admitted he wanted to buy him, for crying out loud!

As for the managers that bang on inanely about his propensity to fall over in the box, well I take that as an acknowledgement that they are scared witless of his footballing ability. Managers only talk about players that can hurt them and everybody knows Johnson can destroy talented defenders for fun.

Peter observes: "You cut the flow of passes to Johnson [and] he [is] nothing." And? What does this prove? If you don't get the ball to Rooney, he's nothing, likewise Henry, Ronaldinho and anybody who ever played the game.

Have a go at the players who can't pass the ball 10 yards by all means, but having a dig at Johnson and claiming he is an example of another "expensive flop" for Moyes is absolutely absurd.
Paul Foster, London  (19/11/06)

Response to new Goodison

This may seem pedantic, but Greg Dawson is incorrect when he says that too many new stands have too shallow an angle. Old stadiums were characterised by low gradients as they were built for terracing. All new stadiums are of a higher gradient. If anything, new stands are built too steep now, just ask our away supporters on their opinions on this with regards to their visits to Newcastle.

Secondly, all stand angles are designed as a parabola, so large stands can often have about five different angles within the same tier. When constructing a large stadium, and one which is built for expansion, which by the way, is an essential characteristic that any new Everton should have, the trick is to start the stand as shallow as possible. The front row should be at dugout level, this will allow for maximum expansion, and the last rows will only be 'up in the clouds' if the stadium reaches the 80000+ size.

Secondly, behind the goals I would initially like to see a single tiered stand built (one to challenge the kop perhaps?), but of course with the option to add a second tier if ever needed. I am not a fan of non overlapping tiers either, but because I think that it un-necessarily breaks up the atmosphere in the stand.

While we are all aware of the need for more corporate boxes I would like to request that Everton have at least one stand, preferably two, behind the goal free from these boxes.
Peter Stanley, Merseyside  (19/11/06)

Ignorance is not bliss

Senter & Fulwood... new bywords for complete football ignorance. I presume you must watch all you football on TV and presumable edited highlights?

If you had, for example, been at the game yesterday as I was, you would have clearly seen Andrew Johnson's other attributes. His unselfish running off the ball (for one) creates space for those canny enough to exploit it, which is just what he did yesterday for Arteta's goal; AJ took at least one defender with him off to the right, giving Mikey one less thing to worry about.

For another, did you see him repeatedly going wide and making crosses for others?

Since when did Evertonians start slagging one of our own players as a diver? It's bad enough that the opposition and media perpetuate and perpetrate this crap without you joining in.

AJ is class, get a ticket for a game and find out.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (19/11/06)

AJ Doubters

Have to say I tend to agree with those starting to doubt if Johnson was worth ?8 million. For a club with Everton`s resources, that`s an awful lot of money just to have someone `create space`. Personally, I think he`s been sussed by all the managers who watched him score goals and win pens in the early games and may already be a busted flush.
Sean Tracey, Aughton  (19/11/06)

Ground move or not?

Srely it must concern the people who run Eerton that, even though we are supposed to be looking to move to a bigger/better stadium, our gates are becoming smaller despite us no longer struggling down in the bottom half. Yesterday's gate of 34, 417 was the lowest of the season for the second successive Saturday and you have to ask if it would be finacially a good move to lumber ourselves with massives debts on a new stadium just to get a few bigger crowds until the novelty wears off, ie, Sunderland, Man City, Middlesbro.

I would hate to see us getting 25,000 in a 55,000 all-seater stadium and it could happen as the longer we go trophy-less, our gates will inevitably get smaller ? especially with the Premier League being a closed shop with the big three. Personally, I think it is too late for a new ground, it should have happened 5-10 years ago when the Premiership was the big thing and people would watch any game in it.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (19/11/06)

Many factors affect the crowd numbers, most important being the entertainment value on the field and the faith and belief the fans have in the manager. It's not just about winning trophies, but it could be something special about the "Goodison Experience" that keeps our crowds reasonably healthy. Look at these season averages and see if you can figure it out:

1992-93  19,504 (10)   1999-2k  34,828  (8)  
1993-94  22,876 (11*)  2000-01  33,945 (10)
1994-95  31,291  (6)   2001-02  34,004 (10)
1995-96  35,294  (?)   2002-03  38,820  (7)
1996-97  36,186  (5)   2003-04  38,943  (5)
1997-98  35,355  (6)   2004-05  36,834  (8)
1998-99  36,203  (5)   2005-06  36,704  (7)
Crowds bewteen 34,000 and 36,000 are now the norm really for us; it was pretty amaxzing during Moyes's first two seasons that crowds averaged over 38,000, with many tolerating those "obstructed views" just so they could catch a glimpse of the magic he would bring us... or am I thinking of a certain Wayne Rooney? — Michael

Lay off AJ!

What`s with all these Johnson critics? He`s the best we`ve had since Cottee - it just requires Moyes to make sure he gets the service. Our midfield is total crap and yesterday reached a new low. Then, all the money`s spent but we have got Cahill`s return to look forward to in Jan... or Feb... or March!
Mike Whittaker, Melling  (19/11/06)

AJ crisis? Blame Moyes.

Just picked up on the ctiticism of Andy Johnson. A run of nine games without a goal is bound to sap his confidence but the team is hardly set up to provide him with the service he needs, ie. low balls played into space in front of him. Last week, a writer said that ? regardless of who he signed ? Moyes was incapable of adapting tactics to bring the best out of them. He was right!
Richard Edwards, Whiston  (19/11/06)

One swallow doth not......

...a summer make. Delighted, nay, delirious, as I am with our win yesterday (I'm very easy to please), I'm not getting carried away with scraping through by the skin of our teeth. On the plus side, Beattie had a good game as did Valente and of course Arteta; on the whole a pleasing performance because we nicked the points.

Valente's distribution from the back and from further up when given the opportunity, was excellent. On a number of occasions he ran the overlap into space, wide on the left, only to be ignored by Neville who was more intent on, well, who knows what he was at yesterday! Phil will be man enough to admit that he had a real stinker of a game.

Arteta was a joy to watch. When he is on form he really is sublime and the more I see THAT goal, the more it becomes clear what a stunning finish it was. Beattie ran and ran but AJ was forced to chase balls at the near post at almost impossible angles. No one could score from those 'chances'. He needs the ball to his feet in the middle of the box not a foot from the touchline. Yes, yes, we all know that but why is it just not happening?

There's a yawning gap in front of the defence ? no one picking up loose balls from our defence. How many times did Bolton come back at us as we defended? Lots... but how many times did we do the same? Hardly ever. Their midfield picked up every loose ball and ran on to either create a chance or, at the very least, stop us getting at it. We clear the ball ? they pick it up; they clear the ball and they pick it up again and the result is no creativity in midfield and we're on the back foot again.

If we are to see AJ scoring again (please God soon) then he needs service from the flanks or from the inside-left & -right positions. A few of those defence-splitting passes that he thrives on would make all of the difference. When did we last see one of those? But to get to that position, surely we have to pick up those loose balls or build from the back at pace! Let's not wait until every defender is in position with his back to goal ? make them defend on the hoof, facing their own goal, that's when defenders are more likely to make mistakes and we can nick in.

Was it just me or did anyone else groan with surprise when DM tried to bring on Vaughen in injury time? Do the words Man City, injury time substitution and goal mean nothing to him? Will he ever learn?

Finally, last week we stood in silence to remember the dead in wars and conflicts past and present. For many of us, those fallen are faceless names to whom we owe our freedom. This week we stood to remember a young man, a fellow Blue, who died defending someone else's freedom. My deepest condolences to all his family and friends.
Lue Glover, Flint  (19/11/06)

The Unibond for me!

Whilst taking my seat in the Lower Gwaldys yesterday, I made a massive decision. When Everton de-camp to Tesco`s, I shalln`t go with them! After 40 years it would be too much of a wrench as I just love the Old Lady to bits. She`s ugly, old fashioned and pongs a bit but she`s a proper football GROUND ? not a tarty stadium! I shall forever be an Evertonian but when the fateful day comes, the local Unibond side will gain a new follower.
Alan Chettle, Burscough  (19/11/06)

Van der Meyde

I get in the ground early and when the team are warming up, Van der Meyde just stands on the wing alone. Some one might pass the odd ball to him. So I'm watching the game and it was crying out for a left winger in place of Neville who was playing a left-wing holding role [I never heard of one of them] ? he was awfull. To me, it looks like Van der Man is not in Moyes's plans. So why have him on the bench? Why not give him a chance. We hear that he likes a couple of drinks, so what? So do many other players. Brain Robson and many more people can name liked a pint or two but it never stopped them being world-class players.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (19-11-06)

All the talk....

Just back from the Freshfield where all the talk was of that amazing goal by Arty and the apparent loss of form of AJ. What everyone overlooks is the little man`s workrate and his abilty to open up space for the midfielders and, yesterday, a re-juvenated Beattie. Leave the little man alone, I say!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (19/11/06)

Sussed!

Shrewd lot these Premier managers! It took them only a half a dozen games to work out that if you cut the flow of passes to Johnson he was nothing. Wenger waded in with the help of his press mates to alert all the refs to the little man`s diving tendancies and Moyes is left with yet another expensive flop. When will he ever learn?
Peter Fulwood, Woolton  (19/11/06)

Time to give AJ a wide berth?

I`ve just read a piece by Terry Venables in which he asserts that Andy Johnson did brilliant as a wide man for England and will be used again in that role. With AJ having lost his shooting boots and every ref in the land wise to his penalty-area gymnastics, perhaps it`s time for Moyes to give him a wide berth at Everton!

Such a move could both solve our lack of width as well as allowing Anichebe to line up with Beattie in the middle.
Tony Senter, Crosby  (19/11/06)

Information, please

Just looking to find out if anyone on the editorial team knows where I can get information on:

A) If Goodison can be redeveloped and has this has already been looked at as an option? I'm sure it has but living in Dublin I don't have local access to such information as you might in Liverpool.

B) Does any one know as yet what the club would plan to do with Goodison if and when we do move? Know it's very early days yet but just curious to know. Any help on this appreciated lads, even if it's just a couple of website addresses.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (19/11/06)

A) Goodison for Ever-ton

B) Tesco Megastore / Liverpool FC overflow car park / Memorial Park (to Dixie Dean and Harry Catterick, who died there, and all the dead whose remains are buried there)
Michael

Midfield blues

Once again, we are reminded of our midfield failings. For those who advocate the inclusion of Neville, think again; the guy finds it almost impossible to find a blue shirt, frequently misplacing passes and squandering possession. That, coupled with the customary showing by Osman ? looking busy whilst contributing absolutely nothing... how this guy makes it into the squad, let alone the starting XI is beyond me.

Arteta was simply superb, aided by the unstinting efforts of Carsley and the tireless running of Beattie, who deserves praise. I suspect our current position is about right assuming we do not incur any further injuries. With a bit of luck, we may just manage to finish outside the European places. I think the common term used is mid-table mediocrity...
Gerry Western, London  (19/11/06)

Johnson concern

Am I alone in beginning to doubt the value of Andy Johnson? The player was immediately granted Dixie Dean status when he found the net in his first few games but, since then, has done nothing to jusify the huge outlay expended on him. OK, he runs around a lot and creates space but the rest of the team seem incapable of making good use of it. His size means that he has no impact at set pieces and seems incapable of winning a ball in a one-to-one situation. Just contrast his performance yesterday with the reprehensible Diouf!

On what I have seen so far, Beattie remains the better buy... now that`s saying something!
Andy Underwood, Collins Green  (19/11/06)

I think that's a pretty harsh assessment, Andy. Johnson's biggest problem at the moment is lack of service. You could count on a couple of fingers the number of clear-cut chances he had in the three games prior to Bolton and he had none yesterday. What he — and Beattie, to his credit — did do yesterday, though, was create the space for Arteta's goal by pulling defenders to either side of the area and opening the way for that wonderful strike. There's more to a striker's role than scoring goals and AJ gives us the kind of movement we could only have dreamt of last season — Lyndon

Doddy right ...for once

For once I have to agree with Richard Dodd`s verdict on the game. Moyes set his stall out to counter Bolton`s physical approach and with a degree of good fortune got the right result. Beattie had probably his best allround game and showed he has much more to offer than that of target man.

On the negative side, I have to say that Johnson is looking more and more like an expensive luxury. He has little to offer if he is not putting the ball into the net and his penalty histrionics are now laughed at by most referees. Neville also looks like a duck out of water when expected to contribute anything constructive. At Man Utd, he was always seen as a stand-in full-back or defensive midfielder (a sort of up-market Carsley!) and Moyes should have known that when he signed him!

But full marks to the lads for keeping their shape and bringing home the bacon!
Reg Cannon, Whitford  (19/11/06)

Spurs Highlights

If anyone is interested in watching the highlights of the Spurs victory: YouTube
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (19/11/06)

CEO 77% Pay rise

So the club makes a multi million pound loss and the the fat cats make half a million? And we wonder why Everton Football Club is heading for a new ground in Tesco's car park.
Mike Quinn, Reading  (19/11/06)

From my seat

A strange game played between two sides where it felt neither were at home or away but battleing it out on neutral soil. I thought a scruffy goal either way would win it or we would end up nil-nil, but on the hour a goal of monthly awards status was scored by Arteta which transended all other procedings in a game that belied both teams' league placings.

I thought the manager got it right in his approach to the game in what seemed to me to be a narrow 4-3-1-2 formation which did just about negate the Bolton way. I am in no doubt Arteta will get MotM ? not just for the goal but his all round effort and skill for 90 minutes, but for me I think Carsley deserves special mention for his work in covering up for an abject display from his central partner, Neville.

Valente again proved his credentials with a masterly reading of the game from left-back. Beattie has many detractors but today I thought he proved he should be given 8 to 10 games with AJ to enable them to either be a force or not. Coming out of the ground, I heard many a fan say how delighted they were with the three points and although I concured I felt we should be getting our points with better performances than this with a more fulsome squad. It was obvious that Neville was indeed having a 'mare and we had no alternative whatsoever.

Lots to ponder on, lots of work for both BK and DM to contemplate, but hell we got three points so I will celebrate. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (18/11/06)

What would we do without him?

Wow what a strike! What a strike! Not a pretty game, was never going to be, I guess ? especially with two centre-mids who cannot pass. Phil Neville was horrible today, abysmal ? everything he touched went immediately to a Bolton player. Well done, Beattie, unbelievable workrate which set the tone for the whole team. I loved the goal, I will watch it over and over and never tire of it, what would we do without him?
Dick Bill, York  (18/11/06)

Europe? Fortnight in Majorca!

While I'm glad that today's result seems to have made Richard Dodd happy, I'm afraid I can't share his optimism. Why?

  1. We lack so much depth that, in an attempt to reinforce the midfield, Yobo was played at right back and it was a disaster.
  2. Moving Neville into midfield did nothing to reinforce the midfield because we still didn't have one.
  3. We went 1-0 up with a contender for the goal of the season and then couldn't keep the ball for more than 2 or 3 passes and that meant we were under pressure for the rest of the game.
  4. The service to AJ was absolutely juvenile and though I agree that Beattie couldn't be faulted for effort today he never looked for space and never looked like adding to his goal tally.
  5. Once more, a very ordinary team outplayed and outmuscled Everton in midfield and that's where the weakness is. If David Moyes doesn't do something about it pretty damned quick there is still plenty of scope for us being in trouble this season never mind qualifying for Europe!
I dread to think what would happen if we lost Arteta. Wrap him in cotton wool between games; innoculate him against everything and double his bloody wages!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (18/11/06)

Sensible comments there, Dave. — Michael

Tenth? More like Europe!

Much eating of words tonight as a superbly drilled Everton bring off a stunning victory. Who was it says Davey is not tactically aware? He knew precisely what was required to counteract the Bolton brawn and the lads carried out his plan to a tee. Pure bloody genius!

And what about the man they love to hate, Beats? A throughouly selfless display showed his all-round talent to perfection and earned him a most justified standing ovation. Tenth? we`ll be in bloody Europe on this form!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/11/06)

Oh dear, Richard, looks like you might have read the game a little wrong:

"The game was tight and it could have gone either way." ? David Moyes
His words... but I would have to agree with him. That dreadful clearance Speed could have scored from; them hitting the post and the bar in the second half... best not think about those though, eh, Richard? — Michael

Benefit of the doubt

If we are in a loss, the common assumption would be that Wyness hasn't done a good job, but there are a few things should not be ignored:

  1. Starting next year, Premiership clubs will have an increased amount of money. In other words, we've been spending what we are going recieve in the future. So, unless we get relegated, we'll be okay.
  2. We are in the prorcess of completing a world-class training facility. That has taken 10 million from the budget. World-class stuff doesn't come free, but it is a long-term investment that will help the club reap many beneifts in the future.
  3. Last summer amount of money spent was our highest ever: ?13 million to be exact. So, in other words the club is taking gamble, showing a little bit of ambition for Moyes to spend.
Anyhow, I hope our finincial situation does not interfere with Moyes's plans to buy a midfield replacement for Kilbane.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (18/11/06)

Problems on and off the Pitch

Is it true that Everton will announce a loss of ?5M to ?10M for 2006? Meanwhile, the CEO has taken a 77% pay rise to nearly ?450k. So can we assume that, both on and off the pitch, the club is a fucking train wreck.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (18/1/106)

I guess we'll just have to wait for the AGM next month and see what they have to say. I'm sure plenty of spin will be applied... ? Michael

No depth

Moyes has just said on Sky that Everton is up against it today because Cahill is missing `and we have no depth`. Well whose bloody fault is that? After nearly five years in charge, he still has barely a handful of midfielders to choose from and, as someone wrote yesterday, he hasn`t got a bloody clue as to how to utilise the resources he has got. If the bad run continues today, we`re in deep shit make no mistake!
Ron Mason, Knowsley  (18/11/06)

Re. Nick Entwistle

Sadly, I have to agree with most of what he said. Especially while he was roller coastering along about supplanting the Anfield mob. Then he said it will never happen ? what a downer! We can all go and slit our wrists now, or whatever the football fan's equivalent is... not going, I suppose?

All it will take is a canny coach to buy the bargins and to get lucky with our youth policy... 4th, 3rd, 4th and some good runs into the knock-out stages and the Anfield monopoly is over. Or it could be the United one if Fergie implodes and / or retires.

Canny coach I said; O'Neil? Jol?? A N Other??? ... Moyses???? Aye, there's the rub.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (18/11/06)

Ben Novak

Reference the minute's silence in respect of British soldier Ben Novak. Is it especially for Ben Novak or for all four soldiers who lost their lives? If it is just in memory of Ben Novak, is there a specific reason? Not wanting to throw salt or anything (I am in the forces myself) but I was intrigued as to the statement on the match preview window.
Ryan Jones, Preston  (17/11/06)

We can only go by what has been said regarding this at the Official Website: Tribute to Ben Nowak. By the way, his name is "Nowak", not "Novak". As a sign of respect for the lad, let's spell it right please! ? Michael

Everton v Bolton

I fucking hate Bolton, but admire what Big Sam has done. His team can and do win football matches based on the money available to him. I just hate watching them.

I think it was John McFarlane (?) who said what a threat Bolton are to Europe's elite. I would class us in that group now. The thing is the stage is set for a classic northwest derby. Both teams need to force onwards, but history would suggest we should beat them... right? No doubt, if we lose or draw, the mailbag will be full again.

Nick Entwistle penned an absolute superb article describing the plight of where are right now. So in my last 1?" x 3" inch square. You cannot call this match, even the pundits don't have a clue... It's because we're both good teams. It's a pure gamble who will win. If I was gambler, I would go for a home win. COYBs
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (17/11/06)

Setting myself up for a fall, Eamonn, I think we'll do well to get one solitary point tomorrow. Bolton are not the team we need to be facing right now ? they are a horrible lot to play at the best of times and I'm mindful that Allardyce will have given them a collective kick up the arse for allowing a two goal lead slip last weekend. I hope you're right but I've got a horrible feeling about tomorrow... - Colm

Why, Colm, you negative defeatist troglodyte! ;) — Michael

Musings of a Blue

Just some random thoughts from me tonight on some of the points in the recent mailbag:

1. Mention of the Panathaikos game brought back memories. We hit the bar THREE times in that match before Davie Johnson scored in the last minute. The Greeks scored off their only attack at Goodison and went through on the away goal when we drew 0-0 over there. That was my first realisation that the away goals rule did not always favour the attacking side!

2. Talking of Johnson, it wasn't just the fact that the service to our Andrew was poor the other night that disappointed me, it was also the fact that the poor chap couldn't actually keep the ball on the pitch when he did get it!. Either his confidence is shattered or he has developed a Hibbert-like touch on the ball!

3. Mention of Dicky Wright playing at Old Trafford obviously fills some of your correspondents with dread (me too, if I'm honest!) but fear not ? remember his superb performance there last year in the 1-1 draw?

4. The move to Knowsley. Picture it now ? the open-top bus that tours Liverpool, full of tourists post-"Capital of Culture 2008", makes a detour to Kirkby! Perhaps not! Let's stay within the city confines if we can, eh?

5. Finally Bolton tomorrow. Nolan allegedly stated that Everton fans are the best at getting behind their team in the Premiership. Well when we're above whingeing and slagging our own players off, we actually are! Let's get behind the team tomorrow like we did against Blackburn last year when we went down to 10 men.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (17/11/06)

Confusion, confusion, confusion

The probable return of Beattie to the starting line-up tomorow will give us another insight as to whether Moyes is really capable of building a side or whether his purchases are made purely on the needs of the moment.

Going back to the signing of Beattie, I have always thought it was a reaction to a lack of goals at the time and that little thought was given as to how he could be fitted into the team to provide maximum impact. Nothing that has happenned in the last two years has changed that perception.

The same is true of Johnson. Was he signed as a lone striker or to complement Beattie? What specific roles did he visualise for Arteta and Davies? Exactly how did he see them improving the overall effectiveness of the midfield? No doubt individually they each have their merits but with the roles they are expected to play changing by the week there is little prospect of any overall fluidity developing.

Because it is the way of life in the lower divisions from whence he came, Moyes appears to favour the multi-function player. Thus we see Neville constantly swapped between midfield and defence and recently young Lescott switched to full-back on the pretext of emergency.

The failure to spend the not inconsiderable resources put at his disposal effeciently means that injury to almost any player requires the style and tactics of the team to change dramatically almost game by game. Thus, tomorrow we shall almost certainly see 4-4-1-1 become 4-4-2 and, if we go behind 4-3-3 or perhaps as in the Villa game even 4-2-4!

It used to be said of Eriksson that he was intransigent. That criticism could never be aimed at Moyes but, to me, both suffer with the same defects ? indecision and absolute confusion!
Guy Mathers, Homer Green  (17/11/06)

Guy, I think you nailed it. Sadly... — Michael

Did I hear that right?

'Had he been given the chance to take passes slipped through to him from Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard, Andy would have done better than he did.' Thus spoke David Moyes regarding AJ's performance the other night. Judging by the tactics Moyes imposes on Everton with regards to the service that Johnson gets, the words 'passes' and 'slipped through to him' are clearly mis-quotes. What he surely meant to say was 'lumped up' and 'hoofed' as this is obviously the approach which he thinks will bring about goals for Johnson and Everton. I expect to see a correction soon.
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (17/11/06)

Everton Kit and JJB

In response to Brian Waring;s tale of woe when trying to purchase Everton kit in JJB, JJB in Aldershot have given equal rack space to Everton kit, and have all sizes, home and away kits and all sorts of Everton merchandise. In fact, I have seen a number of youngsters in Aldershot dolled out in Everton kit.

I think, however, this may be due to the high number of Scouser squadies that sign up and get posted to Aldershot (Everton's last southern outpost).
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (17/11/06)

The New Stadium

Couldn't have put it better myself, Greg. I too, as well as many other Evertonians, cannot bare the thought of our new home being an arena with a supermarket on the side. Everything you touch on in this article definitely should be taken into consideration by the powers that be at Everton, from the position of the stands, to the idea of a joined supermarket. It is such a touchy issue that I think they would be silly not to. I dread the idea of having the next City of Manchester Stadium or Ricoh Arena. All good 'Arenas' in their own respect, but certainly not purpose built for football, which 'New Goodison' most certainly should be. Great Article... Up The Blues.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Moreton  (17/11/06)

The Pitch

Greg Dawson has highlighted a few areas for discussion. One that jumped out at me was his comments about the pitch, and how we must get this right. We know how short of funds we are ? the last thing we need is a pitch that needs relaying every 6 weeks. At its worst it could be like the Amsterdam Arena. This is an awesome stadium but when I went there in 2001 on the stadium tour, the pitch had been relayed 28 times since it opened in 1998. At some of the 'lesser' grounds in Holland they have pitches that are rolled out into the growing environment outside the stadium and then rolled back in for match day. In this way the stadia can be tall and block out wind and sun and rain, yet the pitch remains in good condition. I'm sure that when/if it ever gets off the ground, such issues will be discussed in great detail.
Mark Williams, Bromborough  (17/11/06)

Kinda brings back fond memories of the exciting plans for a beautiful stadium on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey... State-of-the-art, rolling pitches in and out... whatever happened to that? Who's fault was it the whole thing went tits up?

Oh sorry... we should just let bygones be bygones, not harbour any grudges over past failures, and look forward joyously to our new future at the centre of a massive car park in Knowsley. Onward and Upward! — Michael

Team v Bolton

I'm a little apprehensive regarding the team that Moyes may select for the Bolton game. With Tim not available, I would expect him to put Beattie up front alongside AJ in a 4-4-2 formation.

It's elswhere that bothers me: with Phil Neville having to play right back, it's midfield where we are not at our best physically. Campo, Nolan, and Speed, with Davies dropping back to help, will be too strong for our lightweight tacklers, and, without Cahill, half our goalscoring power is missing. I would hope that Moyes will find a spot for Victor; although young, he won't go missing if, as I expect, it becomes a physical battle.

I keep hearing on local radio that Anelka has not scored recently; well, neither have any of our lads so let's see a spirited performance tomorrow all over the pitch.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (17/11/06)

Barcelona

The EFC Website says in relation to this that Everton have not played Barcelona since 1924. I can remember a game v Barcelona (away) circa 1959. The Blues lost 1-0.It was the time of Jimmy Harris and Bobby Collins, but just before the Glory Years started.The club should know about this. Maybe people are right to be worried about the attitude of the present administration to the clubs heritage when inaccurate information like this gets out. After all David Weir is a product of the Everton youth system according The Chief Opeating Officer. Maybe someone can check records re this game. If I am the only one to remember it, I will go and lie down in a darkened room!
Jim Sealey, Wallesey  (17/11/06)

Wow, what a memory... but: there's a problem. In one of Dr David France's excellent books, Toffee Pages, this note appears in the section on 1958-59 programmes:

  • The Toffees made a brief visit to Spain and played Valencia on April 30. Match details are unclear. The game planned for Barcelona on May 1 was cancelled.
So there you have it. Steve Flanagan may have unearthed some more information on this... — Michael

AJ, Maradonna and Puskas

Those crying about poor service to AJ should accept the very narrow range of pass he needs can only be supplied on a regular basis by players like Maradonna and the dear departed Puskas. Long high balls down the middle or from the wing are wasted on AJ, as are the old one-twos or anything that needs his back to goal.

What is good service for AJ are quick through balls suitably disguised, of a precise weight, below chest height, in front of and within his playing space. With such service, AJ would be a world-class goalscorer but sadly we do not have players similar in calibre as the aforementioned geniuses.

It is a little harsh on AJ's team mates who, under immense pressure, are expected to deliver that type of ball to a target usually 20 yards away and disappearing into the distance at a rate of knots. Despite that, I expect AJ's single-minded determination to get us enough goals for a mid-table place. For us to reach a higher position, he must widen his repertoire and, even with Cahill in the side, tactics must change.

If ever we smash through that glass ceiling as mentioned by an earlier poster it will not be by playing defensively and relying on breakaways...
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/11/06)

I think you mean "relying on set-pieces"... since when did we score a real breakaway goal? Perhaps the superbly crafted clincher AJ finished off against Spurs would qualify, but I don't believe the concept of a 'breakaway' actually merits an entry in the Moyes Lexicon of Football Moves. ? Michael

Yobo on the right?

It has been established by the FA at the start of the season, that all players under loan in the Premiership cannot play against their real clubs.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (17/11/06)

I can't find anything anywhere that says anything like that. These are the rules on "temporay transfers" (from Section C of the 2006-07 FA Handbook ? Rules relating to players):

(vi) For Leagues sanctioned by The Association, when a Player is temporarily transferred between Clubs in the same League or in different leagues, compliance with the relevant League rules must govern the transfer.
(vii) A copy of the appropriate Association or league?s temporary transfer form must be submitted to The Association within five days of its signature.
(viii) In the case of last-minute registration of a temporary transfer the provisions set out in paragraph (g)(iii) above must be observed.
(ix) A Club accepting a Player on temporary transfer must satisfy itself as to the Player?s fitness.
(x) A Player subject to a temporary transfer must not play until such transfer has been authorised by The Association.
(xi) In the event of a Player under temporary transfer being recalled in accordance with the rules of the League or leagues concerned, a copy of the recall letter or notice must be received and acknowledged by The Association before the Player can play for the Club initiating the recall.

G14 ? What we all thought!

Just found this article by accident from The Times, back in March of this year. It seems to support what many supporters believed about the G14:

The name that strikes fear in the hearts of Europe's elite clubs: Bolton ? The Times, 22 March 2006

John McFarlane, Lancs  (17/11/06)

Re: Richard Dodd & Co

Anybody defending Mystic (Dodd) Meg's predictions just condemns you with Dodd. Pointless!
Steven Peel, Liverpool  (17/11/06)

I'm not quite sure what you are saying, Steven. Any of those predictions can turn out to be spot on... most of them will be wrong. I was more concerned that Richard was glossing over our current slump by trying to put an all-too-rosey glow on things. Yes, it's depressing, and we each may have our own little ways of making ourselves feel better about things by looking forward to future successes, but let's try not to fool ourselves regarding what the results already in the book tell us about what is going on right now. Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment! — Michael

JJB

Are we actually in partnership with JJB? Because if we are it's a fucking disgrace. The other day, I took my little lad to Reading, which is our nearest store, to buy him a new kit. Going into the store you could see all the usual suspects kits ? Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool ? all hanging up high on the back wall in full view, but no Everton.

I asked one of the assistants where the Everton stuff was. He pointed me to a rail of mixed stuff. I couldn't believe it, all they had was two XXL new shirts and one of last season's top, that was it. Being partners, you would expect all our stuff on the walls with the rest of the other teams, they even have Spanish and Italian kits hanging there as well. What the fuck's going on!
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (17/11/06)

One unhappy customer, Mr Elstone!

The Angel of Athens

The sad news of the death of the legendary Ferenc Puskas takes me back to March 1971 and the second leg of the European Cup Quarter Finals between the great man`s Panathinaikos and Everton. Having snatched an equaliser in the dying minutes of the first leg at Goodison, the Blues knew they had a mountain to climb when they travelled to Athens, then controlled by a military junta.

I was charged with ensuring that the large British Press contingent were all allocated seats and phones in the ridiculously cramped Press Box. Imagine my distress to find that no provision has been made for our local man, Mike Charters of the Liverpool Echo and that doyen of all football writers, Geoffrey Green of The Times!

Denied admission to the Press area, we were pre-emptorily marched to the exit with the encouragement of bayonets applied to our posteriors. As we reached the tunnel area, Puskas appeared with one or two of his players for a look at the pitch and Green, a great linguist, communicated our combined distress to him in Hungarian. Immediately released and escorted to front row seats amongst the elite of the Greek Press, we were able to watch in luxury as the great man`s team (aided by some extremely dodgy refereeing) kicked Everton out of the competition.

The following day, Green wrote that Puskas might forever be known to the world as `The Magnificent Magyar` but to three humble football scibes he was `The Angel of Athens!`
David Hall, Taunton  (17/11/06)

Ginger Logic Strikes Again

Although I can understand the need to give Turner more first team games, I am dreading the vision of Dicky Fingers sat on our bench for the next month and keeping my fingers crossed that Tim Howard stays injury free. More compelling that this happens shortly before the upcoming Man Utd game at Old Trafford where surely we would only have one keeper available as Howard isn't allowed to play and Dicky Fingers would suddenly become first choice.

So Howard not eligible to play, Dicky Fingers eligible (not worthy), Turner on loan and not available and Ruddy on loan and not available. Anyone else do the maths on that one or just me?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (17/11/06)

Has it been established that Tim Howard will not play against Man Utd? — Michael

4-5-1 without Cahill

I will be interested to see how Moyes plays 4-5-1 without Cahill. Playing Osman in the hole behind AJ may be the answer as Osman has played up-front on occasions. As a suggested 4-5-1 line-up taking into account injuries and suspensions:

Howard
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Nuno Valente
Arteta, Davies, Carlsey, Osman, Van Der Meyde
Johnson

Subs: Wright, Weir, Stubbs, Anichebe
The other option would be to play a foward in the hole behind AJ, such as McFadden or Beattie. But can either of those two tackle back in midfield? Maybe not.

By the time time the January transfer window is upon us, Cahill will almost be fit, so buying a player to replace him may be premature. Cahill's absence may be a blessing in disguise for VdM to redeem himself, as he may give us an added dimension.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (17/11/06)

I cannot see our great leader leaving both Weir and Stubbs on the bench ? surely one (or both!) will be played so that Neville at least can move back into midfield? And where's you fifth sub, eh? — Michael

Flawed judgement

As a newcomer to ToffeeWeb, I gather that Richard Dodd has `previous` and that is the reason for your lengthy put-down. My own view is that Dodd has got his prognosis just about right and that Everton will finish on about 50 points and thus secure 10th or 11th spot.

Where I cannot agree with the man is the acceptance of a mid-table finish as success. Like all Evertonians, I have heard Moyes talk of Premier survival as his first priority but surely that is a `given`!

No club of Everton`s history and stature should accept that as any kind of achievement. Similarly, tenth position could be viewed as progress only on the back of a previous season`s battle against relegation or in the second or third year of managerial control. To laud it as success in year five is a virtual admission that this great Club no longer has ambition and is happy to settle for a place amongst the Fulhams, Wigans and Readings.

In short, Dodd`s extrapolation may be spot on but his judgement of it is totally flawed.
Vince Nesbit, Lunt  (17/11/06)

As ever, there's room in the debate for some middle ground. I see and understand (if that's possible!) the reasoning behind both polar opinions, with both having merit, coming from that particular angle. However, as you say, Evertonians should never accept mid-table mediocrity as a form of success, no matter how realistic it may well appear at the time. ? Colm

Jam tomorrow

Today`s leads from icLiverpool indicate that Moyes is pinning his hope for a turn round on Beattie and McFadden. Given that these two have failed abysmally to set our Everton world alight over the past two years and that we are still hearing tales of their `potential`, you have to wonder about our future.

With that other failure, Van der Meyde, they cost something approaching ?10 million (plus wages), so we are right to expect a meaningful contribution from them by now. But with the `love twins` in charge, all we hear is of jam tomorrow!
Giles Murdo, Helsby  (17/11/06)

Know something... when you talk in purely monetary terms, the cost to Everton of the above mentioned legends in waiting... it only serves to highlight, once more, the sheer disbelief that Everton FC have yet to secure the David France Collection ? our history, which would cost, if they were truly interested, a lot less than some of the players who've passed through Goodison Park over recent times. As for tomorrow's game, spare a thought for the poor ball... ? Colm

Tenth is bad!

A lifelong conspiracy theorist, I am increasingly convinced that the appearance of so many `10th is good` letters in the Mailbag is all part of a covert operation to `dumb down ` our aspirations.

Richard Dodd, who could hardly have a more appropriate surname, has an uncanny knack of trotting out the party line almost before it appears ? via the ghosted mouths of establishment figures ? on the official website... You do have to wonder!

I, for one, will NEVER accept tenth as anything but mediocrity ? so let`s make all at Goodison aware of that fact. PLEASE!!!
Warren Keogh, Rhosllanerchrugog  (17/11/06)

He's still trotting, in the ha'penny place behind the likes of Dominic King! ? Colm

Tailgating

Greg dawson says:

"most stadiums in America are surrounded by huge car parks, and in this case supporters place more emphasis on their experience inside the stadium"
Actually the huge car parks are important for the game-day experience. America has a huge tradition of tailgate parties; before the game the car parks are full of people with the BBQ going and a cooller full of beers.

Interestingly this week the San Francsico 49ers announced they would move out of the city of San Francisco and one reason quoted was that any stadium sites available would not have enough space available for 'parking lots' and tailgating.
David Haimes, San Francisco  (17/11/06)

Can anyone, honestly, ever see a similar situation arising outside the "Out of sight, Out of Mind Knowsley Tesco Planet Hollywood Everton Kirkby Bowl" stadium? Heaven forbid!!! ? Colm

What's in a name?

In defence of Eamonn, Ben's name has been reported in the media in a variety of ways. The first version I heard was Novak on Radio Merseyside. Perhaps Eamonn latched onto one of the errors. The point is, though, Ben's life was cut short defending the reputation of an incompetent, self edifying and lying toe rag of a politician with Churchillian ambitions. Otherwise Ben might have been somewhere in the crowd with us on Saturday.

An Evertonian probably dies every other day and we can't grieve, personally, for them all. But perhaps because this lad's life was totally fucking wasted, a minute's silence may be warranted on Saturday ? especially if it was made known to the powers that be why we were doing it. I wonder if Everton Football Club have the guts to do it and tell the media why! I suppose we will see in due course.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (17/11/06)

I doubt it somehow, Dave. That would be viewed as making political capital out of the lad's untimely death, and I can't see the club doing that for one second. — Michael

Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan is a dyed-in-the wool Liverpudlian; yes, he takes banter and stick for this obvious association, Joey Barton on the other hand is an Evertonian and has the misfortune of being related to the said incarcerated. The abuse metered out to Barton inspired him this season, the lad ran the midfield second-half for City and duly exposed his bare arse in defiance. With our powder-puff midfield both Barton and Nolan would be welcome additions to the squad, football fans are fickle and both would be reverred if they ever donned the royal blue jersey.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (17/11/06)

Oh... I got that one wrong then! — Michael

Bolton Man Spot On

Kevin Nolan, commenting on his column on the BBC website, just about sums Goodison up for me...

Hi Kevin, last week you mentioned that you get a buzz from playing at a ground where the fans get behind their team. Which club you have played against has the best fans?
Sam Thwaites,
Newcastle Upon Tyne, England


The two places I like going to, and where I probably get the most stick, are probably Liverpool or Everton. Particularly Everton where they do really get behind the team.

Dan Parker, New York, US  (16/11/06)

That's great ? spoken like an Evertonian... ;)) And a neat unspoken rebuff to the Toon Toadies and the compliment Sam Thwaites was presumably fishing for.

What sort of a welcome will Nolan get on Saturday as a self-confessed Blue? Presumably no scope for ribbing him about incarcerated family members... what will the Goodison wits come up with, then, to put him off his game? ? Michael

Richard Dodd and Co

Richard Dodd is a stark warning to us all that we have within our ranks everything that represents mediocrity. It really is frightening that this mantra is served up to the blue fans with the expectation that we should curtail our dreams in order that the current status quo should continue until it crumbles before our very eyes.

NSNO and never accept second best.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (16/11/06)

I thought it was particularly significant that Richard even used the phrase "as do all but the very best" ? implicity excluding Everton... but I guess the irony of that was completely lost somewhere among the meaningless statistics... Michael

Oh dear

"And the lad's name was Nowak, by the way. ? Michael"

That has to be the most petty sentence I've read on here. The writer was making a good and valid point and all you could come up with by way of response was the above. Oh dear.
Jay Wilson, London  (16/11/06)

Sorry you're offended, Jay, but it's the second time Eamonn has got it wrong, and I don't think it would have registered with him if I had simply done the usual edit job and corrected his letter, as I do with most errors I catch.

And you know, given the circumstances, it is a pretty small sign of respect for who he was and what he did, and how his life was needlessly sacrificed in a ridiclous war to satisfy the religious egos of two of the worst leaders in the free world. To my mind the very least we could do is strive to get the lad's name right, don't you think? ? Michael

12th Man

All I can say, Michael, is that it's been a tough few weeks and I see no reason to quit on what we have got right now. It's easy to suggest that we are on a downward spiral on the basis of 5 games. Or is it easier to support the team... remember I don't want bells or drums.

The 12th man on Sat will lift a promising team... I hope! I also mentioned that its a three way relationship: fans, players and club. So we each do our bit.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (16/11/06)

I think we all know how tough it has become but noboby (except you) said anything about quitting. Understanding our current form has nothing to do with quitting, but it does indicate (a bit more than "suggests") a downward spiral.

I'm not sure where all these weasel words get you, to be brutally honest: we are in a rut and sliding deeper, if that is possible. That doesn't mean we no longer support the team (another wierd idea of yours: we are Everton supporters... we support the team ? why else would we be here? Why else would we even care???). And as for the bells and drums... no; you lost me there... bells and whistles? This is getting far too sureal, man! — Michael

Howard warming the gloves for Iain?

Did anyone ever think that maybe Tim Howard is just a stop-gap until Turner is ready for the first-team? I know the response:- "there is little difference between 22 and 23, he may as well have been blooded now" but keepers do mature a bit later. Would Moyes have the balls?
Dick Bill, Yotk  (16/11/06)

I just can't see Taggert ever letting a decent goalie drift away, so either (a) he proves himself this season to Sir Al and he goes back to them; or (2) his form drops, and they let us have him. ps: I see Dickie Wright played for the Reserves yesterday... so you know who will be warming the bench on Saturday ? and for at least a few weeks while Turner is away ? until the next bizarre freak injury strikes! — Michael

It is only a matter of time

Richard McIlwain is right in saying the game is slipping away from us. Too expensive for most and totally dominated by television which tries to make the Champions League and the Premiership title the only things that matter. But things will change eventually as it is doing in Italy. World cup winners but Serie A attendances this season the lowest for 40 years. Less than 2,000 to watch AC Milan in the Italian Cup last week. The fans there have had enough ? this will happen here, it is only a matter of time.
James Grippando, Manchester  (16/11/06)

Profound comment

Whilst mentioning that a forces blue had died in Iraq, I am without question appreciating the club's response to Ben Kovak's death. That is the People's Club in action. As was the recent do where Moysey shelled out ?200 to buy a Faddy shirt. I can hear the smirks...

Point is, Everton have a good team now and we need the 12th man. This is not a time for devision or decision ? it's about support. The recent road has been a bit rocky, but a season is not 5 games long as some would have you believe. There is only one trend I see bar one match: we are not hitting the onion net enough.

I now know who corporal Ben Kovak was, and his contribution to Everton at youth level. My gut reaction was the same he was one of us... a blue. Losing Cahill is a blow, but not a major problem, all I want on Sat is for us to be the 12th Man and do a fellow blue justice. COYBs
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (16/11/06)

But Eamonn, the 12th man is notoriously fickle. If the boys on the field don't show something to cheer, the 12th man is pretty quiet. The responsibility lies with the players (and through them, the manager) to perform on the field, on the day. And the lad's name was Nowak, by the way. ? Michael

Frank spencer replies...

Tony Marsh, you like to think of yourself as someone who 'calls a spade a spade' ? I'm sure you rationalize a lot of what you say with that very mantra. However, there is a difference between calling a spade a spade, and persuading people that it doesnt matter what tool they actually see in front of them, if they can't also see a spade, then they are too stupid to give an opinion on tools.

For the record, mate, I don't think Davey deserves a job for life, or that he hasn't made big mistakes. I'm not totally happy with the progress made, but I am very happy that SOME progress has been made. I wouldnt cry myself to sleep if Moyes got the boot tomorrow either.

But I do think he has done very reasonable job of it. I also don't think he has taken us as far as he can. I'm not saying he can take us to big-time glory, but I still don't believe other 'established' quality managers see us as regular challengers for Europe, and that is the very least we would require to satisfy any genuinely ambitious manager. I very much believe that will be achieved under Moyes.

Any 'proven' manager just would not be interested at this point, if they were I would question their motives (Keegan at City, Venables at Boro', anyone?). If we cant get a 'proven' manager why dip into the tombola for a replacement, when we are finally showing the stability required to put some progress together?

Of course there will always be a faction like yourself, who wants glory asap, and implies every defeat or mistake is a microcosm of David Moyes's time in charge. And who forget that other managers don't give a fuck about our history.

So if you really want to break-down any progress we have made, on the very slim off-chance we unearth some unknown mourinho, keep talking what is (though not always) by and large, shite, and pray BK reads this and see's you for the visionary you see in yourself.

As for me, I'll keep backing the manager, not because I'm satisfied at our positions in the league, not because I am happy with all the football served up, but because the very least our current manager is capable of is making us look a more attractive proposition for other managers than we have been for a long time, and these are steps to becoming the once-great team you, me, and everyother blue wants to see.

And when we are that great team once again whether under Moyes or anyone else, I hope on reflection you may be prepared to admit that Moyes was just maybe the best thing that could have happened to Everton at that (this?) time, and played a huge part in turning round a sleeping giant that was NOSEDIVING into obscurity on and off the pitch in every respect!
John Prior, Liverpool  (16/11/06)

Well on budget

Recent contributions to the Mailbag indicate that all but the hyper-critical recognise that a top ten finish will be a very acceptable outcome from this season. Obviously, the team will continue to show variable form ? as do all but the very best ? but by my reckoning they only need to notch up another 33 points (ie, an average of 1.26 per game) to achieve the 50 point mark required. Seeing as they are currently averaging over 1.4, this should be a doddle and presents a reasonable prospect for a higher than budgeted position. Only in the very unlikely event of the points per game going below an overall 1.3 should there be the lightest cause for concern.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (16/11/06)

Your generalizations, Richard, are sweeping and, frankly, offensive. You don't need hyper-critical faculties to be concerned about our present slide, and it would do your credibility wonders to see you recognize our current plight, rather than talking it up with this statistical nonsense.

In the first four games of the season, we secured a fantastic 10 points: good enough to win the Premiership with 95 pts, if extralpolated. But the problem, Richard, in case you hadn't noticed, is that was two months ago.

We then got 7 points from the next 8 games. That is more reflective of our recent form ? not 1.4 points per game. Extrapolated, we end up bang on 40 points.

But why can't we all agree, though, on a uniform measure of "current form"? Let's use the last five games... Oh dear... 4 points from 5 games = 0.8 pts per game. Final total (extrapolated): 38 pts, and a significant risk of relegation!

But none of this shit really maeans anything, Richard, as well you know. Extrapolations, predictions, prognostications... they mean nothing. We have just lost three games and our leading scorer. Not exactly encouraging, is it? ? Michael

Cahill

Both Dick Fearon and Tom Sullivan have valid points about our antipodean pal (Tim, not Dick). I agree with Tom that he's by no means the complete midfielder and ideally we'd want someone who offers a more complete game. However we're not in the ideal situation so to talk about selling our top scorer baffles me.

Sidwell and Co may offer more creativity by right now only two players are scoring (actually only one, thanks to Lee Carsley) and that doesn't look like changing any time soon. If we had a flexible, abundantly talented squad with strength in depth then Tom's point would be more valid, but with what we have I think selling Cahill would be a gross mistake.

However, I bow to Tom's delightful riposte concerning the shit-kicking.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (16/11/06)

What is success? An Alternative view

Just a comment following on from Nick Entwhistle's excellent article and the high standard of responses. The moot point is not that Everton must try and get 4th each year and then build the squad so we become a CL club. This then leaves some other poor unfortunate wallowing in the mire of the Premiership also-rans. The whole system need to change.

Grassroots supporters need to find a mechanism to stand up to the G14. We need to get back to a system where national competitions are the major focus of attention (the cake) with European competition the icing on said cake. Slim the overblown CL league down to 'champions' only and introduce a knock-out format, redevelop the Uefa Cup to be the tough and valued competition it once was (probably forget the Cup Winners ? even though its our only one) and bring the primary focus back to our domestic competition.

Oh hang on ? we've already had this haven't we ? pre-Sky? Anyone who works in any big organisation long enough knows that change is cyclical and that usually things come full circle albeit dressed up with new words to disguise the backtracking.

Remember the thrill of FA Cup 3rd round day, the buzz of FA Cup Final Day ? even if the Blues weren't playing. Remember full houses for FA Cup 5th and 6th round ties. Remember Northampton Town and Swansea in the First Division. Remember Derby County, Notts Forest, QPR, Stoke ? recall that whilst usually one team might dominate for periods, there was always change and the top 6 was always fluctuating. Could that happen in future... not bloody likely.

Forget Thursday night Uefa Cup games or CL ? we really are only dreaming. The sad fact is that the days of HK developing a 'team of no stars' with the like of Reidy for ?60k from Bolton have gone ? unless there is a fundamental change within the game.

Have I totally lost my grip on reality? Maybe... but the game I loved is slipping away from me. I used to go to all home games and a few away games; now I only get to about two games a season. Football has become a luxury - for me anyway - as I have a young family of three kids, one wage earner ? and it is around ?100 for all of us to see a game. In addition, I find now I can't relate to the 'stars' of today ? perhaps thats just age ? but then again maybe not (I'm only 37).....

Look at the new Wimbledon or Man Utd FC teams. Small beginnings maybe - but all great revolutions have to start somewhere. Without fans this game is worth nothing. It's time we stood up and were counted. Someone tell me how.
Richard McIlwain, Preston  (16/11/06)

More to football than goals

I recently suggested selling Tim Cahill in January as his value will never be higher and it would give us funds to develop the squad. Dick Fearon has since derided my comments and labelled me an idiot.

My point is that you judge a midfielder by his all-round attributes not just his goals. Having a midfield player who cannot pass, tackle, hold the ball or create is not the way forward. Dick seems to think scoring goals is all a player is judged on, but really Dickie it is more complicated than you realise, as would be kicking the shit out of me, metaphorically or otherwise.
Tom Sullivan, Liverpool  (16/11/06)

Johnson biting...

My god, some of us are quick to shoot a man down! Rather than celebrate the fact that our star striker is now getting firmly established in the England set-up some are moaning at his performance. The guy was played out of position! Did England not score when he drifted into the middle and started to put some pressure on the centre backs?

As for his goal drought for the blues, that has got to be down to the style of play we are currently using, which I sadly hoped would go away when big Dunc retired... We all know of AJ's limitations, but when you are not able to play to your strengths due to the team around you, what else can you do?
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (16/11/06)

The Mangers' Do

I asked one question to Joe Royle "Would one of your sides been beaten by Arsenal 7-0" Joe did his best to defend the Ginger Whinger but could not, it was great watchin the bugger squirm... MOYES OUT
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (16/11/06)

Fetishism?

It would have been nice if Craig had got my name right! Never mind, I too have an interesting World War II quote to offer up.

In 1941, Mussolini attacked Greece, from Albania. The Italians got a bloody nose and, far from just defending their own soil, the Greeks pushed them back into Albania, seizing control of a large chunk of that country. Sadly this triggered a Nazi invasion of Greece ? to finish the job the Italians had started so badly. Allied advisors, including many in the UK, urged the Greeks to withdraw their army from Albania and renew the defence of the Greek homeland. Sadly national sentiment forbad the abandoning of hard-won positions in Albania, overriding military logic, retreat in the face of the 'defeated' Italians having been deemed disgraceful.

So what happened? The Germans poured into Greece behind them, cut them off, and they were left with no option but to surrender en masse. Clever eh! Our own General Wilson derided the Greek?s reluctance to do the sensible thing, dismissing it as a "? fetishistic doctrine that not a yard of ground should be yielded to the Italians."

Might it be the case that some of our fellow Evertonians have a similar ?fetishistic? reluctance to consider that our future might be rosier elsewhere, away from Goodison? Does not this 'fetishistc' reluctance on their part risk seeing our once great club left in the doldrums ... while 'rivals' (who once would have been flattered, nay embarrassed, to be described as such when hearing talk of the mighty EVERTON) march on, increasing turnover and so their ability to purchase the means of continues 'success' in the game?s modern era!?

Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum (even if that means deciding the 'Old Lady' is no longer up to the job!)
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (16/11/06)

Johnson on the right???

I don't undertsnad why Johnson was been played on the right??? Surely, a 4-4-2 is better option, with Gerrard and Cole on the wings??? And Carrick is too weak to be a holding midfielder. Alex Ferguson bought him replace Scholes as an attacking mid ? Hargreaves's soon-to-be partner. Johnson on the right?? Phheesh. Bring back Erickson!
Joe Baxton, Liverpool  (16/11/06)

And the cake goes to?

To sell Tim Cahill would be the most idiotic suggestion of the year. In August, before a ball had been kicked, I felt obliged to support Cahill against similar things. Since then I thought Tim had clearly vindicated my stand but I was wrong. Still there are some who want rid of him.

This time the reason seems to be that Cahill only scores goals. On that my brain overides my desire to metaphorically kick the living shit out of such idiots. Reading that kind of rubbish makes me wonder if the world has gone completely mad. I ask Tom Sullivan, If scoring goals is of such little importance, why would any club consider Tim to be worth ?10 million pounds?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (16/11/06)

Long-Awaited Johnson Start

AJ gets his long-awaited England start... and he was pretty awful. Seeing Johnson at that level makes you realise how average he really is.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

Poor Andy

If Andy Johnson gets crap service at Everton, it's much worse when he plays for England! Again expected to start wide right (what the hell was all that about?), he then fails to get a single pass when moved to the old inside-left slot. To all those who say Moyes is crap, I say it could be much worse ? we might have McClaren as manager!
Ed Magilton, Hale  (15/11/06)

Bring 'em on slowly

Sean, Colm - I too am in the your minority gang. True they need blooding, but I think Moyes is going about it the right way (though 2 mins at the end of a game for Vic is prob a little too little!)
Wayne Francis, N Wales  (15/11/06)

?5M for Beattie?

Moyes has worked wonders before making money on Kilbane and Bent, but he won't get ?5M for Beattie! We can't win with this fellah, he's either on the bench or shite on the field. No way does either of those make him a wanted man. We'd be lucky to get ?3M.
Lee Houseman, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

Term of endearment 2

Not management, Micky...just advice. I wouldn't like to see you waste your time that's all. Put your name on your banner though and I'll give you a wave when I see it!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (15/11/06)

When Saturday Comes

Bolton at home, no Cahill and equally no Hibbert and maybe no Valente. Maybe AJ will get a knock tonight and Neville hurt in the warm up. The manager still has the responsibility to put out a team to represent the club and its fans. Those players should be fired up to produce a performance and follow a worked-out gameplan to overcome any player shortage and secure a win. It is what they are all paid for.

Give us the performance and I think most fans will take that but please don't wallow in self pity out on the pitch and have predetermined excuses for not doing your jobs. See you Sat. -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (15/11/06)

To my shame

To my shame I'm afraid I have to agree with Brian Baker in his piece entitled Moan, Moan, Moan. I have only recently come across this website and have probably been over enthusiastic in sending in letters. I've just read back through them and yes, I have had some kind of a complaint in them all.

Here's my explaination. At 32 I can't remember the Eighties with any great clarity. Unfortunately, I can remember the ninties only too well. As a result I got caught up in the wave of happiness that surged through al ot of Everton fans at the start of the season. It seemed that our current manager had come good after four seasons of inconsistency, we knew the Board wasnt perfect but it was working harder than any previous Board I can remember on areas like finances and a new ground and our team was playing well when winning games and yes, even scoring goals.

Fast forward to last Saturday evening and the most depressed I have ever been as an Everton supporter. All of a sudden it felt like nothing was right at the club. Were we back to the bad old days of the ninties? The Answer folks is that no we are not. All that has happened is that our manager in my opinion has reached the limit of his potential. Nothing else has changed and if we get a manager in time the slide can be halted on the pitch. Now if my aunt had bits she'd be my uncle and until we actually change manager no one knows how it's going to pan out, full stop!

But anyway Brian is right, positives in whatever form should be looked at. Look at things this way, if you want a reminder of an Everton club in decline, THAT Everton Wimbledon game is on ESPN tomorrow night.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (15/11/06)

Do us a favour, Kieran: try to make sure you have something meaningful to write, keep it short, and use the shift key on your keyboard, Alrite? You don't have to write in every day... and certainly not two or three times a day. ? Michael

Frank Spencer

In reply to John Prior: You know what, John, you might just be right ? I may well have a touch of the Alf Garnetts about me. Not in the racist sense, mind you, but I do believe in speaking my mind and letting people know how I feel about certain issues. I would rather be an Alf than a Frank Spencer: "Hmm.. Betty, the dog's done a Whoopsie in the garden" kind of Fella.

There are too many PC brigaders like you John who think it's not right to speak out in case it offends people. Mincing about, scared to step on someone's toes isn't what I am about, mate. Like Alf, I will call a spade a spade ? or if you like a shite manager a shite manager.

Whereas you John you probably don't see any wrong in anything Moyes does or says because you are like your character Frank Spencer. A soppy Wet Liberal too daft to see when things are going tits up. A VW Beatle driver, no doubt. You middle-of-the-road fence-sitters are always happy to go along with any old crap just to keep the peace. So, as long as Moyes continues to act like Benny Hill, I will act like Alf Garnett ? you can keep the Frank Spencer routine going.

While we are at it, we can have James Beattie as Bella Emberg. Andy van der Meyde as can be Stan Ogdeon. Phil Neville as Lon Chaney. Also appearing: Lee "The Hills Have Eyes" Carsley. Leon Osman and Simon Davies as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. Davey Dracula Wier [keeps coming Back from the dead]. How about Gary Naysmith as Igor. Yes Master. Alexandro Pistone as The Invisible Man. Tony Hibbert as Plug Of the Bash Street Kids and top of the bill. Bill Kenwright as The Artfull Dodger.

What a show that would be. A lot better than the football that being played ? that's for sure.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

What a load of old tosh, Tony. You are a serious disappointment! ? Michael

Battle of the Bores

I can`t say I`m exactly looking forward to Saturday`s Battle of the Bores at Goodison. Like Moyes, Allardyce favours the `keep it tight and hope to snatch one` philosophy which inevitably leads to one of those games of attrition loved only by Wilkinson clone managers.

All the excuses are already in place: injuries to key players, game quickly following an international, refs pre-judging swallow diving etc etc etc... The two misery managers will have a field day!

So stay at home I hear you cry! But, with my season ticket having robbed me of ?600, I guess I`ll have to suffer the pain. Who said football was entertainment?
Clive Nicholl, Moss Bank  (15/11/06)

Ridiculous Mail Bag ?

George Davies, are you for real, mate? I cannot recall any posters suggesting Dowie as an alternative to Moyes, nor do I think Michael or Colm would have printed any, except in jest. It really would be, as you say, a ridiculous mail bag, if your allegation were true. Fortunately those less afflicted with the desire for Moyes have posted credible alternatives, Mark Hughes, David Jones, Martin O'Neill, even the return of Big Joe, all worthy contenders IMO.

Anyway I am off to the seven managers do tonight, armed with me Joe Royle and Colin Harvey Everton books for signing. I doubt Moyes will ever have enough material for more than a chapter on Everton, if he ever gets round to writing one and then it would probably the last.

I love this mailbag and all who post on her, especially Marshy, Meeky, Gav Ram and Luq Yus, they never post shite and at least promotes debate, which actually prompted your letter George. Let normal service be resumed... Moyes OUT ASAP !
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (15/11/06)

Nugent + Sidwell = Beatts?

If we can sell Beattie for, say ?4-5 million, we can buy Nugent and Sidwell on a free, considering he's out of contract come next year. Beattie's wages can cover both of them.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (15/11/06)

If only it was that simple!!! - Colm

Horse's mouth

Mr Wyness often visit's the cafe next door to where I work (Utting Avenue). So today, when I saw him, I could not help myself and had to ask him about the ground move. 'Are we leaving Goodison' I asked. 'Yes, I think so' replied Buster. I passed on most fans concerns about it not being like The Reebok or Riverside and he agreed with what I was saying 'we?ll have something classy' is how I think he described it. So, there you have it. Straight from the horse?s mouth?..We?re going!!
Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (15/11/06)

Sell Cahill ... are you MAD!

I don't quite understand the sentiments that some people advocate about ridding ourselves of Tim Cahill. Don't they realise how many points his goals have won us over the past few seasons? Without TC we may well have finished an awful lot lower in the league and never gained that elusive 4th place finish.

What is it about some blues? Lineker, Latchford and now Cahill have been derided for only scoring goals. That is the whole point of the game ? if you don't score, regardless of how well you've played you'll probably lose.

I wonder if Blues of yesteryear had the same complaints about Dixie or Tommy Lawton? Goalscorers yes, but what else do they do for the team? Well, let me tell you: without Tim's goals and no apparent plan B to alter the framework of the team we may just be wishing that there was someone in the team who ONLY scored goals.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (15/11/06)

Response to Selling our Souls, Part 2

Craig Heywood has a rare talent in his writing as his emotional words seem to touch the depths of our feelings, our innermost emotions. However, there is a dilemma here. If you share the views of Nick Entwhistle, as many Evertonians do, that to be successful we must regularly win a place in the money-sodden Champions League, then we need the multi-millions of pounds to buy the very best players. ?If you are not in the Champions League you are nothing.? If you take this view then there is little argument that we must move from Goodison to raise the necessary investment and income.

But like Craig I have poignant memories of Goodison. Queuing for the gates to open at 1.30 to get a space on the boundary wall at the Park End, changing ends during the 10-minute half-time break, being jostled in a 73,000 crowd, and watching the man bringing out the 2 numbers to show Liverpool were losing. Then, after the game, having a transistor radio clutched to my ear to hear the full-time scores on Sports Report. Then like Craig walking back into the city down Scotland Rd and cutting through the dark alleyways down to the Pier Head. Of course life has changed since then, no-one in their right mind would make that walk at night now and all-seater stadiums have spoilt that special atmosphere.

Perhaps it is right then to move on from Goodison but I too have been to the sterile new stadia at Wigan, Bolton and Man City ? the latter farcically having to play crowd music to create an atmosphere. Wouldn?t it be better to buck the trend and try to continue to build a side with the likes of Johnson, Cahill and Arteta who have not cost vast sums. To show the likes of Chelsea, United and Liverpool that it is possible to do it another way. We are a big club still, a great club, because we do still have a soul and the biggest and best fans to go with it. Let us be different, let us do it our way, the Everton way. And let's stay at Goodison.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (15/11/06)

Moan, moan, moan

I am sick to death of listening to those group of people who sit back with their arms folded under their chins and just moan.

"It won't work", "Get rid of him", "our tactics are shite", "Moyes should go", etc, etc, moan, moan, moan!

If you are going to make negative comments then I would like them to suggest an alternative. "What will work?", "Who could replace Moyes", "What tactics do you suggest?"

Just sitting back and moaning is easy, so why not try something more taxing and back up your moaning with a vaible alternative.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (15/11/06)

Iain Dowie? :-) - Colm

Be careful what you wish for

He's taken us as far as he can... it's time to bring in someone who can move us to the next level.

No, not Moyes... that's what I heard and read most Charlton supporters saying for the last two seasons.

By the way... when did we win the league with Latchford and King in the team? I've still got my 'Bob Latchford walks on water' badge but I never realised it extended to altering history. Perhaps we could call him up and ask him to re-draw the Champions League qualifier again!
Gary Joyce, Watford  (15/11/06)

No place for kids

Just heard on Sky Sports that in the last eight years, no less than 20 homegrown players have reached the Man City first team. Which just goes to show you win nothing with kids and Moyes is dead right to be very cautious about putting his trust in the likes of Anichebe and Boyle.
Sean Dean, Shotwick  (15/11/06)

I reckon I'm very much in the minority that believes Anichebe is nowhere near ready to lead the Everton frontline. - Colm

Ridiculous Mailbag

Seventh in the Premier and the Mailbag calls for Moyes to be sacked! Just how ridiculous is that? The knee-jerk reaction to a RARE home defeat truly belies belief. Just a year ago, Everton were near the bottom and some posters were suggesting Iain Dowie as Moyes`s replacement ? now see what we missed!

For God`s sake, let`s be positive. The injury to Cahill will give the Johnson-Beattie partnership a proper chance to flourish and with Van der Meyde due to return they will, at last have some service from the wings.

Let`s hear no more of this Moyes out nonsense, the guy`s doing a bloody good job and there`s nothing wrong with Everton that a good win on Saturday won`t put right. COYB!
George Davies, Hawarden  (15/11/06)

As much as some of the anti-Moyes sentiment may be misguided, can I ask WHY so many Evertonians seem to somehow pin their faith in Andy van der Meyde as being some sort of saviour in waiting? - Colm

Cahill injury

I believe Tim Cahill's injury could work to Everton's advantage. He's had a great start to the season following an impressive world cup and been nominated for European Footballer of the Year. Now out injured, there is no chance of his form dropping by January.

By then he should be recovered from the injury and I would expect some big money offers from Man utd, Chelsea etc. I think a ?12M bid should be accepted. Tim scores goals but he is a bit of a luxury player, not a genuine midfielder or striker.

Like a modern-day John Wark or David Platt, if he's not scoring goals he's doing nothing. Right now our team needs all-round midfielders who can tackle, pass, create and score in equal measure. Although I'd love to keep him I feel he should be sacraficed in January which would enable us to bid for the likes of Sidwell, Barton and Nugent.
Tom Sullivan, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

"...now out injured there is no chance of his form dropping by January...!" Anyone even remotely capable of beating that, eh?!!! ? Colm

Remember the Alamo

So in true Moyes mode, the manager has got the excuses in first-again! We are nothing without Cahill is in the same league as saying refs have it in for Johnson. All that sort of negative shit undermines the confidence of the players and, in turn, gives them an excuse to underperform.

As a motivator ? and tactician ? Moyes is a joke and all this talk of `survival` being the goal will, in the end, lead to only one thing-relegation. A siege mentality may work in the short term but always ends in defeat. Remember the Alamo.
Richard Graves, Rufford  (15/11/06)

I remember what happened in the end at The Alamo! ? Colm

Inertia FC

Just read the report of the Shareholders meeting with Wyness. Can`t say it filled me with hope for the Club`s future and found it disappointing that the Earl intends to be a sleeping partner, only offering advice when called on. No new funds will be available but Billy Liar will not have to suffer anymore interference.

The new ground out in the sticks just might be available in 2010 - or maybe 2011 and all promises of a decision by this Christmas are as empty as all the other crap coming out from the club.

Perhaps we should consider re-naming the club Inertia FC. It`s tken 20 years but the morons at the top have slowly killed my dreams.
Peter Bond, Altcar  (15/11/06)

Don't be so down on yourself, Peter. Cheer yourself up with the prospect of Planet Hollywood Kirkby doing a mean calzone pizza in the Davey Hickson Suite.... - Colm

Alf Garnett!!

This will probably go over your foreign reader's heads. I was watching the 'character' Alf Garnett(Till Death Us Do Part etc) and it got me thinking! For those not familiar, he was a sit-com character who was actually quite a vile creation, hugely racist and bigotted, not to mention short-tempered, impatient and a little light on the old grey matter!

I remember the actor Warren Mitchell relaying a story, about how some guys stopped him in a chip-shop once, stupidly believing this 'character' was embodied by the actor, and told him how great and funny it was to 'give it to the blacks'! To which the actor was disgusted, and pointed out the sit-com wasn't taking the piss out of foreigners or race etc, but the ignorant people that saw the world like the character Alf Garnett. By completely exagerrating, and going over the top in his diatribes, it was obvious to most people that this was someone who was 'unreal'. Yet there will always be some people who will believe what he was saying was right.

Now I'm not calling Tony Marsh a racist or anything like that, but I can see real similiarities between the 'characters' Alf Garnett and Tony Marsh!
John Prior, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

Well, as Alf Garnett might offer, Sir - "you stupid scaaaarrse git!" Think Mr Marsh might have something to say about your comparison, John! ? Colm

Knowsley Ground Move

We need to put things into perspective... Having visited all the new premiership grounds and more recently the Emirates Stadium, it is time for a change.

Our stadium is outdated and the discussion of regeneration of Goodison is, let's face it, never going to happen. We've had some great times here but now, with the new investment and the sense of the club moving in the right direction, let's start afresh.

Just to add a closing point, and you heard it first on ToffeeWeb, the Knowsley move is a done deal. This has come from a very reliable source. There will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks.
Dave Parr, Whiston  (15/11/06)

There was an announcement the other week. From Robert Elstone! Out in Malaysia, where he was ? *cough* ? 'misquoted'. ? Colm

Tony Marsh's comment

Tony, your rants have become increasingly boring. Yes, what you say is mostly true, and most of them are what we already know. Moyes is half-shite, I think we can all agree. But, like previous posts have said it would not be financially viable for us to sack him. Of course if it looks like we are heading for relegation, like with Smith, Kenwright will do the right thing and sack Moyes.

But Moyes at worst will bring us mediocrity and midtable. Kenwright won't sack him, so it's best to back him for now.
James Beacon, Liverpool  (15/11/06)

People's ground

I hear a lot of Evertonians don't want to move from Goodison. Maybe if we all bought a ground all together with the amount of money you put in being an actual share of the ground, then perhaps we could get somewhere closer to Goodison. I have some fond memories of Goodison, watching my hero Bob Latchford and Andy King, when we beat QPR to win the league, what a day!

All the stick I got off the kopites and the Mancs growing up as a kid... I was in heaven that day. But, like many other people, my grandad was a blue, so was my uncle, so I inherited my team Everton and I wouldn't change it for the world. I now live in Coventry, at the tender age of 38 a couple of years ago, Bob Latchford was part of the coaching staff at Birmingham and I was going to go down there and get his autograph but was too shy.

At the moment, I can't seem to sleep but I'm sure when we win the next game I'll be snoring my head off, dreaming it was me on the pitch playing up front with AJ myself. As long as it's a decent new ground I'm not bothered where it is, but I know one thing: I am once a blue and always a blue for ever ? my dog Loui even has to wear his Everton top on match days.
Lee Rogers, Coventry  (15/11/06)

Taking Bollocks

Why does it always seem that, whenever Moyes speaks to the press or gives an interview, he spouts a load of shite? We all remember last year and the "Beattie and Wright for England" nonsense and he is still at it.

I still dont know why last month he had to come out and say we are not a one man team in reference to AJ. Since then, Johnson hasn't scored a goal and we have gone on this terrible run of form. Why say it in the first place? We all knew AJ was carrying us at the time. He should have been saying what a difference the lad has made since he arrived and how he has added a whole new dimension to our play.

That's not Deadly's style though, is it? He has to pour cold water on every thing. Now we might as well not turn up for any more games because Cahill is crocked. What a way to demoralise the rest of your squad. That's it, Dave, make them feel worthless, why don't you. Why come out in mid November and ruin our fucking Christmas with this "No Signings in January" story? Keep your mouth shut, Moyes, and get on with running the club properly. No one needs to know your plans (or lack of) just yet. Moyes is totally out of his depth in all departments of managment but his media skills are none existent. With Cahill gone for a few months, we will miss his goals ? but don't tell the whole fucking world!

I am on the brink of sanity with this man I really am. What's he got that makes fans stick by him so much? We are terrible to watch without the remotest chance of silverware and still some of us think its wonderful. I feel like kicking my PC to bits every time I read a post claiming we are not relegation fodder and we could still make Europe.

There are other teams in the Premier League who realise they will never win the title or even a cup but they still try to give the fans something decent to watch. That's all I am asking for. I have resigned myself to the fact that the big boys are out of reach at present but that doesn't mean we have to play the way we do.

You don't need Abramovich's billions to tell players to keep the ball down and pass it to feet. You don't need 78,000 through the turnstiles for a manager to have a game plan that actually works on a consistent basis. We are without doubt the worst team in the Premier league to watch and its a scandalous situation. I am not asking for Moyes to do anything other than change our style of play if he can. Otherwise, do us all a favour and go.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

Chillax everyone!

It is always a big mistake to draw conclusions from one good performance — and an even bigger one to draw long term conclusions from one terrible performance. And that?s what the Villa game was, one terrible performance. Every team above us has put in at least one of those already this season. The important thing is to get three points off Bolton and stay in touch with the leading group. Do that and there is still everything to play for this season. Now that Cahill is out for a few weeks, it?s time to bring in Anichebe as Johnson?s strike partner. And if Van Der Meyde is fit he should come in for Davies to give the two of them some service. Let's just hope Johnson gets through the England game uninjured.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

I would agree with you, Peter, if the Villa debacle was an isolated incident. Unfortunately, we were equally bad in the second half at Fulham and showed similar lack of forward penatration at Middlesbrough. I think that most fans' fears at the moment revolve out the fact that we seem to be settling into pattern of Johnson and Arteta being stifled by opposing teams, the Blues relying on Cahill to plunder goals, and Moyes not having an answer to that. — Lyndon

Term of endearment?

Dave Roberts, please don't manage my expectations of Everton Football Club. If you wish to be a loser that's up to you; me, I will bring the banners and the chants to the ground. Bollocks to it, I am not prepared to standby and watch this train wreck called Everton.

Moyes Out.
Micky Wilcox, Runcorn  (14/11/06)

Forces Blue

I watched the ITV news tonight and Ben Kovak (apologies if the spelling is wrong) died in Iraq today. I don't know if he is the first to die. But it does put perspective on the importance of football. Ben was an avid Evertonian like the rest of us.

Rest in peace Ben, I'll think of you come Saturday.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (14/11/06)

Term of endearment?

I agree with most of Peter Laing's comments and Colm's response. But whether or not we have occasional reason to think that some of our Evertonian brothers and sisters are delusional or just plain wrong is no reason to start calling them 'twats'.

We can't blame Evertonians for being overly optimistic at times because we've waited a bloody long time for good news but an assertive reminder of the real world should suffice rather than abuse. This is a time to stick together as I think solidarity may be needed pretty soon!

Regarding the other current thread, the future or otherwise of David Moyes, don't waste your energy in speculation or expectation. He has the total support of the chairman who now appears to have undisputed control of the club. Accordingly, David Moyes has his future at Everton in his own hands, not ours. As long as the chairman's happy... he's got a job.

So don't bother bringing any banners or chants calling for Moyes's head as you're wasting your time. Use any enthusiasm you have for the club to get behind the team. If that sounds naive, maybe it's because I'm an Evertonian and it's Everton that's the priority for me.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (14/11/06)

Irreplaceable?

What does it say about the squad and more importantly the manager, when DM says about the terrible injury to Tim Cahill, that it is a bitter blow and that we won't be able to replace his goal output? Well I'm sorry David, but that is your job; you have to find a system to win matches, not just say a particular player cannot be replaced.

If ever a team were given an excuse to underperform then David Moyes has given it to them. Why not say that Tim is an important member of the team and we will endevour to perform without him. No wonder we can't make progress, we coped without Rooney ? we had too ? surely as good as Tim is we can find a way to cope now.

If we don't then this season may just get worse than even the most pessimistic Blues thought possible.

ps: Just seen an article which says that Phil Neville and Tim Cahill are promoting an Everton Cricket Bat. What's that about? Mind you, I could think of a few uses for it...
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/11/06)

Your Latin Correspondent writes...

I think 'Always Next Year' is best rendered as 'Semper Annus Proximus'. Although some might argue for us old farts a better motto might be 'Semper Annus Prior".....
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

Okay, that's enough of this dead lingo for today, thanks! — Michael

I have a cunning plan....

Right, lads and ladies, get buying your lottery tickets: it's ?120M on the Euromillions. If every Evertonian buys a ticket, one of us is bound to win ? just remember to give a chunk in time for some January transfers! Someone send a letter to Blue Bill: I'm sure, given how much he loves the club, he'd be willing to donate it all if he won.
Duncan Poselthwaite, Leeds  (14/11/06)

Memories lost, again

I was not suggesting that we stay at Goodison; I was merely pointing out the history and emotions that she brings out in people. So forgive me for being melancholy?

The other point I suppose I was trying to make that inspired the anger, was that the Everon Board of Directors for years has watched this club stagnate and that includes the facilities. Yes, we do deserve better and will have to move to achieve this, but that doesn't mean I have to be grateful to a Board that has only the Club's bank balance as the prime objective.

So, until we move, leave me with my memories, because, as the old saying goes, "You don't realise what you've got 'til you lose it." And it will take an awful long time for a new stadium to harbour the ghosts that Goodison holds, especially under this management regime.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (14/11/06)

We will buy!

I don't get why after 4? years, most of you still don't get it. Moyes sayimng 'I don't have money to spend' or 'I won't buy anybody' is utter bollocks. If anyone cares to remember, he has been saying the same thing every trasnfer window since forever.

Well, there were one or two trasnfer windows when he meant it, but I don't think anyone was expecting him to spend ?13M last summer, were you? Or ?6M for Beattie??? Lesson? Moyes isbluffing it to keep prices down.

He sold Kilbane because he knows he needs a better player than him, and the fee Wigan was prepared to pay for him at that time was high (?2.5M). So, no matter how much Kenright gives him, he will have ?2.5M to spend. Let's hope it's a midfielder. Sidwell, anyone??? (he can sign a pre-contract come Jan).
Baxton Barnes, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

Teletext bias ? part 52

(I definately have too much time on my hand's...) Anyway, did anyone else spot on BBC teletext to-day (Tuesday), second paragraph down, mentioning Cahill likely to be out for 6 week's, yet when sissoko of Liverpool was injured, it was given the main headline ALL DAY! Considering Moyes stating word's cannot mean what this will do to Everton (gulp!), I would have thought this was "headline" news... now I know what Hansen and Lawrensen do all day!!!
Jamie Carroll, Co Louth, Ireland  (14/11/06)

You think we're moaning?

If you think our lot are moaning about results and the Manager, you should tune into the Liverpool FC website ? they really are shitting themselves!!

If we really do need to change the Manager, how about David Jones? He is doing a fantastic job at Cardiff, and you couldn't get more of an Evertonian than our Davey.
Pat Jones, Cardiff  (14/11/06)

Cahill replacement

As feared, it looks like a long layoff for Tiny Tim. He may not be the league's best midfielder, but, to Everton's most effective strategy, he is crucial. I know Moyes says he's unlikely to dip into the transfer market in January, but you'd think with Kilbane gone, AvdM on the physio's couch with a Bacardi Breezer (purely medicinal of course), Cahill due a lengthy layoff, he'd be puzzled as to who's going to fill the holes.

Simon Davies it ain't, and Neville is really just another stopper ? which, let's face it, we've never been short of since.... well, Sky invented football.

As Arteta is the only member of our midfield comfortable doing anything with the ball other than hoofing it into Stanley Park, it is a case (as has been said already) that if you stop Arteta, you stop Everton. The centre-backs can launch high balls upfield all the time, but that isn't AJ's game, and we won't get the best out of him. We need another threat in midfield and if Moyes thinks we're ok with the status quo, then he's going to have some seriously pissed-off players come May, not to mention pissed-off fans.

I got a mail like a lot of you from the club, saying:

GET BEHIND THE BLUES
For the first time this season, Everton suffered the disappointment of a Goodison defeat in the Premiership last weekend. The side is eager to bounce back against Bolton this weekend - and your support could help David Moyes and his men get back to winning ways'
This seems to gloss over the fact that the only league win of any description we've had since the Derby on September 9th was that turgid affair against Sheffield Utd, where frankly if points were given for imagination and tactics - we'd have lost by a cricket score.

One thing Everton have never been short of is support. One thing we as supporters haven't been short of for the last couple of years is disappointment. I hate to echo the words of Tony Marsh, but if we go through to February 1st with either Beattie lumbering about up front or Lee Carsley expected to take on forward duties, I'll be first in the queue to want to see Moyes and Kenwright out. Let's face it, Ian Dowie has been shown the door for less.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (14/11/06)

Those e.mails from the Club are becoming increasingly embarrassing. Pravda rocks!!! - Colm

A good point by Adam Fenlon

Moyes has shown that we are progressing. The rate of the progress might not be satisfactory for the some of the fans, but at least we in a better state that Newcastle (note: look at how changing managers will do?)

To sack Moyes would probably cost a few million, as well as getting another manager. The new manager would probably need some more money to spend. All in all, changing a manager is not an option of us, especially in the dire state we are in finicially. Even if Moyes has brought us as far as he can and keeps us mid-table, we have no option but to keep him for a few more years, as we our huge debts require stabilty within the club.

Anyhow, Moyes deserves at least until the end of the season to prove his worth. For me, the jury is still open until then.

ps: Cahill's injury and McFadden ban could be a blessing in disguise. Anichebe will now have a chance to cement a partnership with Johnson.
Tim Eccleston, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

Not that I am in any way advocating the sacking of Moyes but in your second paragraph you claim we have no choice but to stick with him, citing our debts and the stability required. Thing is, Tim, they said the same thing when Walter Smith was staring down the barrell... ? Colm

Pups of War

It would appear, following the recent meeting of the shareholders representatives and Keith Wyness, that the big man is yet to meet Robert Earl with a meeting scheduled for the end of November.

Considering that Mr Wyness is the CEO and a member of the Moard of Directors it is inconceivable that this meeting is yet to take place considering Robert Earl's 23% holding. One would hope that Mr Wyness will be seeking assurances from Robert Earl regarding his intentions for Everton Football Club, either through direct or procurred investment in the shape of wealthy contacts or clients.

David Moyes's recent remarks about any proposed transfer activity during the January transfer window, however, have worried me: is this a pre-emptive warning to fans that there will be little in the way of transfer funds made available to bolster the threadbare and light-weight squad? Does this also indicate that Robert Earl is to be the sleeping partner that brings stability to the boardroom, little provided in the way of investment, and a non-disenting voice to Bill Kenwright's control of the Club?

Robert Earl undoubtedly has an agenda in terms of the commercial ventures that may be associated with any proposed relocation, mirroring that of Paul Gregg's involvement five years earlier. In economic terms, for a man of Earl's wealth and position within the world of leisure / entertainment a ?9 million security on 23% of the Club and a direct influence on future proposals is a tidy proposition.

The debate surrounding the ground move is academic, sentiment, history and the viewpoint of the fans secondary to the need to maximize income streams through an untapped and deprived area of Knowsley and its associated grant-aided quango. Relocation is undoubtedly required but this should not not come before or at the expense of the playing side; the chicken and egg scenario exists as does the 'white-elephant' effect that may be created with a new stadium with a team not fit to grace its new surroundings.

Clarity is required and should be demanded on these proposals, on Robert Earl's investment and our future direction. The lightweight and under-performing midfield is of more immediate concern to me than a proposed venture thay may or may not ever happen. Sunderland have the Stadium of Light half-empty and a football team unable to survive the demands of the Premiership; wake up and smell the Planet Hollywood coffee, Evertonians.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (14/11/06)

Sad thing is, Peter ? the vast majority of Evertonians live in a world oblivious, having the wool continually pulled over their heads. They live in a world of delusion and appear happy so. Half of the twats sung from the rooftops when it emerged that Robert Earl (who?) had purchased the Gregg family shareholding. Wyness cites this move as bringing stability to the Club and he's right in saying that but what he doesn't say is that the move was designed more to strengthen Bill's grip on the train set. And that he most definitely has done.

As an aside, has anyone seen Mr Earl, the Spurs supporter and now owner of 23% of Everton Football Club, at Goodison for a match? Clarity required on Earl's investment (in Gregg's shares) ? you'll get nothing from this Board on that matter, Peter! ? Colm

Theory into practice

Changing our manager has been getting serious debate on this website for a while now. Well, Charlton have sacked Iain Dowie and now the season's sack race has begun.

Two quick points. Firstly, how long before Bill Kenwright turns on the smarm and issues a statement telling us how brilliant David Moyes is and that he's going nowhere. Usually the kiss of death but our Bill is in a world of his own.

Secondly, while Charlton may not be the attractive proposition that Everton is for jobless managers, and while each club's Board handles this kind of thing differently, this is a prime opportunity for us Everton fans to see what exactly would be in front of us in terms of replacing David Moyes.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (14/11/06)

Not sure I understand why there should be any parallels there, Kieran. We know what is involved when you change a manager. There is always a risk that the hoped-for progress doesn't come. What happens at Charlton and what happens at Everton may be similar... but the likehood is that they will be vastly different; Dowie was only given 15 weeks for starters! — Michael

Middling Moyes

So the general view is that Moyes has shown enough potential in nearly five years to justify an extended run at the job? I`m never quite sure how long you can go on talking of potential, (5, 7, 10 years?) whether it be in relation to players (Osman, Hibbert and even VdM!) or managers, before they should be expected to be performing at full stretch.

So, soon, the decision has to be made as to whether or not he`s up to bringing glory to Goodison or whether the club`s happy to settle for mid-table mediocrity. I fear I know the answer to that one ? Peter Radford told us yesterday ? so here`s to `Middling Moyes? for another five years... at least!
Alan Whitehead, Childwall  (14/11/06)

All The Fun Of The Fair!

According to the article by Nick Entwistle, not only are we to put up with functional football, but the best we can hope for is 5th place and possibly a cup final appearance every now and again. Not only are we to accept this fait accompli but we are also to lose the one thing that binds us all together, namely Goodison Park.

Rubbish football season after season, no hope of ever being Champions of England, a move to a soulless concrete arena and the daily ribbing from our friends and neighbours, the future?s shite the future?s every shade of brown.

I feel like the viewer of some third-rate soap opera, unable to believe the plot, unable to realise that the characters might change but the basic crassness of the whole thing is obvious to anyone who has an ounce of intelligence. Not only do the producers of the show feed us such crap, but they actively seek to take as much excitement out of it as possible, by constantly relaying the twists and turns to the media to create interest.

The way things are shaping up, we will be able to get the match results before the game, in order to save us worrying about the outcome. The scenario outlined above only increases our need to get a manager, be it David Moyes or whoever, to lay the foundations for our future.

The problem with EFC like so many others is that they only react to situations when they arise; there is no plan, no blueprint. Survival is the be-all and end-all, and this is what is destroying the game, not the domination by the elite. The elite are providing the excuses for all those other clubs; Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and our nearest and dearest neighbours would never have become champions if their managers, directors etc had held this mindset. Clough, Ramsey and Shankly would never have become legends if they had accepted that the status quo was unshakeable. At the time they were poor relations to the likes of Man United and ourselves but they kept to their footballing principles and produced players to play to a system which they believed in.

So there is no real reason that Everton cannot gatecrash the party, but the secret is how to stay there, and I believe this is the underlying reason why so many have less faith in David Moyes than they did 18 months ago. But he cannot be held accountable for all the ills of Everton and this is where Bill Kenwright should be held to account; his failure to realise the opportunity we had back in August 2005 is scandalous and possibly his biggest failure, including the King?s Dock project.

If football is anything, it is a sport that embraces the possibilities ? not the certainties ? in life, and that is why we must as fans demonstrate what the game means to us at every opportunity and not sit back and be spoon-fed what others think it should be. Otherwise, we may as well turn our gaze to the latest third-rate soap opera on the TV.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/11/06)

Sadly and painfully, I think your comparison is only too accurate: it has descended into a third-rate soap opera. I don't know if I could still say that were we to be one of the glamour stars... but if Nick is right, I won't be faced with that problem. — Michael

The EPL Glass Ceiling

Thank you, Nick Entwistle, for articulating the most basic realities of the Premiership. I've supported Everton for 20 yrs from afar and perhaps this lends me true clarity to the key issues facing Everton, the 15 other also-rans, and the EPL as a whole. Since sport everywhere is now a business, these problems will always hold us back.

I am also a keen follower of our own Australian football. That competition has salary cap restrictions and a draft allocation of players which are very effective at maintaining parity, my own club finished top 3 years running, won 1 Grand Final then this year finished 12th of 16. It's certainly a true and testing competition.

I have always been puzzled by the apparent lack of initiative from the FA in relation to the issues Nick raised. What is their role if not to maintain the integrity, respectability and competitiveness of the EPL? Surely their lack of action is tacit approval of the current state of play. The measures mentioned above may be viewed in England by the punters as a bridge too far but, they work (think of all the sports that use them and their commercial viability) and is it no better than the dead end 16 clubs face now ? make that approx 92 clubs!

Is the real objection to the restructuring of the competition coming from the supporters and so the FA are not willing to fight a PR war?

Having said this, I acknowledge the role vested interest might play and I admit my own ignorance for the FA's true role and objectives as the sport's administrative body but surely these two points are not obstacles to the FA making tough decisions for the good of the competition as the Australian Football body did 20 years ago.

What we are experiencing now is exactly why no one respects domestic football in Scotland, Turkey, Greece, Belgium and any other 2, 3 or 4 team leagues you care to name.
James Brien, Adelaide, Australia  (14/11/06)

Just a pedantic point: The Football Association is not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the Premier League, but has veto power as a special shareholder during the election of the Chairman and Chief Executive and when new rules are adopted by the league. — Michael

A Little learning

I think postremus, the Latin adjective, means 'last' rather than 'next'. Which suggests that Everton's new motto is about the past rather than the future. That may well be an ironic truth...
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (14/11/06)

Deep breath ? and exhale...

Michael, just a quick postscript to yesterday's letter which I wanted to finish in more considered fashion but was chucked off the computer by my son... ahem.

Anyway, the crux of it is that I agree someone else could do a better job than Moyes (though I'm not sure who and how we'd get them, etc etc, ? that's a whole other thread) but trying to keep some perspective on the job he IS doing. It may be a meagre crumb of comfort right now but if we step back from the recent disappointments we still look comparitively healthy compared to recent years. I'm not arguing we should settle for it, far from it. Many people feel it could be better and I agree ? but that doesn't mean Moyes is the worst thing to ever happen to the club.

It's quite hard to say anything other than your are 'for' or 'against' the man at the moment because it's become the central theme in the mailbag for quite some time, but I guess what I'm saying is it's easy to turn everything into black and white concerning Moyes, when the picture, to me at least, is a bit muddy.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (14/11/06)

Simon, it doesn't help when you use pharses like "Moyes is the worst thing to ever happen to the club" that are obviously rubbish. Everyone knows we have made some progress under him: some are satisfied with that, others are not. I don't think you can claim with any validity that one view shows moore 'perspective' that the other. — Michael

Radford`s right but........

Make no mistake, Peter Radford speaks for a huge number of Evertonians who have come to accept that under the Kenwright banner, tenth is a very good place to be. In David Moyes, Kenwright has found a soulmate; a man quite satisfied as a player to be plying his trade amongst the deadbeats at Cambridge and Shrewsbury just so long as he was earning a living from the game.

As a coach, Moyes did nothing to merit the offer of the Everton job apart from having the good fortune to fetch up on a course with Walter Smith. Now, in the business world it is regarded as a cardinal sin to ask a retiree, let alone a man you sack, to recommend his successor. What you`ll get is someone who the departee thinks will make him look good!

Fortunately, Moyes has proved a shade better than that (and Smith is now claiming the credit!)but he remains a man with very little insight into the game at top level, witness his abysmal approach to the Champions League and his often bizarre rationale in making substitutions.

Is 4? years too soon to judge? I think not. Within that timeframe of experience, Mourinho had taken a club with very modest resources, Porto, to European glory, immediately moving on to the almost greater challenge of establishing Chelsea.

Davey will never move on. The love affair with Kenwright is based on a mutual need for survival, comfort (and thus in business terms, mediocrity). It suits both of them very well with each taking it in turns to cover the other`s back.

You see, they both know that the mob never really gets exercised by `only` finishing tenth ? it`s sort of OK ? and so that`s our club for now, and the foreseeable future.

Oh, John Moores, why did you have to grow old? Taxi!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (14/11/06)

In a nutshell, Sir! ? Colm

4-5-1

So we currently have a very talented keeper, a mobile and talented backline, a midfield who work hard but basically (appart from Arteta) lack ball-playing skills and pace, and a frontline who can run all day, has great pace but doesn't put the ball away enough ? especially when he doesnt receive support from the midfield.

And then we have a certain James Beattie, the former star striker who has or hasn't performed depending on who you talk to. The biggest complaint from pro-Beattie fans is he receives no service; I believe that's true so, if Moyes insists on playing 4-5-1, why not have Beattie or Anichebe up front and solve the wide midfield problem by putting a player with great pace, workrate and who will run at goal any chance he gets for 90 min: Andy Johnson?

We would then have a goal threat up front in Beattie (if he gets his confidence back) a goal threat on the right side in AJ and a goal threat in the centre with Timmy. Sounds like a better use of AJ's talents (probably wrong) but it would provide service, pace, and a goal treat. And let's face it, most of his runs are out wide amyway. Couldn't hurt could it?
Wayne Dinkelman, Oz  (14/11/06)

Unless one of then got injured for 6 or 8 weeks. Then what? — Michael

re:Memories Lost

I appreciate the sentiment and the memories, but here are some additional memories you may have neglected to include:

  • Nearly missing Duncan Ferguson's goal in the Merseyside derby due to a giant pillar blocking my view;
  • Being squashed in my seat by two slightly overweight supporters on either side of me
  • Being terrified whilst sitting on the front row of the top balcony due to inadequate safety provision
  • Having had the pleasure of having my stag weekend in Liverpool, then following this up by bringing the group consisting of a variety of different team supporters to what was described by one as "a dump of a stadium"
  • Queuing 35 minutes in a megastore that is a quarter of the size it should be
  • Spending 20 minutes walking in the driving rain with my wife and son looking for a method of transport to take me back to the city

My point is this: we need a new stadium.? Goodison park is run-down, antiquated and can never be renovated into a 21st century stadium.? I am not fussed where it?s ultimately located, but good transport and surrounding facilities are a must.

I have many happy memories of Goodison, the highlight being my son and me getting onto the pitch at half-time, but I would sincerely hope the next time he gets on the pitch it will be in a more magnificent surrounding.?
Hugh McKillop, Belfast  (14/11/06)

Comment on Memories Lost

The general gist of this seems to be that we cannot move forward. The fact that we move house regularly in our real life doesn't mean that we lose all of the good memories that went with the old house. We still have them but we also know that we will soon have a store of memories from the new house. Once your house starts to fall down aroun your ears then it's time to start looking for something more up to date.

I sit in the Paddock and it looks like Noah designed the stadium form where I am. Move on and look forward as well as looking back fondly, but from a distance!
Linda Heap, Southport  (14/11/06)

A question?

Has Moyes's past 4 years as an Everton manager been considered a success?

Facts:

  1. He recieved a crap againg squad
  2. We were a club fighting for relegation
  3. On a small budget, we twice finished in top 7.
  4. Moyes has twice got Manager of The Year
In his 5th year, let's at least give him until the end of the season. and don't give me that crap of 'I fear we'll get relegated if we don't sack him now'.

Moyes should be given until the end of the season to be judged, and for me, a top 8 will do.
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (14/10/06)

Dumping Moyes is unambitious

Michael?s response to Simon Amble?s letter re changing managers got me thinking. Given that its established that a new manager would almost certainly want to distance himself from much of Moyes?s signings and take a broom through the playing personnel, we would probably need to take a few steps back before we could go forward. O?Neill-style instant improvements are the exception rather than the rule.

To me, this means that to support a manager change, you need to have completely given up any ambition of achieving anything under Moyes. Unless this belief is definitely well-founded then I think its extremely pessimistic and unambitious. I definitely think Moyes has shown enough potential over his five years to show that to abandon him would be premature at best, a major setback for the club at worst!
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (14/11/06)

Latin is greek to me

Seeking advice on Alan Clarke?s plea for a more accurate club motto, I consulted a Latin scholar pal who came up with Illa Postremo Annus. Translated it apparently means Always Next Year. As a lay man on such matters, it sounds more like a description of our current situation.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (14/11/06)

Getting paid for turning up!

How many times do I read in the ToffeeWeb Mailbag that a NEW manager is needed? Can we stop and ask ourselves how many other Managers are there out there? And how many can you count on both hands who you would consider successful? I suspect you would have fingers to spare even if you went back 20 or 30 years.

Moyes has his weaknesses but from where I stand he has many companions. He may not take us to Utopia but his inability to formulate a top side will ultimately be caused by insufficient finance(compared with his fellow business competitors, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea) and his failure to progress his footballing strategies and skills. For this we should hang him?
Roy Jordan, Liverpool  (13/11/06)

Deep Breath

It takes a brave soul to post on the mailbag with anything positive to say about our manager these days, so hats off to those who attempt it. I think it's good to try and keep perspective after a poor performance and a defeat (or two) and I take issue with anyone who says it's all down to the manager. Injuries, form, luck and other elements have all played their part in our results this term, so try not to blame them on Moyes. He's not really the messiah, after all.

But having said that, what can we attribute to Moyes ? or blame him for? A manager's job is to try and make sure the above variables have little impact on a team because of their confidence, formation, tactics, personnel and substitutions. It is in those areas he must be judged ? and, though I applaud Peter Radford's realism in his recent post, I don't agree that we should settle for successive top-ten finishes and I don't think Moyes in his heart of hearts would either.

All his feeble protestations about successive top-ten finishes last year (which, lest we forget, we didn't actually achieve anyway) were a far cry from finishing 4th and promptly announcing the aim was to better that placing the following year. Moyes was a comparative tub-thumper then compared to the subdued apologist we hear now and, though he may have found last season an incredibly bitter pill, I miss the bull-headedness he used to have and I think most Evertonians do. So on confidence he is marked down.

Moyes has found a formation that suits his personnel ? when Johnson and Cahill are fit that is. Though this has worked to give us a good start to the season, if these two are injured ? or fluffing their chances ? goals suddenly look scarce. There is also the worry that the team doesn't work any other way ? with two playing up front the midfield looks lightweight and any other striker on their own don't make the system work the way Johnson does. And please don't assume that Anichebe can just walk into this team and score goals. He's better than Beattie, yes. But the Premiership is a harsher test than that. The fact that there is no effective Plan B is worrying.

Tactically we are capable of playing good football, there has been more than one performance this season that shows that. But we cannot sustain it and flit in and out of form. And when the passing game comes up against a decent defence, we too often resort to the welly. Andrew Johnson is not going to out-jump Zat Knight!

Where I think Moyes gets a harsh press is his signings. He's made some stinkers to be sure but, with the exception of Wenger, who hasn't? If we look at our first eleven then I'd say Johnson, Cahill, Arteta, Lescott, Yobo, Neville, Valente and Howard (on loan) are the ones the fans rate. I think I'm right in saying Moyes signed them all. If we could stop obsessing over Beattie, Kr?ldrup, Davies and VdM we might appreciate Moyes is a reasonably shrewd operator in the transfer market.

However he's yet to impress anyone with his substitutions ? too little too late and often does nothing to change a game that is slipping away from us until the last few minutes. This to me seems a fundamental flaw that someone ? a coach, a tea lady ? might point out to him.

So, summing up my little ramble, I'd say Moyes is not the greatest thing since Howard Kendall, but neither is he the devil leading us to oblivion. He's not Mourhino. He's not O'Leary. I said last season (what, you don't remember?) that I felt he needed to recover the fire in his belly and if he can we might see a different proposition.

After that defeat to Villa it seems that's not the case, and I feel we COULD do better than Moyes, as it always seems one defeat follows another and that's not a great feeling. But I don't think it's realistic to assume that all the above problems will be magically fixed if and when a new manager comes in.

And I don't think blanket criticism of Moyes is any more realistic than saying he's the best man for the job. He's just the man in the job.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (13/11/06)

Generally fair and realistic comments, Simon. Although having people point out Moyes's best and worst signings on a repeated basis is becoming just a little tedious. Can we all at least agree on something? I think we now all know who they are.

And the problem with changing manager, as you probably know, is that it does take a long time for them to get established (especially if they need to switch out the squad). But is it really a valid reason for not removing a manager who has taken us as far as he can? ? Michael

Can we change our motto then?

I'm appalled by this attitude of 10th is very good for a club of our resources. This kind of apathy will get us nowhere. What's the difference between 17th and 10th? We've still achieved nothing therefore we should never have got rid of Wally and it would have saved the club a lot of money.

Can anyone in the "Keep Moyes" camp have actually watched Everton this season either at the game or on the telly? We're dreadful. But if this is okay for some fans then perhaps we should change the motto of the club from Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. I just don't know the Latin is for "I suppose 10th will do"
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (13/11/06)

Midfield Reinforcements required

How ironic that man of the Match on Saturday, according to today's Guardian, was Gavin McCann. Wonder where he started! And to cap it all, Gravesen scores a hat trick!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (13/11/06)

Letters to the club

In answer to Rob Williamson, I have written plenty of letters to Keith Wyness, Billy Liar, and Dave Moyes, complaining, but not abusive, and a few, in my mind good constructive critical ones. In fairness to Keith Wyness, I have had a few replies, nothing whatsoever off Billy Liar. The ones that have been critical of Moyes in any way, do not reaach him because his secretary bins them.

They are not allowed through. I know this for a fact because a friend of mine is a very good friend of his secretary. He must really think he's something special to this club but, for me, under him we are going nowhere! The sooner he goes, and Billy Liar with him, the better for all of us.
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (13/11/06)

Ambitions

Just when you think it can get no worse, up pops a guy called Peter Radford. Is it any wonder we are in such a mess when fans like him are happy with what's going on? It's so easy to see how easy it would be to get in to the top six in the Premier league. It is a very poor standard at present apart from Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd.

To be happy finishing 10th or to say it's an achievment finishing in that position is exactly the attitude that is dragging us down. Why bother stepping out on to the pitch or even carrying on as a club if that's all we aim to achieve?

Apart from the 3 tems I mention and probably Liverpool, who can we consider a bigger club than Everton in this league? Bolton? Wigan?? Middlesboro??? ? don't make me laugh. Why should we settle for being a mid-table outfit happy to survive. We are Everton, for fucks sake ? get a grip of yourselves!

My Dad always said to me when I was growing up that we are one of only four clubs in this country who can claim to be or have been the biggest. Teams would do a lap of honour at Goodison if they got a draw he would say. I still believe him to this day.

If our main ambition is purely to survive and finish in tenth then in reality there is little point in going on. A negative defeatist attitude is what David Moyes is all about and now it's spreading to the fanbase. What ever happened to the spirit of Evertonians the one, the GREAT Brian Labone always spoke about? We simply ca not allow ourselves to curl up and die ? we must strive for bigger and better things.

The first step in the right direction would be to get some one in charge of team affairs who can take us forward. Like it or not, David Moyes is not the man; he is holding us back and dragging us down.

Please less of this nonsense. Stop becoming Moyes clones for fuck's sake. We are the mighty Everton and no-one can deny it.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (13/11/06)

Re: Nub of the matter

Peter, I think you'll find that the discontent and unhappiness with Moyes has been there since last season. After 5 years in charge and plenty of money, Moyes hasn't achieved progress. You can say 4th in the league, 7th in the league, Premiership safety etc etc. but has he brought any sort of consistency with performances. The answer is no.

I would love to see Moyes make a go of it but I really think he has taken this club as far as he can. Having to watch the team have no other plan than long ball is demoralising.

You may be happy with mid-table mediocrity but I and many other Evertonians aren't. I think we have a decent squad of players. With a couple more quality additions, a side capable of winning things. But in order for that to be achieved we need a manager capable of realising the potential. For me that man isn't David Moyes. I didn't come to that conclusion this week but over the last 18 months. Desperate performances and tactical ineptitude on a consistent basis.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (13/11/06)

Dominic King

I just saw the match write-up by Domonic King of the Liverpool Echo today. The man is clealry spent to much time rubbing elbows with Bill and the the PR team. He has lost his objectivity.
Dave Peel, Liverpool  (13/11/06)

You are kidding, right? He never had any to lose. — Michael

Charity begins at home

I have just read Colm Kavanagh's excellent piece asking about the Everton Collection and I was astounded to find that the website set up for this dubious charity run by the Club is not even working! How in the name of all things holy do they seriously expect people to contribute?

As Colm rightly says, though, the whole thing is a disgusting sideshow distraction, in my humble opinion. Any other club would have snapped it up. Dr France has been almost too successful for his own good, I think ? amassing a collection that is so unique, so vast: the ledgers alone... it just makes my mind boggle.

And yet their response is to set up a Registered Charity and go cap in hand to the poor bloody supporters? It's an absolute disgrace.
Paul Hardcastle, Neston  (13/11/06)

It would indeed be interesting to know where the fund stands at the moment, how much has been contributed by the fans... and especially how much has been siphoned off for 'runnning costs' and other sundry expenses. The idea of a charity for this was nonsense to my mind but one could hardly say that at the time. Now the club has allowed the website to slide into disuse... well, what more do you need to know about Everton's committment to this very worthy cause? ? Michael

Nub of the matter

I`m not a regular reader of the Mailbag but usually log on after a couple of defeats for a laugh at the reaction. This weekend has been a classic with about 80% of your contributors taking a `Moyes Out` stance. Only today`s posting from Brian Noble gets anywhere near the nub of the matter with the sudden realisation that the powers that be recognise that 10th or thereabouts is not half bad for a club with Everton`s financial resources.

Truth is, Brian, most sensible, middle-of-the-road supporters came to this conclusion a long time ago and thus treasure David Moyes as the first manager to bring `security of Premiership tenure` to our club. Call us unambitious, if you will, but Noble and his ilk will save themselves an awful lot of angst by just accepting reality. After Walker, Kendall and Smith, David Moyes and 10th position for life don`t too bad to me!
Peter Radford, Frankby  (13/11/06)

"Unambitious"? ? I'm speechless. — Michael

Craig Heywoods Comments on moving from Goodison P

I just read the comments form Craig about staying or leaving Goodison Park. Craig?s piece was spot on, there is no better place to be than Goodison Park when it's full to the rafters and the buzz of Z-Cars sends shivers down your spine.

All this aside though, haven't Everton always moved to accommodate change? Whether that be from Stanley Park to Priory Road, Priory Road to Anfield or Anfield to Goodison Park ? Everton have always moved in order to grow. It's part and parcel of our History. OK, we never stayed at any of the other grounds for anywhere near this amount of time. This is our home. I know. It was purpose built. It was the first with floodlights, under-soil heating. The home of the majority of our triumphs. But, in order to grow, shouldn't we look back at our history and see that it what we did then? When we did it then, we were the greatest team in the country.

I'm not saying I don't love Goodison because I do. I'm not saying we should move to Tesco land anywhere either but what I am saying is that in order to grow again and develop as a club, and as fans of Everton FC, shouldn't we be looking for another Stadium that will have the same impact for the next hundred years that Goodison Park has had on us? I'm sure we owe it to our Children and their Children to provide that same feeling of going to Everton.

Goodison is special... I don't know who or where or when we can expect to be in a position to build another stadium but when we do it should encompass all that is Goodison Park, from the walk to the ground to the sound of Z-Cars filling the air and the last sausage roll going before you get to the counter?I just want Everton and the Board to realise that this next stadium, whether re-developed or newly built, should have a soul and not be just bricks and mortar.
John Hughes, Wirral  (13/10/06)

Killa sadly missed

Just heard Paul Jewell say that the late signing of Brian Kilbane and the width that he`s brought to his team has turned things round for Wigan. At Everton, Killa was as much defiled as Davies ? and I`m as guilty as the next ? but his sheer energy on the wing as well as his help to his full-back is now sadly missed.

Moyes said at the time that with Van der Meyde to come in he was well covered in that area so could afford to let the Irishman go. Wonder what he`s thinking now?
Preston Baggott, Shevington  (13/11/06)

Who is this Brian Kilbane you mention?! That aside, I remain, I believe, in the minority who believe Kilbane gave nothing more than 100% each and every time he donned the shirt. Yes, he did not possess the quality of a Davey Thomas or an Andrei Kanchelskis but nevertheless I would still opt for Kilbane donning the shirt ahead of the Dutch waste of space who continues to contribute absolutely nothing to the Everton cause bar grief. - Colm

Moyesiah

"He's not the Moyesiah. He's a very naughty boy!"
Neil Patten, Warrington  (13/11/06)

???

In reply - Tony Marsh

Tony ? Thanks for the response. I'd like the right to reply on a number of the points you've raised.

You ask where is Moyes's trophy after 5 years? For your information, Everton's major trophy average is one every 7? years (I'm excluding Charity Shields as they don't really count). Moyes has been manager for less than 5 years.

You ask which European campaign did I enjoy the most, Royle's or Moyes's? The answer ? neither but in Moyes's the fact is we were unlucky to go out against the eventual Champions League semi-finalists thanks to a poor refereeing decision in the 2nd leg.

You ask what Anfield memory has Deadly Dave given me? The answer none but he did give me our biggest win over the them for 30 years. I'll take that thanks very much.

You say we were denied 5th place under Royle and a place in Europe when Arsenal scored in the last seconds. By that reckoing we were also denied a place in Europe on the last day of the season when we finished 7th under Moyes. On neither occasion did we actually qualify so it doesn't really matter.

As for historical comparisons being pointless, they aren't. It is important to put things into context as the overall point I'm making is that this club has been in decline for nearly 20 years, we had become a persistent bottom half team (yes big Joe's one season apart), and at least in half of Moyes's full seasons we weren't.

I'd also love us to be playing the sort of attractive football you talk about under Royle. But as his side ultimately proved it was a short-term fix to a much bigger long-term problem.

I believe in supporting my club through thin and thinner and I fail to see how clamouring for Moyes's head is going to help us at present.
Chris Leyland, Formby  (13/11/06)

Good post, Chris. ? Colm

When the pack gets shuffled...

The downturn in form, poor results and only one win in two months would suggest that we are now in a mini-crisis. The hazy late summer afternoons at Tottenham, and the derby win against Liverpool becoming a distant memory as we endure a loss of form and confidence summed up in the grim rain-lashed performance witnessed against Aston Villa.

Several factors are easily identifiable as a reason for this decline: injuries in key areas such as the full-back positions which have forced Lescott and Neville to fill in. With a full compliment of players we are probably able to field a reasonable starting X1; when injuries kick in, we struggle to have any sembelance of a side that is able to compete with the athleticism and strength that governs the Premiership.

Facts are facts and when the chips are down we have too many players in our ranks who are either too old or do not possess the guile, determination or physical pressence to be able to compete with the demands expected at this level. Against Fulham and Aston Villa we have faced two sides who technically are very average, they have though both stature and strength which has paled our light weight approach into insignificance.

Moyes is often seen as favouring the defensive and brutish approach over skill and flair, why is it then that he persists with the light-weight offerings of Osman and Davies, and we are saddled with the ageing rearguard of Stubbs, Weir and Carsley?

If Moyes is serious in his statement that the cheque book will remain closed in January and the current squad of players are up to the job then we are in serious trouble. My humble assessment is that we require a left back, at least two in midfield and a centre forward. It goes without saying that we all know the players currently on the books who are not of the quality to take Everton forward.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

Pragmatic

In the days leading up to the Villa match, I knew something was up when I read Moyes ?bigging up? the undoubted merits of Martin O?Neill. I knew we wouldn?t win. He?d already accepted a point.

In many ways you could say he is a very pragmatic manager. He knows his team is inferior to the top teams and with respect to Villa I think he knew that they may not be much better or worse than us in terms of skill but they are physically too much for his team so he came up with the cunning plan of playing long balls to the speedy Johnson all afternoon.

As we all know it didn?t work too good. However, if you look at it in another way, you could say that Moyes has brought all these problems upon himself. He?s the one who has bought the players to force him into playing such defensive, boring, unimaginative, embarrassingly unadventurous football.

As a person I think Moyes is down to earth, honest, and genuinely wants to do well for us, but I?m sorry I don?t think Moyes is comfortable moulding a creative team and never will be. I don?t want to see a team of ?flash harrys? that play pretty football but still lose most matches, but I do want to see a team that combines both a bit of grit and skill and one that doesn?t go out with the instructions of ?Keep it tight lads, sooner or later they will make a mistake and we might score from a free kick or something.?

I watched that Golden Vision play the other day to cheer myself up (and no, although I may write like an old codger, I'm not old enough to have seen it first time around!). There's a bit with Brian Labone in which he says he is going to quit football because there is too much emphasis placed on the winning rather than the style of a team's performance. It?s a good job footballers are much more money orientated these days because I reckon Moyes would cause the premature retirement of most of the team if the weren?t!
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (13/11/06)

One Trick Pony

After watching the Villa game on Saturday, I have come to the conclusion that Moyes is a one-rick pony. His inability to have anything but a Plan A is scary. He is obsessed with 4-5-1 and while this formation reaps rewards if played properly, it also can have the opposite effect. On Saturday, Martin O'Neill got it tactically spot on ? back 4 sitting square and deep.

When Everton struggled early on you knew what was coming ? HOOF! This completely ineffectual game plan with Beattie not looking like he was going to win a header if we'd played until next Saturday and Johnson never going to get any real chances. Moyes had no answer and never changed the system or play to beat Villa. It's as if Moyes becomes a rabbit between the headlights ? completely stunned with no idea what to do.

We have played some better football this season but I really think that Moyes's limitations are showing through again and my patience once again is being tested to its fullest.
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (13/11/06)

Players to Walk before Moyes

If Everton do not qualify for Europe then Moyes will be watching some of his better players walk out the door, this summer. A number of players made it clear in summer gone that they have to be playing in Europe. If Moyes fails then that so-called better team that he has built up will fall apart again.

How many times can you rebuild and rebuild and rebuild? The players walking out the door would be a vote of no confidence. Maybe Bill should save the club some money and have a one out and one in policy this year... the manager!
Brian Little, Skem  (13/11/06)

Just get used to it!

Strange how three losses in eight days can change the perception of how a manager is performing. Ten days ago hardly a voice ? even Tony Marsh's ? was being raised against `Our Davey` but now the sacking mob is in full cry. Everyone knows, deep down, that it ain`t gonna happen and that when the man at the top says `Davey can have the job for life if he wants it`, the daft sod probably means it.

So what`s to do? The answer to that dear friends is `fuck all!` What has to be realised, once and for all, is that under the Kenwright/Wyness regime, the success barrier is forever to be judged on attaining 10th position. Of course, it would be good to get higher but so much of the extra `position` money would be swallowed up in bonuses for players, manager and staff that it hardly matters, financially.

`Survival`is the mantra and that`s a game which the shrewd but limited Moyes can play to perfection. He knows which side his bread`s buttered. Not for him the public tantrums when the money`s not there to `kick on.` Having had his fingers burned with the likes of Kr?ldrup, VdM, Wright and Beattie, he ain`t about to let it happen again. So protestations that he`s happy with what he`s got please the paymasters and are to be expected.

So just get used to it, will yooos! Everton midtable, and thus Moyes for life, is what you can look forward to, although the odd Carling Cup triumph might lighten the gloom. Oh I forgot...
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (13/11/06)

Gravesen?

*Sigh*. If only we re-signed Gravesen, we could have a front 6 looking like this:

Casley Arteta Cahill Gravesen Osman Johnson
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (13/11/06)

Why not go the whole hog and make it a seven, adding the mercurial James Beattie?! - Colm

You don't become a bad ref because Jose says so

Since the John Terry/Ashley Cole incidents and the ensuing comments by Mourinho, suddenly Poll has become this Bond Villainesque type hell bent on world domination.

I'm not buying it...

Faddy had the look of a small kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar when he was sent off... He was busted, but seeing Poll's integrity has already been called into question, he's an easy target.

I listened to the game on Magic and Barry Horne almost word for word reiterated Jose Mourinho's comments about Graham Poll wanting the limelight. It was a bit embarrasing to be honest ? he made a mistake in the World Cup, but IS STILL our best ref.
Nick Flack, Warrington  (13/11/2006)

Problems, Problems

I am disappointed with the performance against Villa. In my opinion, we have problems in midfield. Besides Arteta and Cahill, everyone else in midfield is a flop. Carsley is nowhere near to playing his best, he should be dropped and be replaced in my opinion with Neville.

Osman works better as a super sub, DM should find someone new here. As for Davies, I'm sorry but he's not even close to be playing in the Premiership. Why did we sell Kilbane then? If we are ever going to be a serious Premiership outfit, we need a strong midfield.

There's nothing wrong with our defence and Beattie for that matter. Sell Beattie to Man Utd and you'll most definitely see him banging in the goals. With our midfield in limbo, I don't think Van Nistelrooy or Crespo would score any.
Jason Siriwardene, Singapore  (13/11/06)

Thanks, Luvvie

Quote from Moyes: "I like what I've got here at the moment. We may be a little bit short on numbers but unless it was really, really worthwhile I wouldn't be thinking of going into the transfer market for anything that may be available."

In other words, he ain't got a fucking bean to spend in January so looks like the Board's let us down again. How about you fuck off, Kenwright, and let someone with a bit of money take over.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (12/11/06)

Let's all take heart

Lets all take heart in the fact taht Liverpol where comprehensively beat 3 - 0 by the moaning bastards from the Emirates. Enough said.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (12/11/06)

I was amused by it but can't take heart from anything while my team is performing so poorly. After all, if we keep playing the way we are, Liverpool will be out of sight within a few short weeks... ? Lyndon

The Basic Problem

It's not often these days I manage to make the journey to Goodison, so Villa was my first live game at Goodison this season. The display was mediocre, if Johnson had kept his head we might have shaded it. The referee gave us the benefit of a dubious handball (these things do balance out, though I'd like an 'Ameobi' decision to go our way) but essentially Everton did as they seem to do so often. They ignored the midfield and Carsley, Stubbs and Neville hit long, vague balls in the direction of forwards who weren't going to win them.

The basic problem lies in the midfield as I keep moaning on. A year or so ago I wrote an article about the lack of creativity in our midfield, a month or so ago I wrote how Beattie couldn't flourish with our midfield. The problem is that the midfield (sorry to make the comparison) is geared to helping the defence, rather like Houllier did at Anfield when he took over from Evans. Our midfield has Arteta who creates, Carsley who holds, Simon Davies who exists, Osman who has neat feet, but doesn't help attack or defence, and Cahill who ghosts in brilliantly in attack and fouls in defence.

If I was managing a team playing Everton, I'd mark Arteta tightly and the job's done. Yobo and Lescott must be the pairing in the centre of defence, Carsley needs to be a sub and Neville move back to midfield and Hibbert when fit is an adequate right back, Valente is quite classy, if a merely adequate defender when really pressurised. However, in midfield, we need help. Johnson, Anichebe, Beattie, Vaughan will live on scraps with this midfield. Arteta is class, but the rest are not.

Good teams have a midfield that is a unit, is balanced, has an attacking supprt and a defensive solidity. Everton's midfield is simply not a unit. I've seen Everton live twice this year and all the Sky games and they are one of many teams who'll win some and lose some. If the winning is to become more consistent, then they need skill in creating chances, so that chances don't appear to be merely chances, but are crafted out of our midfield. I can't see it happening with the current cast.

Moyes is, for me, a manager who distrusts skill, he prefers artisans... and his team shows that.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (12/11/06)

January action please, Moyes!

As far as the Moyes debate is concerned, I'm no worshipper, nor someone who would like to see him sacked. I really do want the guy to succeed, as he is a principled, honest man who appears to have been genuinely smitten by the bug that makes you love EFC. However, his reading of the modern game is totally out-dated and his tactics appear to belong to a different era.

Consider the facts: He (criminally in my opinion) did not sign any forward during a crucial period last season when we could easily have gone under due to our lack of goals. Admittedly, by hanging to the end of the season, we got Johnson but the delay in signing a proven goalscorer was inviting disaster! And now, what happens when AJ gets injured or loses form? Anichebe? Maybe ? but again can?t rely on him yet.

We keep Beattie on the books but have no naturally wide player to service him. He may be crap but I'll reserve final judgement until I see some decent service from the flanks. Where are the wide men? Why is VDM still on our books? We have a reasonably talented midfield but it's like the story of the three little pigs - one huff from the big bad wolf and they all fall over.

We have no natural replacement for Hibbert (who in my opinion is not good enough anyway). But we do have 4 goalkeepers! We have little pace all round in the team ? which means punt long for AJ and, if he hasn't got a clear run on goal, let's hope he can hold the ball up long enough for the midfield plodders to catch up with him. How many times does he chase the ball down and then look in despair for someone to pass to?

So, there's no semblance of pace throughout the team, nobody to grab hold of the play in midfield, no enforcer to protect the lightweights such as Osman, Arteta and Davies in midfield. Today?s decent teams hunt in packs and break with pace and in numbers. We hoof and plod.

So, Davey, lack of numbers in certain departments (forwards, right back); lack of pace, width and strength in midfield; lack of goalscorers; and general look of imbalance in the team whenever we bring on more than one substitute ? what are you going to do about it? Please don?t say that you?re happy with the squad because, even though it?s potentially the best we?ve had for several years, it?s so bloody obviously deficient in key areas.

Roll on the January window and some action please ? otherwise I will join the ranks of the dissenters.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (12/11/06)

Reply to Wall

So Nick Wall believes we have the players, the pride and the fighting spirit to fight our way into Europe? Wake up and smell the coffee, Nick, we don't have the players as the majority of the squad are either journeymen or past their sell by date.

The only pride I see is from the 30,000 or so supporters who turn out to witness what can only be described as little more than dross. As for the fighting spirit to fight our way to Europe, let me remind you this is football and not a fucking military campaign. I don't want us to fight, I want us to play football, for Christ's sake.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (12/11/o6)

Amen, brother

Let them through!

During a disappointing journey home from the defeat to Villa, I tuned in to the phone-in on city and had to agree 100% with one specific caller. His statement was that Anichebe did more in 25 minutes than Beattie has done all season..... Spot on for me!

I've pretty much reserved judgement on Beattie as long as possible, but after two years I think I can safely say he's not good enough. At 28 years of age you would expect a player to be at his peak, well, if that's as good as we can expect from him, we should get shut now!

Victor Anichebe on the other hand is young, strong, more than capable and you can tell the kid is chomping at the bit. Let's hope Moyes doesn't make the same mistake he did with Rooney and wrap the guy in cotton wool. Let the youth come through. If they're good enough they're old enough! Another is Hughes who may well make a great centre-back if he's given the chance instead of sticking with the old guard of Weir and Stubbs!

Little Leon Osman is not cut out for the Premier League. Yes he's a nice little footballer, yes he can have the odd good game, but he's too slow, weak in posession, he couldn't tackle my nan and his fitness levels don't look up to scratch. However, he's another player Moyes loves to stick with no matter what.

I totally agree with a number of the previous posts that the midfield has to be addressed asap. Shame we didn't get Scott Parker, I think he's the perfect type of player for us and would deliver a large portion of what we're currently lacking.

Can't say I'm looking forward to being muscled out by Bolton on Saturday. Last years 0-4 still sticks in my throat! COYB!!!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

Wally too

A remarkably frank interview with one Wally Smith can be read on the Sky Sports page. Smith admits failure and to leaving Davey nothing but Wayne Rooney, who was subsequently chased away by Moyes... at least that is my belief. The nightmare scenario is that Moyes will turn into Wally II and the signs are already there. Three defeats in a week is as bad as anything Smith produced and even he didn't play Carsley at centre-forward.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (12/11/06)

Yep, we're shit!

Just finished watching the live match on Sky. We held Arsenal at the Emirates 1-1 and would have won but for (another) dodgy refereeing decision. They just spanked Liverpool 3-0 at the Emirates.

We beat Tottenham 2-0 at White Hart Lane. They beat the billionaire champions at White Hart Lane last week. By the way, 2 manager of the season awards in the 4 full seasons in charge. But then again, what do the other managers know. You are right... we must be shit!!!
Gary Joyce, Watford  (12/11/06)

Unfortunately, Gary, those four points from two difficult trips to London, however richly deserved, will count for nothing if we end up finishing in the bottom half of the table, as seems plausible given our current form. And those Manager of the Season awards won't amount to much on Moyes's record if he leaves Goodison without having come anywhere near winning a trophy. After five years at the helm and a fourth-place berth already in the record books under Moyes, we should be looking at top-six at the very minimum ? Lyndon

Top 10 Finish, Please

Everton, much like Andy Johnson, are in a right slump. All teams go through a spell like this during the season, let's hope it's short-lived.

I've decided upon a simple rule which will dictate my support for David Moyes. Its very simple... So long as Everton remain in the Top 10 I remain steadfast in the ranks of the Pro-Moyes Mob.

If Everton drop out of the Top 10 I will be joining the Anti-Moyes Brigade. Another Top 10 finish is a fair target for Moyes to achieve this season. I'm not going to complain about individual results ? I'm going to look at the bigger picture and judge Moyes by this seasons finishing position.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

Given the fact that Moyes has now publicly stated that he is happy with what he has in terms of players and that this is the best team he's had since he arrived, don't you think that bettering last season by just one place (i.e. finishing 10th and some 6 places lower than 2004-05) would be a major disappointment? I would expect a top-six finish or some urgent purchases in January to at least have a shot at Europe... but neither look likely at this point ? Lyndon

Moyes In

To answer the question you posed yesterday, Michael, following the disapointment against Villa, the pro-Moyes brigade are still here.

Recent results haven't left us believing the 'Moyes Out' campaign. It's just that some of us see little point in contributing when any positive comments are dismissed as naive, over optimistic or ignorant.

I watched the whole game on 'livefooty' (thanks to the contributor that gave us that one, it's unlikely that anything I find under my tree in 6 weeks time will better that) and agree we didn't play well. But neither did Villa. They just took one of their few chances and we didn't.

It strikes me that the major difference between our excellent early season form and now is our finishing. Perhaps the confidence of Johnson has dipped thanks to the media's critiscm of his playing style in the box, comments on here and from the terraces is making him doubt his abilities.

He had one glorious opportunity to set up Davies 10 yards from an almost empty goal (although I accept there's no guaranteeing HE would have scored even then!) and another which earlier in the season he would have buried but in the current climate he snatched at and missed.

Other than that, I saw a team difficult to break down but low on confidence in front of goal. Perhaps a bit more support would help turn it around. After all how would your performance be affected if hundreds of people screamed your editing was shit and you're a waste of space every week (God forbid!).

On one final note, your dismissal of previous seasons of Moyes reign as just a series of six narrow 1-0 victories in a row does nothing but show how much he has managed to raise expectations around Goodison. My God what I would have given for a run like that under a few of his predecessors.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (12/11/06)

36,000 reasons

So long as 36,000 people turn up to watch Everton, the chairman and manager will be delighted. Because, despite the appalling football played, those fans are paying the money to keep the club going ? it's not about the football at the moment, it's about debt relief and building a financial base for the future. The problems will arise if some of those 36,000 people start to vote with their feet and stop watching the poor quality product then things may change.

Fans have always been taken for granted in the grand scheme of things ? which enables Moyes to use whatever talent he has in whatever way he wants to produce a financial result ? which is not necessarily the same as a sporting result. Do you really think that any of them 'care' in the way that many here exclaim, week-in, week-out ? I don't think so.

So, if you want a better product, you have to take whatever opportunities you can to make your voice heard. Even then there are no guarantees ? but some things, like the way Everton play ? no style, no tactical nouse, no passion etc AND the way the Club is managed are not acceptable to me any more.
Peete Stewart, London  (12/11/06)

Spud

Is this just paper talk or is there some substance to the story?
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (12/11/06)

Who knows but if we maintain this "two steps forward, two steps back" form each season, what choice will he have? ? Lyndon

Progress is both relevant and key...

Michael, I think the answers to your response to my last post are key ? i.e. if we are not making progress under Moyes then it is better to be under different management.

In the 4? years under Moyes, I think it is clear we are making progress (albeit slower than we'd like), all things considered. Considering the state of the Club when Moyes arrived, it would be near impossible to have reached the heights demanded by NSNO in his tenure so far. Realistically, other than the opposing manager on Saturday, I'm not sure there are any other managers, all things considered, that are likely to do better than Moyes (especially of those that are proven, available and would come).

For Moyes to have secured Manager of the year twice in 4 years, removed the expectation of ongoing relegation scraps, made us attractive to ambitious young and sought after talent (such as AJ, Lescott), been able to acheive some decent successes in transfer policy while working within tight constraints (compared to many peers e.g. Spurs, Newcastle, the Shite etc.) then to seek to remove him now seems crazy.

As Moyes is not going anywhere soon anyway (and on balance is likely deserving of loyalty for a good while yet), I would think the most productive thing us fans can do is to remain fully behind the team with fervant support and encouragement.

Perhaps this will provide the launch pad for the boys in blue to win games with more of the free flowing school of science brand of football of which we've seen brief glimpses already this season (v. Spurs and in derby particularly).... there surely must be more to come as the season unfolds! COYBBs
Pete Moore, Singapore  (12/11/06)

Who told you so?

Seeing as Tony Marsh is too modest to say it I'll say it for him: HE TOLD YOU SO.

He warned everyone that this slump was going to happen. We are exactly the same as last season but we now have Johnson. Our midfield is shite. We cannot compete with anyone in this department. The midfield cannot protect the defence and cannot create. It is lightweight, it lacks pace, it lacks a leader and incredibly no one can pass with reliability.

Arteta is even suffering now because he has been messed around that much by the manager who has had 4 years to sort this department out. There's so many things you could pick on but the decision to play Beattie on the right yesterday to facilitate Anichebe shows how backward our manager is. He hasn't a clue. He's completely out of his depth and he's getting paid thousands for the privilege. Unbelievable!
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

What have we learned?

Obviously it has been a very frustrating/depressing/embarrassing (delete as applicable) week for Evertonians.

However, people calling for Moyes' head are certainly jumping the gun and that approach, at this stage, is not constructive. Just thought I'd air my thoughts on what we have learnt about our players and our manager in recent times:

Tim Howard - Is a quality 'keeper and has been one of the few players to have been consistent all season. His handling, positional awareness and distribution are much better than any keeper we've had since Southall.

Phil Neville - Great player to have in the squad and is an effective first-team player in midfield and at right-back. His crossing is immensely better than Hibbert's and his motivational skills and commitment are faultless. However, he frequently lumps the ball forward upon reaching the half-way line and this is not effective.

Joseph Yobo - Class defender, though he does contribute to a few heart-in-your-mouth moments. Seems to have learnt to clear the ball after his error earlier in the season, which is certainly a good thing. However, he was probably at fault for not marking Sutton yesterday.

Joleon Lescott - Possibly the only player other than Howard and Cahill to have escaped from this week with little criticism. Has been class at left-back when asked to play there but is the perfect foil for Yobo at centre-back and he needs to be reinstated to that position asap.

Alan Stubbs - Speed is almost non-existant and therefore can no longer be considered a first-team regular. Reamins solid and fearless, but did produce a few dodgy clearances yesterday and his flat punts forward are sad to watch.

David Weir - ditto Alan Stubbs

Nuno Valente - Has to be the first choice left-back. Has been dependable in each game he has played for us in my opinion and now needs a run of games free from injury. Very good against Arsenal which makes it all the more frustrating that he was injured again yesterday. (Anybody else notice the number of times he and Van der Meyde are left out of the squad due to unkownn injuries that surface on match days?)

Mikel Arteta - Undoubtedly the classiest player at Everton but his performances this season (unlike last season) have been quite fitful. Oftentimes it seems that if he plays well, Everton do and if he doesn't, Everton don't. His set pieces have been uncharacteristically mediocre in recent times. However, it is clear that he, more than anyone else at Everton, can change a game in an instant.

Tim Cahill - has been our best player so far this season and has surely silenced any discerning voices questioning his effectiveness. He has put himself about extremely well all season, his passing has improved and he has seemingly curbed his recklessness. His importance was painfully apparent when we lost him yesterday and we can only hope his injury looked much worse than it is.

Leon Osman - His touch is good and if his ability matched his desire, he'd be great. However, his lack of strength is being exploited more and more in each game that passes by and he is becoming frustrating to watch. His attacking threat has disappeared and at the moment for every good thing he does, he does something wrong; this is displaued in the number of times he wins the ball off one man and then immediately loses it to the next man.

Simon Davies - I don't like to single out particualr players for criticism as it is a team game, but my God is he useless. He cannot pass, cannot cross, cannot tackle and cannot shoot. He'd be best off sitting in the stand as he spends whole games as a spectator. Moyes must realise that he contributes nothing and he must be omitted from the squad against Bolton. It is like starting with 10 men and coupled with the inclusion of Osman it is more like 9? because of the lack of physical presence.

Lee Carsley - Solid if not spectacular ? seems to some up Carsley perfectly. Strangely reckless yesterday and was rightly booked for persistent fouling. He is perfect in a 4-5-1 but does not have the required attributes to perform effectively in a 4-4-2. Seems more comfortable with Phil Neville alongside him.

Andy Johnson - Moyes has rightly stated that he has become singled out by other managers, referees and the media and that this has affected his confidence. He is still getting in the right positions and his work rate remains unquestioned but he seems to want an extra yard each time he is close to goal at the moment. I don't believe he goes down easily and I feel he is an honest player ? the guy is smaller than Osman and is going to be knocked over by 6ft defenders. I think, for once, it may be beneficial that one of our players is in the England squad as it will give him a chance to get his confidence back and to receive some better service.

James Beattie ? I have vehemently supported him in the past and I want him to succeed at Everton but it has to be said that he doesn't look overly interested at the moment. Admittedly, the service to him is generally poor (particularly so yesterday) but that is no excuse for the number of times he is beaten to headers that he should be winning. His main contributions recently have been defensive interceptions and although they may have been effective, that is not what he is being paid to do. He seems to become too disheartened when the ball doesn't go exactly where he wants it.

James McFadden - Wrongly sent off against Arsenal and still deserves his chance. Johnson appeared to state in pre-season that McFadden was the partner he preferred and dovetalied best with and I feel he is capable of scoring goals. Needs to work on his decision-making but seemingly has the talent.

Victor Anichebe - Could be good, but has done nothing to suggest he could be great. Seems to have the necessary strength and speed but does seem a little ball greedy at times. The Anichebe bandwagon that has materialised seems more than a little premature in my opinion and he needs to start scoring regularly in the reserves before the clamour for his inclusion in the first team has any real credibilty.

David Moyes - After a great start, things are becoming a little less rosy. The football against Fulham and Villa was deplorable and his inability to change things is becoming frustrating at times. We played well against Arsenal, but needed to bring on a striker with half an hour left, not two minutes, whereas yesterday his decision to bring on a striker was unnecessary and caused us to lose the dominance we had enjoyed at the start of the second half.

Moyes needs to drum it into the players that the hoof up will not be tolerated until the 85th minute. It was pointless and ineffective when we had a target man, it is downright criminal without one. I do feel that the current players are happy with and respect the current management staff and I do feel that Moyes could still get us into Europe this season, provided he realises that: a) the ball has to be played along the ground, b) substitutes need more than two minutes to have any influence on a game, c) we are most effective playing 4-4-2 at home and 4-5-1 away and should stick to this pattern wherever possible, and most improtantly, d) Simon Davies has to be omitted from the squad and desposed of in January.

Come on you blues!
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

Love Hurts

'That's it, never again, I've had enough'. I growled my way to Stanley Park in the piddling rain, chunnering away to myself. All the way home, listening to the post match comments. Home at last, still soaking wet and still angry and frustrated that we couldn't beat what was a pretty mediocre team like Villa. Can't bear to watch MoTD and those smug bastards....

Next morning, still growling but that anger is slowly being replaced by that gut-wrenching feeling that we can't buy a goal for love nor money. Flashbacks to seasons past when we knew if we went a goal behind we were stuffed. At the start of this season, with AJ scoring at will, I thought maybe, just maybe, this was the year when we could do something special. Still a long way to go and my heart tells me that we will grind our way through this and be back in the top six by March. My head, on the other hand is shouting that something is badly wrong.

What is different to the start of the season? Why could we (or at least AJ) score goals? Right, just answered my question. We really are a one-horse town. No goals from AJ, no goals at all. No goals, no win. No win, no points. Ah yes, BUT, we worked really hard all the time. I can almost hear DM saying 'aye lads, disappointing result but never mind, you worked really hard'.

DISAPPOINTING? It just doesn't cover it does it! Yes DM, that's as maybe but us lot out there, sitting in the cold and wet, need more than the warm glow of knowing that the lads worked hard. So everything is okay then, the results will come? Well, we'll see.

Dear Lord, why does loving Everton have to be so bloody hard? Was I wicked in a past life? Or will I be rewarded in heaven for my undying and unselfish devotion to the boys in the Royal Blue jersey. How can being at Goodison make me so happy and so bloody gutted in the space of 90 minutes? When they come out onto the pitch, there's that incredible feeling of expectation and teeth clenching emotion. At the start of every match I feel my heart just bursting with pride and passion.

By the end of the match yesterday, that pride and passion was replaced by yet more frustration and sadness.

Then there's tomorrow to come, surrounded in work by a gaggle of oiks from the Dark Side. God give me strength that I can suffer their stupidity and ignorance with some dignity. I will, of course, be dignity personified because I'm a Blue, because I will never stop believing that things will come good and because my love for Everton is unconditional. Next week, I'll be there, come what may. I'll cuss and swear and no doubt vow to never go back but of course, I will because I simply have to.
Lue Glover, Flint  (12/11/06)

Comments

After another dismal performance yesterday, it was predictable that the 'Moyes Out' brigade would be in full swing. Sure, he has made mistakes but some of the players he has found with the limited cash available have been nothing short of brilliant: Lescott, Cahill, Arteta, Howard,and Yobo, to name a few. And I still think Beattie can do a job although I reserve judgement on Johnson who, after a great start, seems to have taken recent events negatively

Other signings have been poor: Neville, Valente and Davies are not Everton-type players, certainly not in the mould of the 'School of Science'. In conclusion, can those with short memories recall how difficult it was to get anyone interested in managing the club after Smith went, as a 60-something True Blue, I still live in hope and it's not over till the fat lady sings.
Pete Cummings, Windsor, Canada  (12/11/06)

Smith? I think you have forgotten. Wasn't it Royle? — Michael

Has the penny dropped?

Travelling back from the match last night, I listened to Moyes on the radio. He talked of our inability to score goals and made reference to the fact that if AJ or Cahill didn't score then we don't really look like scoring from anywhere else.

My god, what an admission!!! This is from the man who oversaw our lowest ever season's total of goals. Someone who plays 'not to get beat' football in all games, rather than going out to win those that we have a decent chance of winning and then adopting a pragmatic approach only when necessary. This is the man who is charged with winning football games for Everton Football Club. The man that chooses the players to buy, selects the team to play and the tactics to use, and he now says we don't look like scoring often enough!!!

Perhaps, David, this might mean you have at last recognised a serious flaw in your thinking, something that many have been pointing to for some time. Last season, the same approach: had no pace up front and there was a recognition that it was desperately needed. So now we have pace and yes it was a good buy, but what happens when he doesn't score? Who else regularly threatens? Cahill from set pieces and breaking into the box, but Carsley has put a stop to that for some time. But will the threat now come from Osman, Davies or Carsley? I for one don't think so. But has the penny really dropped? Has he now seen that a five-man midfield without pace, power or quality is not the answer? Does he know how to set out to win games?

Does he recognise that a team without width will not threaten to score often enough? Does he know how to be creative and groom / select creative players? Does he realise what a one-dimensional player Carsley is? No pace, no creativity, no attacking sense, poor vision etc etc. Has he at last realised that Osman is too slow, weak and ineffective and contributes little in the hurly burly of the Premiership? Has he recognised Davies is anonymous throughout most matches? Does he know how to get the best out of our only truly useful midfield player in Arteta?

So, realising we don't really look like scoring often enough unless it's AJ or Cahill, what will DM do without Tim? Sadly the options are extremely limited. Once we get Valente back and Lescott can go back to centre-half we have a decent back four. AJ is a cert for me up front but it must now be with another forward, but who? I know everyone is clamouring for Victor at the same time as slagging Beattie off, but let's not be too hasty and put all our eggs into the basket of a raw 18-year-old, no matter how much promise he shows.

However, the choice of a second forward is somewhat overshadowed by the need to pick a decent midfield that will support and create whichever two forwards he chooses. I realise that we have too few options (Moyes selects the personnel!!!), but surely with only four in there it must not include Carsley and Osman.

I for one would sacrifice Neville at right back and bring in Hughes and then replace Carsley with Neville. Arteta is the only person with pace so he needs to go wide. As for the other two players ? what a nightmare!!! Who is really good enough? Well, in the present squad nobody really, so we are left with selecting the best of a bad bunch. As doubtful as it seems, if Van der Drunk got fit he'd be one. Is Vidarsson worth looking at? If not, is it Davies by default or someone like McFadden? The sad fact is that the squad is so poor in midfield that there are few options and this is the same midfield squad that was pivotal in our lowest ever goal tally.

So has the penny really dropped? Will Moyes recognise the desperate need to purchase (and develop) some quality in midfield? Or will his dour defensive attitude shine through again? If the penny hasn't dropped then I think his terrace support will continue to wane, and however bulletproof he is at present, once Billy Liar senses a change of mood, he will begin to consider his options.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (12/11/06)

Bang on the money with that last line there Jim! - Colm

In Reply Chris Leyland

Chris, as regards to your league placings chart you posted in defence of Deadly Dave. I take it the first position in your chart is the year Joe Royle took over. Well if like you say you know your history you will recall Joe's first season with us.

He took over in November 1994 and we were 8 points adrift at the bottom of the table. First game in charge Liverpool at home. We won 2-0 and stayed up easily in the end. Later that season we went on to win the FA Cup against Man Utd. Royle kept us up and won the Cup in the space of 6 months with the same squad. Where's Moyes's trophy after 5 years Chris?

The football we played in the second half of that season was some of the best any Everton side has ever produced including the mid-80s team. The best of them all was the 4-1 hiding we gave Spurs at Elland Road in the FA Cup semi-final.

The following season we were in European competition for the first time since 1985. Tell me, Chris, who's side performed better of the two. Royle's who unluckily lost 1-0 in Rotterdam to Dutch giants Feynoord or Moyes's side who were annihilated by some Romanian waiters 5-1.

The season of 1995-96 was also another great year for us in terms of the stuff we played. Kanchekskis and Limpar tearing Liverpool to shreds at Anfield ? one of the great memories for me. What memories at Anfield has Deadly Dave given you Chris?

At the end of that season, we were denied a place in Europe in the last seconds of the campaign when Arsenal scraped home in 5th. You see Chris your chart is a load of bBollocks. It means nothing to me or any one else who enjoys watching proper footie. How many more times do I have to say this?

It's pathetic making comparisons with Moyes and the managers before him. For one Deadly Dave has had far more backing than Smith ever got. As for Joe Royle's short time with us, it's laughable that any one thinks Moyes is any where near that standard.

Stick your charts up your arse and pull it back out when Moyes wins a trophy, Chris. I think your in for a painful long wait.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/11/06)

The long journey back from Goodison Park yesterday was a pitiful reminder of how off the pace we remain at times. A bit harsh, perhaps, considering on the day Villa offered little or nothing themselves but yesterday was like watching a Walter Smith XI ? albeit one that plays slightly-prettier-on-the-eye football! ? Colm

Valley of Doom

To all those who say Moyes has taken us as far as he can go, just think on Charlton`s plight after easing Curbishley out for the same reason! It`s easy to dismiss those whose only realistic goal is Prem security but for every Moyes and Curbs there is a Dowie or a Robson ready to fuck it up!
Brian Goldstein, Greenwich  (12/11/06)

Ambition?

Switching the telly on this morning, in a bleary eyed state, I was puzzled by what I was watching. There seemed to be a game of some sort but one where players were passing a ball to each other ? on the ground ? and then moving to positions where they could receive a pass. What was also strange was the number of players prepared to move forward so that real pressure was put on the opposition right through the game rather than the last few minutes. It wasn?t until I saw AJ chase a ball into the corner, look up and then spread his arms wide in desperation at there being no one else there to support him, that I realized I was watching Match of the Day!

Too often over the past few years, when watching the way that some other teams play football ? and I am not just talking about the Man Utds, Chelseas and Arsenals of this world ? I have been really depressed by the comparison with the way that Everton play. Unlike some others, I am not convinced that there has been any real improvement since Walter Smith left. We have replaced one dour, defensive minded, risk-averse Scot with another of a very similar ilk. I am similarly unconvinced by the argument that the quality of our squad has improved ? Wright, Naysmith, Carsley, Davies, Beattie, Stubbs, Weir, Osman, Pistone ? how many of them would find a place in any other ambitious premiership team?

For me the word ambitious is the key. I have seen nothing from anybody connected with the management of Everton Football Club that suggests they have any real ambitions for the future of this club, other than just be happy with the mediocrity we have suffered for years? and if anybody here mentions the fact that we once finished 4th I?ll scream!

The Board, instead of making things happen on issues such as the ground move or developing Goodison and obtaining any real investment, seems prepared to wait and let others (notably LFC and the City Council) take the lead. Moyes seems to have caught onto that mood. On the pitch, the style of play adopted under his coaching is a fundamentally negative one, seemingly designed to avoid defeat rather than achieve victory. Hence the difficulty we have whenever we go behind. This is not the Everton I grew up with and it?s not the one I want it to be.

I?m also disappointed by the fact that a fair number of the fans (or some of those who contribute to this site) seem to be happy with the current situation and suggest we should be grateful for what we have now got. I?m sorry ? that doesn?t work for me. If our club motto means anything then it should mean that everyone connected with the club ? Board, Manager, Players and Supporters ? should aspire to that end, and continue to strive for it.

Put pressure on the Board ? write to them not just here. Write to Moyes and ask him to explain some of his decisions and tactics. Make them aware of how those of us who don?t like what we are seeing are feeling. Will it work? God knows. Will it make you feel better for at least having tried? Dead right.

There?s a Roger McGough poem which goes:

Out of work, Depressed,
Usually pissed.
He aimed low in life ? and missed.
I don?t want that to be the future for this club.
Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (12/11/06)

Not negative

It is always difficult to maintain a sense of perspective after a run of form that we have just had. Three straight defeats will do that to you. There's quite a few sticking the knife into Moyes after yesterday but I think that is slightly unfair giving the situation.

The situation as I perceive it is that we have just had a major bout of flu through the camp, we are injury stricken and also the ones who are available are not all playing to their abilty ? let alone potential. We are not finsishing from what we do create. So, David Moyes is too blame?

Partially he is in some of the tactics and team selections employed. He has persisted in trying to get BT and Osman back to form, I can't blame him for doing that, sometimes "keep playing 'em" is the only way. Yesterday, I thought Victor should have come on before BT, then BT for Osman. That is my opinion though. BT actually knows where the net is and has a decent shot on him. But pumping high balls to him I find as frustrating as anyone else, particularly when its windy!!

I am completely at a loss as to why Vidarsson was not a bench option. Two centre backs and two strikers to choose from? There may be a valid reason in that he may be unavailable... but there must be other youngsters surely when your squad is that thin!

Our ball delivery into the strikers at the moment is nothing short of woeful. Arteta and Neville are simply just not playing well enough. Our chronic shortage of fullbacks is further hindering what kind of football we play.

So I have not come on here to defend DM but point out, we are injury stricken and several players are underperforming on the pitch. Losing Cahill is a major blow, and I hope it's nothing serious because now VDM really has to justify his wages and step up to the mark (? ? well, there's no evidence so far he can do this). Several of our players need to start pulling their weight also.

It's at times like this DM needs to earn his crust and cope with the difficulties we have now and put together a team that can still win points. Ugly points will do right now until we have better squad options.

Depth of quality of squad is still our major hinderence, however I am not going to overeact at the moment, which I feel some are doing on here. The season is 38 games not twelve. Even though we created enough chance to finish (horribly familiar) that lot of yesterday, we didn't. Improve hitting the onion sack and we'll ride through this tough period.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (12/11/06)

No excuses, no rush to judgement

You asked for contributions from the Moyes camp.

First point: forget the excuses. Maybe we were robbed by Graham Poll the other night, maybe all the Premiership games we lost could have turned out differently, but the truth is that we've not dominated enough games, created or converted enough chances, to be able to say that we really deserve to be in the top 6 right now, and the players know this. As far as injuries are concerned, I dread to think what would happen if we lost Johnson or Arteta for a few weeks ? things could get much worse than they are now.

Mid-table is not good enough for Moyes and Everton. But every season has its ups and downs. We shouldn't rush to judgement every time the team loses a couple of games. I believe we have the players, the pride and the fighting spirit to fight our way to a European place. We've not seen half of what this team is capable of under Moyes.

Fair enough, if things continue to slide then, come January or February, Everton FC may have to ask some hard questions about Moyes. But for now Everton FC will rightly allow Moyes to carry on doing the job of trying to make a winning team from the money invested in the summer in new players.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (12/11/06)

Fair comments generally, I would say. Can't argue with that... except that I am a little concerned we have seen a lot more than half of what this team is capable of. But we could debate that one all night long! — Michael

All Johnson`s fault!

Let us face the truth. The current downturn in Everton`s fortunes is all down to Andrew Johnson. If only the little toerag had done his job and gone on scoring in every game as he was supposed to do, we`d be top of the league and Moyes would still be the greatest manager since Kendall 1.

What`s a manager supposed to do if a player don`t obey instructions? `Just lump it upfield to Jonno`, he`s told the rest of them and, all in all, they`ve obeyed his instructions to a T. It`s just that the record signing`s refusing to follow the script and would rather fall over or shoot wide than put the ball in the net.

How can you possibly blame Moyes ? he`s even removed every other striker from the team so `Baldy` can have half the pitch to himself! Who`d be a manager, eh?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (12/11/06)

Arf, arf. Just what we need ? some light relief. — Michael

Do one, Moyes

For the sake of the fans and the club, it is my wish that this fella walks out himself. I'm not intrested in hearing why we should wait any longer for it to get better. Five years is long enough and it's time for those who think like me to get on the offensive. We can,t force the club to make Moyes go but we can make it very hard for Moyes and Co in the media, mailbags and at the game.
Brian Little, Skem  (12/11/06)

Evidence of progress, or head in the sand?

I agree the fact that we shoulda but didn't is little consolation: It's obvious we need more ruthlessness in front of goal and must find it quick if we are to raise above the malaise on Sat. However, looking for general indications of progress or decline, perhaps the fact that we are still top half having missed so many simple chances and been on the wrong end of many questionable decisions e.g. pens, is sign of general progress under Moyes this season?

It also seems obvious though that we need to improve the muscle and creativity in midfield. Accordingly I am concerned that, having just seen the Moyes post-match interview on EvertonTV, I am hoping his comment that he does not see the need to strengthen in January is a smokescreen! Am I being too optimistic to think his comment must be to facilitate greater stealth in the transfer market than we've experienced in the past? If not, it would seem Moyes can't see the wood for the trees... so I hope not!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (12/11/06)

Well, Moyes has always had a reluctance to do much in the January Window ? one James Beattie being the exception to the rule. Make of that what you will... but I won't be surprised if he's true to his word.

And as for progress this season, not sure I understand the relevance of that as we are about to be overtaken by Liverpool as we slide down the table. Is it something you need to be able to tell yourself about Moyes? Does it make any difference?

"Yes, we have made progress under Moyes this season." There, I said it. But I'm not entirely convinced I meant it. :( — Michael

Cudda Shuddas and ifs and buts...

Ifs, buts amd maybes abound in the game of footy. Despite this, some indisputable facts remain. One such fact repeatedly came to my mind watching the game on tele yesterday: Goals change games!

How different things may have been had AJ opted to knock the ball sideways in the first chance of the game for Simple to roll it into the empty net. Would this have settled the blue boys down and provided the confidence and platform to go on and win? Would a goal for Davies have enabled him to play with more conviction? Would it have given the spark to lift the crowd and breath life into the team?

Ifs and buts and of course nobody knows for sure, but what is without doubt is that things would likely have been very different had one or two of our glaring opportunities not been spurned. Had the result gone our way, as would seem very likely had the simple opportunities been taken, we would be on the cusp of a Champions League position. Would there be so many knee jerk anti-Moyes reactions then? Maybe its futile to bemoan the many fickle whims of mypopic judgements dominating the mailbag post Villa?

I don't know the answer to the questions but do believe that we could have and should have beaten Villa (and on another day the chances would have gone in and that what would have happened).

I also feel that the pain of previous barren runs under Moyes has left us overly fearful of a repeat ongoing lengthy rut. I believe though that the squad is better than it was previously and that Moyes is learning (slowly) from mistakes, so we should bounce back straight away and start heading in the right direction again very soon. Heres hoping anyway!

Up the toffees!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (12/11/06)

"We should bounce back straight away..." now where did I hear that just recently? I'm not sure it's any consolation to know that we could have won this game, Pete. The point is we didn't. And we didn't win half-a-dozen other games this season that we shoulda won. To me, that indicates there's a problem. Trouble is, the only one we can look to for a fix is the man himself! — Michael

Craig Heywood : Yeah! What price our souls?

Somebody will no doubt have the figures, but I don't think that gate money plays a large part in the total money coming in. So the need for a 55,000+ stadium is moot; there aren't many lockouts at 40,000. As for corperate boxes, again just how many will fork out how much for the pleasure of an afternoon at Kirkby watching the blues snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again?

Only if the product is worth watching!! The 'floating fan'; the difference between say 37,000 and 55,000 MAY turn up and even then I have my doubts. People's leisure habits have evolved and changed and again, guestimates of between 500,000 and 900,000 nominal Everton supporters around the world have been bandied about. But that's where they are, around the world, as I said, not many lockouts at 40,000.

I don't think even with all the grants in the EU that enough money can be found, given the price of steel and construction, to do a worth while job. I for one, would not like to live in a world where, to mis-quote Neil Diamond, 'Kirkby's fine but it ain't home, Goodison's home but it ain't fine no more'.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (12/11/06)

We don't get lockouts at 40,000 becaus eo of the 4,000 obstructed views. So a 36,000 refects full demand for decent seats at Goodison Park. If there were 55,000 decent seats, I think more people would come. Less them diehards who will use it as a reason for not going anymore. Who said "Build it... and they will come." Wasn't Neil, that's for sure...

If you know your history...

To all the smug self-satisfied 'Moyes Out' brigade, can you tell me the answer towhat these numbers represent?

  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 6
  • 15
  • 17
  • 14
  • 13
  • 16
  • 15
Clue - our final league positions before he took over. Number of top half finishes: 1 every 11 years. Number under Moyes: 2 in 4.

And Michael et al - not heard you say if we did get rid of him who we should bring in to replace him? I hear Big Ron is available so is Byran Robson and even Dennis Wise could be tempted with the right offer.

So come on get your printing press dusted off and rolling as it's time for you boys to get those 'Moyes Out' leaflets done.
Chris Leyland, Formby  (12/11/06)

Boooring! Let me point out, just for the record: I have not said "Moyes Out". Does it give you some sort of perverse pleasure to call your fellow fans smug and self-satisfied? What the fuck is all that about?

And what exactly is the point of asking who would replace him? Your suggestions are as ridiculous as anyone else's but I can guarantee you 100% that someone would replace him. So your hidden agenda ? that there is no viable replacement for Moyes ? is twaddle.

You can be very sure that, were he to go, a replacement would be named. But not by us or anyone who reads this mailbag. We would not be even remotely involved in selecting his replacement. But I guess that's news to you, eh, Chris.

And if you knew your history, you'd know there comes a day for every manager when the taxi is called. It's a question of when, not if. Not everyone is happy when it happens, but that's football. — Michael

Obsevations

First, why all the letters for Moyes's head? Have we not already been informed this is a no-no? So let's try the Plan B route: what cannot be moved can be altered... let's have suggestions that might improve our team. Who knows ? maybe Moyes might read it.

Also, now Tim Cahill is injured, will the peeps urging his transfer earlier now provide the solution to cover his goalscoring we will miss. Maybe Beattie (or rather deadbeat) might decide to earn a small percentage of his wages...
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (12/11/06)

I guess, Roy, those folks think he's lost the plot. As for changing the imoveable object, I guess that's what many of us have been droning on about for months... only to be told:

  • We finished 4th
  • We are no longer relegation regulars
  • We have a wonderful young team
  • We finished 4th
  • He's better than Water Smith
  • We finished 4th
  • We finished 4th
How we can improve the team comes down to how the team is coached, how they play the game, what they do with the ball, how they move off the ball ? all things people have fingered as being issues Moyes needs to change in order to move us on. But nobody expects Moyes to be reading this (are you serious?).

We have to trust that Moyes knows what's going wrong... although that is a hard one to believe given the persistence with hoof-ball, Beattie, Davies, late subs etc. — Michael

Transfer window ? Part Two

I am obviously a bloke with too much time on my hands but I'm back with another rant. I posted a letter earlier in relation to the January transfer window and how much cash we could raise by triming the squad. Alan Smith has just got a couple of mentions and this has got me to thinking.

We have been linked with several of the next big things from the lower leagues over the last few seasons, including half the Preston squad. Now, while I would agree that there are bargains to be had through scouting the lower leagues, it is still a risky business as many potentially talented players never actually materialise into the next big thing. Also, as lower league clubs can now be completely mercenary with the price-tags involved, it has become very risky indeed. So why not turn to the Alan Smiths of this world?

Yes, he has never really done it at United but he has certainly channelled his agression when fit and playing, as his disciplinary record has improved no end, which can only add to fairly decent talent he possesses. (Plus Beattie has all the intimadation skills of a wet lettuce.) He is a proven Premiership player and if Man Utd are prepared to send him out on loan then you will get him as cheaply as you would the next big thing from the lower leagues.

And in fairness, he ain't done that badly for them either. Damien Duff by the way is another good example. Newcastle picked him up for ?5M quid last summer, a bargain or what? Just because these players look like cast-offs from the big clubs, it hasn't made them poor players overnight.

Remember folks, we got one great season from Kanchelskis, Nick Barmby was going nowhere and yet gave us a great last season before greed got the better of him. Tim Howard is top of my shopping list and Phil Neville has done well so it's not like a precedent hasn't already been set.

If we do only have ?10M quid in January, as I roughly worked out in my previuos letter ? why not spend it on these players? You don't have to worry as much about bedding them in or nurturing their talent, which means that they have a more immediate impact and you have much more of a chance of getting a good return from a limited budget.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (12/11/06)

I don't know if you've heard of this, but it's really cool (apparently). You load it on your computer and you can then magically become the manager of your fave team. It's dead realistic. You have pots of money, can transfer players and build the team you want, then play other teams and move up the table, just as if it was the real thing. It's perfect for fans who become frustrated with the real world of football and convince themseleves they know how to make their team successful... It's called Football Manager 2007. And it's not real. ? Michael

Simon Davies

This is an open letter to Mr I Hate Simon Davies of the Toxteh:

Now let's be honest ? we were all exceptionally frustrated by this afternoon's performance. The passing was poor, the crossing was worse and the fact that we forced their keeper into only one meaningful save embarrassing. However, I must come to the defence of Simon Davies who was abused from start to finish by one man behind me today.

A couple of questions. Did we improve in the second half? Did this correspond with Davies replacing Arteta in the centre? Did he get caught in possesion and expose our back four as Arteta did several times? And can you really do better than him as you claimed?

I'll accept that he does not have the physical strength that we need but who in our side does? Until we can get the 'midfield enforcer' (terrible phrase I know) or Hibbert gets fit so Neville can move back to midfield, who else is there?

By all means comment, complain discuss but please try to demonstrate some intelligence in your comments.
Stephen Williams, Halewood  (12/11/06)

Davies was dreadful. Did you count how many times he passed the ball straight to a Villa player (at least 3); how many times he passed the ball directly back to the player who had played him in (5); and how many cutting incisive forward through-balls to feed the attack (a big fat ZERO). Anyone defending Simon Davies is inviting serious questions about their sanity ? never mind their intelligence! ? Michael

There are all kinds of board

A lone predictable attacker is easy meat for defenders and that is why AJ's isolation and predictability changed his goal feast to a famine. Mweanwhile, our retreating defence gives opponents ample room to shoot or cross from outside the box.

Using Carsley as a "boot it anywhere" sixth back seems to have ruined his ability to hit the target. It also creates the leagues only 6?2?1 formation. I cannot see any position Osman could adequately fill so I deliberately left him out of the formation. Past criticism of Osman was always countered by fans pointing to his youth, great technique and determination. He still has the same so called great technique and determination and two years later is still crap.

Cynics may well retort, how bloody clever of me to work that lot out. They might also wonder how bloody long will it take for Moyes to also work it out. Work it out he must because our current game plan is more like a diving board than a spring board.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (12/11/06)

Answering Simon

Answer to Simon Rimmer. Martin O`Neill inherited the same players and the same budget as the man he replaced at Villa. He`s just better at making them play. How anyone can still think that Moyes is the dog`s bollocks is beyond me!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (11/11/06)

Sir Phil Neville

Hibbert's just as bad, so it needs Valente to create from the back, if anyone. Otherwise, Yobo makes these mistakes every few games.... if Moyes is playing the 1-0 win game plan, it's fatal. Yes, Yobo is improving, now he's been told to boot into touch.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (11/11/06)

Imagination, Please....!

I was having a Chang with my mate at half-time today. He's going to a wedding reception tonight and wanted to be away as soon as possible and he was getting some sympathy from me when he came up with the idea of pissing off there and then. But, "No," I said; "We'll sort out this shite in the second half."

"How?" says he. "I'll tell yer," says I. "Knowing that there's nobody on the bench to give us a semblance of a midfield," I continued. "David Moyes, being the imaginative manager that he is, will realize that Lescott can win the ball and provide decent passes to team mates. Therefore, undoubtedly, he will move him into the midfield holding role. He will also remember that Davies is fucking useless in midfield but has shown he can play a reasonable game at left-back and he will take Lescott's place there especially as Villa were no threat down the flanks.

"Carsley will be moved up to central midfield, even if only to nibble at Villa's legs and break up their play, and Arteta will move out to the wing and give us a few crosses. In order to take advantage of these crosses, Beattie will suffer the indignity of a sub being subbed and Anichebe will come on to win a few balls in the air which Beattie can't do and AJ may be able to take better advantage of that than chasing long punts up the pitch."

"Good idea!" says my mate. "It's probably a load of crap," he added, "and is likely to be the reason why you're not a football manager... but it is 'imaginative'." (Or words to that effect.) "I'd rather go home and press my suit," continued my mate, "but if Moyes does that, it's worth a look."

Maybe it was the Chang but I was getting confident by now and I suggested that Moyes would also tell Neville to stop punting balls into the area from the half-way line when there was 20 yards of grass in front of him to move into, and he would tell Stubbs to pass the ball sideways if he couldn't see a better option than aiming for the penalty spot. It was sorted! My mate did piss off... a quarter of an hour from the end. He said something about going for a pint before he went out and I think I heard him tell me under his breath to keep my ideas to myself in future even if they were more 'imaganitive' than Moyes's. Oh I do hope we're still friends!!
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (11/11/06)

Bitter Pill to swallow

Like it or not, Moyes is going nowhere. Kenwright will never sack Moyes, so have a debate by all means but I am afraid we are stuck with him whether we like it or not. Moyes is what he is ? along with his coaching staff ? finding his way and, one would hope, learning all the while.

The fact that he brought Victor on today 23 minutes from the end leads me to think he has learnt from Wednesday's debacle of bringing him on in injury time. We are all waiting for the penny to drop that Beattie has no desire and he has let down his manager in a massive way ? I seem to remember many were very pleased when he signed yet he has failed to deliver in a huge way ? not Moyes's fault but his signing nevertheless and certainly not an Everton player in the true tradition of the Number 9 shirt.

Sutton showed today how to lead the line and, although older than Beattie, looked fitter and stronger and at least didn?t lack desire. So, although not a Moyes worshipper, I have some sympathy with him when the likes of Beattie underperform.

We all would like AJ and Victor to start up front ? yes, the kid is only 18 but from what we have seen he frightens defenders more than McFadden or Beattie could ever do. He has a presence about him; McFadden I am afraid is not an English Premiership player but would do well in the Scottish Prem.

I'd get rid of McFadden (again, fat chance as he's just signed an extension) and bring in the boy Nugent and try to offload Beattie ? maybe a fee would be optimistic but his wages could allow bringing in a good loan signing for the next 12 months in Jan. I believe the best left-back we have at the club is out on loan: Patrick Boyle. This is another kid worthy of a chance - certainly if Naysmith can be given a shot then Patrick can. Leon Osman is an enigma and often goes missing and is too lightweight - but we have little alternative.

Basically, I believe Moyes would desperately love to bring in another couple of midfielders: one who is strong but can also be a playmaker (someone like Kevin Nolan) and someone with flair. Oviously he tried this with Van der Myede, and that has gone disastrously wrong, but I believe this is what he ought to be trying to do and something tells me he will do.

I think Moyes will now have to be given even more time ? another couple of years maybe (yes, I know: shock horror! But it is a fact ? he is going nowhere). He can spend a little more of the Sky money that will come our way and see how he does after this period.

But forget talk of sacking him now (who do we bring in anyway?); it just ain't going to happen. Maybe in January we can strengthen further but it may get a little worse before it gets better. Get ready for a stormy ride into the New Year...
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Sorry to Say

Just a couple of points. We really need a decent target man who puts himself about, and I am sorry to be unpopular... A man who no-one has mentioned, I would bite Manchester United's hand off for: One Alan Smith.

Oh, by the way, for anyone at today's game and anyone there for the past 25 years: How does Sir Philip Neville play for England? My 4-year-old son is a better passer of a ball!

Edited massively by ToffeeWeb for ease-of-reading and legibility
Bobby Dempster, Huyton  (11/11/06)

Is your 4-year-old son a better typist than you too? If you can't bother to type things properly, I shan't bother editing and posting them in future. ? Garry

Who Instead?

To all you 'Moyes Out' boys: If we did get rid of the man, who would we bring in who is available?

Moyes has proven that he can do a job. 4th place finish. Get off the man's back; he has his hands tied in the transfer market with little funding available. Whoever they were to replace him with would inherit the same players and the same transfer budget.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (11/11/06)

?4M on Yobo, ?6M on Beattie, ?5M on Kr?ldrup, ?8.6M on Johnson, ?4M on Davies... the list goes on and on. Over his five years at the club, Moyes has had enough money to spend. Forgetting a lucky string of 1-0 wins which led to us finishing 4th, Moyes has been responsible for a 17th place finish, last year's awful season and now, what is looking like it could be another crap season. I'm not saying Moyes should go, but it's about time the question was at least pondered. ? Garry

Look upon the future, RIGHT NOW!

I choose not to comment on Wednesday's debacle as I was too angry, firstly with Hollywood Poll and second with the ever-useless Moyes who didn't change things for so long that day. Well lookie here today!

Michael, your comments that only the onse who never believed in Moyes will shoot from the hip first, and the smarter so-called fans will reflect and post later. Well, Michael, I thought long and hard about posting and to be honest I almost am losing the will to continue supporting this massive club under that buffoon Moyes!

Today has been coming since the Liverpool game, yet many fans refused to consider Everton had been very fortunate in two of the four wins they have amased this season. The margin of error is so tight with Moyes's style of play; hard work - no skill - negative tactics.

It is unfair that some fans are sniping at AJ as it isn't his fault. Everton's simplistic attack strategy was always going to be counteracted by the many better managers in the league, yet many fans still believe Moyes is the future. Future? This is the future, past and present with this man! Average, inept and utter failure.

Today reflects Moyes's five years ? a promising start, only to be desperately let down by safety first Moyes. The man who opposed Moyes in the dug-out also opposes Moyes in every single way.

O'Neill has a WORSE squad than us, has had less money to spend than us yet has shown what good and brave management skills can do to a club. Villa got stuffed 4-0 by Chelsea last week, and how did they react? Positive! Moyes loses unjustly against Arsenal and how did they react? Well, poor!

No Moyes bashing, just the cold truth, lads; i was never fooled by the false dawn of this season and the dismal performances now show the world that Moyes time is up. Even if Michael and Kenwright can't see it!
Luq Yussef, London  (11/11/06)

Fair comments, Luq. I know where you are coming from. The apologists are quite stunned, I suspect, and probably a bit nervous about sticking their heads above the parapet. Which is a pity. I think I was feeling that it's all to easy for these bandwagon-jumpers to suddenly turn against Moyes en masse, while we've been told repeatedly that such dobuting sentiments are not representative of "all the Evertonians I know, who are 100% beyond Moyes". Let's hear for some of them... or are we already??? (There are certainly a lot of new names in the mailbag this evening...) — Michael

Co Adriaanse ? a find?

I think our Dutch friend could have found a successor to dour Davie.

Co Adriaanse has had a great career as manager and coach of AZ Alkmaar (his side got into the Champion's League in 2nd place and were voted best Dutch team). He won the double in Portugal and was a director of the academy at Ajax. Perhaps he could get us back to being the School of Science but one thing I can say with certainty is that Moyes makes Gordon Lee's spat with flair look like a storm in a teacup.

ps: About the Marsh disciples jibe - Marshy is right as are a number of other people. Moyes is never going to take us forward. He is a one-trick pony and the pony has been found out.
Reginald Kavanagh, Cheshire  (11/11/06)

From my seat

A bad day at the office for the Blues and the fans. A game that is best described as forgettable amid its turgid meanderings over almost 100 minuets. Two teams screaming to be regarded as nothing more than mid-table non-entities treated us to a game between two mediocre sides seperated by a manager.

O'Niell kept his troops organised and got his reward with the goal. Moyes seemed to have a game plan that wasn't working from very early on and chose to do nothing about it until half time and one down.

As one of the uneducated who can't always find a radio phone-in to educate me, I opined to my mates after 15 mins that Arteta was having a mare in centre midfield and the manager should swop him with Davies and let him play where he has been most productive ? ie, left midfield. Our earstwhile manager didn't see this 'til the break but, with Villa one up and something to hang onto, this obvious improvement was negated. Loads around me were giving Beattie loads but really the service offered to him was an embarressment, in fact the service given was 'nul points' all round.

Looking through the team, I only gave Lescott the time of day as this was one god-awful performance. Sometimes you get games like this and who knows how things will pan out next week v Bolton? We will hope for the points but will we ever see a confident passing and move team eager to please us fans and a Board and manager to work 24/7 to ensure it happens. Hell you have to have real talent to make that happen. I just hope they have it. See you Sat ? UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (11/11/06)

Knee jerk?

I don't think the 'Moyes Out' sentiment is just a knee-jerk reaction from today's result. Everton have been poor all season except two games. We were awful to watch last season, remember Boxing Day? And home to Bolton? Even the season we finished 4th, we were awful to watch after the turn of the New Year. It is therefore pretty stupid to suggest that calling for Moyes's head is a knee-jerk reaction.

Also I heard a lad on Radio City saying Moyes's win:lose ratio is worse than Smith's. Can anyone verify this? It wouldn't suprise me.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (11/11/06)

I'm sure someone will work that out but you raise a good point. Perhaps Moyes and the boys are still riding the wave they created by finishing 4th. If we remember that we did that by stringing a lot of 1-0 wins together, which could have easily gone the other way, Moyes record as an Everton manager isn't so rosy at all. ? Garry

That's funny, Alan. Just a few weeks ago, people who dared to suggest it were also called stupid for daring to call for Moyes to go. How things change, Eh? — Michael

Hunger Is A Tremendous Motivator

Maybe Michael, you have inadvertedly hit the nail on the head. If, as you say, BK has all but given DM a job for life, then maybe the hunger of Moyes to be a success is not what it should be. When he has had something to prove he has generally got the team motivated and they in turn responded. However, I have noticed that his interviews no longer have the same bite in them as they used too and his passion on the touch-line is not what it once was.

Maybe, he has other things on his mind but I don't see the same David Moyes as we saw in his first couple of years. He may well admit that his ability either a) isn't good enough or b) that he is at the right club at the wrong time and therefore his ability will always be compromised by a shoe-string budget.

Under the present circumstances Wenger, Mourihno and Ferguson working in tandem at Goodison would struggle to make Everton a regular top-six team. However, a Manager who was properly motivated could make improvements to the players we have at our disposal. Free Kicks, corner kicks and movement off the ball could all be improved and I think this is the area that most fans find unacceptable.

Moyes should have stamped his personality on the team by this point in time, and the worry is that he has. Not the exhuberant confident Moyes who the fans loved in his early days but the cautious, indecisive Moyes who the fans see as a shadow of the man he once was. So maybe before Moyes achieves anything at Everton, he has to return to the type of person we all liked in the first place ? lest he finds himself joining Bingham and Lee as former managers who didn't quite cut the mustard.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (11/11/06)

You have eloquently put exactly what I have been thinking for the past few months. There's no fire in Moyes's eyes any more. I posted something similar on the forum about two months ago. ? Garry

Must be the booze but....

I read something in the papers earlier about MU Rowdies trying to offload Alan Smith on loan to Leeds or Cardiff. As we are the United farm system, shouldn't we be in the market for him? Bearing in mind the lack of attacking verve today, we could do worse. Mind you, a couple of months in our team (if they play like they did today) could cause the fella to lose the will to live.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (11/11/06)

I'd take him... ? Garry

It's not just another defeat

It's the way we lost the game that tells me at least that this is not the Everton I want to share with my kids. Mailbag submission maybee knee-jerk at times but maybe these and other letters really just reflect a very sad situation at the club. Goodnight and Goodluck
Micky Wilcox, Runcorn  (11/11/06)

I have to admit I am surprised at the gathering snowball that is rolling in Moyes's direction. When people on here would question Moyes or criticse his tactics in the past, they would be called negative and chastised for not "getting behind the manager" and not being true supporters.

There comes a watershed in every manager's career; I wonder if this is it for Moyers... or if you'll all feel on Monday that you might have been a little too hasty? — Michael

Let`s be grateful

The Wyness bloke has said many times that the club budgets for tenth position. Moyes has repeated his mantra that the first priority is to survive in the Prem. So why all this talk of getting rid? For four seasons the manager has met - and bettered - his goal and for all today`s disappointment, he is unlikely to put us down this season.

Every club aspires to be in the top six but has absolutely no god-given right to get there. So let`s be glad for what we`ve got, shall we? ? a sound CEO and a very hardworking manager. I bet Sunderland, Leeds and Birmingham would swop, wouldn`t they?
Alan Shepherd, Rock Ferry  (11/11/06)

Hmmm.... is that we're reduced to? Comparissons with failed and faded Championship teams and their long lost aspirations. I thinks that's called shooting yourself in the foot, Alan. ? Michael

Ooh Bettie!

Acording to page 2 of the Everton page (508) on ITV teletext, Tim Cahill was replaced by none other than BETTIE! It explains everything and is a little light relief on another dissapointing result.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (11/11/06)

Andrew Johnson

Before we get things out of all proportion, let's be clear what the major difference is between our great start and our current slump: AJ. At the start he was putting away all his chances; and getting pens for those he didn't put away. In the last week he could - no, should - have had about five (including the pens). He has not been 'rumbled' - he just isn't putting away his chances.

Cahill is our only other scorer. Beattie won't score in a month of Sundays, and Vic's immaturity was painfully revealed today. The rest of our midfield won't get beyond the fingers of one hand in a whole season.

So? Pray to God that AJ rediscovers his confidence and scoring touch very soon; and that Cahill is not seriously injured. (If not: yes, panic is in order.) Oh ? and buy most of a new midfield in January.
Neil Pearse, London  (11/11/06)

Why are our hopes perennially pinned on the 'next' transfer window? Moyes has shown us these players can perform. What's gone wrong? Why can't they do it again? — Michael

A long wait

Let`s face it, Moyes has spent nigh on ?15 million on a strike force that can`t buy a goal. Playing Anchy and Vaughan for the last half dozen matches could not have been any less successful as you can`t score less than none! It looks like we all got carried away with Johnson`s early form whilst most of us all suspected Beattie was a duff buy from the outset.

This team/squad is a monster mess of Moyes's making and whilst he`ll be given all the time in the world to put things right, I do now think the job`s beyond him. Our only hope is that he will fall on his sword but I suspect it will be a long wait!
John Whiting, Northop Hall  (11/11/06)

Pass me the brandy Tony

What an utter shower of shit - not just today, but the last three games. One Premiership win in two months. Bubble well and truly burst, downwards on the Moyes rollercoaster. Manager devoid of ideas/strategy/dynamism:

  • hoof ball to Johnson ? what the fuck?
  • one up front at home - what the fuck?
  • Anichebe on in injury time last Wed night - what the fuck?
  • Simon Davies in team - what the fuck?
He's improved the squad but regrettably can't push us on to the next level. Once more into the breech...
Anthony Newell, Northampton  (11/11/06)

Our team

Dave Moyes must give the young players the chance to claw back what is left of our promising start to the season. It seems that he has not got the courage of his convictions. We must take a positive step forward and play the youngsters, or else he should do the honourable thing and resign.
Joe Ball, Maidenhead  (11/11/06)

Re: ''Being forced out of love...''

It seems to me as though the easiest way to remedy current supporter-referee tensions is to make the after-match referee's report available to the public and media. This way the only additional work created for the FA and referees would be small alterations in the form/style of the report in order that it should include all pertinent officiating decisions and not merely the ones the referee wishes to bring to the attention of the FA.
Chris Forrest, Manchester  (11/11/06)

Just Go will Ya

The worst display of football ineptitude I have seen since Ipswich came to Goodison and put 10 behind the ball. Fuck off Davey, will ya...
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (11/11/06)

Come on... it wasn't that bad. — Michael

Two Stories Today

OK, so Moyes didn't exactly pick the team that most of the posters would have, but he did at least start with 1? strikers (the half being James Beattie who, by the way, reminds me of Nora Batty). However, he also put the two most useless players on in Davies and Osman, although he did at least have the sense to replace Osman with Anichebe earlier than usual.

Despite my dislike for Moyes, I'm afraid the players are mostly to blame for this loss. They were not in the game at all. Just about everyone barring Howard were damn useless today. I don't know any of the answers to the problems facing Everton but getting rid of the manager is only part of the total solution. A new playing style might help but that won't happen under Moyes and we don't have too much flexibility with regard to players either.

I guess we will have to wait and pray for some good luck if we are going to finish anywhere near the top six. It could still happen, but I wouldn't risk any of my hard-earned cash on it.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (11/11/06)

Be warned!!

Here we are 12 games into a new season and the writing is already clearly written on the wall. More points lost than gained, out of one cup competition, and we are just an away draw against any half decent opposition from going out of another.

I wrote several weeks back that we needed to get rid of Moyes sooner rather than later, and bring in someone with vision and tactical nous, if we are ever to again get anywhere near the elite of English football. Having witnessed the last three performances, two of which were against very average opposition, the other against a reserve team, I am as concerned now as I was at this time last season about the future of this once-great football club; should it remain under the stewardship of David Moyes?

Not only is the man tactically inept, the quality of football under him is the worst I have ever had the misfortune to watch in my 35 years of supporting Everton. I fully appreciate that some of the football served up in the past has not been vintage, but this current brand of kick and rush makes me ashamed to be an Evertonian. When you get supporters from clubs like Aston Villa, Fulham & Boro feeling sorry for you, it just makes you realise how far this club has sunk over the past 15+ years.

Like all Evertonians, nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to have seen David Moyes go on to become an Everton legend, but unfortunately it is never going to happen. Unless we act now, I can be as certain as night follows day, that this club will be relegated within the next five seasons should Moyes remain as manager. While he does, I and many others will continue to look down and not up. We all deserve much better than this.
Paul Caldwell, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Just when you thought....

It was starting to go wrong after the Liverpool game. A few iffy draws (Luton excepted), followed by last week's deeats, drove home the fear that we are entering our winter of discontent. It was actually worse today than even I expected ? and after following Everton for nearly 40 years, I am resigned to mostly dissapointment.

David Moyes has had chances to improve the side but by and large he has spurned the opportunties (Ashton, Darren Bent, Bobby Zamora). Instead he was intent on buying dunmmies like Beattie and Davies. His tactics, his lack of motivation, his stubborness to lost causes like McFadden ? all should be the ink for his resignation letter. I hope !
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (11/11/06)

Optimistic!

Reading the letters page recently, I've been amazed at the number of people stating that we've improved under Moyes because we're a mid-table team now and not threatened by relegation. If what he's produced in 5 years is acceptable progress then you deserve the abject rubbish that is Everton right now.

The scary thing is, I don't believe we are automatically safe from relegation. In fact I would say we are one of the poorest teams in this league, play the worst 'style' of football, and are now getting the type of results this uninspired rubbish deserves. I would say we are in some danger, I don't think we'll go down but we could easily be sucked into the fight.

Moyes is an OK person with a strong sense of morality and work ethic, but he is a flairless, unskilled football manager and until he goes we will continue to depress Evertonians and football supporters the world over.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (11/11/06)

Another reffing disgrace

Yet again the referee was a bloody disgrace. Why Everon didn`t refuse to play on when he failed to punish the fateful tackle on Cahill is beyond me!
Reg Little, Peasley Cross  (11/11/06)

Yea, red card for Carsley. He could have achieved instant fame! ? Michael

Another defeat

Another game, another defeat. Same old Everton. I'm beginning to wonder at this stage if Everton fans' expections really ever match where the club actually is at any given time in a season. Six years ago we wanted Walter out. The club was constantly flirting with relegation yet we wanted to be what Chelsea was at the time. In reality we should have been looking to settle at being what Charlton were under Alan Curbishly and then take it from there.

The last couple of seasons we wouldn't have taken anything less than being a top five club and yet we went ballistic when the end of the season showed we weren't. In truth we're turning into a Charlton or a Wigan at a frightening rate from what I can see during the last few seasons and yet we've all being too willfully blind to see it.

Let's be honest here folks, David Moyes has taken us from being muck to being average. Does the man or the club have what it takes to go one better? On days like today you wouldn't see as how but the sooner we start to accept this the easier it would be as Everton fans. I'm not saying I don't want my club to do well, maybe I just need to be more realistic about what merits success.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (11/11/06)

I'm strugglng to understand what you are saying, Kieran. Our expectiaons will almost always be higher than our achievements until we are really, really good. Now that we are merely a mid-table mediocrity, should 10th place really the be peak of our ambition? That is clearly all we are really capable of under Moyes, but should that be our definition of success?

Sorry but I don't think so. This is not about over-expectation from the fans: it's about substandard performances from the players and useless tactics from the manager. What was that we saw at the beginning of the season? Just luck? Or are they really capable of playing decent footy and taking it to highly rated teams? — Michael

Kick and Rush

I watched the whole game on t'internet ? we were shite throughout. Our only plan is to boot the ball upfield and hope for the best. It got worse when Anichebe came on but the lad is not to blame. The wheels have well and truly come off.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (11/11/06)

I often get a sense in the first five minutes of just how a game is going to go. The messiness, Villa's determination to shut us down, our inability to play the ball ? all were painfully evident in the first five minutes. — Michael

Can't score... Won't score

Right, before I go on, I never got to the game today; I had it on the radio and I've just read the match reports. This is a bit of a rant born really out of the frustrations of watching us this season, and the nonesense that took place this week.

Now normally I'm pretty positive and I'm always willing to look on the positve side of things; however, I'm really really struggling at the moment to find anything positive. The team under Moyes is so one-dimensional it makes me cringe. Whatever happened to players really wanting to take the game to teams? Whatever happened to getting at teams, putting them under pressure?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SCORING??? Remember that!!!!!

Now I'm not going to lambast AJ as he's had a pretty decent start to the season, but the lad seems to be struggling at the moment. His clinical finishing has turned to hurried stabs and mishits, agsint Fulham, Arsenal and Villa he's easily missed 5 clear chances. Is this all AJs fault, though? Or is it Moyes's tactics that are putting too much pressure on the lad as our only real goalscoring outlet.

We should be playing with two strikers ? Beattie, Anichebe or whoever ? as AJ clearly needs some pressure taking off him. Now here is the controversial bit. I know I said I won't lambast him but the lad has been bought in to score goals and ?9M is a fair price. Its up to Moyes to sort out this canundrum but something needs to change and quickly or we'll find ourselves sniffing around Newcastle's pants at Christmas.

As I said, a bit of a rant, but im frustrated and clearly not thinking straight. Doctor, can I have more pills, please?
Ste Boileau, Walton  (11/11/06)

Trying to be positive...

OK, I'd be the first to wish Tim Cahill a speedy recovery.

OK, that out of the way - what on Earth has happened? We spend ?9M on AJ and our team has been as toothless in the last month as we were all last season. OK, I'm not singling out players who try their hardest, but the Everton Board have to ask "What's going wrong?" Is it the Board, Chief Exec, Manager or the players? If it's the latter then Moyes is to blame.

Something has got to change or 7th will soon become 17th. We can't use the great start to the season as a reason for optimism anymore, as we are in an all-too-familiar rut. The discussion around refereeing decisions, though important mustn't deflect from the mess we find ourselves in. Teams don't perform poorly over a season based on dodgy decisions alone.

I love Everton. I follow my team, buy the merchandise, go to games, even subscribe to stuff on their website ? because I want them to be the best again one day. What else can we do? I just want things to get better. Please forgive me while I go and drown my sorrows.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (11/11/06)

Err.. trying to be positive? I don't think you succeeded, Mark. — Michael

Spirited bounce back in store?

Well, if that was the "Spirited bounce back" Moyes can shove it up his arse!! We are a one-dimensional team; if Johnson or Cahill are off form no-one seems to be able to turn it on. Arteta's use of the ball at set plays was rotten today. The midfield is very weak now that Cahill is crocked, lack of numbers (and quality) is really starting to tell. If anyone can give me a reason to be cheerful tonite I'd welcome one. It's going to be another very average season for us blues again. No wonder AvdM drinks so much... wonder if it started in Sept 05?? Hmmmm...
John Audsley, Leeds  (11/11/06)

What a shambles!

Does David Moyes really know what he`s doing? His second-half tactics were bizarre to say the least and if ever a man was trying to destroy a promising talent, its Moyes with Anichebe.

What a contrast: O`Neill plays four or five kids and they respond magnificently. Moyes relies on talentless wasters like Davies and Beattie and expects Carsley to turn into Cahill. What a fucking shambles!
Nigel Hayward, Toxteth  (11/11/06)

Bloody Disgrace

Everton were a bloody disgrace today. The only tactic Moyes teams have is to lump it up front and hope that someone gets some luck in front of goal. There is absolutely no method and the defence seem incapable of passing constructively. We just haven`t got a midfield. I think we now know that Johnson is a hardworking one-trick pony whose been rumbled by every ref and manager. Frankly, we`re fucked!
Mark Anderson, Woolton  (11/11/06)

Who's to blame for today?

Today, it was Aston Villa's reserve side's turn to come and mug Everton on their own ground. No away win since last February and no win at Goodison for 6 years... but Villa had no reason to worry. Deadly Dave would provide the early Chrimbo prezzies for Martin O'Neill's side right on cue. With the referee having a good game today there is no scapegoat for Moyes to slaughter this evening. So who's to blame? Take a look in the mirror, Davie.

What will it take for this thick stubborn waster to realise that playing both Osman and Davies in the same side virtually reduces us to 9 men? I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what our formation was supposed to be when Moyes introduced the 3rd striker.

It's going from bad to worse with each passing week and I can see one of those now legendery Moyes runs of 7 or 8 games on the trot were we get beat scenarios developing. Surely now, when we are bang on course for another pathetic season of struggle, the Moyes appologists can see there is no light at the end of the Moyes tunnel? It's an all too familiar path we are about to tread; I and many otheres like me are becoming sick to death of it.

There is no progress being made, that's for sure ? and the football we play is now on a par if not worse than that provided by the Wally Smith sides. I know there will be calls that we had all the possesion second half and should have won. The fact is possesion is useless in the wrong hands ? or should I say at the wrong feet.

It was the 71st minute before the Villa keeper had to make a save. Last week at Fulham, it was the 80th. Is that really the sign of a team going places? I think not. That Derby victory in September seems like an age ago and I warned back then that the signs where there for all to see. I was ridiculed on this site for daring to question The People's Messiah and his methods. What do you say now that we are facing another traumatic season of failure?

Forget any thoughts of a top six finish and prepare your self for a relegation dogfight. It's not often I am proved wrong where Moyes is concerned and after today's pityful surrender, the alarm bells are well and truely ringing. Keep this manager much longer and I am afraid he will damage the club beyond repair.

It's that desperate at the minute, I would welcome back Old Spud Head Joe Royle with open arms. At least Joe would have a better game plan than 'let's just see what happens...'. Tonight is the night when I think all Evertonians should wake up to what's happening. Then, when you have done that, start worrying about our future.

MOYES OUT SHOULD BE THE CRY.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Lots of disciples have already lined up to hear the words of Marsh the Antichrist... and they were not disappointed. But youk now as well as I do, Tony: Moyes is going nowhere. — Michael

Still seventh!

Before it all kicks off, just remember we`re still seventh in spite of the dreadful luck of losing Tim early on. I didn`t go today as baby`s first birthday took precedence but commentary indicated we did by far the most attacking and JK, Cars and Beats all had terrible luck with finishing whereas they had one chance that went in!

Villa are on a roll and it's no disgace to lose at home for the first time of the season in November. We`re in good hands, so keep the faith!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (11/11/06)

Oopps, I was wrong! No sensible thoughts at all from our Number 1 Moyes Apologist! You really needed to have watched it, Richard. Every one of Carsley's chances were missed through utterly abysmal execution. What was he even doing in those positions? And who is JK? And do you really believe we will still be 7th tomorrow? — Michael

Sack Moyes Now

When Everton were beating Spurs and Liverpool, everyone gave Tony Marsh stick because he disappeared but now that the season has fallen to pieces nobody has heard a peep from Dutch.

What's the matter, Dutch, too afraid to admit you were wrong? Will we have to wait until the next Everton's next victory before Dutch comments again? Could be awhile.
Jessica Scott, Basildon  (11/11/06)

'Dutch' thinks we banned him because we asked him to use his real name. He doesn't want anyone and everyone ont'internet to know his real name, so he is no longer posting. I think he's probably glad to be honest, but I'm sure that, once the dust settles, more thoughtful minds will expressing their opinions, rather than responding to their gut reactions. I'm sorry, but it's just too easy to suddenly start calling for Moyes Out. It's unrealistic, for starters. — Michael

Time to look beyond Moyes

I have seen enough of this season, and seasons before, which tell me that we are done with Moyes. The only question for me now is when, not if we will replace Moyes. See in the summer for the Name the New Manger debate; pity we couldn't have a New Owner debate at the same time.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Same ol' same ol'

Watched the Villa game on video stream and it's the same ol' shite - HOOF BALL!!!

As soon as Cahill went off injured, you just knew that Villa would sneak this one. The midfield is pathetic. Osman, Carsley and Davies - ship em' out! Total rubbish. Neville just lumped ball in the boxes... why we have no big six-footers in the side! It was all so predictable!!!

God only help Moyes in the January transfer window. He needs half a dozen decent quality players!!
Kieran Dickson, London  (11/11/06)

Moyes

Enough is enough, DM has taken us far as he can, he is totally out of his depth in the Premiership, he is at best a mid-table manager which is not good enough for our great club. One win in 8 is relegation form, forget fighting for a European spot we will be fighting for our premiership survival at this rate.
MOYES OUT!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (11/11/06)

The knee-jerkers tend to respond quickest to these kinds of setbacks. However, I think it will be more interesting to see how some of the optimistic Moyes apologists respond. — Michael

Brain Storm

The match has just finished and I have been listening to it on the radio. I imagine it was as painful to watch as the Fulham second half and Arsenal on Wednesday night. The phone-in should be equally depressing now! The main thoughts which are rattling around my head right now are:

  • Starting with one striker upfront at home, when there are strikers chomping at the bit on the bench, is far too negative.
  • Why is it so agonising to watch us forge an attack?
  • Why do players constantly put their foot through the ball and launch it upfront to our feather-weight lone striker??
  • What exactly does Simon Davies do during a game?
  • We will never win a thing with Moyes, it makes me laugh these fans who talk about winning Carling and FA Cups.
I beleive Moyes is a good manager, but his limitations are there for all to see. I think he has taken us as far as he can.

Look at what Martin O'Neill has done at Villa with a washed-up squad. Couple of good signings, introduced a pacey young winger Ageyonboor and a good tactical nouse. I want the best for this club, nothing but the best, in fact. I will never settle for mediocrity. The search should be on for a manager who is capable of winning things, has won things and is willing to take over next season.
Robert Muldoon, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

As predicted...

This is really a repeat of a series of articles that I penned about 12 months ago. David Moyes is not the manager who will take Everton to glory, I am even more certain of this than a year ago. Evertonians should thank Moyes for pulling this once-great club out of the relegation zone and he should be congratulated for this. But under Moyes this year Everton will win once again absolutley nothing!

Basically Moyes is a manager who is lower Premiership/Championship competency and that is fine; if Evertonians are happy year-in, year-out winning nothing and stuggling to finish in the top half of the table, so be it. But if Everton are to improve, once again, Moyes must go ? and as far as I'm concerned, the sooner he goes the better.

I actually suggested Martin O'Neil a year ago and look what happened today. There will not be an improvement this season unless Moyes is sacked. Stop making excuses, Evertonians, for a manager who is incapable of winning anything!
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (11/11/06)

It's hard to argue against the clear evidence of the last 4? years, which show how difficult it will be for Moyes to win anything. But we would have to go on a really, really awful run for Bill to even think of sacking him.

What am I talking about? Bill will NEVER sack him. He has a job for life. — Michael

Get it sorted, please, someone

Once again, Moyes's start to the season gave new hope, even shut some people up, who called for his head. Well I'm sick of living off a few false dawns and a few good games. To be honest even when we win, we aren't that brilliant. I've now made up my mind: get us into Europe, Moyes? ? I don't care, I WANT YOU OUT AND THAT'S FINAL!

Even AJ is being dragged down to the unacceptable level that we have to put up with most games. Let's nip this in the butt now and make it known: enough is enough, regardless of beating Bolton next week. The future could be bright: it deffo isn't orange.
MOYSE OUT MOYSE OUT MOYSE OUT
Matty lneson, Bulford  (11/11/06)

Matty, you're in pain. Come back tomorrow, lad; you'll feel a lot better. ? Michael

Only the misfortune......

Only the misfortune of a collison between our two best players and some dreadful hard luck with our finishing robbed Everton of another home victory.

Bollocks, I know, but thought I`d save Daffy Dodd a job! Everton are going nowhere... but we must give the manager time, after all we did finish fourth... Fuck it, I`ve given up the will to live!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (11/11/06)

I know how you feel, Brian. I can't bring myself to even wail on them any more. They tried; that's the best we can expect. ? Michael

The end of the season already!

So there we have it. After a bright start to the season, we are back to the negative, dire brand of football that Moyes has branded as his own. We have little chance of getting into the top six, as our continuos fall down the table will show. The cups are a distant dream. What have we got to look forward to?

Moyes will continue to keep his job. Does he deserve to? No chance.

We are not Crewe, where survival is the be-all and end-all, and Dario Gradi is awarded accordingly. Yet the Championship manager who has fashioned a Championship team in his own image reamins in charge.

This reminds me of the dark days of Alan Biley, Alan Ainscow and Mick Ferguson. The players we have are mainly average to say the least. Johnson seems to have been sussed; Arteta is our only real creative element.

This is Moyes's team and they are not good enough. The performance of this season is a mirror image of last, and a mirror image of the yoyo seasons we have had under this miserable faker. Tony Marsh, give him credit, has long banged on about this. He is not up to the job but the only way we will get rid of him is if we get a new Director.

Ah well...we always have next year to look forward to!
Reginal Kavanagh, Cheshire  (11/11/06)

I'm worried that 2005 was a bad year, 2006 is supposed to be a good year (according to the stats last week). Maybe 2007, the next bad year in the yo-yo cycle, has arrived three months early! — Michael

Useless... I am ranting!

Absolutely useless across the park excluding Lescott, Arteta and Howard. Moyes is clueless (Beattie on the right #$%#!?!). Carsley is a disgrace to the blue shirt, Osman was anonymous....

Why oh why can we not pass the ball to feet? I have had it Moyes has to go, beaten by a depleted Villa ? a severely depleted Villa! 2 minutes left but what is the point? I wouldn't even be happy with 1-1.... disgrace, absolute disgrace. I give up, Moyes out!
Dick Bill, York  (11/11/06)

Calm down, will ya. It was the weather; no-one could play decent football in that. We were so confused we were tackling our own players and challenging eachother for the ball. Maybe it's a new Moyes instruction to challenge for every ball. — Michael

Carsley's Challenge

Wow, what a terrible challenge by Carsley, Cahill's leg buckled in a way it really shouldn't, it looks horrible on TV... not good, not good at all.
Dick Bill, York  (11/11/06)

Filling in the gaps for Michael

Michael, I am surprised that you appear to be completely flummoxed by a phrase such as 'the Fourth Estate' and as a result start rambling about the Meldrew tendency and the clutz of gunsels. No wonder you admit to being confused!

The Fourth Estate (first coined by Edmund Burke 1729-1797) refers to the media, press and journalists. In an English Football context, the Fourth Estate consists of mainly Liverpool and Manchester United supporters masquerading as 'television experts' and newspaper hacks. Their agenda is obvious to all who read newspapers and watch sportscasts. It is the support of the satus quo where the chosen three and, to some extent, the new rich kids on the block are promoted and protected whilst the other Premiership teams are largely ignored.

Poll is more than incompetent, I consider him to be suspect. You quote his favouring Spurs ahead of Chelsea in a recent match as proof that he is not a lackey of the G14(18) Clubs. Why? Chelsea are not members of G14(18); that privilege(?) belongs to Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Perhaps, in the fullness of time, Chelsea will be inducted into the brotherhood. However, Abramovich may find that there is a snobbishness associated with the current membership that might look down on 'new money'.

Poll has made his way up the greasy pole in his career with the decisions that he makes in games that involve a G14(18) Club playing against a non-G14(18) Club: Everton v Liverpool, Everton v Arsenal, etc. You would be surprised how often this 3-card clown is involved in such games. Obviously he has other games involving two G14(18) teams and games between two non-G14(18)teams. In such games he reverts to just being incompetent.

Finally, I am sorry if my postings sometimes contain references to length of time served. It is not intended as a put-down to more recent supporters whose views are just as valid (but no more) than mine (or those of my brother 6,000 miles away).
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

I was just puzzled by the anachronism that Edmund Burke was referring to red journos, and the rather lame cry of journalistic bias against the also-rans. I think if you look back over the years, the good teams always got the best press. I don't think that's a conspiracy, to be honest. But giant-killers always get the best press of all. Not sure how that hangs with your Fourth Estate... ? Michael

RE: Managers For Hire

Looking at your list there got me thinking.. Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho ? playing careers? Well I know Jose hadn't had one of any note but did a check on Ars?ne: one season at Strasbourg all the rest of his days were amateur.

Then I thought about that bloke across the park there. Spent seven years as a player at Real Madrid... Shame though, he never made the first team; spent the rest of his days in the lower leagues. Now the one manager out of the Premierships "Big Four" to have any career of any note was Sir Alex Ferguson. And even his ain't exactly anything to write home about..

So what is this obbsession about managers with careers in top level playing football? Marcello Lippi, another top level coach with no playing career of note ? I am sure there are many more.

If you were after managers with Everton playing experience, then I would agree that adds to the attraction of the manager. But as for top-level playing experience elsewhere, I don't see the relevance as far being a manager is concerned.

Also, Souness, Daglish, Gullit ? all given bags of money at Newcastle and wasted it, there are other obvious comebacks. Taylor? You are having a joke? What is his Prem record? I seem to remember a relegation gets in there.

Anyway, sort of going off point, which is playing career means sod all. Jol has had plenty of money to play with at Spurs and half the players he signs disappear within a year. To be fair, Moyes stands up to all those you mention in my opinion with the exception of Vialli. Ok maybe also Venables but I just don't like the guy.

This is all hypthetical, and I apologise to Michael: this will be my last word on this section, though at the start in my defence all I wanted to know is who was there to take us up a gear. Now I have seen the list, I think I may give Moyes until end of next season as well...

Anyway, see how we do against that other manager Bill should have signed today. My hope is for a home win and a hopeful end to the manager berrating for at least a couple of days.
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (11/11/06)

Hmmm... seems that "other manager" had the measure of our Davie. Let the berrating recommence. — Michael

Changing Managers

Just a quick response to Tony Marsh's article titled Manager for Hire. I have a couple of points to make in relation to changing the manager.

Firstly, how it should be done depends a lot on the conduct of the outgoing manager. Obviously, results dictate when he should get the sack. The nature of it depends on his behaviour within the club, in front of the media, and whether or not his general behaviour has tarnished or enhanced the reputation of the club. In my view, David Moyes has carried himself very well and it seems to be a very important aspect of the job to him. As a result, sacking him in the car pack on a Monday morning while wheeling in his unannounced replacement would be in the worst of taste.

Secondly, it is easy to list off a bunch of replacements when you are in no rush or dire need to replace your manager. Timing is everything with something like this. If you sack your manager at the end of May, you can just size things up, see who's available, who you can afford, and then go for it. In terms of big names, this is easier said than done though, as you can't really see Capello leaving Real for us so sometimes you do have to adjust your sights.

If you sack your manager midseason though, especially because of something like an atroucious run of results, you sometimes just end up with a stop-gap whocan just push things back even further.

The morale here is, folks, David Moyes is not to everyone's taste right now, especially as he's into his fifth season, but just be careful what you wish for...
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (11/11/06)

Out of the Box

Gareth, I love the way you excuse yourself from one sweeping statement ("it's beyond contention that Scotland produce no decent players whatsoever") with another: " I would never adopt the arrogant English mentality which looks down on our Celtic cousins". Priceless.

Especially when, re-reading your posting, looking down on Scottish talent is exactly what you do. Remember writing that the term 'promising young Scottish players' is "surely a contradiction in itself"?

Now I'm not arguing with you about what Scottish talent is currently on offer because I think in general we'd agree that it's not vintage. What I dislike is the very broad brushstrokes you use about Scots in general ? epitomised by the comment about chips on shoulders. You're not looking down on them are you? Just a little bit maybe...

While there are sour Scotsmen and there are self-satisfied Englishmen, to group them all together as national characteristics is plain lazy. Having said all that I'm not accusing you of racism. I just don't think you're all that clever.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (11/11/06)

Re: Managers for hire

In response to Tony Marsh's letter I would like to say the following:

I'm also not a fan of David Moyes as Everton have too many Scottish players and staff who, to my mind, can't teach the side any football. The way Everton have played for the last 10-15 years (except Kanchelskis) has been very poor indeed. No structure, no build-up play, no passing etc etc.

You wish to have Ruud Gullit as our future manager? The guy was a great footballer but a total fuck up at Newcastle and Feyenoord as a manager. He's too lazy and naive. There's only one manager (who's actually free at the moment) who will get Everton back on track and that's Co Adriaanse.

He brought small clubs in Holland to Champions League (Willem II) and Uefa Cup (AZ). Then he made Porto champions and Cup Winners in Portugal and was later sacked for very dubious reasons. He can teach the side how to pass the ball, use more ATTACKING FOOTBALL and has an eye for "cheap talent" in the transfer market. And no, this is not Football Manager 2007!!
Ralph Wetzels, Voerendaal, Holland  (11/11/06)

Who???

Filling in the gaps for Michael

Michael, I am forced to reply by your rambling and ignorant response to my last post. The Fourth Estate (first coined by Edmund Burke) refers to the media, press and journalists.... nothing at all to do with Victor Meldrew. In this country, the Fourth Estate comprises of mainly Liverpool or Manchester United supporters posing as media types and sports journalists.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Hahahaha. And the conspiracy continues... — Michael

Not make or break for Moyes

So this season is make or break for Moyes and Everton are only 2-3 players from a good team? What absolute bollocks! Surely EVERYONE must realise that, even if we were to be relegated, the love-in between Billy Liar and his managerial hero would ensure that the Scot `would get the opportunity to restore our Premiership place`.

As far as the strength of the team is concerned, we shall always be those 2-3 players short whoever we sign ? that`s football, not just Everton. Let`s face it, if we beat the Villa, everything in the garden will be lovely and if we lose we can always blame the referee!
Andy Robinson, Holywell  (11/11/06)

Er... don't think we can after today's distinct lack of ruthless finishing... but we can always blame the weather! — Michael

Mid-table Moyesie

After losing yet again in the early rounds of another cup competition and seeing us slide down the table after a good start, I am now of firm belief that we will never win anything with Moyes and the best we can hope for is a mid-table finish ? maybe 7th if we have a good run!

Does anyone who watches the Blues really believe anything different? We are totally mediocre and crap to watch. But hey, at least we're not as bad as we were when Wally was in charge!!! Moyes out, I'm sick of him.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (11/11/06)

Managers For Hire

With all this recent talk of "If we sack Moyes, who would we get as a manager?" ... it started me thinking. How many managers are there who are not with a club at present but have manaaged in the Premier League before? Now I am not saying any of these names should be our new nanager or anything silly like that. I am just trying to prove a point:

  • Kenny Dalglish
  • Ruud Gullit
  • Luca Vialli
  • Kevin Keegan
  • Terry Venables
  • Graham Souness
  • Graham Taylor
All of the above have had more success as a manager than Moyes and all bar Taylor a far more distinguished playing career. Now that's just off the top of my head while I am bored sitting here, so how many more must there be in the whole of Europe? How many Dutch, German or Italians must ther be ready to get back to work or willing to come to an English sleeping giant?

Who had ever heard of Martin Jol two years ago? And he is doing a far better job than Deadly Dave is. I know it's silly to talk about a Moyes replacement when he is not going anywhere. It is also as equally silly to say there is no one else for the job. Everton FC will one day find a new manager from somewhere ? unless BK means what he says and Moyes does a Fergie.

Fuck me: 20 years of Moyes! ... Quick, love ? pass the Brandy!!!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Mr Poll and Wednesday!

I'd been looking forward to the game against Arsenal since the draw was made and this Wednesday couldn't come quick enough. I'm a natural pessimist but I honestly thought we would beat Aresnal. I still think, for all the young gunner's fluent football, if it had been 11 v 11, we would be in the next round.

That brings me onto to Mr P! Ultimately refs are human beings and shouldnt be spoken to like animals; however, how could Mr Poll not have sent off an 18 year old Wayne Rooney in last season's Arsenal v Man Utd game when he was squared up to him and said the 'F' word around 20 times in 15 seconds!!!

I'm not making excuses for McFadden but it appears our club does suffer from serial bad luck! I hope Mr Poll has set a precendent and applies some consistency to his future refereeing... but I somehow doubt it very much.
Si Mar, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Re; Being Forced Out Of Love

Excellent article and one that I can totally sympathise with. (I'm not at the stage where I'm totally disillusioned with the game, but then I don't get a chance to get to many away games!)

Nowadays, the first thing I tend to look at in the paper on Saturday is not the team news, but who the referee is! If it's someone like Poll or Old Mother Riley, then I automatically think that we're going to get nothing out of the game!

With reference to Poll, I was amazed that after the World Cup, that the FA did not drop him like a hot potato into the Championship. After all, he had shown someone three yellow cards in the same match before he decided to send them off, a similar offence to the one committed by Andy D'Urso a few years back. (Who if I remember correctly failed to send someone off after the second yellow in the Southampton vs Blackburn game(?). The FA suspended him then decided to drop him to a lower league for a year or so ? and this was only at Premier League level and not at the greatest tournament in the world where he was suppose to be the best referee we have!!)

Further, I must admit that I didn't realise that Graham Poll was such a sensitive soul, for I can also remember a game between Aresnal vs Man Utd, where a certain footballer was caught by Sky camereas continuously swearing at him for nearly a minute for making what the player thought was a wrong decision! I fully expected this player to be yellow carded, which would have been his second and then sent off; however, our Graham took this foul and abusive language in his stride and did absolutely nothing!! Maybe I'm showing my prejuidice here, but I sat there thinking that if the player concerned had been wearing blue, then the second yellow would have been a formality.

Yesterday, I ventured onto the BBC website and one of the common themes that many blues and fans from other clubs wanted arising from what happened on Wednesday was consistency. Most of us will probably put up with poor refereeing if we believed that everyone else was subject to the same standards, yet it is clear from what we see on MoTD and Sky that this is not the case with a certain few clubs appearing to be favoured with decisions, just look at the penalties given/not awarded last weekend as an example - AJ vs Fulham and WR vs Pompey. I'm sure that there are many others out there who could cite other examples.

To end on a slightly nostalgic note, I recently took the opportunity to watch the Everton vs Leeds game from '73(?) on ESPN classic, this has good memories for me as it was one of the first games I went to and it was the season that I started going to the game on a regular basis. I believe that the referee that day was someone called Roger Kirkpatrick and the only thing I remember about him was that he was going bald and had muttonchops (ask yer dads, you young un's!!). If you get a chance to see the game again just see how many times his name crops up in the commentary and then consider how one of today's well-paid professionals would have handled the game!!
Liam Taubman, Isle of Man  (11/11/06)

Defintion of Make or Break?

First of all, I think everyone agrees that under Moyes, progress has been made and Moyes should be given credit for this. We have now have an average 10th-place finish, twice in the top 7th. So, basically Moyes have succeeded in steadying the ship, turning us into a mid-table club from a club fighting for relegation.

But, like everyone has said, this season is make or break for Moyes. He has his players, he's been here for already 4? years, and he has had some (if not much) kind of finicial backing. So, the question is, what defines make or break? What is considered good enough this season? Top 4? Top 6? FA Cup Final?

Personaly, I beleive we are still 2-3 players away from a very good squad. I'm happy to endure another season of 'transition', as long as we finish in the top 10.

Secondly, people on the mailbag have started comparing our squad with Arsenal's in terms of cost. Please, don't compare use with Arsenal. If there is one team that we should never compare Everton with, it is Arsenal.

Class players were signed cheaply while tehy were young like Febgregas, Viera, Clichy, Sanderos, Kolo Toure, Eboue, Aliedeare. They were all signed for under ?3M each. When you considere that, you know Arsenal's squad is incomparable.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (11/10/06)

First off, I just can't see Moyes and his brand of negativity (especially going into winnable cup-ties) ever getting us anywhere in a cup competition, so let's forget all about that while he's here.

Top 10 would be one place higher than last season: hardly Make or Break? I want to see us finish in the top six this season. The players say (just today!) they can do it, so that'll work for me.

Now, as to your second point... what a load of absloute nonsense! Firstly, go back and read the comparisons. Everton were being compared to Arsenal Reserves! That one went right over your head, eh?

But why shouldn't we be compared with Arsenal? They, like Everton, have spent most of their existence in the top flight, with periods of greatness in the past and a long history of admirable tradition. Just prior to the day Sky invented football, Arsenal and Everton were viewed as very comparable clubs.

You say Wenger has snapped up good young players on the cheap... isn't that exactly what Moyes has been trying to do? The difference seems to be that Wenger's young wonders are playing for his reserves, whereas ours form the foundation of our first team. Which ? hey presto! ? brings us right back to the original comparison!!! — Michael

Arsenal's yoof!!!

It may seem a little churlish, but one point about the Arsenal 'Youth Team' put out against us the other night; yes, they were very impressive ? they generally are from Mr Wenger. But why bring up what they cost?? Arsenal are notorious for harvesting young talent by hook or by crook.

Just because Wenger managed to get the players before they cost 'real money' by underhand tactics, doesn't mean he has done such a wonderful job does it? Or maybe it does.... hmmm.
John Prior, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Selling our soul ? a response

It's very difficult to contemplate leaving Old Lady Goodison. I have much empathy with Craig's eloquent words. I chose the word empathy rather than sympathy with great care. Less than a day ago, I wrote about taking youngsters to Goodison Park for the first time. It's a wonderful place to enjoy the fortunes of Everton Football Club.

The football world has changed massively; unless we change to put ourselves in a position to compete ? the rich will get richer and we will become a much smaller entity than we are now. I would love a rich investor to come in and save us from a ground move, but the way the money works, we have no chance of it. A deluded dream of what should be but won't be.

So, in short, I don't want to be an Evertonian too immersed in the past to not want the right thing for the future of Everton. We want Everton to win again and the odds are seriously stacked against us. We need to change that.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (10/11/06)

McFadden

About the arguement saying Cheat or Shite. If he called Poll "shite" it wouldn't have sounded like "sheet", not if he's Scotch it doesn't. He could have said "That decision was "KEEK" which is Shite in Glaswegian. Perhaps therin lies the misapprehension of it all. Rab C Nesbitt used the expresssion all the time. I'm no a Glaswegian, by the way, Jimmy!
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Refurbish, don't rebuild

I write this as an outsider and as a relatively recent Evertonian (2003-04 season ? no glory hunter me). I chose Everton for its history. I chose Everton for the pride in that history. Don't let an essential part of that history be lost

I am an American who grew up 45 miles from Green Bay. For those who don't follow American Football, the Green Bay Packers are a team that comes from a town of 260,000 people and compete, favorably many years, with teams from multi-million person cities. And we never have an open seat in our stadium. Lambeau Field is one of the hallowed grounds of American sport.

A few years back, the organization realized that they needed to modernize and improve the facilities. The same decision was facing Green Bay as is currently facing the Toffees. The result: refurbishment. And there cold have been no other decision that fit the club. A team that is built on history ? that has supporters drawn to it based on that history ? needs to respect that history.

These are all business decisions, I understand that. But any business has to play to its strongest parts. For the Blues to try to take on the exact same business model as Arsenal, Man Utd, etc would start a slide that would be sad at best, bordering on evil.

I was compelled to write this after reading Craig Heywood's piece "Selling Our Soul." I cannot claim to have first-hand knowledge of what he said about Goodison. Someday, and someday soon, I will make my pilgrimage to that holy ground. The symmetry between what he writes and my feeling every time I turn the corner onto Lombardi Avenue and see the dark green steel work(classic Lambeau) and the brick atrium (part of the refurb) is perfect, however. We have the old and the new.

It was a hassle for a few years and I am sure that a fully new stadium would have been much nicer. It would never have been better. For other clubs it would have been the right choice. Go glitzy. Go flashy. Give your fans individual cupholders at every seat. Give them an entertainment complex so they have something to do if the game is not going as well as they had hoped. Put a roof over their head. Tear it down in fifteen years and do the same thing again.

Not in Green Bay; Not at Everton.
Matt Malecki, Seattle, USA  (10/11/06)

I have to say that it was in Seattle where I saw the ugliest most abominable sports stadium imaginable ? the hideous concrete monstrosity known as the Kingdome

Thank god they finally had the sense to blow the thing to smitherines or should that be Kingdom(e) Come! ? I just love this video!!! ? Michael

Anichebe, Anichebe, Anichebe

While I agree with everyone who states that Anichebe should be given more than the odd minute at the end of a game to state his claim for a first team place (after all, he can't do much worse than Beattie at the moment!), I do find it astonishing that some fans see him as the cure to all our current problems. Yes, he's strong and fast and is no doubt a great potential, but, hey, that's all he is at the moment ? potential.

I agree with the person yesterday who pointed out that Everton fans are only too quick to hurl abuse and an under-performing player, so if he doesn't do as well as might be expected, he'll no doubt be no different.

That isn't to say don't give him every opportunity but, fellow blues, don't build this guy up into something he isn't yet. He's got a long way to go yet to convince me. Everton's history is littered with Branches, Jevonses, Cadermateri's, Wakenshaws and Chadwicks. And remember how some saw Andy van der Meyde as some sort of saviour and immediately placed him on a pedestal? Well, that didn't happen either.

Apart from introducing him too late into matches, taking the wider picture, I suspect Moyes knows what he's doing in terms of safeguarding Victor's longer term future. But if he starts tomorrow and scores a hat-trick, I will, of course, take it all back!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (10/11/06)

Michael ? out of order

I must admit to a degree of disappointment at Michael's response to the posting by my brother (Terence Finnigan) regarding the regular poor standards displayed by Poll in Everton matches.

Instead of considering the content, Michael seems to be more concerned about the address of the contributor. I can assure you Michael that the letter writer has a longer involvement with Everton than yourself and has undoubtedly seen more live matches involving the Blues than many other writers on this site.

If you have to comment, make sure that it alludes to the content of the posting and please try to understand that people living in the USA now are not some sub-species who understand only Baseball and American Football.

I endorse what my brother said... Poll has consistently cheated Everton. Unless the authorities seek to treat all Clubs in a more even-handed way then we might as well pack in the game and let it be ruined further by Sky, the G14(18) Clubs, and the hacks and lackeys (such as Poll) who are determined to preserve the closed shop.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Always sorry to disappoint, Brian. And I foolishly forgot the golden rule that opinions expressed must be backed by the the length of ones's involvement with Everton... How long of you been reading the mailbag?!? <

But seriously, back to the original content: I was offering throwball as an alternative to the real thing, in the event that your brother was serious about giving up following the game. I had no idea that people living in the USA could even be considered as some sub-species who understand only Baseball and American Football... Hmmm... Now you've got me wondering...

But that aside, I didn't think much of the original comment to be brutally honest. Poll is imcompetent, but a biased lackey of the G14/18 clubs who has consistently cheated Everton? Yes, it feels like that, but I don't think you'd get very far prosecuting that particular case, no matter how many live Everton games you have watched. Because you'd have plenty of fans from other clubs citing how he has also cheated them as well. He cheated Chelsea in favour of Spurs... how does that fit in exactly? I guess they're not part of the G14... Who's in this Fourth Estate by the way? Does that include the Meldrew Tendency and the clutz of gunsels? Now I'm getting very confused.

Poll is a poor referee for the true fans of the game, I don't have any arguement with that. A lackey of the FA ? definitely (not quite sure what their agenda is though, other than total incompetence of their own...). But beyond that, I doubt it somehow. — Michael

Response to

For what its worth, I too sit in the Lower Bullens, and a few weeks ago returned the favour of a friend of mine who is a Man City fan by taking him to see the game at Goodison (using my son's seat for the day). As he had taken me to the impressive Eastlands stadium, I was a bit wary as to how he would react to the slightly lower standard of facilty at Goodison.

Parts of the "facilities" underneath the Bullens stand look like they come from the stone age, and once you have got used to a ground with no pillars, getting used to missing chunks of the action because of a big white thing in your way must be pretty hard ? or so you would think. (This was reinforced the other night when James McFadden ran into the post on one side waving his arms around, only to come out of it the other side with a red card).

However, my City friend said that he loved our ground: the closeness of it all, the wooden seats, the oldness of it compared to the concrete space of Eastlands, the rows of houses straight outside the gound (like Maine Road used to be), the community, the close layout of it all that lets the special rumbling atmosphere build up so easily, the way we are all crammed in beacause the seats weren't designed for over-fed 21st Century Chang-and-a-pie eaters. He said it was like football used to be before it slipped out of our hands.

So whilst a shiny new ground would give us plenty of improvements, and makes sense on a lot of levels, Craig is right that we have an awful lot to loose, too. I like my wooden seat. I like the roads around the ground I like the atmosphere. I like the stone age when it involves Cahill/Arteta/Osman. I like Goodison.

And so did my City friend, who managed to keep quiet all the way through, applauded Johnson's goal, and came out with a beaming smile on his face after that bloody great white post had put through the cross that Richards scored from.

So I am not ashamed of Goodison at all. As more and more shiny plastic/concrete architects wet dreams are built around the country, perhaps a place like Goodison becomes even more special.


Tim Kelly, Salford  (12/11/06)

I have no problem with Scots

Can someone please put Simon Amble and Ross Trotter back in their box? I have no problem either with Scottish players or Scottish people. As a second-generation Welshman, I would never adopt the arrogant English mentality which looks down on our Celtic cousins. However, I still maintain the view that there are currently NO top-class Scottish footballers playing in England or Scotland. Even Wales have Bellamy and Giggs who are close to being world-class players.

If Ross and Simon want to question my judgement of Scottish footballing talent, that's fair enough, (tho I notice they didn't offer up any names of players who feel are top-notch) but the sinister suggestion that I am being somehow racist against Scots is plain wrong.

Infact it will only reinforce the view of many that Scotsmen like Ross have an enormous chip on their shoulder.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Uhoh... you were doing okay until that last line! ? Michael

Referees!!!

In support of the article written by Stephen Hale, I agree entirely. The quality of refereeing in this country is a disgrace. Every single week, referees cost teams points with bad decisions. The consequences of such decisions are much more serious ? they in turn possibly lead to moving down the table by a couple of places (possibly even relegation) which leads to less money from The FA for the following season.

A bit over the top some of you might ask? Think Westerveld kicking the ball against Hutchinson a few years ago, 2 points dropped, 3 places dropped, ?600k lost!! The theory of decisions evening themselves out over a season is absolutely not true. Does a team get 20 decisions in their favour and 20 against them? Of course not. Managers lose their jobs ultimately so why can referees also not be fired?

Nothing will change, but as Stephen says, it is absolutely ruining our game.
Andrew Clark, Liverpool  (11/11/06)

Requiem for Goodison Park

As one who has penned a word or two in my time (and occasionally got paid for it!) I take my hat off to Craig Heyward, whose piece on Goodison encapsulates all I feel about this grand home of ours.

Like you, Michael, I feel a move to the suburbs is already a done deal and although that alone will not dent my enthusiasm for Everton, I have already come to a life-changing decision. If, and when, the move takes place it will mark the end of my time as a compulsive attender. For five years now my doctor has been suggesting that the 500 miles round trip (sometimes twice in a week) is ludicrous for a pensioner to feel obliged to do and I guess the move from Goodison may be the catalyst for my agreeing with him.

You see, like Craig, these days I`m more in love with The Old Lady than with the team and if she closes her doors to me, I shall see it as yet another stage in the ageing process and just stay home and watch TV!
David Hall, Taunton  (10/11/06)

David, is there any way we cold possibly induce you (with the promise of millions?) to pen your memoirs for the posterity of your fellow Evertonians? I feel you have plenty of fine tales you could tell us... — Michael

McFadden's red card should have been yellow

Under Law 12 it states:

Sending-Off Offences

A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences:

1) is guilty of serious foul play
2) is guilty of violent conduct
3) spits at an opponent or any other person
4) denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious
goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
5) denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player?s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
6) uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
7) receives a second caution in the same match
I am asuming Poll sent off McFadden for number 6).

If McFadden's assertion is correct and he said 'That was fcuking sheet' (shit), then his comment was aimed at Poll's decision, not him personally. For his comment to be insulting, offensive or abusive then it needs to be aimed directly at an individual, in this case Poll.

If Poll's ears didn't decieve him and McFadden did call him a 'fucking cheat' then that would be deemed as offensive and a red card would then be appropriate. For just foul language, that isn't abusive, insulting or offensive then a yellow card should have been given and not red.

I think it is worth an appeal, especially if one of McFadden's team mates was in ear shot. Was Cahill a witness?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/11/06)

Time to move on!

Can we please stop mithering about last Wednesday and who might or might not have said effing this or effing that! Whatever the FA do or don`t do to McFadden and Poll, we`re out of the Carling Cup ? it`s over, finished for another year ? so for Christ`s sake let's move on!

Last year we wasted half the bloody season going on about our ill-fortune at the hands of Collina and by Chrismas we were at the arse-end of the table. For me, the important game is the next one against the Villa. Win that and we`re back on track, lose it and we shall all start to doubt if we can maintain our hoped for high table status.

Having said that, a bookie friend tells me most of the local money is going on a draw and for me that`s indicative of another midway position at the end of the season. But whatever the result, it will have eff-all to do with Graham Poll and, I do so hope, McFadden. He`s just effing sheet!
Will Downing, Kennessee Green  (10/11/06)

The Price of Arsenal Reserves

Can anyone work out how much the Arsenal starting eleven the other night cost to assemble? The point being that there is a chance that that the slick, pacy, skillful side which played football on the floor actually cost less than ours.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Somebody claimed that already... "minus Walcott". Er, which seems to kind of negate the whole stunning idea somewhat, don't you think? ? Minus

EvertonTV

Thanks for the suggestion, for some reason that didn't even cross my mind, though previous flirtations with products on the Everton website haven't been great, hardly ever check the official site anymore to be honest. Have they finally managed to deliver a decent product?
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (10/11/06)

I think it's fair to say that those who have availed of the service have found it to be value for money. The cynic says it's not often you can say that about most things Everton related, but in this case it's cap doffed! ? Colm

RE: It Was A Red Card

If every player was red-carded for swearing at a ref, each team would have at least 5 players sent off every match (match abandoned). You see it all the time in matches ? it's just this time it hit a raw nerve with Poll. All we ask is consistency amongst referees but this seems far to much for these vermin low life.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (10/11/06)

Nothing wrong.....

Nothing wrong at Everton that a good ref couldn`t fix. Bright young manager learning all the time. Chairman in total control and happy to stand by aforementioned manager till the end of time. Most energetic and gymnastic striker in history.

Great crop of young attacking players who should be ready for Premier action by 2010. Patient crowd, honing their coin throwing skills with every game ? home and away. Bright prospects of a new stadium miles away from scruffy old Liverpool. So much to be grateful for. Thank God I`m an Evertonian!
Alsante Lashley, Fazakerley  (10/11/06)

Always were an optimistic lot out in Fazak when I lived there!!! ? Colm

Highlights/Goals

Just wondering if anyone knew of anywhere on the internet where you can watch highlights/goals of Everton games this season for free?

Have tried youtube but its a bit hit and miss
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (10/11/06)

What's wrong with subscribing to evertonTV? It doesn't cost an arm and a leg and I'd wager it provides you with all you seek. ? Colm

January window

There's been a lot said about David Moyes's signings over the last couple of seasons. Some he's bought cheaply and they've worked. Some he's spent big for and they've bombed. While we can be thankful that we're no longer the Premiership's answer to Crewe, selling just to survive, money that the club has worked so hard to generate has not always been spent on players as hoped. While I appreciate that even Alex Ferguson gets it wrong, Utd plc doesn't feel the loss of ?3M on a player as much as we do.

This summer's purchases, while few in number, have been fairly successful though and I can't complain too much. But my main concern at the moment is the transfer window in January. We badly need a midfielder who can run with the ball and dominate proceedings (what happened to the first refusal option on Gravesen by the way?), a decent winger wouldn't go astray, and a second senior striker maybe. This summer's transfers would seem to have emptied the pot though and in order to generate the cash for players we are going to have to trim the current squad.

Problem is, how are we going to do this? James Beattie has been linked with Boro, which might raise maybe ?3M. Simon Davies if any takers, may raise ?1M or ?2M. McFadden and Naysmith, ?13 or ?4M between them, again if there's any takers. That leaves us with ?9M at best and if the Board of Directors can come up with a couple of million we might, have ?10M to spend.

Now you might think that this is huge money for Everton but it is the best case scenario for a start. Secondly, how many quality midfielders are available that are in our price bracket? And thirdly, given our current sole tactic being give the ball to AJ, what cteative midfielder would want to come to Everton.

So again, unfortunately, Everton fans are left approaching a transfer window with their eyes closed and fingers crossed. More hits than misses David please.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (10/11/06)

Deep down you're asking the Board to find investment when the reality, as witnessed the other week, is that "they" were more keen on securing a buyer for the Gregg shareholding. Moyes, hand tied behind his back or not, cannot create this team we all crave without genuine investment coming in on top of the necessary wheeling and dealing we're due to see come January. ? Colm

I heard that.....pardon?

As my late father was an active qualified referee, I used to get tips off him all the time on good refereeing habits. He always used assert that the game of football was what it was all about and would only resort to sending off a player as a final act.

When he was bad mouthed by a player during a game he would always act like he had mis-heard what the player had said, and would say 'Pardon?'. That would then give the player an opportunity to retract what he had said.

If Graham Poll had given McFadden the chance to retract or appologise then things may have turned out differently. He even may have heard what McFadden had really said, rather that what he thought he had said. Players often say things in the heat of the moment and nearly always appologise after the event.

Watching the TV replays, Mr Poll never even offered McFadden the chance to retract or repeat what he had said, he instantly brandished the red card, almost like he was just waiting for the first opportunity to do just that.

If Mr Poll had any interest what so ever in having a fair game of football, then he would have given McFadden the chance to repeat or retract what he had said. Instead he ruined the game by brandishing a red card so quick, he has made me me question his real motive behind that action ? ie, is his own reputation more important than the game he was refereeing?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/11/06)

Likeable fella this Mr Poll (Tring).... ? Colm

AJ

Iain Dowie has just gone up in my estimation. The hyperactive engineer (who is looking likely to be first in the sack race) has had the bottle to say what Moyes should have been saying on Wednesday night (and since). Dowie is right to call it a 'witch hunt'. There is now serial evidence stacking up that refereees are treating incidents involving AJ differently than they would other players; especially (as Dowie says) 'those from foreign climes'.

On a similar theme, the Palace Chairman has come out in defence of AJ too, with the classic line that, the only diving from AJ is 'on top of his wife'

The sooner our Club starts sticking up for our players instead of leaving it to Simon Jordan and Dowie, the better off we will be. If shitehawks like Wenger, Warnock and Coleman can stick the knife in and get away with it, we need to fight back and stick the resulting fines where the sun don't shine.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (10/11/06)

Cue AJ taking a dive when we play Charlton to earn the wrath of Dowie! ? Colm

Focus on the present

I think Michael is right - we should stop living in the past, stop speculating on what may or may not happen in the future and focus on the current state of Everton.

We are 7th in the league, only 2 points away from a champions league spot and have the 2nd and 4th top goalscorers in the league. Could be a lot worse couldn't it?
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (10/11/06)

But I'm with David Moyes on this. He said it could have been a lot better. He says we've dropped points. He says we've missed chances. He says there are games we should have won that we didn't. BUt you're right: they are also in the past now... — Michael

Moyes

Sorry I cant find that 'letter of the month, week, year' ... the one that goes on about Moyeses clear limitations and massive over-emphasis on workrate, workrate, workrate. Anyway it was bang on and everybody that checks in on this site should read it and think.

I'd make a link but I'm a technophobe and can't... but its reasoned, slightly unemotional and smashes the nail on the head. Let's pray that our next manager recognises skill and ability more than a workman's sweat.. its our only hope.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (10/11/06)

This one. (FIle may take a miniute or two to load...) ? Michael

Everton Crest - Hi Res Mono needed!

Does anyone have a high-res, preferably black and white, file of the Everton Crest and motto. A mate works with a killer laser machine, and is going to engrave a wafer and get it framed for me!

If anyone does, please contact Toffeeweb for my email. Thanks guys/girls.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (10/11/06)

I think the "Brand Control Department" at the club might have something to say about that, Matt! — Michael

Taking responsibility

"Winners take Responsibility, Losers Place the Blame" ? so said my ol' boss, a good ol' boy from Hot Springs, Arkansas, who wouldn't have known Graham Poll from Pol Pot. No matter, he's right ? the preening, primping Poll and his ridiculous decisions would be of no consequence if any one of several Everton players had have stepped up, been clinical and responsible and had put away any number of gilt-edged changes. The culprits were as decent a batch of players as we have had at Goodison in many a long while ? Arteta, Johnson, Cahill, Yobo, Lescott ? all missed chances to put this away.

One would think at a club which has raised the cult of the center-forward to practically god-like status (sometimes I think we are just waiting for someone to come along, pull the sword from the stone and score 60 league goals in a season as if by right) we would have absorbed that lesson by now. Put the ball in the effing net.

And, irony of ironies, we were beaten late, by a soft goal from a team supposedly more concerned with the style of it's play than the end result of their movements.

So be utterly clear here: it wasn't the ridiculous troll Poll nor the mythical non-qualities of Scottish footballers that were the cause of this defeat; it was that Everton did not step up and win this game when the opportunities were presented to them.
Paul Daly, Dublin & New York  (10/11/06)

Wow! Harsh... but tough and largely true, I suspect. We need to be so much more ruthless and determined... ? Michael

Re: Cut The Coin Crap

Referring to Martin Wallace's letter of yesterday, and the 'donations' he and a fellow fan received, can I ask that he reports this to Everton Football Club? And indeed any of you who witness, do likewise? If the club begin to realise the scale of the problem, they might actually act.

With the two-tier heirarchy of teams in the Premiership these days, I wouldn't be surprised to see teams like us get stiffed for such actions. If it happens at one of the 'big 4' then it's just one of those things. A couple of points deducted or banning of fans could make a hell of a difference to our season.

We went through this shite in the 70's and 80's, and not just in football. Seems it's coming back.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (10/11/06)

Poll (dancer)

I'd like to think that football fans, Evertonians in particular, are fair minded on the whole. I think most people yesterday thought McFadden an idiot for getting sent off. Ok, he's not the first player to swear at the ref and won't be the last but unlucky to be sent off? I don't know. After all he did own up to swearing at Poll, that's the law in football.

The media seem to think that we (Evertonians) were complaining about that incident. I'm not; what I'm complaining about is the penalty shout before that and all the other inconsistancies and incompetencies in that match. The worst being the save from Poom at the death which was given as a goal kick!!!

Most people who watch football want one thing from referees, CONSISTENCY. Wha'ts good for one team is good for everybody else. When I found out it was Poll officiating last night I just knew. World Cup ref and he fucked it up indeed.
Paul Melia, Liverpool  (10/11/06)

Oh Davey Moyes

To all the people saying Moyes should go, get a grip will you. Ok, so he is at times too conservative with his tactics and substitutions but ask yourself this: who is the alternative? The answer (leaving out all those unrealistic names that people will throw in) is no-one. Like it or not, Moyes is here for the duration so learn to deal with it.

I'd argue that we have made progress since he arrived. We have finished in the top half of the Premier League twice. Name the other times we've managed this please?

  • We have a better squad now than we've had in a long time ? remember Walter's teams with 5 or 6 centre-halfs on the pitch?
  • We have one of the best goal-scoring midfielders in the country, a player Moyes signed from the lower leagues.
  • We have one of England's most potent strikers, a player Moyes signed from the lower leagues.
  • We have a top centre-half in the making, a player Moyes signed from the lower leagues.
Ask yourself this ? who would you rather have ? Johnson or John Spencer? Yes, he's not perfect but he's here and he ain't going away.
Chris Leyland, Formby  (10/11/06)

Yaaaawwwwwwwwwwwnnn! It feels like we've heard all this crap 100 times this year! It's fine for you if YOU can deal with Moyes's limitations and inadequacies, but there are those of us who yearn to see better from Everton under Moyes. What is more, we know, we KNOW they are capable of it. They just can't seem to do it on a consistent basis.

That is the issue for today. Not five-year-old issues like Walter Smith, or seven-year-old issues like John Spencer. When are you Moyes apologists going to actually catch up with the times and deal with the present-day issues? We all know Moyes is here to stay: that is not a valid excuse for his less-than-inspiring current performance and the increasingly poor current from of his team. WAKE UP!!! — Michael

References

Just wondered whether a list, a sort of top five of refs could be formulated:

  • Thomas
  • Collina
  • Poll
Any additions and permutations, please?
Ian Smitham, Wilmslow  (10/11/06)

Eton's best: David Elleray?

Charlie Skinley ? Excellent Letter

I would like to congratulate Charlie on an excellent letter to the FA or the referee's association. The more responses the FA get, the sooner action will take place. Unbiased public opinion is a very powerful weapon as we have seen on many occasions. Even the FA will respond to adverse publicity and the threat of fans gradually falling away from attending games due to poor officiating.
Frank McGregor, Sarnia, Canada  (10/11/06)

Moyes

Yes, that bastard Poll did us again. But, once McFadden was sent off, you just knew, no matter how well the ten played, when it come to Plan B... erm... What Plan B? You know, where other managers make bold changes to make the opposition think again, we would fail. The time allocated to young Victor was a joke.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (10/11/06)

Kids

In my experience, the people who shout the loudest for untried youngsters to be thrown on, are the same people who scream the loudest at them when they fuck up occasionally, as kids tend to, therefore destroying their confidence.

Personally, I?d like to see more of Anichebe but the manager see?s him every day in training ? if he was better than what we?ve already got, surely he?d get a game ? wouldn?t he?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (10/11/06)

No. Emphatically no. He is clearly better than Beattie but Beattie has been prefered over him, with the astounding exception of a 2?-minute cameo on Wednesday night. He'd have to be really good, and have loads of Premiership experience, before Moyes will play him with anythiong approaching regularity. Can you see the Catch-22 in there? ? Michael

A fair go for AJ

Johnson so far seems to be a one-trick pony and with referees not giving him the protection he deserves even that trick is of little use. He is a similar type to Michael Owen but, whereas AJ is sole target man ? not only for his own side but also opposing defenders ? Owen was able to feed voraciously from chances or diversions created by fellow strikers.

Referees seem accomplice to the fact that it is permissible for AJ to be stopped by foul as well as fair means making it only a matter of time before he is seriously injured from tackles that would normally earn a penalty or red card. Moyes would be advised, if only for reason of AJs health, to sacrifice one of his 10 man defence and give him more support up-front.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (10/11/06)

Last Night's Game

I've spent all day thinking about last night's game. Yes Poll was a useless prick and biased. I sat with an Arsenal fan and he admitted as much. But, there are some questions that need answering...

  • If McFadden did swear at the ref, isn't that actually a sending-off offence?
  • Why two ageing centre-backs on the bench?
  • Why did it take until injury time for Moyes to make the change?
  • Why was Anichebe made to stand for 5 mins stripped ready to go after warming up?
As bad as Poll was, he wasn't the only reason we lost.
Chris Wright, Chester  (9/11/06)

Get a grip

There is nothing worse than a sore loser. Everton shouldn't be relying on penalties to win games, they should be making chances in open play, that's the point of the game. Yes we should have had a penalty, so what? We didn't get it and we couldn't score either. A draw is looking likely at the weekend.
Jim Geoffs, stonebridge  (9/11/06)

What's the rush?

Michael, you said Victor Anichebe would be lucky to get any playing time this season but already he's made seven appearances including one start. Anichebe has had more playing time then David Weir and about the same as James McFadden. That's not bad considering Everton usually play Johnson as a lone striker.

I'm sure as he finds his feet and the season progress Moyes will be using Anichebe more. I would bet Anichebe has had more first team experience then any of the Arsenal 18-year-olds.

Sorry but I really don't understand the immediate rush to start playing Anichebe. It's not good for young players to be involved too much at such a young age, just look at Michael Owen and his injury problems.

Another teenager who was involved too young and suffered under the pressure was Danny Cadamarteri and nobody wants Anichebe going down that road. Let Moyes develop Anichebe at a steady pace. Besides in all the immediate burning rush to get Anichebe playing everyone seems to be forgetting that James Vaughan is a far better prospect.
Matt Summers, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Yea, yea... we know all that. The point is, Moyes is inherently conservative when it comes to this; he could be a little less conservative without any great harm being done. It's not rushing him in. Its just using him a bit more than he is right now.

Who knows, if the lad actually got 25 mins instead 2?, he might just be able to get into the game enough to make a difference. Otherwise, what's the point of him even being there?

Oh I remember, to soak up the atmosphere and understand what it means to be a Premiership player... without actually being one. That's another of Moyes's motivational tools I believe. It's definitely a brilliant way to avoid injury and burnout to young up-&-coming players. ? Michael

Last Night

Last night, I took four kids to the match. For two it was the first time. Cheaper tickets do wonders for getting future blues to games. One lad is a third-generation Blue who, through family reasons, has never been to a match!

We do all the rituals you do with teenagers: curry & chips and a bottle of coke. The match programmes. So here you go, lads: two premiership teams for a ?10 each but still a bargain (it used to be so much cheaper!!). I have my warm pint of Chang although promised draught throughout the ground. Take note Mr Wyness.

Rather than watch five World Cup youngsters, we got the Graham Poll show. I will hate that guy until my dying day for ruining yet another football match. I knew it was possible with him in charge. I left very angry that two first match newbies, left that match with a detest of referees. Rightly so.

Ex-pro footballers is a better direction to go and it's about time the FA woke up to this. We have the same 'orrible little irk this Saturday who won't protect our players, as V Fulham.

Last rant if I may, whilst it's a credit to DM to not criticise the ref... as Steve Guy suggests, he will have too soon.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (9/11/06)

Blame the refs!

I know people keep saying that we cannot keep blaming referees when we drop points but there comes a point when the sheer volume of incorrect decisions makes this impossible. Referees/officials have cost us at least 7 points this season and a possible Carling Cup quarter-final:

  • We lost two points at home to Man City because of an extra two minutes of injury time in a game with few stoppages;
  • we lost two points ar Arsenal when Riley gave them the free-kick that never was;
  • we lost two points at Newcastle when Ameobi scored with half a pitch between him and the last defender;
  • we lost at least a point at Fulham with a woefully inept display by Martin Atkinson, culminating in the penalty rejections;
  • and we were knocked out of the Cup by that twat Poll and his eagerness to boost his ego.
  • Not to mention the two clear penalties we should have had at Blackburn.
Had these blatant decisions gone our way, we would be sitting thrid in the league with a 4-pt margin over fourth place. Therefore, to say that we cannot blame referees for us not being higher up the table is quite pathetic.

Yes, we need to take our chances more; and yes, we do need to create more chances by keeping the ball on the deck ? but we can only do this with the help of impartial refereeing. People say we cannot rely on penalties but these people need to realise that penalties are awarded for fouls inside the box and thus when we our creating goalscoring opportunities. If our goalscoring opportunities are unlawfully sabotaged we expect this to be punished, we cannot write off these opportunities because they went unpunished as some people seem quite keen to do.

With reference to last night, Poll was an absolute joke from start to finish and should be demoted; how many chances can the guy get?! In my opinion, the referee should take all of the abuse launched at him and should not be able to punish anyone for insulting him (expletives or not). He gets paid to do that job and if he gets decisions wrong he should expect to be berated. What did Mr Poll plan on doing to the other 30,000 people in the ground calling him a wanker and stating that he's not fit to referee? Answer me that. I contest anyone who says refereeing is a hard job, it isn't for the most part and there is no excuse for the numerous decisions that are wrong each and every game.

Also, everyone who is having a go at James McFadden needs to get a grip. The lad was incensed that we weren't awarded one of the clearest penalities ever seen and quite frankly, I'd be furious if someone didn't react like he did. Good on him. I was glad he started ahead of Anichebe and hope that he gets another chance when back from suspension.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Industrial Players

Michael, I'm not taking exception to what he said about the players at our club because I accept Naysmith, Weir, even McFadden... are industrial at best. I tend to moan when I see any are starting, especially Weir. I was more annoyed at the broad stereotype that ALL Scottish players are bascially shite.

Don't get me wrong, I would rather have Anichebe in any squad before McFadden OR Beattie, like Tony Marsh said.

Yeah, I can accept that he may have shouted that's shite and it could have sounded like cheat, fair enough. It was still a very ignorant letter.

Anyhoo, Up The Blues.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (9/11/06)

Gareth Hughes, again

I'd like to add my suppport to Ross Trotter in the face of Gareth Hughes bizarre comments on Scotsmen. Without getting all het up and cappuccino-spilling about it, isn't there something inherently wrong about these type of comments?

If he wants to say Naysmith, Weir and McFadden are shite then fine, I'll go along with him. If he wants to equate from that that all Scots are shite then I would hope he's in the minority.

Going by that logic you could look at almost any post here and say all Mailbag contributors are opinionated self-righteous know-alls.

Hang on...
Simon Amble, Hereford  (9/11/06)

And the Editor! ;) ? Michael

Right To Reply

As far as Moyes has gone, I have stuck to my line that this is the season I want him to show what he can do, and I would make a judgement at the end. And I am sticking to that. I wouldn't say I fall firmly in either camp, 'for' or 'against', but probably leaning towards 'for' still. Just got sick and tired of people bleating on as if some Messiah manager was waiting in the wings along with that long absent billionaire...

So Big Sam and Mark Hughes thrown up. Well, have to say not too sure on Mark Hughes, I personally see him as similar to Moyes in that they are both learning. I don't know the figures but I would maybe think they spend and re-coup similar ammounts to be comparable. Have to say, Blackburn hardly play the most attractive football themselves ? you really see him as the man to revive the glory years?

Big Sam on the other hand would be my first choice if say Davey walked out next week. Though again, he wrote the book on the modern 4-5-1 at Bolton, and also if you going to have a go about signings, Big Sam has made a few interesting deals... how many players have walked into Bolton only to vanish without a trace? Jardel springs immediately to mind.

The fact is, though, with the likely calibre of manager we could realistically attract, and the probable financial side of the club remaining similar for at least the near future, in my opinion, there is no quick fix. A change say in the next three months would be change for change's sake.

Our club was neglected for years; it ain't going to fix overnight ? especially now, the times with Sky money etc and the business of football. Unless you get lucky, you have to be in for the long run.

I give Moyes this season to improve the quality of football, at the very least challenge for Europe (via league or FA Cup) till the very last, and show what he can do. I still believe he can do it, if he takes a chance.

I just thought it would be interesting to see, rather than people calling for change with no man they would want to see in. Who they would want to take us to the next level.

I am not convinced by Hughes though, not by a long shot...
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (9/11/06)

As I've said many times before, the whole discussion has only academic interest that bores me rigid. Moyes is the manager and will likely remain the manager for a long, long time to come. That's the reality of Everton 2006.

Any potential replacement manager whom any fan cares to name at this point is utterly meaningless for this reason, and for the undeniable fact that the choice of a successor is not up to them. That choice will be down to Billy Blue Eyes or his eventual successor. Why even waste your breath speculating?

It's the same for me as idle speculation about players we could sign. Sure, all of us can name any number of players who we might think would improve Everton. But what's the point? I just don't geddit. Why not address and deal with the realities of the here and now: Moyes is the manager ? let's discuss what he is or isn't doing right. I'd much rather talk about the players he has at his disposal, their merits and limitations, how he's handling them, why he may prefer to play one over the other, etc.

I know this has no meaningful or productive end result either, but at least it's a little bit closer to the everyday reality of Everton FC than all this Fantasy Football nonsense of fans picking the players and the mangers for 'their' team. Rant Over! ? Michael

Poll

Didn't see the game, so can't comment on the penalty. However, I do believe that Poll is a cheat. He has cheated us many times in the past. At the very least, we should make representations that he never ref another game for us.

Of course, I know this is pie in the Sky(yes, Sky!), as the current biassed refereeing fits exactly with what Sky and the FA want. Unfortunately, it also fits in with what the guardians of decency, the so-called Fourth Estate, also want. Should we just give up football? Is it any longer worth the effort?
Terence Finnigan, Los Angles, USA  (9/11/06)

Yea, go watch throwball instead, eh? There's a wonderful specatcle (not!) Did it ever catch on in England??? — Michael

Re; Gareth Hughes

With regards to Gareth Hughes's letter saying that's enough Scots at Everton.

I think it's incredibly immature of a grown man (which I'm assuming you are) to sit down and write that Poll 'probably couldn't understand what he was saying'. Grow up man, it's got fuck all to do with the guy's nationality. If McFadden was English, Irish, anything, he would still have been sent off by the publicity seeking Poll.

To also say our team is chock full of them is nothing short of bollocks. You might want to go take a long look at yourself in the mirror if it takes a good slagging of Scottish players to help you get up in the morning.

As you seem to know what it would take to improve Everton significantly, what exactly IS the answer?? All you seem to be doing is criticising. Next time you think it's funny to sit and write broad statements like that, you should maybe come up with a suggestion rather than thinking your a brilliant, smart arse.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (9/11/06)

Oooo... wounded national pride, eh, Ross? Don't you think there is just a slight possibility that McFadden said 'sheet' with a definite Scottish lilt, while the Poll-man heard 'cheat' in his own mother tongue? That is certainly a way to resolve the otherwise contradictory reports we have heard from those involved.

I think many fans are frustrated by our Scottish manager's love of Scottish players who are essentially industrial when it comes to their playing abilities ? never mind their language. I believe that was the spirit in which these comments were made. — Michael

From my seat

Apart from having to endure the ref, who believes we buy our tickets to watch him entertain us, I enjoyed the game as a good watch. I thought we did okay with ten but we still only play any decent football in the middle third, why is the final pass more hoof than killer ball?

It may have been the Arsenal reserve team but I suspect they would be first-teamers at many other Premiership clubs, which brings me to my biggest disappointment of the night: our bench. A goalie and two centre-backs, which left only two players who the manager could use to change things. This brought home the gulf between the two clubs. Weir at centre-forward, Stubbs left-mid anyone!?! ? UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (9/11/06)

Familiar tactics in disguise

A major complaint we've had in recent seasons has been the lack of quality in depth in the squad. As a result, when new tactics did not really improve perfomances on any given matchday, the answer was always to hoof it up field. This was usually to Duncan Ferguson. With his retirement/contract not being renewed last season, the appearance of Anichebe and Vaughan, and the purchase of AJ, things did seem to have improved.

At the start of the season, playing the ball to AJ's strengths alongside a solid midfield and a sharper, more youthful defense took a lot of teams, and myself, by surprise as we played decent football and won games in a pleasing manner.

I've seen a lot of Everton's televised games recently, though, and things have gotten depressingly familiar. We don't seem to have a Plan B in relation to our strikeforce if AJ gets marked out of a game, has a poor game, or just doesn't get the run of the ball. If any of this occurs, our answer is to continue to hoof balls up to him and pray.

As with Duncan, this has made it very easy for the opposition to defend against as the season has gone on. It has also made me fearful as to the development of young talent like the two young strikers mentioned above. If a young player misses a season through injury, you fear for his development but can understand if it's slower than it should be. If a young player isn't developing at senior level because his manager and coaches aren't flexible or creative enough with their tactics, then this makes things at the moment even more depressing.

I honestly don't think there's any fear of getting dragged into a relegation fight this season but, if Everton as a football team is to progess as hoped given the current squad, we shouldn't be afraid to lose games bringing through young talent and trying new tactics as it will only benifit the team in the long run.

What we should be afraid of is losing games because we're afraid to try things at all.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (9/11/06)

Some really intelligent points there, Kieran. — Michael

No more Scots please

If ever we needed a reason to put a stop to any more Scottish signings at Everton, then last night's sending off is surely it. If Graham Poll had actually been able to understand what McFadden was saying, we might have actually won that game... or am I clutching at straws here?

Certainly it's beyond contention that Scotland produce no decent players whatsoever who could improve Everton significantly, yet (of course) our club is chock full of them. Indeed, a lot of the players Moyes is linked with are of the 'promising young Scottish....' variety, surely a contradiction in itself.

Last night's game actually showed the differnce between a quality, visionary coach like Arsene Wenger and our own narrow-minded, cautious manager. Even Arsenal's reserve side play a brand of football that Everton are not familiar with. Virtually all of Arsenals players last night were continental, plucked from relative obscurity in Europe then nurtured by an outstanding coach.

There may not be another Ars?ne Wenger out there but games like last night only highlight the appalling limitations of David Moyes, whether it be his coaching, substitutions, or scouting system.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Referee Rules Note

My line manager at work is a ref and the rules go that the Premiership managers ? predominantly the likes of Ferguson ? had the rules changed a while ago so that swearing in the top flight ONLY is deemed as ? and I quote: "industrial language". This does not count for lower league games so, according to the FA's own law (twisted to suit Premiership elite manager's requests) stands, swearing is a yellow-card offence.

The fact Graham Poll and the other three officials are miked and ear-pieced to each other strikes me that despite, his alleged "I'll teach these a lesson" statement, the old boy's club close shop and protect their own. If they are miked, why not recorded? If he heard it then it would also have been recorded.

Expect the usual bollocks from Everton, no appeal and yet another free prostate exam from our friends at the FA.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (9/11/06)

Why say anything?

Just thought I'd mention I thought the 10 men played well last night, and at times played a half-decent passing game! I just can't understand why (going on Poll's recent fame) McFadden has to say anything? Why couldn't a player who is paid thousands a week just keep quiet... why run past Poll and swear at all? With 11 men, I'm sure we would have had a much better result.
Danny McGuffog, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Graham Poll

Just a quick note as to the sending off of Jamie Mac against the Arse. If the smiling gimp that is Poll says he sent McFadden off for calling him a fucking cheat, then why don't Everton appeal this?

As with the recent Ashley Cole incident, Poll wears a microphone which should be able to pick up anything both he AND the players say. I assume that this is all recorded, so to me its a case of the FA having a look at this and sorting it one way or the other.

If it is decided that Poll has made a mistake (yet again), I suggest he at least gets a suspension, or at worst gets publicly flogged!!
Simon Boyd, Bangor  (9/11/06)

Everton appeal? Ha! ? David Moyes gave up on that tack a long time ago. And the likely confusion over 'cheat' and 'sheet' (Say it with a Scottish accent) is resolved below . ? Michael

Jimmy McFadden

To be fair, I think Anichebe would have been brought on earlier during last nights game but McFadden's dismissal changed everything. Once McFadden had gone, it left AJ as the only striker. Moyes oviously didn't want to bring off AJ too soon and bringing on Anichebe for a midfielder would have changed the shape of the side and possibly handed Arsenal the chance to over run the midfield. Anichebe will get his chance soon enough; stop complaining.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (09/11/06)

Funny how, at the beginning of the season, there was such great anticipation over what Victor Anichebe could do for us. It was based on some great games and good goals in the pre-season. And at the time I said he'd be lucky to get anything like worthwhile time under Moyes. He is just too predictable, in far too many ways. It doesn't matter that I know it. What does matter is that other managers know it too. — Michael

No more Mr Nice Guy please

Way back on 13th July, I submitted an Article to ToffeeWeb called, ?Last Man Standing?. It was off the back of Moyes coming out and stating that his players would stay on their feet this season. In that article I predicted that,

?given the perverse nature of the world of football, watch out for referees paying particular attention now to Everton players who fall to the ground and wait for TV and tabloids alike taking us to task the first time Andy Johnson wins a penalty. If we thought we got few favours from either refs or media in the past, I believe that Moyes has just made sure that it?s Everton players who get the bookings ? not the opposing players. Andy Johnson won eleven penalties last time he was in the Premiership and I wouldn?t bet on him getting one next season.?
I take no pleasure whatsoever in having been proved right on this, but I continue to be concerned that Moyes hasn?t learnt his lesson. I admire his principles in refusing to criticise referees and even last night, he did his best not to name specific persons ?guilty? of influencing the men in black?s judgement. However, he is one man alone against the rest of the Premiership and the media and his stance is doing us no favours.

Wenger, Warnock and Coleman are all hypocrites of the first water, but between them they have created a situation where collectively Andy Johnson would now have to be seriously injured (God forbid) before he will get any decision inside the box.

I can only assume that Moyes is hoping to develop a siege mentality from all this, but I actually think he is just na?ve. Last night was an opportunity to start a fight back. Moyes should have risked the wrath of the FA and had a right go at Poll and the managers who have criticised AJ. (Incidentally, why have these managers escaped any FA action; surely they have brought the game into disrepute with their recent comments and innuendo?). Arguing the semantics associated with who said what (surrounding the sending off of McFadden) was the wrong tack to take. The campaign to get more balanced decision-making and give some criticism back would have been a better line.

Unless Moyes takes a more aggressive stance, we will continue to be on the wrong end of these decisions and opposition defenders will increasingly believe they have carte blanche to man-handle AJ with impunity.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (9/11/06)

Another Loss

Everton at full strength under the bright night lights at Fortess Goodison vs Wengers Kids. Poll aside, we had enough quality on the pitch to have won this game or at least to have taken this to spot kicks. Poor defending and poor finshing once again proved our glaring faults.

The slide is picking up pace and next will be the old mantra of "we must win the next game" and Moyes will say "we must win the next game"... and then we all know what's comming next.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Arsenal!

Some points from last night's game, which i watched from my usual seat in the Upper Balcony:-

Poll did not give either pen that he should have in the Park End box - our's or their's.

Moyes is the least proactive manager I have ever known at Everton. The last two games have been screaming out for some kind of reaction from the bench, and yet he waits 'til it's too late on both occasions.

There were some excellent performances from us last night, notably Cahill, Johnson and Lescott. Johnson just needs a goal.

Leon Osman has not cut the mustard all season. Our need to strengthen in midfield is now as glaringly obvious as when we needed a pacy striker. We will see how many lessons Moyes has really learnt come January.

There's no point blaming the ref ? he still hasn't forgiven himself for allowing us to beat the shite earlier this season when he was trying to keep his head down.

We are now left with two competitions to try to qualify for Europe from: my fear is that, unless our manager begins to be a little bolder, we will find that dream once again out of reach.

Those of our fans spitting on Arsenal fans' jackets as they were walking along Priory Road should be ashamed.

I wonder how many half season tickets will be sold this week? I wonder if we've had our good half already. Off to a flyer, anyone?
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (9/11/06)

Make a Complaint

Following last night's disgusting display by that self-obsessed, publicity seeking, cheating (oops shouldn?t have said that) liar, I hope to God that the club show a bit of backbone and make an official complaint to The FA. I have had enough of his ?ooo look at me in the paper aren?t I great? arrogant attitude. I bet you that twat bought every paper this morning, spread them over his kitchen table, and started wanking over himself. The man is a complete and utter disgrace and the sooner Keith Hackett kicks him out of football the better.

It wasn?t up there with the penalty appeal but it really annoyed me ? towards the end of the first half one of their players tried to punch the ball into the net. He gave a free-kick but no booking. Correct me if I?m wrong, but I thought deliberate handball was a bookable offence, and trying to score with your hand a red card offence? Why didn?t he apply the letter of the law in that instance?

On a separate note, why the hell didn?t Moyes make a sub half-way through the second half? It was blatantly obvious that we needed freshing up.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

You'll no doubt be delighted to note that Keith Hackett rates Mr Poll (Tring) as one of his better referees! ? Colm

Coin Throwing

So we have a week to identify the coin thrower from the Fulham game...

Now let me start by saying I don't condone this type of behaviour at all, but isn't it funny how the FA, Police etc get on their high horse when a player gets hit by a coin, yet I've been at plenty of games where fans have showered us (including children) with coins, hot drinks, spit (Anfield), human excrement (Anfield again) ?all in front of the Police. Yet nothing happens, even when the culprits are caught on camera and complaints are lodged...

So what's the different between a fan throwing a coin at a player and a fan throwing a coin at another fan? Nothing as far as I can see (apart from the fact I wouldn't go down like a sack of shite when struck by a well aimed two- bob) yet the two outcomes are totally different.
Paul Fitzsimons, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Tony Marsh... spot on!

For once, I think Tony Marsh is spot on - Poll is a disgrace but once again Moyes made the wrong team selection and got the tactics wrong. Once again, we were defending in the second half on our 18-yard line ? just like against Manchester City.

Anichebe for a minute of stoppage time ? Moyes is joking, right, about bringing on young players? We are down a cul-de-sac with Moyes ? time to go Davey.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (9/11/06)

One dimensional football

Now that my voice is slowly starting to recover from last night's screaming at a below average intelligence, fatherless fornicator, I can reflect better on what I witnessed.

A buzzing Goodison, a reserve(?) Arsenal and a full-strength(?) Blues. Whistle blows and it took us over 3 mins to get the ball off Arsenal!! They passed it around with confidence and skill and we didn't get a foot near them. We had our work cut out from the very first minute.

Okay, no need to go through the rest, we were there and saw it for ourselves. Yes, the lads played with grit and determination, they were all knackered at the end, but good football?!?

Well, perhaps because I'm a girl, I don't understand why we can't play to our own players' strengths not our weaknesses. AJ is not tall, so we keep hoofing it up in the air for him to make some vain attempt at getting hold of it? He's not really a winger but we hug the right hand touchline like we're on a short piece of invisible rope.

When we are dancing around the right touchline we play square passes back and to, back and to, so close to feet that almost every other move breaks down because we ineviatbly invite tackles. There's almost no off-the-ball movement, no running with the ball either, so how in the name of all that is Holy are we supposed to create chances?

How many times did AJ end up by the corner flag? He should be loitering with intent in and around the box waiting for THE pass ? not acting as the provider.

We also ended up defending too deep. The number of offsides often reflects how deep a team is playing. How many last night? Erm, none as far as I can recall. Arsenal could never be offside because we were pinned back and unable to move out.

Our footy consists of square passing in midfield, hoofball up the right side of the pitch and well, not an awful lot else at the moment. I know that this is stating the bleedin' obvious but we need to use the left side of the pitch. Someone could have had a picnic on the left during the first half and never been troubled by players or balls!

With McFadden off last night, I might have stuck Stubbs on, pushed Lescott to left back and pushed Valente forward. Let him give us some width on the left, he can do it for Portugal! DM said that he wanted to try Nace in that role so he clearly has thought about the problems with the left side of play. We would have had to sacrifice maybe Osman (last night) but at least we would have tried something different because it was clear that we were never going to create enough chances the way we were set up last night.

Finally, I just wondered why DM waited so long to bring Victor on? Surely he could see that things weren't working? We won nothing in the air up front; Victor, again, could have just given us that other option to create a chance from a hoof ball. But hey, what do I know about football, I just love Everton and I want us to win. I want to come back from every match hoarse because I've sung and cheered the lads to victory ? not hoarse with frustration at missed chances or that awful Poll chap.

Villa at the weekend and happily back in my usual speck in the Paddock. A win please lads, make an old woman happy. Come On You BLUES.
Lue Glover, Flint  (9/11/06)

Cracking post! Hope Moyesy gets to read your tactical analysis. ? Colm

Indeed a great descrpition, Lue ? you sound just like me when I'm screaming at what they are doing wrong. — Michael

John McFarlane

... is making a point that more and more people are feeling. When we beat Liverpool, it felt great ? as it should. But, in that joy at the final whistle, you feel as if you've beaten the ref as well. When I heard Poll was to ref the derby, I felt like staying at home as you knew what would happen. Poll tried his best in saying that.

At Arsenal, we cheer for a draw and shout things aimed at Riley. The relief at the final whistle is, again, more as you feel you have got one over on the ref. We shouldn't feel like this but we do.

When we play any of the so-called Big Four, why is it you want to know who the ref is? This was never the way. You listen to talksport and it's all the 'Big Four' bla bla.

Let's have a European Super League and get rid of them and the Sky fans that go with them. Football may then get back to basics. We can get up on a Saturday and look forward to a game. Go to the game feeling good and not worry about what the ref is going to do.

Over forty years of going to Goodison and following Everton. My love for Everton will never cease. However, with the high price we pay for our football, it won't be long before people decide the stay away and blame the way games are refereed. Why should they pay money and feel cheated?

In my 44 years, I've watched two of the big four get relegated and one of them, more than once. I am bitter because the way football is makes me that way.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

I think your post simply reflects what many of a similar age are feeling towards "the game" today. It's all bollocks... but try tell the kids that! ? Colm

McFadded

McFadden let us the supporters down. Winning the Carling Cup should be a number one target for us. What else are we going to win if we cannot beat the big boys' Reserves? We don't score enough goals. As for McFadden, Scottish league is his level.
Keith Roberts, Manchester  (9/11/06)

There's always the Liverpool Senior Cup... oh hang on...! ? Colm

Cut the crap!

More whinging, more excuses, more disappointment. Does David Moyes and his faithful band really believe that Everton is the ONLY side hard done to by referees and the run of the ball?

It is the stock in trade of all football managers to get their excuses in first, so the pre-match statements of Wenger, Mourinho and Ferguson are little different to those of "AJ ain`t a diver" Moyes.

At the end of the season all that`s recorded are the cups you won and your league position. Only the geeks record how many times a team was denied a penalty or who called the ref a shitbag. So let`s "cut the crap" ? Everton win nothing under Moyes and are most unlikely to do so. And they ain`t very good to watch either!
Anton Bennett, Great Soughall  (9/11/06)

In response to Dave Turner

Given that Bill didn't have the balls to go for O'Neill when he was available, I'll give you a name: Mark Hughes.

He would relish managing our club and his credentials thus far are no worse than Moyes's. Moyes has had 4? years in charge and still has not fashioned a team, indeed there is no balance to the current side. Big Sam has had more success with less money and still we are supposed to blindly follow this average manager, who had an average playing career.

Mark Hughes is a player's player and would earn instant respect from the players we currently have. I don't think Moyes has ever earned that and I do not think we are ever likely to win much more than a raffle under his tenure. Tony Marsh tells it like it is, you might not like it but its the reality of our current situation.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (9/11/06)

Get yer tin hat donned Steve for the incoming flak, with some of those critics ignoring some rather valid points being offered. Again! ? Colm

Cut The Coin Crap

Last night's injustice wasn't helped when, as the players went back down the tunnel and I applauded our lads' decent effort against the odds, I was struck by a pound coin thrown from the main stand. It only got me on the back of the hand, but I can still feel my knuckle tingling this morning.

I was in the family enclosure with my two lads, just next to Wenger and we'd managed to rib him whenever possible about his side's 'time wasting' and 'negativity'. There was even the moment when Moyes removed his trackie top and Wenger stood up and I of course offered to hold his coat.

But once the final whistle had gone, it wasn't long before the the impromptu chashback offer began and the guy in front of me (also with kids) was struck on the back by a coin.

On both occasions the coins were probably launched at Wenger (Poll was still well on the pitch) ? but just imagine the outcome for Everton Football Club if either of the coins had found their target. Wenger would waste no time in having his injured phisog all over the media and it'd be a cert that Everton would have points docked after what happened at Fulham.

It's got to stop. No player or manager visiting Goodison deserves to be injured in this way and certainly those Evertonians sitting near the tunnel shouldn't have to put up with it. Unless we find a way to stamp it out asap we'll all be throwing our money away.
Martin Wallace, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Time for comparison

Ask 10 Evertonians who they would see as an ideal alternative to Moyes and 8 of them will say Martin O`Neill. I know ? I`ve carried out the exercise!

On Saturday, we will have the opportunity to compare the way he sets out his store with the tactics employed by our present incumbent. I guess we must recognise that only two of the Villa players will be O`Neill signings whereas all the Everton team will have been signed or re-signed by Moyes. Of particular interest to me will be the performance of young Agbonlahor who made his debut against us late last season and looked streets behind Anichebe in his development at that time.

Selected for every game by O`Neill, he may now be streets ahead!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (9/11/06)

Thing is, Harry, even those in high ranking positions at Everton (y'know... chairman, Head of PR etc... ) ? even they acknowledge how good a manager O'Neill is. That's why they tried to get him in a few years back. Sadly, without much success. Which is so typically Everton these days! ? Colm

Quality Football response

Mr Sparke, having also watched my first game at Goodison Park for over a year, it would be very easy to be swept of my feet by Arsenal's passing abilities and skill, but I would like to make one or two points:

  1. Everton played most of the game with 10 men, and it is surprising how much extra space you have to concede when you have only 10 men.
  2. The extra space afforded to the Arsenal players make the job of controlling the ball and passing a lot easier.
  3. As the Arsenal players have more time on the ball due to the extra man, it does give the illusion that they look better and are more skillful than their Everton counterparts.
  4. Because our ten men have to work that much harder to cover the same ground as eleven men, they would tire much quicker, which is probably the reason we conceded such a soft goal towards the end.
  5. Even with ten men, we still created chances with some excellent passing ourselves, or did you miss those particular bits of the game?
I think that you are being a little disrespectful to most of the players in our squad. You have conveniently forgotten the progress the club has made since Moyes has taken over the team management and Keith Wyness the club's finances. The only thing that is missing is trophies.

David Moyes is still a relatively young coach, if you compare him to the likes of Sam Allerdyce, Harry Redknap or Sir Alex Ferguson, and is learning more with each game we play. Moyes has turned Everton round from being relagation fodder to a consistent top-ten team. How long did Man Utd have to wait for SAF to give them their first title? (I think you will find it was 6 years).

I am sure if we stick with Moyes, trophies will come. We just need a bit of patience and to get behind him and our team like true supporters. COYB.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (9/11/06)

Can we please have a moratorium on the "David Moyes is still a relatively young coach" twaddle. He's been around the block quite a few times now and should have most of it figured out. Time to learn his trade was when he was at Preston, although all good managers, including the usual list you trot out, will be continuing to learn something each game. It's not an excuse for them because they (presumably?) don't seem to make mistakes anymore... whereas our Davie does. Or why else would anyone keep pointing out that he's still a relatively young coach? How old does he have to be before he is no longer a relatively young coach??? Enough already! — Michael

No substitutes

Why are supporters on this web site saying that David Moyes should have made substitutions last night in the Carling Cup. Those ten men played their socks off and there was true team spirit amongst them, which is surely what we want. They did not deserve their exit out of the Cup.

I think Moyes was right to stick with the 10 players on the field. Why break the team's rhythm by making substitutions but then what do I know? I am only a mere woman who has followed E.F.C. for over 50 years but it is my opinion that a lot of you think you could do better than Davey.

Personally I don't think most of you could manage a pub team never mind a Premiership side and that includes our Tony.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (09/11/06)

A great shift!

Before I get down to oiling the wheels of local government this morning, I feel I must say how proud I am of the tremendous shift put in by our lads last night. Denied two clear penalties, and down to ten men early on, they put in an awesome performace against the mighty Arsenal.

How you - or anyone else - can talk of "a mini crisis" when in every game only bad luck and refereeing decisions are depriving us of a result is beyond me!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (9/11/06)

It Was A Red Card

I believe, and perhaps one of the many amateur refs out there can confirm this, that if a player swears at a ref, it is a red-card offence and cannot be punished by a yellow card. If you remember this was pointed out when a certain Man Utd player was caught on camera mouthing off at a referee a season or two ago.

Spot on Shaun Sparke, only Yobo, and Arteta would be considered at Highbury and the style is built on speed and football ability.

McFadden is not very bright and I for one approve of refs who try to control and discipline foul-mouthed yobs. I approve of the attitude of the softies in both codes of rugby who accept the authority of the refs.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (9/11/06)

Thoroughly agree - but as the first caller to Wednesday night's 6-0-6 phone in on BBC Radio 5Live pointed out... all we want is consistency amongst referees. It's not as though McFadden was the first player to swear at Poll! ? Colm

A sheet by any other name

According to friends in the written media, referee Poll says McFadden said "That fucking cheat" whilst the player claims it was "That`s fucking sheet." Considering the number of times Big Dunc was also "misunderstood" perhaps Moyes should consider sending all Scottish players for elocution lessons!
David Hall, Taunton  (9/11/06)

Electrocute the Scots???? - Graham Poll

Fitter and stronger

"I think overall playing with 10 men makes players fitter and stronger and it could make us stronger for Saturday." I got that quote from evertonfc.com. Our master tactician never fails to amaze you. But at least it explains why he played for penalties in last night's "fitness exercise"

With all the controversy that surrounds that game last night my biggest frustration is that we didn't take a risk ? everyone in the ground could see what was going to happen. Well, Davey lad, we may as well have lost 3-0 and had a go we would have all felt a bit better this morning.

Never mind; we won't get to see the Millennium Stadium after all but at least our players are fitter!!!
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (9/11/06)

Ah well...

Taking issue with my kid brother over his excellent piece below, I?d suggest his opinion is valid but skewed. Marx wrote ?Men make their own history ? but not under conditions of their own making?

I agree with much of what Shaun says about Moyes, but feel that to ignore the blatant injustice of the McFadden sending off; the denial of at least one cast-iron penalty; and playing the majority of the game with 10 men against 12 does render his assertions about the lack of passing football at Everton a little bit exposed (in this particular case).

This season is the first season for a long while that we have tried to knock it around and I?m quite sure if we?d have had 11 against 11 we?d have seen a much better performance. By the way, regarding the inclusion of McFadden in the starting 11, it was Johnson himself who mentioned that he prefers playing alongside McFadden more than any other Everton forward (Liverpool Echo ? September) I was looking forward to see how they jelled.

Finally, I?d like to congratulate Wenger on a job well done. His excellent manipulation of the agenda of national media has ensured that, whenever Johnson is hacked down in the box most referees will think twice; defenders will know this ? and that?s all it needs. Well done, sir; with a single sentence you've taken out a possible Champions League contender ? masterful football, so worthy of the Total Football ethos your team plays at times.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (9/11/06)

Next two games

It goes without saying that, unless we bounce back in the next two games, were riding the rollercoaster firmly downwards. Whilst I don't fully agree with Tony's crusade against Moyes, there are aspects to it I do (and find maddeningly frustrating). Why, indeed was McFadden on from the start (Beattie not even on bench) - why? Add to this, the question of why Anichebe only entered the fray on 90 mins

It seems Moyes has a delayed reaction in changing his approach when everybody else is stating the bleeding obvious (inclusion of Davies, for example; Johnson isolated up front). I think it's ok to adopt this arrogant, "I know best" attitude if you have a cabinet full of trophies behind you (Ferguson) but not in Moyes's case.

I think Moyes has definitely brought us forward, no doubt and we have already had a glimpse of what could be round the corner. The question is whether we have the right man to elevate us to that next level and how long we sit around waiting to find out.
Anthony Newell, Northampton  (9/11/06)

Victor Anichebe

Please stop going on about Victor Anichebe ? we dont even know if he's any good yet. Nick Chadwick scored goals for the reserves and he even scored three goals for the first team in his limited appearances under Moyes but now you'll find him struggling at Plymouth where's he's scored just 8 goals in nearly two years.

Hopefully Anichebe will be better then Chadwick but let's allow Moyes to protect and develop him. The lad is only 18-years-old, he has years to score goals for Everton, there's no rush to start playing him immediately.
John Cottee, Romford  (9/11/06)

Guilty conscience

Methinks Poll had a guilty conscience last night before he even denied the penalty. I suppose if you consider yourself a cheat in the first place (or if you are determined not to give anything to the home side) and someone shouts, 'That was fucking sh1te' it is quite easy to think he was calling you a fucking cheat' :)
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (9/11/06)

For Tony Marsh

Tony, every week ? win or lose ? you seem to be coming out with the same "doom-merchant" predictions. I just ask, as I believe every regular could probably work out what you are going to say before you post, and also I can spot a "Tony Marsh" before even getting down to the name at the bottom, as I am sure many can.

Anyway, you keep going on about how Moyes is not the man. I ask you one simple question. If Moyes is no-longer the right man for the job, who in your opinion is?
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (9/11/06)

Well, actually!

Remember Michael's response a little earler:

"And whatever McFadden may have said 'in the heat of the moment' did it really merit being shown a straight red? A yellow card, yes, but Poll reacted like he was Zinadine Zidane and his mother's sacred honour, and that of his sisters, had been questioned. When was the last time a player got a straight red for something he said to the ref?" ? Michael

Wasn't the last time this happened at Ewood Park one Saturday in 1996 when big Dunc got a straight red for "Industrial Language"?? It's always us on the receiving end of stuff like this.
Wesley Coles, Melbourne, Australia  (9/11/06)

Good memory, Wesley. Strictly it was yellow then red for Big Dunc, but both for foul and abusive language, within a minute. So I guess it counts. ? Michael

Its all the Refs fault ? again!

Graham Poll is a cheating shithouse who should of been sacked after the World Cup. He is not fit to take charge of a Sunday league pub game and I can't stand the twat. He is a vile human being. Is he to entirely to blame for our exit from the Carling Cup last night? I am not so sure he is.

McFadden got his marching orders for mouthing off at the Shitbag Poll. But what the fuck was McFadden doing on the pitch in the first place? McFadden is one of those typical annoying lightwieght players that Moyes favours so much. What does Anichebe have to do to get in this fucking side?

Ask any Evertonian who they would prefer in the side and I don't think McFadden would get one vote. I would go as far to say the same would apply if it was James Beattie. I have been saying all week that Moyes would not do anything that would go against his agenda and last night he proved me right again.

The worrying thing now is that the so called mini-revival has now transformed itself in to a mini-crisis. I personally can't see how this current manager can do any thing about it either. By all means come on here and slag me off but I suspect most of you lash out in fear of the truth more than anything else.

Yes, we had ten men for 70 minutes but we were playing Arsenal reserves for fuck's sake! We are now in a situation that is becoming all to familiar under Moyes: goals drying up; wins becoming rarer; early cup exits; refs being blamed... I think you all know what comes next, don't you? The inevitable slide down the league table and the scramble for 40 points.

I wish I was talking shit and things were a lot different but they are not. This is the reality of the Moyes regime and there's no denying it. I love Everton. I have travelled everywhere supporting them all my life and it kills me to see the way we are going.

It's time to wake up, people. Davie has took us as far as he can. I can't take much more of his nonsense. Blame the Ref if you want to but the problems of Everton Football Club are a lot more deep-rooted than that. Do us all a favour, Moyes, and fall on your sword before you do any more damage.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Limited Horizons

Poor old Tony Marsh, as per usual, he's the butt of the Moyesiah brigade's rancour, everything is Tony's fault. All he needs to do is be positive, join in with the worship, put his head up his jacksie, and we'll be world beaters. Regardless of McFadden's idiot behaviour, why open his mouth to a plonker like Poll? The hard fact is we were beaten by Arsenal's bloody reserves and it's my bet that ultimately defeat would have been the outcome with, or without, McFadden.

Gallant losers, it's true, but that's all second-rate teams ever are. Is that something to be proud of? It may be enough for some but it's not for me and, after almost five years of consistent inconsistency and mediocrity under David Moyes, I've come to the reluctant conclusion that we'll never get success, or even a decent side, under his management. It's always jam tomorrow: he's young, still learning blah, blah, blah. Will he ever achieve the skills, through maturity and experience to manage a successful club, handling and coaching top class players? Somehow I doubt it.

The Emperor's got no clothes.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (9/11/06)

The Real Fucking Cheat

Last night's performance by Graham Poll was a disgrace, please go to my Graham Poll petition, and voice your frustrations:
Ed Bottomley, Michigan  (9/11/06)

Italy Here We Come

I have watched and loved football for over 40 years and during that time I have witnessed unjust decisions go for and against the blues. But tonight, I am gutted, not because the Blues have lost a cup-tie, but because my suspicion that the game of football has lost the plot has been vindicated.

I am an ordinary working-class guy who attempts to see the good in most things and people, but tonight I am more convinced than ever that Football like other mass entertainment has been hi-jacked by the priveliged few and what us ordinary mortals see as an escape has become a trap.

Fuck the FA, Fuck Graham Poll and Fuck English Football. I'm almost proud that EFC have been unsuccessful since the start of the Premier League, due to the fact that we cannot possibly be bent, given our inablitly to win major games against the G18 clubs.

We as supporters of the game should leave in our droves and let those clubs who are deemed the chosen ones to carry on regardless. If they don't care about how they win then let them compete against each other and fuck them.

I would rather we didn't participate , than see the outrageous become even more outrageous year on year. We could spend a sillion pounds on players and still be shat upon by the establishment.

Moyes made mistakes tonight but they were honest mistakes, and you should never condemn a man for that. As for Mr Poll, well, you can decide for yourself.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (9/11/06)

It does at times seem like, whatever we do to progress, we are gonna get fucked over. The Great European Adventure, 2005; The FA Cup March 2006; The Carling Cup, Nov 2006. Your approach might have merit but I suppose the rest of us who are stuck in the trap will just have to keep plugging away hoping naievly that Everton will one day be great again. — Michael

Quality football

I will stay clear of the obvious and keep my thoughts about Mr Poll to myself. I will also leave the arguments regarding whether McFadden deserved to be red-carded or whether we should have had a penalty or two, to other people on here who have mastered the art of the colourful metaphor far more eloquently than I could ever dream of doing.

The point I wish to highlight, which seems to have been buried under a pile of vitriolic chest beating, is that I have just witnessed a team performance from an allegedly second-string XI that would have us Blues reaching for the superlative dictionary if those players had been wearing Everton shirts. The passing style of the Arsenal players was a joy to see (well it would have been if it wasn?t against us.) We can?t even use the excuse that Moyes has not had an open cheque book at his disposal, as a look on the pitch tonight would discover that our starting XI cost considerably more than the Arsenal starting XI, minus Theo Walcott.

Why can they pass the ball and look far more comfortable on it than we can? The answer, I am afraid is staring at us squarely in the face. The majority of the players that we have are good honest hard-working lads who would run their legs of for this club; they have big hearts and a genuine desire to do well for the fans, and they echo everything that the manager wants to see in a player. And there lies the problem.

How many of those players who wore blue shirts tonight would Wenger give the time of day too? Let?s be brutally honest here, our best natural footballer (Arteta) might just about get the nod of approval but, after that, Wenger would offer a polite "Thanks, but no thanks".

When Wenger and the Arsenal scouting system look for a player, they make sure that he can pass and control a football first, and then they work on his work rate and attitude to the game. We seem to do it in the opposite way, only to discover that Richard the Lionheart crossed with Alf Tuper (younger readers ask your dad) can?t control a bloody football or pass to save his life. The problem lies deep at this club and it needs to change.

I like Moyes as a man: he is the type that you would love to go out for a pint with on a Saturday night; you get the feeling that, if you ever hit a bit of bother with a horde of taunting kopites, he would be the first to lunge in with a Scottish handshake. However, this does not make him the right man to manage this club. I think he is tactically very na?ve and his whole ethos seems to be: workrate, workrate, workrate. I want to see fluent passing football at this club; it doesn?t happen at reserve or youth level either ? which is very disappointing.

I think it is time that the club had a very close look at itself. Kenwright appears to have sorted his boardroom problems out; now he needs to start to look for a decent coach who will start to bring the right kind of players to this club. It may take a bit of time and we will have to be patient but I want to see quality footballers at this club ? not diehard athletes who can kick it a bit.
Shaun Sparke, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Bravo, Shaun. Letter of the Week, Month... YEAR! Of course, the apologists will tell us we can't have that because it costs money, big money, big money we haven't got ? only the Big Four can buy skillful players while the rest of us scrap over the, er, scraps.

I just don't believe that's true. And I'm not looking necessarilly for a massive rollover of the roster. That is soimply unrealistc and misses the point. The (admitedly rare) occasions on which we have managed to play passing football proves to me that many of the players we already have are actually capable of it. But they aren't (surely they can't be?) coached to play like that. Instead, it's hoofball and 'get rid'.

Once again tonight we had one of those classic passages of play were we are in possession of the ball but can't figure out a way forward so we go back. And sideways. And back... until we pass the ball back to Tim Howard! And what is he gonna do with it? H-O-O-F! Surely a football field is big enough for players to run off the ball, create space, create opprtunities for a forward ball? Or will a good defence always stiffle the best an attack can muster? — Michael

In Response to Paul Kish

When playing a team like Arsenal and with a ref like Graham Poll in charge, your only hope of winning is to score a couple of indisputable goals. OK, so we might have leaked a goal in the end, but the rules of winning are quite simple: Score more goals than the opposition.

Osman was his usual self: ie, as much use as a chocolate teapot. Replacing him at any stage of the game with Anichebe might have seen us score the two goals needed for a win. Instead, Moyes does what Wenger expected: Nothing. A game plan can only be changed if the manager has the guts and nouse to do so. Moyes has neither.

I still believe we have the makings of a good team but under Moyes we will always be mediocre.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (9/11/06)

So why say it?

"So why say it?", you question. I say it because I believe it to be the case. It's a mailbag, isn't it, I thought that was the point? Michael, your own responses are reasoned but Tony's don't come close. I just don't buy the argument that, beneath his puerile hatred of all things Moyes, is a genuine football brain.

Satisfaction for Tony is finding another shred of flimsy evidence to add to his "Moyes Out" portfolio. A good Everton performance just undermines his stubborn position and so he can't enjoy it as much as the rest of us. Michael (and others who have had their doubts about our manager) regularly admit that they would love to see Moyes do well. Tony would love to see Moyes fail and that's the difference.
Alan Butterfield, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

I guess I can understand where Tony is coming from because I remember I did the same with Wally Smith ? well before it was generally accepted that the old bugger was never, ever going to cut it as Everton manager.

If you've convinced yourself that our manager is a worthless wanker, then logically you are going to use every shred of evidence that supports the view, and you are going to ignore or downplay invconvenient facts that go against your stated position. Tony's views are so unpopular for many becuse he is coming from that that stated position ? not because he wants Everton to lose per se (although there is an element of logic that says each loss hastens the day...).

Okay, I guess I just talked myself over to your perspective: he will 'revel' in defeat to the extent that it deepens and strengthens his conviction about the manager's inadequacy. I guess that's just human nature whne you've committed yourself to a position.

Even so, I still think you go too far, questioning the quality of Tony's footballing brain (this is starting to sound like Monty Python!) My personal judgement would be that Tony shows a pretty good understanding of football and what she is about. I can separate that from his hatred for Moyes, whereas you intertwine the two.

Under your logic, he has written off Moyes, therefore he does not have a genuine football brain. In my humble opion, that is a classic non-sequitor.

I think we should stop talking about him now, 'coz his big 'ed just got 10 times bigger with all this blather! — Michael

Re: Ta Ta Moyes

Moyes makes a hash of it again? We had ten men you bellend! We done well to still be in the match with 10 minutes to go!!
James Smith, Liverpool  (9/11/06)

Have a go yer mug

Most clubs have one or two non strikers who given half a chance hammer goals from outside the box. Top teams have three or four who do it; at Everton we have... ??? Defenders find it most demoralizing and unsettling to concede from long-range shots.

I stand to be corrected but in recent years, other than a rare dead-ball floater from Arteta, was Carsley's strike in a derby game our one and only long shot to hit the net? At other clubs, such goals seem part of their game plan while our players don?t have a go until they see the whites of the keepers eyes. Is it a case that we do not have players capable of shooting from distance or are they not encouraged to do so?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (9/11/06)

I think there was a nice goal from ? guess who ? McFadden(!) last season that I would put in this category. — Michael

Grow up, Michael!

You do talk some rubbish Editor! Call ANY ref an effing twat and you`ll get your marching orders for sure! Why McFadden should think a prima donna like Poll is any different is beyond me. Refuse to play on? You`ve been watching too much of the Pakistan cricket team! Grow up, for God`s sake.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (8/11/06)

I was really thinking of it more as a protest against the non-penalty decision than the sending off. Although the sending off plays into it because, in this case, it serves to emphasize the real problem, which is the difficulty refs are having getting these penalty decisions right.

And whatever McFadden may have said 'in the heat of the moment' did it really merit being shown a straight red? A yellow card, yes, but Poll reacted like he was Zinadine Zidane and his mother's sacred honour, and that of his sisters, had been questioned. When was the last time a player got a straight red for something he said to the ref? — Michael

Ta ta, Moyes

Well, Moyes makes a hash of it again, and Wenger is laughing his socks off. The Arse play their reserves and have us off for the second time in two years. Moyes says he learns by his mistakes... No mate, you don't. You play into Wenger's hands each time you confront him.

Moyes is marking time, he is not moving the club forward. Time to go, Davey, and take those morons Irvine, McFaggot, Osman, Beattie, Van der whatshisname with ya!! Oh yeah, and take that Championship centre-forward Johnson with ya ? the fella has been found out...
Travis Arnold, Park End  (8/11/06)

Just got a feeling this one may be a wind-up and probably should have been blue-pencilled. If not, I think you might be a few steps beyond TM, and he won't be happy! — Michael

Get Shut

OK, Poll confirmed what most of us already know, he's a complete twat, but what about the dick in an Everton shirt, namely James (I want an improved contract) Mcfadden. Anyone knows if you chase after a Referee and call hime an fucking cheat, you are going to walk.

I would personally drive the numbskull all the way back to Jockland and let him turn it on each week in front of the might of East Berwick and Forfar Athletic; he is an absolute waste of everybody's time and the sooner we ditch the self-opiniated prick the better.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (8/11/06)

I don't get it...

Just in reply to Barry Johnson's rant against Moyes ? I don't get it. A team, can be any team really, has a forward sent off after 20 mins. The defence is intact, the midfield is intact and yet, you Barry, want Moyes to subsitute someone so an attacker can replace Mc Fadden. That's just insane!

No manager worth his salt would do that. Not that early in the game and almost certainly not at half time either. Not Ferguson. Not Wenger. Not Capello. Not Mourinho. 99.9% of the time, when teams go down a man, they sacrfice an attacking player and play with one up front.

I don't see why Moyes is expected to be any different. I agree Moyes should have made a change with about half an hour to go, but not after just 20mins. If we're going to be critical of Moyes ? and he does desrve it at times ? let's at least be realistic.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (8/11/06)

Abysmal Officials Part 2

Little did I know in my previous post that Graham Poll would be officiating tonight's game. The man is a pure egotistical narcisist intent on courting controversy and basking in the ensuing spotlight of the media attention like a serial killer. It was perfectly scripted in hindsight following Wenger's comments on AJ's perceived tendency to dive for Poll to oblige, McFadden on the other hand is a gormless prick and should have kept his mouth shut.

The littany of appalling refereeing decisions concerning Everton continues, Thomas, Poll, and cyclops to mention but a few. It will be interesting to see Keith Hackett's assessment of Poll's recent performances, the World Cup embarrasment should have been enough, a stonewalled silence by the paymasters at Soho square, however, will continue to prevail.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

I was so mad, I couldn't help wondering what would happen if the team just refused to play at that point in the game? Just stayed on the field but refused to play any longer. Be interesting to see what would happen. Perhaps hoping to force some action by the ref ? booking all the players, sending off three more, thus forcing abandonment. Conflab with the manager and fourth official ? who knows?

It may be a childish reaction, but something needs to be done by the Clubs to convey to the FA that this sort of nonsense will not be tolerated. EFC would probably get into awful trouble initially, points deducted, etc. but it would certainly bring absolutely massive attention to the issue, and force endless slo-mo analysis of the incident to the point where (hopefully) only an idiot could still defend the ref. Of course the club would have to stand firm and resolute, and would need the support of other clubs....

Nah, it'll never happen. But something needs to be done. This is now getting simply ridiculous. ? Michael

You're right

You're right, Michael, let's not bother. What is the point? Tony Marsh will find need to vent his bile irrespective of the performance. I disagree entirely with the easy cop out that Tony, in his heart of hearts, is desperate for Everton to win and that he is as broken as the rest of us when we don't. Such is his dislike of David Moyes that he absolutely revels in defeat, just so he can rant in here. Good effort Blues, not a bad atmosphere this evening either.
Alan Butterfield, Liverpool (this evening)  (8/11/06)

I think you're wrong about Tony, for what it's worth. I think (like me) he hates to see Everton lose. I think he sees clearly in his own mind the reasons why Everton have lost, despite the good performance, and usually he maintains these are 99.9% down to his pet hate-figure, David Moyes.

I think he comes on here not to rant but to convey these reasons, and his consequent frustration, for anyone who wants listen. Unfortunately, many see his hatred of Moyes first, and aren't interested in reading yet another highly agressive and occasionally downright obnoxious slagging of the Everton manager, and they reject his analysis out of hand, or don't even read it. But it's not reveling in defeat, it's a recation to that defeat. I think you probably know that deep down. So why say it? — Michael

History Repeating

Graham Poll may have finished off Everton's cup chances but David Moyes has to take some blame. All week, I have been making a case about clubs like Everton having to field their strongest team to get a result and, as if to spite me, Moyes goes and hands a chance to James McFadden.

Beattie should have been playing because he's the second best striker at the club. By choosing to play McFadden, Moyes fielded a weaker team and it blew up in his face.

Tony Marsh and David Moyes can keep their stupid ideas about playing youngsters and giving others a chance, I demand that Everton play their strongest team every single game.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

The problem as I see it, Paul, is that "Everton's strongest team" is a matter of opinion, and the only opinion that really matters is that of David Moyes.

For example, you think Beattie should have playeed. I was overjoyed not see Beattie's name anywhere near the teamsheet but I think Anichebe in for McFadden would have been Everton's strongest team. We had Irvine talking him up again before the game. He is a better footballer than Beattie. He deserves a starting chance. — Michael

Dont' you dare!!

Don't you dare, Tony Marsh, criticize Everton's 10-man performance against Arsenal tonight in the Carling Cup. All of us TRUE Evertonians are effing proud of them!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (8/11/06)

Patricia, don't start that "TRUE Evertonian" shit, please. I'm sure Tony will have seen plenty of opportunities Moyes had to change the game in our favour, that he failed to take. Anichebe on for 2? minutes. Let's start with that... No let's not bother. What is the point? — Michael

I give up

I'll keep this short & sweet. With Graham Poll in charge, Everton were never going to win this match. With McFadden's big mouth, Everton were down to 10 men inside 20 minutes. What on earth was Moyes playing at? No substitutions after the sending off? No substitutions at half-time or even in the last 10 minutes?

If I were Anichebe, I'd have my agent searching for a new club. He would have been the perfect response to the sending off yet gets nothing. I despair with Moyes, I really do. The man must have Attention Deficit Disorder or something. He just never learns.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (8/11/06)

Suggestion for Tony

The debate over the youth players got me thinking about Tony's contributions. Tony makes some good points here and there, but his accuracy rating, for me, is just a little bit random. Why is this? Scouting back through his posts, I think I see why. It's simple - according to Tony, whatever David Moyes does is wrong, pretty much without exception.

So in the virtual world, where Tony manages Everton, he would, to simplify things, do the exact opposite of Moyes. The problem I find with this approach is that, no matter how frustrating Moyes can be, I just don't think he can be THAT wrong, ALL the time. I don't think we'd be where we are if that was the case.

So, though Tony argues more intelligently and lucidly against Moyes than Dutch used to for him, it's still a pretty simplistic approach: Moyes = Wrong. Tony = Right. If you just keep insisting that everything the man does is wrong you eventually undermine your own argument by being totally predictable - which is how I feel about Tony's posts these days. Some I agree with, some not, but after the opening sentence I pretty much know what he's going to say.

As an aside I'd like to speculate that if a manager completely changed tack everytime something went wrong a club couldn't help but assume he has no belief in his methods. Going on Tony's gut reactions I reckon that would be his management style though...

I think if Tony made some concessions towards Moyes his more intelligent comments (the ones I agree with, obviously!) have more resonance. Your thoughts, Tony?
Simon Amble, Hereford  (8/11/06)

A Boyle or a Wart

I have to say I feel sorry for the stick Boyle is getting? I've only read half of the arguments but it sounds like hes getting blamed for single handedly making Norwich shit at a time when they were already particularly shit, and have been shit ever since Huckerby stopped scoring for them in the Premiership.

Going out on loan is a matter of luck I think. Turner went to Chester City in a season which they were doing well and he came back a more confident player for it. Osman went to Derby and did the same. If you send a player to an already struggling club he would have to be made of Dave Mackay spirit not to be affected by the lack of confidence his new team mates are showing.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (8/11/06)

Dave Mackay?!? Giving your age away there, methinks! — Michael

Talking Sense

You have to feel for Tony Marsh. Week after week he talks so much sense but the simple fact is the idiots don't understand what he's on about.

  • Boyle ? Promising player. Don't mess him around. Keep him in usual environment instead of unsettling him by sending him all the way to Norwich.
  • Molyneux ? Excellent player. Our midfield is crying out for a decent player so give him a chance.
  • Vaughan ? Scored against Palace 2004-05 and was so up for the next game. There were 6 games left of that season and he wasn't used again. Then he got injured.
  • Rooney ? Over 12 months before he left the club I predicted he would because the fool Moyes would have no idea of how to handle him. Sure Rooney might have been tempted by United and more money but Moyes ensured the lad left when he bought Jeffers and played Rooney wide right and then not at all to accommodate Jeffers in the team. Moyes thought he was being clever but all Rooney wanted to do was play. Even when Rooney came out and said he'd still be at Everton if it wasn't for Moyes, some people refused to believe it.
  • Anichebe ? Is far more effective when he plays than Beattie but Moyes will select Beattie over him every time as he doesn't want to admit his ?6M wonderboy is a flop.
You can go on about other things but the simple fact is our performances could be better if the manager did the right things. He doesn't. I say it again: our midfield is shite. And the one class midfielder we have, Arteta, is always getting played out of position. So, no matter who we play, the opposition will be allowed to carve out too many chances and, if the luck is not with us and they go in, we lose.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

Young-uns

Well, I have to agree with Tony Marsh on this in many respects. I don't vehemently dislike Moyes, but I do find some of his decisions odd. I can't understand that as Anichebe was smacking goals in for fun during pre-season he hasn't been given more of a chance. At Everton we seem to produce some great talent, and though I can see why DM doesn't want to burn kids out... it would be nice to see them warm Goodison a little before they are sold on for their own benefit.

As Michael said, it would have been nice to see Victor on the pitch at 60 minutes when we were still at 0-0 but looking a shadow of what we were doing in the first half. I don't expect DM to become Steve McLaren and chuck on as many strikers as possible on the hour mark, but he's painfully predictable and often overly conservative when it comes to substitutions, in my humble opinion.

It will be interesting to see if we rest AJ this evening... and though most of my Arsenal loving mates are sure it's going to be another "embarrassing defeat" at the hands of the Gooner children, I as ever remain confident we can pull something out of the bag.
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (8/11/06)

In Reply Eamon Byrne

I promise this will be my last post on this subject. It's just not worth the hassle. Eamonn if you are as clued up as you would have us believe can you differentiate between these two scenarios.

  1. 1.A manager brings a youngster out of the reserves and in to the first team set up. He then plays said youngster in a couple of games because he has confidence in thier ability. If they impress they are kept as part of the set up which in return breeds a more confident player.
  2. 2. A manager brings a young player or players in to the first team set up because of injuries and suspensions. In reality he has no other choice.
Then regardless of how they perform they are then returned back to where they came from. Examples: Vaughn, Turner, Anichebe and Hughes. All players that you mention. Which of those catagories do you think Moyes falls in to? If you say the first then it's you who is the prick and not me because Moyes is scenario Number 2 all over ? and that's a fact.

You see the difference, don't you? Moyes is too frightened of his own inability that he won't give anyone a real chance and that is all I am trying to say.

As for this good coach bad coach thing, Do you really think DM is teaching our players any thing new? Tactically definitely not. Improving skill levels? I haven't seen it. Competent in the buying and selling department? Dont make me laugh.

You see, Eamonn, it's easy to call people pricks for having their say but where is the evidence that Moyes is a good coach? Answers on the back of a postage stamp please.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

Winning at all costs

Dean Johnson makes a solid point with regards to the modern game. All of the diving that takes place isn't necesarilly nice to watch, but what about some of the calamitous fouls that pass for kick boxing but go unpunished? And the niggly fouls? And the fact that if you're built like an outhouse you can just run through a player more diminutive than yourself (people complain that Osman isn't big enough, but if you put your body between a man and the ball they shouldn't get away with ploughing through you on the way to the ball because of your size!).

The whole thing about Johnson cheating, is that I havn't seen him dive once; if a player is too quick and clever for a defender then the defender shouldn't get away with fouling him in the area because the striker outwitted him, that's bloody ludicrous! How dare you induce a foul from an inferior lumox of a defender.

As a very slight teenager, I would never get decisions from refs against bigger lads, even if it was a blatant foul. If the striker is being dishonest in conning the ref, then isn't the defender equally dishonest if a foul is not given? No, when Ian Pearce brought AJ down he then had a go at him afterwards "How dare you make me blatantly foul you because I'm ten million fuckin' light years behind you. You bad man!" Or something to that effect (not). Was anyone questioning Ian Pearces integrity? Or Andy Todds? As for Davis, just because you couldn't control fowling AJ doesn't mean it isn't a penalty... You were the last man. Off!

As for Neil Warnock, I hope his stay in the Premiership is very short one as he is boring me rambling on about how bloody great it is. Oh, in 1994 Sheff Utd got relegated and we stayed up due to some very dodgy moments involving a certain Hans Segers, they've only just come back. To add insult to injury, when they were looking a good bet for a return, Mr Kendall returning for liason number three with his beloved Blues and brought half his mediocre squad with him. Neil Warnock, as a Sheff Utd fan, would have been spitting sour grapes regardless; AJ just got caught in the headlights. Phew!! Rant over. Back to work...
John McCabe, West Derby, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

Early Closing

There might not be many empty seats tonight but in previous League Cup matches there have been thousands of ticketless fans turning up an hour before kick-off and unable to get in. Is this purely an Everton thing or does every ground have to stop sales two hours before kick-off? And why do they call it a box office? It ain't the bleedin' opera! In the good old days I could scrounge a fiver off me dad, run down County Road and pay on the gate. Box office my arse!
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (8/11/06)

Thank You, Southend

With Man Utd being giant-killed last night, Sir Alex has no reason to stop Tim Howard getting cup-tied by playing for Everton tonight. Bad news for Turner but good news for Everton.
John Cottee, Romford  (8/11/06)

We shall see... — Michael

Youth Policy

To all those who doubt the wisdom of a youth policy or academy if you prefer, I would simply say cast your minds back to the 50s and recall the team produced by a certain Matt Busby. Incidentally there wasn't a foreigner amongst them.
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (8/11/06)

Uh?

When I'm 75

I am 59 and reckon, God willing, that I will be able to keep going to Everton regularly until I am 75. What do I expect to see then? Will Moyes still be there with grey hair and still 4-5-1? Will Beattie be fatter than ever still be trundling around making no contribution? Will Anichebe be a legend at United having started less than 10 first team games for us? Will we still have two 35-year-olds rotating in the back four? You may think that is ridiculous but when are things going to change? We have had Moyes a good while now and he shows no signs. Am I wrong to hope that in 16 years time we will be different?
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (8/11/06)

Just look on the bright side: if Sir Alex retires soon then Moyes will have beaten his 20-year stint! Rejoice!!! — Michael

Breaking butterflies on the wheel

Ah, the true Evertonian way. Seemingly Patrick Boyle is hopeless. Well he is all of 18 years of age and so I am sure he will cherish the way the Royal Blue family is getting behind him. Hell, we have broken the spirit of better than the likes of him. Maybe he should get a tattoo, assault other players, spend his life on the sick ? and then he can become a Goodison icon?
Alan McGuffog, Nantwich  (8/11/06)

Everton RIP

200 hundred games, spent a fortune... and learned nowt! That`s my verdict on David Moyes. So ok, things are better than they were under Smith but so they bloody should be! Do we judge Everton managers on their ability to avoid relegation? Seems most of you do!

Personally, like Tony Marsh, I expect a little more and apart from very occasional `runs`, I don`t get it. Moyes is a `Third Division` manager, make no mistake, (he won fuck all at the second tier!) and came here because he was cheap and said the right things to the twat at the top. So he`s here for ten years ? or perhaps for ever ? Everton, RIP!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (8/11/06)

Another Tony Marsh Gaffe

As usual, Tony Marsh, seems to be missing the point. Nobody is saying the youngsters will never be good enough ? it's just at present they are not up to it. Molyneux at present is not as good as Osman so if Moyes played him and dropped Osman the team would be worse. At this moment, Anichebe is not as good as Johnson or Beattie. So you cannot drop them to give Anichebe games because it would be weakening the team. If Moyes weakened the team, started to lose games and slipped down the table then you, Tony Marsh, would be the biggest critic.

Moyes simply has to play his best players and try to develop the youngsters as they go along. Someday Molyneux, Anichebe and even Boyle should hopefully be good enough to be first team regulars. But first they need to gain experience by loan spells at lower league clubs or getting regular substition appearances for Everton.

You use Man Utd as a prime example of how to develop youngsters. I couldn't agree more. Sir Alex would play Giggs and then rest him, just as Moyes was doing with Rooney. Man Utd have some highly rated youngsters at the club now but you won't find them in their first team because the majority of them are out on-loan gaining experience. Ben Foster, Giuseppe Rossi, Chris Eagles, Lee Martin ? all out on loan.

Ask Liverpool where their highly rated youngsters are: Scott Carson, Darren Potter, Daniel O'Donnell are all out on-loan with Jack Hobbs and Paul Anderson currently gaining experience in the reserves.

Face it Tony, the Moyes approach to youngsters is the same as most managers. If Moyes fielded a team tonight including of Turner, Boyle, Molyneux, Hughes, Vidarsson, Anichebe and Vaughan and Everton lost would you really shrug it off as 'acceptable' or would you be on here pissed complaining Moyes has never had a cup run and demanding his head? Moyes has a better chance of winning if he fields his experienced players tonight, so that's what he'll do ? and I cant blame him.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (8/11/06)

Young Guns

Hi Tony, I have to take issue with your false logic in the last post. Fowler, Owen and Gerrard all got a fair crack of the whip at Liverpool... yes, but they're all world-class players! Scholes and Co likewise, but this is no reason to believe all clubs should be throwing their young players into action. Very few, in fact, can afford to do so and very few have the players good enough to do a job.

You can't just say "give youth a chance as a general rule". You have to take each case individually, which is ? I think ? the point that most people in this mailbag are making.

Moyes's job is to get the best results for Everton and if that means leaving a youngster on the bench or out of the squad then I don't really care. If you've been attending hundreds of youth games that I don't know about and have some inside knowledge about our dazzling young stars, then fine. I suspect, however, that you have very little reason to believe any of these players you are calling for are ready to play in the first team. Victor is getting a chance and will continue to do so, but the idea of fielding players simply because they are young is nonsensical.

I have, in fact, seen Lee Molyneux play on a number of occasions as I used to regularly watch youth team games. I agree with you in part because he always looked pretty tidy. I think that was why Moyes signed him on his first professional contract earlier this year until 2008.

I think my main point is that you are simply clutching at anything and everything to back up your unswayable opinion that Moyes doesn't know what he's doing. Picking up on his failure to field Lee Molyneux is hardly convincing.
Paul Foster, London  (8/11/06)

Youngsters

Tony Marsh, you are putting your faith in youngsters because Everton are not the kind of team looking likely to win the league. So in desperate vain you need want the security of youth. So, despite Moyesy playing Anichebe, Vaughan, Turner, Ruddy, Hughes and he who shall not be named, you would say Moysey is a shit coach?

You'll say sending Paddy Boyle down to the end of the earth is a bad thing.... where have Ruddy, Turner, Hughes been? You have lost the plot on this one mate, because gaining experience is what it is all about and their feedback to their coaches.

Like Lyndon yesterday, you have made a bit of a prick of yourself. Like Lyndon your unlikely to withdraw theatric comments!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (8/11/06)

Saturday TV footy

The website I've used for the last couple of weeks is: www.livefooty.doctor-serv.com. It covers most of the games (but not all) but it ain't failed me yet on Everton...
Nick Dommett, London, UK  (8/11/06)

Time To Top My Self

I don't get it, lads. I never mentioned Boyle being any good. I never said Boyle should play first-team football. I was putting forward Lee Molynuex as an alternative midfielder to Leon Osman. It was Paul Attress who used Boyle as a reason not to play youngsters. Then he says it's great that Moyes plays them. All I did was give a reason as to why Boyle might of fucked up. Then a reason why that wouldn't happen to Molyneux because he still at Everton.

So by your judgement, Paul, Molynuex will be shite because Boyle was shite at Norwich? What a load of crap that is. As for Wayne Rooney please don't go there. Moyes had to play Rooney. He was the worst-kept secret in the game and was going to play at 16 regardless of who was manager or what club he was at.

Moyes was one of the reasons the twat left but you forget to mention that. As for Vaughan, well he was the only other striker on our books apart from Beattie at the time so he was bound to play at some stage that season. As for Anichebe, he is not exactly getting a decent run out, his he? In fact he is getting the same treatment both Rooney and Vaughn got from Moyes.

Play for the first team; do well... then get dropped. Yes, brilliant that is, Paul. The fact is we will never know how good any of the youngsters are unless you play them. Alex Ferguson does it all the time and it doesn't do that club much harm does it. Liverpool are the same. Fowler, Owen, Gerrard all came out of the youth ranks but they all got a fair crack of the whip.

Okay Boyle is no good so let's not try any more kids is that it. Then wave goodbye as the Limo drives out of Bellfield with player and agent in tow, heading towards the M62 no doubt. If we havent got the money for new blood then what's the alternative? Because I would love to hear it.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

Sign him up in January, Mr Moyes

Freddy Eastwood for Southend tonight looked great. Despite limited time on the ball, he convinced me that he has the touch, vision and confidence to play in the Prem.

Oh, and isn't it a shame Man Utd are out?!!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (7/11/06)

Makes ya wonder if other giant-killing acts can occur on Wednesday night ... *Ahem*!!! — Michael

Re: Paddy Boyle

The reason why Moyes will not risk putting young players in the starting line up is becuase of the very fact that he knows this season is on a knife edge for him. Moyes needs to get Everton into the business end of the table, he is taking care of himself this season and that reflects in his youth policy and team selections.

Time will tell but like most Blues fans I am expecting Moyes to throw the kids in when the clock has ticked down and the wheels have come off. Sounds just like Saturday.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

Paddy Boyle

Tony Marsh claims that David Moyes sent Paddy Boyle to the other side of the Earth (Norwich) to a team that was "bottom of the league" and really struggling. Really? Please check your facts Tony before you make comments.

  • Boyle joined Norwich in September and at that time they had played 8, won 4, drawn 2 and lost 2. Hardly bottom of the league form.
  • Boyle played three games for Norwich and they conceeded 8 goals and lost every game.
The whole point of Tony Marsh's comment is that if young players are good enough they are old enough. I completely agree and if Boyle was good enough he would have stood out as one of Norwich's best players but by all accounts he was completely out of his depth.

How far away Norwich is and the condition of the team spirit are of course important factors to why Boyle failed but the excitement of getting a chance to prove himself should have inspired Boyle to at least make an impact at Norwich. If he can't do that then you can't blame Moyes for not risking him at Premiership level.

We would all like to see young players coming through the ranks but the standard is so high in the Premiership that Moyes cannot take the risk of fielding a weakened team and losing games. Why is it such an issue? Moyes has worked superbly with youngsters, Osman, Hibbert & Rooney were all developed into first team players. Hughes has been blooded this season, Anichebe is now getting regular involvement and when fit Vaughan will pick up where he left off.

Here's a question for you Tony: Which Premiership manager fielded a 16-year-old Rooney and watched him break the youngest ever goalscorer record? Which manager then fielded an even younger 16-year-old Vaughn and watched him break the same record? How many managers can claim to have had not one but two record-breaking 16-year-olds score for them?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

Good response, Paul. I think you're leading on points... possibly even a TKO ;) I feel Tony lost it pretty much with his Paddy Boyle diatribe. To base one's arguements on unproven players is always risky. ? Michael

Raising Questions

On reading Jim's article and the responses from Liam and Lyndon, the problem I have is that I find myself agreeing with all three. This is brought about by wittnessing virtually all matches played under Mr Moyes I have to say I have seen some progress especially in quality but after five years I still regard us as a Jekyl and Hyde team.

We seem to have good halves ? whether it be seasons or games ? but never have the consistency to see us through whole games or seasons. It is not the progress I would have expected after five years.

I am in no position to be anti- or pro-Moyes as I don't know all the mitigating factors that may contribute to this situation. I can merely comment from what I see, season upon season in the main, but game by game can be an indicator to the two-half consistency bit. What I am seeing is progress both on and off the pitch but not with the dynamism I would like as a fan.

I think my dissappointment with the five years is not the amount of progress made but rather after those five years I still can't recognise a style and pattern of play that says 'This is Everton the Moyes way'. I think that until we get to that point then we will all be struggling to put our finger on just what is causing our Jekyl and Hyde performances. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (7/11/06)

The Moyes Way??? No... I'll restrain myself. Hold that thought! ? Michael

Leave it out!

Come on now, Tony, leave it out! Poor Patrick Boyle, being sent down to Norwich to play in the second tier of English football!

It's not the first time you've had a go at Moyes for not giving youth a chance, but where are these great young players he let slip through the net now? It's all too easy to call for players to be brought into the side when you've never actually seen them play.

You speculate that Boyle's confidence could've been dented if he had been given a bit of stick down there at Norwich. Well if he's not good enough to turn in a performance or two at Norwich, then fair enough. And what do you think would happen if he had a couple of nightmare performances for the Blues? Would it boost his confidence if he was skinned by players considerably better than those faced in the Championship!?

Fair enough mate, you don't like Moyes. This game is all about opinions and I don't hold that against you. But to argue that sending a young, developing and utterly unproven player to a good club playing at a decent level is an example of our manager's incompetence is ludicrous!
Paul Foster, London  (7/11/06)

Website to watch 3 o'clock games

Does anyone no of a website were you can watch matches on a Saturday that kick off at 3 o'clock? It would be much appriciated if you could post it for me.
Mike Atherton, Wigan  (7/11/06)

Somehwere in the mailbag in the last few weeks... Perhaps Garry knows? — Michael

No Respect!

Everton never seeem to get any respect from the referee's or the media. On Saturday's game there was no mention of the three penalties we could have had or the red card which should have been given for the elbow by Boa Morte on Arteta [much worse than AvdM's red against Liverpool] instead of a free kick to Everton. Arteta is off the pitch and they score from it. All we saw on the highlights was Fulham's goal and a big issue with the coin toss on the goalscorer.

There was not a lot of talk when Andy Johnson played for Palace about being a diver but now he play's for Everton all the media and other manager's are talking which bring's me to Arsenal's Henry who seems to have a knack at flicking the ball up at a player's hand in the penalty box on purpose and most times wins a penalty. Let's hope we will get our share of bad decisions going our way.
Peter Knight, Vancouver,Canada  (7/11/06)

Dry your eyes Paddy

Poor old Paddy Boyle shipped ALL THE WAY to Norwich to step up to Championship football after spells at Walsall, Rushden and Diamonds and Chester City last season. Wow, the poor kid must have been beside himself, I hope he took his mum with him!
Dick Bill, York  (7/11/06)

Response to David Carrol

Couldn't agree more. Carsley is effective in a five-man midfield defensively but, when we've got the ball, he is totally useless. He turns back on defenders when they have it and is scared of the ball. For a player as experienced as him it's a joke. surely Moyes can drill into him to want the ball more and do the simple things a center midfielder should do?
James Smith, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

For Arguement's Sake

Paul Atress, you have once again found it necessery to come out with a complete load of bollocks. I don't rate Moyes one bit as a coach but I know he won't be sacked because Bungalow Bill told me so in person last season. So stop making shit up.

As for your other ludicrous comparision of Lee Molyneux and Paddy Boyle, what are you on mate? See if you can work this one out. Take a young up-and-coming player from the reserves and tell him he is being shipped 300 miles away to the Hillbilly capital of England. Norwich. Take the said player and throw him straight in to the first team while they are bottom of the league and really struggling. Add to that the fact that the manager is two or three games away from the sack and what do you get? A young lad, whose confidence was probably already shattered by the move to bumpkinsville, now being targeted by the fans down there and the kid is miles from his family and friends.

Now take another young lad from the reserves who lives 5 miles away from Goodison. Put him in to the first team while things are going reasonably well and give him a game or two. The fans will take to him straight away because of the fact he is a local kid who is a mad Evertonian. Confidencwe will not be an issue in this case, unlike poor Paddy Boyle being shunted around the country to a mickey mouse club like Norwich.

Can you see the difference, Paul? It doesn't take rocket science to work it out, does it, mate? It's no wonder Boyle had trouble down there and it's another of Moyes's fuck-ups for sending one of our kids to a struggling outfit like them.

Yes young players should be protected but at some time, if they are good enough, then they are old enough. Playing them at Goodison wo'nt do them any harm. Sending them to the other side of the planet just might.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

Italia! Italia! Italia!

Thoroughly agree with Peter Laing's assessment of the current refereeing situation. It was stated on TV over the weeekend that only in Italy and England are referees NOT required to answer to the press in the aftermath of a game. I don't think the English game has the same problems as the Italian game, but I wouldn't bet my life savings on this.

I don't believe that referees are directly cheating, however, I do believe that they are massively under pressure from the media. Let's be honest the media are only interested in viewing figures and size of circulation. The media do have an agenda and they will always influence how people think about particlar players or clubs. This agenda cannot help but influence the referees and how they perform in a match.

A referee has one viewing of a given situation and has to react immediately, as he is human, he is subject to the same influences as every other person, with the added pressure of the TV and press scrutinising every single decision he has to make.

The FA with its various remits and policy decisions excarcerbates this pressure, and it is the FA who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs. They do not govern the game, they only pander to sponsors and have sold every fan down the river to do so. They cannot act independently as their income streams rely on the TV companies and main sponsors, also they are scared to death of the English G18 clubs leaving to form a breakaway European league.

Until and unless Everton's profile as a club attracts greater numbers of viewers, readers, listeners etc, then we will have to just grin and bear the situation because that is how it is. It ain't good but, hey, what can we do about it?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (7/11/06)

Response to 'Raising Questions'

In some ways I agree with Jim Hourigan's article about Carsley and Cahill. In Carsley, we have a midfield player who is not comfortable with the ball. On Saturday against Fullham I watched him boot the ball 50 metres nowhere near a blue shirt when he only needed to have a touch and give a two-yard pass; he would not get into any other Premiership team. In today's game you need to be a footballer as well as have strength. Also Davies contributes little going forward. We can't keep possesion, which puts pressure on to the back four. I would hope, if we are to keep progressing, we have to sign two midfielders in January.
David Carroll, Lancs  (7/11/06)

Diving

I see Johnson is getting some stick for being a diver... wasn't it just a few years ago that we were complaining that Rooney didn't fall down in the box? (It could have been Franny Jeffers, but definitely one of the two...)

Didn't we agree? Seems to me that the rules are clear. If there is illegal contact then it's a penalty, even if you do make it theatrical. The fact that other managers are talking about it is just so that they can put some doubt in the referees' minds when their players bring down AJ.

At least we have a player who can get penalties again! I mean this because (differently to some other seasons) we have a player who gets into the box with the ball and because of this is always likely to draw some contact.
Michael Parrington, Melbourne, Australia  (7/11/06)

Winning at all costs

Until we English change our mentality about cheating, we will never win anything. We are always being told to "play sportingly" when it is quite clearly obvious that "sporting" behaviour DOES NOT win you titles and trophies For me, it's the English mentality that prevails here, glorious failure yet a moral victory for "sporting behaviour".

I for one loved the Barca v Chelsea game last week because it was two teams doing absolutely everything they could in order to influence the result, punctuated by some great football. This is the modern game, you will either have to adapt or fall by the wayside, get over it. And it's not just football, the All Blacks cheated many times at the weekend yet they are the best in the world ? Why? Because they will win at all costs and not revel in glorious failure.

My point here is that people really should lay off AJ, we should embrace his attitude to do everything he can to help the club win. You can either be a typically pious Brit on their high horse or you can embrace the fact that we finally have a striker of international class on our books who will do anything for the blue cause.
Dean Johnson, Leeds  (7/11/06)

Johnson and Contact

Isn't the problem the referees? It's possible to foul somebody and not bring them down and just as possible to bring them down without foulling them. If this was recognised more often, many good tackles would no longer go wrongly punished and many fouls currently overlooked would be punished. It would also prevent the need for certain players to "make the most of contact", offer proper protection for skillfull players, and give more scope for proper ball-then-man tackling.
Nick Withers, London  (7/11/06)

Abysmal officials

The latest controversy surrounding Graham Poll's handling of the Chelsea v Spurs game has once again thrown the spotlight on the diabolical standards of referees. Without adopting a one-dimensional paranoid perspective in viewing that we are more hard done to than most as all teams suffer at the hands of inept officials, the decisions by officials have cost us points.

It seems, though, that the media will focus on the decisions it interprets as affecting the teams in the ascendency, i.e. Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool. The offside decision which led to Ameobi's offside goal got hardly any play in the media and we are now subject to Johnson being over-hyped as a diver.

The sooner more players and managers bring the game into 'disrepute' by challenging these decisions in public and effect change the better, the FA being the faceless bureucrats that they are will only react when the pressure hots up.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (7/11/06)

Hourigan

So, Hourigan, you want to get rid of Bill Kenwright? In future, do the decent thing and call the man by his correct name. Get rid of Cahill, Carsley, Osman, Alan Irvine, and eventually David Moyes? Now please list all the players and management team who are just waiting to come to Everton at this moment in time. Get real.
Frank McGregor, Sarnia, Canada  (6/11/06)

What is it with you people who can't read? Jim says nothing about getting rid of Kenwright. He says nothing about getting rid of Cahill. He says nothing about getting rid of Carsley. He says nothing about getting rid of Osman. He says nothing about getting rid of Irvine. He says nothing about getting rid of Moyes.

He says we need some fresh ideas when it comes to attacking... are you one of these defeatists who thinks we're doing great because we are leading scorers behind the unapproachable Chelsea and Man Utd? We need to 'kick-on' ? not wallow in mid-table mediocrity, happy that we have made progress since the hideous Johnson years (er... that would be the other Johnson. Agent Johnson. But you probably know him by his proper name...) ? Micahel

Important: CONTACT

AJ - Serial Penalty Winner!

In response to all the people who say AJ makes the most of contact with him. Just remember the important word in all this is CONTACT. It does not matter how a player falls, wether he does a triple back somersault with half pike and finishes it off a 40-yard roll, it does not take away the fact that if there was contact then it is a FOUL!

There have been several penalty appeals this season when AJ didn't get the decision yet should have. These were still FOULS no matter what.

Two seasons ago Milan Baros tried to kick Stubbsy's bollock over the Anfield Road stand into Stanley Park, nay, Goodison Park. But if Stubbs had flung himself into the air, rolled round for 5 minutes then rolled all the way down the tunnel into the treatment room, would Baros not have deserved to be sent off because Stubbs's reaction by exaggerating the CONTACT?
Steve Millward, Liverpool  (6/11/06)

I agree with everything you say, Steve, but my argument is that it is all about perception. If the referee is in any doubt about the contact made, he will use the player's reaction as a guide. If he thinks the player is making a meal of it to try and con him into giving a penalty, he's not going to award one. My point is that it is in AJ's best interests not to play up contact too much lest he further the reputation he already seems to have based on comments made by Messers Warnock, Wenger and Coleman ? Lyndon

In response to response (smile)

I don't express my opinion lightly either Lyndon! I appreciate your point of view, but I think you are way off base in terms of your opinion.

Simply, its very EASY to label a guy like AJ, to Swan dive or roll around as you put it. Its very easy to make the assumption that is what he is doing. The difficult thing to do is to decide if he is honest. If he is a diver he is good at it, or is a an umpa lumpa that needs to get physically chucked into the crowds as the Times put it before he gets the decision. Your comments on here don't help, Lyndon.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  ()

In response

I will leave it as this: YOU said he SWAN dives.

I think, Lyndon, you are doing the bloke, the club, and the country a dis-service in expressing your opinion. I saw the same incident that you did and also looked closely at what happens to his bottom ankle as he is running forward. In the same moment that people will call him a cheat, another will see him for what he is.

If he was a cocky striker like BT perhaps I would see your point of view. As an Evertonian having now read it, I am more convinced you are wrong. You are of course entitled to you opinion as am I.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (06/11/06)

This is not an attempt to have the last word on this but just as I hope you understand that I don't express my opinion lightly I also just want to make sure it gets across that I'm not saying that Johnson is inventing contact in the way that the likes of Owen, Ronaldo and Klinsmann do/did. What I'm trying to say is that there was undeniable contact in both incidents I highlighted, but if the referee sees that he is "making the most of it" they will assume that he is trying to con them and he will get a reputation for diving. So, yes, "swan dive" was over-stating it and I'll retract that if I may, but I stand by the rest based on what I saw from TV evidence ? Lyndon

Book The Bastard!

FFS. Andrew Johnson wins one Premier League penalty and suddenly he is the new Klinsmann! Owen has done it for most of his career and he is a national treasure. Rooney ensured he went down against Portsmouth and gets a mild rebuke on MotD. All three are English; all three are good players... yet only the player who has the temerity to join EFC gets any consistent stick.

If he is such a cheat, how come the referees haven't booked him? Also don't remember there being all this fuss when he was 'DIVING' at Palace. Adrian "Baggies" Chiles has something personal against AJ and that's ok by me, but come on, Blues fans, don't believe the hype. Any player who regularly scores for the Blues seems to attact adverse publicity.

I hope AJ comes out of his barren run soon and shoves it down the throats of his critics. It can't be easy being told you are a cheat, when you rely upon your pace to score goals. Leave the AJ bashing to those who couldn't give a fig if the Blues never score again. Get behind AJ who is our only reasonable hope of having a half decent season.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (6/11/06)

See my reply to Eamonn, John. His pace will win penalties on its own but if he is seen to be making the most of contact (as Neil Warnock clearly felt he did) then he is going to attract negative publicity. It's that simple.

I'm fully behind AJ and this barren spell is not down to referees not awarding him penalties because he doesn't take them anyway. He will score goals and this drought will end and when it does I'll be as made up as any Blue. I've been crying out for a player like him at Goodison for years but I'm not going to let that cloud my judgement and go along with comments made in the press by Messers Neville and Beattie in support of their team-mate if I don't agree with them.

And just like I didn't care what AJ did at Palace, I don't care what Rooney does at United or what Owen does for whichever club he's playing for in a given season. I care about what Everton players do and how that affects my club ? Lyndon

AJ reply

Well, I wasn't far wrong from what Lyndon was about to suggest was I? To his eyes AJ has made too much of the contact, but has Lyndon ever run that quick as a striker? There is no way answer to this but stay on your feet lad? At the same time be denied the goalscoring opportunity that will see us win.

I, like all of us, can bemoan the refs but you can't say we don't need the goalscoring threat of AJ and then have the nonesense of the School of Science thrown at the bloke. Now, as Wenger put it, 8/10 where genuine and the other 2/10 are diving. What any other forward or midfielder would do in the box.

I am pretty ratted off by Lyndon's response to AJ because he is working hard and even more recently working off scraps and it tits me off that these claims are made. Well, I give the guy a break ? suggest you guys do the same.

Whilst I'm at it, how fucking hard has that guy worked for the team... yet the boo targets are BT and Davies?
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (6/11/06)

Easy, Eamonn. I'm one of AJ's biggest fans which is why I'm disappointed that he feels he needs to "buy" penalties rather than earn them. At no point did I suggest that he wasn't hard-working. On the contrary, I think AJ is one of the hardest, if not the hardest working players on the team. Neither was I dismissing the effects of contact being made when you're moving as quickly as he does. I was specifically referring to two incidents at which I have taken a close look and spotted a deliberate attempt to embellish the effects of the defender's tackle.

He clearly jerks his body in mid-air to accentuate the contact made once he has touched the ball on and knows that he won't catch up with it. Look at the replays if you can and tell me if I'm wrong. And no, I could never run that quick as a striker. I had no pace and my finishing wasn't much better! ? Lyndon

Fair Enough

Tony Marsh claims that Moyes should give young players like James Vaughn a shot and if they fail 'fair enough'. Paddy Boyle (who some were demanding be given his Everton debut) was sent to Norwhich on-loan and by all accounts was completely out of his depth.

Let's say Moyes does take a chance and starts playing Vaughan/Anichebe, what if they make mistakes and start costing Everton points? The standard of the Premiership is so high that you absolutely have to play your strongest team every week or you risk losing points.

Everton have lost only twice all season and Tony Marsh wants Moyes sacked. If using youngsters more results in further more regular losses does anyone really think Tony Marsh is going to claim 'fair enough'?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (6/11/06)

AJ

As the link is not working with Lyndon's article, I am going to pre suggest what he his about to say... basically, the bloke derserves an Oscar for his acting ability i.e. goes to ground without rolling around and making it look convincing. After all it will add to his goal total! IF he ever get to take the penalties.

From the outset, Moyes said that he doesn't want his team diving. Right Davey! Tell me any attacker in the box for any team who will not go down if contcat is made? One of the few things that does stike me about DM is that he wants, as it can be, honest footy. If I were him I would want the same based on the wall of money that confronts him.

Now the point is, does AJ deserve an Oscar, is he the best diver we have ever seen? Or is he an incredibly quick centre forward who defenders leave lazy legs against, or tug, pull. You will start to see my point when you consider that England hopes may rest one day on this young fella. The managers are shit scared of his pace, especially when he has a team behind him. Now the media need something to write about but if they dump into this lad then its a pretty sad state of affairs.

But that is this country's media. Andy Johnson is a breath of fresh air to this club and we need him. Now I still don't know what Lyndon has writen but I do know that I believe this to be an honest lad and I know I won't be alone in supporting him in getting his 30 goals this season!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (6/11/06)

The link should work now, Eamonn (you needed to scroll down a bit; one day I'll fix that page so it's easier to understand) ? Lyndon

THE Worst

Moyes needs to admit his mistake, albeit in private, and stop dragging us down with the weight of James Beattie. Why does he keep sticking him on when everyone knows he carries zero threat and the only way he'll change things is by basically giving the opposition a man advantage. He is clearly Moyes's biggest mistake from a very long list, but enough is enough. I really think he is the worst striker in the league...I would trade him in a heartbeat for any of the promoted clubs strikers, absolutely any of them, because despite some limitations at least they all carry some type of threat. Trouble is who would want him? He has been the ultimate 'white elephant' and will be difficult to give away.

More than anything else, the fact that Moyes persists with, and bought for a then club record, such a poor player shows how basic and clueless he is with regards to anything other than yard-dog football and workmanlike limited footballers. It even took him 5 years to realise that pace was important in this league... I remember pleading for him not to sign Beattie but get Bent and Camara for the same amount, before any of them moved... it's not rocket science.

The sad thing is that he's going nowhere and neither are we. Our only hope is that he goes of his own free will but Everton have always been a nice fat cash cow for limited performers, so I doubt it, unfortunately.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailand  (6/11/06)

Quality. Dont You Just Love It?

Well I see there are some people who are totally outraged that I dare question Deadly Dave's ablity to manage.

John Beesley: For every Lescott there is a Kr?ldrup. For every Cahill there is a Davies. For every Johnson there is a Beattie. For every Howard there is a Wright.

It's very dodgy ground you walk when you try to defend Moyes's transfer record, so beware. By the way, John, seen much of the invisible Van lately? Another one of Moyes's superb signings.

In reality are we playing better football now than we were 5 years ago. Sometimes yes we are, but at other times there is absolutely no difference. Quality football is still as rare today as it was under Smith. The results may be a little better but then again so is the size of the budget Moyes has had to work with.

We can go on for ever arguing about this subject but as sure as night follows day Moyes will stick to his agenda and we will still be shite to watch. Moyes will continue to play the same players who do absolutely nothing week in week out at the expense of some fine young talent we have on our books.

There's a kid from Huyton in our reserves at the moment, Lee Molyneuex, who is an out standing prospect. This lad has broken every record in the book at the young International level and has been the Captain of England for years. A fierce tackler who can run with the ball who has great vision, scores goals and is as hard as nails. At 20 years old he is just what we need and is twice the player Osman or Davies will ever be. Where is he? Why doesn't he get a chance? He is stuck in the stiffs because Moyes is a coward and won't try anything new. If he fails, fair enough, but give the lad a go for fuck's sake.

So consumed by the fear of losing, Moyes sticks to the same old shite, hoping to catch a lucky break once a game. If I was Anichebe's representative, I would be calling other clubs as we speak so as to get the lad out of here. Vaughan's another who got pissed about. Scores on his debut and has Goodison rocking. What's his reward? Banished back to the reserves never to be seen again. Then gets injured playing for England. Nice one, Deadly.

You see, we do have options at our disposal so let's use them. Every other club gives their young stars a go and by that I mean a proper go. Not 10 mins at the end of a game. Moyes needs to wise up quickly and so do some of you out there.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (6 11 06)

I agree that Anichebe deserves more playing time than he has been getting but let's not forget that he is still only 18 and he showed some of his green-ness at Fulham (one incident when he gave the ball away in the middle of the pitch comes to mind). I struggle with balancing the fact that I agree with Moyes's strategy of easing young players into the first-team set up and not over-burdening them with expectation with the fact that I believe he is more capable of turning a game in our favour than Beattie.

Regarding young players in general, there is a litany of players who have shown all the potential in the world at Reserve level but failed in the senior side: Cadamarteri, Branch, Barlow, O'Connor to name a few. So, I would be very wary of pinning any hopes on untried Academy players or criticising Moyes too much for not using them.

Finally, James Vaughan was not banished to the stiffs by Moyes. As I recall, he was injured in the summer following his goalscoring cameo and hasn't been healthy enough since to figure in the first team. That may change soon, of course, but let's not re-write history.
Lyndon

Put up or shut up

Dear Michael, I'm all in favour of being negative when required. There is nothing wrong in expressing our anger when we believe that manager / player / chairman or anyone else is doing our club a disservice. However, the one thing I can?t stand is those who continue to be negative without offering any alternative. This is why I cannot understand the almost pathological hatred directed towards Moyes by some sections, and I fail to see why these ?boo-boys? are supported by you more often than not.

The likes of Tony Marsh and yourself are part of the problem we face in trying to succeed. Over-reacting from game to game rather than looking at the long-term is not helpful. The latest blast against Moyes after the Fulham game has been ridiculous. They had one lucky deflected goal and we suffered a stonewall penalty being turned down. On another day we could have run out 2-0 winners. But the "anti" squad have to have their dig as per usual, again without any alternative ideas.

We have a relatively young manager who has shown himself to be one of the best in the Premiership. Yes, he has not been 100% perfect but he has shown the potential to be one of the greats in my opinion. Operating on a limited budget against other clubs with huge transfer budgets and wage bills he is doing well and improving all the time. Moyes is building a young and hungry team with a long-term view, we just need to be patient.

What are the alternatives you are suggesting? Sack Moyes? But then who would you bring in. I don?t believe there are any better managers out there. Obviously Tony Marsh and friends do.

It also appears that they believe we can magic more players out of thin air. Yes we do need more quality, but we live in the real world on a limited budget. Moyes has made some scoops in getting the likes of Lescott, Arteta, Cahill and Yobo. Granted he has had a couple of stinkers like Beattie and Koldrup, but lesson learnt and Moyes has improved his operating in the transfer market.

Finally I would like to challenge you and the other members of the "anti" squad to come up with a realistic plan on how you would like to see changes at our club. I look forward to seeing them. In the meantime I would ask Tony Marsh and those who support him to ?put up or shut up?.
Ian Turgoose, Sheffield  (6/11/06)

I think you'll find many people ? not just the "anti"s ? came up with pretty sensible alternative ideas that David Moyes is simply not interested in: Victor Anichebe on at 55 mins instead of 85 mins for starters.

Moyes is not leaving: FACT. You people need to get past all these boring facts that are run out at these times and focus on the real issues. We proved in the first half that we could win the game with these players: we ended up losing it. There are lessons to be learned. Focus on them, and not on repeating this boring Moyes Mantra that we have to listen to as justification for perpetual mediocrity.

I have always been a strong advocate for Moyes improving his mangement skills. If you think he is still young and learning his trade, then you probably agree he needs to improve. He shows small signs here and there, but the gaffes are just too much to accept. Substitions are something he vary rarely gets right.

I have to run now, but hopefully others will try to educate you... in the mistaken belief that you are actually interested in reading anything they suggest... but you're not really, are you? ? Michael

Can we be ruthless?

It is evident from reading the comments in the mailbag that the majority of Evertonians who have posted are frustrated by the inability of the players to convert both chances and possession into a positive result and three points. The onus on Johnson and Cahill to continually produce the goods is self-evident, both players in recent weeks falling foul to the opposition's plan to nullify their threat through counter tatics.

I would suggest that both have also suffered at the hands of the referee, Johnson for being perceived a 'serial' penalty seeker and Cahill as an aggressive battler too often and unfairly penalised. To thrive on the 4-5-1 we need greater productivity through midfield in terms of goals. Cahill has weighed in but Osman, Davies and Carsley are yet to get off the mark.

From what we have seen so far this season, and due to Carsley's age, it is likely that these are the three key positions that require strengthening. Without the financial clout to remedy this situation, we will continue to make do and mend, toothless when a ruthless streak is required, and frustratingly close to kicking on to the next level.

Colm commented last week that the Fulham game and Arsenal cup tie are likely to be the litmus test on measuring our progress to date this season; frustratingly it seems that we are faced with the chances to move on we are never be able to take them, but I suppose that's what they call the blues.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (6/11/06)

Premiership Contenders?

But Michael, if Everton had have scored a couple more goals and won those games they should have (Newcastle, Man City etc.) they would be challenging Man Utd and Chelsea for the league?

Do you really expect that?
John Cottee, Romford  (6/11/06)

I'm just saying the same thing as David Moyes is saying. How could we have gotten the improved results he says our play deserved (and I whole-heartedly agree with him ? WHY DON'T YOU???) without us scoring more goals? Think about it. — Michael

Stating the obvious...

Terrible result over the weekend which every blue must be disappointed with. We need to start making the most of our chances because, if we carry on in the same form which we have mostly been in since the derby, another mid-table finish is on the cards ? and I feel we are better then that. Feel? I know we are!!

Yet we are certainly not as bad as some folks on here are suggesting. I would have loved to have been in the trenches with them. "We're all gonna DIE!!!"

I do honestly believe European qualification is not impossible; however, I would like to know whether we have any money in the pot for a couple of players in January as I believe we could do with strengthening our midfield. Priority position? Don't we always seem to have a priority position to fill these days?

We must have at least a couple of million from the Kilbane sale but not much point going into depth into this until closer to the window; however, you'd think/hope Moyes will be inquiring now to get all it sorted ASAP when the window opens.

We also have the deadwood in the ranks that we need to ship out, but easier said then done as we have to find some unbeknown suckers to take them on who don't realise just how shite they are.

In fact, it sounds easy all this manager lark. Bump Moyes an I'll have a bash.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (06/11/06)

Unless we can afford to bring in three or four new faces (which we can't) then we're going to need the "deadwood" as back-up in case of an injury or suspension crisis. Yes, we have to hope that there is money in the kitty and that Moyes knows who he wants but his track record in the January windows does not bode well for wholesale changes ? Lyndon

Managers and all that...

Have you noticed how the bigger and better clubs have settled on a mangager and are sticking with them? Martin O'Neill had to go to a dormant "giant" like Villa to get a job even though he had been mentioned with all the big clubs, I guess Alan Curbishley will have to do the same also... wow, did somebody say Alan Curbishley?
Dick Bill, York  (6/11/06)

Not Scoring Enough?

Dear Michael, I'm not defending the bad result at Fulham but in your reply to Rob Beesley you claimed Everton still don't score enough goals.

Just like to remind you that the Fulham game was the first this season that Everton have failed to scored in. So far this season Everton have scored 16 goals and only Chelsea and Man Utd have scored more then that.

There have been problems this season but thankfully scoring goals has not been one of them (touch wood).
John Cottee, Romford  (6/11/06)

Sorry to be argumentative, John, and not being interested in these comparisons, I'm thinking of the games Everton have dominated but failed to win. I think you know the list. Am I wrong in believing that, if only we had scored more goals, we would surely have won those games?

Johnson is now without any doubt in one of his goal droughts. Certain teams have figured out our main threats and developed strategies to counter them. It prevents us from scoring goals, especially in games that we dominate. Yes, it's a bit like being Arsenal I suppose... except that we are not Arsenal ? and I don't care about them ? we are Everton. Do I need to state the obvious? ? Michael

180

At last! A sensible response to the disapointment of Saturday's result from Robert Pullen. From the posts I have read on here, you'd think we were all Newcastle supporters. Thank you, Robert, for a sense of perspective and some constructive criticism of the game and our current position. Our first-half display was enjoyable but for some wasteful finishing and even Arsenal are guilty of worse misses than us in the last week.

I too was screaming for the introduction of Anichebe when Beattie was sent on. I really think it's time for Moyes to put some faith in him because in every game I've seen him introduced he's made a significant and immediate impact. But I really enjoyed the performance of Howard. If we can secure his signature in January we will have sorted out at least one position for the next 10 years.

The single most significant element that lost us the game on Saturday was our predicatbility and that is largely down to the fact that we don't have enough money to invest in two or three more creative midfielders. Coleman spots Arteta is causing much of the damage and stops his flow. No one else to introduce of his creativity and that's that. Maybe we could buy Claus Jensen who scored a magnificent goal and handled the embarrasing episode with the coin thrower with more dignity than I have witnessed in football for years. We should all applaud him when Fulham come to Goodison.

I'm proud to be an Evertonian so could that bloke employ his undoubted skills down his local in front of the dartboard when we are playing because Phil 'The Power' Taylor would be forced to retire.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (6/11/06)

So far, so so-so...

As a Moyes-doubter, I expressed my optimism for the season due to his early purchase of Howard, Lescott and Johnson. All three have worked well and up until yesterday afternoon we were sitting in the top six, where we should be after five years of anyone's management and spending.

So give him credit for getting us there AND keep some perspective. We have an instrinsically negative manager who has taken five years to realise that a bit of pace and a proven goalscorer gets you up this poor league. It will take him time to learn how to be positive, as it will the players, who have been coached to hoof and run. Saturday was a case in point ? good first half, went a goal down, reverted to run-and-hoof type.

Let's make our minds up about our club. If we are 'poor, hard-up, battling Everton', we will, as previously said, finish anywhere between 5th and 17th. We will also have to accept that as a mid-table side of limited ambition, we will lose to fellow mid-table sides like Fulham and Boro, while beating Liverpool and Spurs.

On the other hand, if we are the 'thriving on and off the pitch with forward thinking chairman and manager Everton', we really ought to be finishing teams off and having a ruthless streak, rather than blaming refereeing decisions when they go against us and forgetting the ones that have gone for us.

Here we are in November, the 'big four' are looking ominous and surpise, surprise, O'Neill's Villa are ahead of us even before they start spending. Looks to me like the rest of us are battling for sixth spot.

Moyes has improved the squad, yet we are still looking like a visual representation of his inconsistent management. We can be great, we can be awful, we're usually in between, like most of the Premiership. If this is better than our worst-performing managers, fair enough. If this is genius and a job for life, I'm going out to buy a dictionary!

While we're at it, let's root out the coin-thrower, the morons who applauded him and have a word with the manager who tried to defend the indefensible! To think some people wonder why the media refuse to regard us as 'sexy'!?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (6/11/06)

Some very sensible and balanced comments amid the... well, less so. It's that lack of ruthlessness in making sure our domination counts. I'd agree with all of that, Paul. ? Michael

Andy Johnson

Once again, James Beattie has come in for critism for the Fulham performance even though he was on the bench for most of it.

I feel people are being unfair on Beattie, after all it was Andy Johnson who missed two clear cut chances, Johnson who tried to kick when a diving header would have scored, Johnson who failed to get a penalty because of his diving reputation, and it's Johnson who hasn't scored five games now.

I have to admit the Fulham games was the first time I watched Johnson and thought of him as Championship quality.
John Cottee, Romford  (6/11/06)

Ouch! He won't like reading that! — Michael

Marsh Out

"Predictable, horrible, inevitable, pathetic and emmbarrassing" ...

I thought Marshey was describing his daily diatribes, because all Evertonians I know think exactly that of him. I think most would add tedious and unpleasant to his own list of adjectives.

The fact is, we lost a game we should have won with a team still suffering badly from a bout of illness. How many Everton managers have won at Fulham over the years then?

We're playing much better football than we have played for years (I went to the game yesterday and we could have been 3 goals up at half time).

Things didn't go our way and the second half was massively disappointing. Having seen the vast majority of our games this season I'm still massively optimistic. Aside from 1 or 2 examples, we've dominated every game I've seen and that is something I've not been able to say for many years. This team has purpose, spirit, no small measure of skill and a genuine understanding of how to adapt (at last).

We will turn a lot of teams over this season with that combo and I can't wait to enjoy it. Marsh, meanwhile, will continue to revel in the inevitable disappointments. All teams lose games and all teams put in bad performances. It doesn't mean they're moving in the wrong direction and it doesn't mean the manager is clueless.

Looking forward to seeing the usual faces there for the Arsenal game. COYB
John Richardson, London  (6/11/06)

Definition of Marsh = Wet

I suggest Tony Marsh - [dictionary definition of his surname is Wet and that's what his views are] should sling HIS hook and not the "soft lad" as he insultingly calls David Moyes.

I am glad he can't be bothered to watch Everton anymore. Perhaps he will give the rest of his true Evertonians some peace from his continual insulting tirades which, quite frankly, have become very predictable and very boring.

If we want to believe in our team that is our choice ? if they do well, all and good; if they don't at least we will expect ups and downs and have the occasional moan. For God's sake, there are 27 games to go - anything could happen. We don't need his continual attempts to brain-wash the rest of us into his pessimistic point of view.
Patricia Beesley, Carmarthen  (6/11/06)

Oh? I thought he was just having an occasional moan... the occasion being a hugely disappointing loss. Do you seriously think anyone is being brain-washed by another fans views? Come on, Patricia, don't be silly now. ? Michael

My Dissapointment

I have to write to your site to let you know that I USED to love this site, but sadly no more. I used to love reading your informative articles and your post match analysis. BUT now it seems that you guys are the most NEGATIVE people in the world. Do you not have a good word to say about anything.

I have just read your post match anaylsis regarding the Fulham game: OK so Everton didn't score, OK so we got beat by a lucky deflected goal, but what you have failed to notice is that on the pitch we battered Fulham, we also played the same style of awkward football that teams (like Arsenal and Liverpool) do not seem to be good at playing against.

Please do not slate the manager as we all know he is the best thing to happen to Everton in over a decade, and the players need encouragement and not a slagging off, remember there is a bug doing the rounds in camp at the moment. Just think how hard it is to sit at a computer and type when you are feeling like shite, and compare that to 90 mins running around a field knowing that one of your so-called fan sites are going to slag you off.

Just an angry thought going through my head.
David McCluskey, Liverpool  (6/11/06)

Hahaha. That's so sweet, Dave. You know, not once have I ever thought how bad we must make them feel. In future, I'll make sure we, and the people who write in, only say positive and encouraging things.

But if we are going to second-guess our wonderful players, how would you feel if you'd run around and done your best for 45 mins but not scored when you really should have, and then, for the next 45 mins... well, just not turned up? I could be wrong but I guess you'd already be feeling pretty bad about yourself. Would reading the thoughts of a few spectators who are also not that impressed overall really make any difference? Assuming the players would even read this stuff in the first placce... — Michael

Realism

As much as I try to ignore his posts, the idiot that is Tony Marsh has really got to me this time. What kind of Evertonian is it that cannot wait for a defeat just so he can post his utter rubbish on these pages. I cannot beleive that you still post this mans tripe.

I thought we played very very good football in the first half on Saturday ? up there with the best we have done for quite a while. Yes, we slacked off in the second half and were made to pay but the botoom line is that we lost at a ground were we always lose. Only this time we played well, deserved to win and got beat by a crabby deflection.

I'm not saying I'm happy with losing, I'm saying I'm happy with the progress. Two or three years ago, I'd have reacted to a 1-0 defeat by Fulham with an "oh well". Nowadays I am gutted because I know we can do much much better with the players we have ? who incidentally, David Moyes signed. If Tony wants rid of Cahill, Arteta, Lescott, Yobo and AJ and wants them replacing with Nyarko, Linderoth, Unsworth (bless him) and Mikael Madar then good luck to him.

I for one am happy with our current team and they way they are trying to play. Yes, they are a bit lightweight and have a couple of passengers in midfield but we are improving all the time and you cannot ask for much more than that.
Rob Beesley, Walton  (6/11/06)

You're gutted, I'm gutted, Tony Mash is gutted. But while you're looking backwards and satisfying yourself with the progress made ? while bringing up lousy past players no-one else (not even Tony) mentioned ? I'm looking forwards and asking myself what this team is really going to achieve this season? And is it good enough for five years of progress?

If we were improving all the time, we'd be Champions by now, or at least we'd have won a trophy. Instead it's the yo-yo roller-coaster thing that's the killer. We haven't even had a decent cup under Moyes. Not one. That's Realism. And we continue to play this utterly laughable hoofball.

You seriously think we played well and deserved to win? We can't score enough goals, despite having the star man in our side, because we cannot get decent balls in to him on the ground. These are the valid issues Tony and others bring up. — Michael

Tick, tick, tick

Well, up to now, I've refused to call for Davey's head, citing his lack of funding. But, if ever a shortcomming was shown, it was at Fulham once the second half started. It soon became obvious a change of tactic or personel was required, and the response was as slow as it was predictable ie Beattie to the rescue ? it just won't work. It seems Davey is incapable of out-thinking the opposition. If there is no improvement in this department, I fear the clock is ticking on Davey's Goodison reign...
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (6/11/06)

Article by Dave Roberts

Call me cynical but I followed Dave's map for Cherryfield Drive on Google Earth and guess what? If you move just slightly northwest from the proposed location, you come to Poverty Lane. Dare I say back to where we are? By the way if you move northeast, you can see our house!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (6/11/06)

Should've, Could've, Would've

I didn't say we would be down in the bottom 3, I said we could be looking nervously over our shoulder. If our current form continues to reap just 1 win out of the next 7 games then we will be in the bottom half. As we have tough games coming against Villa, Bolton, Man U amd Chelsea in the next seven fixtures, I was just indicating the possibility of us slipping down the table. Obvioulsy, I hope we win every game we play , and if AJ (serial penalty winner? according to Adrian Chiles MOTD2) can rediscover his goal touch, we may well do so.

On the subject of our serial penalty winner, I think he has only been involved in one Premiership penalty given to Everton this season.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (6/11/06)

Stuck record

As my mail yesterday indicates, I was less than happy with the result, the second half peformance and the substitutions (especially from a timing point of view). I like to think I call it as I see it; i.e. when the team or the manager do something stupid, I say so; and when they do something well, I commend it.

The problem with comments from some mailbaggers is that they are effectively the same whether we win or lose, play well or poorly. There's no sense of perspective.

So, I'm afraid Luq that I am not agreeing with you, or finally 'seeing sense'; I'm simply reacting to a poor result. I am now more interested in how the team reacts to this set back and hope it is as positive as their reaction to losing at the Riverside.

Not sure where the 'Oscar' sobrique comes from either; I assume it's an insult but I'll live with it.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (6/11/06)

Future Improvement

Watching from the stands yeaterday, it became more apparent what we are lacking. Two areas where we really need to improve are up front and in central midfield. A midfield enforcer with energy and leadership is a must. I like Carsley but he doesn't perform as well in a four-man midifield. A good enforcer might enable Arteta to move inside, play from the centre, and have more impact.

We also need another forward player with pace who can play alongside AJ and pull the defense around. Memo to Moyes: please buy Dave Nugent. The lad has ability, pace and eye for a goal and is devout Evertonian.

Sitting in the Putney stand yesterday, it was clear (in the first half) that Everton are getting there ? they just lack a little quality. I want Moyes to succeed because I like him as a man ? and you hear nothing but positive comments from people in the game ? but I can't bear seeing us being beaten by awful sides like Fulham.
Robert Pullan, Manchester  (6/11/06)

Yesterday's Man

Predictable, horrible, inevitable, pathetic and emmbarrassing are the nice things I could manage to say about yesterday. Fulham are Grade A shite and we manage to make them look world beaters. What kind of manager in today's modern game sends a team out to play like that?

What the fuck is Moyes playing at with the same gormless tactics that fail every week. Why isolate your main goal threat AJ to such an extent that he spends more time on the right wing than he does near the box? Why overload the midfield with 7 stone short arse players who can't tackle or pass a ball? Osman and Davies? Do me a favour. That pair would look out of place in a Under-16s side. Why leave on the bench a young pacey powerful center forward (Anichebe) and continue using the useless James Beattie?

Yesterday, Moyes's team were a disgrace to the shirt and Moyes himself is no longer fit to manage this great club of ours. I can take defeat, I always have done, but the way we surrender to alehouse sides like Fulham is a testimony to Moyes's pathetic leadership. Niemi didn't have a single save to make until the 80th minute and by then the writing was on the wall.

Attress, Mckenny and the rest of you who defend this clown want locking up, you really do. You people are as much to blame for our demise as Moyes and Kenwright. Happy to go along with this crap and defending the garbage we are served up by Moyes is pathetic.

I am all for getting behind the side and the manager when the chips are down but this joker Moyes has had 5 years and lumps of money and where are we going? It looks like nowhere to me. That other dope, Dodd, reckons we can still claim a European place. What for, you? Polish bricklayers and Albanian tram drivers would have a field day against Davey Moyes's Bolsa wood soldiers.

It's getting to the point now where I can't be arsed going the match any more. I can't stomach this negative long-ball shite much longer. I can't stomach the same old lame excuses from Deadly Dave any more. Like always with Moyes, someone or something is to blame for our defeat. The Ref usually. What ever happened to out-playing a team instead of relying on Lady Luck all the time? The mini-revival is dead and buried along with our season at this rate.

How foolish you Moyes brigade must feel now after all your boasting earlier in the season. If Moyes stays here much longer then belive me we are doomed as a football club. The only way is down with him in charge. The January window will be of no help to us either because it doesn't matter who you sign, playing the way we do ? they will also struggle. Pele would struggle in the Moyes system.

No, its time for soft lad to sling his hook back to Scotland and go and manage Falkirk or some other sleeping minnow. I am afraid Everton is just too much for him.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (5/11?06)

Wot?! No mention of Moyes suggesting the coin chucker may have been a Fulham fan and not a law abiding Evertonian?! ? Colm

Goodison Belongs to ??

[Repost] I am not a shareholder at Everton and therefore I am not privvy to any confidential information, however, I have heard a rumour that Goodison Park was sold to Tesco in the early 1990s.

Does anyone have any information on who actually owns Goodison Park?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (6/11/06)

Taken from the Annual Report & Accounts 2005 - detail of the principal operating subsidiaries as at 31st May 2005, are as follows:-

Goodison Park Stadium Limited, 100% owned "provision of football entertainment facilities"

Everton Investment Limited, 100% owned "issuer of loan notes"

Note 11 detailing Tangible Fixed Assets continued...

The freehold buildings at Goodison Park (including the Megastore), together with the training grounds, were valued at depreciated replacement cost, and the land at open market value for its existing use. The residential properties have been revalued at open market value basis with the benefit of full vacant possession or subject to and with the benefit of the various leases/agreements as apporpriate.

The directors consider that the value of properties as at 31st May 2005, not sold since the year end, is not materially different to the valuation carried out as at 31st May 1999, based on existing use. There have been certain property sales since the year end, explained in more detail in Note 25 - since 31st May 2005, the Club has entered into transfer agreements by confirmed contracted net transfer fees payable of ?15,682,590. The Club has also sold certain properties since 31st May 2005, for sales proceeds of ?3,000,000 before the deduction of minor legal and professional costs - and in each case the realised value of the properties sold exceeded their respective net book values at the year end. Therefore the directors do not consider any adjustment needs to be made to the net book value of any properties at the year end. - Colm

Caution to the winds

Compare recent Everton and West Ham games vs Arsenal, both were heading for a draw if not an Arsenal win. Everton sitting comfortable in sixth place, the Hammers are relegation candidates. Moyes's job secure; Pardew?s on the line... a draw for both managers would be looked on as a great achievement.

But whats this? While Moyes opts for the draw Pardew brings on two strikers and goes for a win. Therein, my friends, lies the difference between a reactive and proactive manager. Or put another way, one who opted for status quo and got one point the other dared change the pattern of play and got 3.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (6/11/06)

Incredibly harsh on Moyes and the team that faced Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last week, Dick. There's one thing being frustrated with a poor result (again) at Fulham and I believe you're allowing that frustration cloud your opinion. West Ham were playing at home for starters, backed by a fervent Upton Park support.

In case you've forgotten, we travelled to Arsenal with a number of players already missing and a good number of those selected to play did so with this virus. I take on board your belief that Moyes is a cautious manager not necessarily prone to throwing caution to the wind. Seven days ago he was being lauded for outwitting the mercurial Wenger in his own backyard with a depleted team... this week he's not on a par with Pardew!

Correct me if wrong, but before today's excellent victory over Arsenal... was Mr Pardew in charge of a side rooted in the bottom three? Warts 'n all, I'll take Mr Moyes please! - Colm

Unbelievable

I can't believe the last post I have just read from John McFarlane about being 8 points from the relegation zone, we are also 3 points from being in the top three. On Saturday we were beaten by a stuffy deflected goal and should have taken 4 points from two London away games.

It was a stonewall penalty in the first half for the tackle on AJ and when I read people slagging him off as a player, they should stick to American football, he is pure class. A win on Wednesday sets things up nicely for the next two home games ? after today's result, the last thing the Gooners want is a night game at Goodison.
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (6/11/06)

Six points from the next two home games should shut up those who pounce upon a bad result, assuming the end of the world is nigh. You could argue that for all of their millions, Chelsea, so far, have managed to lose as many games this season as ourselves. Crikey, am I turning into Dominic King?! ;-) ? Colm

Fulham observations

From my place on the couch, watching the Fulham game, what I witnessed was a mid-table team slogging it out against another team of battlers. It's all we are. Not a good team ? not one that will finish in the top six regularly at least. But we're not relegation fodder either.

The match also highlighted Everton's lack of a creative midfielder. It's apparent that other clubs have worked out that if they sit a bit deeper to negate AJ's pace and also mark Cahill with a taller player, or double-team him, as Fulham did, Everton's edge is dulled.

It means we then need a midfielder who can unlock a defence with some trickery. A killer ball. Someone who can dictate the play. Potentially it could be Arteta but, while he sits out wide, that's unlikely to happen. Even if he was brought into the middle, however, I'm not sure he'd be the solution to the problem.

In fact, while I'm on the subject of the midfield, other than occupying a patch of grass... can someone ? anyone ? please tell me what on earth Simon Davies brings to the side?? Frankly I have no idea but I suspect I'm not alone there.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (6/11/06)

Five years

Do you know what gets on my tits? Fans going on about how far Moyes has taken us. Well, he has had five years at the club and in my opinion he has not taken us far enough. We have a few very good players and the rest are average; we play some decent football now and again but overall it's mainly shit; we are at best a mid-table team which I think Moyes can't improve on. This is just my opinion. I would love Moyes to win us loads of silverware, because I do think he actually loves Everton. But I just can't see it happening.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (5/11/06)

Invest or stagnate

The three summer signings have all been worthwhile investments in my opinion. Now, with the basis of a good side (albeit one that struggles to show it sometimes!), we will soon have a window of opportunity in January to kick on.

Please Mr Moyes, do not say that you're happy with the squad. Recognise the need for an "enforcer" midfielder, a wide man and a quality right back ? and bang on Kenwright's door to get the money. We could finish 6th this year or 14th. It's a fine line ? but those 8 places could cost ?4m plus alone.

Seize the day and invest while we still have chance to make this a good season. I don't wnat to see many more under-achieving performances like yesterday's!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (5/11/06)

Fireworks

I'm sorry but I only speak about what I see and how I think the game should be played. Some people seem to think that anyone who criticises anything Blue is somehow being dis-loyal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At this moment in time EFC are 8 points clear of Sheff United in the last relegation spot. If we were playing well I would be looking upwards, but we're not. We have played 11 games, with 7 of those fixtures played against bottom-half teams, and seen 4 wins of which 3 were in the opening month of the season.

Before the Fulham game, the players were saying "Let's keep this run going" ? Well I'm sorry if we keep our current run going we are going to be deep in the brown stuff. By the end of this month, our beloved Everton could (I hope not) be hovering around the bottom reaches.

If fans don't set the alarm bells ringing then who else is going to worry about it? The Board? Manager?? Players??? I think not... Any supporter of any club can only judge on performances and results. I would like to think that Evertonians are capable of making rational judgements based on what they see and not on what they are told to see.

I hope by the end of November that we have won all our remaining league games and have progressed in the Carling Cup, but experience and current form inform me that this scenario is unlikely.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (5/11/06)

Surely Shirley that's the point???

When you say 'Scroll forward to the the day after the night before, and the reactions start to switch: away from direct responses to the match and what it may say about the failings of manager, team, chairman, club... Instead, the focus now becomes the mailbag itself and its contributors, the whiners, the doom-and-gloom merchants' are you saying that the comments really should be about the failing's of a manager and not about unrealistic views of how well he's doing?

Not everyone subscribes to extreme views. Whatever you say, we have made progress and the team is at least attempting to play a more passing game. Perhaps Moyes in not going to lead us to glory with a team playing mesmerising football, he recently admitted he prefers hard working teams to flair teams. The point is we are getting better, some people can't or won't get it.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (5/11/06)

Yesterday, what I saw was Stubbs and too many other players hoofing the ball forward for a five-foot dwarf to chase. If that is Everton getting better, so be it. It just doesn't look it from where I am sitting. — Michael

Petty and Picky

Michael, at no stage over the last 24 hours have I been in shock. Yesterday, we played well in the first half and didn't play well in the second. It happens ? that's football.

And what exactly are the real issues? In my opinion the real issues are long-term - what direction the club's going in. As I said, I think the club's moving forward but I'm not gonna bother explaining why again as that's just boring.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (5/11/06)

Well, for what it's worth, I see the club making some progress on and off the field, but the signs are that the on-field progress is self-limited. Yes, we are no longer relegation regulars, but we have still to prove that we are regular European challengers. To me, it is clear we are not. We still might finish high enough to do it this season ? that would be a great achievement for Moyes considering his limitations, and the way things are heading this season, based on current form. You can look long-term if you like; for me, it's more about the here and the now. — Michael

Here we go again.....

Some of the posts since the Fulham game are proof that these mailbags only ever attract the interests of the extreme. Why are so many people saying Moyes is out of his depth, championship fodder etc? It's such crap and so wrong!

OK, guys like Luq have been arguing their case for a while but I'm convinced he only argues against Moyes for attention. Moyes is a knowledgable guy, we all know that, so by arguing against his ideas and beliefs etc makes you sound good ? like you know what your talking about. But you speak bollocks and your not even clever enough to know it!

I'm sure I'll now get a full response as to why Moyes is 'crap' and 'out of his depth' but he's not, I know he's not and most Evertonians I speak to away from this mailbag know he's not. Moyes has moved the club forward in a way that very few, if any, other managers would have been able to do, and now Evertonians look upwards not downwards.

The average age of the squad is down significently and we've now got a GROUP of GOOD players, all signed by Moyes. Something we haven't had for many years. Guys like Cahill are always talking about how good the spirit is and how well the lads get on and Andy Johnson will be a regular England International by the end of the season.

This is a club that has moved forward on the field ? average final league positions prove this ? and are moving forward off it all the time: new investors; state of the art training complex.

The negativity comes from fans who are either stupid or searching for perfection. Perfection is not realistic, moving forward is and that's exactly what we're doing and will continue to do with our Moyesey.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (5/11/06)

The pattern is indeed familar, Jack, but I don't agree with much of your characterization. Yes, the immediate reaction to a disaster of yesterday's proportions will be strongly 'negative' initially, with the Moyes critics reacting from the gut, while those who are still committed to cutting Moyes some slack have little meaningful to say initially as they too reel in shock.

Scroll forward to the the day after the night before, and the reactions start to switch: away from direct responses to the match and what it may say about the failings of manager, team, chairman, club... Instead, the focus now becomes the mailbag itself and its contributors, the whiners, the doom-and-gloom merchants, the 'extreme' views that are put forward to gain personal attention...

I think that's a pity. It personalizes things, which is neither necessary nor desirable. Let's talk about the real issues ? which you do to an extent ? as your views on issues to do with the Club (not the ToffeeWeb mailbag) are as valid as anyone else's on here. But you do yourself and the other contributors a diservice with some of your more personalized claims.

You're probably not the only one doing this, I know, but something about your letter brought it home to me... sorry! — Michael

Arsenal youngsters

We should really go for all the Arsenal younsters currently out on loan. Gilbert, the right-back who played against us last season, is flying high with Cardiff. Lupoli and _____ are both Championship top goalscorers. And a lad named Stokes scored 9 goals in 4 games in the SPL. If Upson, Bentley, Pennant have showned somethings, it is that Arsenal rejects aren't exactly bad.
Tony Colbert, Liverpool  (5/11/06)

Now help me here... is this the real world? Or Football Manager 2007? — Michael

Job for life

One of the Chairman`s most memorable quotes included a suggestion that he would be prepared to sign up Moyes for life. Do we know for sure that the deal is not already in place? Certainly, all the manager`s talk of `steady building` and `making haste slowly` seems to indicate that he has all the time in the world!

The story of Everton under Moyes has very definitely been of one pace forward and two (or more) back and since the dizzy heights of 2004-05 we have come to set our targets much lower. Safe in the Prem, yes, but those of us who cling to reality believe that, in spite of early season promise, a repeat of last season`s 11th will be a good achievement this time round.

Like many others, I see all our hopes pinned on a midget running his arse off all season and that just ain`t gonna happen, believe me. Already we are coming to see that he can be just as profligate as the big money signing who preceeded him ? and how long before the Mastermind has him defending corners at the other end as well?

No, I don`t think we`re going anywhere, not now or in the foreseeable future, but with Bill`s backing for Moyes and midtable security, Dario Gradi should fear for his long-service crown!
Bill Watkins, Mold  (5/11/06)

Whine, Whine

The number of "I told you so"s and other self-fufilling prophesies littering the mailbag makes a depressing read. Our form has dipped, but it was unlikely to continue climbing at the rate it had done. Losing shouldn't be accepted but neither should it be expected. I don't even want to think about the reaction to a loss against Arsenal in the Cup...
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (5/11/06)

I think it's a pity that people's valid doubts get castigated at times like this. Valid doubts about Moyes as manager and the ability of his team of players to do the buisness when it matters... it's a pattern that has now been sadly confirmed, and it's something that seems to me to be a reasonable issue for discussion ? esepcially when we were led to expect so much more than was delivered.

It's not something those people who 'whine' have created, manufactured or are responsible for; it's a response to seeing what is happening to something we are all very interested in and concerned about. So don't call it whining, alright. ? Michael

Let's see Victor

Okay, I have been reading ToffeeWeb for a fair time now, and I love reading the comments of all who contribute. After watching yesterday's terrible second half, I now feel compelled to write.

What we lacked yesterday I believe we have sitting on the bench boiling up like a hot cooker waiting to go off, in Victor Anichebe. I believe we have a player desperate to get on that field and prove himself to Moyes. In the games I have seen him play for the reserves and the times he has come on for the first team, I have been impressed with his sheer determination to get near the goal, he is a big lad with a strong prescence and he isn't afraid to run at players.

Yesterday, had we have had someone of his ilk on the field, I feel we could have caused some kind of impact. Coleman from the sidelines had worked out our quite straight-forward strategy and in the second half he managed to contain Arteta and virtually pulled AJ to one side. At this point, Anichebe offers a strength and energy that I feel Beattie once possesed but unfortunately hasn't showed for our side.

When your team are looking like there are no ways of getting even close to the goalmouth, a player like Ancihebe can come on the field and create an unexpected pressure and, from what I have seen, he is not afraid to hit the ball from the edge of the area ? something that yesterday was sadly lacking.
Danny Latham, Wilmslow  (5/11/06)

I think you're right: he's definitely worthy of a run. But I commented at the beginning of the seaon that Moyes, our ultra-conservative manager in this regard, would not play him in any way other than he has for the first quarter of the season. ? Michael

Limited expectation

As I posted when we were winning,the only difference between this season and last is Andy Johnson. Stop him scoring ? or winning penalties ? and we`re reduced to the same crap that we`ve suffered under Moyes for 4 years!

The problem is that such a limited manager has no idea how to kick on to the next level. He can organise defenders but there his expertise ends. He has absolutely no concept of what is required of the midfield at top level and his attacking strategy has always focussed on long high balls to a lone striker. He has no idea how to mold Beattie (who, for all the criticism, had a good track record when he signed him) and Johnson into a dynamic attacking force. Signing players is the easy part ? it`s getting them to perform that brings the best out of any manager.

I know the bugger`s going nowhere because, as long as he preserves Premier status, the daft sod at the top will continue to support him. But that`s the limit of our expectation; it`s such a pity that so many `modern` Evertonians are happy to accept it!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (5/11/06)

Beattie

To all the people who keep writing that Beattie isn't interested, sorry I just can't agree. If he wasn't interested, why is it we see him time and time again at the back helping the defence out (although his first job is to score)?

What have we got to lose by playing a 5-man midfield with Beattie in it? It would give us height, a bit of extra power and an extra goal scorer on the pitch. Personally, I could see Beattie doing well there (maybe...) but, like I say, we've got nothing to lose by giving it a go.
Bert Bentwhistle, Stoke  (5/11/06)

Squad

I think at the moment Moyes has got the balance of the squad all wrong. Arteta's form has suffered because we keep playing him out wide left or right. I'm sorry but this fella is best used in the middle because we need him to thread the ball through on the ground to AJ. We also need to purchase a skillful midfield player who is known for good defensive qualities. Carsley and Neville are good defensively but they don't have much more to their game and I don't class them as skillful.

I still think Davies can cut it and he needs to go wide right and just run at players, but stay wide!! If VDM ever wants a chance to shine then why not now? Get over this injury and make the left wing yours! He is the only natural left winger we have.

I'd have Cahill as a striker to be rotated with Beattie or Johnson (Yes I would drop Johnson if he doesn't score goals). We have so many strikers at Goodison, why don't we use the ones that fit the game??? Beattie and Anichebe big and strong, Vaughan and Johnson both fast players to get behind the opposition, and Cahill the aerial threat! McFadden can be sold.

One thing that Moyes has got right is defence. I'm happy with a back four of Neville, Yobo, Lescott and Valente. So come on, Davie, let's get this midfield sorted out and start using whatever strike partnership works best, even if it means playing two up front!!
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (5/11/06)

Spin-doctor sacked!

Thank god many fans (even Dick Fearon and Steve 'Oscar' Guy are waking up) can see that Moyes is a Championship manager at best! And his game-plans wouldn't even work in a episode of the A-Team!!! I say bring in Hannibal, as he had more idea how to get his team out of dangerous situations!

Moyes is clueless and has out-stayed his welcome. Vote with our feet/voices/letters as the team we have should not lose to dross like Fulham and Middlesbrough. I remember some twat saying since Middlesbrough beat Chelsea, it was no disgrace losing there!? Well they lost to Watford so what does that tell you!

Moyes is simply average at best; even when he was asked about signing our player of the season so far in Howard he managed to dither and dally. We will lose him if he carries on ? maybe he will play Howard right-wing and Davies in goal!

This club is going backwards under Moyes, even his allied supporters can not deny that!
Luq Yussef, London  (5/11/06)

Try not to speak for others, Luq. I don't think it helps: it just alienates people. The facts are that we have made progress while Moyes has been here. As someone said, we have progressed from being regular relegation fodder to being firmly mid-table ? but nothing more. That is progess: painfully slow progress. ? Michael

David Moyes

For me Moyes has lost it concerning tactics, substitutions, and in the transfer market, and now he's trying to tell us, it could have been a Fulham supporter that threw the coin at their own player! The man is an utter clown!

Lets hope he does't lose his way out of Goodison Park! The sooner the better! Let's hope Kenwright (the new Doug Ellis) follows him soon ? otherwise, there is nothing down for us except mediocrity for a long time to come.
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (5/11/06)

Fulham

In common with everyone who's posted, I'm disappointed with yesterday's result. Yes, we dominated the first half, but in the second half let the game run away, and though Fulham's lead was undeserved, if you're unable to kill a game off, these things will happen.

The one moment of the game that has received scant coverage from posters since the game is the coin throwing incident. Yes, some may say it's something that happens in football across the world today, but I happen to think we're better than that. I'd like to see that so-called "fan" rooted out and banned from attending any football game. I am proud to an Evertonian. I love our club and want us to be the best. I don't want to be associated with the idiot(s) who throws coins, just because the game isn't going their way.

On MOTD Claus Jensen was sporting a cut less than an inch below his left eye and fair play to him, he didn't make a big deal out of it. That doesn't take away the seriousness of the incident though. Hopefully everyone associated with the club will take a proactive approach in dealing with the incident and identifying the perpetrator.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (5/11/06)

They'll probably give it mere lip service, Mark. We do possess an element within the fanbase who 'use' the match (particularly away days) to spew their racist bile, often to the amusement of those within earshot. I've known people who've gone to stewards, to raise the issue, and they themselves were ejected! This is not the first time we've had a coin thrower at Everton (ask Roy Carroll) and it certainly won't be the last. Wonder if the club are still 'investigating' that coin throwing incident? - Colm

Drastic times, drastic measures

From 'keeper to backline and midfield we are so good at hoofing long high balls it must play a big part in Everton?s training. The problem is, although AJ thrives on low balls, air balls to him are a total waste of time and effort.

Because Moyes seems oblivious to such fundamental facts, I am beginning to have doubts about his ability to read the game. Apart from persisting with long-ball rubbish, he is never pro-active in changing the pattern of play. He does that only when a goal is desperately needed and usually very late in the game. Last year I got hammered for criticising Osman?s efficiency or lack thereof yet lately his shortcomings seem more evident to others.

As for Beattie, I am not a subscriber to his fan club but, in all fairness to the lad, he has had little chance to develop a partnership with AJ. Sometimes I think his critics go a bit overboard in their venom. In his cameo appearance at Craven Cottage, Beattie's two goal attempts equalled AJs effort for the whole game. He also won a heading duel and that was more than AJ could manage, plus he made two important defensive intercepts, bettering AJ in that department.

In the sense of what you lose on the roundabouts, you gain on the swings, I still think (if only as a stop gap) Beattie in Osman's position might be worth a try. We may lose some largely ineffectual snap, crackle and pop; the gain could be in size, strength and possibly a few goals. AJ would relish the bit of extra space created by defenders having to deal with another potential goalscorer.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/11/06)

It seems to be that when playing Osman, Davies, Arteta and Cahill, Moyes is a little reluctant to use two strikers as it'd leave us a bit lightweight in midfield. If we can attract a Gravesen-type player to take Davies's place, perhaps we'll see Beattie more, because I'll never subscribe to the 4-1-4-1 formation. -- Garry

Injection of Realism?

A game we should never have lost. But we have, and unfortunately that is football. Yes, Moyes needs to learn how to give a half-time team talk but the game should have been over before then. In the end a sucker punch and a 1-0 defeat at a ground which now has me believing the the supernatural.

But for all the increases in "Moyes Out" calls, why? Can someone please provide the name of the real Messiah that could come in and bring us the Premiership title? Who is that man, because I for one can see no-one out there who could come in and so dramatically improve the side to a level a number of you expect!

As for Michael's comment on the Rollercoaster, at the time of writing we are still Top 6. We can stumble to 7th tomorrow I believe. But I would argue that if we look at similar level teams we are doing pretty well, only Bolton forging away and they usually fall away later in the year. Newcastle, Spurs, what has happened to them? They spend larger money than us, and ultimately fail, which I think highlights the job Moyes has done.

Yes, the quality of football needs to improve! Yes, he made a few questionable decisions and transfers... but he is doing a far better job than any other man we have had in the last 15 years, and in my opinion that includes Royle.

Can you really fully judge off one result? Or should we be realistic and say let's see where we are come Christmas and then the end of the season before making rash calls for the manager's head?

Lastly, on the stadium issue. Is it just me or even though the City Council does seem to be non too concerned about Everton moving down the road but realistcally can they compete with the Tesco deal? To be fair, if we end up with a stadium like Parkhead (which I have been to many times) we will have a Stadium to be proud of. The deal of Kirkby on paper is the best future for Everton Football Club. To stay in Liverpool, with the same opportunity I believe is being offered in Kirkby, the council will have to come up with something similar to match. And I for one, can't see that happening.

Lastly, Villa next week, and a real chance to kick on to Christmas; let's get behind the lads at Goodison, and leave the increased polarisation behind us for the good of the team on the field.
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (4/11/06)

I agree completely Dave. With one or two players more, and some better luck, we'd have beaten Wigan, City, Newcastle and Fulham and be riding high. Our realistic goal this season should be Europe and we're on course for that at the moment. -- Garry

No alternatives

The one thing that amazes and worries me is that we have no other options in the squad. Everton have just FOUR midfield players on the books, if you don't count Van der Meyde. How on earth does a manager and Chairman allow such a farcical situation to develop? Even clubs like Sheffield United have bigger squads than us.

As for the people begging for Moyes to be sacked/leave, well forget it. The only man who could do it loves him like a brother and has just placed a stranglehold on the club in case anybody didn't notice.

Everton will sign one average midfielder in January with no pace or creativity but lots of energy, which is what Moyes looks for primarily in a player. We will then finish 12th in the table and do exactly the same next season

Also, isn't it sad that Graeme Sharp needs money so badly that he will go into print and slag off former teammates like Tony Cottee, who was far more popular than Sharp ever was. Sharp's miserable whining on local radio are consistent with his unseemly bitching in this new book. I urge people not to allow him to make any money out of it.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

I wish I could predict the future like you apparently can. -- Garry

From my seat

Why does it seem twice as long to get home today than last week? I think the answer may be that we are all ready for admission to a home for the bewildered. First half: crisp flowing football that allowed us to dominate a poor Fulham team with the exception of someone getting a proper contact with the ball to work the keeper.

Half-time and many thought that difficulty would be overcome after the manager's intervention. WRONG! The second-half performance was as bad as anything I have witnessed for a long time ? and hell ? I was at West Brom!

The players were reduced to losing all ability in first touch, accurate passing and any semblence of team play. Who was to blame? Well, for the first time in my experience, every player (including subs) with the exception of the 'keeper were described at various times by Blue fans as shite.

I think everyone connected with our club should give a weeks wage to Children in Need and in the next five games give 15 points to Fans in Need.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (4/11/06)

Four-Five-One ? Forget it.

Those old friends tactics, pass execution and goals did another runner today. At the end we were left with an ugly reminder of the thugs in the away end and more of Moyes's baffling tatics and subs. Let's face it: it ain't getting any better after 5 years.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

If you think 6th position isn't better than a 15th, a 7th, a 17th and an 11th then there's something wrong -- Garry

It's the Midfield, Stupid!

More than disappointing today. Fulham really are a crap team, and we had them totally under the cosh and demoralised ? and then let them get back into the game. I fear Moyes took our foot off the pedal after half-time (was it just me, or did Cahill seem to move a little deeper?)

But let's be clear where the problem lies for us now ? the midfield. Up front, AJ missed some chances okay ? but he made them, and that based on hardly ever getting the ball anywhere near his feet (and of course he should have had a penalty). Cahill played almost as a second striker in the first half, and both ran dangerously at Fulham and won some great headers. The defence looked solid again ? Lescott again the pick of the bunch.

But God help us in midfield! The best midfielder on show by far was Claus Jensen, and he was a lot of the difference in the second half. Simon Davies was utterly attrocious today (the scythed cross into the crowd from a great position in the first half was a total embarrassment; and he did little else of note). Moyes really has to drop then sell him (ditto of course Beattie ? surely Moyes must now swallow his pride and learn to send Anichebe or McFadden on first).

Worryingly, Arteta looks unhappy and is getting increasingly niggly out on the wing. He came inside for parts of the second half, and you could immediately see his greater comfort. He should obviously replace Davies there next time up (with McFadden out on the wing?) Osman in my opinion is a good squad player, who only really contributes when the side is really ticking.

So the real problem is we desperately need two more players ? a midfield enforcer and a wide (fast) midfielder. We do have Beattie, Davies, Naysmith and Wright to use to raise some cash.
Neil Pearse, London  (4/11/06)

Some good points and perhaps you're right, but I also think we underestimated Fulham. They're perhaps seen as easy prey, but they're what? One point behind us now? And perhaps the problem is over-reliance on Johnson to score goals. -- Garry

Is it time to bring back Dunc?

As a passionate blue who speaks from the heart, I believe we should stick to the five-man midfield, with Cahill supporting Johnson. When it's the last throw of the dice, there is no-one better than Duncan to put the frighteners on the opposing defence.

I read that other clubs are offering Dunc a contract, but his heart is with Everton so why not give him a contract? I know fans are going to read this and say we've got to go forward but this is something that's been on my mind for weeks and I've got to share it with you.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (4/11/06)

Look at the clubs offering 35-year-old Duncan contracts. Hardly even in our league. Plus, signing any striker with 7 goals in his last 69 appearances doesn't really make sense -- Garry

You can leave your hat on.....

Let's not talk about todays game, unless you can come up with something positive. I just wanted to say, have you noticed that Lescott looks like "horse" out of the movie "The Full Monty"?

And I also have an idea regarding the left-back curse: put Beattie there! Maybe then he break his glass slipper again and be out 'til January, when we can sell him to Newcastle to go with the other crap we "thankfully" missed out on. Bring on Victor, please!

Toon army going down; made up! Cheers,
David Barlow, Denver, CO, USA  (4/11/06)

Creativity

Today was another game that, had things gone right, we'd have won. Unfortunately, relying on things going right: penalties awarded away from home; half-chances being snapped up; no cruel deflections when we're defending; a couple of cruel deflections when we're attacking... is a rather poor game plan.

I keep coming back to this problem: our mid-field. Osman flatters to deceive; Cahill is great at ghosting and supporting attackers; Carsley can "hold"; Davies is bloody awful; and the only player who shows any creativity is the marvellous Arteta. If I was a manager of a team meeting Everton, I'd double mark Arteta, secure in the knowledge that, if he doesn't create, no-one else will.

Today, in the second half, he was stifled and Everton resorted to an imaginary scenario: Royle, Latchford, Sharp, Gray or Ferguson was up front and we were hitting long balls to this big centre-forward who was marked incidentally by the giant Knight. Andy Johnson doesn't quite fit the bill in this scenario... [Der!]

Arteta needs creative help or we will continue to struggle to create chances other than from set pieces.

Incidentally, Ged Dwyer's analysis of the stadium question is spot on.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (4/11/06)

Fuck up

What a fuck up, if Moyes can't motivate a team at half time to go on and win the game after dominating the first half, he should pack his bags and go. His decisions to continue to include Davies and Osman really make my blood boil. I would love to have 5 minutes with those two pricks who should be ashamed to pick up their over-inflated wage packets.

Davies flattered for 15 minutes ? why can't Moyes see this lazy useless twat is not a Premiership player? Osman should be shipped out in January ? how many times does he lose the ball or pass to the opposition? And as for Beattie he is just not going to make it at Everton with this team.

So tonight I am pissed off again by the whole fucking team. AJ will score goals if the ball is played ON THE FLOOR INTO SPACE SO HE CAN RUN ONTO THE BALL. He is ineffective hoofing the ball over the top ? WE CAN SEE IT; WHY CAN'T THE FUCKING COACHES???
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (4/11/06)

Do us all a big favour

Moyes, please leave now, and take your coaching staff with you. I've had enough of your hoofball to last me a lifetime. You're tactically inept and so far out of your depth it's embarassing. How people can come on here and still defend you amazes me. I can't for the life of me recall the last time an Everton team under your stewardship has actually put in a 90-minute performance. Has it ever happened?

As sure as night follows day, I was 100% certain that, after a good first half, we would be piss-poor today in the second, just as we have been in either the first or second half (or both) in every game this season... and the last.. etc etc. It sickens me to the back teeth looking at your snarling face after every game we don't win, or listening to the pathetic excuses you come up with. Just admit it man, your out of your depth and the sooner you go the better.
Matt Taylor, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

Goodison Belongs to ??

I am not a shareholder at Everton and therefore I am not privvy to any confidential information, however, I have heard a rumour that Goodison Park was sold to Tesco in the early 1990s.

Does anyone have any information on who actually owns Goodison Park?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (4/11/06)

I don't think shareholders are privy to any confidential information, John ? the Club makes pretty sure of that. The naieve fool in me would imagine that Everton's Annual Report's would contain sufficient infornation to figure out the answer to your question ? would it not also show in Tesco's accounts? However, anything is possible in both busisness and football, so a secret deal could have been done and kept quiet.

More likely, to my mind, it's just one of those rumours that grows legs in the pubs around Goodison, and never goes away. We'll see if anyone knows more... and is willing to speak up! ? Michael EFC Co Ltd's Annual Report (04) states that Goodison Park Stadiums Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary, part of the EFC Co Ltd Group of Companies, and includes these statements under Note 13. Tangible Fixed Assets:

"The Club's properties are freehold..."

"The Club's premises at Goodison Park (including the Megastore), the training grounds at Bellefield and Netherton, ... were revalued at 15,207 550 by John Foord & company as at 31st May 1999."

Nothing quite a good pub-fuelled conspiracy theory, eh? — Michael

The End of the Mini-Revival

Really poor result... AJ looking very average... Starting to slide down the table...

The first half was so good, what did Moyes tell them at half-time? That must have been some team talk... did he tell them to stop dominating and start giving the ball away?? With the biggest pro-Moyes voice (Dutch) now silenced I feel like giving up. Maybe Tony Marsh is right. Can I get an application form to join the anti-Moyes Brigade?
John Cottee, Romford  (4/11/06)

I bet John Smith (London) is relieved he is no longer obliged to come up with some lame defence for the indefensible. At least you have the sense not to do that but instead ask some pertinent questions. But less of this pro- and anti- bollocks, please. We all want Everton to be better than this. — Michael

Play to the whistle

Phil Neville does the gentlemanly thing and puts the ball out as the horrible little git Boa Morte injures himself. Players are told now to play on until the ref blows up.

Second half, Boa Morte elbows Arteta, Fulham carry on as the ref allows them to. They gain a throw-in well into Everton's half. Ref then allows Arteta to recieve treatment. Fulham throw the ball back into play and score.

Our nice attitude wins nothing. Cahill always tries to calm things down when bad fouls are done against us, he tries to get refs not to book opposition players. When will these players learn that they won't do it for them. Neville should know better as Man Utd pressure referees into booking opposition players and Phil's brother is the main one to get at refs. Toughen up lads, it could cost even more at the end of the season.

As for the Fulham result. We've watched it many times. A good first half with nothing to show for it. The half-time break allows other teams to alter tactics, which Fulham did. We were then lost, we had no counter tactics and carried on the same way. We should have been aware that they may change tactics, we weren't and in the end reverted back to hoof football that, as was proven last year, does not work. Blame who you like, but the point is, it is not good enough.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

Done enough?

Yet another disappointing result. How many more times are we going to see our beloved blues capitulate in the second half? The ginger-headed one uses the same quote every week now. 'We done enough to win the game'. Well Mr Moyes, I've got news for you. If you really had done enough to win the game, we would have won. End of.

Then we have the other common excuse used regarding penalties that should have been awarded our way. Again, this works both ways and I'm sure the Fulham fans feel the same regarding some of the tackling from one or two of our more inept players.

Like many of the ToffeeWeb regulars, I sincerely want Moyes to succeed, for the sake of the club rather than for any other reason. However, his ineptitude continually shows through regarding his reading of the game and I despair when I see his last-minute substitutions. Most obviously, he just cannot learn from his mistakes as he makes them just about every week now.

Mediocrity is the order of the day under Moyes & the club that I have supported for the last 45 years will never prosper while the ginger one rules. But sadly, he's going nowhere, as long as Blue Bill remains Chairman. Which inevitably means Everton are on the road to nowhere until both of then have left.

My prediction for the future of this club? Lower mid table for at least two more seasons, until someone wakes up and gets shut of 'the ginger whinger'.
Barry Johnson, Colwyn Bay  (4/11/06)

No doubt the young (and old?) who have invested so much belief in the Moyes mantra will struggle with this one, Barry, but as each week slips by and the roller-coaster continues to go up and down (instead of just up!), the truth of your depressing assessment becomes harder and harder to resist. But at least we are not as bad as Newcastle... — Michael

Sheer frustration today

A common theme to the aftermatch posts today: highly frustrated fans ? and rightly so. However, the persistence in using Davies as a scapegoat is highly deplorable. He played fairly well in the first half and held it together. We looked a decent side at this stage. But once again we posed no threat whatsoever down the left side of the park. Not in the first half, second half, or for that matter the whole bloody game... and why?

Well because Osman once again was obsessed with trying to make himself look busy in the centre of midfield. Coleman (of course) soon realised that if he could snuff out Arteta down the right there would be no threat at all. Why the hell wasn't McFadden introduced down the left to replace the busy but totally ineffective Osman?

Surely Moyes must have realised by now that the combination of Beattie and Johnson doesn't work. As for the inclusion of Stubbs, well this was entirely predictable following the Arsenal game. I do hope to god this is not set to continue although I suspect it will.
Gerry Western, London  (4/11/06)

I guess with Stubbsy, you just can't change the old dog when it comes to the dreaded hoofballs... And your observations on Osman seem more accurate than those offered by Lynn Picton below. It's a pity but he has becoem alnmost completely ineffective after promising so much. Good call for McFadden, who should perhaps be given more of a chance to produce his Scotland form (I know, I know...) — Michael

Tesco stadium

ps: they are gonna sell the rights to the stadium name too.... just to piss the Goodison for Ever brigade off even more.
Dick Bill, Yorkshire  (4/11/06)

Mediocre

Today's game confirms that we're no more than a mediocre mid-table team. Yes, there were flashes of good football in the first half but still too often there were too many long balls. And what was Moyes's team talk at half time ("well done boys now lets sit back for a point")??? We were totally inept in the second half.

Now you may say I'm being harsh on AJ but at ?8.6M and 3 chances he got he should have scored today. Where's the Crystal Palace striker who would pick the ball up at the half-way line, turn and run at the defenders? Someone wrote that we have finally got a striker in the Lineker mould... sorry, we haven't. If Lineker had got those three chances he would have scored two of them, ?8.6M is starting to look very expensive...

Forever Blue!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (4/11/06)

Wow! the first one to be bold enough to question the effectiveness of the golden boy! You are brave. Personally, I think it is the way we are playing (or more precisiely NOT playing) the ball out of defence and in to attack that is isolating Johnson. Think back to how he scored his best goal for us... at Spurs. A pacey ball in to feet, running at the goal. We now seem completely unable to construct attacks like that. — Michael

Wrong about Osman

Lynn Picton - I know you say you are from Anfield but has living near "the other shower" clouded your judgement or something??

Everton fans are not determined to see James Beattie fail ? we gave him every chance in his first season with the club until he stupidly got sent off against Chelsea. His big comeback game ? he hid behind Duncan Ferguson in the Anfield Derby!!! Fans WANT to see James Beattie succeed but he's now in his 3rd season here and has contributed 2 goals away from Goodison Park!! Can't blame the fans for him patently not trying!!!

When exactly was Nuno Valente booed off and who by???

And you actually would prefer Kevin Kilbane (setting the world on fire at Wigan isn't he?) in the team to Osman??? I personally think Osman is a good a squad player who is streets ahead of Kilbane in ability! Osman looks like scoring most games (yes, today he almost scored with a header that was incorrectly ruled offside!! How many times did Kilbane score or nearly score - yes 1 goal in 3 years and counting!! Prolific!!

If Osman shouldn't be in the team, who should take his place? Should we play 4-4-2 and push Davies on the wing with Super Beats up front? I know where I would push Davies and it's not on the wing ? its under a bus!

Maybe we should throw James Mcfadden into action so we can watch him try to run through the full back instead of taking it around him!! Or perhaps its time for Shandy van der Meyde to be given his chance (if he ever gets fit) so we can watch him waddle up and down the left wing before cutting back on his right foot and hitting a gentle cross into the keepers arms!!

You say Osman should be taken out of the side but don't suggest anyone to take his place ? he might not be everyones cup of tea but he is the best we have got! At least people who want Davies out of the team have viable options to take his place (my four-year-old daughter; playing with 10 men; a crisp packet...)

By the way - in your hero Kilbane's last game for Everton, he stupidly got sent himself sent off and we proceeded to win with 10 men anyway - what an impact he must have been having!!!
Steven Mills, Knotty Ash  (4/11/06)

Good Ground

Ged Dwyer, you have put into words what everyone knows deep down is the truth. I hope your message gets through because it is the only way.

The time has come for the people WITH control to TAKE control of our ground situation for the benefit of both the history and the future of the club. As Ged said: ITS TIME FOR YOU TO WAKE UP, BILL. Before LFC begin building we must agree a plan. A plan that benefits us all. A plan of ACTION.

The lakes in the park are a great site that could be incorporated into the park end to rebuild on, move the road, underground if need be. Yes, it is called a tunnel. These things are possible. Nothing else is required.

Our city has a unique chance to build two world class stadiums together in an area of parkland that is central to the history of both clubs. An original site of football that could also be a magnicent facility for the City of Liverpool. The outrageous short-sighted decision of the council to only allow Liverpool FC the rights to develop should forever shame those who allow it to happen, and will truly confirm the demise of our great club.

Don't sell us out!
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

You obviously don't know how much yer average four-lane road tunnel costs to build... and I think the City has made it clear they want to see both clubs sharing one facility that could then be truly world-class. But that ain't gonna happen either... — Michael

Bleedin' Nora

This game should have been over by halftime. 4-5-1 was too cautious against a poor team like Fulham. It says everything about the Premiership (and Everton) that they are now only a point adrift of us.

Too many points have been lost to crap opposition this season and all the good work of the first two months is quickly unravelling. A credible performance against the Arse's B team is now a must on Wednesday, as are 6 points from our next two Premiersip games.

I think increasingly AJ is a marked man with referees, as the campaign by other managers (Warnock, Wenger being the most recent) to have him labelled a 'diver' swings into action. I totally agree that we shouldn't be relying on penalties, but that was a stonewaller today. I said before the season began that we shouldn't expect too many penalties this season and I think this will be an increasingly frustrating truth as the season wears on.

I keep harping on about it, but the substitutions were yet again tactically inept. Anichebe should have been on after 60 minutes. But Moyes brings Beattie on first, but then we don't bring him into the game by playing in crosses. When we went 4-3-3 Fulham were crapping themselves, but it was all too late.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (4/11/06)

As good as it gets

All's quiet in Fulham as the sun goes down on yet another home victory ? you wouldn't really know there's been a match.... Except for me! I saw the match and am angry, frustrated, surprised, fed up, a whole range of things but mainly I wanna kill!

  • A team that threw away a glorious opportunity, not just to win a match they could have won but also a chance to boost confidence, surprise the media with their skill and prowese and maybe realise what it's like to be well, not bad!
  • A manager who seems incapable of reading a match and acting accordingly with tactical insight.
Where was the semi-control that we had in the first half?? Yes, there were chances ? Johnson missing two plus a probable penalty. Yes, we flatter to deceive, poor distribution, hidden to an extent by some vibrant attacking play in the first half ? it was like the two Everton's playing at the same time: Which one is it to be Mr Moyes.

What was that second half about??? What a waste! Still, I suppose the money they earn irrespective of the results they achieve is comfort to them all - wasters....
Peete Stewart, London  (4/11/06)

Osman

There are so many Everton fans who seem to pick and choose what Everton player they do not like. Many jump on the bandwagon and seem determined to see the likes of James Beattie fail. He, simon davies and until this season Nuno Valente have all been booed off the pitch. However, there are many players in the side who get away with critism, who go missing in too many games and make critical errors, leading to the loss of points. The main one who many seem to love is Leon Osman.

How can anyone call Beattie lazy when Ossie never breaks a sweat in matches? I know there are times when Beattie, Davies and Valente (and others) deserve to be slated but Osman never seems to be the one recieving such abuse:

  • His shooting is below par and his possession play is painful to watch (anyone watch Fulham?).
  • He can skin three players in one quick turn but then loses the ball or floats a 'shot' at the goalie.
  • He very rarely gets stuck in and is weak on the ball, and lacks pace.
  • He is not even a goal threat and what more does he bring to the team than the much despised Kevin Kilbane (who could win headers in and around the box, work fiercly and could defend)?
  • He just jogs around and floats inside rather than staying out on the wing, therefore creates a problem for us as we cant play the ball out wide and get in crosses, which is another reason why not many chances fall to Beattie's or anyone's head.
I know there are worse players than him but they very rarely get picked week-in, week-out. There is no way anybody shuould call for him to be in the England squad, and deffo not in the Everton squad.
Lynn Picton, Anfield  (4/11/06)

Shite!

The exscuses are coming out already: biased ref, robbed of a penalty. Look, it was a blatant pen wich never went our way, it happens. How many decisions have gone our way this season? I can think of a good few.

The top and bottom of it is that poor finishing in the first half cost us the game. The second half was probalby the worst I have seen this season. Worrying thing is since the derby we have got 7pts from a possible 21 Not the form to get you a European place, methinks. I look forward to reading what Tony Marsh has to say ? the man makes a lot of sense.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (4/11/06)

Irate!

Fortunately due to wedding committments I did not go to the game, but from what I heard on 5Live, I am furious!

Let's not beat around the bush ? Fulham are shite! They are a useless football team who are very fortunate to have won today. Everton did sound very good in the first, dare I say in total control! But as fucking usual we don't turn good play into goals. Initially I agreed with 4-5-1, but as Mark Bright said: 'Everton should be beating teams like Fulham away'! Too fucking right we should be, and that should have been reflected in a formation that would hurt Fulham.

What pisses me off even more was the heads dropping after we conceded a goal. Arteta whined, Cahill and Carsley were involved in niggles, while AJ and Neville thought they were in Iraq fighting! Although Pearce (I think) should have been sent off for booting AJ in the air. But forget that and another totally homer ref, WE LOST BECAUSE WE ARE SHITE AT CONVERTING CHANCES!

How many times do I have to mention on here it's the manager who msut shoulder a large part of the blame!? He has all week ? no all pre-season ? to get things right, yet the pattern of mediocrity is something ingrained in Moyes himself! How many times will Moyes play Davies in centre midfield? How many times will Moyes throw on Beattie when Beattie is clearly not interested? How many times will Moyes refuse to accept that his tactics are shit and that he must employ different measures? Answers on a postcard if you wish!

Again Everton and Moyes have messed up my weekend; thanks lads! And Paul Atress is a blinkered 'Dutch'/Moyes prick who should shut up if he has nothing better to say! And Mr Dodd is clearly deluded about our style of play!

This simply isn't good enough for Everton, whose stature and motto deserves and demands more than this dribble today!
Luq Yussef, London  (4/11/06)

Nowhere Man

I had a decision to make this morning: either go to the local and watch the game; or stay at home and save my money. Looks like yet again my instincts were correct. I enjoy football, but I'm afraid going out of my way to watch the Blues is not on my list of priorities anymore. I'll attend all of the games at Goodison, and hope they play OK, but away from home they are a disgrace. They appear not to have any sense of urgency and only react if they concede. This just is not good enough.

Moyes states in an article that it is the players who are responsible for the togetherness at the club. So my question is, what exactly does Mr Moyes do all week? Does he instill in the players the need to play in every minute of every game? Or is he telling them to only pull their tripe out in the so-called big games.

Does he get the players to practice shooting or does this not show up on his scientific printouts of fitness levels and workrate? If I wanted to watch the fittest athletes in the world I would save up and go to the Olympics.

I want to see Footballers playing Football: skill, tenancity and flair are all I want to see. In my opinion, as long as David Moyes is in charge we will not see anything other than 11 athletes running for miles but without the necessary skills to keep a football with them.

Please David, admit it: you are not good enough to manage in the top flight and you probably never will be. Not having an Everton team capable of beating other teams who have such outstanding managers as Southgate, Jewell, Roeder, Coleman and Pearce leaves me feeling cold, as you, Mr Moyes, are supposed to be the one with the most Premiership experience outside of Wenger and Ferguson.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (4/11/06)

Jobs Section: Midfielder and striker wanted

How desperately we need other options up front. I don't know why Simon Davies is still given a seat on the team bus, let alone actually allowed to take off his track suit. We need another more creative player in midfield, one who can shoot. I can't remember a single positive impact Davies has had.

Bringing on Beattie was pointless as he has clearly given up on his Everton career as much as we have on him. And given that Anichebe was brought on in the 85th minute and not in the 65th, that was a pointless move too. We have got to be able to take the chances we get as they never come back. We have yet again wasted opportunities to stay up with the leaders.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

HELL

What have Everton and my 7-month-old son got in common?? ? They both fell asleep in the second half.

Fulham are shiter than shite, Moyes and his lads should be embarrased but I bet you anything we will get the old "We really worked hard" or "the lads deserved better" comments by the manager

BOLLOCKS!!

We may still be in the top 8 after today's results but how long for?? We should be 3rd as I'm typing this. To be honest, this result is all Moyes to a tee: should have won, should have won easily, but didn't.

In closing, what's the point in having three strikers on the bench but having no idea when to bring them on or what to do with them when they do get on?

WOEFUL!!!!!!!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (4/11/06)

Hey, Everton....

I don't know if you've noticed but Duncan Ferguson doesn't play for us anymore... SO WHY ARE YOU HOOFING HIGH BALLS UP TO A 4-FOOT BALD DWARF WHO CAN ONLY PLAY FOOTBALL ON THE GROUND???? ...ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (4/11/06)

CABBAGED!

Christ! My head is cabbaged with this fucking team.

The problem is we are so predictable in the way we play, all as Fulham did in the second half was mark Arteta and Cahill out of the game and, lo and behold, no creativity! Why in god's name does Moyes insist on playing the long ball up to the diminutive Johnson, because the lad had no chance against Knight who had probably the easiest job in centre-half history against AJ.

I use the word creativity and Cahill in the broadest sense in that he ghosts into the box on occassions and bags a goal, otherwise he is a very limited player when it comes to influecing a game of football.

Moyes:- listen very carefully, if you must play the long high ball game at least play someone who has a chance of winning the bloody thing. Fulham where by far the better team in the second half after making a few tactical changes, and adapted to our narrow-minded manager's way of playing the game. Which is what galls me the most: he just cannot read the game for what it is and adapt accordingly.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (4/11/06)

No Justice

Yet another game stolen from Everton by a totally biased referee. No-one can deny that we were by far the better side throughout and throroughly deseved three points. Our football was sheer joy at times ? keep that up and the European dream will stay alive.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (4/11/06)

A sheer joy? You must love those hoofballs up to a diminutive Johnson who is being towered over by someone like Zak Knight. Ridiculous mismatch. It became increasingly obvious during the first half that we were not going to score; we seem to lack that meaningful killer touch in the box.

But we proved one thing this season: we cannot kill off poor teams. If that gives you encouragement for Europe... are you sure it wouldn't turn into another nightmare? ? Michael

ABSOLUTLEY DISGRACEFUL RESULT!!!

I am fukin livid!!!! I wrote last week after the Arsenal game and said that a battling draw would count for nothing if we even dropped two points to an absolutely piss poor side like Fulham!!! I feel like I've been bleedin raped or something!!! How Everton allowed them off the hook so easily in the second half I am desperate to know from the man at the helm.

Let's expect him to whinge about decisions not going our way. That is a given going into these games so he needs to expect us not to get anything. Our attacking play was almost apologietic to Fulham in the first half!!! It was as if we almost felt sorry for them. Better sides would have gone in at least three goals up.

Instead, as usual, Everton are left chasing a game against a piss-poor side. Fulham's name will now be added to a growing list that includes Wigan, Man City etc. I'm bleedin sick of this against much poorer sides. Where did Arteta go in the second half? Where was that hapless sap Davies during the whole game?!?!

This one will take an absolute age to digest and especially seeing that horrible Canadian Twat smirking at the end of the game was too much to take. The result against that horrible shower over the park seems like an age away after some dreadful results in between and the season is now on the verge of taling off as usual!!

Get your finger out of your well paid arses blues and start earning your bleedin money!!
Baz Johns, Glasgow  (4/11/06)

Cheating Referees

I've had enough. I love my club but I'm falling out of love with the game of football. The reason? Referees, their assistants and their consistently wrong decisions ? very often the very big decisions ? are ruining the game. How often this season have we been denied the points because of clearly wrong decsions? It's all becoming a bit farcical.

The first thing I do now when the line-ups are out is check who the referee is. How that bloody ref could not give Johnson a penalty against Fulham is not just incompetence ? it's cheating!!! We got stitched up last year by Uefa and the FA and its happening again. Whatever happened to swings and fucking roundabouts?
Martin Doherty, Wigan  (4/11/06)

Lucky Dutch

After playing so well in the first half it was almost a clich? that this game would end in defeat. It's really annoying because the first half showed what a piss-poor unit Fulham really are.

I actually envy Dutch because he no longer has to face the Anti-Moyes Brigade or attempt to throw a positive spin on these type of poor results. Can you ban me too so I dont have to listen to Tony Marsh gloat?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

I'll ban you for being a prick if you like. Why don't you talk about the game and why we lost, instead of continuing with this shite? Yes, I am annoyed we lost. Very annoyed. I know you are trying to be funny but for me it's serious. We really missed a gloriuos opportunity there, and then paid the price. What happened to us in the second half? Astounding ? Michael

Moving on

Moving home is such a difficult decision to make, especially when your family has lived there for generations and you are uncertain if your new home will ever match up to your old one.

It is even more distressing when you are one of the junior members of the family and the paternalistic decision-makers only pay lip-service to your needs and wants as they argue that there is no alternative.

They may not appreciate your sentimental attachment to a particular location, your sense of belonging which gives you comfort in difficult periods of your life, and the certainty that ? no matter what else happens in your life ? your home will be there as a beacon for you. A solid and dependable friend that has housed your forefathers and, you had hoped, one day would house your own grandchildren.

You are fully aware that moving home may well bring the whole family new opportunities and perhaps even riches, you may well understand that your own facilities will be enhanced and you may even feel more than a little excited about the whole venture... but deep down you are uncomfortable about certain aspects of moving lock stock and barrel from the familiar place you know and love.

You are also aware that, because of your loyalty to the family, you are incapable of protesting for fear of breaking up something that has been built up over the years. No amount of screaming and stamping of feet will prevent the inevitable; sulking about the decision will only hurt you as an individual as the rest of the family prepare to gather their belongings and travel to a foreign place.

What you have to believe is that the senior members of the family have studied every aspect of the move carefully and logically with an eye on the problems as well as the benefits that a move will provide. You have to hope that they have considered much, much more than the financial aspects of such a venture, that they will have listened to the junior family members and taken on board many of their hopes and fears.

If, however, they have failed to do this, then there is every chance that the family will never ever be the same again; memories will be tainted and lost, and the opportunity to make the family richer and stronger will have floundered with only a shiny new house to show for their endeavours. It takes more to make a home than mere bricks and mortar or, in modern parlance, steel and concrete.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (4/11/06)

Striker/Beattie

I always thought you need different types of strikers. Right now, we have the right combination in Johnson and Cahill. Anichebe can play the target man role if needed, and Vaughan, being a bit similar in Johnson, can be Johnson's replacement if he gets injured. McFadden can inject some kind of creativity. He'll be a key player of either Johnson and Cahill gets injured. <> With already 5 players, do we really need Beattie?? I'd say we sell him, and buy a top-notch midfielder.
John Dalton, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

No to move

The ground move again highlights the stupidity of the Board and especially Kenwright, the man who said he would stake his reputation on the Kings Dock move coming off.

Three main points for me are:

  1. Why the hell didn't Everton intervene when Liverpool said they wanted to move to Stanley Park and say we were the ones who applied first? And anyone with any sense knows that this is the only place to move to.
  2. Ironically if Liverpool owned Goodison and not Anfield they wouldn't move because they would know that there is enough room to re-build a great stadium at Goodison.
  3. Everton need to stay near to Stanley Park more than Liverpool do as we rely on the traditional support near to the ground and surrounding areas and this would dwindle if we moved away.
There is so much space behind the Park End to utilise and if our board woke up they should ask the council to move Walton Lane on to the corner of Stanley Park which would then give us further room to use. Seeing as Liverpool are going to be given half the park the council should oblige. That's why one of the first things Liverpool will do is build a public facility on that very corner ensuring that we can never develop there.

Have Everton any idea what Liverpool's aim is? They are going to turn the whole area into a Liverpool FC theme park with the intention of winning all the support around Goodison and surrounding areas and we should stay and do the same, ensuring that we get equal support from the council. But as usual our idiot Chairman is oblivious to what's going on.

Gradually moving our ground towards Stanley Park should be the plan giving us more room at both ends of the ground and keeping all our grass root support in the surrounding area. That's why Liverpool won't move.

What's also really annoying is that it was Everton who started off in Stanley Park not Liverpool and we should make sure we get equal share of what's going on. Wake up Kenwright and wake up all Evertonians who want to move. Everton are incapable of organising a ground move while Kenwright is in charge. The King's Dock proved that!

And we should stay where we are anyway.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (4/11/06)

4-5-1

Just checked the league table, and seeing our stats made me chuckle ? Win: 4, Draw: 5, Lose:1

Our 4-5-1 formation results in a lot of draws, but what's important here is that we ain't losing manymatches... Hopefully a win today will put us in a nice place to compete for a top 6 place. UP THE BLUES!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (4/11/06)

Overrated Arteta

It baffles me that so many Blues can be so critical of Cahill and yet so praisworthy of Arteta.

Having watched all of the great skilful Everton players since the age of 5 from the mid 60's until I moved to Sydney 4 years ago, it is my view that Arteta is grossly overrated. He rarely performs against the elite sides, especially away from home ? unlike Cahill, who appears to relish taking on the big clubs both home and away.

Arteta's sub-standard, lethargic performance against Arsenal last week was par for the course for him. Look closely at that performance, his body language, his attitude and maybe you will understand where I am coming from. In my opinion he should have been dragged off the pitch at half time.

Arteta has good technical ability and his skill will always stand out in any team containing the likes of Carsley, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert, Beattie and Kilbaine but he is light years from being a 'great' skilful player as so many blues perceive him. Such players like Ball, Harvey, Sheedy, Thomas and Steven consistently performed to a high level week in week out, home and away.

Arteta, like Osman, is a decent player at most. Sadly, inconsistent players will not win us trophies which is probably why Rangers and his other clubs were happy to offload him.
Steve Ryan, Sydney  (4/11/06)

He's such a beautiful footballer, though. Whereas Cahill is clumsy klutz by comparison. Perhaps not so much this season, I have not noticed his arms-and-legs tackling style quite so much this time, and he has been avoiding those silly yellow cards...

Arteta has something I will always admire in an Everton player, no matter what the end result or effectiveness: ball skills. Maynbe the real problem is taht he is the only one on the team to possess such skills... I dunno what it is this season, and why he is not as effective as last. But I could watch him 'til the cows come home. Whereas Cahill, goals aside, is not a pleaseant sight. I know he's your Ausssie golden boy... which kinda fits. Sorry. Elegance ain't something you breed down there, now is it? ? Michael

Ground move

Well, call me paranoid but the Echo has already gone into its pro-Board mode concerning the move. I won't bore you with a tirade ? just an observation: why is it only people who don't live here are keen on the move? If we move ? or rather when ? I'll still go... but please scrap The People's Club title ? we will have sold it.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (3 /11/06)

Oi, ya daft sod, if you don't wanna move, the last thing you should tell 'em is you'll still go! FFS!!! Tell them that will be it. Move to Kirkby (of all places) and that will be the end. I dunno... Is it any wonder they'll just ride roughshod over us all? — Michael

Ground move

This move is going to happen and it should happen. It will be cheap for the club with the involvement of Tesco, it is only four miles from Goodison, and we will be in it while LFC are still searching for funds to build their overpriced peice of crap! Yes, it is sad to leave Goodison behind but surely if you have any ounce of sense it is clear that place has been holding us back for 10 years now at least. Get used to it: we're moving! So deal with it ? it's for the best.
Dick Bill, Yorkshire  (3/11/06)

Hmmm... we'll put you down in the 'For' column, I guess... What color seats would you like? How wide? Cup holder? Integral cushioning? Fake leatherette finish? Now's yer big chance... — Michael

Hard a starboard! Icebergs dead ahead!

The plan ? what little we have been told about it, namely to demolish Goodison and build a big Tesco in Kirkby with a miniature stadium attached to it ? is without doubt the worst concept involving Everton that I ever come across. It's too small, it's not in Liverpool, it will be a graffiti covered jerry-built semi-derelict leaking eyesore inside three seasons.

We will be looking for a new stadium within ten years and wondering why we ever left the Holy Ground. It will be a boon for Knowsley, a boon for Tesco, a boon for the developers, of course, and a disaster for Everton and the fans. If leaving Liverpool has any economic advantage, why do you suppoose LFC is building down the street from Anfield? How come they're not heading down the Motorway? Because the plan sucks! Oppose this plan at all costs!
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (3/11/06)

I guess we'll need to start another section of the website with copies of letters from all those such as yerself who are dead set against a move to Kirkby... Do you think the fans will get yet another chance to vote this time?

Are you in favour of Everton forging ahead with their progressive and exciting plans to move to a wonderful new State-of the-Art stadium in nearby Kirkby? Yes/No

Or are you happy to remain in an old and dilapidated dinosaur that will one day be red-tagged by the council, forcing us to play home games at Prenton Park? Yes/No
Michael

The Goodison Roar

I don't know what Phil Lipton has in mind when he describes us Evertonians at the match. I can only speak for myself:

  • Do the players get a good reception? Yes.
  • Do their names get cheered out without exception? Yes.
  • Do I celebrate a goal? Yes.
  • Is the 12th man there when needed? Yes.
  • Do I accept the banter of the away fans? Mostly!
  • Or laugh at it, when appropriate? Yes.
  • Do I want some idiot banging a drum next to me? No.
  • Or an even bigger idiot ringing a bel? ... do me a favour.
  • Do I want music played if we score a goal? Not on your life!
  • Do I get absorbed in a game? Definately.
  • Will I urge the players on? Certainly.
  • Do I need you, Paul, to tell me to get behind my team, at home? No, mate, I don't.
  • I am 41; do you want me to behave like some mindless 'Soccer am' moron chanting "Easy, easy, easy"?
  • Dou you want us to behave with respect to teams like Luton, which we totally outclassed? Yes!
But most of all Paul I don't like you suggesting that I am not an Evertonian because I don't sing for 90 mins. Now Goodison rocks when it's appropriate and needed ? and it's always memorable. We'll even sing in the streets afterwards.

Our play dictates how we celebrate, sing or encourage ? and refs often help. So I thinks it's a great balance between club, players and supporters ? but you obviously think different.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (3/11/06)

Great response, in the end there, Eamonn! I enjoyed that. Seems there's Evertonians that understand the dynamics you described so precisely, and then there's ones who don't, and who moan that we don't sing or don't make enough noise...

Sorry about my earlier mistake (below) in response to your first abortive effort. I should have known a loquacious fella such as you would have plenty to say on this topic! ? Michael

Oh Wayne! (no not Rooney, O'Rourke)

How predictable! In all the years I have been reading ToffeeWeb, I have refrained from contributing my thoughts for this very reason. Me, the naive fool (optimist was actually the phrase offered but what else should I have expected?), daring to actually express some faith in the current set-up whilst anyone that slags them all off is the wise old sage sitting on top of the mount laughing at us.

The point I was trying to make (badly it would appear as this is the third, and you?ll be glad to hear Wayne, final attempt) is that as good as Southall, Reidy, Rats, Sharp, Steven and Inchy were, I don?t ever see them mentioned in the list of all time greats. The point then, just as now, is that the team was greater than the sum of the parts and I see that as our best opportunity to regain some of the lost ground. Whilst you laugh off my comparisons, the same comments were being levelled at many of those great names above before that famous night against Oxford in the League Cup and the subsequent few years of domination we enjoyed.

It must have been awful for you when we won the recent Mersey derby at Anfield by the biggest margin in living memory or beat Spurs at White Hart Lane for the first time in 21 years with only 10 men. Personally, I pissed myself in a pub full of southern Kopites when Rienna bounced the ball off AJ?s head into his own net for our third goal and when the Spurs supporters laughed at us as Killa went for an early bath only for me to watch them do the same an hour later.

Never mind bloody Barclaycard, that?s what I call priceless. If the roles had been reversed for those two incidents you would have thought all your Christmases, Easters and birthdays had come at once. I can hear you now screaming for Kendall?s head up until that Oxford match. Now I think of it, I think Ken Buckley was right about me all along, I really am starting to get a sense of despair.

So I ask you Wayne, in all sincerity because I simply don?t know the answer, who or what would satisfy you? What exactly is it you?re accusing Moyes of? And given some of the unadulterated dross I have watched in the interim since ?87 under such luminaries as Mike Walker and Walter Smith, who do you think has done any better? It?s easy to be cynical. It takes a bit more effort to see hope when you?ve been cheated so many times before. I suppose that?s what you would call niave.

I may be sitting 200 miles away so the view may be a little obscured from all the way down here but I prefer it to the one you?ve got from the top of that mount.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (3/11/06)

Gary, step back from the keyboard, take a deep breath, and go stroke the cat for five minutes.

You offered some original thoughts to a public forum, and some discussion resulted. Be happy at least your contribution was read and responded to! Personally (ever the realist!), all this hypothetical comparative player analysis across the years leaves me cold. It's meaningless pub-talk that can never be proven either way. It is certainly not worth getting het up about. You react as if you've been shot! Why should Wayne's opinion be intrinsically better than yours? It was certainly written far less well (and needed a lot more editting to make it publishable, if that means anything to you).

Pro-Moyes optimists may well be running a bit scared at the moment becasue I suspect that, in their darker moments, they recognize the knife-edge he is on this season. One win every six league games is not going to get us very far up the table, and I think everybody knows that.

Yet Moyes has crafted a team that can do better than that. He knows it, and he has said so, in reference to the games not won and points squandered so far this otherwise very succesful season.

The truth is we have to start winning with some regularity, or it will be more of the same old shite, and Moyes will be the target of all our pent-up frustrations at our seemingly perennial lack of succeess, yet again. No one wants to go through that, and it's juvenile to pretend that anyone does.

Just as it's juvenile to assert that any Evertonian would have been anything other than over the fucking moon with our derby victory... And that victory was where??? Anfield!!??! Ouch! ? Michael

The Goodison Roar

 
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (3/11/06)

Hahaha. Subtle, Eamonn... very subtle. — Michael

Soul Man

Let me start by saying I have absolutely nothing against the good people of Kirkby / Knowsley. It's a few years since I have been there, but I'm sure it's a lovely place.

However, what I am not sure about is whether I want to be railroaded into this as the venue for 'home' matches for the rest of my life. If I had my way I would force Liverpool City Council into finding a site which would allow us to stay inside the City proper. Anything else is a snub to the oldest Club in Liverpool and it's proud heritage and I dread the taunts this will elicit from our bastard child who, as usual, has thrown out the teddy from it's bright red cot and will get its shiny new ground on listed land.

However, railroaded is how it looks to me. The Club has lost patience with the prevarication of the Council and for (probably) sound economic reasons need to make decisions for our Club and move on; further dithering could make things worse.

Wyness promised a concrete ('scuse the pun) statement on the new ground by the end of 2006 and the leaked info, regarding discussions with Barr, indicate to me that he is well on track to meet his deadline.

Question is, will it be a fait accompli, or will fans be allowed an input? My guess is a fait accompli. We'll be given loads of top-spin about the failure to find a satisfactory site inside the City and no doubt the City Council's own failings in the matter will be writ large. But it is no coincidence that Terry Leahy's favourite builder (for Tesco) is Barr and that a ground share with some Tesco hypermarket would be a great commercial deal for all parties (including the local Knowsley council).

Whether it is a great deal for the actual supporters of Everton Football Club is another matter...

As I say, it would be naive, I think, to suggest we can affect the actual move to Kirkby itself; it's not our money and it's 'our' Club only because we choose to support it, as most of us have no actual cash invested in shares.

However, we all invest our gate money, our emotions and (dare I say it) our souls into Everton. Consequently, I believe we should be consulted about the actual shape of the development itself, in a bid to retain as much of the positive elements of the Goodison experience as possible and export these out to Kirkby. I think we should encourage the financial investors to spend just a little more to ensure we create a ground which will generate the atmosphere we deserve to watch football in and bear witness to our history. By so doing they may just take some of the barbs out of the red jibes too.

When the white smoke finally goes up on this one some time soon, I for one will be searching out the supporters' lobby group which hopes to exert whatever pressure we can to achieve a positive balance between the objectives of the investors and the wishes of the fans.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (3/11/06)

Some admirable contemplations there, Steve. I think the least we could do from ToffeeWeb Towers is start a section on the site that maintains a wishlist from the fans ? concrete ideas about what we want / what we don't want for 'our' new stadium. ? Michael

I seem to remember starting a section like that on the old Evertonia.com site during the Johnson-era stadium debate. I'll see if I can dredge it up from the dusty archives (assuming it isn't lurking on TW somewhere already!) — Lyndon

A defining game?

Like many contributors to your letters page I think this is a defining season for David Moyes? tomorrow could be a defining game. There have been one or two glimpses this season of what I would call good football and the signings of Lescott and Johnson indicate that progress is being made, but it does seem so painfully slow. Tomorrow could be a really telling indicator of what David Moyes has in mind for our team in the future.

Like others, I was annoyed by some of the reports in the press following last weekend?s result at Arsenal, but the comment that did trigger some recognition from me was that of the ?self imposed glass ceiling? that we seem to play under. Moyes, I think, is a cautious man and our style of play does mirror that. While the defensive set-up we played to last week could be said to be justified in terms of the quality of Arsenal?s players and the virus affected nature of our squad, I would be disappointed if the same set-up was adhered to tomorrow.

If we have any serious aspirations to real progress, Fulham are exactly the sort of team we should be planning to beat and not just to avoid a defeat. The tactics that Moyes deploys will, I believe, be a strong indicator of the sort of football he wants his team to play and therefore what we can expect in the immediate fu