ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers December 2006


Happy New Year Great News Guys!

I was in a city centre bakery this morning when, to my amazement, I met 'The Horror' aka Zinidine Kilbane. Apparently Moyes put a buy-back clause in Kilbane's transfer to Wigan and he will be re-signed on Tuesday! Watch this space.

The guy is a legend. He got the baker to lock the door, then put a 10-grand cheque in the till and we had pasties galore. The atmosphere was great, we all sang, "Meat pie, sausage rolls; come on, Kilbane score some goals!"
Paul O'Grady, Norris Green  (31/12/06)

Err... I think it's January 1 ? not April 1!

Structuralism, no less!

It's amazing, half the contributors repeat the same hackneyed arguments again and again, while Kevin Sparke discusses Structuralist theory in relation to Everton!

Still it's all good stuff. The same points I and many others were making three years ago are still being bounced around. Our manager is negative and dubious in the transfer market, our chairman is an egotistical charlatan, the midfield has Arteta and little else. Beattie is ill-served by the structure of the team and Marsh says all is bad, Dodd says all is good. Thse who go back to Catterick and beyond in my case, find it hard to accept the current mediocrity, the Sky generation thinks this is as good as it gets.

I wish you all a Happy New Year, you're all Blues and to be positive, Lescott is a genuine gem to add to Arteta and Yobo and I think Vaughan rather than Anichebe will be the class striker of 2007 and beyond, but be warned: all the individuals mentioned by name will be sold as Rooney was by our wonderful chairman if he thinks it will preserve his position.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (31/12/06)

End of year musings

I'm not particularly pro- or anti-Moyes, just an Evertonian with an open mind. It appears that some have become so entrenched in one of these camps, they have lost all powers of reason, or the ability to recognise any progress. There are those who believe that, even from our lowly and sickly state pre-Moyes, the same side should've been challenging for honours within 3 or 4 seasons for no other reason than because it is our divine right as Evertonians. Personally I don't believe even Moriniho could have managed it.

Others have decried our lack of attractive attacking football and ask why we can't play fluid passing football like Arsenal, when even Chelsea can't do that most of the time. This club missed the gravy train a long time ago, and the leading clubs have gone so far away from us in financial terms that we can only hope to get at or near the head of the chasing pack. If we achieve this for a sustained period, continually bolstering our income due to league placing, we will attract the players that will eventually let us break into their exclusive club.

How many clubs outside the Big Four have won anything in the past 10 years? Demanding cup success ahead of league placings is a bit like chasing the long shot; whilst a welcome bonus, hardly a strategy for long-term progress. I think 3-4 seasons finishing in the top 7 will do us more good than winning the FA Cup, and would see us in a much stronger position to make that leap than we were when we finished 4th. The year long form shown previously suggests that we are there or there abouts.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (31/12/06)

Part of me says that's just a load of defeatest rubbish. Current Everton players, coached by Moyes, have shown on a number of occasions now that they can play decent attractive passing football, they can score goals and win games. That is all we are asking for. Why can't it be done with something approaching consistency?

This stuff about people expecting Everton to be winning things is just stuff and nonsense. But the belief that we can't compete beacuse we are among the Premiership also-rans is more a defeatest self-propagating mindset rather than an infutable reality. We've been shown by Moyes that we CAN compete... just not all the time. We do have the players: too many of them are not performing with consistency. These are the issues that need to be addressed ? not this nonsense of hiding forever behind the Big Four. Posting that as an excuse for us playing crap football just doesn't wash. — Michael

New Signings

It will be an interesting New Year for the Toffees after a solid growth year in 2006. The Blues have progressed nicely in the last twelve months and the 2007-08 season could well be the one in which a trophy will finaly make its way back to Goodison Park.

Who do we need to sign in the transfer window? To be honest, we don't really need to sign anyone for this season. The present squad can get us into Europe without the need for knee-jerk signings. Any signings in the transfer window should only be with an eye to the long-term growth of the club and as this is difficult and expensive to do in January, it could be better just to wait 'til Summer.

So where are the positions that need strengthening? The defense of Yobo, Lescott and Valente is as good as any in the Prem. A right back with good attacking and distribution skills would certainly round out the defense nicely.

Midfield? Lee Carsley performs his defensive role well but the team could benefit from having a player with better distribution skills in that position ? a difficult player to find but we should start looking for a replacement. Osman is gifted technically but finds it hard to stamp his authority on a game and he too needs replacement. Davies is starting to come good and VdM should also stay for another season and be allowed to prove himself. Arteta of course is superb while Phil Neville is a fantastic utility player.

As for attack, if a team offers ?4M plus for James Beattie, he should be allowed to leave. There are a number of other 'names' floating around and take your pick for a striker to partner Johnson, Anichebe, and Vaughan. McFadden has had his chance. He is a good squad player but if a decent offer comes we should allow him to move on.

In conclusion, we would benefit from signing two midfielders, one striker and a right back. To find better players than we already have in these positions would cost anywhere between ?15M and ?30M. The sale of Beattie, Osman and McFadden could net us between ?6M and ?10M so go figure as to where the rest of the cash will come from.

Happy New Year to everyone !
Andrew Gaule, NWT, Canada  (31/12/06)

New Year Cheer

I have to applaud Davie for being brave and picking Anichebe over his ?6M purchase. A brave decision that paid off yesterday in dividends. I hope Victor's display gives Beattie the push he needs to return to form.

For once, Christmas cheer for us Blues!
Dan Parker, Northwich, Cheshire  (31/12/06)

Happy New Year

Come on, bluenoses let's be cheerful. We have just ended 2006 with a run of solid performances that have netted us 7 out of 9 points and put us 3rd in the Premiership. AJ is playing like an Evertonian and young Victor is shaping up nicely for the future and putting James Beattie under pressure for his place.

Lescott and Yobo are forming a top-class partnership in defence, mixing youth, talent and speed. Our midfield has talent like Arteta and Cahill competing for their places. Oh and Tesco wants to build us a super new ground (even if they don't seem to know the difference between Everton FC and Kirkby Town).

I have been a bluenose for a long time and there have been many New Year's Eves where the reasons to be cheerful have not been quite so obvious... So come on cheer up ? and here's to 2007 ? it's looking good!
Ben Morris, Garston, Liverpool  (31/12/06)

Ah, the optimism a New Year brings... 'tis a wonderful thing to behold! — Michael

Blowing Your Own Trumpet

Well who would of thought it? Tony Marsh is spot one once again. Who was it, 18 months ago, calling for Victor Anichebe to be given a chance only to be shot down by some ToffeeWeb readers? "He's to young. He's not ready. Stick with Beattie, blah blah" etc etc. Well, he sure looks ready to me and on only his second Premier League start he equals Beattie's goal tally for the season. Both of Beatties goals coming from the spot by the way. As soon as he went off yesterday our attacking threat was non-existent.

Victor has done more this season as a goal threat and all-round menace to defenders than Beattie has done since he joined us and I am so glad I have been proved right once again. Yes, I know the lad is not yet the finished article but he has all the right ingriedents to make it. My only concern is that the Ginger Asssasin will try to give him the Rooney treatment and the lad will do one to a club that wants to play him.

I don't get Moyes one bit. Coming out and slagging the lad off after he just wins a match for him doesn't make any sense. I can't figure out what he's trying to do with James Vaughan either. The last time we seen Vaughan, he scored a cracker against West Ham and since then he hasn't been on the pitch once. What the fuck goes through Moyes's head with this type of man-management?!?

I watched Moyes yesterday giving Beattie and McFadden a 5-minute lecture before they came on, telling them where he wanted them to go and what he wanted them to do. WHY? 15 minutes to go and 3-0 up at home all he needed to say was "Get on there and score a couple of goals, lads." Simple as that. No, Moyes has to over-complicate things and piss everyone about. One of the many reasons I don't like the guy as a manager.

Well, now that I am basking in the glory of my Anichebe predictions, I will mention another youngster who I know will make the grade. Lee Molynuex should be given a first-team start sonner than later because he is a fantastic player and he won't want to be hanging around the reserves much longer while the likes of Davies and Osman are first team regulars. Lee can knock spots of the pair of them and would add some needed flair and bite in the middle of the park plus an added goal threat.

Why fuck about pretending to re-sign Joey Barton when we have another Huyton lad ready to go in Molynuex? Come on, Davey: play the lad. You never know... these kids just might be the making of us!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (31/12/06)

Ah, wind yer neck in, Big 'Ed!

Small change

I have just read that no less than ?365M of the Arabs` ?520M takeover of Liverpool will be borrowed money. That means that, as with Man Utd and Arsenal, the `New Reds` will be up to their arse in debt. Kind of makes Everton`s poxy ?50M borrowings look like small change and the prospect of a Tesco funded rented stadium pretty shrewd business, eh?
Miles Lawton, Wirral  (31/12/06)

Time for some silverware

Art Greeth`s chart shows that, all in all, 2006 has been a decent year for Everton. Unfortunately, the calendar year is not a timeframe by which trophies are won and Everton fans desperately deserve a bauble. The best that can be said of Moyes`s five-year reign is that we have, in general terms, made progress.

Another writer`s figures sought to prove that this has been our best five-year period in Premier League `history`. But the cupboard is still bare-and in every sporting situation you are judged by what you actually win, not by the curve on a progress chart. To be satisfied with this is to live in the world of Daffy Dodd, where every victory is `incredible` and every defeat one step nearer the next success.

No, the time has come for silverware ? and with the so-called Top Four pre-occupied with their quest for European and Premier glory (how boring it`s all become!), Everton have a marvellous chance to become the first team to hoist the FA Cup at the new Wembley.

Now that`s how Moyes can be sure of a chapter in our history. The progress chart to that achievement starts next Saturday!
David Hall, Taunton  (31/12/06)

Experts in hindsight

Should we sign a player in the January window, I dare the anti-Moyes brigade at the time of his signing to say whether or not it is a good signing or will it be the usual case of them being experts long after the deed is done?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (31/12/06)

Very clever, Dickie. The point you miss is that we are all amateurs at this malarkey and (thank god) we don't actually get to make the decisions (execept in the fantasy world of FM 2007). They guy who is making the decision is a professional, a performer in a multi-million pound business: it's his job to get it right. ? Michael

Yesterday's performance

What impressed me most about yesterday's game was the fact that there seemed to be a very conscious effort by the players to pass the ball around. The players looked comfortable doing this as well. Having Neville and Van der Meyde playing as wide men helped this as well as Arteta and Carsley breaking up the play. Having two strikers to aim at again also helped.

I know we were very lucky with how Newcastle dealt with their chances but luck does play a big part in football. Considering yesterday's passing game, it couldn't have come at a better time. With a full squad to pick from and such a positive change in tactics over the last couple of games, I do feel very upbeat about things right now.

On a side note, I do hope this change in tactics is a long-term approach being taken by Moyes. I know this is something I've harped on about before but it does seem to be sinking in with him. Hopefully the results and performances over the last month will convince him to dip into the transfer market for a quality midfielder.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (31/12/06)

Moyes so wrong

At the risk of attracting a writ for defamation, it looks to me that Moyes has learned little from his cock-eyed handling of Rooney when it comes to developing young players. His public statement on his altercation with young Victor does him no credit ? particularly as he is always so `precious` when commenting on the performances of his big buys like Beattie and Johnson.

Just imagine what tripe he`d be coming out with if Beattie had `just slotted home` two against Newcastle. `This will do no end of good for his confidence, bla, bla, bla...`

By all means have a go at ANYBODY in the privacy of the dressing room but NEVER, NEVER, belittle a player in public whatever his stage of development.

See you in court!
Conrad Schofield, Birkenhead  (31/12/06)

It's Not About The Money

I couldn't give a monkeys wether a player cost twelve zillion pounds or came on a free. What I do care about is can he control or pass a football.

Mr Beattie could have signed on a free and most of us would say that he just isn't good enough. Most of the big clubs have wasted money on players who haven't produced, so Moyes isn't alone there. But how many have bought players like Lescott, Yobo, Arteta and Cahill? Not to mention Howard and Martyn? I know Wright, Beattie et al can be used against him, but I think Moyes's record is decent.

I also believe that the fans have eventually persuaded Moyes that Everton have and always will be an attack-minded club. Seven points from nine is a reasonable return. However, if we had employed this philosophy throughout the entire season, we may have been a lot higher in the league. I honestly believe that this Everton side is capable of lifting a trophy, so get some dosh on the FA Cup this year. Happy New Year to all at ToffeeWeb.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (31/12/06)

We've turned yet another of our corners, this time in a forward motion! I know the actual performance yesterday wasn't as great as a 3-0 scoreline might suggest but considering the size of our squad and the quick succession of games just now, to go to Manchester tomorrow on the back of three consecutive clean sheets and seven from nine over the holiday period, is reason enough to hope for a decent beginning to 2007. We all yearn for that FA Cup run! ? Colm

January Sales?

I found the Newcastle post-match comments of David Moyes rather interesting. Anichebe got a big mention of course, but Moyes also went out of his way to describe Vaughan as 'ready for the first team'. That gives the striker options as some permutation of Johnson, Anichebe, McFadden, Vaughan and, er...?!?
Tony Horne, Kettering  (31/12/06)

Carsley

I have to agree: Carsley is an unsung hero. The work he does goes unnoticed. He is the type of player that Man Utd are looking all over the world for (ie, Hargreaves).

Osman did ok but still gets pushed off the ball too easily. Only time Scott Parker never got his own way was when Mikel Arteta moved to the middle during the second half and he started to have a go at Mikel off the ball.

If Nolan was in Osman's position, it would be a big plus. There are so many candidates for man of the match (Lescott, Valente, Carsley, Howard) but Mikel Arteta, as everyone knows, is a Diamond; he has got to be up there with Alan Ball and Peter Reid as one of the best players I have seen playing for Everton.

Long, long may it continue.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (31/12/06)

Happy New Year all!

Luq: why would Robbie Keane come here - especially if we are not going to place anywhere decent in the league this season?

Gerry: 'Van der Meyde looks like a good player'? ? I just don't get that. He looks better than he did, but didn't contribute too much today, even leaving us exposed down the laft at times; Nuno did really well picking up the slack.

Anyway, just my opinions - no doubt I'm wrong!

All the very best to everyone at TW and to the regular contributors to the mailbag ? you've certainly provided food for thought during 2006 ? more of the same for 2007 please! Happy New year all!
Wayne Francis, N Wales  (31/12/06)

GP wit

Best moment of the match yesterday, other than the goals, the win, the atmosphere etc, was when that little chap Emre came over to take a corner at the Gwladys St/Paddock end and some fella in the Paddock shouts "Hi Hooooo!" If you read TW mate, you made me and hundreds of others laugh and chuckle - Perfect timing and even better delivery!

Anyway, for once, a great all-round performance with the back four doing well, Lescott and Valente in particlar. Andy VdM did well and Phil Neville's goal was priceless. I've never seen him smile like that before, he was one very happy chappie.

Oh happy days! I skipped back to Stanley Park, which is easier said than done at my age, and listened to some of the comments from the Toonies, those that I could understand anyway, the general opinion seemed to be ? we were utter shite ? a bit harsh but when you've just been stuffed 3 nil I suppose it's hard to see any positives.

Transfer window? I would love to see that cheeky fella Joey Barton don a Royal Blue jersey. Him or Kevin Nolan would do nicely but if you listen to John Aldridge, one or both of them are destined for the Dark Side because they're local lads. Yes, local they may be ? but from the heavenly side of the great divide!

Happy New Year to all Blues everywhere in the world and to the team at ToffeeWeb in particular. I suppose a very special greeting to the Hi Ho fella too ? you could make it on the stage mate!
Lue Glover, Flint  (31/12/06)

2006 League Form

I thought the accumulative stats of the team?s league performance in 2006 might make for interesting reading.

2005-06

H Charlton    w 3-1
A Portsmouth  w 1-0*
H Arsenal     w 1-0*
A Wigan       d 1-1
H Man City    w 1-0*
H Blackburn   w 1-0*
A Newcastle   l 0-2
A WHU         d 2-2
H Fulham      w 3-1
H Villa       w 4-1
A L'pool      l 1-3
H Sunderland  d 2-2
A Charlton    d 0-0*
H Spurs       l 0-1
A Chelsea     l 0-3
H Birmingham  d 0-0
A M'boro      w 1-0*
H WBA         d 2-2
2006-07

H Watford     w 2-1
A Blackburn   d 1-1
A Spurs       w 2-0*
H L'pool      w 3-0*
H Wigan       d 2-2
A Newcastle   d 1-1
H Man City    d 1-1
A M'boro      l 1-2
H Sheff Utd   w 2-0*
A Arsenal     d 1-1
A Fulham      l 0-1
H Villa       l 0-1
H Bolton      w 1-0*
A Charlton    d 1-1
A Man Utd     l 0-3
H WHU         w 2-0*
A Portsmouth  l 0-2
H Chelsea     l 2-3
A Reading     w 2-0*
H M'boro      d 0-0*
H Newcastle   w 3-0*
Overall record:

P   W   D   L    F    A   PTS   GD
39  16  13  10   50  39   61   +11
Home record:

P   W   D   L    F    A   PTS   GD
21  12  6   3    35   16  42    +19
Away record:

P   W   D   L    F    A   PTS    GD
18  4   7   7    15   23  19     -8

Further interesting facts:

  • Known as the ?1-0? specialists, 9 of Everton?s 16 victories in the year have been by a two-goal winning margin or more.
  • Of the 10 defeats, five have been by single-goal margins. There have been three defeats by two-goal margins (away to Liverpool, Newcastle and Portsmouth), and two defeats by three goal margins (away to Chelsea and United).
  • We have kept 10 clean sheets at home and five clean sheets away.

Taken all together, it makes for encouraging reading. The home form is solid, the goal ratio is reasonable and the points tally has us on the fringes of European qualification. Clearly, the away form needs to be tweaked and improved, but convert a few more single-goal defeats into draws or victories and hopefully this record can be further improved upon in 2007.
Art Greeth, Portugal  (31/12/06)

Hate to do this but wasn't it a similar story in 2004? I try not to remember what happened in 2005... but this is what the Moyes Rollercoaster is all about. — Michael

Realism

Tony Marsh certainly doesn't need my support, he's more than capable of looking after himself.

However (there's always a however or a but, I know)... out of all the contributors to this mail bag, Tony has been the only one to consistently call things exactly as they are. All the Moyesiah "be positive" acolytes are kidding themselves.

On paper we had a good win today but it would only have taken a touch of luck to go the other way and the scoreline could easily have been reversed. Unlike many of the contributors to this mailbag, I actually attend Goodison, plus the occasional away game. Mark my words Tony Marsh has today's Everton well and truly in perspective. With Bullshit Billy and PT teacher Moyes around, we are going nowhere. Who else but a loud-mouthed bully would crow about giving an 18-year-old a bollocking? No wonder our greatest player in the last 50 years, and true blue, thinks he's a nomark prick and chose to leave.

Don't believe me? Well put your mortgage on the cup and qualifying for a European place this season. No? You're quite correct because, yet again, this season will fizzle out and you'll all be saying "give him time, wait until next season - all we need is ... zzzzzzzzzzzz..."

Moyes and Kenwright out, please, before they ruin our great club completely.

Thanks for THE very best Everton web site. Keep up the good work and all the very best to you and yours for 2007.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (31/12/06)

And a Happy New Year to you too Tom!!! "All we need is ... Zzzzzzzzzzz..."???? Zidane? ;-) ? Colm

Festive cheer

Great atmosphere today and another good team performance. Van der Meyde appears to have shed a few pounds and now looks a really good player. Arteta put in another quality performance. But I have to agree with Ken: Lee Carsley was outstanding and I believe he has been harshly criticised of late, he is very much an unsung hero who he has done wonderfully well in recovering from a nasty injury late in his career and is really the only combative midfield player we have hence a great deal of reliance in placed upon him. I for one shudder to think where we might be at this stage without his physical contribution in the middle of the park.

Let's hope for more of the same at City. Good luck to all ToffeeWeb contributors for the new year and word of praise for the efforts of the editorial team ? keep up the good work.
Gerry Western, London  (31/12/06)

Cheers, Gerry.

Remember Liverpool?

Firstly, excellent result today with young Anichebe scoring and Neville doing his party trick of trying to look good, very happy! But this game had Liverpool at Goodison earlier this season written all over it, and, yes, we were more fortunate today then that time.

It seems when we win three-nothing, we fluke the win. Newcastle was far the better team in the first and half of the second half of the match. Their pass and move ethic, mixed with skill was matched but Everton chasing them like dogs on E tablets.

And just like against Liverpool we could have been two - one down before Anichebe slotted in the second. But credit where credit is due, and I salute Moyes for playing an attacking side yesterday (by Moyes's standard anyway) and for sticking with Anichebe ahead of Beattie.

Many managers, like Alex Ferguson, when they buy flops they stick by them. Moyes has seemed to finally see that Beattie is not up to scratch. Ok, Beattie works harder than Anichebe in defense, but lacks that attacking bite, so benched you go. Robbie Keane, I believe, will be at Everton in January so bye-bye, Beattie!

Seven points out of nine is a promising return for the Xmas period, and Moyes must be doing something right to have achieved this!? But please, fans, don't go believing we will finish anyway high in the table, as last time Everton won three - nil, we didn't win in the next nine attempts!
Luq Yussef, London  (31/12/06)

Nice one, Nobby!

What a subtle piece of humour from Brian Noble. The first time I read it I was getting hot under the collar and then came the realisation that Nobby was taking the piss! Like him though, I wouldn`t bet against Moyes leaving the kid out to avoid over-exposure!
Alan Greaves, Crosby  (30/12/06)

Moyes out of order

Can`t help thinking Moyes is way off beam publicising the fact that he bollocked Anichebe at half-time. What happens in the dressing room should stay there and I bet he wouldn`t be so quick to gab off about what he says to the more senior players.

To me, this is a amateurish psychology by an industrial bully picking on an easy target.`Just look how I spurred him on.` Bloody pathetic!
John Ricketts, Wavertree  (30/12/06)

Exactly what I thought too, John. But some people, of course, think it's fine, and turn the blame on us for questioning it, when ? if Moyes hadn't found the need to say anything about it ? we'd be talking more about the positives of the game. — Michael

About that Anichebe lad

I suspect Brian Noble may have been rather tongue-in-cheek with his observations there, Michael. If only we could get Beattie to 'slot the ball home' instead of the pathetic performances he's been turning in of late. I have been defending Beattie since he's been here, because he has shown glimpses of undoubted class, particularly on that little run of his last season.

However, on the whole, I expect a whole lot more from a ?6M man who is given the Number 9 shirt. Goals for a start. Victor had a poor game in my opinion, giving the ball away too often and collecting a silly booking, which indirectly led to a Newcastle penalty, to name but a few. Had Martins scored that, the whole complexion of the game would've been different. As it is, he missed, Victor got his deserved bollocking at half-time, and it seemed to have the desired effect.

And before I get the mandatory ?so you?re giving Moyes credit for the second goal then? objection, let me point out that?s not what I?m saying at all. What would you have had Moyes do? Applaud an all-round poor first half on the basis that he scored a goal? I think not ? especially since we don?t want it all going to the big fella?s head too soon either. Keep his feet on the ground, give him praise for his opportunism, but have him continue to improve his all round game. We have seen too many youngsters flatter to deceive in the striking role at Goodison over the years, so a mixture of caution and positive criticism is justified, don?t you think?

Whilst Anichebe?s all-round game was pretty poor, he did manage to take his brace very well indeed and that is ultimately what he?s in the team to do. This does NOT mean his all-round game doesn?t need improving though. He is still young and his performances will improve, but he seems to have the basic ingredients for success in this league, namely pace, power and a willingness to keep learning. Only time will tell if he?s a success. There?s no doubt that his sheer physical presence is proving an effective weapon, as Messrs Carvalho and Boulharouz will attest. Beattie though, although he has superior technique to Anichebe, seems as if he can't be arsed half the time, and throws his arms up Cantona style when he scores (an admittedly well-taken) penalty. Attitude in this league is key, since technique alone will only get you so far (just ask Simon Davies).

For you to say that this is Moyes's way to take the credit is, in short, laughable, and it galls me that Moyes's protection of a young player is misinterpreted as him wanting to take credit. Give the man a break. You just can?t please some people eh? Not even after a 3-0 win and 7 points out of 9! Here's hoping we make it 10 out of 12 at City on Monday, which I believe we?re well capable of!

And by the way, I must applaud the work you guys are doing lads (laughable anti-Moyes comments notwithstanding :-) ? I truly appreciate the polarized opinions, and it somehow brings one 'closer' to the buzz at Goodison, especially since I'm probably at the southernmost point of the world! COYB
David Gallant, Cape Town, South Africa  (30/12/06)

Part of the problem Victor was having is lack of support from his teammates. He wasn't getting enough players in positions where he could make a decent pass, meaning he had to hold possession, and run at two then three Toonies, with the inevitable result. Apparently, what I was watching was good football ? some of the best we have played all season ? but I still wasn't convinced. It's best not too look too far beyond the goals to be honest, and as you say, it could have been a different game if that penalty had gone in. Also, if Emre had received a second yellow, which he richly deserved for that card-request nonsense.

Regarding Moyes's comments, how often have you ever heard him say he bollocked one of his own players? And after a famous victory?!? I'm sure he does it, but never before has he seen fit to tell that to the Sky cameras. I just found it a strange thing to be telling everybody, especillay in relation to a young, impressionable 18-year -old lad he is supposedly 'protecting'. I stick with my interpretation.

And I've got some other news for you: Antarctica. — Michael

The Downfall of Danny Cadamarteri

For some reason, whenever I think of Victor Anichebe, I cant help being reminded of Danny Cadamarteri. Let's hope Moyes continues to kick Victor's butt and he doesn't get lazy like poor old Danny. Cadamarteri had too much too young and there was no manager to keep him in line and watch out for him.

Incidentily Rooney, Vaughan and Anichebe have all scored in the Premiership under Moyes. Can anyone name another manager who has had three 18-year-olds score for him?
John Cottee, Romford  (30/12/06)

The January Situation

Personally, I don't see the need for major inprovements in January. As we did in the summer, we need quality rather than quanity. Areas that we need to improve on are the left midfield position, were I would like to see a winger signed, and the central midfield position it's here were we are too lightweight; we need a ball winner. (It hurts but Sissoko would have been a terrific signing.) Players mentioned such as Richardson and Barton would be great signings and with the TV money from next year also to play with, I think if we have the chance we should sign them up.

Finally, Ii would just like to mention James Beattie; I'm fully behind the guy. This time last year, he had scored only 1 goal but we all adored him still. Don't slag him off and just get behind the fella, he will come good (when we give him the correct service).
Andrew Bott, Greasby  (30/12/06)

Phil Jagielka

In reply to Simon Birdsey`s letter mentioning Phil Jagielka, after tonight's game he could also cover in goal.
Anthony Dilworth, Morcambe  (30/12/06)

Well done to him and the Blades for that display. It was quite refreshing. We need to see more of these upsets that might help get the league back to being a bit less predictable. — Michael

From my seat

An excellent way to end the old year and send us into the new with renewed optimism.

Newcastle, deprived of any sort of back four, chose to play to their strengths, which made for an open game ? unlike the Boro situation ? and didn't we capitalise on that. Everyone played their part, including the manager, who chose the right tactics and the right subs at the right time.

All of the players played well and we saw some decent football played for a change. The goals came at the right time and it was refreshing to see us reward good build up with SCRUFFY goals, the sort that reflect the pressure exerted and win games.

The penalty miss is one I will delight in seeing again as it was both hilarious and a defining point.

Looking for a MotM, I am sure many may go for the imperious Lescott who again showed his credentials and I am sure this is bringing the best out of Yobo and making a sound foundation at the heart of our defence; however, my vote goes to Lee Carsley who I thought had an outstanding game that may be more valued by teamates rather than fans.

I have enjoyed my day today and can only hope that the trip to City sees us continue in the same vein and complete the holiday fixtures in credit.

Being neither pro- nor anti-Moyes but preferring to comment as I see it, as much as I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but think what the addition of a dominant force in midfield could do for the future. Still, not to be pedantic, congrats to all today.

All the very best to ToffeeWeb and all its contributors. Have a great New Year. See you at City -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (30/12/06)

The trouble with Victor

David Moyes did right to bollock young upstart, Victor Anichebe, for lack of effort in the first half today. His defending at corners was pathetic and he seemeed quite unable to cover his full-backs when they ventured over the half-way line. The trouble with young strikers is that they think their job is all about scoring goals. No doubt Moyes had him study the technique of a skilled craftsman like Beattie when he eventually came on to replace him. A prolonged period in the reserves is called for before he gets into the habit of just slotting the ball home.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (30/12/06)

I dunno... I was over the moon to watch him "just slotting the ball home." In fact, I'd take that every day of the week. To me, it's Moyes's way of taking some of the credit himself and knocking the lad down a peg or two for Victor's excellent sleuthing in the six-yard box. His reactions for both goals were superb, and Moyes in my eyes remains highly suspect in the way he brings forward, 'nurtures' and 'protects' these young players. ? Michael

Transfer Window

Don't really fancy Danny Murphy, he's another player who's anonymous apart from the odd goal. Barton is quite tempting, but I'd be surprised if we could afford him and his temperament is too questionable to take such a gamble. What about Phil Jagielka? He's only 24 and can play in Carsley's role or at the back as cover for Yobo and Lescott. He's tough, skilful and can command the midfield. Could be a tremendous signing. I'll stick with taking Richardson from United and I'd probably like one more versatile player for the right hand side.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (30/12/06)

Please, can we stop this fantasy stuff, Simon. You've had your go, now enough already. I don't know about everyone else, but I'd rather talk about the people we actually get (if any) rather than all this pointless hypothesising. Sorry! — Michael

Yo-Yo

Tony "Yo-Yo" Marsh, I think I've remarked before about being on a roller coaster with Everton; pay your money and enjoy. I took a lot of stick when we were in Division 2, but the ride started and I'm still enjoying the troughs.
Bob Patterson, Liverpool  (30/12/06)

Re Kevin Sparke, Myth Making

Hahaha, brilliant! Never on a football fans site did I ever think I see Barthes's theory of semiotics applied! Let's get all Derridean on it and deconstruct the hidden meaning implicit in the words of Wenger et al! Quality. However, you may well have a point; Ars?ne Wenger is no fool, a very well educated man. Maybe he does know what he is doing...
Andy Morden, Dudley  (30/12/06)

Kilbane & Bent

I thought Rob Sachro's post on the transfer was very fair although I disagree about Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane.

Both Bent and Kilbane were purchased for low fees and they did a decent job for the team at the time. As the quality of squad gradually improved, both players eventually became surplus and Moyes somehow found away to sell them and make a profit.

I cannot understand how anyone can call them bad transfers. They were excellent short-term solutions which also provided an unexpected finanical bonus.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/12/06)

Pies of a different sort

A fabulous attacking display from the lads this afternoon and Victor`s brace was a great reward for Davey`s careful grooming of this fabulous young talent.

At least this weekend`s Mailbag will not be concentrating on the pies ? most of which should be of the humble sort on ToffeeWeb tonight!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/12/06)

What about some humble pie from you, Dickie? A point is all you could foresee. Meanwhile, the fans you love to denigrate have been calling out for exactly this brand of attacking football that Moyes finally got them to produce, in the first half at least. It was a great result: why do you have to spoil the atmosphere with your constant crowing and carping? — Michael

What is going on?

This is my first time writing in to ToffeeWeb; first of all, it's a good site with loads of different opinions.

About the catering first: I was at the game on Boxing Day and couldn't believe how useless the catering staff were! And, to top it all off, I couldn't get my pint of Chang because the pumps were broken and they didn't seem to care.

I know its been mentioned before but the football that Everton play is pretty shit; how can we one game play well then the next game play like a Sunday League side? But anyway we beat the Barcodes today and only lost 3 premiership games at Goodison in he whole of 2006. Heres to 2007 and hopefully European football!!!
Danny Lerou, Oxford  (30/12/06)

Transfers: Heaven and Hell

In response to Mr Sachro's piece. I have to say this is typical of the rubbish many 'supporters' come out with these days. I can't believe so many ingrates wear blue.

If you ask fans of other clubs to list Premiership managers who have done good deals ? as opposed to simply flashing the checkbook to buy everyone's heart's desire ? many will cite Moyes. How can one talk of his transfer dealings and fail to give due regard his 'buy of the season' which Cahill represented?

People have been equivocal about the likes of Kilbane and Bent, but I can recall many, many times match accounts in the media citing these two as 'Man of the Match'. Moyes has managed to get so much from such a small cheque book. Look at the dosh them across the park have spent in the time Moyes has been at Goodison. Have they done better? In fact, to put Moyes's efforts in perspective, just tell us someone in the Premiership who, 'pound for pound', has done better?!

I despair at fans who fail to give folk the credit they deserve. I sometimes wonder what it takes to satisfy some people, I really do!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (30/12/06)

My team v Newcastle

            Howard
  Neville Yobo Lescott Naysmith
    Arteta Carsley Osman
      Johnson McFadden
           Beattie

(Wright, Hughes, Anichebe, Van der Meyde, Pistone)
Personally, I'd really have a go at Newcastle today because they've got a rookie defence and hopefully, in Srnicek, a keeper who has hardly played in years. If we could push 3 on to 4 we could really rattle them. I'd have Beattie up top to occupy them in the air and Johnson and McFadden operating down the channels and getting beyond and around Beattie for knock downs.

The idea is that Johnson could pull wide right and he'd have Beattie and McFadden to aim for in the middle with either Arteta or Osman coming to the edge of the box. It would work exactly the same with McFadden on the left.

The midfield trio of Arteta, Carsley and Osman would have to stay quite tight and the full backs would have to be defensively-minded, but if we could push Dyer and Emre out wide for the full backs to deal with, then we'd have three on two (Parker and Butt) in the middle.

If we did get overrun in midfield then McFadden could easily slot back into the left hand side, making it a smooth transition to 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2.

I know it's a gamble to go with such an attacking formation, but their weakness is obviously defence. If we can pressurise that area then we're bound to get some joy. If we can cut off their supply line from the back and cause the young defenders to panic with some high tempo 'dogs of war' football then I think that they'd fold. That's opposed to inviting Newcastle on to us and Naysmith getting ripped to bits by Dyer, Parker bossing the midfield and Martins giving Yobo nightmares.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (30/12/06)

Joey Barton

Just read the latest specultaion regarding Joey Barton. The piece in the Daily Post is an Everton Transfer Classic which can be summed up as "we will compete for his signature but expect him to take ?20k per week less because he loves the club". It is an approach in the finest tradition of the ?12m Shearer bid.

The sad truth is that this non-bid tells us all we need to know about where the Club is headed ? ie, absolutely nowhere, but the relative comfort zone of mid-table. It seems that Mr Dodd has been right all along and we should indeed be grateful to have risen to the heady heights of 8th.
John Doolan, Chester  (30/12/06)

Happy New Year? You're joking

I am increasingly irritated by the MailBag calls to get rid of James Beattie. I confidently predict that, a year from now, the same people will be screaming for the head of Andy Johnson. Can`t these fools see that the reason nobody can emerge as a consistent goalscorer at Everton is because the manager is totally incapable of building a side round his most expensive assets! Moyes is clueless when it comes to attacking stategies and signs these expensive, high profile strikers in the mistaken belief that they have some magic powers which result in an endless stream of goals.

As we understand he is here for life, at the very least he should get himself a coach who sees the game other than in terms of defence. I know it won't happen and we can prepare ourselves for yet another year of heartache and disappointment.
Neil Curtis, Meanwood  (30/12/06)

Everything must go!

I guess it must be a slow news week for The Great Goodison Pie to hog the headlines in your columns. Be that as it may, it`s got me round to thinking how little is left of the Everton I was brought up with.

First, they flogged off the season ticket income for the next quarter of a century, then it was Bellefield, next came the programme, ground advertising rights and catering. Soon the Old Lady will follow suit as we move into a rented ground up the East Lancs. And all gone for what purpose? The Club is still ?50m in debt!

Anybody want a badge and a motto? We can do all colours ? even red. Everything must go!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (30/12/06)

THEY will still be moaning!

My heartfelt thanks to Dave Chandice for proving beyond all doubt that Davey Moyes`s time at our great club has been its most successful period in Premier history. It grieves me to read fellow Evertonians slagging off our excellent manager because they happen to disagree with his team selection and tactics.

Just imagine what state the club would be in with Tony March or any of his acolytes in charge! A point from Newcastle today will see us safely into 2007 in the top half of the table but THEY will still be moaning, you see!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/12/06)

Of course people will moan if we don't beat Newcastle today, Dickie boy. Look at the table: they are BELOW us. Why are your standards and exepctations for this club so low? I find that increasingly disgusting to contemplate. — Michael

Face the facts

Why state about Moyes' record: "it compares extremely favourably with any similar period in our Premier history"? I remember finishing top 6 with Royle and was it my imagination or did we go to Wembley and beat Man U 1-0 to win the FA cup? In fact, my memory serves me right and that did happen, Royle won us a trophy!

Until Moyes wins us a trophy I don't think he has any kind of favourable history to Royle. Moyes hasn't and doesn't look like coming close. I still challenge anyone who is "pro-Moyes" to actually sit through 90 minutes of his dross rather than a few minutes of highlights on match of the day.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (30/01/06)

Okay, we're going a bit Groundhog Day on this stuff, people. Let's keep it fresh, please! — Michael

Yes and no...

Excellent analyses of Moyes's transfer successes and failures, but I agree with the first response: Nuno Valente still is our first choice at left back (although of course Gary Naysmith, if he were EVER healthy might make a run at it), and Killa and Bentsy were just short-termers. I may be an optimist, but I still think Beattie will pan out, just give him a chance still. Him and Johnson still can prove to be quite the pair.

On another level, Andy van der Meyde still CAN do it. I believe it. Yes, he seems to have done his best with Holland, but he played two very good games this season. He needs the chance to play and get some pitch minutes into him, he'll pan out. Problem is, he loves the bottle. Fine for us paunchy pintsters, but not if you're paid enough to own the car he does...

Faddy also, he has his moments... but he's just too inconsistent. Maybe he needs to play in Scotland again for a while, just on loan, and get his confidence back. Some of these Scots players get squirelly in the Premiership limelight. I might be full of crap here, but that's my thought... Anyhow, here's from one of the very few Toffeemen in the USA. COME ON YOU TOFFEE'S!!!!!
Phil Jones, Wilmington, Delaware, USA  (29/12/06)

Leeds

Leeds received a mention earlier today. It was in the context that David Moyes, through what he has done with the squad, saved Everton from the relegation obscurity that befell Leeds.

It wasn't just a poor squad that caused Leeds's relegation and subsequent collapse. Financial meltdown also played a large part in their fall from grace. The club gambled in a big way with their finances on the strength of Champions' League football. Instead, they got relegated and still had the same debts to service. We can all see the position they find themselves in now.

Now while not exactly gambling with the sums of cash that Leeds did, I do think that the Board is taking a big risk with the whole stadium move. If you read Paul Johnson's informative article from earlier in the week, it seems pretty clear that the new stadium may not be the cash cow that's expected or hoped for.

Right now, we can't afford to renovate Goodison. We can't afford to keep a controlling interest in any new stadium either. Yet we're planning to do a deal with Tesco's that will leave us completely at their mercy. So what if their CEO is an Evertonian? He is answerable to a multinational business first and foremost in this deal, and that means being a fan last.

So when you think about it, we're not going to get the stadium for free, regardless of how it may seem.It means putting up a sum of cash that we don't appear to have. Also, if Tescos are incurring the most of the cost of building the stadium, how much of the revenue will they want in return. And if we're not going to be making large pots of money out of it...

Put this way, this looks like a financial venture that makes absolutely no financial sense. Yes, we need a new stadium in some way, shape or form but we just can't afford it right now. We simply can't.

Now I'm not saying it will lead to the implosion that Leeds suffered. I'm not saying either that the Board will behave in the manner that the Leeds Board did. But if these are the kind of financial decisions the Board is going to make, it would make you wonder when you think about clubs like Leeds and what has happened to them.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (29/12/06)

3 Points Please!!!!

Right then, first time on the site and first and foremost I want to wish all Blues across the world a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Went to the match on Boxing Day, and was a bit disappointed by Big Vic and his lack of goals but we have had that from beefy for almost two years, so we have to be prepared to give the big man a bit more of a chance. Can't help but feel the strikers miss out on opportunities due to our lack of quality in midfield. Hope Moysey sticks with Vic up front or gives Macca a chance alongside AJ. Will be interesting to see what dithering Dave does in the transfer window!!!!

Big match tomorrow and hope we get something from it. With a team like Newcastle coming to GP we will have to be strong at the back (let's be honest Martins and Dyer etal are sure to score if given half a chance against us... Sod's Law) so let's hope we go with a sensible back four of Neville, Yobo, Lescott and Valente.

AJ is due a couple sooner or later and a wonder goal from Mikey wouldn't go a miss. COYB.
Martin Cooil, Mynydd Isa  (29/12/06)

Think about it!

So let`s just imagine that Kenwright reads the Mailbag tonight and, on the advice of 80% of posters, decides to sack Moyes in the morning. Would you honestly trust the man to recruit a replacement who would, in any way, be better? After all, this is the man who appointed the guy you all love to hate so why should his next pick be any better?

Just think about it and, for God`s sake, shut up!
Mike Sears, Bebington  (29/12/06)

Ouch! Hoisted on the horns of a dliemma!

Response to Dan Moore

Very funny, that last post, Dan ? had me in stitches, mate. One thing, though: what kind of loser actually goes looking on a Geordie website in the first place. Very Sad.

Maybe I have missed something here but should we all be doing cartwheels and setting off fireworks due to the fact we could be on for another one of those wonderful top-ten finishes again. I can hardly contain my joy at what I have seen these past 5 years. Its been one hell of a journey and I never want it to stop. Please give Davey tons more money to spend, Bill.

I am still trying to recover my composure after the Boxing Day Feast of Football that Moyes's Boys served up. Fantastic is the way I describe it. Who needs "Sexy" Football when you can have "The old scrubber waiting for a Taxi outside The Grafton while eating a Kebab" type football.

Yes, Dan, I am absolutely deleriuos with with excitement so far this season at what I have seen. I have got a grin on my face like a Cheshire Cat on smack and I am loving every minute of the Moyes Trauma at Christmas extravaganzer. How could any one not be happy with it. You only have to read some of the recent postings on here to realise that Moyes is the man and he deserves another 5 millenia to get it right.

After all we should be thankful we haven't been relegated like we were 50 odd years ago. I mean before Davey came in we were always dropping out of the top flight, weren't we. Yep, up and down like a Yo-Yo we were.

Thanks Davey thanks for keeping us up mate. Oh by the way how much has it cost???
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/12/06)

Just go!

Now I realise Moyes is going nowhere right now, so all I'm praying for is that he gets rid of Beattie this window. I know it's not much but to me it would be a huge step in the right direction if we could find someone stupid enough to take him, let alone pay money for him! If Davies and Wright went too then that would be a great start to the New Year even though that's ?14 million that Moyes spent that has been totally wasted.

Obviously I too will rejoice when Moyes takes his bland, dated and neanderthal football with him, but we're probably years away from that, so baby steps are all I can hope for.

All the best to all Evertonians, even those that don't agree with me! And especially to all at ToffeeWeb... thanks for all your efforts, they are massively appreciated.
Mike Price, Vancouver, BC, Canada  (29/12/06)

Nice comments, Mike. Thanks for your continued support and interest. — Michael

Crap Catering...

... can be illegal both in terms of health & safety and customer service. I suggest everybody contacting the council's Trading Standards to highlight the whole issue of catering at Goodison Park ? don't waste time complaining to the club, they're not interested as evidenced here. Contacts: Tel 0151 233 3002; e-mail consumer.advice@liverpool.gov.uk or trading.standards@liverpool.gov.uk

Everton FC have legal obligations which they should meet; if not, Trading Standards should be able to act against them. We are the paying customers and the 'fare' is just not good enough ? raher like the football!
Peete Stewart, London  (29/12/06)

A site after Tony Marsh's own heart!

Just thought I would drop by with a link to this site, and couldn't help but imagine with a few adjustments it would not look out of place being run by our very own Tony Marsh!

http://www.drgloom.co.uk/

Keep up the good work lads and hopefully it will be 3 points for the Blues on Saturday!
Dan Moore, Southport  (29/12/06)

Michael, face the facts!

So glad that somebody thought to look back farther than last season... or last week for comparison of the club`s performance. Michael, you can`t just dismiss Moyes` five year record... it compares extremely favourably with any similar period in the our Premier history and is of much more significance than how many goals we`ve scored since the Derby victory which you harp on about.

Thankfully, we can be fairly certain that Moyes will have another five years to continue his upward journey. Improvement on par with that achieved so far will see us regularly in the top six. Fact!
Seb St Clare, Harrogate  (29/12/06)

You'll have to explain to me (hoepfully not soon) how current facts related to this season's continuing failures under Moyes are of much less significance than future 'facts' based on a totally hypothetical scenario!?! What are you smoking? — Michael

The GP Savory Pie

Firstly, let me say Happy Chistmas and a Happy New Year to the ToffeWeb team, and all of its posters.

Secondly, let me give you my one experience of eating a Goodison Savory Pie. The game happened to be the famous 3-2 win over Wimbledon when we just stayed up. I went down just before half-time to beat the queues as we were already 0-2 down and looking favourites to drop into the Championship. The queue was about 10 deep (I use the word deep as there appeared to be no queueing system just a scrum). When I got there I managed to work my way to the front after about 10 minutes of pushing and shoving. I had a cup of coffee made with a spoon of instant freeze-dried coffee granules from one of those big catering tins of coffee of an unknown brand, and a hot Goodison Savory Pie of unknown brand.

One bite of the pie was all I had, as the molten contents of the pie scalded the inside of my mouth so it remained blistered for about three days. I have never had anything since, in 12 years as a season ticket holder. The queues (scrums) are usually too big for me to bother. Wouldn't they be better getting in some of the big franciases like Burger King or Costa to do the catering? At least you may get something edible and drinkable.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (29/12/06)

Patrick Goodison on the Goodison Catering

I am also a season ticket holder in the Park End and I couldn't agree with him more!! Three consecutive home games I have been short-changed by staff in these outlets who obviously can't count, or do not know how to operate the tills. I have tried complaining to supervisors but you just get fobbed off with "you need to complain in writing" Having tried to do that on several previous issues including ticket sales, and repeated racist comments from specific seats, I would not even bother trying as nothing ever gets done. Ticket sales for cup games still get lashed up, and identified fans are still in the same seats spouting the same garbage!

If we are to move to Kirkby or anywhere else for that matter, the business side of Everton FC will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, starting with customer care and communications (Whatever happened to the Fans Liaison Officer, and have you ever tried to contact him?)

I love this club and that is why I put up with all the incompetence that goes with it, but I seriously doubt that there are another 54,999 people who think the same way and will be prepared to put up with it away from Goodison.
Steve Taylor, Liverpool  (29/12/06)

Better

Whilst I agree with Tom Hughes that the squad is in better shape now than it was under Smith, I will not accept that after five years under Moyes we are still playing awful football, which at times bears a startling resemblence to the way we played under Smith.

This team is his team and they play according to his instructions. How hard is it, for god's sake to pass a ball a few yards when you practice it day in day out for a living? Moyes has proved that tactically he is inept, he bought players he considered good enough for this club to play a certain style of football, which is very limited in its options and effectiveness.

I for one cannot wait for the day he parts company with us. I am honestly fed up with long-ball tactics which went out with the ark. Football is supposed to be enjoyable? I rest my case.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (29/12/06)

The Holy Grail

I read Patrick Goodison's (is that your genuine surname?) piece on the Everton catering fiasco at the Middlesborough game. This brought back fond memories to me and I totally sympathise with his frustration, both with the service standards and the challenge of keeping his 7-year-old on board.

I've been a Blue for more years than I care to remember and took my son when he was 6 to his first game at Goodison. I'd moved away from Liverpool at that stage but managed to get to 10 or so games a season. He's now 23 and we only managed to get him a sausage roll on one occasion in all those years (and that had to be heated in the microwave as they'd run out of hot ones!!).

Don't worry, Patrick; your son will stay a Blue as mine did but it won't be down to the catering at Goodison, that's for sure.
Dave Brierley, Surrey  (29/12/06)

Tom

Tom, I agree totally with what you said. We must have been millimetres away from oblivion, so to be chasing Europe, and infact expecting it, is a miracle.

I'll keep this short, as I'm monopolising the mailbag again. We'd be very, very hard pressed to find a better manager than Moyes. The 'bright new things' that are Pardew and Dowie have already mucked it up this season. Who is it that the vultures want? Joe Royle? Howard Kendall for a fourth time?!? I'm just thankful that Kenwright is loyal to Moyes because we'd be well and truly in it if the Chairman was a panicker.

I'm not sure exactly what the fault is: whether Moyes believes that the players aren't 'clever' enough to work a more sophisticated system and so he basically tells them to defend like demons or whether the players themselves don't have the confidence to venture forward. I know that Radzinski claimed that Moyes can't make a decision. It would seem that he spends all his time pondering, researching, poring over things, but that in a game situation he can't think on his feet and make changes quickly: in which case prepare the players beforehand to change from a defensive to a more attacking system during a game!

As for Kr?ldrup, I did a search and he's playing pretty much every game and Fiorentina are in very good form, winning the majority of their games, even if their position is quite lowly because of the 15 points deducted.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (29/12/06)

Stage One (Again)

Thanks for your comments Micheal. I find it just as frustrating that it's two steps forward, one step backwards with Everton and the rate of progress is so slow.

I think that there are two things that Moyes needs to work on: getting us to be more adventurous and replacing some of the chaff in the squad such as Valente, Pistone, Wright (I would have tried a player swap for Robert Green), Davies, Carsley. They're not awful players and I suppose they'll suffice until we can afford to replace them, but they're not up to the standard neccesary to take us to the next level. That's not a damning criticism of Moyes because he needs those players for numbers and, compared to previous squads, we have more 'wheat' now than we have done since we were the Mersey Millionaires!

Inexpensively, Moyes could push Hughes into the squad or pick up a full back from the lower reaches for next to nothing who could develop in the Premiership. I'm especially concerned at left back because neither Valente or Pistone seem 'switched on' enough or as if they have the appetite for a fight and it's weakening us in the middle too much to use Lescott there.

I'd really love to see the full-back bombing down the wing like Eboue, Geremi, Cole, Heinze or Gary Neville does. If we've got three defenders, a defensive midfielder and two of the four midfielders covering, that's 6 men behind the ball, two in the box and one on the edge of the area loitering. We've just got to be a bit more adventurous. By the way, I'd love to see Wayne Bridge come to us eventually.

We have thrown away some stupid points and snatched defeats from the jaws of victory (ie, Chelsea), if we'd been more clinical, we'd be right up there with Bolton. I sincerely believe that Johnson is the answer to our goalscoring problems. The penalty issue is a distraction, but he's undoubtedly a 1-in-2 player. If Beattie can be the Sutton to Johnson's Shearer and, if we can attack teams with subtlety as well as with pace and brawn, then we're capable of being as effective as Arsenal or Liverpool in the league.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (29/12/06)

That's good, Simon. At least you can steer your frustrations in a positive direction, albeit on the back of fantasy transfers. But your point is well-taken: we really could be up there, mincing it with the big boys, and that's what I find so frustrating. — Michael

`I went with me Da`

The likes of Richard Dodd and Simon Birdsey obviously get a great deal more pleasure watching Everton these days than I do. With time to think over the holiday, I have concluded that only in Joe Royle`s first season as manager did I have any hope that we could ever be amongst the Premier elite.

How short-lived was that renewed euphoria! Since then, it has all seemed to get steadily worse ? not so much in results but in the sheer dross we are expected to accept as football.

I guess for the young kids brought up on this tripe, progress has been made under Moyes. For me ? and I suspect thousands like me ? the trips to Goodison are made purely out of habit these days... `I went with me Da, so I`d better keep going` ? just about sums it up for me.

Comes the day when they move to a decent ground in the sticks, I shan`t feel the need to bother. Sad to say, I`m beginning to hope it`s soon!
Tom Wilder, Dingle  (29/12/06)

Look at the facts!

I have never written to your site before as it is, without doubt, the most negative of all those devoted to the affairs of Everton FC. By far the majority of your correspondents are very much anti-Moyes with the vitriol of some bordering on hatred.

What I find beyond understanding is that there can be no possible doubt that the Club has moved up a gear under Moyes. Whilst the football is only marginally more enterprising than under our other Premier managers, his `finishing` record is in a different class.

The current season is the 15th since the Prem was formulated. Everton`s average finishing position over the first five-year span was 13th. Over the second five years,15th. If we extrapolate our current 8th position into this season`s finishing mark then the five seasons under Moyes will see us averaging 9th position ? a massive upwards movement by any bench mark!

Sorry to say, not even Rome was built in a day and football clubs who fall on hard times may offer an even bigger challenge. One thing, however, is certain: Everton under their present custodian are moving in the right direction.
David Chandice, Leyland  (29/12/06)

The issue is not whether we have moved up a gear ? everybody knows this is better than the Smith era. We don't need to hear that again and again and again. The issue is simply this: after five years in charge, are we still progressing under Moyes? Or are we simply along for the ride on the Moyes Rollercoaster?

4th to 11th was NOT progress in any way, shape or form. But, after the 'progress' of a good start for all of four games this season, our 'progress' has been relentlessly downward, with the odd blip here and there.

Three years is a reasonable time for a manager to come in and consolidate his position. That's what Moyes did, albeit with some seriously unwanted 'records' along the way. Lowest points total ever. Lowest goals scored ever. Losing our greatest asset ever...

Look at the facts, you say. Okay, let's do that. What's our goalscoring average this season, since we beat Liverpool comprehensively on 9 Sept 2006? One goal a game. One measly goal! You call that progress??? If this is "negativity" so be it. What I want to see from Moyes and his players is more positivity, on a more consistent basis. I don't understand why we are not getting that yet. — Michael

Stage 1 of god knows how many...

I agree with Simon. The problem some Evertonians have is that they think Moyes was starting at Stage Zero. I think the Everton he inherited was way below this point, and well on their way to the relegation obscurity that subsequently befell the likes of Leeds. Just stopping that dive down the league and then more than stabilising the ship was a momentous achievement given our fragile state by the end of the Smith era.

Moyes has only been able to affect changes incrementally given the club's financial state, and the increased transfer outlay of recent times were earned by improved league placings that he achieved with those meagre resources he inherited. I believe his buys have been mainly good, and that the squad is substantially better than that when he came.

The transition from the period of stoic consolidation to attractive football has been painful; the great white hope that was Beattie has not produced, the gamble hasn't paid off, but we couldn't just go out and replace him instantly like some of our rivals. Personally, I believe Moyes deserves a bit more patience; he earned the cash and therefore the right to make those mistakes. And you never know ? the next time he chips away at the problem, he may reveal something more pleasing on the eye than the current work in progress.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (29/12/06)

Lack of Catering

Catering at Goodison Park has been poor for a long time. I would advise anyone using it to check the Best Before date, especially on the over-priced soft drinks, as I have bought two that were out of date. Of couse I was given a refund, but that is not the point. It should not happen. I now take a flask and a drink in a carton for my son and get a pint after the game in a local pub. Who needs their facilities?
Ian Roberts, Flint  (29/12/06)

Catering fiasco

I read the article concerning the poor catering at the 'Boro game. I had hoped that this had been a one off, because I was probably in the same queue as this unfortunate correspondent. I usually get in about 2:30 these days, and have no problem getting a pie and drink at that time (just my way of adding a few bob more to the coffers). Unfortunately, I was late for this one, and just went straight onto the stand.

By 3:30 the bog was calling, afterwhich I noticed the queues were only 3 people long, so I thought I would still get the chance to give EFC my usual ?5 matchday expenditure. 20 mins it took. Like I said, I don't normally have a problem, but don't normally bother during the game so has something significant changed on our retail side? There seems to be a significant increase in complaints following this particular fixture.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (29/12/06)

Punching above our weight

Whilst I am in no way a Moyes disciple and agree with all who believe Doddy to be his love-child, I have to admit that, with the finances of the Club once more in meltdown, Everton are punching well above their weight on the field of play. It probably says more about the rest of the Prem than it does about Everton that you can get to 8th position playing the unmitigated crap we do for most of the time.

Instead of tearing my hair out at the failure of our players to pass the ball rather than hoof it, Unibond League style, I have come to accept that Moyes sees this as the only way his team can maintain a top-ten place given that he has the benefit of only half a team of Premiership-quality players.

There is no place for inadequate players to play fancy football in the top league; so, until he can fill quite a few gaps in the quality stakes, we`ll have to put up with it, I`m afraid.
Alan Milner, Ellesmere Port  (29/12/06)

It's the logic of it I can't grasp. Yes, a good hoof get's the ball out of our half, away from our goal, and nearer theirs. But the percentages are so low: We will lose possession back to the other side on at least 80% of such hoofs. Okay, so if you are going to loss possession, it's better to do it on the edge of their penalty box than inside our own half ? that way, you have far more defenders who have a chance to win the ball back.

But why do something that is virtually guaranteed to lose possession in the first place? Is it really that hard for the players to keep their passes short, and to run off the ball so that the guy with the ball has at least a couple of options to make a pass? Keep the ball, move it forward toward their goal, and maybe work a chance to have a poke??? — Michael

Kr?drup ? the one that got away

In response to Michael. I'm usually one to watch the Italian football as I really appreciate the tactical aspect of a really good defensive performance (probably a natural reaction to the drivel Smith served up). However, Fiorentina are not a team shown very often on Gazzetta these days and from what I've seen and read, Kr?ldrup's playing but not exactly setting the world alight. I think we're better off with Lescott!
Steve Ferns, Liverpool  (29/12/06)

Thanks for that, Steve.

Tony: You can eat all the pies ? and more!

I agree with the Five-Star service article. I don't think it's about fatties wanting to buy pies at all ? it's about fans wanting to support the club. Despite going to the match for years, this guy only appeared to experience the failing service this week ? so he's hardly a regular pie buyer.

We are being told that we cant compete financially ? if the club could maximise the income from its existing willing hoards we would increase income dramatically. Keith Wyness is a quick fix merchant and anybody with half a brain and two arses could do the job he's been brought in to do. Fact is, he's a hatchet man who will streamline the operation to the point where the big finanical instiutions and investors will take a chance on getting us into a new stadium ? that's it.

Back to the pies: the fact that inside the ground we are presented with expensive, unhealthy choices isn't our fault but then again can you see people queuing up for a warm, limp Chang Salad?? I agree with Tony that it is easier to eat before you leave home and it is easier to go to a local shop but, for me, your dad buying you something inside the ground when you are 7 years old is as much about the match day experience as watching the game itself. It's the things you remember as a kid ? like getting chips on your way home from swimming.

We are crying out about moving to Kirkby and saving our heritage; rightly or wrongly, a pie and a pint is as much a part of our match ritual as going the pub afterwards for a good moan at how crap we were.
Sam Kenny, Walton  (29/12/06)

Reliant to a Roller

As far as the disgusting standard of catering is concerned, do what I do and besiege the Club with letters and emails of complaint. You`ll only get the occasional acknowledgement but you can be sure that Wyness will be passing them onto the contractors. And you`ll feel better!

The big problem as I see it is that he gets his bonus based on what comes in from each outsourced enterprise so once the deal is set up it`s money in his bank regardless of how the contractor performs. On the other hand, if he`s screwed the contractor, they have to keep staff costs low and waste stock levels to a minimum to see a surplus. Behind the smooth exterior is the business acumen of a Del Boy who`s traded up from a Reliant to a Roller!
George Mann, Huyton  (29/12/06)

Catering at Everton

Everton recently sold the catering contract to the firm Sodexo, so any complaints should be directed to Mr Wyeness, who sold the contract. This firm are usually found in self-service factory canteens where the staff's usual job is to wash dishes and clean tables. In my opinion, this firm has to have signed a performance-related contract which they are not fulfilling. They're supplying badly trained staff and under-stocked sale points ... GET SHUT OF THEM, MR WYENESS!
Arthur Jones, Fazakerley  (29/12/06)

Stage One

To respond to your comment, I'm pro-Moyes. Look at any top team, whether it's Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea or United, and the first thing that a new manager does is to tighten things up if he's worth his salt. It's easier to not concede goals than it is to score them (in theory at least), so if you can shut up shop, then you're likely to get a point at least from most games, if not all three if you can take one of your chances on the break.

Moyes has successfully reached stage one. We're much better organised defensively than we used to be, which is why the majority of our wins are now 1-0 rather than the best of 5! I think though that it's time for the next step, we need to try to marry that defensive solidity with posing an attacking threat to the opposition. We need to be able to move up and down the park rather than sitting in our own half.

It seems to me like Moyes is being overly cautious: we shouldn't be playing 4-1-4-1 at home. We need to start having a go at teams and putting in a few barn-storming performances at Goodison like we used to.

Moyes is still by far the best man for the job as far as I'm concerned, but he needs to have a bit more confidence in his players and to let them off the leash to have a go at teams. We've got some cracking attacking players now and it's time to use them.

Basically, Moyes is organised and thorough. The majority of the time we defend to plan, but it's time to take things to the next level and I think that Moyes knows that himself. So, I stand by my comments so far on this site.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (29/12/06)

I'm Sorry, Simon; I shouldn't rag on you. You are one of very very few pro-Moyes contributors who sees the faults, you call it like it is, identifying the areas that need improvement. I actually agree with a great deal of your analysis. So well done for that. The increasingly stunning thing to fathom is why Moyes doesn't see this stuff and fix it. If he could do this, there would be a lot fewer than seven teams who are currently better than us. But we're still at Stage One ? after Five Years!!! And there seems very little evidence that we can progress beyond it. That may be good enough for Dickie Dodd, but to me, it's depressing. — Michael

Who ate all the pies!

I agree with Tony Marsh's sentiments, if not his use of language and racial overtones. However, in any business, the customer is king. Without those who wish to buy refreshments & merchandise, the club would be financially worse off than it is at present. Messrs Kenwright and company should be ashamed to have upset their customers in such a way. One disatisfied customer can lead to large numbers of people staying away from the ground on a regular basis. As Peter Cook once commented "Is this any way to run a fuckin' ballroom?"

We as supporters of the club are entitled to be sceptical about the leadership of the club when the general approach to day-to-day business seems in such disarray. How can we trust those same people to deal with true businessmen ie, Tesco? How can we rely on these incompetents to get Everton Football Club a stadium of imagination and grandeur when they pay so little attention to the details?

It would seem to me that those running the club are very much penny wise and pound foolish. If this level of amateurism is rife throughout the club, then we should not be surprised that the football team at times reflects this state of affairs. Catterick, Moores, Mercer and Dean must be turning in their resting places.

A catering facility may not seem important to those of us who do not use it. However, a club of any sort is judged by its attention to detail and especially its members' comfort, even more so the casual visitor who may not return. I have been unfortunate enough to have worked for companies who have been in financial difficulties and the first signs of the ship going down is the lack of customer care. This, allied to the management being pre-occupied with cutting costs, leads to demotivated staff who are more concerned at the possibility of losing their jobs. Once this cycle is entered into it is almost impossible to stop.

So, however much money Mr Wyness earned in the past few years, it would seem that the basics have been neglected. He may cry foul and say it has been outsourced, but I would argue that Everton Football Club will always carry the responsibility ? no matter who provides the service. What next? Will David Moyes tell us that the departures and arrival of players is not under his control? Maybe the tactics he employs on the pitch are not his responsibility as they are outsourced from the Merseyside Pub League.

NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM ? Theatrical translation: It's best if we give them nothing because they're satisfied with nothing.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (29/12/06)

That's an interesting letter, John. It's funny you mention Dean. Read how he was treated at the end by the club he served so well, and perhaps you'll understand a bit better where this legacy comes from. I'm a bit worried by the new motto, though ... I think Dickie Dodd is gonna luv it! — Michael

That didn't last long then

Michael: so much for my perennial wiff of optimism then, you certainly know how to dash a chaps hopes, though I fear you may be right on your second point regards DM. With the best will in the world nobody has been able to say that about us, both on and off the field for many years, if ever. It ALMOST makes it worth moving to Knowsley. Can anybody confirm (or deny) my failing memory: Did we in past times, have a purge/rationalisation/downsizing of our scouting system, mainly for cost??

What's the difference between Bellefield and Finch Farm?? Have you not seen the number of houses you can get on there and how much they go for? Will the club even see that? NO, but the developer they sell it to WILL. Do we really want to trust the same people who can't even get the pies right.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (29/12/06)

Uh? I think the club already saw. They sold Bellefield already for exactly that reason, methinks. As for the rest, too many questions... and I have too few answers.

Shambolic Catering

I purchased for myself and my partner a ticket each in the "People's Club" at a cost of just over ?1,000 each. We are in some ways fortunate to get fed before the game and drinks at half time; however, the staff in the People's Club also have no clue, no direction and no leadership. I don't blame the very young staff, I blame the management, who have given them little or no training ? and this does not stop at the catering staff.

You would think that arranging a half-time cup of tea is easy, but oh no, not a the People's club. If there is milk, there are no spoons; and if there are spoons, there is no milk... and if you don't get there early enough, they run out of cups. An absolute shambles.

Even the girl serving me was more interested in the text messages she was receiving and sending, phone sat on the table taking up valuable spaces where the cups should be. The whole set up is shambolic and I for one will not be renewing my ticket in this section or probably any other for that matter.

I have spent many endless hours queuing in the Park End, Main Stand and the Bullens previously and the service is consistently shit. Once you accept this service as the best you are going to get, you then have the delights of finding the toilet doors wedged open by the very spoons you crave for to stir your half-time tea! And even better, finding that when you want to wash your hands to enjoy your half-time stewed cuppa, the water has again run out in the toilet sinks (sixth time this season).

Is there any point in complaining to the club directly as they have a great People Charter? The answer, sadly, is "No" as I have tried on three occasions and never got a reply. Maybe the catering staff do the admin during the week? Who knows!!! Maybe someone at the club may read this and reply to me.
Adrian Francis, Oxford  (28/12/06)

I can see you turning blue already!

Stop carping!

I know you get heartily sick of me banging the drum for David Moyes but I cannot retire tonight without pointing out to his many critics that there are but SEVEN teams in the whole of England who stand above us in the pecking order. From the total nonsence which appears in your columns, a stranger could be forgiven for thinking Everton were bottom of the bloody Conference! Please, please, Evertonians recognise our Club`s true status and just stop carping!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/12/06)

Let's make a deal, Dickie boy: you stop crowing like a stool pidgeon living on shit, and we'll stop carping. Everyone will just deal with the reality they see... on the field... which is shite football. Talking of which, how come you never talk about the shite football Moyes has his teams play? Or do you honestly think it is as great as he is?

Sorry, I've been watching da Sopranos again. Three episodes in one night is too much! ? Michael

Too Many Weak Links

The current squad contains a good number of players who could easily walk into nearly any other Premiership starting 11: Cahill, Arteta, Howard, Johnson, Lescott & Yobo. However, would you say this about a player like Carsley, who in all fairness is really a Championship player?. The lad's been a great servant to us (just think of his goal at Goodison against the kopites)... but, however much he does a job, he won't push us forward to where we should be.

I was at the Middlesbrough game on Boxing Day and I noticed that, every time he had the ball in the centre of the park, he attempted to lauunch it forward to Johnson and Anichebe, who lack the aerial presence to beat the centre back Woodgate (who played extremely well). The days of hoofing it up to Ferguson are over. We could do with a player like Barton who will always attempt to drive the team forward from midfield and maybe would put a few decent balls through to Johnson down the channels.
Martin Clarke, Bristol  (28/12/06)

Pie In The Sky

What's with all these fat bastards moaning about the service at Goodison? Don't they know how bad pies and sausage rolls are for your figure??? Try having some breakie before you leave the house or grab one of those take-away salads you can pick up anywhere these days. They are usually in-between the cokes and Mars bars in WH Smith's fridges. Why all the fuss about not being able to buy luke warm piss from the caterers ? the bogs are over flowing with it.

Seriously, though, the catering is no worse than the football we play so start worrying about that a bit more. Fill your face and get tanked up before you go in the ground, then you can concentrate on the footie. After all, that's what you go there for, isn't it? What do you expect at a crumbling museum like Goodison anyway? ? a Gordon Ramsey special?!?

It makes me laugh my fucking head off that you make all the effort to get to the game and your main concern is buying (or not being able to buy) the shite grub and ale thats served up. Next time, bring a packed fucking lunch, a pie from the chippy, a fucking roast cat from the Chinese or a packet of slimming tablets... but for fuck's sake watch the game!.

Wait for the January sales if you want to stand in a queue all day but blame no one but your own greed for waiting in line at the gruel counters at Goodison. I worry about the aimless long balls that we play and the total lack of direction the team show ? not if there is any watered-down brown sauce left to pour on my cold greasy shit-burger.

The sauce at Goodison is defo not HP, by the way. We all know Egon Ronay and the Mitchelin Star people have long given Cafe De Goodisona the wide berth. So should you lot. If you must eat at the ground, try the Scouse shop opposite the lottery office on Goodison Road. Red cabbage, crusty cobs, beetroot the lot. Better than that shite you get inside any day.

Left over Turkey anyone??
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (28/12/06)

Ah, some sensitive and thoughtful advice, as ever, from Mr Marsh! — Michael

David Ike, more like!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! How stupid or misguided is Moyes nowadays? I deliberately haven't written in due to me repeating myself about how crap Moyes is as a manager and how crap we are as a footballing side. But reading Moyes's statements on the official website of EFC, I was enraged to write in again.

Three weeks ago, Kenwright hailed Da Silva as a wonderful player with a bright future at Everton(!?!) Today Moyes says:

"We looked at him a while ago and looking to bring him in but we were at a different moment then, vying for the Champions League and looking to make additions."

So basically, Moyes, you?re saying he is shite but just in case he isn't then you will have a look at him!?! Then this idiot of a manager went on to say:

"We don't want to dampen expectations and I do not want to put Anderson down but he is coming here to play his way through training, the reserves and then we will see if he is capable."

Now, please, can anyone tell me ? HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU SIGN A PLAYER AND NOT KNOW IF HE IS CAPABLE OR NOT!!! Especially at a time when we are down to the bare bones... why bring in a lad who is going to rot in the reserves??? Doesn't this smell of Plessis all over again?

The point is, how many times will Moyes foul up in the transfer market, yet Kenwright will willy nilly throw money (monopoly probably) and support behind him. This is the biggest proof of how unprofessional this Board are. I am sick to the back teeth of this shite; this is unacceptable for a club of Everton?s statue and history.

Sack them all!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (28/12/06)

It's depressing that Moyes's sayings and quotes have gone from such lofty heights ("the People's Club") to these dismal lows. I do wonder, though, if we could be guilty of misunderstanding what he is saying, and jumping down his throat a tad too quickly.

It is at least 18 months since Moyes would have looked over AdaSF (!) and made his original decision. It was a different time. I wouldn't be too surprised if Moyes had trouble even remembering the lad now. So a period of reassessment and analysis actually makes sense, really. We should know he's not the reincarnation of Pel?, but the way some people have gobbled this up, I think DM is right to dampen expectations and push him through a few reserves games before deciding if he can cut the mustard. So I have to say I think you're wrong going off half-cock on this one, Luq. — Michael

Five Star Service ...

Similar experiences allround ? I was sat in the Main Stand (lower, Gwladys Street end) for 'Boro. Arrived at 14:20, queue for refreshments approx 70 people long. After not moving for 10 mins, gave up and went to seat.

Managed to trump that today ? went to city centre to pick up a couple of Everton shirts for friends overseas. Official outlet in Williamson Square had a dozen of this season's strips out, all in small or XL (I was after a medium). After a 10-minute wait, I managed to speak to someone in the store; a few grunts from them later I gave up. Tried a few more sports shops with no success. All the more beguiling as Liverpool shirts were available everywhere. Club shop at Goodison beckons tomorrow, hopefully with better luck.
John Langley, New York, NY, USA  (28/12/06)

New Everton Bollocks

Has anyone else seen the link on the main website to Everton's Classified Ads section?

It's basically an affiliate program for a web listings company called Applecatcher. It's a bit of an amateurish addition for a Premiership team's website. What's it all about? Perhaps Moyes is that desperate to get rid of Beattie that he'd advertise him online?

Sounds and looks a bit dodgy to me... anyone else know anything about this?
Ray Mayer, Wirral  (28/12/06)

Supply and Demand

I really don't think Beattie is as bad as everyone is making out and I think it's scandalous that people can question the goalscoring ability of Andy Johnson.

The stats from the Boro game at the weekend: shots on target 1, shots off target 5. For the season so far we have had 160 shots, which ranks as the second worst in the Premiership. Interestingly, our conversion rate is 15%, which makes us the third best in the league. The basic facts are that we sit far too deep, don't commit players forward and (as ever) try and walk the ball into the net rather than hitting the damn thing and picking up any rebounds. I was amazed to see that we had three players in the box at the same time against Reading!!

Beattie will never be any good for us if we play without any width, same Johnson... he needs through balls, rebounds, balls played across the box. It's no good criticising the strikers when they haven't got any service or support. It's what comes of having a negative team. Drogba wouldn't score so many for us, but Johnson (even Beattie) would bang them in for Chelsea, Arsenal or United.

To give Beattie credit, whenever he has come into the side he has put penalties away with aplomb and looked really fired up. If you were his size and type of player, wouldn't you be pissed off chasing after long balls on your own all day? What happens if you do win it at the corner flag, you've got no one in the middle to cross to! Let's get some trendy fullbacks in!! Ha-ha!!!
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (28/12/06)

Simon, who would say is responsible for the attrocious football we play, which you so competently describe? I'll give you a clue: in one contribution, he was recently described in these words:

"We have one of the most hard-working, conscientious, forward-thinking managers in the game."
Can you remember writing that, Simon? I just wonder how it squares with what you say above. Is what you describe really the way forward for football, with one David Moyes setting the pace? God forbid! — Michael

Psst... anybody want a football franchise?

There should be no surprise that the days of Five Star Service at Goodison Park are long gone. Everything that can turn a buck has been outsourced to reduce the number of employees who could possibly share in Wyness`s staff bonus scheme. Consequently, the untrained guys and girls ? no doubt on minimum wages ? couldn`t give a flying fuck if you get served today, tomorrow or next week.

With the programme, catering, shop and advertising rights all flogged off, I await the next masterstroke of our bloated (in wallet as well as waisst-line!) chief executive. Could it be the franchising of ALL transfers to the Stretford Agency? Or how about going the whole hog and flog off the entire football operation to some `confederative rights broker` from South America?

Football`s fucked, mate!
Alan Langley, Roby  (28/12/06)

Bit like Gordon Brown, really

Whilst not quite in the Richard Dodd class of Moyes admirers, I do have a great deal of time for the Scot. A bit like his fellow countryman, Gordon Brown, Moyes espouces the merits of prudence and stability. Under his careful guidance, a sinking ship has begun to steer a steady course and he deserves much praise for keeping Everton in the top half of the table in the face of great adversity.

At a time when even to be listed as a full-back at Goodison means certain injury or suspension; when the team`s most influential player has been absent for weeks; and when the star striker has found the net but once in three months, Moyes has somehow contrived to keep us in contention for a Euro spot. Again, like Brown, he often appears tetchy and humourless but give me that every time when compared to the glibness and smarm of the majority of his fellow managers.

Like all Evertonians, I dream of a return to the glory years but differ from many of them in realising that it is but a dream which can never be fulfilled. In the meantime, I thank the Lord that, at least, we have a talented and decent man at the helm.
Steve Keeling, Prescot  (28/12/06)

It's turning into the "I love David Moyes" week on ToffeeWeb! — Michael

Lescott the best

Some peoploe might say it's too soon to be saying this but in my lifetime (I'm 34) I honestly don't think I've seen a better centre back in a blue shirt than Joleon Lescott. Ever since he arrived, he has been immaculate in EVERY game, a regular 9-out-of-10 player.

Players like Dave Watson and Kevin Ratcliffe had great qualities but this guy truly has it all. He reads the game well, times tackles superbly, is quick and strong, and can also play a bit of football. I dislike David Moyes with a passion, and some of his signings have been criminally bad, but he deserves credit for signing Lescott.

We can only hope Everton don't cash in on him, because it's rather too easy to imagine Lescott playing for a club like Spurs or Chelsea. At the same time, isn't it sad to hear Moyes talking up James Beattie insisting he definitely won't leave the club. One can only assume that Moyes is so stubborn and detached from reality that he simply can't accept his own mistake.

It's fair to say that Moyes's signings are totally brilliant or disastrous, rarely anything in-between.
Gaz Hughes, Liverpool  (28/12/06)

Response to Five-Star Service article

I don't normally bother with half-time refreshments, but at the M'boro game I decided a few minutes before half-time to go and get a few hot drinks. I leave my seat in the Paddock before the half-time whistle and join a queue about 15 yards long. When the second half kicks off, I am still 3 or 4 yards from the counter. I return to my seat empty-handed.

Catering at Goodison is now in the hands of an outside firm; questions need to be asked of them, via the club. On the next cold day, I'll take my own Bovril in a vacuum flask.
Mike Owen, Liverpool  (28/12/06)

re Five-Star Service

In response to the spot on article about the shite food and drink service at Goodison, I wholeheartedly agree. It has been bad for years but I understand that Wyness outsourced the catering ? to earn himself part of his bonus, no doubt ? so it's now beyond a joke.

A recent trip to Old Trafford showed just how it should be done: vouchers for early arrival got you a meal deal with money off. At half-time, the queues were huge with 70-odd thousand in the ground but everyone still got served and they had stock to do it ? and on another note the toilets were spotless and had working hot-air hand-dryers. Once you have paid your ticket entry at Goodison, Wyness obviously doesn't give a tinkers toss ? he has already had you off.

If the club can't get it right with thirty 30-odd thousand fans, how the hell will they manage if they got more? Unless I fancy a hot drink on entry, I just don't bother anymore and bring a flask with me. If you want hot food, you would have more chance of getting something hot outside the ground ? and not have to wait ages.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (28/12/06)

When are we going to buy ...

... Jason Koumas, who is beter now than Tim Cahill ever was at Millwall???
David Reid, Belfast  (29/12/06)

Our midfield

Chris, you can't say "Oh no, not another Gravesen debate" and then get involved in it! I admit he was inconsistent up until the season we finished 4th, then he was excellent (which may have been because he knew Real were interested). Everyone, who watched us the season we finished 4th must admit he was the catalyst and when he left our form dipped.

This shouldn't escalate into a Gravesen debate as he's not coming back. The fact is, we haven't been as good since he left so Moyes has shown his ineptitude by not replacing him. A midfield replacement for Gravesen should have been Moyes's priority for the last two seasons. Instead he bought Beattie and Davies and Kr?ldrup!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (28/12/06)

How is Kr?ldrup doing these days, just as a matter of passing interest. Can we have a status report from someone who has any interest in Italian footie? — Michael

Fantasy Transfer Window

Only a few days 'til the transfer window opens. Not expecting much activity, but here's what I would change...

We're well covered up front; if we're going to do anything then it would have to be a BIG swap deal including Beattie or using cash from his sale. We do need a big man though, cos everyone else is quite nippy. Who's around? Someone like Klose would be excellent (not that he'd come to us)... never understood why he stayed at such a small club in Germany. Conclusion: Better to wait for Beattie to come good.

Midfield: We really need someone to spread it around. Maybe Dunn is worth taking on loan from Birmingham? I know he's unfit, but on his day he's a very good player. Sidwell could be an interesting signing from Reading, but he might be a bit too similar to Cahill. Richardson from United? He can play all across the middle and fill in at left back, he can get up and down, he can score goals. Swap davies for Boa Morte? I would like to see us add a bit of muscle to the midfield too: Smith on loan from United? Barton too expensive? Too much of a liability?

Defence is ok. I wouldn't mind taking John O'Shea or a wing back though. I'd love to have a 'trendy' full-back like Bale from Southampton, but just not worth the money.

So, in: Richardson (United) ?2.5M, Dunn (Birmingham) on loan...

              Howard
   Hibbert  Yobo  Lescott  Richardson
             Neville
        Arteta  Dunn  Cahill
         Beattie  Johnson

   Subs: Wright, Carsley, McFadden, Vaughan, Van der Meyde 

Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (28/12/06)

"Better to wait for Beattie to come good." Ah...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's the best joke I've heard all year. You are so sadly deluded, fella.

Fantasy Transfer Window is right: Wing-backs? 'trendy' full-backs??? This is Everton you are talking about, FFS. We have as our manager David Moyes, your hero. I do have one thing in common with him, though: I too hate the January transfer window ? for all the FM 2007 bollocks people start spouting. Sorry! — Michael

Response to Brendan Fox

Well said, Brendan! I've never been in the Moyes-Out Brigade, but a lot of his decisions in the past have flummoxed me. Late unnecessary subs being used. Negative tactics, a history of loyalty to ineffective players etc. That said, He is the man to take the club forward. He has a deep-seated passion for the club which is instilled in the players. Bar one or two of the squad, I reckon each of our players genuinely enjoys pulling on the blue jersey.

Consistency is something of a mirage though at Everton. When we get a run going, it never really lasts too long and may or may not reappear in the same season, similarly with on-form players. Beattie has been a disappointment this season, yet Lescott has been awesome. I believe firmly that Moyes is operating to some kind of 5-7 year plan as regards squad and aspiration building. We are now capable of sustaining at least a qualifying place in the Uefa Cup. A lot can be done without spending a lot of money.
Chris Lawlor, Sale  (28/12/06)

Mr Carter's wingers

I think we should be building from the back. If we get an attacking left-back such as Bale then we would have great balance with Arteta in front of him and a winger on the right to complement Hibbert's defensive qualities. Any idea who the new Kanchelskis is???

Michael - Billy Wright is a tiny little chap and doesn't hit the heights of the 'lofty' Richard Wright.

Whoever mentioned Darren Bent would be right on the playing side but his attitude is bad. He walked into Liquid VIP room (Ipswich) last week and kicked off on a mate of mine... drunken prat was ejected. All because my friend works with his ex.
Mark Cassin, Tokyo, Japan  (28/12/06)

Oh no, not another Gravesen debate

It was bad enough when he played for us but to arguing over Gravesen when he left two years ago is a joke. The fact that people still can't agree on how good he was shows he was never the great powerhouse midfielder he was made out to be. To my mind he was always unfulfilled potential.

I spoke to a work colleague in Scotland who follows Celtic and was asking him about Gravesen; his response ? "Aye, he looks good in the big games but only plays well in 2 out of 5 matches." Sounds familiar.
Chris Wright, Chester  (28/12/06)

Davey doing great!

A week ago, I forecast that a yield of 5/6 points from the holiday games would be sufficient to see us go into the New Year in the top half of the table. Just one point on Saturday should see that position maintained.

Now for most Evertonians, and certainly the Club`s hierarchy, a top-ten spot is all we realistically aspire to. This sees financial targets safely achieved and Davey delivering on his `regular top ten` promise to the Board. Let`s all try to be sensible in 2007, can we? We`d all love to win something but with the severe limitations on our spending, to maintain this level, year on year, is the equivalent of the Chelseas of this world winning the Champions League.

Davey, you're doing great!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/12/06)

Yea, mid-table mediocrity and dismal football; three top-ten finishes in six seasons... Fantastic stuff. I don't think I can stand the excitement! — Michael

Some hope from a great letter

It's only a fellow Blue fan's thoughts but I was very impressed with Alan McMillan's letter. We all have our reasons in our criticism of the Board or Manager, or team performance, but our aim is to see a better EVERTON. We all get frustrated, mainly by inconsistency on the pitch, and IF that can improve as from our next game v Newcastle, maybe ? just MAYBE ? we might enjoy 2007.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (28/12/06)

Ray of Hope or Cunning Plan?

So we have no chance of ever getting into the top four?? Wait on, nothing stays the same, things can and DO change. A week is a long time in both politics AND football (Reading, Boro, Newcastle...); 5yrs is a generation and 15+ is a dynasty.

There comes a time in a club's affairs when the right manager comes along at the right time and it all happens ? things just click. But, when these managers leave and/or loose it, it all falls apart, some further than others, and the teams results are never the same again. Some clubs only get one: Ron Saunderson at Villa; Joe Mercer at City; Bill Nicholson at Spurs...

Some get two: Revie & Wilkinson: Shankly & Paisley: Catterick & Kendall; Busby & Ferguson... some seem to get even more: Arsenal. A few even do it for different clubs and when they move on to the second one the first one fades into history: Chapman at Huddersfield; Clough at Derby. But nobody lives for ever ? where are Forest now???

It will take a big man to fill Wenger's Guccis, new stadium or no. Mourinho did it with Porto without mega money, and has a few years yet to win the CL before the boss gets impatient, but after that??? That's always assuming that RA's money stays in for the long haul. Rafa?? Spanish houllier, new ownwer will give him four years max. Fergie?? if he wins the PL this season and does well in the CL this season and next, well fair enough, but time is not on his side.

So gentlemen, all is not lost; the New Year is upon us, bringing with it the perennial short-term wiff of optimism. Nobody lives for ever. There IS room at the top (good title for a book that). It mightn't happen next year but it WILL happen.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (28/12/06)

... just not to Everton. And not with David Moyes at the helm. — Michael

Paul Atress's Victor and Youth Question

I don't know about you, Colm, but I'm pretty sure when Paul Atress wrote "Was it Michael or Colm who predicted that there was no chance of Victor Anichebe getting a decent run in the side this season?", he meant it with an "I told you so" kind of tone.

Moyes does give youth a chance. If it wasn't for Moyes, we would never even have heard of Vaughan, Osman, Hibbert and Rooney. Most importantly, Moyes know how to gradually bring them into the fray and not overuse them.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (28/12/06)

First off, Muzzi, Moyes is not a great believer in the Academy system and bringing young players through. He'd much rather see them come up through the lower leagues. The other thing you seem to forget is that there are a host of other staff at the Everton Academy. It was Colin Harvey who brought Rooney through, not David Moyes. There are plenty of opportunities for promising players to get to reserve level, and if they are any good, we hear about them well before they get to the first-team squad, where Moyes begins to work his magic. Prior to that, Moyes has little or nothing to do with their development. Here's a thought: How much did Moyes and his Youth Protection Policy play into Rooney's disaffection and ultimate departure? — Michael

Victor Experience

Was it Michael or Colm who predicted that there was no chance of Victor Anichebe getting a decent run in the side this season? He's been used as a sub loads and now has 3 starts. Not bad for a 18-year-old. He could get more starts if he ever scores a bloody goal.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (27/12/06)

Dunno, Paul ? probably myself. I feel a bit for Anichebe, with the weight of expectation placed upon his young broad shoulders. Aye, if yer good enough, then yer good enough! He's doing his bloody best to take the chance given to him and for that, cap well and truly doffed, but I think if it's a little more quality we're hoping for, then we're not going to see it in Victor. Still, I'd love to see him creating havoc and having a major positive impact on the frontline. I've a feeling we'll see more, long term, from Vaughan. Before they're both flogged, to pay for the leasing of Finch Farm!!! ;-) ? Colm

True Blue

Whinge, whinge that?s all that can be written. it's short of a miracle that Everton remain in top flight football. What can any Blue expect? To be in the top four consistently, don?t be silly... the usual suspects retaining top constantly have money to buy or wages to pay; for some, both. But we need wingers desperately; until then the likes of Beattie will struggle to find the net. We will struggle for a Euro place. Forget central midfields and flanking defenders We Need Wingers.
Andrew Carter, Surrey  (27/12/2006)

Bring back Kilbane, eh?! ;-) ? Colm

Short memories again

Now I am getting cross... Eamonn Byrne going on about Boro yesterday - yes, they played 4-5-1 in the first half but aren't Everton the great exponents of that tactic? And then when they realised they had little to beat, Boro changed to 4-4-2 for the second half. Yet we still couldn't beat them.

And whilst he is in support of Moyes, what about Joe Royle? We were bottom when he came and he saved us, he had a better record than Moyes and he brought Duncan Ferguson to the club and what happened to Royle ? he got the boot. So how come Moyes is so bloody wonderful?
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (27/12/06)

Let's not forget, either, the apparently impossible task Joe Royle achieved: winning a trophy. You can't do that now without gobs of dosh. We may never see the like again... Michael

Boxing Day Blues

What a shame that all the good work done at Reading on Saturday was over-shadowed by another dismal showing at Goodison Park against 'Boro. We never learn ? or should I say Moyes doesn't. After watching endlees long balls pumped up to the front men all first half, we persisted with this gormless aproach most of the second half with little reward. We have become stuck in this never-ending cycle of dour football and false dawns and it's got to end. Something needs to be done ? otherwise the decent players we have will want away.

Today's news coming from Moyes concerning the non-sale of Beattie really speaks volumes about Davey and his lack of direction. We have all seen enough of JB to realise he isn't going to cut the mustard at Everton so why cant Moyes admit his mistake and move on, Kr?ldrup-sytle? If there are any serious buyers out there then hands should be bitten off at the mention of ?4M. Sell Beattie and make a move for Darren Bent with the dosh. We would frighten the lives out of teams with him and AJ in the side.

These fans who keep having a pop at Johnson really havent got a clue. What do they expect from the lad when he is starved of decent service and continually has his playing partner changed every game? Any striker will tell you that the key to succsess is a settled partnership.

Another player who has struggled to make an impact during his Everton career AvdM turned out to be a real gent on Boxing Day. He came in to the Joe Mercer Suite after the match and spent about half-an-hour chatting with anyone who approached him. Signing programmes and team sheets and having his picture taken with the kids. Nothing was too much trouble for the lad. Well done, Andy, after what he has been through lately.

Every time we have a game coming up I feel it is one which will determine how our season will pan out. The next two are the biggest yet. If we can beat Newcastle then Blackburn in the Cup then who knows where it could lead? If we use the performance against Boro as a yardstick then it's not looking good.

Make no mistake about it, this Jekyll and Hyde season starts for real on Saturday. Moyes had better pull his finger out in the next few weeks for all our sakes.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/12/06)

Oh Tony, No! Not the old "season starts for real" nonsense! Please don't go for that crap. The season started on 19 August 2006. And in case anyone has any funny ideaas about "our season being over" in March, it goes right through until 13 May 2007. And you should have learnt by now that placing any more importance on a specific game than the 3 pts at stake, or the place in the next round, simply builds us up for the inevitable.

Somehow, winning back-to-back games is just too much of a challenge... at least they can hopefully look upon the Newcastle game as a bit of a real challenge now, like playing one of the 'big boys', and perhaps they will raise their game for it. That's about the best we can hope for... Michael

Gareth Bale?

Seeing as the mailbag is starting to look like a who's who of potential signings, I thought I'd have a crack.

  1. Valente & Carsley: two players with no competition who are getting on a bit. In EVERY other area of the pitch, Moyes has brought in a new player (Valente was a stopgap); I expect him to do so.
  2. Beattie and Wright are the only two players I fully expect to leave in January... IF there are buyers... It's comical to read people complaining about Moyes praising Beattie ? he's talking the price up. What would you have him do?
  3. Matt Taylor & Leighton Baines have been suggested at left back but I suggest Gareth Bale of Southampton. Defensive midfielder has to be a foreign powerhouse from Europe. Don't forget, Moyes tried for Essien & Sissoko.
Finally, I met Billy Wright(?) of Ipswich last month who has heard the rumours of our ?1.5M bid. He didnt give much away, unfortunately. Any thoughts?
Mark Cassin, Tokyo,Japan  (27/12/06)

Is he related? Does he have a loft?? An aversion to clearly written signs??? I think we should be told... — Michael

In response to Great Expectations

I, like you, John, have followed the Blues for over thirty years and I share your frustrations. I do however disagree with some of your conclusions.

Boro have set their stall out against us this season: lump 11 men behind the ball and come and beat us. Last season we took all 6 points from them, they knocked us out the Carling. This year they are struggling for points and they stolen 4 points over last year through dirge football. Can I blame them? No. What did we do to Arsenal?

It did, however, highlight again we do not have enough depth of quality to overcome this tactic or even given fairness of decision by the referee. I disagree strongly with your assertion that we lack a winning mentality but believe we lack enough quality to show the guile you describe. Arsenal have that depth of quality; we don't. Bolton play a style of shit football that achieves results. We can compete with this physically as our results against Watford, Bolton and Sheffield have demonstrated.

I believe there is team spirit in the Everton camp and I find it saddening that you pick on two under-performing players as the point of your frustration of not having "winning" mentalities. All players go through periods of poor form. I'd agree with you that both have not done enough in a blue shirt.

It's a cackhanded compliment by Boro to set themselves up the way they did. As for David Moyes the 4-0 twattings have stopped by virtue of what he and the Board have done. There is an Everton team there to build on and its nothing to do with attitude... it's money.

I have never been an IMWT-type bloke but he is slowly gaining my respect. Our biggest problem in this league is depth of quality, I believe, not Moyes. I'll happily pick holes in the bloke, but try and balance the difficulties he faces in doing the job.

Did we fail to build from the Reading result because Moyes started Gary, Faddy and Victor when he should have gone with Nuno, Andy and Beatts from the start? Was he loyal to the players who did well at Reading when he should have been more brutal in his selection? Only he knows.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (27/12/06)

Time for a reality check!

Moyes arrives, Everton third from bottom, heading for the drop, Gascoine and Ginola paid the earth but don't want to play. Moyes keeps the Blues up, clears out the deadwood, doesn't spend big but brings in good young players, gets Blues into Champions League, snaps up Cahill, Arteta, Lescott for a song (offer them to any Premiership club and they'd snatch your hand off!). Meanwhile, Souness has spent a fortune and is history, Bruce has taken Birmingham into the Championship, Man City have spent big and are going nowhere.

Some Evertonians need to do a reality check ? on a modest budget and in a relatively short time Moyes has forwarded the Blues' cause and has done it with honesty and integrity. Get rid of him, but don't expect a new face to get more out of the same limited resources!
Steve Fenton, Hertford  (27/12/06)

Gravesen again

In response to George Carroll: You state we had an excellent season out of Gravesen and the rest were inconsistent and frustrating. That excellent season allowed us to finish 4th! We have not had one excellent season out of Davies, Neville, Osman and McFadden. Their seasons are only inconsistent and frustrating, so I reckon Gravesen is a better option.

I was disappointed not to have re-signed him and we could have replaced him for the money spent on Beattie and Davies. Moyes is a fool for not doing so because now (like George states) there isn't anyone good enough within our price range. And Johnson is the one that will suffer ? and therefore we suffer ? because we can't beat teams like Boro at home.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (27/12/06)

Where is our next high?

That guy from Dublin has got to be joking. "If there were no lows there would be no highs." My lads are now in their late twenties and the only high they have seen is the cup win 11 years ago and that of course was under a different manager. So where the hell is the next high going to come from? Not from the shite football we play.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (27/12/06)

There's realism (see below)... and then there's realism (see above). Sadly, I think I know which one is more 'real'... — Michael

I have faith in Moyes

Good article by Brendan Fox. At least someone realises the real world. If our club is being run by most of the people here, we would probably be the type of club who chop and change and still go nowhere.

I have faith in Moyes and with a top-class midfielder in the summer I know we can challenge the top 4.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (27/11/06)

In response to Kieran Kinsella

I totally disagree with your article regarding the current squad and Moyes. Yes, some of his buys have not paid off, but Yobo, Cahill, Arteta, Johnson and Lescott by the looks of things are all players who would get into a top-quality side. If Everton had the resources of even a club like Newcastle, you could throw in Parker, maybe Sissoko and probably a few more quality players that we would have.

The current squad is our best since 1987 and with a few more additions like a tall dominating centre-midfield player like Papa Bouba Diop, a quick left-sided midfield player like Kieran Richardson, the team should be able to compete for 3rd or 4th place ? just look at Bolton.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (27/12/06)

But, Ian, you know, must surely know those additions we crave are just not going to happen. Look how long it took Moyes to see we needed better attacking options. No, he decided instead to perservere with Duncan Ferguson. You know how Moyes loathes the January window, and how he was not intending to buy anyone. Could all be double-bluff of course, but if we get either of those type of players next month, I'll eat my keyboard. ? Michael

Just get real!

You have to laugh at the eternal optimism of some of your correspondents. "Beginning to see signs of improvement"; "better distribution by some of the players"; "once we can beef up the midfield" ?just a few gems that have appeared here of late. And all this after 5 years under the same manager.

Let`s face it, for most of the time, Everton are crap. The only people with any cause for optimism are Kenwright ? who dreams that a minor oil or biscuit barron will one day relieve him of his burden; Wyness ? who just gets richer as the debts mount; and Moyes ? who long ago realised most football fans are very easily fooled.

As serious contenders for honours, Everton are a joke. As a business, a basket case. Just get real will yoos!
Geoff Pitcher, Kirkby  (27/12/06)

Ouch!

From my seat

Four points and should have been six but for that word again: 'consistancy'. Against Reading, we defended doggedly and pulled their defence about enough to get two goals and maybe should have had four. Against Boro, we play better football than we did at Reading, only to run out of ideas in the vital final third, which was mainly down to two excellent defenders in Woodgate and Pogateze refusing to be dragged out of position and us without the guile or quality to master that.

On the up side: in Howard, Lescott and Yobo we have as good as any in our league, Arteta has the quality required in midfield but sadly not the partners required to get the best from him. I see from an earlier post that this is the best squad we have had for 20 years and he is probably right but from my seat we need a better balanced one soon or we may be seeing more of the inconsistant variety for some time to come.

Still Rome wasn't built in a day. Magpies on Saturday, every game is different, so you never know. See you Sat. UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (27/12/06)

Gravesen

My recollection of Gravesen is that we got one excellent season out of him and for the rest he was frustrating and inconsistent. No Evertonian doubts we require a powerful mid-fielder who can bring guile and solidity to the team but name one who is available and in our price range.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (28/12/06)

RE: Please don't spend any money!

I agree with Mark's comment. This squad is finally taking shape, we've got a solid goalkeeper with two brilliant centre-halves in Yobo and Lescott infront of him; Nuno Valente is showing a lot more consistency since his move and Hibbert is still injured. So we have a good back four that is maybe a signing away (Leighton Baines would do perfectly) from a fantastic back four, ready to keep the likes of Henry and Drogba at bay.

We also have a midfield high in potential, Arteta, Neville, Osman and Van der Meyde each show the skills and talents they need to compete at this level and each one of them deserves a call-up sooner rather than later.

Then we look at the strikeforce, Cahill playing a support role and Johnson (who you say isn't panning out? .. I beg to differ), who is suffering from a lack of form due to him being called a diver by Wenger and Mourihno (the two biggest hippocrites ever! Drogba? Van Persie???). In those XI, we have a squad easily capable of Europe.

Your comments on 'hyped' players seem a bit over critical, Keiran, any manager with a brain cell or more could see Wright had the potential to become England No 1 but, like Jeffers, he made a stupid career move too soon and has since lost confidence and a large part of experience, but he is still a great back-up to have. Admittely Beattie has been a bit of a waste of money, even more so at ?6M. He showed some abilities last season but still only managed a poor return. To me, Simon Davies is ready to take a step up in his game now and prove he is worth half the money we paid for him.

But I think Moyes is right with his signings more than he is wrong. For the mistake with Wright we've had Ruddy, Turner, Martyn and Howard. For the mistake of Beattie we got ?20M for Rooney, bought Johnson.

In Moyes we trust and in his transfer policy we must have faith. If he brings nobody in this window we are walking a very thin tight-rope to the end of the season ? a few Loan signings would make sense wouldn't it? A few extra numbers that cost pretty much nothing and then Moyes can sit down and find permanent signings in the summer.

COYB!
Jack McKenna, Bristol  (27/12/06)

Long wait in store

Mark O`Brien is sadly deluded if he thinks Everton will come close to winning anything with the squad Moyes has put together. He lists five strikers, none of which (including Johnson) is worthy of the name. Between them, they are lucky to find the net once in half-a-dozen games (first or second team) and their records as goalscorers are laughable when set against the likes of Dean, Lawton, Pickering, Royle, Lineker, Cottee and Sharp.

Moyes`s outpourings become ever more bizarre with this morning`s assertion that he will not sell Beattie `because the lad wants to play for us and improve`. What? at 28??? I bloody ask you! No, Mr O`Brien, if you pin your faith in Moyes, you will be waiting an awful long time for success to come to Goodison (or The Tesco Kirkby Stadium) ? I promise you!
Lawson Tremayne, Neston  (27/12/06)

A big hill to climb

Things may look a bit sunnier if we win our two games over the New Year weekend, but right now we have a big hill to climb if we're to qualify for Europe through our league position.

In my book, the top seven in the Premiership today are strong favourites to fill those qualifying positions. Everton, Villa and Newcastle have no more than an outside chance ? as there is already quite a gap (we're six points behind the 6th place team, whoever they are) and as I don't expect any of the top 7 to collapse badly.

We'll probably need a good run of more than six games to establish ourselves in a top-six place, and we'll need our strikers in form and scoring regularly. I think that we can achieve this under Moyes, but that it may take bringing in someone in the transfer window who can improve the team and give everyone a lift.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (27/12/06)

Beattie ''definitely won't be sold'' (Moyes)

Why not?
Neil Pearse, London  (27/12/06)

James the Good!!

One thing that infuriates me about Moyes is his lack of a ruthless streak. His latest quotes on Beattie are pathetic - James is fine, James is good etc. If Blackburn or anyone else would cough up a few quid, we should get rid. The same applies to the Scottish Rooney ? how many more seasons before he comes good?

Add to the list Davies, Pistone, VdM and Wright and we should have enough money for a decent midfielder. But don't hold your breath; Moyes would rather stay loyal to his collection of dross than bring in anyone new. However, I have heard a strong rumour that Richard Gough, 57, will be arriving on free from Falkirk.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (27/12/06)

Getting Better

Went to the match with my wife yesterday and although it was hardly the stuff to get you off your seats (the missus actually fell asleep for a few seconds in the first half!), I did see signs that we are getting better.

We did try and play the ball through midfield (despite what others have written), used the flanks as much as we could to spread the play, and were patient playing from the back (where Yobo and Lescott were again superb).

Yes, we need more creativity; and yes, some of the more skillful players we have need to know when to trust others with the ball but, for the first time in many a year, I witnessed a 0-0 at Goodison without countless slow hoofs forward.

It was far from perfect, we know, but let's at least recognise signs that the team dominated possession yesterday and did not get frustrated. They showed patience and obviously we will have to as well. Now let's beat the Geordies on Saturday and then City on Monday. I believe we're better and mentally stronger than both.

COYB and All the Best to everybody.
Mark Manns, Widnes  (27/12/06)

Transfer Activity

With reference to the recent articles on ToffeeWeb, I would like to add my support to Mark O'Brien's article referring to 'the best squad in almost 20 years' at Everton.

Without doubt, Moyes has made mistakes, and wasted money our club can ill afford, but, unlike his predecessor, he has been willing to give youth a chance and has brought down the average age of the squad considerably. His three signings in the summer have been superb, and playing alongside Cahill, Arteta, Yobo, Neville and Osman we have the makings of a very good (if not Premiership winning) team.

At the end of the season it will probably be time to release Weir (should have happened last summer), Stubbs (Mark Hughes and Phil Neville are adequate cover) and Naysmith (probably our fourth choice left back), and Richard Wright (Moyes's worst signing) will at long last be out of contract.

If money is available, we should look for good British talent who have played a key role in their current teams, names such as Matt Taylor, Joey Barton, Leighton Baines. Let's get behind the Manager and the Board ? they want the same as we do!
Norman Turner, Lindfield, West Sussex  (27/12/06)

Something Inside so Strong

Thank you, ToffeeWeb ? and all who have contributed ? for your lively, informative, funny and sometimes poignant articles over the last year. Coming from Dublin and therefore living amongst drones of LFC and ManU supporters, it is sometimes difficult to either be heard or taken seriously when it comes to matters concerning football.

For every time I've logged on completely pissed off after another anti-climax, results-wise, I realise there are thousands of others who are feeling my pain at that moment; and yet, suddenly, it doesn't seem so bad. Likewise when it looks as though we could finally be about to 'turn the corner', the optimism we all feel seems to add a little extra.

This site epitomises what it is to be an Evertonian; our eternal optimism, our ability to lash out in a rage when we feel the players & the businessmen that run our club are taking us for gobshites. But then it makes you realise: we ARE the club. Each and every one of us. When the club is hurting, we are hurting; when the club is winning, we are winning.

How could we ever walk away from this? How could we ever turn our backs on something that makes us what we are? To deny it would be to deny a part of ourselves. We are a very special group of people from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe. And yet we have been down-troden for so long, treated with contempt by people from within our club, by other teams (most recently the slurs against AJ from Wenger and Mourinho that cost us a penalty yesterday), by the FA for not being our voice in the wake of the European ban, and, to bring it up again, by Uefa for the disgusting way in which we were cheated of a legitimate goal in the summer of 2005.

So to all you Toffees out there, a reminder to keep the faith. Remember, if there were no lows then there would be no highs. And, unlike the mega-rich clubs of today who have ruined football, as a club we have a soul; something all the money in the world cannot buy.

Happy New Year to you all.
Alan McMillan, Dublin  (27/12/06)

Nice one, Alan.

Boro game

Just a couple of points after yesterdays game:

  1. Can we only play down one side of the pitch? (usually the one Arteta is on, hence as yesterday, If he has an off-day, we're fucked)
  2. Is Simon Davies taking the piss or what? How bad was his distribution yesterday? (and yet we kept going down that side)
  3. Why the fuck change your front two the week after they have both scored? Moyes has been looking for a partnership to ignite all season and when one finally clicks he changes it! That is just inexplicable.
I'm not a Moyes basher by any means but from my seat there were some obvious changes that could have been made from as early as the first half. The guy winning the car at half time was the loudest roar of the day! Anyway just thought I'd share my frustrations with you all! Roll on Newcastle for even more frustration, I suspect!
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (27/12/06)

Great Expectations

Having followed the Blues for over 30 years, I believe our fans are amongst the most knowledgable in the game. However, this understanding of the game sometimes undermines our support for the team. We all suspected that following the Reading result and performance that Boxing Day would be a let down. Unfortunately, we were right.

I think one of the reasons that we failed to build on the Reading game lie in the fact that we do not possess enough Winners in the team. If we are to become sucessful in the coming months/years we are going to face more games like yesterday and we must have the guille and ability to cope with it. However, it is sometimes having the will to win. I think if we had the same attitude as Bolton with our current players we would be sitting in the top four.

Beattie and Davies are typical examples of players who will never have winners medals no matter who they play for. They cannot cope with playing for big clubs and should never have been signed. Lescott on the other hand is an example of a player who will at some stage of his career win medals.

David Moyes should concentrate on buying players who want to win and maybe then Everton will have a team to be proud of.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (27/12/06)

The issue of Gravesen

When I think back to our season when we finished 4th (which Moyes will live off for the next 10 years), it's plain obvious that the catalyst for our success that season was Gravesen. Once he left, our form dipped and we hung on with some fortunate results (1-0 at home to Norwich) to keep hold of 4th place. We then signed Beattie and you know the rest.

Our team misses Gravesen and the way I see it he has never been replaced. Moyes should really have addressed this. Yesterday, Johnson looked pretty awful again but we don't play to his strengths. He thrives on through-balls and playing on the shoulder of the last defender. Instead he has to chase lost causes into the channels and try and win the ball in the air as it's lumped up to him or crossed from deep again by the full backs. When have we played a through-ball for him? We never try to play through the centre of midfield. It is always worked out wide for a cross. We lack any drive through the centre of midfield.

Moyes, if he had any brain, should have realised we needed to replace Gravesen more than any other player in any other position, which I'm sure could have been done with the money spent on Davies and Beattie. If the midfield is not addressed then Johnson will become another flop.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (27/12/06)

`Everton in false position` ? Moyes

So Moyes thinks Everton`s position in the league does not reflect their true quality. He`s right:-on yesterday`s performance, they are no better than Boro who are currently lanquishing in 16th position!

Honed in the style of their manager, Everton are hardworking but totally without flair and imagination. All the running in the world does not make Johnson an ?8M striker or Carsley anything other than a lower league enforcer. Too few of our current squad are of true Premier class so we are destined to be perennial mid-table bores ? if we`re lucky!
Ben Callow, Altcar  (27/12/06)

Under-kill

Everton's repeated failure to kill off mediocre opposition: Blackburn, Wigan, Newcastle, Man City, Middlesboro (2), Fulham, Charlton, are like sprouts in the Christmas dinner.
Paul Wells, Aix en Provence, France  (27/12/06)

Kieran Kinsella's comments

This is the best squad we have had for nearly 20 years. Yes it's far from perfect, but I genuinely believe Moyes's policy of going for young talent is paying off. For every Kr?ldrup signing, look to Cahill and Lescott for success. For every Richard Wright (Moyes's first signing?), look at Arteta or Howard.

Look at the options we have now up front. Johnson, Anichebe, Vaughn, McFadden, Beattie (admittedly needs a rocket)... The young lad Scott Spencer? Remember under Walter Smith we had to put a right-back-cum-midfielder, Steve Watson, up front because we had no one else? We're not Chelsea, but Moyes's policy is right in my book; he is getting more right than wrong, the top managers ? Wenger, Ferguson, Mourinho ? can all be seen to have made transfer howlers.

Moysie is a bright young manager and you know every week he is kicking every ball, making every tackle and winning every header from the touchline. He was not born a blue but his will to win and make Everton successful is there for everyone to see. And that is all I want, just like every other Evertonian. Fair play to you Moysie, you are an inspiration to me.
Mark O'Brien, Liverpool  (26/12/06)

Boxing Day Observations

Observation #1: After today's game, does anyone really still believe that Victor Anichebe is the answer to our striking problems? I'm not picking on the lad, because he's young and has potential but that's all it is. All those of you who have been calling for him to have an extended run in the team, well today proved, for me at least, that he's not yet ready.

Heavy of touch and consistently choosing the wrong option, he does have strength and some reasonable pace ? but that's about it for now. And why does the lad always suffer head injuries in aerial challenges by the way?

Observation #2: Talking of not choosing the right options, I'm also hacked off with Arteta and McFadden who constantly disappear up their own arses. Hasn't anybody told them that a first-time ball in, with the defence back-pedalling, is more often than not the best option? There again, Van der Meyde's first-time crosses are always delivered to an imaginary 8 foot giant at the back post! Don't the coaching team see these things and work on them?

Observation #3: Is Carsley on a crusade to maim someone? His studs-up tackling has already crippled Cahill and he's been quite lucky to stay on the pitch recently.

Observation #4: Trust Richard Dodd to blame the referee for the team's failure to win! The ref was by no means that bad. Our failure to win was down to lack of penetration (did Schwarzer have a shot to save?), failure to move the ball around quickly and accurately, and persistence with the high ball into Anichebe and Johnson. It was too easy for Middlesbrough's giant defenders.

All in all we got what we deserved ? a 0-0 draw. Highlights of the day? ? the guy winning the car at half time... and the final whistle!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (26/12/06)

See you and raise you

I am in full accord with Paul Johnson, all that and more of the same besides. As for his four players at ?6M plus ?30k wages, that is low-end-of-the-table stuff ? think of City's ?6M Greek striker... thank God we didn't get him.

The true range to operate in (at a minimum) is 2 players at ?12M and ?60k wages, but then again Parker and Emre haven't set the Geordies on fire. It seems that transfers are at best, in the long run, a 50-50 gamble and that Moyes is par for the course.

All this talk of tens of millions... forget it! The game, in England at least, is a game of HUNDREDS of millions... and we struggle for ten! So we can't afford to build a ground we can't fill, to finance players we can't pay enough to to entice here anyway, to get us into a Champions League we can't qualify for.

To sum up, we want to 'arrange' to get a third of a billion quid and move to a souless concrete bowl in a field by a council estate... Yeah right! MOVING WILL NOT GUARANTEE SUCCESS!!! All it will do is leave a Goodison-shaped hole in our hearts and a stain on our Royal Blue souls. 'They' say that we have to do it for the long term... Well, in the long term we'll all be dead, so bugger that for a game of soldiers. There are no guarantees in life, only death and taxes and I'm not too struck on either.

I'm sure some nay-sayer will come back with a play on words as regards the death of the blues and the context of my scribblings... well go on then give it your best shot, I'm always glad to see clever wordplay even if it is bollocks. So long as there are 11 players kicking a ball about in circumstances however humble, there will ALWAYS be the Blues and, if you knows yer 'istory, isn't that exactly where we came in before the money took over?
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (26/12/06)

I don't get your last bit: "So long as there are 11 players kicking a ball about in circumstances however humble." What's that a reference to? Everton were at the forefront of football going professional. And the club incorporating as a business. That's when the money first appeared. And it's been growing ever since. Can you hazard a guess at when that happened? I'll give you a clue: it was back in the 90s... but not the 1990s. — Michael

Doubts!?!?!?

Dude, I just have a doubt about your Money article: why can't we have two players costing ?15M?? I'm pretty sure that Moyes could get along with two at ?15M or or one player at ?30M. Imagine the team he would build if he had that kind of money, EVERY YEAR, to buy the right player.
Charlie Towers, Kirkby  (26/12/06)

Okay, I know there's plenty of Yuletide lubrication flowing, but I think that's enough of this silliness. Moyes is not ever going to have ?30M to spend, each year, so let's stop making ourselves sick! — Michael

The trouble with Moyes...

... is that he seems incapable of motivating his teams to string together more than a couple of decent performances on the trot. All the old faults were back today and that old feeling of `they could have played all night....` returned in spades. Time for a change, I think!
Malcolm Padden, Pendle  (26/12/06)

Anichebe: Bad Decision

Sometimes Moyes really annoys me. Johnson and McFadden both scored against Reading so it would make sense to start them up front against Boro.

Neville's enforced absence was a blow but surely it would have made sense to replace him with Van der Meyde or Valente, instead Moyes dropped McFadden into midfield and played Anichebe.

McFadden suffered being played out of position and Anichebe looked out of his depth. Bad decision by Moyes. Let's hope the next game features AJ and McFadden up front and Anichebe drops to the bench.
John Cottee, Romford  (26/12/06)

Transfer rumours

Back in work this evening and sulking badly. After the high of the Reading game, the result today hasn't helped either. Just to cheer myself up, I've logged on to the website and have read the transfer speculation.

With McFadden currently back in favour, and Blackburn increasing their bid to ?4M, it does look like Beattie is on his way out. Considering what he's cost us, what he's given in return, and our lack of funds, it does look like a great piece of business if true.

Don't know what kind of a price tag there is on Murphy, I think Spurs are "open to offers" according to the Mailtoday. If all that is wrong with him is that Jekyll-&-Hyde-type malaise Spurs players seem to get on a regular basis, and if the price is right, he could be a good addition. His drive and energy would take some of the pressure off Cahill and Arteta and he would add bite to the midfield.

Offload Davies into the bargain and I think it would be a fairly decent transfer window.

Thing is, with the exception of Cahill and Hibbert, Moyes probably doesn't have an injury list to speak of and may use this to justify not dipping into the January window. Given that he doesn't seem prepared to anyway, and the faith he has in players like Davies, I don't think it matters who we get linked with, hard fact or idle speculation wise.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (26/12/06)

Sue the ref!

If David Moyes is looking for a new target for his legal actions, he should look no further than today`s referee, Phil Dowd. Never have I seen a ref with more bias against a team. How could he possibly regard the early shirt pull on Andrew Johnson as anything other than a foul/penalty? There were so many other Middlesbrough offences overlooked that an FA panel should be convened to discipline this clown immediately!

Whilst a point was sufficient to see us maintain our 8th position, few Evertonians will disagree with my view that only a disgusting referee prevented Everton from being on 30 points tonight!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (26/12/06)

Blues Flickers

I've been enjoying you web site. Can I ask a favour? Do you know anything about the Blues Flickers set of cards? I have the following cards which I think I've correctly identified:

1. Neville Southall
2.
3. Andy Hinchcliffe
4.
5. Dave Watson
6. Gary Ablett
7.
8.
9.
10. Barry Horne
11. Peter Beagrie
12.
13. Paul Gerrard
14.
15.
16.
17. Andre Kanchelskis
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
I also have 2 cards I can't identify. Can anyone help identify them?

Blue FLickers: Guess Who?

All the best for now, and Merry Christmas.
Alan Jenkins, Bridgend  (26/12/06)

Colm reckons the one on the right is Joe Parkinson (with hair!) and the other is Paul Rideout. With these numbers indicated, it looks like it's based on squad from 1996-97, except that Beagrie (11) left in 1994 and came back in 1998 wearing 15, while Gerrard (13) did not arrive until 1996. ? Michael

Happy New Year

I've been a consistent reader and occasional commenter over the last year or so and would like to thank you for your work and support to the Everton cause. I have a faint idea about the amount of effort you put in for little or no reward and appreciate the opportunity you provide for the 'thinking Evertonian' to express their view. There are few supporters' web sites that encourage such debate and you should be proud of the work you do that continues to make Everton unique and truly and a fans club. In the current climate of smokescreen and half truth that surronds the club, it is paramount that a site such as ToffeWeb continues to challenge the staus quo and ask the difficult questions.

Thank you for 2006 and I hope you continue to stick to your beliefs during 2007 ? maybe one of the most important years in our existence (even if nobody realises it until 2030).

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. Best regards
Andy Norbs, Wallesey  (26/12/06)

Much appreciated, Alan. It is mostly a labour of love. Perhaps with a bit more work we could make some money from this 'ere internet malarkey, but we're not there yet! — Michael

Target: 60

I somehow suspect that any signings in the New Year window will be more in the nature of squad reinforcements than players likely to make a dramatic improvement immediately. With this in mind, I still think we are in an excellent position to attain at least 60 points by May and will judge the season as `progress` only if this target is achieved.

Unlike other writers, I think there are a host of managers who could have achieved what Moyes has done (given the money thrown at him) but if he is able to take us into the top six this year, I will say "Good job done!".
Pete Farrimond, Bickerstaffe  (26/12/06)

Very reasonable, Brian

Whilst, unlike Brian Noble, I remain very much in the pro-Moyes camp ? preferring to concentrate on the positives of his management rather than the occasional eccentricities ? I do agree that it is very reasonable to expect Everton not only to challenge but actually to achieve a top-six place this season.

Whilst this may indicate the relatively poor standard of the Premiership overall, it would take only a modicum of improved consistency for the Blues to get there. Far too much is made of the lack of resources at Goodison. In truth, the Board have supported the manager to the hilt and, with one or two notable exceptions, he has spent the money well.
Colin Paul, Raven Meols  (26/12/06)

Gravesen

I guess that, when Gravesen became available from Real Madrid, we either didn't have the money to purchase him; Moyes was concerned about his age (30); or the player himself fancied a fresh challenge somewhere else.

Personally, I would have loved to have seen him back. We could have either played with a holding midfielder (Carsley or Neville) with Arteta, Gravesen and Cahill infront, then two strikers or even gone for a flat four across the middle. I think that it would have given the side much better balance and added necessary muscle to an otherwise lightweight midfield.

Ok, so Scotland isn't quite the same standard as the Premiership, but he's proving what a class act he is by bagging 6 goals already including his first senior hat-trick and decisive goals in consecutive derbies. Celtic really got themselves a bargain there.

I remember a cup game against Boro, where they just couldn't get out of their own box because Mad Dog kept picking up the ball and sending it back in again everytime they tried to clear it. Class!!

He would compliment Arteta and Cahill so well. I guess the only negative is that he has so much influence on the side that if he has an off game, so do the rest of the team.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (26/12/06)

Whistle Blower again

Sorry to go back to this, but just to return to your comments on my previous message.

Yes, the mortgage is paid off by future season ticket sales, but that isn't the reason that season ticket revenue can be counted as debt. If you have a ?100k mortgage and you pay ?6k a year from your wages to meet the payments it doesn't mean that you have ?106k debt. The mortgage and the season ticket "debt" are separate acounting items. It doesn't matter how the mortgage is paid, whether by ticket sales, Bill putting his house on the 3.30 at Haydock or (if you believe all the conjecture written on ToffeewWeb) Kilbane's transfer fee.

Season ticket sales are recorded as a liability as Everton have to match the value of the tickets sold by providing a service (the match). So a ?26M debt due in the next 12 months could be broken up as:

  • ?18M season tickets (paid by playing the games for the fans)
  • ?2M mortgage payments
  • ?6M net stage payments on future transfers.
So, ?8M cash is actually due to be paid, ?6M of which was spent trying to improve the team. [All figures are just for illustration.]
Dave Southword, IOM  (25/12/06)

We seem to be talking crosswise here. I'll give it another shot. For a ?26M mortgage, the lenders would like to see something worth at least that much put up in colateral. EFC have no assests of that value (well they did... but we won't dwell on that). So they came up with this ingenious valuation of future season-ticket sales ? over the next 25 years. That is what was mortgaged. That is what constitutes half our current debt, with service payments of around ?2.7M each year. It is a very real debt; this is not just an illustration. — Michael

Pass & Move

Re Simon Birsey's comment: Good to see someone recognises a common problem with the way Everton play football. They are not very inventive when it comes to finding space and movement off the ball tends to be fairly limited. This is a fundamental part of the game and it can cause all sorts of problems for opposing teams if it's done for 90 minutes (let the players watch a replay of the Arsenal v Blackburn game... a good example of good running off the ball). Don't know why this appears to be a problem for the team. Maybe it's not a focus in training. Maybe it's part of the team ethos, that is, let's make things difficult for ourselves. Come on lads, it's not rocket science.
Tony Swain, Auckland, New Zealand  (26/12/06)

Hey Michael!

Over the past year your anti-antipodean googlies were on par with Giles mother on pills. Your attempted bouncers were as harmless as Harmison?s. Warnie gets more penetration in a four poster bed than the entire England bowling attack or come to that, Everton?s. You have whacked me with my own didgeridoo, accused me of having Roos loose in the top paddock and now hold me responsible for global warming.

Michael dear Michael, being a fellow Evertonian I fully understand the stress and strain you are under and why you say things you don?t really mean, though global warming is a bit over the top. In this season of goodwill to all men I forgive you.

Maybe it?s overindulgence on the grog that stretches my hand 12,000 miles to shake yours and thank you for allowing this expat to swap views with other Everton tragics. Is it also the grog that makes me think our season is about to take off? Happy New Year.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/12/06)

No worries, mate. Nothing another tube of Fosters on the barbie won't fix!

Trains

Just for anyone who goes to the match by Merseyrail because of the ridiculous parking around the ground, or who has decided to have a Christmas drink after the match: there are no trains on Boxing Day. Can you believe it? Beam me up, Scotty! ... If only.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (25/12/06)

Well that's it then

Went to Browns Bay Beach with friends, making ourselves (been here 12 yrs so the novelty should have worn off by now) have it really, not many locals only immigrants of various nationalities or so it seems.

The weather was warmish 19c but a bit cloudy and a coolish wind but ok when the sun was out, lots of UV due to the hole in the ozone layer so for fair pommies like me bit of shade does no harm. Beer, turkey and salad was the order of the day with a Moet for a toast. There wasn't even enough takers for a game of beach footy as is usual after a few beers. No surprise that all the Indians, who, as everywhere, own the small local shops, all come down to the beach and play cricket.

Well, that's it for me then; I'm writing this while I wait for the wife to cook the roasties and sprouts... HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERY ONE and a toast to 3 pts vs 'Boro!
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (25/12/06)

Merry Blue Christmas

Seeing as Aus / Asia have already woken up, can I just wish all Blues everywhere a truly Merry Christmas. We got off to a good start at Reading, and with what was a stonewall penalty against Naysmith not being given, maybe, just maybe, our luck will begin to even itself out!

Looking forward to tomorrow already! And best wishes to all at ToffeeWeb Towers, thanks for all your sterling efforts. COYB!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (25/12/06)

Thanks Matt, and Merry Christmas!

The Silent Majority

The turkey's in the oven, almost ready ? another half hour should do it. So, to pass the time, I was checking back over previous ToffeeWeb polls. Back in August, 90% of voters reckoned that Everton would finish in the top 10 with 40% going for a top 7. And where are we now? Is this all this 'positive thinking' crap that was being aired a few weeks back?

Anyway, can't help but feel that the next six games will be make or break because we have a great opportunity to put some serious points on the board. Oh fuck... got to go, I smell something burning.
Brendan McLaughlin, Derry, Ireland  (24/12/06)

Archived info request

Can someone please provide or assist me in how I can find match summaries of Everton's 1992-93 season. In particular, I'm after the Coca Cola Cup tie with Chelsea that year. Think it finished 2-2.
Kunal Desai, London  (24/12/06)

I thought I had the matchday programmes for that era but I guess not. All I can give you are the basic match details:

  • 12/2/1992: 4th Round of the League Cup v Chelsea (H). Score: 2-2. Att: 14,457.
    1	Southall		
    2	Harper		
    3	Ablett		
    4	Snodin		
    5	Watson		
    6	Keown		
    7	Kenny		
    8	Beardsley ? 1 goal	
    9	Barlow ? 1 goal	
    10	Johnston (12 Cottee)
    11	Hinchcliffe (13 Horne)		
    
  • 12/16/1992: 4th Round Replay v Chelsea (A). Score: 0-1. Att: 19,496
    1	Southall		
    2	Harper (13 Jenkins)
    3	Ablett		
    4	Horne		
    5	Watson		
    6	Keown		
    7	Warzycha (12 Barlow)
    8	Beardsley		
    9	Rideout		
    10	Kenny		
    11	Beagrie		
    
Michael

Positive and Negative Movement

The article on the 23rd ("Movement and Ambition")was one of the finest I have read on Toffeeweb. It articulated everything I have been thinking for the past three years about this Everton side. Do other Evertonians feel the same way?

The way I see it, Moyes's Everton have focused almost entirely on nurturing negative energy. By that I measn that players have concentrated on expending their energy on defensive play. How is this done? Well, as Simon Birdsey explained, it means holding players back, not venturing too far forward, giving attacking players few opitions on the ball. Energy is therfore spent on players covering for each other and not taking too many chances on passing the ball around too close to goal - much better to clear the ball quickly and wait for the next wave of attack from the opposition.

One could argue that in the early days with a fair number of mediocre players in the team that this would be the more successful tactic. And so it was, it even got us to a Champions league place. It certainly stopped us being relegation fodder every season. This season I think Moyes has tried to transform a side that has been brought up on negative energy tactics to a side that espouses a more attacking game. Again, as Simon explained, positive energy requires forward movement: strong forward runs (e.g. Cristiano's run against Aston Villa on Saturday, producing a solo goal), strong parallel runs, attacking wing play from the full backs, wall passes, one-twos and shots form the edge of the penalty area. Old habits die hard and to be fair, Everton have been depleted recently causing another retreat into their shell and shocking supporters once again with some abject performances.

I just hope that with more players coming back at this time, Moyes returns to a greater focus on Positive Energy. Many of the current Everton players have the capability but they really do need to get into the habit of foraging forward, taking a chance and making things happen for each other. If Moyes can make that happen, perhaps they can start playing with a little less fear and with a little more swagger.
David Ellis, Formby  (24/12/06)

Christmas thoughts of a REASONABLE man

I am frequently accused of making unreasonably high demands of David Moyes. Be that as it may, I do expect Everton to be up there challenging EVERY SEASON for what I consider is a REASONABLY high position.

Given the resources (and expected resources) of certain clubs, it is fashionable these days to see the top four places as a foregone conclusion. I don`t totally buy into that philosophy but will accept it for now. As of this morning, we have reached the half-way stage of the season and our team has garnered 27 points from its 19 games. Most will agree with me that, with a little more perspicacity on the part of the manager, additional wins would have been attained against both Wigan and Blackburn which would have put us up to 31 points. And so it is a doubling of this tally that I set as the VERY REASONABLE TARGET for Moyes to achieve this season.

Now whether that will be enough to give us another sight of Europe, I`m not sure, but I do know that is is VERY REASONABLE to expect my club to compete with the likes of Spurs, Portsmouth and Bolton who stand above us this morning. A very REASONABLE Christmas to you all!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (24/12/06)

Midfield

With the transfer window looming, there's been a lot of talk about bolstering the midfield.

It's depressing that we're having to sell dead weight in an effort to raise funds for what will hopefully be decent purchases. What's bugging me though is that over the years our youth system hasn't produced one midfield player that I can remember getting near the first team. (Was Cadamarteri classed as a winger or a forward?)

There's been plenty of strikers and a couple of defenders that I can think of, including the current crop. But no midfielders. Now I know absolutely nothing about developing young players and maybe there's a special issue around the midfield but it just seems strange.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (24/12/06)

Err... I think Osman is midfielder, although of the attacking variety. But David Moyes doesn't think much of the Academy system, apparently, so don't be holding your breath. — Michael

Movement and Ambition...

To say that Everton's fullbacks don't get forward and we don't play through-balls behind the fullbacks is nothing short of idiotic. I sit in the Lower Street End and think our build-p play down the right can be fantastic. Does the author of the comment go the game or is he just another moaner?
Gav Davies, Liverpool  (24/12/06)

Please, Santa...

I know it`s one of the oldest myths in football but I do genuinely believe we are just a couple of players away from being a top-five club! Obviously we require a right-back as Neville`s distribution from that position makes Hibbert look a world beater and there has for so long been the need for a Graveson-type figure to boss the midfield. If Santa brings us a late present of those two in the New Year, then watch us go!

Keep up the good work chaps... and thanks for the service.
Seb St Clare, Harrogate  (24/12/06)

Thanks, Seb. Sorry it's actually been poor this week but now I am back online at home ? after an enforced break of nine days! ? hopefully we'll be getting back to something approaching Normal Service. — Michael

Moyes's Tactics

I agree totally with Simon's assesment of Everton's lack of an attacking mindset and the accompanying tactics so necessary to demonstrate this mindset. I have, for the past three years, been questioning whether David Moyes was the right manager to take us forward to "glory". Having recently been in the UK and seen Everton play in two league during that time, I am more convinvced than ever that he is not.

Moyes is far too conservative and predictable in his tactics and he is, effectively, wasting the attacking talent he has at the Club. A good example is James Beattie, who has been criticised for his lack of initiative and commitment, but I am sure that under a manager with the flair and the courage to play attacking footbal, this lad would more than earn his keep. The same goes for the other players we have on our books, especially our strike force.

Recently, Moyes said he needed another five years at the Club to achieve the team he wanted. My response is that he has had long enough ? the club needs people who can entertain by playing responsible attacking football and this will not happen under Mr Moyes.
Laurie Cooper, Melbourne, Australia  (24/12/06)

Sad death of a True Blue

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Charlie Hengler, former manager of the Blue House, who passed away yesterday from a heart attack. My thoughts and those of all true blues go to his widow Doreen and family at this sad time. RIP, Charlie.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (24/12/06)

Spirited Display at Reading

Watching the game at Reading, I was very impressed with the spirited display. I am sure it was helped by having Yobo & Lescott restored to were they should be, in central defence they have in the short time together formed a very steady partnership. After last week's result, it was a welcome return to scoring form for AJ and let's hope we carry on into the next two games at home getting maximum points. That will be some Xmas present!
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (24/12/06)

Style

I have never seen Everton play as good as they are right now in my life time. Even the "4th" season didn't have decent football played. Who'd have thought when we lost our last hope, Gravesen, that we'd be picking up the old Rangers trickster, Arteta, for a steal of a price? With him and Osman in the centre of the park (I'll settle for the wings, even though I'd prefer they were central), we play a very good passing game in the midfield that I just haven't seen for so long.

We've left the long-ball system that we used to rely on with the big strikers and Moyes is trying to bring a better style of football to Everton. I'm a realist, I realise we're not consistent and we don't half make a lot of mistakes in some games but we're getting there, slowly but surely.

I have no problems with the chairman, manager, or playing squad. I don't hate Wright, Davies, or Van der Meyde because they want to be here and they want to play for us. I know we already do, as I've heard the cheers resonate around the ground, but let's continue to support the club as much as possible and scrap all the negativity that gets thrown around after JUST ONE LOSS.
Nick Waldron, Liverpool  (24/12/06)

Whistle Blower

Oh dear, Mr Whistle Blower. Finance is not your strong suit is it? Unless you are spinning the facts for you own agenda.

Debt in the world of finance is not the same as your account at the bank. If you want to say we are ?50M in debt that is, from a certain (financial) point of view correct. You see, season ticket sales can be construed as debt that the club owes to the fans. The club takes the money but owes the fans by fulfilling the fixtures. It's an accounting tool, like amortisation (which I presume you also do not understand), but it is not real debt like an overdraft or a mortgage.
Dave Southword, IOM  (23/12/06)

I thought the point about the season tickets was that we have a massive Bear Stearns 'reverse' mortgage for ?27M amortized against future sales, thus allowing us to have all that dosh NOW (well, three or four years ago... the money's all gone now ? and itsn't that really the point?). — Michael

re: Kenwright

While Whistle Blower states Bill Kenwright won't sell, the last two days, all I keep hearing is that the guy from Tesco (sorry, I forget his name)has a deal to get Kenwright's shares but it can't be announced until after Xmas. It maybe the usual shite but the guy telling me does not normally spread rumours. If true, it's Kirkby. Merry Xmas to all at ToffeeWeb. Well done the lads today!!!
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (23/12/06)

Praise for AJ

For me, Coppell's praise for AJ sums up why we should keep hold of the lad and and stop doubting his place in the team. Seems like he had a cracking game today:

Reading manager Steve Coppell:

"They deserved to win and the second goal destroyed us. Andy Johnson was the difference as far as I'm concerned. Between the teams there wasn't too much daylight but every time he got on the ball he looked to penetrate."

Merry Christmas!
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (23/12/06)

Groundhog Day and TM

Tony, Tony, Tony...

'What will it take to get my views undestood?' you ask. well, I don't believe that there's anybody out there who doesn't understand your views after all this time. "Moyes is shite", "Moyes out". "We're going nowhere with him in charge". That's how I understand them, and I'll hazard a guess that most people who post understand them the same way. It just may be ? just ? that people do understand them but have gotten to the point where they're thinking that it's Groundhog Day when they see a post from TM.

This is a great forum for exchanges of views and the fact that not everybody subscribes to similar views is what gives it credence. You've made some telling points regarding David Moyes and nobody could argue otherwise, but just because we're not all in the 'Moyes Out Now' camp doesn't mean that we're half-wits who need telling ever time the ginger one fucks up.

Of course, people may well disagree with this post as is their right, but that doesn't make them knobheads because their views are different from mine. Take it easy TM, and please don't take this personally ? it's certainly not meant to be, just a plea for tolerance all round. Even for Doddy ? well, it is Christmas after all! COYB and Happy Christmas to Evertonians everywhere ? whatever your views.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (23/12/06)

Nice letter, Kevin; Happy Christmas. — Michael

It was written in the stars

Strange how it takes fate to determine Everton`s best available side. Few of us would have preferred Stubbs in centre defence to Lescott or a stand-in full-back to the experienced Naysmith ? even if he was a Walter favourite! Up front we were all wrong as I joined in the groans when I heard that young Anichebe had secombed to a sudden and mystery virus. But what we can all agree on is that Everton gave us their most spirited and effective away performance of the season. Perhaps, this Christmastide, we should do away with Moyesiahs and leave it to the Lord Almighty!
Ben Radford, Kirkby  (23/12/06)

Confused

Whilst every Evertonian will enter the Christmas holiday in high spirits, I cannot let the posting by `Whistle Blower` go unanswered. The statement that Everton are ?50 million in debt belies every AGM report I have read including that by our own Colm. I have re-read this in the last few minutes and TOTAL indebtedness is shown to be in the order of ?23 million. Whilst I am aware of the 25 year `mortgage` taken out on season ticket income, surely this sum is included in the ?23 million or how can that be described as total indebtedness? Perhaps Colm can clafify this for a very confused Evertonian, please.
Gordon Hoskins, West Derby  (23/12/06)

Okay, I'll give this a shot:

  • Note 16: Creditors ? Amounts falling due Within One Year, Group, 2006: ?26.314M
  • Note 17: Creditors ? Amounts falling due After More than One Year, Group, 2006: ?28.524M
Add those together and what do you get? ?54.838M ? Michael

Lack of Movement and Goals

In the latest article I completely disagree with the comment that suggests the Everton team has little or no movement. I have played football at a good level, and movement happens all around the pitch. You will notice overlapping occuring when Arteta is one-on-one with a defender. This is when Phil Neville runs around Arteta, allowing him space to get a cross in or pass to Neville when hes at the byline. However, just because the overlapping runner isn't used doesn't mean that it isn't useful.

Moyes is a very astute tactician that a lot of people and fans don't get to see because they don't see through the simple things such as overlapping. Everyone wants to see great goals, but we are playing a type of football that is getting more wing-orientated, with Arteta's ball skills being used to great effect.

To sum up, just because you don't see movement directly creating goals in the Everton side doesn't mean that the goals are indirectly created by movement.
Gary Kruger, Solihull  (23/12/06)

Haven't seen the goals yet but it sounded like we had movement aplenty today! — Michael

Patience rewarded

Our Parish Priest always says at this time, `Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; teach us to be patient and always to be kind.` And so it is with Everton and, particularly the great Andrew Johnson! To all the doubters, Andrew showed his true quality today ? a great goal and a masterful assist.

As Davey, our very own Wise Man, looks for yet more stars in the east, we all sing Halleluliah!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (23/12/06)

Post of the Year

I just loved Steve Claringbold's post re Simon Davies. I must admit that I am in the 'Davies is crap' camp but, after reading Steve's eloquent defence of the player, I may have to reconsider.

Basicly Steve admits that Davies might not be the best player in the world. He also concedes that he can't retain possession nor can he tackle BUT does work his butt off. Every time I read the post I can't help but laugh. Pure gold Steve ? you definitely get my vote for post of the year. Happy Christmas, all!
Brendan McLaughlin, Derry, Ireland  (23/12/06)

I think Davies was playing today but I don't remember him getting a single mention in the commentary... Michael

Team selection?

After last week's mysterious injury to Valente, today we have Victor with a cold? And Stubbs getting injured in the pre-match warm up. What is going on at this club?
Peete Stewart, London  (23/12/06)

They are winning. And Johno is scoring. What more do you need to know? Merry Christmas! ? Michael

Brick Wall

Sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against one. What will it take for my views to be understood? Every time I post, someone comes back with the same old shite, some of it nothing to do with what I am saying. Let me try once more please.

If we forget all about the big four ? because in all fairness they might as well be playing on a different planet just now ? what then are we left with? A league consisting off 4 or 5 small clubs at the bottom end and the likes of Spurs, Villa, Newcastle, Bolton and Ourselves etc making up the middle order. Now, considering how much financial backing David Moyes has had compared to most of the middle order, we are badly under-achieving at our level.

We should easily be in the top 2 or 3 of the middle order year after year but we are not. We struggle to do the very basic things right and we have to endure a style of football that is gruesome on the eye. One decent season is soon followed by a one that nightmares are made of and more often than not we find ourselves falling out of the middle order and slumming it with the bottom feeders.

When we had the great season ? you know the one[4th Place] ? it was quickly followed by the worst one in living memory. Why? The simple answer is that Moyes cannot compete in the higher levels. Europe was totally beyond his managment abilities and competing tactically within the Premier League is also too much. That's why Moyes is happy to plod along with survival utmost in his thoughts as it's too scary to mix it with the big boys.

I happen to think we deserve more from a manager who has the privilege to manage this great club of ours. Today is a good time to judge Moyes at Reading. A newly promoted small club who should be easy pickins for a side with a ?16M srike force to boast about. Let's see what happens.

Anyway, Xmas greetings to one and all and let's hope we have a prosperous New Year.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (23/12/06)

So, Tony, if we are to judge Moyes on what happened at Reading ? great performance, great result ? where does that leave your increasingly boring crusade? HE IS GOING NOWHERE!!!. Please, change the flippin' record, will ya! — Michael

Inside the Numbers

Everton have debts around the ?50-million mark (total debt) and their actual assets do not cover the total debts owed by the club. In basic terms, Everton are a phone call away from being declared bankrupt. This was not reported at the AGM, it should have been !

Everton fans need to understand that Bill Kenwright is a ruthless man. He has no intentions of letting Everton Football Club slip from his hands even if he runs the club into the ground. Kenwright will not give you a vote on Kirkby, the move is not driven by what?s best for the team but how Bill can hold onto the club.

There is a way out: YOU MUST all REJECT Kirkby and STAY at GP. Bill will have to go if YOU all stick together, he cannot overcome 40,000. YOU should ALL known that investors have asked to buy the club, BUT BILL has said NO!
Whistle Blower, Liverpool  (23/12/06)

We don't usually accept anonymous contributions, but the points you bring to light have been aired already by some of our more concerned contributors who know Bill wants to keep control of the trainset. Yet many fans still believe in Bill as a True Blue, and cannot see him harming the club. How are they to know who's telling porkies? ? Michael

Comparisons with Portsmouth

Yes, Harry has done an excellent job at Portsmouth ? he miraculously saved them from relegation and their league position this year has been amazing. He's got them playing with a lot of confidence, working for each other and fighting.

The most amazing thing for me, though, is that he apparently has millions to spend and he's chosen to pick up free transfers, loan players, golden-oldies, cast-offs from the big clubs and iffy foreigners. Maybe that's the end of the market that Harry feels most comfortable operating in; maybe he prefers rebuilding players whose confidence has been dented. Maybe it's a clever ploy, so that if he fails, he can say that he never spent any money and if he succeeds, then he can take full credit instead of his detractors saying that he bought success.

Personally, it seems like a short-term fix to me. Realistically, how many years of Premiership football do Sol Campbell, David James, Andy Cole, Linvoy Primus and Dejan Stefanovic have in them? That is the whole foundation of the team and it will very quickly need replacing. Without them, the likes of Lua Lua, Mendes, Kanu, Pamarot and Benjani would fall apart. Plus, how are those golden-oldies going to last a full season?

I know that Pompey are flying high right now, but I seriously think that our long-term future is much healthier. Portsmouth are another Mike Walker-era Norwich. They have got the very most out of average players, but the bubble will undoubtedly burst.

I would be very, very concerned if we went back to the days of sweeping up 'cheap' cast-offs such as Ginola and Gazza.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (23/11/06)

AGM ? more details please..

Great article on the happenings at the AGM - very enlightening... Had I been in the privileged position to pose questions this year, I would have sought answers to the following questions:-

  • Have we now (or are we ever likely to) received the outstanding 0.5 million from the sale of Materazzi to Perugia?;
  • Now that Rooney has signed a new contract with United, I presume Everton will immediately receive ?1.5M from the Mancs as one of the many add-ons to the deal that was disclosed on the sale should he sign a new contract?
Perhaps one of our shareholders out there can provide the answers if these details are disclosed in any communications received from the club? Thanks!
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (23/12/06)

Colm did a fantastic job with that report ? it's a lot of effort and, with travelling across from Ireland just to attend, we all owe the big fella a massive vote of thanks.

Don't know about the Perugia business but the word on the Rooney millions is that all those knock-on clauses were written off as part of the deal to purchase Phil Neville. The business with Tim Howard may also be a factor but as neither club is publically traded, such details will never be as freely aired as the original Rooney contract details were. ? Michael

A Big Thank You

Although I have supported Everon for over 50 years, I have only recently become aquainted with the joys of the internet. Retirement brings with it the chance ? albeit belated ? to catch up with technology.

Having become addicted to ToffeeWeb ? different class to all the other sites (although YOU do seem to have a lot of holidays, Editor) ? I think the `cut and thrust` of the Mail Bag replaces for me the marvellous ? and endless ?debates I used to indulge in when I lived in the shadow of Goodison Park.

The likes of Tenacious Tony, Nutty Noble and Daffy Dodd have become like close aquaintances although the Bag has lost a great comic character with the banning of dear old Dutch. A very big thank you to you, Mr Editor, and all your staff and may I be permitted to wish you and all contributors a Happy Christmas and successful New Year with the Boys in Blue.
Albert Hamblett, St.Saviour, Jersey  (23/12/06)

Thanks very much, Albert; glad it's bringing you so much enjoyment. I wish I had been on holiday, but I have actually been without power and without internet acess where I live since a big windstorm came through eight days ago. Finally, last night, the power came back on... Merry Christmas! — Michael

The State of Play

I have supported Everton since I was 5 years old. My father, his father, and now myself support the blue boards of merseyside. Having left Liverpool, I don't go to Goodison anymore (which hurts), so I don't see the team play very often. One thing stands out about how they do, though: they defend as a unit. They attack as like a damp squib. Set-peices they are okay.
Chris Howard, Surrey  (23/12/06)

On a minor issue, why should relocation to Surrey result in an ending of your visits to Goodison Park? Trains, planes, automobiles - all destination Goodison Park! The world's a smaller place these days. Make it a New Year's Resolution, Sir! ? Colm

Don`t they go on....

I reckon the likes of Tony Marsh and his First Lieutenant Brian Noble lie in bed dreaming up ways to criticise David Moyes. When we win a few games you never hear from them ? but I guess that`s football fans all over. I long ago came to terms with the fact that Everton now are a decidedly second-rate club and that Moyes is as good as we are ever going to get. All in all, the lad`s done a decent job.
Reg Turnbull, Seaforth  (23/12/06)

Moyes`s Five Year Plan

Unlike most `action plans` in industry, the Moyes `five year` document is known only to himself (Bill wouldn`t understand it ,anyway!). This allows The Moyestro to trot out little landmarks he claims to have achieved ? regular top ten; reducing age of a pre-historic squad etc. ? without in any way having to be accountable against all the action points. Only in football, could you expect to get away with pulling a flanker of those proportions!
Clive Mann, Maghull  (23/12/06)

Moyes still crowing!

Woke up to hear Moyes still crowing about getting one over on Mourinho. If the bugger spent more time teaching Johnson to score rather than arguing about his NOT diving we might have a chance to win more often. And just to piss me off totally, our esteemed manager then goes into raptures about how he knew Reading would be a top side when they got into the Prem and how hard they will be to break down.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (23/12/06)

Simon Davies

I am pig sick of people slagging Simon Davies off. The level of commitment that the guy puts in is nothing short of 100% lately. Fair enough he may not be the best player in the world and he may be easily shoved off the ball and he may be a bit weak in a challenge but give me a fit Simon Davies, who is prepared to work his butt off for his pay, for an unfit James Beattie, who has got to the point where he literally can't be bothered anymore, anyday.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (22/12/06)

For me, the 5 year plan has not entirely failed

When Moyes took over 5 years ago, we were in a dire mess. Stubbs and Weir as first choice centrebacks, players like Pembridge, Alexandersson flooding our midfield, and we have 30k 35 year-olds as our main strikers.

I don't really know what Moyes's plan was, but for me, my expectations were:

  • 1. to reduce the average age in the squad
  • 2. to get in quality players throught the squad in every position
  • 3. to at least gain a 2 or 3 top 10 finishes, hopefully a european spot.
  • 4. to have an average 10th finish over the 5 years.

Moyes has, so far, achieved all my expectation. I see top notch quality, but young players playing in our team such Lescot, Yobo, Arteta, Valente, Howard, Johnson, Anichebe, Cahill, Neville, Hibbert. The average age of the squad has been dramatically been reduced.

Moyes has also exceeded all expectation by finishing once in the top 4 and once in the top 7, feats any Everton fan wouldn't have imagined at the start of the 5 year plan.

Of course, last year's 11th finish dampened everyone's hope, and the quality of the football is yet to be desired.

But, I believe there is a key missing component Moyes is searching for the squad throught the 5 year plan; the midfield general. The midfielder who can win the ball sheilds the defense and engage in attacks.

Without a doubt, this position is the most important position in the field. The midfield is where the game is won or lost, as the saying goes.

As you all know, we were seconds from signing Sissoko. I'm a big fan of Sissoko, and I can guarantee you if we had signed him, we would in the top 6 right now. Moyes knows this, and know he is searching for another candidate knowing Neville is not the answer for he is nothing but a verstalie defender.

The search goes on, and if Moyes finally signs the right player, says goodbye to negative long ball, and say hello and to exciting football and postive looking new 5 year plan.

UP THE BLUES.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (23/11/06)

Football is Still Dead (In Response to Tony Marsh)

Tony - The last thing my post was meant to be was a defence of David Moyes. The thrust of what I was saying was that you?ll never break the monopoly of the top four unless your level of investment matches theirs over the long-term. Ours doesn?t and so we won?t! That?s a fact and the sooner people realise that, the closer we?ll be to having a competitive and slightly more unpredictable league.

As for setting the bar low ? I honestly think there were only two teams who started the PL this year with the genuine belief they could win it ? Chelsea and Man Utd. Does that mean the Darkside set the bar too low in aiming for third or fourth? Perhaps it does ? but it?s a realistic target ? just as ours is top 7ish. Negativity or realism? I?ll let you decide.

I could write all day on the merits and otherwise of this manager versus that manager, but I wasn?t trying to defend Moyes and fully appreciate he has bought some utter shite. (Not sure why you intimated that Lescott was in that category, but there you go...) But, if we?re being fair, he?s made some decent buys too and we have a better squad now that we have had for a while.

As for comparing Moyes and Smith - that?s almost impossible given the fact that Moyes has had more to spend. That said, some of Smith?s teams included Gascoigne, Cleland, Ginola, Degn and Hughes ? so you gotta concede, there was some shite around then too! (For the record, Smith?s dour tone got right on my tits and for that reason alone, I?d go for Moyes every time!) The point here is that every manager ? and every manager without exception ? buys his fair share of shite.

Granted, Moyes has spent a good few bob, but perhaps we should be thankful that the amount spent doesn?t reflect in league positions. If it did the league would look something like Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham and Everton year on year. History does prove though that you can spend big and not get a sniff at the league. Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle have probably been the biggest culprits over the past 5, 6 or even 10 years. Conversely, you can spend nothing, kick lumps out of everything that moves and qualify for Europe regularly. Just ask Sam Allardyce. Would you swap Moyes for him?

Using ?appy ?arry as an example of why Moyes is a bad Manager isn?t a fair comparison either. Why? O?Neill is probably a better manager and Redknapp is doing what Moyes did a couple of years ago. Even if Portsmouth maintain their form through to the end of the season, I think we?d all be amazed if they did anywhere near as well next season. And isn?t that the whole point? Maintaining a challenge of the top four is nigh on impossible unless you?re matching their investment continually. Sure, you can be the best of the rest and being somewhere near that is all we can hope for. By my reckoning, consistency with the management (and therefore with the playing staff!) is one of the best ways for teams that aren?t in the top four to build and get better.

Tony, you may well prove to be right that Moyes is not the man to take us on to the next level, but, for the reasons I?ve described here and in my original submission, getting rid is an option I do not believe we can afford to take. Not because I rate him, but because that?s the way the game is at the moment.
Dave Randles, Ellesmere Port  (22/12/06)

Good response! ;) But you can be sure it won't cut no ice with Tony! — Michael

Five Years

I just wanted to respond to the previous post from Tony Marsh applauding what a wonderful job Harry Redknapp has done in such a short amonut of time. I don't believe that he is such a great example; yes, he saved them from relegation and has now got them flying high this season but I can only draw comparisons to David Moyes's start at Everton. Both possibly over achieveing and if Portsmouth finish well this season and poor next season will you be saying Harry's still doing such a great job in a short space of time? This may seem to be pedantic but reading a lot of your comments I feel it's only right to comment myself.
Daniel Measor, Liverpool  (22/12/06)

Line up v Reading

Bearing in mind that we've got four games in 9 days, here is my line up for the game:

         Howard
Hughes Yobo Stubbs Lescott
         Neville
   Osman Arteta Davies
    Beattie Anichebe

Subs: Wright, Vaughan, Johnson, Carsley, Van der Meyde
System: Pretty much our standard system with a man in front of the back four to close down long shots and give extra protection all across the line. I think Carsley has been poor recently and Neville is wasted at full-back, so I've brought him into the middle.

Players: Hughes definitely deserves his chance and will create extra competition in defence. I feel too that Arteta (passed fit) will benefit from being able to dictate the play from the centre of the park. Davies will occupy the problem left position, with Osman tucking in on the right. The full backs should overlap and get to the byeline, as we have Neville offering cover.

Upfront, I feel that Johnson could do with a rest and that Beattie would benefit from starting. The combination between him and Anichebe means that Beattie can hold the ball up, while Anichebe works the channels and feeds on knock downs. It will also encourage the young striker to have a second successive start.

I've gone for an attacking line up on the bench, as the game is likely to be tight and may be decided by just one goal, so there are different types of player in reserve to give Reading various problems. As Neville can cover all across the back four, I felt that we could afford not to have an extra defender on the bench.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (22/12/06)

Fantastic; mouth-watering... I can't wait! Oh, just one point: have you ever known Moyes not name at least one extra defender on the bench? And any teamsheet that features neither Stubbs nor Weir anwhere among the XVI has to be some kind of sick joke. ? Michael

Everton's role-model?

Now that Everton seem to be anchored into the mid-table zone, a club that currently occupy a relegation place are brought to mind to compare Everton to: Charlton have for year's been deployed in no man's land since they were promoted some 10 year's back, seemingly content to just stay up and finish in a respectable position... a bit like Everton

Curbishley left at the end of last season, seemingly having taken Charlton as far as he could with the budget available. When featured on TV, some young twenty-something presenter would drool over Curbishley's "achievments" in awe! "Charlton, top ten! ..." He would say, and fair enough he did do a good job...

But let's say Moyes was to leave Everton in the next few year's, You could imagine said twenty-something presenter on a TV sport's programme: "Everton, Three top-ten positions, how did you do it"? What would happen if in a few years, Everton occupied a relegation place coming up to Christmas? It would make Moyes seem like the second coming to outsiders, and we would be falling over ourselevs to bring Moyes back... Bit like Charlton at the moment!

If indeed Charlton do go down, then it will make the custodian's of this club, even more defiant to hang on to moyes as a change for change's sake won't make thing's get better, only WORSE? Better the devil you know, some cynic's would think...
Jamie Carroll, Ireland  (22/12/06)

Alan Smith

It is being reported in the press today that Everton are preparing a ?6M bid for Alan Smith. I really hope there is no truth in this. Smith reminds me of Wayne Rooney, he made it big with his local team, Leeds, then fucked them off in a hurry when Man Utd came calling. He is as arragont, selfish and disloyal as Rooney but without any of the talent.

I have always loved watching Smith play for other teams as I have stared in amazement at his complete lack of effort during a game. He spends an entire match standing with his hands on his hips, face contorted, moaning at everyone else on the pitch. He has never been a great goalscorer, is ultra slow, has a very poor disciplinary record, and has not yet recovered from a career threatening injury.

I know David Moyes has made some bad buys in the past but I can't believe he is after Alan Smith. Personally, I'm still hoping we get Joey Barton in January and also Steve Sidwell.
Tom Sullivan, Liverpool  (22/12/06)

Kirby Deal Signed ? No Vote

Sir George Sweeney, principle of Knowsley College Community has today announced in a staff Christmas meeting that they have signed a contract with Everton to build their stadium there. He said he doesn't know when the building work will start but should be completed within a few years; he said it is getting built on the field behind the college.

Just thought I would let you all know.

Was it me or did Kenwright say that he was going to let the fans decide?
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (22/12/06)

Way Off The Mark

I would like pick up on a couple of points regarding the article from Dave Randles.

First of all, Dave states that, if we get rid of Moyes, it would take another manager 5 years to get things moving in the right direction. Crap! So its took Harry Redknapp 5 years at Portsmouth, has it, Dave? It's took Martin O'Neill 5 years at Villa to get them on the right track has it Dave? I don't think so mate. O'Neill's influence was immediate with the same squad. Why are you judging other managers by the David Moyes scale?

Joe Royle, last-but-one manager of Everton FC: first 6 months he kept us up from an impossible position and won the FA Cup. 6 months, Dave. It's rubbish to suggest a figure of 5 years as a yardstick for future managers just because it took that long for Moyes to achieve mediocrity.

"The likes of Tony Marsh would sack the manager every season." Wrong again, Dave. I was calling for the removal of Moyes after 3 years of shite going-nowhere football. Oh, I forgot ? we finished 4th. YAWN.

"Moyes has had his hands tied behind his back." More bollocks, Dave. Moyes has smashed our transfer record twice in the past two seasons ? on Beattie and Johnson. He spent good money on Lescott, Davies, Van der Meyde, Kr?ldrup, Neville, etc. In fact, Dave, Moyes has had as much backing as any one outside of the Big Four ? and we are still treading water. Everton have not been relegated under Moyes mainly because he has been backed to the hilt with his signings and not because of his management skills. We have stayed up despite Moyes ? not because of him.

You're another one of these fans, Dave, that completely ignores the failings of Moyes just because you think he is better than Smith. And so he should be given the different working conditions the two of them had. Do you think any one in Scotland would swap Moyes for Smith as the national coach right now? No, me neither.

Basically, Dave, some of us can see the faults that Moyes has and are not prepared to give him any longer, while some of us are happy to plod along using the same old shite excuses for Moyes just because we haven't bean relegated.

I tell you what, Dave ? you don't half set the bar high, mate.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (22 /12/06)

Johnson Doubts

Any fan really doubting Andrew Johnson's ability as a striker should, perhaps, look to the amount of verbal attention and mind games given to him by top managers such as Wenger and Mourinho. They recognise what a danger he can be with the right service ... and this a player who has been without his main foil in Cahill.

The space Johnson leaves when making runs into the channels is often filled by Tim Cahill... but the likes of Osman and McFadden don't appear to have his timing. Beattie, on the other hand, has been a huge disappointment,; he has to go... Every player bar Beattie uses pre-season to get fit; Beattie returns looking as if he has been on a pie-tasting holiday ? I no longer wish to pay for his pies!
Terry Maddock, Liverpool  (22/12/06)

Andy Johnson

The reason Andy Johnson has scored a lot in the past is because of his hard work and his great team play. As long as he is getting the service he deserves, there is no doubt Andy will succeed.
Martin Charnworthy, Bootle, Sefton  (22/12/06)

Five year plan to what?

Why is it always "jam tomorrow" with Everton? When Moyes was appointed, he told us he had a five-year plan to bring success to Goodison - and most of us believed him. Now he`s hinting that he`ll need ANOTHER five years to make the breakthrough.

His mate, Kenwright, keeps telling us `Davey is a winner, believe me`, but he tells so many lies... who would? I was a believer but all I can see are troubled times ahead and a five-year plan to mediocrity ? or worse!
Mike Savage, Ditton  (22/12/06)

Mediocrity or worse? Is that out further than Kirkby then, or what....?! ? Colm

Confident Moyes

Did anybody see the late-night grilling Moyes got from that prick John Barnes? The Everton manager came out of it really well and gave me new heart for a successful second half of the season. What cheered me up was his confidence that he would get the money he needs to bolster the team in January. Good man.
Ian Barker, Little Crosby  (22/12/06)

Were you also seeking "midnight titilation", Sir?! ? Colm

Beattie

Would you take ?2M for Beattie in January and use it on someone like Nugent... Also hear Mr Davies's days at Goodison are numbered ? I won't be losing any sleep!

Think we'll draw on Saturday and then 6 points against our north east chums, "Boro and Toon.
Ian Robb, Sheffield  (22/12/06)

Midnight titilation

Surfing the channels in search of midnight titilation, I chanced upon an `in depth` interview with David Moyes on `John Barnes` Football Night`. That it was screened well past the witching hour says much for the appeal of this presenter ? and maybe, his guest!.

After Barnes made the inevitable jibe that there was hardly room for two new stadiums in Stanley Park and `do Everton really need to move to accomodate 35,000 spectators?`, Moyes responded that he wanted to re-assure all Evertonians that `there will be no move until everyone has been consulted ? as far as I am aware ,anyway`.

Challenged about investment, Moyes trotted out his mantra that `the Board have never refused any reasonable request for funds and we have been able to move up a notch with the signings of the likes of Johnson and Lescott. Unfortunately, we`ve suffered the loss our our attacking midfielder, Tim Cahill, and this has affected the way we like to play`.

Many more banalities later, Henry Winter of `The Telegraph` observed that Everton were in good hands with Moysey, `a real manager`s manager and as shrewd as they come`. Needless to say I retired to bed safe in the knowledge that all was well with my world... the titilation would have to wait!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (21/12/06)

Titilation!? Sounds more like one of them there nocturnal transmissions... — Michael ... and I do mean 'tranmission'...

Out of the Box 2

Does Mark Manns think I've got nothing better to do? :)

Seriously though, Mark did set quite a poser as I don't keep overall records myself, but thanks to the power of the web, I can provide some figures for everyone (thanks to the guys at www.soccer-stats.com).

In terms of overall goals, since the inception of the Premier League, the total percentage of goals that have been scored (and conceded) from outside the penalty area is 16.67%, whilst Everton's average is 14.41% scored and 18.71% conceded. Draw your own conclusions from that.

In terms of other teams, some interesting figures:

The team with the highest number of goals from outside the box is Liverpool with 182 goals, but Bradford City have the highest percentage with 26.67% (or 18 goals from 68 in total). One interesting thing from this analysis is that Everton have a higher percentage than Manchester United!!

The team with the highest number of goals conceded from outside the area is - yes you've guessed it - us! And we are 11 goals ahead (or behind if you prefer) the team in second place, Tottenham Hotspur. The title percentage wise, however, goes to Barnsley who conceded 26.67% of their goals from outside the area. Again, though, Everton have a lower percentage than both Arsenal and Manchester United, and are only just above Chelsea!!!

Out of the 15 seasons so far, Everton have been above the League average for the season just 6 times in regards to goals scored, whilst in terms of goals conceded, Everton have been above the League average in 10 of the 15 seasons so far.

Also, just three seasons of the 15 in total (1992-93, 1995-96 and 2001-02) have seen us with a higher percentage than average for goals scored outside the 18 yard area, whilst also having a lower percentage than average for goals conceded from outside the box.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (21/12/06)

Give Thanks for 12th....

All Evertonians screaming for a change of manager should take a look at the woes of Charlton Athletic. Talking of the need for `a new face` last summer, their Chief Executive says, `People were fed up with us finishing 12th, we needed to move up a gear.`

Well, I bet they`d settle for finishing 12th this season, wouldn`t they? However much it hurts to say it, structurally Charlton and Everton are about on par these days ? with `homespun` owners and extremely loyal support. With absolutely no prospect of a biscuit baron or an oil tycoon even wanting our train set, let`s learn the lesson folks, and be prepared to be thankful to finish 12th ? or in any other position above the bottom three for that matter!
Howard Rawlings, Milton Keynes  (22/12/06)

RSPRD

Hands off Richard Dodd, I say. It looks to me that dotty Dodd is in danger of following dear old Dutch down the plughole. Let`s face it, his only crimes are being a prat and daring to be different.

Personally,I found his `warning` about the dangers of being nasty to Moyes hilarious. Just about as hilarious as managers who, at the slightest offence, wave `interlocatory injunctions` and `cease and desist` motions at their fellow professionals. Let`s all lighten up a little, shall we folks?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (22/12/06)

Silly season has begun

Well, according to the BBC rumours section, we are selling Beattie to Blackburn for ?2.5M and making a bid for Smith for ?5M. I thought the point of selling Beattie is that we have Johnson, McFadden, Anichebe, Vaughan and Cahill to play upfront. What's the point selling one toothless striker to buy another overrated striker??

We need to sign a tough-tackling Centre midfelder who can pass, and that must be our priority. And I hope we don't sell Davies, cos we'll be really light after selling Kilbane. He has proven he can be play in a number of positions, and against Chelsea he suprisingly played quite well.

Here's for 12 pts and a good end-of-year finish! UP THE BLUES
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (22/12/06)

Richard Dodd , (2)

I'm pleased there has been a response to his 'just be careful, critics' posting. Is Richard suggesting he's going to threaten or take legal action against anyone on this site for making mainly considered and intelligent criticisms of the team and manager? I, for one, don't like his tone or attitude.

His inane postings suggest to me someone with serious personality problems which could easily be helped by using Section 2 of the 1983 Mental Health Act. If that does not provide sufficient support maybe Section 3 could be evoked. In our so-called democracy we are able to speak and comment with freedom ? so his controlling manner and adherence to following the party line is misplaced ? and I'm sure there's legislation to cover that too. Richard ? you haven't got a leg to stand on, so either open up or take your ramblings somewhere else.
Peete Stewart, London  (21/12/06)

Tis the season of goodwill to ALL mankind. And Mr Dodd! ? Colm

Youth Policy

It seems most agree that Anichebe was instrumental against Chelsea last Saturday, and there is an almost unanimous feeling that he should now be given a run in the side. Obviously Vaughan is also willing to fight his case for the same chance, and I think we should count our lucky stars that we're blessed with two such prospects in attack. Not forgetting the defender Mark Hughes, who we have seen little of, although when he has appeared the lad has stood up well to the challenge and is another fine prospect for the future of the club.

I use the word "prospects" because that's all these guys are, and all they will ever be unless they're given every possible opportunity to establish themselves in the team. Obviously it's irresponsible to burn youngsters out, but at the same time I'm a big fan of the saying "If they're good enough they're old enough"! Michael Owen was a first team regular for Liverpool when he was eighteen, and he was nowhere near as physically developed as the three players I just mentioned.

Recently, David Moyes was asked of his opinion on youth academies, to which (I hear) he replied that he was not a fan and much preferred to bring players in from the lower leagues. That's a shame when you look at the talent we now have from our academy, not to mention a certain Mr Rooney who has financed the next generation of academy players on his own.

In this day and age (unless you're minted), a strong youth policy must be a high priority. If we can bring our own through, we don't need to purchase them, and if they leave ? any fee is all profit!

For years, Everton brought almost nobody through the ranks, which I feel has been a determining factor in our long struggle. Let's hope the tide is turning and we become known as "THE" club who give their youngsters every chance. Surely this approach can only serve to attract quality prospects to Everton and motivate them to give their all from the moment they arrive!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (21/12/06)

Hmm... I feel another Steve Flanagan -type question brewing: Everton Academy/YTS Players through the Ages ? The ones who made the grade...

2 into 1 does not go!!

Sharing ticks only one box when it comes to the question of a new stadium: Affordability. It is not the " logical" solution since it lies so far outside the reality of having two competing football clubs in one city.

Tribalism, identity, and/or brand are very much part and parcel of supporting a footy club ? moreso in a two-team city. If we were all just impartial footy supporters, we would have switched "franchises" years ago. How much easier might that be in a shared stadium?! The Footy ground or stadium is the permanent embodiment of our football club's identity/history and cannot IMO be rationalised into one stadium for two clubs.

Also, both clubs would need to have a perfectly equal status within this new home for, as soon as one predominates, the other will be viewed as the poor relation... the lodger. That I believe would already be EFC's status in this ungodly partnership. The equation simply cannot balance, its unworkable... Sharing has not worked anywhere, the oft-mentioned Milanese harmony is a myth, as is the Rome and Turin examples, as has been shown by all participants actively seeking their own homes in recent times.

We are all desperate to improve our facilities, but let's not stoop to diluting our identity to achieve it. There have been many times when our identity has been all us Evertonians have had to hold on to... it is priceless, and consequently even less affordable than a new stadium!!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (21/12/06)

Once again, well written there Tom. - Colm

Sorry!

As apologies are the flavour of the month,I unreservedly offer mine to Mr Fitzgerald who is obviously offended by my last posting. I honestly do believe that many of the comments made about our excellent leaders at Goodison Park cross the barrier between honest criticism and libel (publishing statements damaging to a person`s reputation) and I would hate to see anyone here caught up in an action (or threat thereof) as per Messrs Rooney and Mourinho. Like all posters, I value free speech but in an increasingly litigious society, I sought only to alert fellow correspondents to the dangers of `going over the top`.

If, however, the need `to vent one`s spleen` is such that the `publish and be damned` policy must continue, so be it. But with the club so obviously being well managed, on and off the pitch, it would, I feel, be reasonable to expect a little more positive reponse to all the initiatives in hand at the present time.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/12/06)

Richard; how considerate... but if we restricted this mailbag to those who believe the club to be "so obviously well managed" by "our excellent leaders", I think even you would eventually find it a little lonely [not to say mind-numbing] reading only your own hogwash on a daily basis. — Michael

Out of The Box ? Revisited

Thanks to Steve Flanagan for compiling that info re: goals from outside the box. It is only really a useful tool though if used in comparison with the average for the Premier League for each particular year; that way we can see exactly how Everton's 'goalscoring culture' fares against other teams. I'm sure many of us suspect we know the answer but we could be surprised.

So, Steve, as I am busy compiling a plethora of pre-audit reports and am too lazy to do it myself, would you be so kind as to compile another comparative report? I'd even buy you a pint at the next game for your efforts.

Also, what are the chances of Victor starting again Saturday? Think he did more than enough myself to have another shot. And please, no more futile 90th-minute subs, Davie (unless we're winning 2-0 of course).
Mark Manns, Acton  (21/12/06)

I hope I'm wrong but I just cannot see how Davie's "protect at all costs" approach to bringing through his young wannabe stars would allow Anichebe to start another game for at least the next two months. ? Michael

Richard Dodd

Just can't bite my tongue on this any longer. I've read Richard Dodds piece from yesterday several times now and I'm still shaking my head in sheer amazement. I used to think that the bloke was just harmless. In a perverse way I actually admired him a little because of the way he was constantly upbeat on things. I actually thought it was good to have a positive influence around the place, even if the guy was in a world of his own.

I did think that at least he didn't react like a petulant child every time he got insulted in a response to an article of his. Then I read his piece yesterday and I thought to myself, the bloke really is a wanker.

I know I have posted some garbage on this website myself, and I'll gladly put my hands up and admit it. But regardless of how we treat esch other or react to things on this website, none of us have ever resorted to such slyness and spitefulness with a piece.

I know you wouldn't usually give clowns like this the time of day but printing such a piece really is the best way of showing such 'fans' up.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (21/12/06)

I don't think you need me to tell you I agree 100% with every word of that. Respect for the opinions of others is one thing but when they become totally asinine, someone needs to blow the whistle. — Michael

Goal of the Season and Goal of the Month

In answer to Chris Winslet's question regarding Goal of the Season and Goal of the Month, I'm afraid Chris that I have some good news and bad news (as ever with anything Everton related).

First the bad news. I don't keep anything regarding Goal of the Month, or even any Everton related info on that ? but I do know that in April 1985, three of our four goals against Sunderland at Goodison were in the Goal of the Month competition which, I believe, was the first time three goals from one match were in the same shortlist. In fact it may have been the only time that has happened. I know Rooney's goal against Arsenal was a winner as was Barry Horne's amazing shot against Wimbledon in the "Great Escape" match in 1994.

As regards Goal of the Season, some interesting facts for you:

  • The first winner was Ernie Hunt for Coventry with his infamous "donkey kick" free kick against Everton in October 1970, which was then outlawed.
  • Terry McDermott's goal for Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup Semi final at Maine Road (the Clive Thomas/Bryan Hamilton game) was the 1977 winner.
  • Tony Morley of Aston Villa won the 1980-81 competition with a goal against us on 7 February that season in a 1:3 defeat at Goodison Park.
The last player to score a "Goal of the Season" against Everton was John Aldridge with his first goal in the 1989 FA Cup Final (personally I didn't think it was THAT good).

So that's 4 goals against us, however, we did have one winner and I'm sure virtually every oldie must remember the goal:

On the 20th October 1984, Everton were playing Liverpool at Anfield and Everton won the game 1:0 thanks to a fantastic volley from a certain Graeme Sharp ? I can still remember John Motson's commentary "...and he got behind Lawrenson there did Sharp. What a goal! A fanatastic goal from Graeme Sharp! And the Evertonians have gone beserk!"

I have heard in the past that Graeme's goal was actually awarded Goal of the Season jointly with Mark Hughes for a fanatastic overhead volley for Wales and Norman Whiteside's winner against us in the 1985 Cup Final ? but for me, Sharp's was much, much better.

As regards Goal of the Season records, Liverpool players have won the competition 6 times (out of 36) with Arsenal in second place with 3 winners. Manchester United only have 2 (if you exclude Norman Whiteside's 1985 Cup Final goal) and the first of these was Ryan Gigg's amazing dribble in the FA Cup Semi final replay against Arsenal in 1999.

As regards recipients of Goals of the Season, Arsenal lead the way with 5 of the goals being scored against them, with us and Liverpool in joint second place on 4. Mind you, having seen some of the long range efforts on view in the last few weeks, something tells me that we may be joining Arsenal at the top of this list at the end of this season!
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (21/12/06)

Absolutely top-notch as ever, Steve; much appreciated! ? Michael

Mourinho's Apology

Does it really matter what this man says to our football club? We need to think about how many of our players are under-achieving, how the manager is responsible for compromising the talents of his own signings by not playing to their strengths. It will take another five years of progression to establish ourselves as a top-five team. Those who believe we are around the corner are truly hoping. Those who don't think it will come reflect the manager's consistent tactical plan ? negative.
Jerome Esterhazy, Australia  (21/12/06)

I think you are mixing apples and kangaroos here, Jerome. Jos? did the right thing in admitting his error and apologizing, fulsomely, with a few additional thoughts on Everton FC that were I'm sure approciated by some. I can't imagine, though, that anyone who is even remotely aware of Everton's shortcomings would believe for one instant that Mourinho's comments have any bearing on those shortcomings. For us, they remain our biggest challenge. ? Michael

Do You Buy, Dubai?

I was most interested to read Stephen Lavin?s article about the shared stadium concept. For those of you who read one of the other websites, Bluekipper (although our evil editor will probably censor this bit!), one of their regular contributors, Mickey Blue Eyes, is an advocate of a shared stadium, but believes it will never happen, due to the tribal nature of our respective supporters. I have to agree with MBE, and though he writes well, I could probably distill everything he says into a tenth of what he writes!!

I?ve been working on a project in Dubai for the last 18 months, and spent some time over there in April. It really is a fascinating place, and the leader, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid El Maktoum, is a real visionary. He realised that the oil was going to run out in about a decade (Abu Dhabi has 90% of the UAE oil and gas reserves) so set about reinventing Dubai. It?s a building site at the moment, and will be for the next 15 years, but in the next 5 years it?ll be a terrific tourist destination for a long weekend, or en route to Asia / Australia.

Where I think Stephen?s argument shoots itself in the foot a little bit is by quoting a UAE newspaper quoting the Evening Standard. Professor Cannon has been the collective media's expert whenever football finance comes up, and, as pointed out recently by one newspaper, a lot of his ?hard hitting predictions? have failed to materialise.

Stephen is correct about the almost ruthless approach of the DIC to business. It is possible that they will want a shared stadium to improve their returns, but by no means guaranteed. I can?t to my mind think of a ?top? club in Europe that has made money for its shareholders, except perhaps when they have sold it off to another buyer. But it?s by no means certain that a shared stadium is part of their proposal. For one thing, that would require the agreement of Everton Football Club (which personally I think they would agree to). For another, it would require the agreement of the fans ? and that?s the key issue.

The UAE is proud of its record as a nation of peace, and preferring to use diplomatic means in its long running argument with Iran over an island that is disputed territory (which just so happens to have oil underneath it). If a shared stadium caused the kind of rampant bile and vitriol amongst our collective barnacles on the arse of our football clubs, they?d drop it. (That last comment in no way refers to anyone who is against a shared stadium, but can express it without expletives or violence ? but you knew that!)
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (21/12/06)

Amazed and grateful

I am completely in awe of and greatly appreciate Steve Flanagan's information. It provides much juicy room for thought and diverts attention from the hum-drum.

What Steve?s data shows is that we are far behind our usual quota of long range-goals while similar goals by opponents against us are ahead of the norm. While lolling on the beach this Xmas, I can pass time working out what is needed for the rest of this season to bring past and present averages of such goals into equilibration.

Would I forgo the beach and expected century of heat over the holiday season for just one game in the cold at Goodison, Kirkby or anywhere else my beloved team is playing? I most certainly bloody well would. Best wishes to one and all.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (21/12/06)

Ah.... but you can't have any of our water. Global warming naysayers!

Get voting!

There's a vote on best footie chants on the BBC site. Get over there and vote for the Graham Poll chant now and let the prick know what all fans think of him.
John McAllister, Belfast  (20/12/06)

I'm sure that will have him quaking in his boots!

Spirited performance

I've been fairly critical of performances of late but have to acknowledge the efforts during Sundays game. I'd half expected us to get steam-rolled to be honest but the players gave a good account of themselves.

Simon Davies had his best game to date and put in a really good performance against possibly one of the best left backs in Europe ? he certainly made things uncomfortable for Ashley Cole and I can honestly say I've not seen that too often this season. Of course he will need to put in performances like that more often but if you choose to criticise you have to be prepared acknowledge improvement.

A word also for Osman, whom I've been critical of; had to admire his tenacity in going shoulder to shoulder with Makelele down the flank. Again he needs to show that level of determination more often.

Finally I'm running out of superlatives to describe Lescott ? he is fast becoming one of the best defenders in the Premiership. Let's hope we get the same against Reading.
Gerry Western, London  (20/12/06)

Great goals

I have been supporting Everton and watching TV higlights programmes since the start of MOTD. The latter and other programmes invented Goal of the Month and then Goal of the Season competitions (terribly subjective I know) a few years in.

Am I right in thinking that an Everton goal has never won a goal of the season competition? Am I also right that an Everton goal has rarely won Goal of the Month, in fact I remember very few that even made it into the 8-12 that viewers get to select from? From his last post, I have a feeling in my gut that Steve Flanagan has the answers and I think he should share them with the world.

If Everton are under-represented compared to, say, Man Utd then can we draw any conclusions about the culture of our beloved club ? the kind of players that get signed, how they are coached etc over a much longer period than just Smith and Moyes?? Yours in hope...
Chris Winslet, Egham  (20/12/06)

Steve just sent me an incredible file, listing every Everton match to be broadcast on British TV. So your request is in good hands, metinks... — Michael

Who cares?

Am I alone in not giving a damn who `handles` in transfers as long as my team gets all the players they are after? Just think, ?800k chucked at Lord Whitewash for him to come up with the same conclusion he gave us last week about Princess Di ? `everybody`s clean`!!!

I`d rather see my money spent on a bung to a good agent if he can get the right players when we want them!
Alan Connor, West Derby  (20/12/06)

Kirkby; Some thoughts...

Until this Kirkby shit came along, I did not take once ounce of interest in the message boards and the fan web sites. I am just too busy with my own shit to spend more time on other stuff. What I have realized is this:

  • One man has motivated me to get off my arse and get involved
  • One man has a history of telling untruths (lies)
  • One man took over our club with an ?8M debt and let it grow to ?50M on his watch.
  • One man sold our best player on the cheap to hide the fact that he could not manage the club as a Chairman should and paid off the wolves
  • One man is about to sell GP because we are about to go bang again?.!!!!!!!!!!
Are the fans responsible for this situation we find ourselves in over the last 7 years? Are they fuck... Everton Football Club is like watching an everyday episode of Gordon Ramsey?s Kitchen Nightmares... we're getting further and further into the shit and we won?t fucking stop and hold our hand up and say we need help ? ie, fucking sell up, Bill!

And if you think that?s bad, wait till everybody says "No to Kirby" and then Bill comes up with another crazy plan. Kenwright has got the Blues fighting amongst ourselves... who's fault is that? The fans? The players? ... no chance, mate. It's got to end now.... and after it's done, I will go back to normal life.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (20/12/06)

What's in a name?

Scenario: The billionaire arrives and is willing to buy Everton FC. He will pay off the debt, purchase a new 60,000 seat stadium within the city boundaries, and give Moyes the transfer clout to match Chelsea.

The deal, however, is on the proviso that because the name, ?Everton?, does not have the same international branding potential as the name, 'Liverpool', the club must be willing to change its name to, 'The City of Liverpool Football Club'. Everything else regarding the club will remain the same.

I?ve put the above scenario to a number of Evertonian friends and not one would be willing to sacrifice the name Everton for the possibility of football success and finance beyond our current imagination.

Interestingly, it wouldn?t be the first time a major football club?s name had been changed. Would Manchester United be the global force it is today if its name had remained as Newton Heath? What do others think?
John Burns, Liverpool  (20/12/06)

Careful... Walking Eagle alert!!!!!

Have you no pride?

I cannot belive what I have read on this website. Evertonians are happy to surrender our city status and move to Kirkby!?! What has happened to this once great club? From John Moores's vision to this sorry state of affairs that we are being led by the hand to by Grey Bill.

I am watching a modern-day Christmas Carol being played out in front of me with Uncle Bill as Scrooge, but unfortunately, I cannot see there being a happy ending in this version. We are a Premiership club by position only and being dragged into mediocrity. If you read this, Bill and you really love our once proud club, Go Now!
Graham Jones, Everton  (20/12/06)

Re Article from Karl Masters

Couldn't agree more. I find this website is so negative and unsupportive of Everton and all things blue, I sometimes can't bear to log on to it.

We are all aware of the shortcomings, but there are lots of positives and we are lucky to have such a manger as Moyes. Who else do you think would do a better job with such a limited budget?? Stop whinging, moaning, pulling everyone down and start providing some positivity and support.
Julie Naybour, Chicago, USA  (20/12/06)

And what are you doing? Whinging, moaning, and pulling everyone down. Instead of doing your own form of negativity, why don't you set an example? Let's hear about all these great positives we should be celebrating. How wonderful Dvaid Moyes is. He took us to fourth place a few years ago... Here's a challenge: see if you can come up with something positive about David Moyes that we have not heard before... — Michael

A day to remember

First theres an apology from Tony Marsh, then one from Jos? Mourinho?! What next? an apology from Shander van der Meyde for pissing on Osman's forehead???
Chris Hengler, Liverpool  (20/12/06)

AJ Lacking Confidence

On Sunday, when Everton were awarded a penalty against Celsea, a great oppurtunity arose for Andrew Jhnson to snap out of his goal drought but it was thrown away. Although Arteta takes the penalties, surely Moyes could have intervened and helped get AJ back on the road to scoring again? Although if AJ had to have taken the penalty and missed, well that would be a differant story... Hopefully when the situation arises again, AJ will have the confidence to take a penalty himself. Why not?
Jamie Carroll, Ireland  (20/12/06)

One word: James Beattie. He's had two pops from the spot to get him back on track... result: you guessed it. — Michael

Just be careful, critics!

Now that threat of legal action has evoked an unconditional apology from Mourinho over the Andrew Johnson affair, perhaps contributors to ToffeeWeb should tread just a little more carefully in their unjust and occasionallly libelous criticism of Messrs Kenwright, Moyes, Wyness and the players. Nobody wants to see Evertonians appearing before m`learned friends, do they?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (20/12/06)

Richard, do you actually stand in front of a mirror and practise being a prick, or does it come naturally? — Michael

Every cloud has a Da Silva lining

The news regarding Da Silva is a mixed one, we undoubtedly need some steel and bite in midfield but will the enigmatic Brazilian be the answer? I fear that he will be a smokescreen for the inability of the Board to either stump up the cash for a Premiership-standard player, or the lack of draw on Everton's or Moyes part to attract a quality signing. January will undoubtedly see some wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, Moyes will need to be innovative and cast away some of the deadwood (Van der Meyde, Wright, Beattie, Davies) who to date haven't been able to cut it at Everton.

Our league position and form suggests we are mediocre at best, mid-table and no more. We have the neucleus of a side in the making; to move on to the next level we require some additions in midfield, with say Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton, Cahill operating in his more advanced position when he is over his injury and the side playing to its strengths ? this would be achievable. It would be a gamble on next seasons TV money but surely Wyness must feel that, to make ?10 million available, then a European place is certainly not out of reach.

This scenario played out across the Park would be a no-brainer, money would be available, players would sign and the speculate to accumalate logic would prevail. This is the frustration of being an Evertonian, standing still and treading water breeds despair, negativity and loss of hope. I'm hoping that January with or without Da Silva will see a silver lining to the cloud that is hanging over Goodison... or is it the sign of just another storm brewing?
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (20/12/06)

Let`s all sing together!

Whilst I sincerely hope that Anderson da Silva becomes a super star at Everton, the manner of his transfer does not give me much hope in that direction. Dodgy is certainly a word that comes to mind. However, what really sickens me is the doublespeak that applies throughout the club. One minute Kenwright says we`re up against it financially and Wyness confirms there`s no way the France Collection can be purchesed outright; the next Moyes saye "a club like Everton should be able to take the occasional punt (?700k!) on a good prospect from abroad." At least they could all sing from the same bloody hymn sheet but then I guess that`s too much to expect!
Craig Watson, Capenhurst  (20/12/06)

Vital new revenue stream...

I am all for suing the pants off Jose "Borat" Mourhino. And Rooney. And it's high time our lawyers started studying transcripts of Alan Green's comentaries. The more of these libel cases we win, the better chance we have of being able to afford a midfielder in January. Wyness, you're a genius.
Michael Coffey, London  (20/12/06)

Anderson da Silva: Clarification please

What is the exact status of Anderson da Silva? I thought we bought him last year for ?700k, but couldn't play him because of problems with a work permit.

So whats this 'short-term' deal all about? Is he an Everton player of not? If not, what was the ?700k payed for? What was the origianl delay getting his work permit? It all smells a bit fishy.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (20/12/06)

I'll leave that one for someone else to explain...

Out of the Box

In replay to Dick Fearon's question, I have a full list, season by season, of where the goals have been scored from, but here is a quick(ish!) breakdown:

So far, this season, 1 of Everton's 22 goals has come from outside the penalty area (of 4.5% if you like those kind of figures), whilst 8 of the 20 goals we have conceded have also been from outside the box (or 40%).

Last season, we scored 6 of our 34 goals from outside the penalty area (17.65%) whilst 9 of the 49 goals we conceded (or 18.37%) were from outside the box.

Since the start of the Premier League, 97 of Everton's 673 goals have been from outside the penalty area (14.4%) whilst we have let in 142 long range shots from 759 in total (18.7%).

The only time in Premier League history that Everton have scored more than 10 goals from outside the area was in the 1995-96 season, when 16 of Everton's 64 goals (exactly 25%) were from outside the penalty area.

The full breakdown, since the start of the Premier League is:

Everton's goals

  • Within 6yd box = 201 (29.87%)
  • Within 18yd box = 375 (55.72%)
  • Outside 18yd box = 97 (14.41%)
Opponent's goals
  • Within 6yd box = 204 (26.88%)
  • Within 18yd box = 413 (54.41%)
  • Outside 18yd box = 142 (18.71%)

Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (20/12/06)

Fantastic stuff, as ever, Steve!

AJ AJ AJ

In only a couple of months, Andy Johnson has gone from goalscoring genius, bargain of the season, and possible England star to diving expensive flop who cannot score a goal. Not exactly an advert for other good players to join Everton. Apparently yesterday one of the sick kids asked Johnson to score a goal for him but AJ couldn't promise anything.
John Cottee, London  (20/12/06)

We are saved!

The Savior has arrived. All Hail Da Silva... With him alongside Artea, We'll be unstoppable!!! Wuhahahaha!! Humour aside, he could be a fantastic signing. I beleive Moyes saw something in him, so I'm interested what he can do for us. Hopefully he'll be the Parker type.

Whatever happens, he is still a free transfer and only on 6 months. So if he turns to be a dud, it doesn't really matter, does it? Just worried that the club doesn't include an option for him. If he turn to be the next Superstar in the next 6 months, he can leave for the Arsenal for free.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (20/12/06)

What a load of rubbish! He's been playing second-rate football in the Spanish league, which he hardly set alight. Moyes "saw something" in Simon Davies that the whole world and its mother still fails to discern, and the idea that any player is "free" or cosrts us nothing is preposterous. Get yer head out of yer arse, lad! — Michael

The Gobby One Gets it Wrong

Nice to see the way the club and AJ?s representative have decided enough is enough. Mourhino and Wenger are supposed to be two of the best managers in the game, and yet get away with all sorts because they see themselves as untouchables (good to see Wenger getting slapped with another FA charge).

I was watching Football Focus on ESPN last night (it?s been pissing down for 3 solid days now, so rather than go to the pub I?m thinking of building an Ark). Their coverage of the Prem is top notch. As well as regular local pundits (some of whom are English, and one of the locals is an Everton fan), they get the odd ex-player along. Steve McMahon is this season?s guest.

They discussed that incident at length. All of them were in agreement that the ?Special One? was way out of order: AJ was pushed by that useless lump of a lard of a centreback, and he was merely avoiding colliding with their keeper. As Moyes said, you can?t have it both ways. They touched on this potential defamation claim, and said words to the effect of if the FA will do FA, then Everton are right to take him to task. They then stated categorically that AJ is not a diver, Drogba and Robben (less so this season, probably as he hasn?t played as much) are divers.

English football is big out here, and their coverage extends to pretty much all of South East Asia (wonder how many Everton fans are in Myanmar?) and India.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (20/12/06)

re Old arses

May I as a fan for more than 48 years point out that I think my fellow old arses (myself included) have been a tad guilty of accepting the dross that is more often than not played. We make excuses any injured player suddenly becomes that vital lynch pin that would have turned the game or Davy has only had 5 years... God I'd sentence him to life for crimes against football!

As a club we have drifted from the likes of kendall, Ball & Harvey to Carsley, Davies & Neville so I'm with the younger less-patient fans. Now I admit I have in the past made excuses for Moyes; but no more... and Kenwright is the biggest disapointment as a Chairman. I know, Agent Johnson etc, but Billyboy claims to be one of us so I hope the Kirkby farce fails and he walks, but no doubt he will smarm his way out of it.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (19/12/06)

Da Silva a Cop out!!!

Everton have copped out with Da Silva. If it was worth the hassle to pursue this Brazilian geezer for a year while telling us fans he will be the second coming, why only give him a short-term deal? Sounds like more monkey business in the Everton think-tank!
Luq Yussef, London  (19/12/06)

Fellow Travellers?

Have I lost my bearings, suddenly but only regarding long range scoring shots I find myself on the same road as Tony Marsh. To settle argument perhaps one of our founts of all wisdom will enlighten us on how many goals have been scored for and against this season, from outside the penalty area.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (19/12/06)

No gain without pain

I'm standing in the queue for tickets outside the Park End Box Office tonight at twenty past five and it starts to rain. It's already cold and miserable and the freezing fog is closing in, when out walks Bully Wyness and steps into his luxury roller. In the time that I queue for 4 Wigan away tickets with just two windows open, Bully has "earned" another few hundred quid. The Peoples Club, I think! Bah humbug! Why do I do this? Why do I put myself through torture each week?

Then, miraculouslym a third window opens and I'm served... I remember the elation of the last minute winner at Sunderland and the euphoria at Spurs earlier this season and I'm reminded why I subject myself to the pain. Because I'm an Evertonian ? no other reason.

Everyone on this website is a blue ? we just show our allegiance in different ways (including Richard Dodd who surely writes comedy lines for his brother Ken). So, Merry Christmas all you Blues! I sense a win at Reading this weekend.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (19/12/06)

My Apologies.








Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (19/12/06)

Yes, we'll take that as read...

And here's some free gold bars...

Anyone who thinks that we are going to build a ?100 million stadium only to LOWER seat prices has been smoking something. I have a bridge between Runcorn and Widnes I'd like to sell you at a very reasonable price....

If you knocked down an old hotel and built a new one, would you charge less for a night or more? Get real. The ticket prices will almost certainly double, and there will likely be all kinds of rip-off pricing changes, including mini-season tickets for groups of five and ten games, mark-ups for premium games etc. Wyness worked for an American sports franchise. He will bring in American pricing systems.
Jason Molloy, Liverpool  (19/12/06)

Okay, that's enough of this nonsense. You don't really know; nobody does. And anyway, we ain't even moving yet ? Officially — Michael

Mourinho is a scheming hypocrite

Neil Warnock, Arsene Wenger, Chris Coleman and now Jose Mourinho. What have they all got in common? They've deliberately accused Andy Johnson of being a diver, be it before or after meeting Everton. You can't watch an Everton match these days without hearing about Johnson's 'reputation' a reputation earned not through being a diver but by being labelled one by opposition manager's looking to influence referees and belittle a player's confidence.

We have now not been awarded blatant penalties at least thee times since the reputation media mind-games started. This latest outburst from Mourinho was the most aggressive, he claimed that Johnson was not trustworthy and that the striker was so embarrassed by his diving he stopped doing it after the incident. Or maybe Jose, you twat, he just wasn't shoved over in the box again. The galling thing is that the referees clearly HAVE been influenced by the media talk and understandably Johnson's game has suffered for it, his goal drought now in to double figures of games.

Of course, the complete and utter hypocrisy from Mourinho in calling Johnson a diver is his own team's record of simulation and deviousness, was he not the manager of Porto when they cynically cheated their way to beat Celtic in the 2005 Uefa Cup Final? What about the much lauded theatrics between Drogba and Lehman just last weekend - what was that if not play acting? Wenger is hardly one to talk after Robert Pires perfected the art of the dive at Highbury for seasons on end.

While I'm loathed to suggest that legal proceedings are brought about and believe me, many are all for it ? you could certainly make a convincing case for defamation of character, that really shouldn't have a place in football. I just hope this total hypocrisy from Mourinho is so laughably narrow-minded and baseless that this cloud above Johnson lifts, I'm not banking on it though.

I'm not even going to raise the point about Johnson being careful to straddle the keeper rather than land on his head in the manner that, understandably infuriated Mourinho when both Cech and Cudicini were injured against Reading earlier in the season. Or the reluctance of the Chelsea manager to look at a replay on the monitor as Moyes gesticulated. I hope Mourinho realises what an absolute tit he's made of himself this weekend and that he is plain wrong about the incident, he just can't see it through his bulletproof, blue tinted glasses.

Idiot.
Peter Questier, South East England  (19/12/06)

Football Rules OK!

My mate was telling me that Kevin Ratcliffe in his commentary on Sunday trotted out the usual it?s not a penalty if the forward has lost control of the ball or has no real chance of scoring. Kevin is not alone in trotting out this rubbish so, to help him and those unfamiliar with the rules, here is Law 12 courtesy of FA.Com

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • jumps at an opponent
  • charges an opponent
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  • pushes an opponent
A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four offences:
  • tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball
  • holds an opponent
  • spits at an opponent
  • handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
A direct free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.

A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.

So Mr Mourinho, Andrew Johnson should have had a penalty because your defender clearly pushed our number eight. They are the rules, pity the referees only use them when it suits.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (19/12/06)

Betrayed

Will the lies and spin never stop from GP? The Reo stroy was a load of crap spat our by the PR machine to deflect attention from the AGM and Ground Move. That's all ? nothing more and nothing less.

How will you all feel when 128 years of idenity and tradition is pissed away for Liverpool fans to use the GP footprint as a car park for there new ground? Is that the ultimate piss-take or what??? Then we are packed off to some IKEA carpark outside the city.

Don't tell me for one moment that we shouldn't give a fuck if our grounds is smashed to the ground and the only thing left is a big red car park attached to a brand new Tescos. We are being betrayed...
John Cribb, Liverpool  (12/19/06)

Proving a point

So Chris Hengler as got a hard on because he thinks he has got one over on me with regards to my comment about us not attempting shots at goal from long range. "Arteta, Bolton ring any bells?" he say as though that's some fantastic achievement.

Chris, it just goes to prove my point, lad. That game was weeks ago and Arteta's effort is probably the only time an Everton player has hit the target or attempted to hit the target this season from outside the box. It's embarrassing that you even mention it as an arguement. One single fucking strike from long range and you carry on as though we should all be doing cart wheels. Well, as long as you are happy with that we must be doing well, Chris. When's the next one due mate, ? same time next year. Just goes to show how easily pleased some of you are.

While I am the subject of our short comings I hear rumours that James Beattie could be involved in a possible deal with Bolton. The talk is that Nolan is being lined up in a swap deal as he is not happy playing for them any more. Let's hope so then Beattie can fuck off back to Lancashire where he belongs, taking that stupid Yellow Lambourghini with him.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (19/12/06)

Sadly, Tony, that just goes to prove people's point about you. You can't graciously accept that you were wrong, and that there was a very good and highly memorable example that you totally ignored in your diatribe.

You can't have it both ways, Tony. If you expect preople to grasp your way of thinking about the team, it is parmount that you get your facts right, and that you admit you are wronmg when you are wrong. Plain and simple. This tetchy rant does you no favours... IMHO, of course! — Michael

Gordon Lee: The Second Coming?

Whilst Gordon Lee may not have been the best manager Everton ever had, I bet many Evertonians would love to see a season like that enjoyed in 1977-78. The team actually scored goals and played football that was, on the whole, worth watching!
Simon Woolfenden, Winchester  (19/12/06)

New stadium seat prices

I have to object at the asertion that seat prices at any new stadium will be DOUBLE from the price they are currently. What is this based on?

Surely with a 55,000-seater stadium, would it not make sense to drop prices by 20%, in order to sell 20% more tickets? More bums on seats means more half-time refreshments sold, more programs sold, more merchandise sold, more raffle tickets sold, more parking tickets sold. Don't you think Tesco will also be aware of this equation aswell? More people at games will mean more people shopping at their adjecent supermarket. It won't be just about gate money.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (19/12/06)

Ever the optimist

Is it just me or are people starting to look over their shoulders? Terrible to say, after our great start to the season, but I'll breathe a sigh of relief when we hit the 40-point mark.
Mike Rourke, Liverpool  (19/12/06)

Well Done Blues!

I want to congratulate the Everton management for their response to Mourinho's disgraceful and unfounded allegations over Andrew Johnson.

It takes courage to stand up to any of the so-called 'big four' clubs in today's Premiership. Wenger was also completely out of order about AJ several weeks ago. I am sure many of our fellow Premiership clubs will be silently cheering Moyes & Wyness for having the guts to take on Chelsea over this matter. Let us see whether the FA has similar guts (don't hold your breath). Of course, the hypocrisy of Mourinho (Robben, Drogba anybody?) goes without saying.

Well done guys!
Neil Pearse, London  (19/12/06)

An idea

Tell Moysie to ring Gordon Strachan up and buy him Christmas dinner, then take him out on the piss and sell him James Beattie before he sobers up ? cos no one else will!

Anyone think Moysie should have changed it at 2-1 ? eg, McFadden on for Osman? I thought that was the obvious choice to keep them more occupied...
Terry Downes, Stoke  (19/12/06)

Everton Fans

I think in the last few weeks the actions of us fans have shown that our perception of things often does not make much sence. One week most people (including myself) are saying Moyes should go; the next week, most of us (including myself) are then singing his name. I think some times we are guilty of being impatient: forget five years, we haven't been bad for five years.

If Hibbo, Cahill, Valente, Arteta, and Neville were fit every week this season, noboddy could argue, we would be at least 15 points better off. Our best XI is as close as its been to the quality of the top 3 as it has been for years. We just need Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, or Nigel Reo-Coker, and 4th place could be in the bag... Can't wait for Anfield derby!!!
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (19/12/06)

The pattern you describe is very much the game-to-game knee-jerk. Step back and take a longer view of Everton for the last three months, note the lack of goals and the slide down the table. Then tell yourself a new player in January is going to solve all our problems... NEXT! — Michael

Old-timer's impatience

Like Paul Daly, I'm one of the old farts, who has been following the blues since 1965. He says the older supporters tend to be more patient, but I'm not sure whether I agree. Playing Chelsea reminded me of that unforgetable game in that season he cites ( 69-70 ). I think Everton were 5-0 up at half time (remember that 14 sec goal from Kendall?), playing subliminal football. And who can forget Latchford's 30th goal in that 6-0 win against the same opposition a few years later?

For me, I feel football as we knew it ended in 1992, whereas a younger fan would feel the opposite. Everton would now after a few sluggish years be trying to regain their supremecy, but sleek marketing and the Abromoviches of this world have turned everything around, so suddenly Chelsea are 'a big club' now. Though not a great fan of Moyes, I was proud of the lads the other day ? we still have the passion and the belief that we're big, but we ain't got no dosh, and I'm supremely pissed off about it (even though I couldn't help admiring those Chelsea goals...)
Robert Lloyd, Saudi Arabia  (19/12/06)

Roll on May

Has anyone realised that Everton play Chelsea on the final day of the season? Imagine the teamtalk for Moysey if Chelsea needed to win against us to win the title! Wouldn't it be justice if AJ scored to stop them from winning it? Mourinhio will be gutted, especially if it's a penalty. Please God, let it happen!
Antony Matthews, Darwen Lancashire  (12/19/06)

Etymology, Everton and all that

A year ago, I joined in a most interesting debate as to whether the ancient word `scrimshanker`should be re-introduced to our language as a consequence of the conduct of a certain Dutch gentleman rumoured to hold a contract to play professional football for Everton FC. You should be aware that I have, today, suggested to my English Professor that a new verb, `vandermeyde` (to shirk, avoid work by any means ? including injury, ailment, drink or drug contamination, crime victimisation, dog loss etc etc) be included in next year`s edition of `Modern English Usage.`

The panel meets in February and I will let you have have their decision. I do, however, expect competition from fellow Oxford Blues who favour an even more obscure word of Brasilian origin `dasantos` (a means of moving a non existent commodity from one continent to another at great expense).
Walter Armitage, Oxford  (19/12/06)

Hmmm... I thought that was 'dasilva'?

How stories have a habit of changing

I was listening to Peter Gordon on the Eagle radio (based in Guildford) on the way to work this morning and caught the daily quiz "The ?1,000 minute'. One of the questions was "Which football club has recently signed an agreement with Tesco to build a new stadium" ....Huh?! The Eagle's answer to that question was Everton FC.

I immediatly thought that they had picked up some news that I had hadn't heard yet. So as soon as I got to work, I immediatly went onto the news sites only to find that things hadn't progressed any further, re: the ground move. The Eagle had got the story completely wrong. Doesn't it make you wonder sometimes?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (19/12/06)

It's just lazy journalism, I suspect. "... signed an agreement to look into building..." pretty easily becomes "... signed an agreement to build...". And you are talking Guildford!!! — Michael

Boring, boring...

Perhaps I am afflicted with a low boredom threshold but I am becoming heartily sick of the endless debates over Johnson`s alleged diving, Howard`s relationship with Man Utd, and most ridiculous of all, whether or not Kirkby is, was or ever will be in Liverpool.

All this `news management` carefully deflects attention away from the fact that (Sunday excepted) Everton have been been appalling for most of the season and that, at times, Moyes has looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. For God`s sake, let`s try and concentrate on the issues that really matter, ie, at happens on the field ? everything else is peripheral and presented to put us off the scent of what is beginning to look like a very disappointing season ? again!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (19/12/06)

Sorry, Brian, but this is an open mailbag for anyone who wants to raise issues or offer opinions on anything relating to Everton FC ? on and off the field. Any attempts to limit debate are usually dealt a short sharp strike of the Blue Pencil, so consider yourself lucky this even sees the light of t'Internet! Once again, when we dared to draw attention weeks ago to teh signs that the season was headed down the pan, the ususal suspects came back with "What's all the fuss? It's just a blip; you watch: next week AJ will be banging in the goals and we'll start winning again." — Michael

Breaking News

Bill plans to sell Goodison Park and Liverpool FC will be using it as a car park for their new ground. Further, I understand that the other sites looked at in Liverpool will be dismissed by Bill as he wants to keep his train set and pack us all off outside of the city.

Warren Bradley, a long-time blue, will be on Radio Merseyside later this week and will tell the public that Bill Kenwright is a liar and has no intentions of looking at sites in Liverpool.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (19/12/06)

Err... hardly 'Breaking News", fella. It's what the wise money has been saying for weeks. But people told us "Hey what's all the fuss? No decision has been made yet; why all this anguish and gnashing of teeth?" I wonder if they geddit now??? — Michael

We're all heart

I too, like many, was happy with our efforts against Chelsea but, apart from the odd flash of skill from the usual suspects, we are a team of 'work hard' players. Great; better a big heart than a lazy one... but what I wouldn't give for a bit more skill and fizz!

There's debate about Howard should have done this, Carsley should have done that, but by midway through the second half they were all knackered. Chelsea and a few other teams can change a game with a flash of brilliance; we have to work like donkeys for an entire match to carve out one chance! The only real bit of class we have comes from Arteta and how long is he going to put up with our style of play and acceptance of mid-table survival? The promise of future glories doesn't wash when he must be able to see the writing on the wall.

On the Kirkby thing, I've never been there so can't comment on the location. I know that in journey times it will take a lot longer over Runcorn bridge etc so will have to be a bit more selective about the games I go to watch (only missed one so far this season). I keep hearing that annoying little phrase 'it does what it says on the tin' ? on that basis can we be sponsored by Winalot please? ? after all, Every Little Helps.

I know it's a bit early but Happy Christmas to all the Blues, may all our games be good ones and our points be plentiful.
Lue Glover, Flint  (19/12/06)

Just a thought...

Sometimes I feel the need to fire off a missive to ToffeeWeb about the burning issue of the day. That?s when I say to myself, ?Paul-o bhoy, put down the Jameson and head for bed? and I usually do. I?ve never regretted that impulse... and I certainly wouldn?t want to criticize or canonize, crucify or iconise any Blue who wanted to express an opinion, here, there or anywhere. After all isn?t it our right... But I am curious?

I?m generally in the pro-Moyes camp and I wonder if the people who have been most supportive of Moyes on this forum and elsewhere are (like me) old (Class of 69-70) Bluenoses who remember Championship-winning teams and how hard they are to put together. Thus we cut Moyes some slack ? all the time suppressing our fear that he is indeed the second coming of Gordon Lee.

And, of course, conversely there are the generally anti-Moyes supporters; maybe younger, unaccustomed to Everton success, predicated to view everything a little more negatively??? This of course could be way of the mark, but like I said I?m curious - are older supporters a little more tolerant and the younger ones a little more impatient??? Maybe Toffeeweb should do a survey?
Paul Daly, New York & Dublin  (19/12/06)

Reading the Mailbag (as one does) it seems to me that, if there is a discenible difference, it is mostly the old arses who are impatient for better football, and who know that such things are possible without gobs of money, and who think Moyes has had enough time to prove himself...

Meanwhile it seems the younger ones who are prepared to make excuses for Moyes, give him more time becuase he has had no money, he's learning (still!), and we have been so bad until recently that this is actually a purple patch for us to be in the top half of the table ? something they have never really known.

And then there's you. The exception that proves the rule! ;) — Michael

Changing it around

Right, so we have limited players and limited options at the minute. Personally, I would like to see us play a Chelsea-esque system with Johnson or even Beattie up top supported by two mobile attackers such as Mcfadden and Anichebe, with a solid midfield foundation of Arteta, Carsley and Neville.

As far as the defence goes, we really need to sort out the full-back positions, because we're using our best players (Yobo, Lescott, Neville) there and it's leaving other areas short. How about trying Davies as a wing back? He certainly isn't a central midfielder and he can't really do much worse than Hibbert, Pistone or Valente! I must admit that I was concerned though when I saw him doing a defensive job on the near touchline yesterday and he left his man to double-up on the player with the ball, leaving a yawning gap down the right flank, which was easily exploited. He has got plenty of running in him though and we've got to use what we've got.

I'd also like to see Hughes come through and challenge for a full-back berth. Ok, it isn't his natural position, but he's young, adaptable and eager to impress, so the chances are that he's going to be much more alive to the ball than Alan Stubbs. I know he's getting on a bit, but it's no excuse for giving Drogba so much space yesterday and O'Shea at Old Trafford. I really can't believe how far he stands off people and how he fails to recognise danger.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (18/12/06)

Deja Vu

The Chelsea game saw my evaluation of Mourhino rise and that of David Moyes drop. The former saw where his team was failing and took action while David, who should have seen where his team was failing, did nothing.

In the first half, our excellent backline smothered Chelsea in the box. At half-time Mourino made a few alterations and suddenly it was a different ball game. As happened so many times before, our downfall was long-range shots. It is obvious to all PL teams including Everton that the way to beat us is via long bombs yet Moyes seems incapable of finding a solution.

At that stage when the Chelsea strong men were playing Ping Pong with Osman and Davies, fresh legs were desperately needed. I have given up on those two. In fact, when I see either of them on the teamsheet, I feel we are playing with a man short.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (18/12/06)

Re: Drogs Dinner

"When was the last time an Everton player had a shot from outside the area, never mind score from out there?"

Arteta!!! Bolton... ring any bells?
Chris Hengler, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

Some people have selective memories...

Monday evening meanderings

I do take Tony Marsh's point but I think you'll find Arteta's shot versus Bolton was a belter from outside the area. To be honest, it's not the belters from long distance that worry me, it's the lack of genuine chances created during the match. I'd love a few tap-ins! Take away the two dead-ball situations yesterday and I'm struggling to remember any carved out chances. In all though, I thought we were unlucky yesterday but individusl class and depth of squad won the game for Chelsea and only zillions of pounds buys that.

I too was concerned at the poor attendance. Live on TV and just before Christmas only partly explains the poor turnout. Generally speaking, I think the public is gradually turning off the Premiership as there is little or no prospect of breaking the Big Four monopoly. No doubt the Old Trafford and Emirates factor will mask the general downturn as the Premiership experiences yet "higher" aggregate attendance figures this season... Which leads me onto the general point that, if a dozen or so clubs in the Premiership all invest heavily but there's still only four clubs who can reach the Holy Grail of the Champions League, how long will it be before the investors who are in it "for business reasons" give up the ghost and pull the plug?

We have to invest to keep up but I have a feeling that a few clubs will be up the creek without a paddle when their benefactors pull out. I do hope that Tescos will be in it for the long run if Kirkby it is to be!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (18/12/06)

Anthony Kelley is wrong

So Mr Kelley of Aintree thinks that Tim Howard was at fault for at least two of Chelsea's goals. I say to you, Mr Kelley, watch them again. The ball on all three occassions was past Tim before he had a chance to dive and for the Ballack one, at least he got fingertips to it. Which is more than what Wright would have done. I suggest we Evertonians went into the game expecting nothing, and what we actually got was two goals and the emergence of a young and powerful striker who can play with the big boys.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (18/12/06)

Feed the Johnson and he will score

Quite rightly, Anichebe is getting much praise. He played with pace and strength, holding the ball up well and causing experienced defenders all sorts of problems. Hopefully, him and Johnson can forge a good partnership for the rest of the season.

Yes, it is concerning that AJ hasn't scored for a while, but I honestly think it's down to a lack of creativity in midfield. The supply into him has been non-existent recently. I recall a counter-attack in the second half yesterday when Johnson made a great run between two defenders and Davies simply needed to play him through. Unfortuantely, Davies didn't see the pass (surprise!) and ran himself into a dead end ? the chance was missed. For me, it illustrated perfectly why he's not scoring ? he is getting nothing from our midfield. He showed against Spurs and Watford that, if he's given a decent pass, he'll score.
Andrew Wilson, Chester  (18/12/06)

Watch us fly!

By my reckoning, 5 or 6 points from our four holiday period fixtures should be enough to see us hang on to our top half position. Then with the boost of at least one new signing plus the return of Tim Cahill we shall be ready to fly into the New Year!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/12/06)

[Shakes head...]

Rebuttals

Well done the Everton Board and Management for having the guts to publicly condemn Mourinho's post-match comments and for demanding a rebuttal. I don't expect we will get anything from the 'special' one, but it will hopefully stop others from making such crass accusations.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (18/12/06)

Taxi for VdM

?30k/wk or whatever and you can't make yourself available to play because someone broke into your garage and stole two items! Enough is enough. You should want to break your neck to play at the moment.

Moyesey has got to deal with this guy in January. Anybody know Delta's number. Failing that Easyjet on the web for one wayer to Amsterdam. Deal with it, Moyesey, the fragile credibility you currently enjoy is at stake.
Steve Green, Southampton  (18/12/06)

Match Ratings

Although I am totally gutted at today result it was no means a disgrace to the toffees. An untypical skilful and gutsy performance today just wasn't enough against the artificial money team but for once Moyes got most of his tactics right. Anyway scores;

Howard: 6 Looked shaky today and short of confidence. But still is the best keeper since Neville so sign him up asap!

Neville: 6 A couple of crushing tackles but offered nothing going forward, as was terrified of leaving space for Robben.

Yobo: 7 Slightly shaky on occasion against Drogba strength and should have closed down Lampard with the second goal, but looks steady with Stubbs.

Stubbs: 8 Excellent today. His reading of the game allowed himself to snuff out the threat.

Lescott: 8 Another excellent performance, especially as he hasn't got a left foot. Maybe should have started right back and Neville left, but looked comfortable and composed against the Chelski attack.

Davies: 0 Did nothing! Where was ADVM???

Osman: 6 Looked good in patches but was too lightweight to make an impact against the Chelski midfield.

Carsley: 7 Steady but passing was poor when a killer pass was needed. At fault for the second goal also but standing like a statue.

Arteta: 9 Everton best player and don't be surprised if he isn?t here next year. Our best (and often only threat), and pulled their defence apart all afternoon. Didn't deserve to be on the losing side!

Johnson: 5 Either he was not fit or he is very over-rated. I'll sit on the fence and say a bit of both.

Anchibe: 8 Moyes was spot on today to pick him a head of Beattie and his menace was clear to see. With a bit more experience he should go far! Was our threat and clearly worried the Cheslski defence was his presence.

McFadden: 5 Didn't touch the ball.

Beattie: 0 Zero for shocking attitude to being dropped. MUST be sold as Bent was sold for less, and arguably is a better player than Beattie.

Moyes: 8 He did the best he could today and made me smile by at last showed passion when telling that twat Mourinho to sit his arse down! More of that Moyesy!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (18/12/06)

Reality check

Now the excitement of yesterday has subsided ? we did lose, after all ? I am beginning to realise the reality of our situation. If we can garner the same points ratio from our remaining 20 games as we have done from the 18 already played we shall finish on 50 points ? exactly the same as last season. However, if we do not improve on our performance over the past 10 matches, we shall be lucky to stay clear of a relegation scrap. Hardly progress, is it?
Dave Malpass, St Asaph  (18/12/06)

You pay your money, you take your chance

An open forum such as this Mailbag on ToffeeWeb will always generate healthy debate, some interesting viewpoints and polarization of fans on any one given topic. Such is the democratic nature of the mailbag that certains themes develop; however, I find the recent criticism of both Andy Johnson and the 'myopic' (sic) Tim Howard to be bordering on masochistic. It is the season of goodwill and festivity; please do us a favour and refrain from the "Bah, humbug!" mentality regarding Johnson and Howard. What next? ? Joleon Lescott can't cross a ball from left back. The criticism of Beattie, however, has been justified due to his casual and work-sy approach this season; let's hope he gets the sack with Santa come the New Year.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

Not bad

I came back from the game yesterday happy enough with the performance but, at the end of the day, it was another defeat. How is it we can only raise our game for the big boys? You just know normal service will be resumed next week. Also, I think Richard Dodd is deffo on the gear, if he thinks one decent performance should have us all running for our keyboards, it does not make up for all bad ones. It's a good job the teams below us have not taken advantage or we could be further down than 10th. But credit where it's due ? at least the lads let Chelsea know they had been in a game.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (18/12/06)

Break open your piggy banks

What everyone seems to miss in all this Move-to-Kirkby / Stay-at-Goodison debate is how it plays into the hands of a gutless Board of Directors. While we are busy discussing emotion and sentiment and memories, we are not talking about the real issue, the one they want us to overlook: the fact that they will DOUBLE ticket prices in a new stadium, wherever it is. Do we want to pay double to see Everton lose week after week? And in Kirkby? Didn't think so...
Steven Sullivan, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

What goes on in the mind of Moyes?

I thought Everton was a different team with Arteta back in the side and I just don't see how he can be described as "below par". He ran out of steam, as you would expect of someone playing his first game back from injury, but he was the only player of genuine creative skill and imagination.

Anichebe was impressive ? but I will lay odds he's on the bench again next time. Davies ? does he have incriminating photographs of someone? It's the only explanation for his keeping his place. If Naysmith is fit enough to be on the bench he should be fit enough to start. Why not start him in place of Davies? As for Chelsea's goals, there's no point defending deep if you are going to invite players to shoot from distance. To concede three goals from long range is ludicrous.

Finally ? no goals from the the front again, yet Moyes sounded like he had taken all three points after the match. Sometimes I don't know what match he's watching. It's not always the one I'm watching.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

Mourinho V Johnson

If no public appology is forthcoming, then both Jose Mourinho and Chelsea FC should be charged with bringing game into desrepute and hit with fines. If Chelsea FC offer no appology then they are as guilty as he is for condoning his actions.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (18/12/06)

Bonus Tesco clubcard points all round!

Call me paranoid, but I sense a media bandwagonm trying to nudge us out of Goodison.

  • Mcnulty's highly tendentious report of the move on the BBC website
  • In the last two 5Live commentaries, the spherical Irish one has made gratuitous references to his obstructed view in the stand.
  • Sunday's Express (I didn't buy it!) ? not a paper known for its interest in the health of Everton FC ? called on Evertonian semntimentalists to "abandon Goodison" in favour of the move.
Nice to know that BK is at least "working 24/7" on something.
Michael Coffey, London  (18/12/06)

Howard's Way

I'm getting a little irritated at Tim Howard?s tri-weekly non-committal to expressing a wish to stay at Everton and his clinging on to the remote hope of Sir Alex calling him back to Old Trafford. I fully understand his ambition and his determination to hang on to his Old Trafford career but perhaps he now needs to knuckle down once again and concentrate on reading the game a little better and staying on his line when a player shapes to shoot from just past the half way line or outside the box.

Granted, the recent efforts that have gone past him have been wonderful goals but with better positioning were they really unstoppable? I am not so sure. Howard needs to forget the past and thank his lucky stars that he has been given an opportunity to keep goal at a club such as Everton instead of at the likes of Fulham or in the Championship. Why Everton continue to publish these pleas from Howard aimed at ensuring Man Utd don't forget him is beyond me. Just let us know when he is ready to commit please ? forget the memoirs and lack of committal ? it is not doing him any favours.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

Relegation, bah!

After yesterday`s stirring performance, Peter McIlroy`s talk of relegation form is unnecessarilly depressing. True, results over the last ten or so games have been disappointing but due to early season success we already have 24 points in the bag. Few would disagree that the likes of Wigan, Sheffield Utd, Fulham, Middlesbro, Charlton and Watford are unlikely to overtake us and the promised re-inforcements in the `window` should see some improvement. For the life of me I can`t see us finishing much higher than last year but, surely, relegation is out of the question!
Clive Ferrar, Huyton  (18/12/06)

Johnson Watch

I was far too caught up in the drama at Goodison to pay particular attention to any single player but, thanks to my better half remembering to record the Sky transmission, I was able to study Johnson`s contribution in detail later. What was apparent was that he gets little or no service on the ground. He is clearly expected to play the whole game with his back to goal, challenging for high balls played out of deep defence. His work rate is second to none although much of it is wasted by poor close control. Yesterday, he rarely got inside the box although on the two occasions he managed it he caused mayhem: first the alleged diving incident (innocent); and second, the little ball to Anichebe which led to the penalty.

Today`s newspapers bear out my impression that his distribution was geneally poor and he failed to get in a single shot on goal. So what are we to make of the little man? Perhaps he is a victim of his great start when we all thought Moyes had struck gold. Three months later, 6 goals in 16 games seems nothing to write home about and 10 games without a strike is depressing.

It is a fact that lateley he has made headlines only because of his misuse by England and the so boring diving arguments. As for the future, his pairing with Anichebe gives hope, particularly against less competent teams than Chelsea. The truth is, however, that in this team, Johnson is no goal machine and never will be unless a way is found to give him balls to run onto. Over to you, Mr Moyes!
David Hall, Taunton  (18/12/06)

Drogs Dinner

What a sickener yesterday's game turned out to be. For a short while it looked as if we were going to take at least a point. To be brutally honest though our defending was shambolic. Long before Lampard and Drohgba were given an eternity on the ball to smash home long range goals, the defence had already had a few lucky escapes. The woodwork was rattled a couple of times earlier in the game and we were lucky not to have conceded 2 or 3 more goals. I know a lot of you out there will try to take positives out of this game but for me that is the best chance we will ever get to beat Chelsea and we blew it. Without John Terry playing and with that dodgey keeper in goal they were there for the taking if there is such a thing.

A Newcastle reserve side only conceded once against them at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday yet we ship three at Goodison. We did play well most of the game but at the crucial times we switched off and got punished for it big time. Teans now are now smashing balls in to our net from all areas of the field from ridicoulos ranges and it's got to stop. When was the last time an Everton player had a shot from outside the area, never mind score from out there?

I felt sorry for Moyes and the lads yesterday; they didn't deserve that but as we all know you don't always get what you deserve in this game. It doesnt matter who we are playing, if we defend like that then we will get beat. It's that simple. I don't understand Moyes putting Lescott in the full-back position ? he is obviously our best center-half, so leave him there.

So yet again we are beaten and the September victory over Liverpool feels like an age ago. We need to bounce back very quickly as we are being sucked down into the bottom half of the table. The Euro dream is all but dead and buried and it's only December. That's what worries me about getting in new players during the transfer window. Who will want to come now? No one of note ? that's for sure.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

If Wright was in goal

I have heard a lot of Everton fans coming out of the game saying that Tim Howard had no chance with any of the Chelsea goals, which is ridiculous. If Richard Wright had organised that wall... if Richard Wright was standing the complete other side of the goal for Lampard's pot shot... if Richard Wright was standing way off his line for Drogba's goal, there would have been uproar and every Evertonian knows it. At least two of those goals were Howard's fault; the man has had a good start but that does not make him immune from criticism ? he is the reason why we never got anything out of that game.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (18/12/06)

Lampard's Goal

I missed it but MotD last night showed that the guy (Kalou??) who passed the ball to Lampard was clearly offside when he collected it? Why do we always seem to get the myopic officials? That apart, I don't remember one offside decision and I have to say the Blues played well and actually passed the ball to each other. If only we had another Arteta.
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (18/12/06)

Nothing but the best

Yesterday confirmed to me that Everton must move. Our starting eleven was as good as theirs but in the last 20 minutes we didn't have the quality on the bench and our tired players resorted to the big hoof. We won't get the investment without a new ground. Evertonians must decide which is more important: great football (the best) or being in Liverpool. Most cities aren't bothered about which council your in. People in Lewisham say they're Londoners even though it's a diffferent council. Let's face it, if you live in Croxteth, Fazakerley or even West Derby, Kirkby is on your door step.
Martin Cheston, liverpool  (18/12/06)

Voting with their feet

Big debate on Talk Sport this morning about falling gates at Goodison ? especially yesterday`s 34,000. Kenwright`s PR, Porky Parry, put it down to Christmas shopping. The truth is that the boredom (yesterday excepted!) of Moyes`s football is seeing fans vote with their feet!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (18/12/06)

I was shocked when I saw that attendance figure. Yes, Satdee before Xmasd and all that, but they usually come rolling out for the "big Ones" on the off-chance of some decent footie and the (now exceedingly remote) chance of a win ahgainst all odds. — Michael

Great game & great goals

I came away from Goodison yesterday feeling that I had just been mugged. What a game, it must be one of the best games involving Everton on Live tv ? all the right ingredients, both teams giving their all. I thought we edged it in the first half, I was over the moon with VICTOR ?what a prospect! ? I have been banging my drum for weeks about him ? and James Vaughan being given a game from the start, he never let anyone down. It took three world-class strikes to see us off, although I was very disappointed in our slow response to close down Lampard & Drogba but it was finishing of the highest class. Hard luck boys, they gave everything.. BUT we must start picking up points and quick.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (18/12/06)

Gutted

Yes, that's the only appropriate word to sum up the match. I will however, note the splendid overall performance of the players especially Arteta who had a blinder and looked worlds apart compared to anyone else in the blue shirt. And his brilliance apparently is addictive, as it wears on some of the other players who might not have had the best of seasons for us. Simon Davies in particular was incisive and always looking to beat his man on the width. So thus to Lescott (very, very assured), Osman (capable in the advanced midfield central role filling in for Cahill) and Anichebe (a menace and a handful, powerful and determined).

We really gave it our all against Chelsea, and I am not complaining about the overall effort. We were defeated by a wondrous winner that deserves to win any game. Nothing can ever be done about Drogba's volley. Nothing. If you see on the replay, you might blame Howard for not anticipating enough but what the hell can he do more than he could?

The other two goals, I believe could have been avoided. Carsley is specifically to blame for both goals. The first, a foul for the freekick, can be forgiven, but he should have closed down Lampard much quicker, considering what we all know Lampard is capable of. From the moment he received the ball, I was shouting at my screen: "Close him down! Close him down!"

This is also the first game where I truly question the tactical nous of Moyes. At 2-1, I knew we need a change of personnel, something to break up the game more, change Johnson if need be because he is getting less and less involved. An extra midfield player is a viable option to cover up with Carsley. Something, Moyes... anything!

At 2-2, he had to make changes, but didn't. Finally at 3-2, he did, in the 90th freaking minute, when nothing else could be done. What the hell can Beattie and McFadden do in three extra minutes than they could have done in 15? This is a sore opportunity lost and I blame this defeat squarely at the hands of our manager.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (18/12/06)

New Stadium ? options

Knowing someone high up in the Council, I am reliably informed that the two ground options within Liverpool are the Taskers site on Long Lane and the current Ford holding park in Speke. The problem Everton have is that the City Council don't actually own a great deal of land within the city, so the club would have to purchase the land and pay for the build. In the Long Lane option they'd also have to contribute towards upgrading the road network in surrounding area. Speke already has the network in place but there is still the problem of one way in and out.

Apparently in Kirkby, Knowsley Council will offer the land for free, the motorway already exists and there is the possibility of the added tram link. Mr Tesco might chip in with the stadium build if we ask nicely!! I personally don't fancy Kirkby so remaining best options is upgrade Goodison or the ground share. Could always return to our original home ? knock their shed down and build on that. They've done the dirty work by buying up the surrounding houses already... only a thought!!
Joe Johnson, Liverpool  (17/12/06)

Where are you?

Rushed home to file my fulsome praise of today`s performance only to find you had all gone on strike or attending the ToffeeWeb Christmas party. This is just not good enough on a match-day! Your public expects more of you!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (17/12/06)

Sorry, Dickie, the Editor's gone AWOL and I've been living my life... we do have lives you know! We're a little behind with the MailBag so hang tight, folks ? Lyndon

Sorry Andrew!

Drove home tonight feeling very cheated as there can be no doubt that we deserved something from the game.

As far as my previous comments re Johnson are concerned, I thought he worked hard today but again without any end product - not even one shot. However my condemnation of him has mellowed.

My notes show as follows:-

  • 2mins.Receives lofted pass on left touch,crosses to Chelsea player. 3mins.Has good run on right wing,loses possession. 10mins.High ball from Davies, fails to control. 12mins.Long high ball from Neville,fails to control. 16mins.Runs into box,pushed in back,jumps over goalie.No pen awarded. 28mins.Wins challenge for high ball but fails to control. 31mins.Brings high ball down in box but fails to control. 36mins.Wins ball and lays off well to Anichebe. 45mins.Picks up loose ball,short pass to Arteta which leads to cross. 58mins.Gains possession but loses ball on edge of box. 60mins.Keeps ball in play on right wing and nodds to Carsley. 64mins.Right wing touchline,wins throw-in. 66mins.Picks up ball in own half,loses possession. 67mins.In possession in own half,barged off ball,led to shot on goal by Chelsea. 74mins.Comes very deep to pick up possession but passes direct to opponent.

I think this is a true and fair record from which you will see that in the second half,he received absolutely no service and found it necessary to operate in his own half for long periods.

I am happy to concede that he is being ill-served by his colleagues and team tactics.

Sorry Andrew!
Guy Bosworth, Bassetts Pole  (17/12/06)

Johnson worry

Very pleased with Victor Anichebe this afternoon but am beginning to join those worrying about Johnson. To me, an old stager, he looks like what we used to call an inside-forward ie. a support player rather than one likely to put the ball in the net. He was in the thick of the action throughout but never had a shot on goal. Guess you don`t get much for ?8million these days. But well done the lads today.
Stan Martland, Litherland  (17/12/06)

Anichebe didn't have a shot on goal either and, as I've said before on this page, you can only "put the ball in the net" if you've got the ball in the area in the first place (unless you're Chelsea in which case it seems you can score from anywhere you damn-well please!) and the only time AJ might have done was first, when he was pushed over and denied a penalty and second when Boulahrouz's hand stopped an Anichebe flick-on from reaching him around the 6 yard box. For me, Johnson could only be faulted yesterday for some poor control when running with the ball from deep. Where he is most effective (inside the area) he never even had a sniff — Lyndon

Can it be done?

My name is Gareth Smith I am 17 born in Liverpool living in New Zealand. I am a two-footed player, my preferred posistion is left back... but my question 'can it be done'? Can Everton, our faithful Everton, be successful without the flair and individuality of both Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta? I have been brought up a blue, Everton is the only team for me 'nil satis nisi optimum'.

A club whose foundation is built on the pride and passion of both the players and the beautiful game. Evertonians are unique, born not made... BUT can it really be done with pride and passion alone ? Or is there a missing peice to the jigsaw?
Gareth Smith, Auckland, NZ  (17/12/06)

Spirit of the blues

No complaints today following a spirited, hardworking and industrious performance with Victor Anichebe deserving the plaudits for his display. Against better opposition there is always the prospect of raising the bar in terms of upping the ante, the frustration with Everton is that they are capable of producing such a display against Chelsea and then throw in an insipid and lifeless performance against a mediocre side. With self belief, a greater workrate and desire we should be steam rolling teams like Fulham, Charlton, Middlesborough, Wigan etc. The prospects of Anichebe and Vaughan can only bode good for the future of Everton, come January a bit more craft and steel in Midfield should hopefully allow us to kick on for the remainder of the season
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (17/12/06)

Ten games and counting

How ever well Everton played today, we cannot ignore the fact that it is now ten matches since our ?8.6million striker found the net. However much he runs about that seems a lot of money to pay for another Bent or Radinsky, methinks!
Duncan Foster, Willaston  (17/12/06)

What goes around...

How ironic that Howard`s legendary susceptibility to long range shots should come back to haunt Man United as surely as if Chelsea had beaten Man United today. My disappointment at Everton`s loss was very considerably reduced by the later news that the Reds has had their lead reduced to a mere two points as a result of Howard`s bad vision. What goes around...
Hugh Massingbird, Caldy  (17/12/06)

From my seat

An entertaining game which apart from our lads being unable to close down quickly enough on players who need only part of a second to capitalise on a situation and as demonstrated finish with aplomb I thought we produced the type of performance that gives me hope but leaves me with the inexplicable,why only against the very top sides?.

Displays like that delivered consistently over a season would see us capable of a position anywhere between fourth and sixth. As I watched and the game unfolded I have to admit I thought in general terms we were inferior all over the pitch but the battleing commitment kept us in it to the extent of being in front twice and Chelsea merely won the concentration battle over 93 mins.

Although disappointed at not taking at least a point(which I didnt expect) I found solace in some excellent individual performances,primarly Anichebe who I thought proved more of a handful to top class defenders over 90mins than Beattie has done over two seasons.

He may not prove to be a prolific goalscorer but he is the best potential target man I have seen since Dunc in his pomp,and others may well profit on the goalscoring front from his all action displays across the front line.

Davies I thought had his best game since signing and Oh if only Osman had that bit of extra strength. Playing against such a collection of players as Chelsea possess I got the chance to see others in a different light,for me I cant wait for Hibbert to get fit as I think he his a far better right back than Neville,A fit specialist left back would release my M.O.M. Lescott to replace Stubbs who although giving all today still seems ponderous at times.

Neville to me is an enigma in that he seems not to have a specialist position but more than capable of doing a job when needs must.

After reading Colms excellent AGM report which I found quite depressing as it made me realise our true position and todays game demonstrated what we can do but 'We go with what we have got' will be a reality for some time.

Over the festive period points are up for grabs in encounters with teams in our league,lets hope we put the same endevour into them as we did today and take a good portion of them.

If I don't see you at Reading All the best for Christmas to all T.W. readers. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (17/12/06)

Kirkby is not Liverpool

I am worried that a lot of Evertonian's are putting it about that Kirkby is nothing more than a mini suburb of Liverpool. Well Kirkby goes back to the Norman Conquest and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and has been around at first as a settlement since the 15th century. It was never a suburb of Liverpool it was always a separate entity and had its own parish church and council.

The first link with Liverpool was in 1848 when the Liverpool, Bolton and Bury railway passed through the town. The building of the East Lancashire Road in 1935 gave added connections to Liverpool. In 1946 Liverpool Council purchased lands from Lord Sefton to build an Industrial Estate in Kirkby and later for housing.

In 1958 the Kirkby Urban District council was formed that would later merge with other Urban District councils to become Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley. So Kirkby has a long history maybe longer even than Liverpool.
Danny Davidson, Kirkby  (17/12/06)

Defensive Frustrations

Yes, Chelsea scored three excellent goals today, but the frustrating thing is that we sat off them and invited them to shoot. Carsley really should have closed Lampard down much quicker and either Yobo or Stubbs should have been much tighter to Drogba.

All throughout the game there was so much room infront of our defence for the Chelsea players to take their time, look up and line up a shot or to play a pass. I personally feel that Carsley is way out of his depth in that position- a specialised role which is meant to prevent exactly this situation from happening. Even Li Tie covered the ground better and used to throw himself infront of the ball.

We didn't play the high tempo, "dogs of war" game that we needed to to unsettle Chelsea, although it was an entertaining, open match. At least Moyes recognised our deficiencies in his post-match interview. It is something that happens all too often and we really must close down the man on the ball quicker.

Credit to him for playing Anichebe today. I thought the poor kid looked exhausted by the end though and I think it would have been wiser to bring on McFadden earlier either in place of the young striker or instead of the woefully mis-firing Davies.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (17/12/06)

Dear Santa

No wonder Moyes was fuming tonight ? all that hard work chucked away by a defence that give the opposition licence to shoot without challenge and a goalkeeper who suffers from myopia as well as Turrette's Syndrome. It`s easy to see why his priority is a full-back ? Neville`s distribution makes Carsley look like Glen Hoddle ? but perhaps he`ll put a goalie on his Xmas list as well!
Sean Nesbitt, Netherley  (17/12/06)

Plonker Howard

Alex Ferguson dropped Howard because he was twice beaten from distance. That`s why Moyes was able to get him for a season on the cheap. In the last two games Howard has been exposed no less than four times because everybody knows his weakness. Genius Moyes or Sucker?
Vince Little, Hale  (17/12/06)

Good first half, bad second half... again!

Once again, an Everton side runs out of steam at half-time. An out-of-sorts Chelsea were there for the taking after the first half and a 1-0 lead. The winning goal, which undoubtedly was a great strike, was also an embarrassment for our back four, backing off instead of closing down from a long goalkick. You'd have thought they would have learned after the first goal, or the way they've conceded in the last few weeks, but no, "see if you can score from there" seems to be what the defenders are saying.

But this is part of the general malaise and lack of determination that affects the players from the start of the second half in games. This has got to be down to the training methods as they look shattered and unable to compete. We are also starting to get a lot of injuries via the training ground. The fact that we just cant seem to perform consistently for ninety minutes means we could be fighting to stay out of the bottom three before to long.
Karl Jones, Woolton.  (17/12/06)

Luddites

There is a terrible perception by some that those opposed to Kirkby and/or moving in general are luddites. I am desperate for progress on and off the pitch, and would love us to be playing in a state of the art stadium but I'm opposed to a move to Kirkby.(though not necessarily moving in general). Leaving the city to the other lot for a possible flat-pack identikit stadium could be very harmfull for our future prospects and quite the opposite to the progress we yearn. The point is there may be other options and we are really not being shown them, and we all know why.
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (17/12/06)

Look at the facts

However hard we fought today, the fact remains that we have now taken only 8 points from the last 30 available. That`s relegation form and we never look likely to score in open play, in any match. Before Moyes and Co bask in the glory of a 2-3 defeat they should realise the very considerable limitations of the squad they`ve taken 5 years to put together.
Pete McIlroy, Altcar  (17/12/06)

Energy not enough

No way did we deserve to lose today although we didn`t have a single shot at their goal. Anichebe had a good debut and hustled to good effect whilst Johnson only once received a ball along the ground.The lad runs his socks off but will soon tire of what is becoming a totally thankless task. Today`s game proved that the points usually go to the teams with flair not boundless energy. How we could do with a Drogba!
Alvin Morris, Llangollen  (17/12/06)

Chelsea game

We did not deserve to lose today the boys put in a excellent performance against the champions. I thought Victor had a excellent game and there was glimpses that Vic and AJ can link up well together up front, Arteta was his usual best today, oh how we've missed him and if Lescott keeps performing the way he is he will break into the England squad before the season ends.

My only criticism is if you give players of the quality of Lampard and Drogba time to shoot your asking for trouble and we payed dearly for that.

We can take alot of heart from todays game and I hope the boys show the same commitment in the upcoming fixtures over christmas we will win more games than we will lose. Forever Blue!!!
Yusuf Bobat, Leeds  (17/12/06)

Cheated

What happened to fair play? In the Everton half, the ball hits Lee Carsly's hand when his hands are by his sides. The ref gives chelsea a free kick, and the sky commentators say, Everton can have no arguments. Boularuz handballs in the chelsea area, the ref says no pen, and the sky commentators say, "no handball it wasn't intentional".... Cheated against wigan, blackburn, newcastle, arsenal, man city, fulham, and charlton. Can Toffeeweb make a complaint to Fifa, we should be top of the league! Should have had 3 pens today!
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (17/12/06)

Goals Of The Month.

I have a feeling nearly all of the goal-of-the-month contenders will be against Everton. Why do we keep conceding unstoppable super-goals?
John Matrix, London  (17/12/06)

Because they were "unstoppable" and "super"...?

Sad Richard

What a sad bugger is Richard Dodd! He lets his Dad have his season ticket and watches the match in the pub because his missus says it`s his turn to put the bairn to bed at 5 o`clock! What kind of an Evertonian is that?
Rob MacGregor, Freshfield  (17/12/06)

Take The Positives

"A Shame" is all I can say after witnessing a defeat of that nature. However, there are quite a number of positives that be taken. Anichebe was a breath of fresh air in attack and obviously worried their defence enough to peg them back for a large portion of the game. The team worked hard as a unit and were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of a dubious referee. The fowls on Anichebe and Osman in the second half were nothing less than blatant, although the slightest infringment on a Chelsea player brought the whistle straight to Mr Halsey's mouth.

Andy Johnson worked his socks off upfront and was twice unlucky not to get a break away. I'm sure he'll start delivering the goods again soon.

The only lack in my opinion was some class in midfield. Carsley was the weak link today, and I would have liked to have seen him substituted for AVDM with 20 mins to go, and shuffling Davies into the centre, which would have given us one set of fresh legs. On the subject of Davies I thought that was his best display in a blue shirt to date.

My only criticism would be that we didn't close down Lampard quick enough for his equaliser! On the whole we were beaten by sheer class. It's difficult to legislate for strikes of that nature, and even more so when we've had three of them in two successive games.

Disappointing and unfortunate, but well done to the lads. Lets hope for slightly more luck at Reading. COYB
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (17/12/06)

Johnson watch

Sitting comfortably in my armchair-I chucked in my season ticket months ago - I took up the invitation to monitor Andy Johnson.I don`t think he got what I would call a decent pass all afternoon but was in possession of the ball on 16 occasions. On only one of these - the denied penalty incident - was he in a position to get in a shot although the same could be said of the very promising Anichebe who also put in a good shift. Drogba put both of them to shame with a goal plucked out of nothing-a true super star. My verdict on Johnson? An honest toiler - no more.
Dave Pendlebury, Lunt  (17/12/06)

We wuz robbed!

How can anybody possibly criticise Everton`s performance today?The lads were absolutely magnificent - every one of them! Davey was brave enough to take the game to them and it so nearly paid off, only two strokes of (very expensive) genius denying us victory. We should all be proud to be Evertonians tonight and contrary to your prediction still in the top half of the Prem!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (17/12/06)

I'm not sure I agree that every one of our players was "absolutely magnificent — I don't think Davies is capable of being described that way, Arteta was below par and Neville was average — but I agree with your general sentiment... for once! — Lyndon

Inevitable

Today's game illustrated why Everton are 10th and dropping and Chelsea are 2nd and are title contenders (I believe thet they will win it). This game also shows why Moyes is not the man to lead EFC to greater things.

Under Moyes, Everton are not capable of fighting back which is the hallmark of a successful side. Everton under Moyes are a lower Premiership side and will probably remain so until he decides to throw the towel in or is sacked. Yes, there were some good individual performances but a team is judged by results... Everton lost! Everton will linger in the bottom half of the table for most of the season and will not win any trophies; Moyes must go!

Moyes does not have the competence or abilty to win anything. He's had five years to prove himself; slowly but surely Everton are dropping down the table under his mangership, we are one of the worst performers in the Premiership at the moment ? I wonder why?
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (17/12/06)

Everton 2 - 3 Chelsea

Bugger! What a really unfair result. I guess thats why Chelsea are champions though, they have that extra world-class ability. I just hope the Everton lads dont get too down, they deserved so much more from this game. SHIT SHIT SHIT!
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (17/12/06)

Double buy

Never one to turn down the chance of a free meal, I accepted a customer`s invitation to Villa Park last evening. Didn`t take much notice of the football as I spent the time chatting to our host, a Villa star of a bygone age. He let slip that the word was out that Everton have put in a ?4million combined bid for Villa`s right back JLloyd Samuel and midfielder Lee Hendrie. He assured me that they`d both do a great job for us if the deal goes through.
Geoff Tomlinson, Mere Green  (17/12/06)

Dodgy da Silva (2)

Isn`t the sort of deal Everton have entered into over da Silva just the sort of thing the Stevens enquiry was trying to flush out?Without wishing in any way to question the integrity of those in control of our club-I am sure they are totally beyond reproach-somebody is clearly`handling`and he who sups with the devil......
Nigel Downing, Kendal  (17/12/06)

Viagra anyone?

What the stadium debate is devolving into is whether a tarted up old mistress can better service her elderly clientele and is a less daunting prospect than a vibrant young thing with exotic ideas. Makeup can hide her wrinkles and she may be able to cater for basic needs yet she is still old and probably incapable of giving birth to a resurgence. Who knows what a vibrant young thing would produce?

What choice would potential fans make? pay through the nose to visit an old tart in a run down area or a brand new bordello with every modern convenience. New surroundings might even bring a renewed stirring to the loins of the old tarts clients. Meanwhile, back to my emediate concern, the game vs Chelsea.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/12/06)

Did you enjoy it?

Because of the lateness of this contribution, I will assume that not many will get to read it before they get to the Chelski game tomorrow. So, now having been to the match how did we all fair? Forget the game, forget the result, how did we get on? Did we find a parking spec ok? (for us out of towners)(ex Beckett Street Kirkdale by the way) Did we manage to get to Goodison without trampling through what is rapidly becoming known as the capital of dog-shite? Matchday at Goodison, isn't it a wonderful experience?

For those selfish supporters who argue to remain at Goodison, just so they can go on the ale and walk to the ground, or drive in from the Wirral etc, as previous coresspondants have muted, there are other Blues besides you, you know! I have hardly missed a home game in 46yrs and I love the old girl to bits BUT she is shabby, in a shite location, with shite facilities, BUT fantastic memories.

I love EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB and will do until the day they nail the box up. That is Everton Football Club plc, NOT Goodison Park Stadium plc. Lets get with the 21st Century and MOVE. Jeeze, ask Tesco to build an ale'ouse and call it the Winslow if it helps but lets get gone!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (16/12/06)

Council Elections

Why don't EFC supporters clubs/websites put candidates up for the next council elections? Get enough seats on the council and we'll get the best site for Everton in the city. It isn't as far fetched as you think, you put the candidates up, Evertonians vote for them, we win the election.. or.. one of the main parties offers to give us what we want and we stand down... Politicians are basically shithouses and want to keep their easy life/jobs, ifwe put concerted pressure on we'll get what we want.

I believe we should split Stanley Park, the shite one end us the other with carpark in the middle. The park is not used to any great extent and would not be a loss. Vote for us!
Tesco Gravy, Stanley Park  (16/12/06)

Re: Billy Liar Exposed Again !!

Warren Bradley is a long time Blue. It takes a lot of guts to to call Bill out as a liar. Warren Bradley spoke live on Radio City and basically called Bill Kenwright a liar, and felt compelled to respond given the number of people at the AGM who claimed that Kenwright had said the things he did, and also mentioned the volume of email he has received. If you heard it, you can make your own mind up. Given a choice between Bradley and Kenwright, I know who I believe. Bradley also expressed his passion for the ground-share option. Taxi for Bill.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (16/12/06)

On message plants

So Dutch-Karl thinks I'm on a downer, is that the club's line on those of us able to see the abysmal mess it's current custodians have created? What it is the debt now, it must be around ?50m? With all saleable assets stripped,there's only Goodison Park left to sell. No wonder they're reduced to taking the begging bowl to Tesco. Maybe the club would prefer that every contribution to the mail bag be the same pointless hagiographic produced by its stooges?

I maintain Dutch-Karl is a club plant, D-K claims otherwise, he would say that though wouldn't he? He also says he's flouncing off, presumably because he's been rumbled. We may not hear anymore from Dutch-Karl but mark my words whoever he is will reinvent himself and soon be back on message. I'd have more respect for these people if only they'd have the courage to post under their own names. Rather than using numerous pseudonyms, endlessly repeating the pointless and futile "think positive" mantra.

A positive attitude is recommended for all of us in our personal lives, sometimes it can help. However it is risible to suggest that if we all think only nice, sweet positive thoughts about Everton, it's going to somehow turn Kenwright into a good chairman and Moyes into a competent coach.

First and foremost I'm an Evertonian, it's the club which counts, not the individuals who are running the show at any one moment in time. If, as now, those at the reins are running the club into the ground, there's no way I'm giving them blind backing. Some of the Moyesiah types seem to be Moyes fans first and Evertonians second, not me, it's Everton first always.

I never knock the players, in fact booing our own players is one of the worst things a supporter can do. If a player is having a bad time, wrecking his confidence is not the way to help. Consequently there'll never be any postings from me criticising our players.Actually I feel sorry for them playing under Mr (King Midas In Reverse) Moyes he seems to have the uncanny knack of taking previously fair players and turning them into deadwood. I reckon if Moyes got control of the Brazil National side he'd produce a team of no hope hoofers within a couple of months.

Kirkby - I've got nothing against Kirkby, my wife is a Kirkby girl and the out-laws still live there. However as a new home for Everton, I have major doubts that it would be a good move. Apart from the logistics, getting to and from will be difficult, think Reebok stadium, that's what it'll be like. Neither should we even be considering leaving the City of Liverpool. That notwithstanding I have a horrible feeling our current, desperate board will end up providing a JJB type concrete bunker, which will merely serve to demonstrate our lack of ambition and confirm our demise.

Finally there seems to be some confusion about Kirkby's status. The town though, in the main, populated by people who can rightly call themselves scousers, technically is not in Liverpool and never has been. Up to 1954 it was a Lancashire village; in 1954, as the new estates were being built to house those displaced by Liverpool's slum clearance schemes it became an Urban District Council. Again under Lancashire County Council, not Liverpool City Council. It remained a Lancashire UDC until 1974 when it became incorporated in the Metropolitan District of Knowsley, within the then new County of Merseyside. Kirkby's status is exactly the same as Birkenhead, St Helens, Southport etc., all in the County of Merseyside, none of them in Liverpool.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (16/12/06)

Pastures New

I see no end in sight for this never ending debate on a ground move. There are valid points being made on both sides of the arguement. Kirkby or Liverpool ? that's what its all boiling down to at the moment.

I know Liverpool like the back of my hand and I can't think of anywhere that would be suitable for a new ground within the City boundary. Somewhere with good access by road and rail and somewhere with a big enough plot of land to build on just doesn't exist as far as I know. Maybe the council will let us build on Newsham or Sefton Park seeing as they let the other twats do it on Stanley Park. I doubt it some how.

So what are we left with? Speke has been put forward as a possible venue but that's farther away from Goodison than Kirkby is so that's a no-go I would think. There are no alternative site as far as I can see so it looks like the Kirkby move will happen.

My main concern about that is not the fact its in Knowsley. I am from Huyton and that's in Knowsley. No one can seriously say Huyton is not a part of Liverpool. In fact no one would be brave enough to go there and say it. The Eagle and Child is the most famous boozer ever in Liverpool's pub scene, where the legendary Evertonian Eddie Cavanagh grew up drinking and following the Blues. The Eagle was in Huyton [Knowsley]. The now world-famous EFC Quiet Man Huyton banner seen all over the world at world cups etc. Another well-known character in football circles: Ritchie Harrison, from Huyton. Stan Boardman, Freddy Star, Peter Ried, Steven Gerrard, Joey Barton ? all from Huyton in Knowsley. Try telling any of that lot they aren't Scousers. In fact, try telling John Conteh and Alan Stubbs they are not Scousers because they are from Kirkby. It gets a bit silly, doesn't it?

Now my worry is that the ground will be a joke instead of the "Something Special" we have been promised. If the ground is a belter with top-of-the-range facilities for both Corperate and Joe Bloggs punters then of course people will flock to it. If it's a piece of shit nailed on in between a Tescos and a Currys then fans will give it the cold shoulder and gates will drop off.

The other thing is that no way will it bring in added revenue as a multi-purpose arena if it's in Kirkby as oppossed to the city center. So forget about U2 or Maddonna live from Tower Hill ? it ain't happening. I think it's time to get behind the move and hope its turns out to be an out-of-this-world type venue we build. Then again, given Everton's past track record on doing things right, I wouldn't hold my breath.

That's were all our troubles lie: get it right and its happy days ... Fuck it up and the Fat Lady will be singing all the way up the East Lancs Road. Whereever we go, I have decided it's got to be better than the old shed Goodison Park has become over the years. Let's just hope that Bungalow Bill gets it right for once.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/12/06)

Billy Liar Exposed Again!

Warren Bradley has just been on Radio City and said: ?Bill Kenwright said things at the AGM that were patently untrue?. He was speaking specifically about the claim that the Council had not facilitated meetings regarding the future of the ground move, and also the claim that the Council think GP cannot be redeveloped.

You?ve been rumbled Billy Bullshit. I have had enough of this serial liar. Get this man out of our club before he destroys this club.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (16/12/06)

Bjarni Vidarsson?

Just how good is Bjarni Vidarsson? Out of all the youngsters at Everton the Icelandic midfielder is the biggest enigma. He's appeared on the bench a few times and is a regular for the reserves but he seems unable to get to the next level.

Moyes has progressed Vaughan, Anichebe, Hughes, Ruddy, Turner and even Boyle this season by giving them first team appearances or loan moves but Vidarsson is being left behind.

Moyes regulary sends youngsters out on loan to gain experience and develop but Bjarni Vidarsson has yet to go anywhere. Is that because Moyes wants to develop him in-house or maybe no other teams want to take him for a loan?

Either way Vidarsson is nearly 19 and it's time Moyes decided to either take him to the next level or cut his losses.
John Matrix, London  (16/12/06)

Ged, I'm not a Luddite

In reply to Ged Simpson's accusations that 'most of you hate change and will consequently keep us as a mediocre club at best'. Well, Ged, I for one don't dislike change, in fact, for a change, I'd like to see Everton play some fucking decent football, instead of the shite that's served up every week. Oh and by the way, Ged, if you are looking for someone to 'be held responsible for the death of our club' look no further than Kenwright, Wyness and that master tactition, Arsene Moyes.
Rob Penlington, Maghull  (16/12/06)

Goalscoring

I cannot believe some of the stuff being written about Andy Johnson. He is not scoring because of the compete lack of creativity in midfield. He scores goals by being put through and using his speed against the last man, this requires a midfield player to have some ability and guile. Arteta is the only player who appears capable of doing this.

West Ham may get relgated but they passed us off the park in the first half. We could not beat a very poor Charlton side that every one else is murdering. Johnson can't score goals if the side are not able to create chances for him. Every week he runs his nuts off chasing balls up the channels towards the corner flags or competing with 6'2 centre backs for the usual crap long balls we start to use when we quickly run out of ideas.

Beattie has been here for nearly three years and yet he still gets standing ovations from some areas of the ground when he is dragged off....am I missing something here? Christ knows what Beatties goals to games ratio is but if there is a choice between playing him or Johnson in a game I know which fella I want starting.

Beattie has also suffered from the same crap service as AJ however one of them plays for England and the other butts people, fights in nightclubs, dyes his hair blonde and spent 2 years getting fit. Beattie is a trying plodder with limited ability in the air and average control.... if AJ took the penalties (which he wins) how many goals would Beattie get this season? Perhaps 8 or maybe 10, a great return on a ?6 million transfer and ?30-odd grand a week. Lay off AJ he is the real deal, Beattie? it is never going to happen for him at Everton
Alan Flynn, Leeds  (16/12/06)

In support of Kirkby

On April Fools day, 1st April 1974 Knowsley Council was created. Until then Kirkby was part of Liverpool. All these people moaning about a ground move there all seem to talk about history. Pity they have no knowledge of it and base their moans on a local government map maker. Of course Kirkby is part of Liverpool and those with any sense of history of Liverpool know that.

I reckon most of you just hate change, will keep us as a mediocre club at best and would miss a moan as you've moaned for many years. Find a real argument against this site rather than it being based on your inability to argue againsy some equally stupid Red dickhead who is probably taking the piss based on his lack of historical knowledge. If you lot persevere with your luddite stupidity many of us will hold you responsiblef or the death of our club.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (16/12/06)

Wrong Priority

I thought Lyndon`s reply on the Johnson issue was a bit glib. OK, he's had a couple of shots at goal since his mini-scoring fest very early on but few of us still believe him to be the man to bring glory back to Goodison. I always felt it was profligate of Moyes to spend another ?9M on a striker when we were desperate for a couple of midfielders. Had he taken the latter course, I am sure Beattie, McFadden & Co would be hitting the net by now.
Terry Candless, Grassendale  (16/12/06)

It was ? 6.8M actually, Terry, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a striker of Johnson's calibre was the right priority in the summer. A central midfielder was also a high priority but not above getting someone who can put the ball away. I stand by my assertion that Johnson, together with James Beattie, is struggling because the team is struggling to creat chances across the board. It's all very well saying, as a previous reader did, that good strikers make things happen but there really is a limit to what you can accomplish on your own from 40 yards out with three defenders in front of you and no one else in support ? Lyndon

Dodgy da Silva

Anderson da Silva was mentioned on BBC Five Live`s middle of the night review of South American football last night. Apparently, he never played in his own country, Brazil, as all his football was in Uruguay `before being touted all over Europe by some very dodgy individuals.` Do so hope Moyes didn't pay up front for him!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (16/12/06)

£700,000 up front for his ?economic confederative rights?

Liverpool City Council

Well I did what another correspondent suggested and sent an e-mail to Warren Bradley in an attempt to find out what is the Council's attitude to the proposed move to Kirkby. By return I received a reply from Mr Bradley alluding to a letter sent 14 December to Keith Wyness inviting him and the board to meet with the Council, presumably to discuss said subject. Let's see what happens... could there be a white knight in the wings? Yeah, I know wingers aren't plentiful these days but all we need is one!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (16/12/06)

Show Faith!

Just had a rush of blood and stuck ?50 on Everton to beat Chelsea 1-0 at 12-1! If a few more Evertonians showed the same faith, I am sure the vibes would get through to the lads so down that betting shop allyuse!
Stan Proctor, Kirkdale  (16/12/06)

Another bad buy!

So Andy Johnson should be immune from criticism, eh? Good strikers MAKE things happen,they do not wait for others to stick it on a plate for them. Johnson's early games gave us hope that he was such a player but all opposing coaches soon saw his limitations. At ?3.6M he would have been worth a punt whilst at ?5M more he was an extravegance. Yet another bad buy by Moyes I'm afraid!
Ian Monger, Gresford  (16/12/06)

No to Kirkby

As a North Wales supporter since the early 1960s, I am appalled by the prospect of a move away from the inner city. My reaction to the move to Kirkby is similar to that of supporters from north of the city if they were confronted by a planned move to Ellesmere Port [good transport links, Merseyrail, etc]... just imagine! There are no serious long-term obstacles to a phased redevelopment of Goodison and there are many sites around the city centre. It just needs vision and determination.
Trevor Skempton, North Wales  (16/12/06)

No Place to Hide for Fans or Bill

I can't help feeling that Bill Kenwright is on very thin ice. So far it would appear that there has been a massive backlash to Kirby and Bill Kenwright's leadership and confidence in ability to deliver. See Fortress Funds and Kings Dock.

For me, this vote will go against Kirkby because you have a large group of paying fans who don't support the move out of the city.

Also, you have a large group of fans who don't support Bill Kenwright and will use this chance as a protest vote. Bill said he would quit if he lost the vote and fans will be rubbing there hands with glee.

For me the Yes vote has no chance and I don't see Bill presenting another AGM. What is important is that we as fans can decide the fate of our club. This is our chance to vote on the direction of the club and that includes the management.

Finally, I would ask somebody to write to the council and ask them for written evidence that the Goodison park footprint could not increased. I have a feeling that Bill flat lied to all the shareholders and fans the other night when he said he was told from the council that GP footprint could not be changed. Even if the footprint could be changed at goodison, the club has no funds again due to the fact that that Bill won,t sell.

Let me tell you, Bill wants this move to Kirby becuase it's all about control and the train set. The club needs a clean-out and then we can look at any ground move without any distrust of thoses who run our club.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (16/12/06)

Johnson watch

To all those who think I was being unkind to Andrew Johnson,I set you a challenge. Take time tomorrow to monitor his REAL contribution to Everton's cause. Don't just look at his running, analyse what it leads to, whether he retains or loses possession, how he offloads the ball, what contribution he makes at set pieces, etc, etc... I bet you`ll be shocked at how little he actually achieves. I know my view is non-PC amongst Evertonians but what's good for the Beattie is good for the Johnson!
Guy Bosworth, Bassetts Pole  (16/12/06)

You're on

Location: who cares?

In response to Martin Cornforth: South Liverpool represents half the population of the city... a tad more than Kirkby's tiny population (approx 3% the population of Merseyside), so I'd say it has greater significance than you intimate. That said, ANY peripheral site would be a bad idea, as you will see when you are trying to get along the A580 and one or two other routes with 30-50,000 others. A logistical nightmare. and I speak as someone who travelled in and out of Kirkby for over 6 years. The best stadium in the world is no use if we can't get to it, people will soon get fed up with it and drift away.
Tom Hughes, North Sea and Woolton  (15/12/06)

In response to Lyndon

Excuse me Lyndon, but where do you stand on the Kirby move? You know me and how I feel but what about you?! Are you with Dominic King of the Echo or are you willing to put your balls on the line on the crossroads of our club?
John Cribb, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

All will be revealed shortly, John. I'm wrestling with a million thoughts in my head on this issue and trying to get them down "on paper" in some logical fashion. [I didn't mean for my reply to sound confrontational, BTW, John.] ? Lyndon

Football Manager competition winners

That Football Manager 2007 competition from a month or so back could you print the winners? Ta!
Jamie Carroll, Ireland  (15/12/06)

We'd love to, Jamie, but are loathe to print any details until we receive a reply from the suppliers that they will in fact be sending us the merchandise. It's all gone quiet over there... ? Lyndon

Did Kenwright kill Diana?

Tom Collie from Maghull proved the negativity theory beyond doubt. Poor old Tom is on such a downer on the Blues that he has deluded himself into thinking I am a Club plant, brought in to make Bill and Dave look good and my real name is Dutch! I'll take your use of the word 'articulate' to describe me as a compliment, Tom, but can assure you I am no Club stooge. Far from it, I have made my feelings about their shortcomings clear to them many times in the past.

However, you have to be realistic. To start with, Tom, please put forward some constuctive alternatives ( real ones, not dreams or fantasies ) that exist to Moyes and Kenwright at this present time. I share your concerns over our playing style at times, but if we were playing open football and losing games 4-3 you wouldn't be any happier than now. Just which loaded, Everton-loving, billionaire and which supremely talented, unemployed tactical genius do we have trying to get into Goodison at present?

Some people point to the fact that there are plenty of potentially good Premiership Managers out there. I heard someone mention Billy Davies at Derby the other day. A young, forceful Glaswegian who has managed Preston North End. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? We had one of them and currently we ( actually you ) are giving him endless grief instead of supporting him.

You know something? I used to spend a large chunk of my life moaning, but then a few things happened that made me see life in another way and realised how pointless it was. The person who it did most damage to was me and the people closest to me. since then, my life, both personally and professionally has improved no end.

Negativity gets you nowhere. Like I said before, it's even a scientific fact! Now, I even read people on here slagging off Andy Johnson! Incredible. The ' hardworking, never say die Andy' that you all loved 2 months ago now runs round 'like a headless chicken!' Sad, very sad. No wonder we get called Bitter Blues. I won't be posting anything on here again... it's too depressing! I know you only moan because you care and you are frustrated, but you need to express your support in a more positive way.
Karl Masters, Amsterdam?  (15/12/06)

Depressing, isnt it?

What has happened to us? Is this all we have to look forward to after 128 years? OUR club sold out by a failed actor for a few fucking sausage rolls? OUR local lads shitting on us for a few quid? Foreign oil/burger merchants playing monopoly with OUR sport? OUR overpaid players trying to help other teams win the league? OUR club custodians raping every last penny they can squeeze from us? OUR FA letting it all happen.

There is a common theme here - MONEY, and it is a fact of the modern world that people will do anything necessary to line their own pockets - yeah I'm alright, Jack, and fuck the rest of them!

Football is one of the last remaining institutions with a sense of 'community', and Everton have a proud tradition as a 'family' club Well let me tell you that time is over and now the people who can will do whatever it takes to MAKE MONEY.

Now before you get too pissed off just think if you are one of the twats out there who puts themselves before the good of their community, whether you claim blag injury money, buy houses to rent them out again, don't recycle or even subscribe to sky, this is the world you've fucking created and I hope you enjoy your new self-made hell.

Don't worry, though, Everton will soon give you a chance to win a better life - just throw more money in the poker machines at the new Tescosinobowl. Top prize this week - a season ticket to MUTV.
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

In Response to Nail Head

Gary, mate, if you add in the long term debt of ?28 million plus the ?21 million short term debt you're around 50 brick, mate.

Kenwright came in with a debt of ?8 million, the club is worse off on the balance sheet (?50 million) and the club almost went bang a couple of years ago. Lucky for Bill he sold a player and then everything else since then.

I am passed talking. It's action from the fans, now mate. Kenwrong has to GO NOW before we move from Goodison Park. I suspect Kenwright is about to find his Saturday afternoons at Goodison a very different one now.

Shaking Shitting Dog... nail head...
John Cribb, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

I can't see his Saturday afternoons at Goodison being any different, John. If after all the investigations into its viability the club feel the Kirkby option is best for the club, they'll put it to a vote and the vote will pass just like t did under PJ. Every poll of the general Evertonian populus (i.e. not the Shareholders) has shown general favour towards the move of around 60%. The only thing that might change that is a concerted, passionate and sustained campaign by the anti-move bloc ? Lyndon

More Johnson doubts

As yet another Johnson "doubter", I'd be happy to go along with Lyndon's assessment of the player if he ever looked like scoring let alone actually put the ball in the net! For all his speed he is certainly no provider of goals; witness all the time he spent as a winger at Birmingham without ever delivering an effective cross. I was not alone in having worries about his signing but was impressed by his early flurry of goals. What I see now is the same Andy Johnson who so infuriated [Birmingham] Blues supporters in these parts.
Guy Bosworth, Bassetts Pole  (15/12/06)

Well, apart from the six goals he's already scored, two other incidents spring to mind immediately: he hit the post against Sheffield United and forced a good save from Robert Green against West Ham. He's had so few goalscoring chances since the team's overall fortunes nose-dived that I genuinely can't understand the criticism leveled at him. He showed in the first few games that if you get the ball to him in dangerous areas, he will score goals. If you don't, he can't even try. It's that simple — Lyndon

Warren Bradley

I sent a short email to Warren Bradley, leader of LCC, asking him to help EFC find a better site than Kirkby. To my amazement I received a reply and a copy letter attachment, dated yesterday, to K Wyness, requesting a meeting with the EFC board to discuss Everton's relocation.
Alan Rodgers, BLACKPOOL  (15/12/06)

... which Everton cannot do becuase they have signed an "exclusivity agreement". How convenient!

Compulsory reading

Evertonians reading Colm`s excellent report of the AGM can`t fail to realise what a great Evertonian we have at the helm. For all the sideswiping he suffers, Bill Kenwright really is ONE OF US. He celebrates when we do and he suffers when we do - and you can`t say that about many chairmen and their fans these days! For all the doubters on this site, Colm`s report ought to be compulsory reading.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (15/12/06)

[Yawn]

Debate over!

With hardly a pot to piss in, it is not surprising that the Everton Board are attracted to the Tesco/Kirkby deal? Although as a fourth generation supporter I would love us to stay in the City, if this is the only way we can afford to re-locate from the shit-hole that Goodison has become, then I`m all for it. Debate over!
Richard Rimmer, Formby  (15/12/06)

Bollocks to Liverpool!

Every club has its Luddite Tendancy and Everton is proving no exception! If it is true that Knowsley are to make a gift of the land on which Tesco will finance the building of a new stadium then surely the decision to move is a `no brainer`. There is absolutely no chance that LCC will echo Knowsley`s offer because they are - and always have been - up our rivals` arse. So fuck `em, I can`t wait to wave goodbye!
Ally Brown, Dingle  (15/12/06)

Bigger isn't always better!!

I read, with interest, the AGM Report and was quite amused that there might be a possibility of "Club points" for Evertonians using the new Stadium!! Seriously, as far as I am concerned, I know we have to progress with the times, but bigger isn't always better or more beautiful!!

Here in Carmarthen, Tesco have just opened a Superstore on the outskirts of town. Not content with the revenue they were receiving from the large premises they had in the town, they have erected a new Superstore, plus petrol station, plus adequate parking facilities. After the initial "gawp" period when everyone goes to see a new store, the attendance figures now appear to have dropped off this last week even though it is the run up to Christmas. They have been open for approximately a month.

Parking at the old store was difficult as the car park was jointly owned by Tesco and the Local Council and thereby parking for other stores was allowed. Unless you went before 8:30 in the morning or late in the evening [24-hour store], parking was difficult, just as it is at Goodison.

There are many complaints from the people who regularly used the Tesco store in Carmarthen ? not accessible easily by foot, too far out just to pop in, don't know where anything is, the usual helpful staff who knew everything are no longer there!!! The couple of smaller stores are now thriving and taking a lot of the business the old Tesco's once had.

Okay this is not a lesson in retail management but it could have similarities in moving out of our dear familiar GP surroundings to somewhere large, cold and without any history or heart but plenty of parking!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (15/12/06)

Location: Who cares?

I currently live ten minutes away from the ground. Whilst it would be a shame to see us move I don't know why people keep talking about south Liverpool. Kirkby's just up the A580 for me. No problem. There's more scousers in Kirkby than there are in Woolton or Allerton. If we can't stay in North Liverpool there's no difference between Kirkby and South Liverpool.
Martin Cornforth, Bootle  (15/12/06)

Apart from many people's desire that the club compete on equal terms with our neighbours as clubs from the City of Liverpool, of course.

Plant?

I too like Tom Collie have spent many years working with the spin merchants who are seemingly taking over every aspect of our life. i.e. Telling us what we should be thinking, buying etc, etc. Tom you are correct in assuming that Mr Masters is a club plant, as for someone who states he is not from Liverpool he knows an awful lot about the surrounding area and the logistics that go with it.

As for the rest of us, please stay focussed on what is right for Everton FC and don't for one minute believe one word that comes out of the Goodison boardroom. They want our support alright! But they want it on their terms. Believe me when I say that without us they cannot exist, they would try to convince you otherwise but if nobody goes through the gates on matchday?
Dave Lynch, merseyside  (15/12/06)

You heard it here first!

With the `for sale` boards now being taken down at Newcastle, friends in the City tell me that Everton are emerging as the next club to receive a bid. Big problem is that Kenwright`s valuation(around ?60 million) is miles away from the figure indicated by the balance sheet and accounts. We need to be patient but, `blue blood` notwithstanding, my bet is that once a decent bid comes in you won`t see Bill`s heels for dust!
Elton Mainwaring, London  (15/12/06)

I know not the man

I have never met BK and know sod all about his motivation yet I doubt very much if he is in it for a profit. Over the years that his cash has been tied to Everton had he used it on the share market he would have made a huge profit without having to endure vilification.

I get the impression that far too much of that stuff comes from those who are as ignorant of BKs motives as I am. If the club is seeking a takeover it is common sense to put a positive slant on the financial situation. If it does not want a takeover it is common sense to use a negative slant. A lot of mailbaggers vent their anti BK spleen regardless of what the slant may be.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (15/12/06)

On the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey

It's my perspective that from the wealth of contributions to date concerning the proposed ground move the vast majority of fans do not object to relocation per se. The deficiencies of a land-locked Goodison and an unsupportive local council accelerating the necessity to move home, in the cold light of day and excluding the emotive issues it really is a no-brainer.

However the fact that the Club is being shoe-horned into considering Kirkby as its preferred option is reliant on harsh economic facts, most notably we cannot afford to go it alone and build a stadium and the Tesco / Knowsley partnership seems to be the only viable alternative. The role of Sir Terry Leahy has been intrinsic to the proposal and being an Evertonian he has offered an opportunity for corporate collaboration to make the prospects of relocation happen.

The previous waterfront scenario of the Kings Dock backfired spectacularly due to lack of finance being available within the corridors of power at Goodison. With the current board we are reliant on the development of partnerships with conglomerates such as Tesco, either we move in this direction, find the elusive multi-millionaire buyer or stagnate.

The Kirkby issue is an emotive one but at present there appears little on the horizon, it may be that this issue alone may provoke a challenge on the position of Kenwright but if past events are anything to go by we should expect an unopposed response from fans as the apathy that exists ensures that Kirkby it will be.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

`Must be a record!`

A big `thank you`to Colm for providing us with such a comprehensive report on the recent AGM. I suspect that the proceedings must have lasted at least 90 minutes in sharp contast to those I attended in the 60s and 70s.

Under the chairmanship of John Moores, these events rarely stretched to half an hour with little opportunity for participation 'from the floor.'

A particular memory is a meeting for which `Mr John` claimed a world record. Probably five minutes was taken up with apologies for absence, a standing tribute to a deceased ex-director and the re-election of the Board. There followed the `Chairman`s Report and Accounts` which, the great man pointed out, 'had been in the hands of shareholders for the prescibed 14 days.`

The Secretary having received notice of no questions relating to that document, I ask for your approval,` which was,of course, duly given. `That concludes the formal business,` he went on, `and as we finished third last season, I am sure you will wish to utilise the AOB slot to record our thanks to Mr Catterick.`

Following the inevitable round of applause, it was left to Moores to say only, `And that concludes the meeting,thank you for your attendance.` Turning to his colleagues on the top table he said proudly,`How about that, gentlemen,12 and a half minutes - must be a record!`

Well at leasst some things have changed for the better!
David Hall, Taunton  (15/12/06)

Championship Johnson

Tom Senior is 100% right about `The People`s Favourite` Andy Johnson. Admittedly full of energy - usually wasted - he is every inch a Championship player. Useless at set pieces, he is the master of running into brick walls and seems incapable of getting into positions to receive through passes. The big problem is that he is only one of a raft of lower league quality players in the current squad. Osman, Davies, Wright, Carsley, Beattie, McFadden and Hibbert all fit into that category and I suspect that Stubbs and Weir would no longer even hack it at that level!
Terry Bowes, Flint  (15/12/06)

Beattie and Johnson (and Anichebe and Vaughan)

Finding it hard to believe that Johnson is being mentioned in the same breath as Beattie ? let alone thought to be worse than him!

Johnson has a proven track record over the years as a goalscorer. He has scored goals for others, he had a wonderful goalscoring start for us. He creates space for other players with his runs, and can terrify defenders. He is highly regarded by other managers, including the current England boss (okay...).

And Beattie?? Please don't make me laugh.

One further point. Look around you ? the future is with fast, mobile strikers, not with lumbering old No 9s like Beattie. Defenders ? like our very own Yobo and Lescott ? are too quick and agile now for these old dinosaurs. Beattie is a relic of a bygone age.

Also, whilst hoping that Anichebe is a big success for us, I would bet on James Vaughan for the future if I had to choose. Now... Johnson and Vaughan, supported by Cahill, fed by Arteta and our 'new creative midfielder' ? that might just get us out of our current goal drought.
Neil Pearse, London  (15/12/06)

We Have a Right to Know

Just a quick thought about a way to find out about the so called two sites that Cllr Warren Bradley says he has found that would be suitable for our new stadium. Does anyone know if this information can be gained through the Freedom of Information Act 2000?
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

To Nail Head!

John Cribb ? I thought your last two words was your name - Nail Head! Thats the only conclusion that I could come to with your woefully written piece.

So Kenright has put us in ?50 millions worth of debt? Are you sure and if so can you provide proof? As I am sure I read from the clubs AGM that our nett debt is around ?20M? This would occur due to us improving our playing staff from the likes of the Amokachis, Gareth Farrellys and the likes to the Artetas and Johnson's of the world ? far better class of player (unless you believe an earlier moron who called him a "flop". Everton are not necessarily in good hands but we are a steady ship ? unlike the ever rocking 90s!

Moving staduim is not about intimidation ? I have spent some of the best nights of my life watching Everton when we have got the team up for a game by virtually rocking the place. This is about Everton competeing with the top 4/6 for the future. If we stay at Goodison then we simply can not afford to pay players the wages they will expect, we cannot have the corporate hospitality that leading firms will pay for and we cannot compete with the fees paid for major players! Redeveloping the place is not impossibe but expensive and not really viable ? playing with only 3 active sides will mean we will lose that intimidation that you said in your "woefully inept piece".

We simply have to move ? maybe not to Kirkby but if the horribly biased council of ours continue to make things difficult then why not? It won't stop people coming, it will make for a better future and we will make it an intimidating place to come ? after all most fans are scared of the fans not the team!

Also agree with Colm regarding that balloon head poster ? get to the match mate and watch AJ! You will realise then its Moyes's tactics that contribute to him not scoring, not the lack of trying.
Garry Lloyd, Liverpool  (15/12/06)

Tesco

Is the Tesco deal linked to the Kirkby option only or with other possible sites too?
Paul Barry, Crosby  (15/12/06)

According to Bill Kenwright, just the Kirkby option.

To flop or not to flop

I am just so fed up with the predictability and gloom over at ToffeeWeb, even though I can be a miserable bastard about supporting the Toffees myself at times.

And actually, I am going to go one further and agree that Andy Johnson is increasingly looking just as much a flop as James Beattie ? he had a shorter (and maybe even flukier, with amongst other things two very, very dubious ? own goals to be honest ? goals and one totally gifted by Reina even though he did well by chasing a lost cause) run than the one Beattie himself had 10-11 months ago.

The only thing that really separates them is that Johnson perhaps came with an even bigger reputation, price tag and has one very definable, easy to see skill - he is quick. Although most top sides around Europe have a lot of pace in their ranks, that alone doesn't make a top player, there are probably League Two players who would be amongst the 15 fastest players in the Premiership.

Fact is, Andy Johnson is on a terrible barren run and is also looking increasingly like a headless chicken.

As always, Lyndon Lloyd choose to keep faith and stay loyal with players who either have great pace or are known as some sort of "creative genious" for some sort of reason, van der Meyde and such. You could have ball skills, creativity, that "little extra" as the major part of your game, but you could have that one Premiership level or on a League Two level.

Andy Johnson is just a mediocre version of the blistering fast striker and Andy van der Meyde is just a second rate creative/misunderstood/unlucky "genious" at best. Whereas for instance Duncan Ferguson, most part of his career was a first class target man, although his injury record was poor. But lets go with the cliches and just keep the boo-boys just the way they are yeah?

Lastly I want to sign off saying I would be very surprised if Andy Johnson ever gets 50 goals for us. You can quote me on that whenever you want!
Lars Eidissen, Tromso, Norway  (15/12/06)

Like I say, Lars. You can't score without the ball, and that goes for both Johnson and Beattie ? Lyndon

re: Negativity Gets You Nowhere!

Dutch, Karl or whatever he's calling himself still manages to command column inches despite being given the boot by Michael. All he does is change his moniker and he gets the opportunity to spout his sycophantic drivel yet again.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (15/12/06)

I diodn't think Mr Masters wrote in the same style as Dutch, to be honest. — Michael

Ever noticed...

... that whenever the going gets a bit hot for Bullshit Billy and his equally incompetent henchmen David Moyes and Buster, suddenly the web is full of highly articulate contributors, spouting how good things are and that we must be positive and support these morons running our, once great, club into the ground regardless?

For an example of what I'm on about, have a look at Kipper, there's several new members there pushing the message. The People's Forum seems to escape but then most contributors to that forum are far too savvy to be taken in.

For an example closer to home read the piece on the ToffeeWeb from Karl Masters - Negativity Gets You Nowhere!

I've spent a long career (I'm an old arse) working with PR types and Journos, their style, to me, stands out like a sore thumb. Mr Masters, Dutch, or whatever your pseudonym is today. You are a club plant and I claim my prize!!

By the way Karl(?) you may well persuade a few naive souls but most of us with more than a single brain cell, realize fully just how poor Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes are. All the spin in the world won't change those irrefutable facts.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (15/12/06)

this is why

There seem to be lots of letters regarding Beattie and why he is picked for the first team: he is picked because if he is to be sold he must be in the shop window; if he is unused then he will never be sold. That's a hard fact.
Johnny Titsmueller, London  (15/12/06)

Laughable Johnson

Sad to see Andy Johnson joining the mutual admiration society which Everton players increasingly indulge in. No doubt next week will see `his close friend`Beattie returning the compliment.

The truth is that these two are the biggest flops as a strike force as we have ever had to suffer at Goodison. For a combined fee of ?15 they are a total joke. Totally clueless against virtually any defence, Beattie runs around in every area of the field to no avail and seems incapable of either controlling the ball or putting in a decent shot.

If anything, Johnson is worse. Soon sorted out by opposing managers, he now spends his time chasing lost causes down either wing and snatching at shots on the few occasions he gets near goal. Thankfully ,he has stopped falling over at the slightest draught so we are saved the endless debates as to whether or not he is a diver!

Strangely, Moyes still pins his hopes on these clowns becoming successful which goes to show everything about his judgement of what to spend the clubs money on. In the end no-hopers like these will cost him his job!
Tom Senior, Crosby  (14/12/06)

I find it amazing that anyone who watches the games can label Johnson a flop. The bottom line is that you can't score without the ball and you could probably count on one hand the number of genuine goalscoring opportunities that AJ has had in his last 5 games. I'd hate to have his job the way we're playing — Lyndon

Being positive

As a quick reposte to Alan Clarke's comment on my thoughts, I would agree that David Moyes could most certainly do with a reminder of what positive football is all about. Some of our performances have been toe-curlingly lacking in imagination and aggression. However, this only proves my point as I believe that in an environment of criticism, moaning and negativity from the Club's supporters players and Manager alike naturally play with caution. The crowd can lift the Team and that is what we should be doing in the current difficult times. That is what Supporters are supposed to do isn't it? Like I said before, encourage and be positive...you may get a nice surprise!
Karl Masters, CHATHAM, KENT  (14/12/06)

The stakes are rising

Reo-Coker may not be the man most likely to up sticks and head up the M6, and I doubt very much whether Curbishley will let him go anyway. The real story lies in the message being given out by Everton letting it be known that they're interested in paying serious money to land the young England hopeful.

I believe that Wyness is desperate for us to qualify for Europe this season. The difference between success and failure is huge : millions of pounds in TV money, in gate receipts, and in season ticket sales; helping to keep Arteta at Goodison; and making the club more attractive to potential new investors. This is why he agreed to spend record sums last summer to sign Johnson and Lescott.

After recent results, he has come to the conclusion that doing nothing in the January transfer window is not an option. So he's letting it be known that Everton mean business - and will be doing some serious business next month. At least one quality player will have to come in to help kickstart Everton's chase for Europe.

If the Blues fail to qualify for Europe, don't be surprised if Wyness gets rid of Moyes in his desperation to prove to potential investors that Everton are an ambitious club who are going places.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (14/12/06)

I'll save the cynical riposte about "post-AGM" sweeteners...

'If it ain't broke don't fix it.......'

Goodison Park home to Heros and fans alike, however as the title suggests if it ain't broke don't fix it. Problem is though it is broke and we do need it fixing. I cannot say i have been a life long fan of Everton (i see this one being not even read but anyhow) but for 20yrs of my 27 I have followed this Great team highs and lows and enjoyed every home game up until moving to the USA.

There is no room in current grounds except to go up but structurally I don't think the Stadium could handle it, that is why we should look to the future. Should we demolish it....hell NO but to keep pace we need new life no point in flogging a dead horse. You may argue ' what does he care wasn't born in Liverpool'. Problem is i do care it is obvious we get no support from the Liverpool city council but the bourough is still our home. I want to be able to take my lad when he grows up to see Goodison but also as well to see the way we have progressed to the future. More Parking would be a bonus and maybe even a replica of many of the pubs lineing the outskirts of Stanley park ( I miss the pie n pint combos).

Old traff ain't really in Manchester City, Reebok - outside Bolton. It is the spirit and loyalty of the fans which makes a team/City. I mean we could play in the Wirral but we'd still be Everton FC, not some greasy glory hunting sell outs!!!

Anyhow I still get a laugh at the fact that Anfeild was our old ground way back in the day and we will always have a 1 up on the Red scum.
Kevin Willis, USA  (14/12/06)

Location location etc

People keep saying its only 4 miles, so what's the problem. We live ever-increasingly in a convenience led society...... The further you move outside the centre of Liverpool the more the inconvenience. Liverpool's layout is not a grid, but more a spoked wheel, only a couple of the spokes reach Kirkby, and only a fraction of the public transport provision serves it. No business would leave the middle ground to its competitors, it would be a bit like Lewis's uping sticks and moving to Edge Lane thinking it will drag all its customers there... suicidal!
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (14/12/06)

Moyes and Masters

Is the title of Karl Masters's article aimed at Moyes' style of football? It is true ? negative football with all 10 outfield players defending the penalty area and aimless hoofs upfield for Johnson to chase will indeed get you nowhere. But hey, he's better than Smith, right? We should count our blessings. I can't wait to celebrate finishing 11th again this season.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (14/12/06)

Access by Car

Ok, I as much as anybody would love to see Goodison Park re-developed into a state-of-the-art arena, just as Old Trafford has been, but it is just not feasible. It's already a nightmare as it is getting to and from Goodison in a car. There's absolutely no way this can be improved because the routes to the stadium aren't good enough and there is not enough space for sufficient parking for vehicles. I just can't see it being seen as a sensible option as more and more people travel to the match by car these days. This is just one problem with the re-development option, there are countless more.
Ben Polak, Nottingham  (14/12/06)

Liverpool clearly see no problem with the transport infrastructure in the area seeing as they building a 60,000-seater stadium a few yards down the road ? Lyndon

Stop and Think ? Easy Way Out

We would not be thinking about leaving Goodison park if Bill Kenwright was to sell up and go. It's a fucking buyers market, have you not noticed all the clubs being sold.

Don't you realize that if we forced Bill out, we might have other options. Goodison Park is God-damn scary place when the Blues let their passion rip. Trust me, Bill will be like a shaking shitting dog.

Bill took over when we had a debt of ?8 million, today it's ?50 MILLION!!! He sold and sold and sold and now his legacy will be to dump us on our arse in the remote beyond. Christ, Lads, wake up... you don't need to move out just yet, get rid of Bill and give yourself more options. Nail, head.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (14/12/16)

Don`t blame Beattie

Nick Armitage finds an easy target in his criticism of James Beattie.I may be one in a thousand but I sincerely believe that Beattie has been ill served by Moyes. Forced to abandon his classic frontman role, he has, from the start, been expected to spend twice as much time in the defensive areas of the pitch as he does in positions from which he might forage a goal. Following on from the role given to Ferguson he is expected to defend every corner and thus has no opportunity to capitalise on any of the long clearances so favoured by Moyes and so well executed by his defenders.

A direct comparison with `Johnners come Lately` will show Beattie to be by far the more talented all-round player, not easily knocked off the ball and more than happy to dish it out in the style of old fashioned but effective centre forwards. His critics may well be right-Beattie may never hack it at Everton (and the same will certainly be true of Johnson!) but the blame should not be attributed to a lack of skill or effort but more because of the man who signed him and had no idea what to do with him!
Mike Cliney, Thornton  (14/12/06)

The Council

I should like to empathise with Rob Fox's article concerning Liverpool Council. Living in exile down here I seldom get to read the Echo but I wonder how much they articulate the thoughts of Evertonians. When LFC proposals to build in Stanley Park first surfaced I wondered out loud how the hell they could get approval to build on a green space and a public facility at that. I bet Evertyon would be denied permission for a loft conversion in Glwadys Street !

I have no proof but I detect the stench of a lot of murky, dirty, putrid local politics and gerrymandering in the air. Why indeed aren't the appropriate questions directed to the City Council? Who's paying for what and why haven't the revered city fathers tried banging red and blue heads together and offered a financial incentive to construct a shared super stadium - even one with athletic facilities - and naturally an underground Sainsbury's?!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (14/12/06)

Assess the benefits, please!

Like many other faithful supporters, I am ashamed at the lack of support for the Board`s visionary decision to investigate re-location to Kirkby. This web site seems to get great satisfaction from whipping up anti-club propoganda which certainly does it no credit.

The truth of the matter surely is that the Tesco-Knowsley offer is too good to refuse! Here we have a giant International company and a neighbouring local authority joining forces to provide us with a ground without any initial investment on our part. True, the club may be required to pay a commercial rent but from what I understand from colleagues in the Knowsley Authority, there will exist an opportunity to purchase the stadium if the finances ever allowed the Board to do so. The overwhelming advantage of this arrangement is that the rent paid will be a tax deductable overhead allowing surpluses to accrue for investment in players.

So, please, please, look behind the headline of the move to Kirkby and assess all the benefits which accrue to the Club as well as merely the inconvenience which will be caused to the few supporters who live in the shadow of Goodison Park!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (14/12/06)

I find it galling that you sit there and say that you're ashamed that other Evertonians don't share your enthusiasm for what would be an enormous ? and it really would be a massive step into the unknown. And no, it won't be delivered to us on a plate without any initial investment required on our part ? Lyndon

Historical Perspective II

An excellent article by Steve McBride . I left the Liverpool 20 years ago due to job and I like many other many thousands couldn't give a monkeys when we return for games if its Walton or Kirkby - it's 4-5 miles different and Kirkby has a far better car access. Far too much emphasis is being place on "leaving the city" . As far as I'm concerned the city is Speke to Crosby , River/or (even Wirral) to Kirkby - that's what every bugger outside Liverpool believes . Every fan surely is 100% behind the main target which must be getiing the blues back into Top 6 - that needs money and the only likely viable option to reduce capital/increase revenue is Kirkby/Tesco - there aint any handouts from LCC or any other source benefactor . Lets get real !!
Mike Oates, W Sussex  (14/12/06)

Gobshite Stubbs

So according to Alan Stubbs' [Daily Post yesterday] the big incentive for him to beat Chelsea this weekend is to help Rooney and ManUtd win the league.

What kind of twat are we dealing with here? Fuck doing it for the Everton fans, this idiot wants to do it for the most vile creature ever to slither out of the sewers.

Doesn't Stubbs realise that Rooney is a leper in this city? Where was Stubbs last week when Shag-A-Granny was kissing the Manc badge in front of his fellow scousers?

It's disgusting that a so called Evertonian can even think along those lines after what that Manc Uncle Tom has done to us. Stubbs is joining a long list of Everton employees who keep talking BOLLOCKS.

If it's not Moyes it's Kenwright. If it's not Kenwright it's Wyness and now it's the players.

I, like every other Evertonian I know, would rather have my balls cut off with garden shears than watch SCUM BAG Rooney win a major trophy with that shower of shite Man utd.

Why can't dumb players like Stubbs shut the fuck up about Rooney? He is dead and buried in this City. We don't want to here about the shithouse his agent or his bird and fizzy fucking drinks adverts.

Tell you what ,Stubbsy, when we play the Mancs at Goodison why don't you whip Rooney up in the box so he can score a penalty down the St.End? He can run over to the cockroach ManUtd fans kissing his badge then at the end of the game you can run over and kiss his arse.

GOBSHITE.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14 12 06)

Despite his hand in Rooney's departure from Everton and the rumoured moolah he pocketed for his trouble, I think you're focusing too much on what seems to me have been an off-the-cuff quip — Lyndon

In Response to Nick Armitage's Article on Beattie

I totally agree with the fact that Beattie has failed and that he needs to go in January. A lot of the personal attacks about Beattie's weight are funny, yet sad. Sad because he has been at Everton for 2 years and the fuckin management have not done a thing about it. It seems everybody is sniping Beattie, while the person who should be taking 100% blame for this is Moyes.

Moyes bought him, Moyes dictates the type of football Beattie has to cope with (no wingers); Moyes has watched him get fat and done nothing about it; Moyes continues to pick him ahead of a much brighter prospect in Anichebe; Moyes will likely decide to keep hold of him over January. As an earlier post alluded to on this site, Beattie is a prime example of a player who was playing really well until coming under the wing of Moyes. Name a player who has flourished under Moyes stewardship? It is much much easier to name the ones who haven't. It is damning, and it is time to take this team up another level, Moyes has taken us as far as he can.
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (14/12/06)

Historical Perspective

Is Highbury in Woolwich Arsenal? No, it's in Islington.
Is the Emirates stadium in Arsenal? No, that's in Islington too.
Is the Boleyn Ground in West Ham? No, it's in East Ham.
Is Old Trafford in Manchester? It is now, but until 1974 it was part of the Lancashire Borough of Stretford. Back in the day this was a real bone of contention. I can still remember the taunts from the terraces: "There's only on team in this city!" But who's having the last laugh now?

Is Goodison Park in Everton? No, it's in Walton. Did Everton used to play their home games at Anfield? Yes.

Did Manchester United share Maine Road for nearly ten years in the forties? Yes. When Manchester City moved from Hyde Road in East Manchester to Maine Road in South Manchester, was there an uproar? Too right. But does anyone care now? No.

Could you tell the difference between someone from Gateshead and someone from Newcastle? No? Do you suppose your average Londoner make the distinction between Kirkbyites and Liverpudlians? No, they're all "thieving Scouse bastards!" Does anyone really give a monkey's about postcodes and local council boundaries? Not many do.

Is the move from Walton to Kirkby on a par with a move from Wimbledon to Milton Keynes, or even St Louis to Phoenix? No, it isn't. Has Goodison Park had its day? Probably.

It's difficult to let go of the Grand Old Lady, but it's important to maintain a sensible perspective. In 20 years time, this whole Kirkby furore will form nothing more than an interesting, though brief, footnote in the illustrious history of Everton Football Club. And when you're taking your seats next to fifty thousand other Bluenoses in our blue, beautiful, new home, you'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.
Steve McBride, London  (13/12/06)

Re: Protest

I for one will not be banging my seat, unless it jumps up itself while I am craning my neck around the stantion in front of me and to the left and to the right and doing everything else needed to watch the game. No doubt the arl fella in front will ask me to take my knees out of his back again. No doubt I'll have the two fellas either side of me sat on either leg again...

Let's get packed up ? we're moving.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (13/12/06)

Anderson Da Silva?

If you seach for his proper name Anderson Silva Da Franca on Google you may have better luck finding him.

From what I understand from a colleague of mine based in our Madrid office, Anderson Silva is only training with Malaga at the moment, as he was expected to join Everton in June 2006, so Malage CF never bothered to renew his registration. He did play 16 games for them last season, and even pitched in with the odd goal. His disipline is questionable though as he managed to pick up 4 yellows and 2 reds in those games.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (13/12/06)

Move the Corpse

Having read 'Everton fans shouldn't build their hopes up' in the post Dec 13 2006. It makes you wonder if there are real grounds for concern.

Maybe this is why the Council won't entertain us, after all, it would be pretty bad for the 'City of Culture' if one of its oldest institutions collapsed. Much better to let that institution slide out of the back door.

I think Mr Kenwright has been as bad for Everton as agent Johnson. We have no money, yet he wants to spend it. We won't bankrupt the club, but we will live on the edge. NO, NO, NO! ? this is not how to run a major club. It explains in some part the players' attitude and Moyes's defensive mindset. We can't afford to lose matches because things are getting financially tighter.

Looking at the financial plight, methinks that a major player will again be sold in the next window. Oh, I wish I'd taken up scuba-diving!
John McFarlane, Lancs  (13/12/06)

Another fine mess

I know that feelings and emotions are running high at the moment and no more so than mine. I am so against the move to Kirkby it's untrue, but I hadn't thought of the reasons outlined in the article by Kevin Murphy and its a scary possibility.

I personally believe the council have shafted us on this (leaving the Kings Dock shafting out of this conversation), they could have found somewhere close to Goodison for us. I was ranting to the Mrs last night about it all and she stated that there is no land to build on in Walton. However, as I pointed out, the land in Kirkby isn't 'green' land and the college (quite new) will need to be demolished.

Now then, if we're demolishing things then there are more possibilities in Walton. What about... The Sainsburys Industrial Park on Rice Lane? The council could have helped us buy that land, it could be flattened, we build the stadium using some of Walton Hall Park and then Sainsburys gets rebuilt where Goodison is now.

Bottom line is, the council could help us IF they wanted to. LFC over the park are getting allsorts of grants and extensions to find their money (extensions which we were not graced with on the KD project) so why were we not offered any to buy up the houses around Goodison and extend the ground? Are the council thinking about the people of Walton, the pubs and shops that will be affected?

Anyways, let's not get too wound up, with this current Board in charge there is bound to be a cock-up along the way. Cue a statement from Big Bill about 'We always wanted to stay and re-develop Goodison, it's like my second home and I couldn't bear to leave it'. I'm bored Bill, it's about time you stood up for the club, if the council are shafting us, come out and tell us, shame them, after all we don't need them any more, OR do we... Hmmmmm?
Ste Boileau, Walton  (13/12/06)

LCC don't want us

In response to the article Wrong Target by Rob Fox, I support almost everything he is saying, but I would like to say this. LCC say that there are two alternative sites for Everton to consider yet they refuse to name them or wether we can have them for free. Knowsley has done both, gone public with the site from Day One and said that they will give the site for free as their side of the bargain.

Why haven't LCC filled Evertonian heads with dreams of dockland arenas or the likes? Beacause they don't want to! LCC leader Warren Bradley was on the radio the day that the Tesco/Knowsley story broke, saying that he welcomed anyone who would invest in regeneration in Kirkby and that Everton as a club would thrive there. He went on to say that Everton moving to Kirkby would not adversely affect Liverpool City Centre as it would still continue to be a point of entry on a matchday.

The following day he went public to say that he hoped Everton would change their minds about leaving the City, but still wont tell us what LCC is prepared to do for us. The local press? Don't make me laugh, we all know that they only exist to drag us down. How many times have the built Evertonian hopes up over speculative transfers in the past only to report that it will probably not happen as Everton don't have money to make it happen?

I feel that Tesco will not build in the City of Liverpool as there are already too many retail parks and Tesco's alike. Unfortunately we need Tesco as no other investor has shown the slightest bit of interest in building us a new stadium.
Steve Millward, Liverpool  (13/12/06)

Money is the future not the kids

Kevin Murphy makes a basic assumption in his article citing 'children are the future'. The assumption is that the supporters actually matter to a club financially. However, the stats show that a typical Premier League crowd is getting older (on average). The typical attendee is now in their late 30's. Look around you at Goodison, there are very few youngsters in proportion to adults (and I include the scallies in that!).

Whilst I think Everton are trying to give themselves their best chance of survival with the move, there is a more fundamental issue across the whole of football which Kevin is inadvertently alluding to. Football is becoming increasingly over-dependent on the TV cash. If the current trend in age of supporters at matches continues, then the next ten years will see an overall decline in attendances. This won't matter provided the TV audiences are still there, but who's to say that bubble won't burst? When (if) it does, those clubs that haven't diversified will be in incredible amounts of trouble and even those that have achieved some financial diversification will also be in deep doo-doo.

Being a supporter matters only to the supporters. A successful team will attract the support. Everton need significantly enhanced revenue streams to compete for players and be successful. Don't believe that anyone but us cares where the support comes from as long as it comes.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (13/12/06)

Alternative sites

The leader of the council has said that he'll fight tooth and nail to keep us in the city. Contact him at: Warren Bradley Ask him to look at expansion of our current footprint, or at a relocation to Everton Park... a more than appropriately named location!! This park is an accident of poor urban planning. Nothing more than a landscaped series of howlers from the city's recent past. The area is shouting out for redevelopment and is on top of town with all the ensuing benefits. What greater historical context than having EFC in Everton in a stadium next to Prince Rupert's Tower. I honestly don't think anyone has thought of it as a potential site, so if you agree with me drop him a line!!!
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (13/12/06)

Nice idea, Tom!

Where's the financials?

Does anyone know where we can actually download the full 2006 accounts from? They obviously don?t seem to be on the official website and I?ve never seen them here. Would be nice to actually see the detail surrounding the club?s financial performance.
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (13/12/06)

You can download a complete copy [pdf format] of the 2006 Annaul Report & Accounts right here.

Sold Down The River

What this Board has done is sold our soul. I've no doubt that Terry Leahy is a committed Evertonian, but he's also got a job to do for Tesco ? they will be his first priority.

The club fucked up with the King's Dock project. Although there was a blamestorm afterwards, with fingers pointed at various other parties, including Liverpool City Council, BK ultimately couldn't raise the funds needed, because he wasn't willing to give up his shareholding. I worked on that project and my then-boss was also an avid Blue. We were practically in tears as we saw it disintegrate.

Many others have written far more eloquently than I can (in this angry mood) about what Kirkby will mean for EFC, and I mean no disrespect to any of our brethren who live there.

We lost King's Dock. We could've had Central Dock, or any of the other sites that have been mentioned. Shame on Liverpool City Council, Bill Kenwright and the other culpable parties for what they have allowed to happen.

I knew from a young age that supporting Everton would be a rollercoaster. My old man never told me it could hurt this much.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (13/12/06)

Protest

Just as I started to come to terms with the idea that maybe we have to got to Kirkby, I hear Big Keith on 5live, saying we may end up redeveloping Goodison!!!

The majority of us should remember Peter Johnson's latter days. One match I will never forget is a match we lost to Spurs; after the game I remember at least two thirds of the crowd slamming their chairs screaming we want Johnson out.

Whilst there is a chance, we must fight. Everton is about more than our league standing, the club, and the supporters have character. We must form a group to organise stay behind protests, every home game for 'the 5 month exclusive period'.

There is no logic in the arguement we can't extend Goodison's footprint: seconnd tier for the Park End; restructure Bullens, Gwladys, and the Main Stand, then build up the corners. This can be done over 6/7 years, there is no rush. We could look at sponsorship schemes, and maybe have 'The Gwladys Street Umbro Stand', the Bullens Road Chang Suite' etc. Keith says it's possible, let's save the blues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JP Kissock to start on Sunday, watch this space!! COYB!!
Dan OBrien, Liverpool  (13/12/06)

4 more miles... so what?

Now I'm not from Liverpool, so maybe it's a little unfair of me to say this, but what's the problem with moving to Kirkby (4 miles from Goodison)?? I (and my brothers and mates) have been travelling over to Goodison for many, many years now to see our great club Everton play, and we just love it. 4, or 400 more miles won't stop us. It costs us around ?400 (?550) each to go to each game (flights, match tickets, accomodation, food and drink), and sometimes we travel to 4 or 5 games a season. Why are so many of you complaining about a move down the road?

Everton FC have moved before and went on to better things... why can't they do it again?? Of course Tesco want to make money... that's what they are supposed to do, but at least they are a home-based business. If the Board of EFC feel this is the best move for our club, then that's good enough for me. We all can't decide on this one, that's what Boards of Directors are for and we just have to trust they'll get it right.

Everton FC has been one of the best-run football clubs in England since it was founded (dispite what many of you seem to think) and I beleive it will remain that way. Please try to understand we don't have the money to compete with some other clubs on the pitch at present... but then life's a bitch, and then you die.

So cheer up you, guys, you can buy a season ticket for what it costs us to travel from Ireland to see one match, so the extra bus/taxi fare for 4 more miles shouldn't break the bank!!! Happy Christmas, Blues... we love ya!
Eddie O'Neill, Ireland  (13/12/06)

New stadium

Is the stadium or its location more important than the quality of the team and the football it plays? It shouldn't be - at least not for Everton.

Do we need more capacity? Can we attract 50000 punters every odd week? With all manner of games ? including ours ? available for free on broadband and with and wall sized flat screens becoming more and more affordable, how long before a visit to the stadium ? any stadium ? becomes a thing of the past, just not worth the hassle?

As a footnote, my work takes me to the US from time to time, and over there, the favourite grounds of those who would like to watch baseball are the old grubby ones: Wrigley Field, Chicago, 45,000 seats, and Fenway Park, Boston, 36,000 seats.

I've been in Fenway and you can smell the history ? something you will not in Giants Stadium, or any of the Domes, and you will put up with the discomfort and impeded view because, well, it?s part of the Red Sox tradition. Like your life partner perhaps, you accept them for what they are (never perfect) but it?s not all about perfection is it?
Lorcan Walsh, Copenhagen  (12/12/06)

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Just in reply to Simon Edwards thoughtful article about Everton's apparent lack of ambition when attacking. I'd also love to see us bombing forward when we have the ball and really put opponants under the hammer. But at the moment, we can't, for one simple reason: Pace. We don't got it. At least not a lot of it.

To attack as a unit and have your defenders push high up the pitch, you need players who are quick. Few of our midfielders, and defenders can be classified as fast. Yobo is; Lescott has a good turn of speed, Johnson ? no doubt... Cahill is more about timing than tearing about and.. err... that's about it!

Until we get an injection of pace across the back and in the middle of park, we'll have to put up with us sitting back a bit. Especially if Stubbs, Weir or Carsley are playing. To push too high up the park with any of those guys playing is suicidal.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (13/12/06)

Kirby No Go!!

The proposed move to Kirby is just simply a no go. There is no way that we can have our famous club playing outside of the Liverpool district. Surely, there are other sites (in Liverpool) that we could build a new stadium in. The club need to leave a voting slip on every seat on Sundays game against Chelsea. The club will then see just how many of us are against this move.

On the transfer front, there need to be changes. I would like to see us go after Nigel Reo Coker. West Ham fans are on his back and he would be an excellent addition to our squad. I would also like to see another striker come in. Javier Saviola would be an ideal candidate for this position as we would be able to get him on loan for the rest of the season. He is a quality player and would bang the goals in for us.

Finally, let's try not to get on David Moyes' back. He has done a good job for us in his 5 seasons. Afterall, we didnt hear all this criticism of him after the derby victory did we? UP THE BLUES!!!!
John McCafferty, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Identity Crisis?

Now it's not necessarily a totally apt comparison I know but I'll recount the tale of the Warrington Vikings basketball team that started off in the Britsh League some 20 odd years ago. It quickly had the best support in the country filling the 2,000 seater Birchwood Spectrum for each home match.

Then someone had the notion to move the franchise to Manchester but they would play every alternate game in Warrington. Crowds plummeted and the very next season, the club renamed itself and moved 100% to Manchester. I believe, despite the involvemnt of Manchester United somewhere along the line, the club no longer exists.

Totally irrelevant? Maybe, but please do not underestimate the importance of identity. Kirkby may only be 4 miles away but Birkenhead is even less and surely nobody would advocate a move there (merger with Tranmere maybe?).

Goodison Park is knackered (it's even got timber stands for God's sake) and re-developing on the exiting footprint could potentially even REDUCE the capacity due to the need to avoid supporting pillars.

So move we have to - but please let's be sure that we've explored all the available options in Liverpool first.

Who knows when Liverpool and the other G14 teams get tired of playing each other in a European League that lacks the tribal rivalry of the domestic leagues, our star may even start to rise again.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (12/12/06)

Anderson da Silva

Sorry to monopolise the site today guys, but just found these stats for Da Silva and wanted to share them:

Nacional Montevideo 46 (9)
Racing Santander 68 (11)
M?laga CF 16 (4)
He's consistently a 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 player, so that's about 8 or 9 league goals a season. If he can bring that form to the Premiership then that's an excellent bit of business, especially as he's only 23 and a free transfer.

Ok, latin players typically don't find our climes to their liking, but what have we lost if he doesn't come off? Hopefully Arteta and Valente can help him to settle in and, if not, then I'm sure that we could get ?1m+ if we offloaded him back onto the continent. Good work, Moysie!!
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (12/12/06)

Err... isn't that the smart momey said about Juliano Rodrigo ? "Rodigol" ? or don't you remember him? Let's wait until this guy actually appears, actually plays, and actually scores those goals in the Premiership before we offer any praise. ? Michael

The Leaving of Liverpool

Why are so many of us so worked up about the possibility (aka probability) of leaving the City of Liverpool? 114 years ago, we moved from Everton to Walton despite the fact that we had won our first championship at the club's namesake home. Did the then supporters cry buckets about not now being in Everton anymore ? how could we travel so far away and how could we emotionally retain our name now that we had moved away from the Everton area of the city.

We, of course, did retain our Everton name and still went on to become one of the most successful clubs this country has ever seen. In a similar way, today we are again more likely to achieve the success that all Evertonians desire after moving to a more conducive site and position where we can survive and eventually again prosper in the vastly changed football enviroment of today.

Better this than to stay at a place where, although we have tasted success in the past, we are not likely to do so again. The move of 1892 was a much bigger one than we face today but had the added bonus of ridding ourselves of the "shite" with the move

Let's move to Kirkby ? we will still be the Everton that we all continue to love.
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (12/12/06)

Some say "Yes"... some say "No"... watch this space. Oh, if they were (god forbid) brutally honest and admitted that there was a risk the club would not become successful again, despite the move, would you still be so keen? — Michael

Ground Issue

I'm kind of ambivalent about a ground move. Basically, if we move then we might get a free stadium with a much bigger capacity and a bundle of cash from selling off Goodison. It might be the answer to our continuing financial situation, but the same situation doesn't seem to have done Man City any good- they must be really hard up to have to get rid of James and Cole. But then, what kind of trouble would they be in if they hadn't made the move?

On the other side of the coin an out of town stadium does sound quite soulless. But, maybe we're just being idealist. Would people really stop going if the ground was moved to Knowsley? Wouldn't the ground become like home after a little while?

Hmm... really is a tricky situation. I guess that the board have to be political about it and take decisions in the best interests of the club, even if they aren't the most popular. They should get their stories straight though!
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (12/12/06)

Brazilian? ... bullshit!

I guess we should be used by now to the lies from Billy Bullshit... I found this link to the present Malaga squad; maybe someone else can spot something I've missed.

There's a Silva who's a defender but born in Jaen? No, not him... and there's a Salva who's a forward born in Zaragoza and who turned out for Bolton? No, not him...

And so, let me get this right, we have a player registered to a lower-level Spanish Second Division side, about the equivalent of the Conference, and he's not even getting a game for them or is he playing in their reserves!!!

According to Billy Bullshit, "We believe he eventually got a passport as he has been able to play in Spain this season and we are talking to his agent at the moment." It's not like the present crop of Malaga players are keeping him out by their amazing form ? they're 3 points off relegation to the Spanish Third Division.

10 days ago the club said "..da silva will not be joining in the immediate future.." Now, he could join "within weeks"... was the AGM the reason for this miraculous turnaround?
Si Ord, Leeds  (12/12/06)

For a nice little diversionary tactice to take the minds of Everton fans and shareholders off important issues, there is nothing quite like a bit of "new player incoming" fantasy ? they just lap it up! ? Michael

Kenwright comments

Another Billy Liar famous quote on his loyalty to David Moyes: "David will not waste your money and I trust him"

Simon Davies             ?3.5M
James Beattie            ?6M
Andy van der Meyde       ?2M
Per Kr?ldrup             ?5M
James McFadden           ?1.5M
Richard Wright           ?3M
Well, Bill, there's ?21 million of your money wasted. Get real and sack this maniac.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (12/12.06)

Response

In response to Mark Wynne's letter, I couldn't agree more. Absolutely spot on and a hilarious way of putting it as well. The team must come before any new stadium. How many times have we seen it happen? New stadium, shit team, everything suffers.
Terry Downes, Stoke  (12/12/06)

Oh Dear

Michael, can't help thinking your being a little childish in responding to some of the letters the mail-bag receives.

So Mark Cassin, who works in investment banking, differs on the subject of the CEO's salary so you accuse him of being some latter day charlatan who 'moves peoples money around' and likewise earns an obscene salary beacuase of it.

The point he was making was that the salary earned by Wyness is realistic in this industry for the position held, whether or not he performs a good job or bad.

Incidentally, my son who is 25 years old, earns in excess of ?60k working for an investment bank in London. He also studied non-stop for seven years from 18 onwards in order for him to do so.

Whether or not he moves peoples money around is besides the point, that's the going rate. No wonder we often get accused of being insular in our views, no doubt my letter will be censored for having a 'different' viewpoint than your own.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (12/12/06)

Ya rolls yer dice, ya takes yer chances with the Editor and his acid tongue, I'm afraid :) ? Lyndon

ClubCard? What ClubCard?

Can't find anything on the Tesco website about their wonderful deal with Everton ? not even in the sport and leisure section. But did find a site arguing Tesco are using radio frequency ID (spychips) in their store. These are used to monitor customers in-store and if you're lucky you may take one home without knowing! Maybe this is how they are going to tell if Everton supporters want to 'get into bed' with them. That Bill, he's saucy ain't he?
Peete Stewart, London  (12/12/06)

Sulum parum succurro

Once we complete our move to the Tesco stadium, we could also change our club slogan from "NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM" to "SULUM PARUM SUCCURRO", which, if you know your latin, loosly translates to "Every Little Helps".
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (12/12/06)

;)

No, no and no again

Everton belong in the City of Liverpool, end of story. "NO" to Kirkby (no disrespect intended); fuck off; Tesco and fuck off; Kenwright, if that's all you've got. This would kill Everton FC and that ain't happening on my watch.
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Hmmm... and how exactly are you gonna stop it? By telling everyone you don't like to "fuck off"?— Michael

However you dress it up

I'm amazed that, in light of the AGM and all it represents, fans are still arguing about whether their football will be played at Goodison, Stanley Park or Kirkby. I say this because, to me, the overriding concern is not where the team play, but what the team play. Let's face it, it's like going to your favourite restaurant with your mates only to be told that everything on the menu is off except the steaming pile of shit ? then everyone sits around and argues whether they want their steaming pile of shit on a paper plate, in a tupperware bowl, or dressed with a cherry on a Royal Doulton platter. What they forget, is that it's still a steaming pile of shit.

The football we are paying to see is the most atrocious negative excrement I have seen any team anywhere play since Sky invented football. Whether they were rubbing their hands or not at the AGM, Bill must have been pleased he wasn't barraged with questions about outside investment, the competence of our manager, financial ineptitude or the lack of sporting ambition shown by the Board, while everyone sat around with maps from 1086 and argued whether a Roger de Launcey exchanged a horse and a brace of turbot for Knowsley, therefore forever placing it within the city boundaries. I don't know if it is meant as a smoke screen, but if it was it has been very effective.

At this rate, we'll still be arguing about the location of the ground, while Moyes will be telling us that back-to-back finishes in League 2 is still a real possibility, that we were unlucky not to get a point away at Lincoln and he's looking forward to David Weir's return to training after a double hip replacement.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (12/12/06)

Smokescreen, the operative word. Just as Guy McEvoy predicted. — Michael

Kirkby

Anybody believing Billy Liar when he says the move is not a done deal must be very gullible. He only knows how to do one thing properly and that is how to lie his way through life. And what about his comparing Moyes with Arsene Wenger, is he a alcoholic or a drug addict! He is an utter bloody idiot. Moyes is not fit to clean Arsene Wenger's shoes, let alone talk about him in the same breath!
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

CEO Salary

Been in Tokyo for three years now and an avid reader of this mailbag. To be honest, some of the things on here are laughable and several comments recently made me laff my tits off.

I honestly can't understand why people are up in arms about the CEO`s salary WITH BONUSES... ?466k. The average salary of a sales manager of an investment bank with bonus is about the same, unfortunately I'm not at that level yet! Honestly though the guy is working to a LONG TERM PLAN which should be a minimum of 5years ? as he has said!

On another point, there's not much wrong at the moment that a couple of top midfielders can't fix ? not to mention our ENTIRE midfild (bar Carsley) getting fit...
Mark Cassin, Tokyo  (12/12/06)

Part of the issue, Mark, was the apparent increasse on last year (163%), compounded by the news that he was actually laid up and got in effect a double bonus the following year... for what? Selling Wayne Rooney? It depends on your perspective, and it's fine for a guy like you in investmenyt banking to laugh at the reactions of others. The rest of us have to make a living from honest graft, not siphoning off huge profits by moving other other people's money around. — Michael

Kenwright WILL GO if we say NO to Kirby

According to direct quotes from Bill on the BBC website tonight. Bill will go if the majority say "No" to Kirby. Let's have the vote NOW!!!
John Cribb, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Wenger v Moyes

Is Kenwright crazy to compare Moyes to Wenger? Well they are similar in a couple of ways...

Wenger paid ?6 million for Dickie Wright and ?8 million for Franny Jeffers. Moyes followed a cheaper suit by only paying ?3.5 million for Dickie and taking Franny on a loan before sending him packing.

In fairness, Wenger is a better manager but I still believe that ? although possibly not 'great' ? Moyes is still a very good manager and probably better than a mid-table club with no money like Everton deserves.
John Cottee, Romford  (12/12/06)

Tony Marsh Laughable Rant

I seriously could not disagree with Tony Marsh more. He's crazy for suggesting everything Everton stand for would disappear along with Old Lady Goodison. Managers, players and even Stadiums come and go but its the club we support regardless of the location or current employees.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

We Shall NOT be moved

Good to hear shareholders are sceptical about the Asbo stadium plan. I imagine walking across a carpet of used condoms and broken hypodermics to get to the Skag End Stand doesn't appeal to them. My slogan of the day: Goodison Forever: Kirkby Never. If that message is sent loud and clear to the Board in the coming months, I believe they won't move us out of Liverpool. The problem is that what is often just resignation on the part of fans is interpreted as support. If you don't want to Everton to become, in effect, Kirkby FC you have to say so.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Dicky makes my day

I just love Dicky Dodd! It's as though he knows just what to say to get us all going. He must either have nothing to do at work (did he once tell us he worked for the Council?) or he is a total pillock, perhaps both. But don`t cut him off, I beg you, his ramblings make my day!
John Mearns, Crosby  (12/12/06)

I'm waiting for him to say, "but we're still in the top 15!"

Onwards and Upwards with Moyes

Our Chairman does well to continue to pin his faith in David Moyes. Over the Premiership years before his appointment, Everton averaged a 14th place finish whilst, under the current boss, that is better than 10th. On that basis of improvement, the assurance of another five years at the helm should see Moyes have us in regular contention for a European place ? a situation few of us would have dreamed of just a few years ago.
Sebastian St Clare, Harrogate  (12/12/06)

If you know your history ?

As an Everton fan all my life, I pride myself on our history, even through the dark times of the 70's we had our history... and Bobby Latchford! Do we really want a souless stadium a la Reebok or Emirates? All my Arsenal mates miss Highbury 'cos, like Goodison, it had a history and an atmosphere. Make no mistake, forget Sir Terry being a bluenose, he represents a ruthless supermarket chain who only motivation is profit.

I honestly would rather finish mid-table than have a legion of foreign diving mercenaries and a concrete branded Tesco stadium. Let's keep our heritage, let's stay at Goodison. We need to wake up and smell the coffee: we are never going to seriously compete for the league title even if we move... so let's stay! Question: would Everton fans rather ground-share with LFC or move out of the city? Let's have a poll.
Warren Hayward, London  (12/12/06)

The ground-sharing thing is just not going to happen unless both clubs' plans go tits-up in a big way in the next few years ? Lyndon

What about the Winslow?

This may be clutching at straws but our great leader Mr Keith Wireless, speaking on Radio Five Live, said Kirkby is not a done deal and 'redeveloping Goodison may yet be the way forward'.

A ray of hope perhaps? The regeneration of Walton at the same time and maybe even a lick of paint for The Winslow? Seriously, though, has anyone given a thought to the businesses around Goodison that rely on matchdays to boost their takings?
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (12/11/06)

Wyness's comments were interesting. Was he leaving the door open if the fans revolt in sufficient numbers over Kirkby or just paying lip service to a democratic process? ? Lyndon

K K S

Just read Richard Dodd's post. If it was written by someone else, I'd have thought it was the funniest post of the day.... However, it got me thinking as what K K S could stand for. Suggestions please, here's mine: "Kenwright's Knowlsey Scam".

If Kenwright's really correct and the club is to consult the fans, then surely the petition starts now. Let's find out if this really is the People's Club. Any web wizards out there who can start an online petition regarding the move?
Steve Ferns, Liverpool L3  (12/12/06)

Top Ten

A Top Ten team in a Top Ten stadium. Moyes is delivering on the team now it`s Kenwright`s job to deliver on the stadium.
Malcolm Stoner, Penycae  (12/12/06)

Finger lickin' good

Richard Dodd, your endless optimism is a minor counterbalance to the never ending despair which perpetrates this website (from myself included) but as for naming stadiums, well you're not much kop (no pun intended).

I propose that the new stadium should either be called the KFC bowl or the 'Tesco No-Frills Stadium'. Both sadly seem very appropriate to the state of the game and our once great club.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (12/12/06)

Listen to the fans - a definite possibility

Don't you think, as I do, that it's reassuring to know that we fans will be consulted on any ground move? And then the club will take us to Kirkby anyway. It's also good to know that there's a 'definite possibility' that our collective voice will count!

Kirkby not a done deal? My arse it is, but we're not allowed to know anything else owing to 'commercial sensitivity'. Well, every Arsenal fan knew what was going on when they moved, didn't they? Kopites seem to be in the picture regarding the move to Stanley Park. Even with the fiasco of Wembley, nobody has quoted 'commercial sensitivity' about anything. The club takes us for gobshites, but even worse, we let them.

Now the premier city club will move out of the city, leaving the Liverpool johnny-come-latelys as the sole representative. They have monopolised the name and the symbol of a great city and now they will lay claim to being the only club in it, Dubai owned or not ? they're even moving (again) to an old ground of ours while we embarrassingly slip out of Liverpool by the back door.

It could all have been so different, had we the managerial wit to move to the Kings Dock. And now we're going to be kicked in the bollocks again by West End Bill. If this is what working 24/7 has done for the club then for Christ's sake somebody put him on short time. The move to Kirkby (and I've nothing against Kirkby, by the way) must be the biggest pantomime he has ever produced.

When, in years to come, people wonder what happened to a once-great club, a club of footballing royalty, remember the name ? Bill Kenwright.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

AGM - Shocking

The shareholders asked Bill for a vote on the move to Kirby ? those who approve ? and the vast majority via a show of hands said NO! A number of shareholders also protested against the re-election of Bill Kenwright to the board!! Further, Moyes admitted that he sold Bent and Koldrup on the same day to balance the books? and he would do it again!!!

Hang on, isn?t Moyes employed to focus on football matters on the pitch... and does this now finally open up the long-held view that Rooney was sold with everybody?s knowledge to stop Everton from going bang?!?

Kenwright said we could not do anything with goodison BUT Kieth Wyness told 5Live today that redeveloping Goodison WAS an option. Kenwright also went to say that while he would not push the club into bankruptcy he would push the club to the edge!!!!!

Blues, it?s time for Bill and Moyes to go; our club is well and truly out of control.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (12/12/06)

Kenwright`s Folly

My mate has just pointed out Doddy`s suggestion for athe new stadium name. We agree it should honour the Chairman. How about `Kenwright's Folly`?
Alan Preece, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Excuse, excuses

Why does everybody make excuses for multi-million pound strikers who just don`t deliver? Both Beattie and Johnson have had only little flurries of scoring whilst McFadden gets one in a blue moon. Moyes has wasted not far short of ?20 million on players who just can`t do the business.

However woeful the midfield sometimes you have to take reponsibility yourself and none of our `big guns` (cap pistols more like it!) seem able to do so. No wonder they landed here instead of with the Big Four!
Steve Flexman, Walton  (12/12/06)

Dixie's Birthday

Whilst all the talk is on the future, I thought I'd take everyone to the past and remind you all that it would be Dixie Dean's 100th Birthday this January. Does the club or anyone else have plans to celebrate the birth of arguably the greatest of all Evertonians?
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (12/12/06)

He who pays....

Noticed somebody having a swipe at Reading chairman for naming his new ground after himself. All I can say is that he was entitled to ? he paid for it lock, stock and barrel. How much is Kenwright likely to put in? You got it in one: fuck all!
Ron Marchant, Neston  (12/12/06)

Pick your seat, Doddy!

One thing is certain ? if we go on playing like we have been, Daffy Dodd will get the pick of the seats in his Kenwright Kikby Stadium as Everton join Leicester, Sunderland, Southampton and Derby in state-of-the-art stadiums... in the bloody Championship!
John Ricketts, Toxteth  (12/12/06)

The People`s Stadium

Whilst the idea to embrace the Kenwright name in our new ground title has its merits (he did save us from Johnson, after all) I think it should be known as `The People`s Stadium` after that magnificent sobriquet bestowed on our club by David Moyes on his arrival.
Alan Sharp, Kirkby  (12/12/06)

Let`s be positive!

Leaving all this stadium bollocks to the future, perhaps we can begin to concentrate on the weekend game ahead?

Moyes should employ exactly the same tactics as he did against Liverpool. Take the game to Chelsea straight from the kick-off and see if we can get an early strike. Everybody sits back and waits for the Chelsea big guns to explode and they`re usually not disappointed! Give the buggers something to think about, I say. On this occasion only, I shall not be disapointed if we get tonked as long as we`ve shown we do know how to be positive!
Wayne Briscoe, Melling  (12/12/06)

The devil's all in the detail

So the cat's finally out of the bag and the AGM was the platform to communicate to the shareholders, fans and media that the Club's intentions are to pursue the tripartate Kirkby option with Tesco and Knowsley Borough Council. Funny then that this information was divulged by a slip of the tongue from COO Robert Elstone on his recent trip to South East Asia and the wax lyrical ramblings of local journo Dominic King via the Everton Media Centre at the Liverpool Echo...

Confidentiality clauses, commercial sensitivity matters and public relations spiel or not, what further information did Keith Wyness provide us with other than what we already know? The devil is always in the detail and the coded messages from the AGM are that there are several obstacles, time-points and agreements that need to be made before the project is even likely to see the light of day. Bill Kenwright suggests that in four to five months we should then be able to consult with the fans on what I would guess would be the design phase.

Due dilligence or not, commercial speak and drivel ? haven't we already been down this road once before with the failed disaster that was the Kings Dock? The prospect of moving to Kirkby doesnt appeal to many, with the current incumbents I wouldn't be at all suprised if we see many twists and turns with this project.

The Board are that devoid of imagination that if the DIC group offer the olive branch of a minor role in the proposed development of Liverpool's stadium in Stanley Park then expect them to drop Kirkby like a Planet Hollywood jacket potato as they are bankrupt on the notion of moving Everton forward.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

114 years vs 10000 seats

What I really want answered is what an increased capacity of 10,000 will mean? Will those extra bums on seats (assuming they are filled) mean bigger transfer budgets and an improved squad? If so, then that is fantastic. But of course the cost of building the thing will surely restrict expenditure on such luxuries as a 20-man squad for many years to come.

There is an argument that we need a fitting home to attract potential investors, but Chelsea managed to bag the biggest in a mediocre stadium, and the recent takeovers of Villa and West Ham show that it could happen anywhere.

But it?s the emotional costs that worry me the most. It?s not just moving away from Goodison, but from the City of Liverpool. At a time when English football is arguably loosing its identity with foreign ownership, managers and players, we would be loosing one of the fundamental elements that makes Everton who we are, the bricks and mortar, turf and earth of our spiritual home.
Andrew Humphrey, London  (12/12/06)

AGM

All over the papers this morning, the shareholders gave a hostile reception to Kirby. I expect the fans will be even more upset when the figure out that Tesco will stick a store on the GP footprint when it's been knocked down.

As I understand it there were a lot of shit flying around last night. Let's hope ToffeeWeb get a shareholders view of it all.
John Cribb, Liverppol  (12/12/06)

Our man Colm was there, as a shareholder, and has plans for a detailed report... in a day or two. — Michael

Playing with numbers

Talking about 4?4-2 or 4?5-1 without any real understanding of what those numbers mean is gibberish. The middle segment of those numbers presumably indicates how many are playing in the midfield. In actual fact Everton sometimes have two midfielders but most times only one. A glance at midfields of other teams plus a basic knowledge of their role shows that we do not have anything like a proper midfield.

When opponents have the ball, our retreating defence makes those numbers more cockeyed because we resort to a 9?0-1 formation; if our lone striker goes searching for the ball, that becomes a ludicrous 9?1-0. Retreating defences stymy enough opponents to avoid relegation but do not make genuine top-four candidates; hopefully we can stymy Chelsea on Sunday.

Our previous 4th place was based on gritty dogged low-scoring games accompanied by a surprising collapse in form of nearest rivals. The quick exit from Europe was probably a true reflection of our capabilities. Dreams of European glory need be placed on hold for this season while we concentrate on Premiership survival. Should a couple of good midfielders arrive in January, or until 40 points are in the bag, I do not expect to see much open football from our lot.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (12/12/06)

Tesco

To all of those bleating on about how the Chairman of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, is a Blue-blood this and it's a great sposorship business partnership ? have you all forgotten to stop and think?

Sir Terry Leahy is a lifelong bluenose, he has been top dog at Tesco for years and pushed it to where they are today. In all of those years, not a single sausage from them in sponsorship or corporate branding partnerships. I've never worn an Everton replica kit with a Tesco logo on it.

You seem to forget that Sir Terry is just a very shrewd businessman, if it doesn't make Tesco a penny then it doesn't happen. The ONLY reason this "deal" is going to happen will be to get Tesco another bleeding great supermarket. Maybe the stadium/retail park idea swayed Knowsley Borough Council more than just a supermarket but that's all it does, primarily it's a money spinner for Tesco, the stadium is a bolt-on ? nothing more.

Kenwright and his cronies are as poor as church mice, even more so with his lapdog filling his pockets. The only way he can get his type of investment, which is strictly "give me cash and you get sod all back because this train set is mine", will be to piggy back a Tesco Retail Park. I dread to picture his jerry-built bolt-on stadia clinging for dear life in a retail park.

Picture if you will the retail park on the East Lancs where the showcase cinema is; pick it up and drop it a few miles down the East Lancs and you get the same thing. Retail parks only survive if they have the customers, regeneration money doesn't make a poor area rich it just makes builders rich.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (12/12/06)

He's Greater than Great

According to reports this morning, Ye Olde Blue Bill has compared Moyesy with Arsene Wenger!!!Good God, what is this man on? Please tell me people laughed when he said it
John Audsley, Leeds  (12/12/06)

Done And Dusted

The time has come for all Evertonians to accept whats happening. We are moving to Kirkby and there's nothing we can do about it.

Goodison Park will become a Tesco's supermarket, just like our new ground, and everything we once stood for will be gone at the push of a shopping trolley.

What we all need to do now is decide if we are going along for the ride. Will we be happy sitting in Knowsley's answer to the Greybok or the Stadium of Shite. No doubt we will lose our identity but is our identity worth preserving? Not in its present state, that's for sure.

The past few years of the Kenwright / Moyes combo has ensured that most fans are now so pissed off with things that they don't really give a fuck what happens. Maybe the move and a fresh start is what we need to shake off the apathy that has engulfed us for years now. At first I was against the move but if it's the only option then what's the point in killing yourself over it?

It hit home to me last season just how bad Goodison is when a few Villa fans in the Joe Mercer lounge were laughing at the place. It was their first visit to the ground and they couldn't belive how shit it was. I wanted to fill them in but that's another story.

It's immpossible for us to carry on at Goodison ? that's one thing I agree with Kenwright on. We fucked up our chance at the Kings Dock and we are left with no other options. I am torn between the devil and the deep blue sea on this one but as I have said there's nothing we can do but live with it.

I reckon while we are at it we should change our silly nickname and and swap that crappy badge on our shirt as well. I have always hated "the Toffees" and we will no longer be in Everton so no need for the jail thingy on our badge. New Broom and all that. Any ideas, anyone?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

"We are no longer Everton Football Club, founder members of the football league." ? Don't talk rubbish, Tony: I don't expect nonsense like that from you.

Anderson who?

I may be looking in all the wrong places but I can find no mention of Anderson da Silva on FC Malaga`s website. Bear in mind that in any event this is a Spanish Second Division team and if he can`t hack it at that level...

Da Silva has always struck me as another `agent`s catalogue` buy ? in the same mould as Van der Meyde and one or two more `exotic` signings who never quite manage to turn up for action. As somebody once descibed them `they`re not for playing, just buying and selling!`
Harry Meek, Worcester  (12/12/06)

`After five years........`

I think it was Joe Mercer who first said of his players, `After five years they`ve heard everything you`ve got to say and believe even less of it than the supporters. The only answer is to change the players before the Board change the manager!` Could we be coming to that point at Everton?
David Hall, Taunton  (12/12/06)

Not KKS, It`s KTB!

The usual pro-Kenwright bollocks from Daffy Dodd but I can assure you that his KKS title has no chance. The local authority are adament that the development shall be known as `The Tesco Knowsley Bowl` which Everton will occupy (with a number of other high profile tennants) on a long commercial lease. There will be options to purchase at set timed intervals. Could be better I suppose but at least we get a new ground without facing bankruptsy!
Neil Manders, Knowsley  (12/12/06)

Give Moyes until the end of the season

He has brought us good young players in Yobo, Lescott, Johnson, Neville, brought up Osman and Hibbert from the acedmemy. He has given us two excellent finishes, 1 average finish, and 1 poor finish ? all on ?3M per year. If he had been given unlimited money, I would be the first one too call for his head, but in reality Moyes hasn't been given a lot of money. With the money he's had, Moyes is not doing that bad a job. And there's still VdM and Da Silva to play for the second half of the season..

Anyway, sacking a manager in the middle of the season is not the best desicion to make, in term of stability. I say back and give support to Moyes until the end of the season, and if we finish in the bottom half, then sack him.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (12/12/06)

A Tale of Two Clubs

A few years ago, we watched as West Ham were relegated with a team of 'good young players', all of whom were sold in order to pay for the developed stadium and to stave off administration, a feat which was much-praised by the financial world. Their 'young' manager eventually got them promoted and in their fist Premiership season, got them into the top ten and to the FA Cup Final.

Like most English managers, he suffered fromn 'second season syndrome' ? what most people would call an inability to consistently get the best out of his players. They are in the bottom three playing badly. Like most ambitious people, their new owners are genuinely ambitious. None of this "two consecutive top-eleven finishes" bollocks. They looked at things and took decisive action ? it's called leadership, by the way.

Over the same period, our own dear club has lurched on a week-by-week, hand-to-mouth basis. No cup runs, humiliation in Europe, management on and off the pitch totally bereft of ideas and creativity. The sale of that young kid kept us out of administration and conned the gullible into believing the finances were good.

The bottom line is that, unlike Everton a year ago, West Ham saw that their 'young' manager had done a good job, but was out of his depth and couldn't take the club any further. For the second time this year, another club will snap up a talented manager without having to pay compensation, while we continue to suffer for the lack of leadership in our club.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (12/12/06)

No way out

After reading about last night's AGM, I get the distinct impression that we have no choice but to move due to our poor financial situation.

I personally don't want to move to a new ground and especially don't want to move outside of Liverpool as, like many others have pointed out, it will mean the steady long-term demise of the club. We do have many fans from outside the area but the vast majority unsurprisingly are local. Its also what gives the stadium its unique character.

However, we have sold all of the family silverware, we have no more Rooneys to sell and the manager keeps wasting money on full-backs and strikers with big tits... the only thing left is Goodison and thats not gonna be worth much either.

No matter how much spin Kenwright puts on the situation (and I have defended him up to a point in the past), the basic fact is that we are virtually bankrupt and, once those attendences continue falling due to the poor entertainment on offer, then we are going to struggle paying off all those loans.

This club is dieing on its feet and we are like some poor chav struggling to pay off hundreds of credit cards and HP deals... or maybe that's just me.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (12/12/06)

Location, Location, Location

Let's get things straight - at the end of the day we all want to see Everton be successful. However, in order to help do this, I (along with the majority I'm sure) am fully aware that Goodison Park, in it's present state, will not help. So what to do? Well, it appears that the answer is to move, but there are some things still troubling me.

1. Why are Liverpool City Council seeming to be bending over backwards for our neighbours yet are totally inactive when it comes to us? Yes, I know they've won lots of trophies, etc, blah, blah, blah ? but what they do fail to realise is that Liverpool is the only city which has experienced top flight football every season since the Football League began, and we were a part of it. So why do they seem so stagnant in aiding us?

2. Apparently redeveloping Goodison Park is a no-no, according to Bill and Keith. How do they know? Have they done a feasibility study? Have they had a proposal assessed in any way? If so, where is it? Don't forget we had a similar thing when Johnson was trying to move us out of Goodison.

3. In order to try and succeed I believe that the club needs to move or redevelop Goodison, and, so if we move, does it really matter that we move 4 miles down the road? OK, it's not Liverpool in terms of the council area, but then again Liverpool Municipal Golf Course is in Kirkby, Aintree Racecourse falls within the boundaries of Sefton Borough Council and Royal Liverpool Golf Course is on the Wirral.
At the end of the day, I would love it if we could stay at Goodison Park, but if we can't (and I would like to know why we can't) then we need to move. Given the city council's inability to help us in the past, then a move "close" to Liverpool seems to be the best. A number of contributors have mentioned about Bolton no longer being in "Bolton", but I wouldn't mind being in fifth place like Bolton are at the moment!
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (12/12/06)

Big Four! Now and Forever?

Top-four finishes since 1992-93:

MAN UTD	14
ARSENAL	12
LIVERPOOL	9
CHELSEA	6
NEWCASTLE	5
BLACKBURN	3
LEEDS 	3
NORWICH	1
A VILLA	1
NOTTM F	1
EVERTON	1
I can?t agree with Brian Baker, the Big 4 are a reality. FA cup wins also support this idea as only Everton in 1995 have broken the Big Four's monopoly of winning this trophy in recent years. Also it is impossible for clubs outside this elite group to pick and choose which competitions they will concentrate on. Liverpool and Arsenal in recent years have realised that there is little point going hell for leather in the League (as they view Chelsea and Man Utd as stronger) so they coast along keeping in touch with the top 6 until ensuring they finish in those European Cup places.

Catterick, Kendall or any other major club manager of the past never before had the option of casting aside the league to chase European Cup glory. You had to win to qualify for it. The table shows that only 7 other teams since the PL began have managed a top 4 finish. Most of those were in the earlier years of the league.

So as unpalatable as it may be the top four do exist and will I?m afraid dominate the league for many many years to come.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (12/12/06)

K K S Stadium, here we come!

Not surprisingly, the Club has delivered exactly what they promised earlier in the year. We were assured that we should get definitive news of a new stadium before Christmas but no definite decision would be made before consulting supporters.

That`s exactly what we got at the AGM. I don`t know whether the earlier poster was being serious or not but if Bill does bring this superdrome to fruition it would be a fitting tribute to name it `The Kenwright Kirkby Stadium ? Home of Everton FC`.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (12/12/06)

Oh Richard... if your credibility (probably another word you diasavow?) was at an all-time low before... — Michael

Main problem

Having read all the letters about the Kirkby sell-out and our last pathetic performance, it appears to me that, until Kenwright gets fed up with his toy, we are fucked.

He has a manager who won't rock the boat ? the perfect "yes"-man with limited skill as a manager ? would an ambitious man stay silent, never complaining about his budget? I doubt it... so we are stuck with a chairmen with no money but he cried when Rooney wanted out ? so he must be one of us... Hello! We don't want that ? we want someone who shares our ambition, yes, but also has the means to do it ? like getting a manager with more style.

I am sick of defending our performances to kopites. But kick and rush at Kirkby is the future. When we move, I will spend Saturdays at my local Tesco hypermarket. Fuck Kenwright; fuck Moyes...
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (12/12/06)

A lot of drunking ramblings this evening... I think some of you are losing it! — Michael

Everton Tesco Stadium

Everton Tesco Stadium, Arsenal Emirates Stadium, Liverpool Dubai Stadium etc etc... Arsenal and Liverpool get into bed with the Arabs while Everton climb into bed with one of the largest UK companies run by a born and bred self-confessed Evertonian, not some Arab glory hunter... If/when the deal is sealed, which set of supporters will still feel their club is owned or in partnership with people who actually care?

Make no mistake, if Tesco take the risk, they'll want to make the Everton brand as successful as their own. Of course, they'll want to make profits but they'll also want Everton to do well as the 'feel good factor' makes you buy more! My vision? Port Sunlight of the 21st Century...

For Lever Bros, see Tesco, for Port Sunlight see Kirkby: leisure facilities, parks, Everton Stadium; for building workers houses in Port Sunlight, see redevelopment of Kirkby. Nae, we'll call it Tesco Town or the New Everton!

Believe me, this could be bigger than you think... so the club was born in Liverpool ? what has Liverpool done for our club? Nowt, zero, zilch... so stop prattling on about the City of Liverpool; it's a small town in the northwest with small-minded people.

It's about time the right-thinking and stand-up people of the small town built their own glory ?we've done it before, when we built Goodison. It's time to do it again!!

Capital of culture ? my arse!
Tommy Green, The Cracker Aisle  (12/12/06)

Moyesey's limitations?

Yet another depressing day to be an Evertonian. Our team plays shite and what do we get to heal our wounds? Losses of about ?10M announced, a new stadium that "might" be ? but "nothing's final" and the arriving of Da Silva "within a few weeks".. (While I can't help wondering whether yet another defensive midfielder will do our team any good.) I'm getting tired of this pure air talk where nothing at all seems to be anyhere near to being resolved!

And "spot on" to Alan Clarke; having been pro-Moyes since his appointment, when he actually introduced some attacking football in his first games... anyone remember? But now I'm starting to have genuine disbelief in Moyes's capacity as a manager. It worries me that we tend to play more and more dull football. It seems to me that Moyes in theory really wants to play attacking football when signing players (Yobo, Valente, Lescott, Arteta, Cahill, Johnson, Beattie, and on...) I do believe that he wants to play attrative football, but he just isn't capable of bringing these theories into action on the training ground and, most visibly, in games.

So he panics and applies the old rule for a defender (as he is): "Hoof the ball away!" and hope for the best. That's why I've come to the realisation that, although Moyes has worked wonders turning us from relegation battlers (which we were in almost every season from 1994) to a stable level, with a squad containing enough quality to compete for European football, he might have reached his limit. Soon, the other managers found out how to handle his successful 4-5-1 formation, which literally gave us that 4th-place finish. Now, it seems as though he has run out of ideas...

Let's run the rule over Moyes this season; it isn't over yet but, if we're still playing the same shite football in May, we might be better off with a better manager (Alan Pardew???). But still... UP THE BLUES! (from the rainy nights in Denmark)
Frederik Dahl Pedersen, Copenhagen, Denmark  (12/12/06)

Alan Pardew!?! Geroudahere!!!

Comparison

The expectations I had at the start of last season were the highest I'd had in an a very long time. The run of defeats we had over the first couple of months were made even more painful as a result of these expectations. It was so painful that I could barely make myself watch highlights packages on a Saturday night. If I'm honest, I think there were times that it must only have been sheer bloody-mindedness that kept me going.

This season, expectations were fairly high after the Liverpool game and the first six games of the season in general. As the season on the pitch has gone on, and I have become more informed about things off the pitch (thanks to finding this website), I keep waiting for the same depths of despair that I had this time last year.

It hasn't happened and it's really bugging me as to why. It's not that I have become apathetic or less caring about the club. I love the club to bits and it will always be in my blood. It's just that I really think right now that that nothing bad that can or will happen, bar relegation, will shock me at this stage.

Rubbish team... that's Everton. Rubbish manager, that's Everton. Rubbish Chairman; that's Everton. It's simply fact at the moment. And yet I still want the opppsite of it all. I want glory and success as much as the next Everton fan and I will never lose hope. But it just seems like a bigger kick in the pants to feel this way about the club I love than the way I felt last season. We're simply a joke at the moment.

Now you can read this and think 'what sentimental crap'. I'm cold sober writing it and. yes, it probably is sentimental crap but that's how miserable I'm feeling right now...
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (11/12/06)

Cynical

Having watched Sheff Utd v Aston Villa: despite being a poor team, Sheff Utd players are prepared to put their bodies on the line and provided excitement for their fans. When was the last time we had 20 chances in a game? under Moyes the tactics are so poor it would take us 4 or 5 games to do this.

I've been a season ticket holder for 25 years and have seen a lot of crap served up over the years; with a few exceptions, this squad of journeymen will take this formerly great club nowhere under the stewardship of Moyes and Kenwright.

Yes, the ground looks tired and we can't redevelop due to financial constraints but the gaps in the crowd in a 50,000 stadium will be far more obvious than they are at present.

The solution is something Kenwright can't offer: FINANCE, to strengthen the squad and enable us to challenge for Europe on a regular basis. Although can anyone trust Moyes to spend wisely?
Jim Feeney, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Kenwright Snubs Blues Shareholders

First, Bill shuts out the fans on the ground move and then shuts the door on the shareholders. In effect, by engineering a so-called deal before the AGM, he has gagged the shareholders. Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo was leaked the ground move story before the AGM and published it with Bill?s blessing. Bang out of Order!
Ken Weeks, Runcorn  (11/12/06)

Time for Change!

David Moyes seems to be the strangest manager we have ever had. The first halves of the seasons when we finished 7th and 4th, I for one thought he was the 'Moyesiah'. But the second halves of those seasons I thought he was awful. And the seasons we have finished 17th and 11th were disgraceful.

With the good patches, all he has done is prove how appalling Walter Smith was. I think we have good players ? better players than Villa, Spurs, Blackburn, Newcastle, Bolton, etc. We have the 5th best team, it's time we had a manager that can deliver. Joe Royle and Dave Watson anybody?
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Response to 'Everything under one roof

An interesting perspective and one that I agree with. However, the most depressing thing about your apocolyptic view is that, in terms of the impact it will have on the game itself, it really is no different from the way the game is now ? a complete non-contest. The skillful part of what Sky do, and what club's will have to learn, is to keep us all believing that we can win something, when it becomes ever more apparent that we can't.
Seb Gordon, London  (11/12/06)

Oh by the way, we tore down Goodison

Why does everything have to be so bloody secret with Everton? Other clubs come up with a relocation plan and it's in the evening paper with pretty artist sketches and so on. With Everton, it's all confidentiality clauses and none of your damn business secretiveness. People's Club ? my royal Irish arse!

How about a little sunlight? I assume they'll tell us how to get there when the Theatre of Urban Nightmares is finally built: "Turn left at the second methadone clinic on the left, make a right at the skag mart and can't miss it next to the abandoned graffiti covered block of flats.

Oh and by the way, we tore down Goodison and built a Tesco storage warehouse.
Steve Adams, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Failure

With reference to Mr Dodd's post re Saturday's game where he states that our loss was due to a decimated team and fine lines in the luck department and the manager's attempts to put things right almost paid off.

Well, I don't know if he saw the game but from my seat I saw footballers representing the Club and the manager who, despite being paid thousands of pounds per week and afforded all the time they need to practice their art, failed to pass the ball to team-mates, keep the ball for more than seconds at a time, win many first or second balls... And the marking, well, just witness Kanu standing alone before despatching the ball into our net.

This has nothing to do with bad luck on the injury front but everything to do with Everton's footballers being unable to at least master the basics and earn their vast saleries. That I think is what gets up a lot of noses as all the plans and tactics in the world will fail if we have players who can't control and pass a football. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (11/12/06)

Well said, Ken. Wholeheartedly agree: why can't they even do the basics? It's because the only instructions they get from Moyes are "Work hard", "Get back and cover", and "Get rid". ? Michael

Grow Up

Just a quick note to Brian Abrams: Wimbledon died a death because they were shit and had no fans or history. How dare you defile our club by comparing us to them. I see myself as a big Evertonian. I've travelled miles following my club, so four miles down the road will mean no hardship for me. Stop talking crap!
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (11/12/06)

Stubbs as midfielder

Just a quick response to Gavin Ramejkis: Alan Stubbs started his career as a midfielder and whilst it might not be his best position. If you're going to be so aggressive and offensive to another fan, at least get the facts correct...
Joe Daly, Manchester  (11/12/06)

The Liverpool Echo

Tonight's Echo plumbs new depths for sycophancy. If this is the best spin the Club can produce via their mouthpiece Dominic King then we should indeed be very afraid about the Ground move. Simply unbelieveable ? it's as if Kenwright was not in charge of the Kings Dock fiasco ? unbelievable!
John Doolan, Bootle  (11/12/06)

The perfect example

West Ham recently were taken over by a wealthy consortium whose interests were solely for the club to push on and be bigger and better. Instrumental to that was to sack the manager who the new board felt wasn't the man to fit their ambitions! Why is it that our club hasn't that insight or bottle to move boldly and dismiss Moyes before we turn into West Ham?

I heard Ron "Chopper" Harris this morning on the wireless saying going to Everton and getting a draw in his day was a good result for the visitors. Pity that sentiment isn't shared now. Pity!
Luq Yussef, London  (11/12/06)

Mediocre Football

I agree with the comments on ToffeeWeb about Everton's poor performances. I can't see us winning a game at the moment due to the weekness of our midfield. We are carrying a couple of players and I'm not going to name them. We have no flair, pace or power ? these are essential qualities of a player to play at this level.

Andy Johnson will struggle to score as there is no sevice to him, he has to forage after long punts into the corners and we hope his pace will get him something. Moyes has had money and blown it on poor players who are not good enough for the Championship never mind the Premiership. If there are no new players of any quality brought in in January, I fear that our dreams of Europe will be just that.
David Carroll, Blackburn  (11/12/06)

Dose of Reality

I'll keep this short and simple, just read Alan Clarke's post further down the page. Crystalization of an argument if ever I saw one!
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Goal Drought

James Beattie & Andrew Johnson = 8 goals, ?14.6 million. Kevin Doyle = 8 goals, ?80,000. Hmmn. When (if ever) is DM going to give either James Vaughan or Vic Anichebe an extended run in the first team? I know we're down to the bare bones but we'd stopped scoring sometime ago.
Dean Peamum, George, South Africa  (11/12/06)

re: Fucked

Alan Myers? Surely not "THE" Alan Myers...??? Let's hope the Sky paymasters are not ToffeeWeb's, or Alan, you will have some explaining to do.
Jamie Carroll, Ireland  (11/12/06)

Move over Marshy!

The cases for and against Moyes remain far more complex than many posts here make out, with both sides picking and choosing facts to support their arguments, and feedback obviously varying depending on the latest result.

That said, since our 4th place finish, Moyes has failed to improve on performances and, with any consistency, results. I have been reluctant to criticise him because, when you get to my age, you tend to remember what came before and Moyes is a big improvement on that! I think he has improved Everton a great deal and he has my gratitude for that, but I'm inclined to conclude that he's taken us as far as he can.

A ten-year plan? How exactly does that manifest itself year on year? I know we've been hit by injuries just now but in the bigger picture I don't think we are seeing any yearly improvement are we?

Moyes has raised expectations and he should be saluted for that. But in doing so perhaps he's dug himself a hole he can't get out of. He's improved personnel at the club but, as some posters have astutely pointed out, they are not playing to their potential under a manager who lacks the fire and brimstone he had when he first arrived at the club.

While I acknowledge that things used to be worse, that does not mean we shouldn't yearn for them to be better still. Under Moyes I don't currently have any belief that this will happen.

I'm getting into bed with Tony.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (11/12/06)

Metaphorically speaking, I hope!

Say Goodbye to Everton

All the Evertonians who can barely wait to start tearing down Goodison Park and send Everton packing out of Liverpool ought to be honest about it. Stop using the name Everton and start using the name Kirkby Tesco. Once you move away you sacrifice your right to use your original name. That's why Wimbledon stopped using Wimbledon and became Milton Keynes Dons. They moved away.

If moving out of Liverpool is such a good thing, go the whole way. It won't be the real Everton any more anyway. So use Kirkby Tesco from now on! For me, Everton dies the day they move out of Liverpool. And every Evertonian who doesn't protest is just as guilty of the assassination of Everton as Kenwright is.

I won't ever step inside Tesco Stadium and I believe there are thousands of others who also won't. This is the end of Everton after so long and so rich a history. This is the birth of Kirkby Tesco FC.
Brian Abrams, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Kenwright Stadium?

How long before Daffy Dodd or one of his fellow travellers suggests the new ground should be named `The Kenwright Stadium`? After all, his mate Deadly made sure he had a `Doug Ellis Stand` ? and then there`s that prat Madjeski!
Paul Cluwes, Flint  (11/12/06)

La-La Land

Richard Dodd, does your world look like that of Uncle Remus from Song of the South with birds singing everywhere you go? You talk utter and complete bollocks and even the most loyal Moyes fans are admitting his mistakes with the exception of yourself.

I apologise for a one on one comment and I know you are fully entitled to your viewpoint but I would suggest you pop into Alan Stubbs's and his wife's cafe in Formby and ask them if he had ever played as a midfielder before and whether or not he thought it was a huge mistake, one which should never have happened.

To ignore the abject lies from the top down at Goodison is bad enough but to propel the perpetrators into glorification is downright madness. Where in the world would anyone who has performance related pay/bonuses in their contract, who has openly admitted to being absent from the workplace at the time the trigger for the bonuses occured, suddenly one year later become entitled to something they had just admitted not being present and obviously not involved with be able to claim them?

Where would the owner of a company with regular paying customers be able to continually lie with greater and greater theatrical nonsense and pure Walter Mitty-esque methods be allowed to continue in their position? The same individual seeking funding 24/7, which has only ever returned with a buyer to erradicate his irritant at his workplace and strengthen his position in his ivory tower, still leaving the company with NO new investment.

Where would a football team with a mediocre manager who has constantly been found out by his peers, who tackle his negative tactics with ease and gradually greater aplomb? On most occasions, a single goal against his side being enough to claim a victory as they know his negative formations and teams will offer no comebacks.

The club has been asset-stripped of its possessions, with the exception of Goodison Park and a few remaining players. Watch this space for the rot to continue under the stewardship of Messrs Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes. A few more seasons of pocket-filling and mediocrity which would make Agent Johnson's tenure look childsplay in comparison.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (11/12/06)

No Boy Scout, he!

Richard Dodd`s latest posting hits new levels of absurdity. Has anyone ever explained to you, Plank, that ALL clubs suffer loss of players through injury, illness and suspension? Saturday`s opponents were, themselves, short of three or four regulars but clearly were more prepared for the loss.

Everton`s current squad list shows only seven midfielders, this for a team in which the manager regularly favours five in that section. How prepared for eventualities is that? Just as last season`s European adventure caught him unawares, so Moyes failed to ensure adequate resources were available for this season. The deadline day sale of Kilbane ? which the manager must have sanctioned ? merely compounded the felony.

No doubt the New Year transfer window will see the recruitment of more second-raters such as Hendrie or Presley ? although the genius seems set on solving the problem with a right-back! But, whoever is brought in, it will be too late. An excellent start to the season has been thrown away by the unpreparedness of an incompetent manager.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (11/12/06)

We're on the road to nowhere

I think Redknapp summed it all up when he said that Everton had spent ?16 million on their strikeforce and he spent nothing on Kanu (or words to that affect) and look who won the match.

Why does Moyes need 5 or 10 years to do what Redknapp has done in 9 months? I could understand it if we had been making slow but obvious progress but I think the club is just treading water at the moment and it's trying hard to ignore the puncture it?s just found in its lifejacket.

I can understand Moyes wanting to keep as many experienced pros in the team as possible against Portsmouth but there comes a point when you can have one too many defenders? he only needed to ask Walter Smith. In fact, having thought about it I'm quite glad we got stuffed on Saturday because if we had done well then Moyes might have come up with a new ultra formation? 6-2-1 (four centre-backs, two full-backs, two midfielders and one striker)!

One last thing: if you were an aspiring midfield youth player with Everton, how do you think you would be feeling now? Would you not find it hard to motivate yourself if you knew the manager won?t give you a chance in the first team, even when all the first-choice midfielders are injured?

Andy Holden's team talk: "Right lads, I know you're shit, the Gaffer know's you're shit, you probably think you are shit now but just forget about all that. Remember, you're just herr to make up the numbers, ok? We just pretend we have a good youth setup when Sky comes around, its nothing personal like".
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (11/12/06)

Re: Alex Wilson ? Aesthetics

Sorry, Alex, but that was cobblers. Utter nonsense. Which shop would I prefer to spend my money in, as if the analogy makes any sense? The one with the better product on offer. Sadly, as football fans, we're stuck with what we get and we don't have that choice.

Investors, on the other hand, do. And they also have a different idea of "better product" than we do. They don't just see what the team does on the pitch, they see corporate entertainment ? which has as much to do with the surroundings as anything else. If Everton is to compete with the big boys, and we all know who they are, there is no choice but to attract corporate revenue streams.

Given the choice of tatty old Goodison or smart modern Emirates, we ain't much competition on that front. Even if our corporate package is as good as anyone else's, even Norwich City have more boxes than we do so we haven't the capacity to increase the revenue to any sort of level without serious work on the ground.

And anyone who believes that Goodison Park in its current footprint could be redeveloped for a fraction of the cost of building a new stadium has only a tangential connection with reality, I'm afraid. If you're going to redevelop, for one thing you're going to have to adhere to current building regulations and not the ones the Gwladys Street end was built under. For another thing why on earth *wouldn't* you take the opportunity to make things a bit more comfortable for the fans and put in more leg room at the very least?

In short, new stands of the same capacity as we have plus boxes will take up a hell of a lot more space than the Goodison Park I visit presently occupies. So, unless you go to another Goodison Park, I don't know about, you can choose: reduced capacity on the existing footprint (cheaper in the short run but almost completely defeats the object of rebuilding), or buy up land around the ground to build on (time-consuming with no guarantee of success, and adding land acquisition costs to an already higher outlay on bigger stands. Ask Liverpool and Manchester United). And I haven't even mentioned planning permission.

Notwithstanding all this, there's no guarantee that by redeveloping Goodison we wouldn't end up with a soulless concrete bowl anyway, and neither is there any guarantee that a brand new stadium would end up as a soulless concrete bowl either. The bottom line is, there is no "best of both worlds". There isn't even a decision to make, except "where?". We simply have to move out.
Richard Pike, Birmingham  (11/12/06)

Billy Liar and the Liverpool Echo

Where do I start?

Why not with Everton TV?s correspondent Dominick King (sorry, the Liverpool Echo) who took a break from match reports to tell us all about Bill Kenwright's idea to ship everybody off to a tesco car park in Kirkby. A lovely pro-establishment piece by Dominick King was just left with one slight snag: Everton have signed a deal with Tesco to start building but have not made a final decision?

Is that pure Bill Kenwright bullshit at it?s best? or did he really mean, if the fans say NO then they have a get out clause in the tesco contract, or is the contract nothing more than a figment of Bill?s imagination designed to mislead the fans and the shareholders.

As Dominick King was on lick-arse duty today, I would highly recommend everybody read the match report written by David Prentice in the Liverpool Echo.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Read it again. It doesn't say they have signed a deal to start building. It doesn't say they have signed a contract. And there has to be some considerable doubt about the reality of this 'deal', since it fits the bill (!) as a well-worn diversionary tactic forming a key part of the buildup to tonight's AGM. Lots of hot air will now be expended on this issue, rather than trying to get serious answers about the accounts. Job done! — Michael

Make some allowance, please!

Nobody here seems able to acknowledge that Moyes was without a complete midfield on Saturday. Had Osman, Arteta, Neville and Cahill been fit, I am sure they would all have played with Carsley making up `a five`. This would have allowed Davies to start at right back, where he is more than capable, and Johnson would have received the service he thrived on early in the season. Forced to play defenders in midfield, we had no chance but it still took two rather special goals to seal our fate.

Make no mistake, Everton will come again!
Brian Hill, Lunt  (11/12/06)

Moyes Not the Only Problem

Everyone seems to be blaming Moyes for our indifferent start to the season. To a certain extent they have a point: Moyes is clearly a manager who is out of his depth in the top flight. For me, he stepped up too soon ideally he should have served another 4/5 seasons in the Championship before taking on a club like Everton.

The real problem can be broken down into two aspects: the current financial structure of game; and the Everton Board of Directors.

The current financial structure for clubs in the top flight has resulted in a monopoly of the game by four elite clubs. Their domination of the game is fuelled by a number of factors: TV rights (they get the lions share due to the fact the big 4 are featured the most on live Sky broadcastes), Champions League money, merchandising, and (in the case of Chelsea) a rich owner. What does this mean for clubs like Everton?

Put simply, as things stand, clubs like ours will never be able to win a major trophy or be able to compete at any serious level in the league (a one-off finish in 4th spot was a real exception to this rule, just look who has finished in the top four since the Premiership was founded). The sad fact is we are part of the 'no hope' brigade, a trophyless season the norm. We are there to make up the numbers and to complement and support the success of the Big Four.

Wake up! Unless the structure changes, we have no hope of ever achieving anything. Fans I feel are beginning to wake up to this, look at attendances for clubs like Villa and Everton, fans are beginning to stay away as the truth slowly sinks in.

This brings me to my last point: the Everton Board of Directors. The only hope we have of breaking the monopoly of the Big Four (as things stand) is a major investment in our club by some outside source. What is Kenwright and the rest doing to try and secure some sort of significant investment into our club?

West Ham, Pompey, Villa have all recently been taken over by backers who have promised significant financial investment into their clubs, yet a club with the following and tradition of Everton seems to be constantly missing out. Unless we secure some form of financial backing or the financial structure of the game is changed (I personally would like to see some form of fan ownership being introduced-may be then we could call ourselves a 'People's Club') the future is, I am afraid, very bleak.
Steve Burbage, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

Fucked!

I think most of us have come to believe that Moyes is no better or worse than the great majority of managers plying their trade with `make-weight` clubs in the Premiership: Allardyce, Hughes, Coleman, Coppell, Jol, Jewell, Pearce - all have their good runs and bad and all trot out the same assinine crap on a daily basis. Whether you like it or not,there IS a Big Four and all the media ? not just Sky ? are in awe of them.

Without sugar daddies or lines of unlimited credit(and the means to support it!), all you can hope for is to be the `best of the rest`. Swop all the managers around and you would still suffer garbage football and finish in almost identical positions.

New managers, new grounds and, usually, new chairmen don`t make much difference ? and if they do, it`s not for long! As Colm has told us over and over, the game we used to love is Fucked with a capital F!
Alan Myers, Little Stanley  (11/12/06)

I wonder if we are finally starting to see that reflected in those embarrassingly low attendances at places like City and Boro? Will the steady downward trend in crowds at Goodison so far this season be continued? Certainly not against Chelsea (oh look, one of the Big Four!) beacuse they will want to watch the good football, the fabuous stars, and the miniscule possibility of an upset. — Michael

Oh, I see!

Quote ? "He [James Beattie] has been out of the side because other people have been in it" - unquote. Brilliant logic from the current Everton manager, D Moyes. He could have said he was left out because he was crap but that might put off Cardiff or Stoke who might want to take the pie-eater off our hands.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (11/11/06)

Penetration is the way to go

If he is really concerned about losing to long-range shots and our lack of goals, David Moyes would not employ a retreating defence. Massed defenders plus attackers in our penalty area provide ample opportunity and clear invitation for opponents moving into vacated areas to try long bombs. Our keeper not having clear sight of the ball plus deflections make it inevitable that sooner or later one or more of those long bombs will find the back of the net.

Another downside of a retreating defence is we rarely have a midfielder in enough space to relieve pressure or act as a springboard to counter attack. Hopeful (some would say 'hopeless') punts to a lone striker is far too often our only option.

Forty years ago, when I did a coaching badge, studies included a topic on ?Retreating Defence?. No brains, technique or complex moves were required thus making it the smallest chapter in the manual and the easiest to organise of the practicals. Tutors advised that such tactics are totally negative and only of use in dire circumstances.

David Moyes it seems, thinks all games are dire yet I wish he would re-read those chapters headed ?Penetration In Attack?.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (11/12/06)

Investment ? The Issue for the AGM!

I have been perhaps more of a 'Moyes apologist' than most in these pages. That's because I think he has been doing a basically decent job with very meagre resources.

The BIG issue for Everton now is whether we can have any success in the future without a major investment. It is happening all around us with other Premier clubs ? Portsmouth, Villa, West Ham, and now of course Liverpool.

My view is clear: we are going to be massively out-competed unless we do something soon to get some more money in. Just watch any of the above teams and others start eying up Lescott, Yobo, Cahill and Arteta ? and then making offers we can't refuse, especially with the players wanting to go to somewhere that better furthers their careers.

Kenwright may or may not have been a good owner for the last few years, taking over from the despised Johnson. That is now irrelevant. The whole context of the football world in the UK has changed, and now he definitely needs to step aside so that someone with more money can step in to enable our once-great club to compete with its rivals.

Bill, if you really do care about the Blues, you must step aside now and get in a major new investor. Otherwise we really are destined to scrap it out with the Charltons and Watfords of the football world. And in that world we should probably count ourselves lucky to have a hard grafting manager such as David Moyes.
Neil Pearse, London  (11/12/06)

No such word as 'failure'

As was to be expected, there is little praise forthcoming for the excellent performance the boys put in during the second half at Portsmouth. Let`s face it, the only difference between the teams was Taylor`s stunning strike and an excellent goal from Kanu.

Forced into fielding a scratch team because of the worst spell of injuries in living memory, Davey was brave enough to experiment with the starting line-up and wise enough to change things around in the second half. In both respects he is entitled to the highest praise rather than the vitriolic criticism heaped on him in these columns.

I will be bold enough to say that had one of our speculative attempts on goal (a la Taylor) gone in on 15 minutes, our reknowned defensive qualities would have ensured we came home the winners. Such is the narrow line between success and failure. To me, that latter word just does not exist ? and I know it`s a view shared by many true Evertonians. But some days you are less successful than on others. Sadly, Saturday was one of them!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (11/12/06)

It explains a lot, Richard, if certain words in the English language just don't exist for you: they do. Worse still, the concept, meaning or reality they convey also exists, which must come as a bit of a shock for you. Take the first half on Saturday: Moyes's makeshift line-up was a failure; it needed fixing; Moyes did something about it. However, Everton failed to score, and so we failed to draw... never mind win. — Michael

Blood

Read another article the other day where God Old Bill states "I bleed blue" for the 100th time this year.

"Why not put it to the test?" me thinks. Please don't get me wrong: I'm not a violent fella but like alot of people in this country I've got diabetes, which means regular blood testing. Let Bill prove once and for all he bleeds blue. If its red, WELL he's in for some grief that's for sure!!!!!!!
John Audsley, Leeds  (11/12/06)

Stools

My impression of Everton under Moyes is a squad caught between two stools ? no, I'm not talking about Beattie and Neville. We have two types of player ? the Arteta/Osman/Lescott group who seem to want to play football, and the Neville/Hibbert/Stubbs lot who want to grind out results through effort and bustle.

I appreciate teams need silk and steel but, as other posters have suggested, they need to be blended into an overall team system. On any given match we seem to have half the team trying to play one way and the other half playing the other. To my eyes, this is why decent players turn shit at Everton; they never know whether to come short for the pass, or peg on, chasing an overhead hoof.
Duncan Lennard, Somerset  (11/12/06)

In Response to Jim Hourigan and extinction

Why extinction? Are any clubs who decided to redevelop their grounds on the verge of extinction? Chelsea, Man Utd, Newcastle, Villa and various others seem to be doing OK. Are we really at such a bad site? Sitting on a main arterial road, within walking distance of another and the inner ring road, and a short shuttle bus away from the busiest non-city-centre rail station? These aren't emotional statements they are facts.

We also currently reside at the site of the world's first purpose-built football stadium. Historical fact, and no-one else can ever lay claim to it. This all adds value to our club. I'm not against moving, but the benefits gained from doing so have to surpass those factual benefits/assets realised at the current site. How Kirkby does that is beyond me. You could build a beautiful stadium in the middle of the mersey, it doesn't mean it would be of any use!!!
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (11/12/06)

Mixed views on Moyes

Moyes has clearly had mixed fortunes when buying players. Lescott looks fantastic, Cahill speaks for himself and AJ will come good, just on a bad patch of form. If you have all watched Arteta this season, he has been superb; however, Moyes needs to start buying further quality on the flanks because we are so short it's untrue.

VdM will eventually be playable, although I fear for him and Beattie at Everton. I think Moyes panicked when he bought Beattie in January 2005 because no-one else was available. Then, when Johnson came on the market, it was exactly the type of player he wanted. Now he's here, Beattie is basically obsolete, especially with the very promising Anichebe on the scene. Although I love James Vaughn, Anichebe has more going for him, with massive power, speed and agression. Whether Vaughn can match that is still to be seen...
Gaz Kruger, Wavertree, Liverpool  (11/12/06)

For fuck's sake, it's James Vaughan, that's JAMES VAUGHAN, JAMES VAUGHAN

VAUGHAN!



VAUGHAN!!



VAUGHAN!!!.


It's not that hard, people, you can do it. Just put an 'A' in there!!! — Michael

Losing money

I decided to subscribe to Everton TV so when my parents asked me for Xmas ideas I told them what to get me.

Unfortunately, it seems Everton's technical department have made a cock up because I cannot subscribe due to their useless form. It says I need to tick a box which says I watched the demo, well I didn't so why tick? Then it says I can only enter numbers for my telephone numbers when I have entered just numbers.

These silly issues have cost them ?35 and countless more people will be left disappointed. Losing easy money will not help us pay off our dept. Come on guys, sort it out!
Gavin Harris, Loughborugh  (10/12/06)

Spot On, Alan Clarke

Never has a nail been hit so hard on the head as the hammer blow dealt by Alan Clarke in his latest post. Failure by Moyes to get the best out of his players is one of the main reasons we are on a permanent roller-coaster ride. Give Moyes a ?100 Million to spend and the end product would always be the same. No players, regardless of who they are, would be able to do much better than the ones we already have.

It's the systems and the tactics Moyes is so fond of using that totally nullify the team. Players become stale and worn-out, both mentally and physically when they are pushed in to a useless system they know doesn't work. Andy Johnson is a prime example of this already this season. The lad is running his bollocks off in every game, chasing hopeless balls he has no chance of doing anything with. In the end any of us would get fed up.

When was the last time one of our strikers had a ball put on a plate for him inside the box? It just doesn't happen and it never will if we persist with this style of play. Stick the best midfield players in the world in our team and play the Moyes system and they wouldn't know what day it was. The ball isn't on the floor long enough for anyone to have an influence on the game. Its mind numbing shite that masquerades as football at Goodison these days and some one is to blame for it.

I don't think the players think this crap up ? do you? It's coached into them on the training ground by Moyes and Irving, and it's got to stop. How farcical does it have to become before people wake up?

Stubbs in midfield on Saturday... what a master stroke that was by Moyes! You can't tell me that we haven't got another player in the whole club who couldn't have slotted in there.

Vaughan proved last week that the kids are up for it so give them a go. Van Persie and Fabregas are both playing for Arsenal on a regular basis and they are only 21.

Chelsea on Sunday and I just can't stand the humiliation of it all. Once again Moyes will be standing on the touch line with an empty brain as his 7 stone weaklings are brushed aside. Sky cameras will catch the lot and we will have to watch repeats all fucking week.

Please, Santa, bring me a new manager.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (10/12/06)

Moaners are laughable

In response to all you doom-and-gloom merchants moaning about a 2-0 defeat to Pompey (3rd in the Premiership with a rich Chairman willing to invest) ? could any team in the Premiership cope without three of their first-choice midfielders who are Cahill, Arteta and Neville? The answer is "No" ? unless you're Chelsea. David Moyes simply doesn't not have the finance to go out and buy a squad that's full of depth and quality (and when he does get a few quid, he generally tends to squander it).

If we would have given the same amout of money to a different manager, who's to say he would have done better? Fans should be grateful that we are in 10th position in the league with the team we have available. This negativity was not around when we hammered Liverpool 3-0. Certain people who put entries in the Mailbag need to realise the reality of the situation. We have lots of injuries, a small squad, an average manager, and no finance to invest; what do you expect?

Get Billy Liar out and that's when things will change.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (10/12/06)

Moyes's signings

To me, Johnson is proving that Moyes isn't so bad in the transfer market but is useless once these signings arrive. Beattie, Kr?ldrup, Davies and now Johnson.... I was excited when all these players arrived. They've all played well for their previous teams in the top flight. Davies and Kr?ldrup have received glowing reports playing international football. Johnson and Beattie have managed to reach the 20-goal mark for a season and have both played for England and should be reaching their prime.

Kr?ldrup was shipped off because he was not good enough; Davies looks like he's conned his way into the side and has never actually played football. Beattie and Johnson both look dreadful and yet at times both for Everton have looked world class. I might be wrong and they might just not be very good but perhaps, more likely, we have a poor manager who cannot play to his players' strengths and cannot help them regain any confidence if they hit a bad patch.

To further this claim, Yobo did once look world class but now looks poor and I wait to watch Lescott follow in his steps. Cahill has also had a poor season last season and contributors on here were calling for him to be transferred. Neville when he arrived from Man Utd could pass the ball and now he can't. The list goes on. Surely everyone can see the common denominator ? Moyes! He needs to go.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (10/12/06)

Of all the criticsms cited on here highlighting the limitations of our beleagured manager, perhaps that is one of the most damning I have read. Of course there will be exceptions his apologists will cite, but you can even see what we might call 'the Moyes effect' in action with our star player from last season, Arteta, who has rarely peaked this season. The failure of Osman to really progress; even the development of Hibbert, once touted for an England place, has stalled under Moyes. And as for McFadden... Case Closed!!! — Michael

Defensive coach? Hahaha....

Had to chuckle at Colin Malone`s call for a `defensive coach`. We`ve got one Col, his name`s Moyes. He just ain`t very good, that`s the problem!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (10/12/06)

One damn thing or the other

The one thing I`ve learned about life under David Moyes is that it`s either one damn thing or the other! We`re either looking like world-beaters or so danm awful you can`t bear to watch. The team goes off on a long(ish) unbeatable run and we all know he`s got it right and we`ve `turned the corner`. Then all of a sudden we can`t buy a win and `it`s time for him to go.`

Now this ain`t really the way to run a football team ? or anything else for that matter ? but that`s how it is and always has been under Moyes. So don`t get too depressed at the current malaise because a long(ish) winning run is in sight. Then, after that... well you get my drift.
Glyn Phillips, Ruabon  (10/12/06)

Sussed!

Although I wrote in defence of Johnson a month ago, I now believe that the early doom mongers got it right. It took Premier coaches about six weeks to suss the little man who is now forced to spend most of his time out wide where he can cause few problems. To me, Beattie has always been an `absentee striker` and now we have two of them. Whether this is because Moyes expects ALL his players to see defence as their primary role or whether it`s because AJ was never that good we shall never know. But we do know that, together or apart, these two are not the future of Everton. Time to get the kids in I think!
Colin Tunstall, Speke  (10/12/06)

Missing Players

There are people saying that yesterday we were without 7 or 8 first teamers ? I would like to know who they were. Has Moyes transfered someone in behind our backs? The only ones that were missing yesterday were Cahill, Arteta, Neville (who has been playing lousey) and Hibbert (who would be hard pushed to get in a Championship side).

I just wish these Moyes lovers could see past their noses: Moyes is crap, Kenwright is the original Billy Liar, and some bugger has blown a trumpet and the walls are crumbling round our ears. I just hope someone can hold that bastard Kenwright to account one day soon.

Will ToffeeWeb be giving an account of his rambliings on Monday night? If the shareholders have any guts about them, there should be a good bit of shit flying about, and I hope it hits the spot! Thanks for letting me blow.
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (10/12/06)

Don't get any high hopes about the shareholders holding Bill to account any time soon ? even though that is ostensibly what Monday's Annual General Meeting is for. But, if you look back through our records of recent AGMs you will see the pattern is depressingly familiar.

After the required business, including re-voting Bill onto the Board as he glowers at the handful who had the temerity to vote against him, one or two may stand up to be counted in the Q&A session, but anything substantial they may raise will be easily brushed aside by those in control on the platform. The meeting will drag on while everone has to listen once again to a passionate rambling heartfelt pile of irrelevent drivel from someone who takes things just a little too personally, and they will disperse for another year. Now, if we fans had heeded the call for a Fans Trust, things might have been different... ? Michael

From my seat

A game to remember, for the first time in following the Blues over many years I saw us take the field with NO discernable midfield. Is that bad luck, bad management, or a club just too skint to have a squad with depth?

Plan A seemed to suggest clean sheet and a point; Taylor's screamer put paid to that.

Plan B seemed to be not to ship anymore and try to snatch one. Kanu's well-taken goal put paid to that.

Plan C (after half-time) seemed the most sensible and productive and I wondered why we didn't start with that one as there were a few more pegs in the right holes... but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Down to the barest of bones, some players just were not up to it: Weir horribly exposed for pace; Stubbs a beached whale in midfield; Yobo demonstrating he is not a right back; Faddy? well just not good enough.

The thought of making Europe this season is still possible but how will we look this time next season with all the extra games and not apparently the finance to procure players of sufficient quality to sustain any sort of run or creditable performance? Bare bones squads and European competition just dont go hand in hand.

Chelsea next and if some of the wounded are not back it could be an interesting afternoon down Goodison way. It seems we need all players fit, available and in form for us to have any chance of a top-ten finish this season. If they are not, then yesterday gave us all the answers. Still onward and upward.

See you Sunday -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (10/12/06)

More bloody excuses

So once again it`s injuries and the ref who stopped us from getting anything at Portsmouth. `I can`t tell you why we are not scoring`,says Moyes. Well I bloody can! The service to the front two is non-existent and not one of the four so-called strikers is capable of anything dramatic like the Pompey goal. Whichever way you look at it, this is a crap team cobbled together by a crap manager!
Clive Montis, Moreton  (10/12/06)

OK, he's not Brian Clough but......

To suggest that David Moyes is worse than Walter Smith really is laughable! Can you imagine a team sent out by Walter thrashing Liverpool like we did just a few weeks ago? No they would probably have laid down and let them run all over us!

As for our present problems, we do have almost ALL of our midfield injured by the way! No team could cope with that. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Moyes is the best we're going to get at the moment!
Craig McManus, Mold, Flintshire  (10/12/06)

Aestethics? ? read 'extinction'

For all the obvious passion and heartfelt emotions expressed in the article, what is it actually saying? ? Let's stay at Goodison, sod progress and any chance of competing in the future, let's wallow in emotion, nostalgia and our history.

Well, sorry, that doesn't cut it for me. I will miss the old lady and I will remember the great nights and the atmosphere, but I want to move on and I am sick and tired of having no chance of winning a trophy. I want to genuinely think we have a chance in a season within my lifetime, and I don't mean the League Cup (or whatever they choose to call it next year).

If anyone seriously thinks that staying in a terraced-street landlocked site with absolutely no chance of investment is the way forward, then I'm clearly living on a different planet. Whatever you do to the ground, it's still going to be in a run-down, depressing part of the city. It's been a fantastic stadium in THE PAST as part of a footballing heritage that involved dads and lads (mine included), bringing their sons to matches in an era of no computers, no wide-screen cinemas, no Sky multi-channel options etc etc. Life moves on and Everton must also move on, progress means change and change does not mean old wine in new bottles. We have to attract and keep young lads and daughters in todays age not those of the 60s or 70s, and what they want is vastly different from the past - comfort, good surroundings and something new.

For those people not prepared to change then read 'extinction'. I'm not rich and don't have money to invest in Everton but I'll tell you the real truth: if I was rich and able to invest, there is absolutely no way I would do it at Goodison. No that's not heresy ? that's me putting a financial hat on instead of my emotional beliefs... and does anyone think that people with money think emotion before money? Why do they have money? It's because they think money. The only person who put his emotions first was Jack Walker at Blackburn and he did it as a parting shot towards the end of his lifetime, and his money was peanuts compared to the figures now being quoted.

Have we given up? Do we want to challenge Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool? (Chelsea are out of everybody's reach at present). If we do then let's move, let's move quickly and let's look to the future and not the past. I am not advocating Kirkby or anywhere else ? I am saying move to a new stadium that has potential and will attract and keep money, youth, and the supporters of the future. We make the atmosphere, not the bricks; if we go with a negative attitude, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy with all the doom mongers and luddites saying "I told you so".

Everton must have a future, one that we can feel as proud of as the past, but that won't happen whilst we cling to a sentimental, rose-tinited glasses view of football in the 21st Century. Progress means moving forward ? it doesn't have to mean at the expense of history and tradition ? that comes down to what you keep and what you bin.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (10/12/06)

Good letter, Jim; well argued. You make it sound such a simple decision. But 'move anywhere at any price' frightens a lot of people, and that's what Kirkby is sounding like. — Michael

Big Four my arse!!

Will contibutors please stop using the term 'Big Four'? It is an irritating, meaningless term thought up by some dick called Adrian working for Sky. Don't encourage them by using their media-speak!!
Ray Said, Liverpool  (10/12/06)

I think you'll find it predates Sky. In fact, there was a Big Five through the 60s, 70s & 80s, with Spurs in their, not Chelsea ... But no prizes for guessing who that fifth club was. — Michael

The omens don't look good

Losing 2-0 to the two best-taken goals I'd seen for a long time, wouldn't have been too bad if our performance had been better. It's also small comfort that everything that came from Pompeii, except Kanu's goal, were from long range. So we did defend quite well.

Bearing in mind we have an injury list longer than a Tesco checkout queue at Christmas, this could be a good excuse for any defeat. But yet again we used the Route One approach, hitting long high balls to Johnson as if we had spring-loaded boots. Do our players realise Johnson is only 5ft 7ins tall, and he doesn't stand a cat-in-hell's chance of winning headers against Pompeii's tall defenders?

It does make you wonder where their football brains are sometimes.

I thought the ref did quite well for both teams, so we can't use him as an excuse this week. Although Van der Meade's yellow card for diving was a joke as the trip by Sean Davis was as clear as day. In fact, you could argue that Sean Davis should have got a second yellow for that blatant trip and therefore shouldn't have been on the pitch come the end of the game.

Well, it's Chelsea at home next week and the omens are not looking good.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/12/06)

Clattenburg also booked Beattie instead of Carsley, but yes, he seemed to do Okay. — Michael

It's a Joke!

Week after week, I wish I could conjure up the right combination of words to make everyone realise just how crap our manager is because obviously some Evertonians just can't see what's in front of them.

Moyes has had four years and more to build a team and a squad and he's done neither. Moyes created his very own paper-thin squad (with very little quality) resulting in yesterday's shambles. But, even with the injuries we had, we could still have started the game with a better balanced team. Stubbs in midfield, Valente in midfield, Beattie still there while Vaughan, A GOALSCORER, doesn't come on until its too late. The whole thing is a joke.

I sometimes wonder if I dream things. Can someone please confirm that, in last week's game against West Ham, Osman went done injured close to where Moyes stands and was clearly in trouble. But Moyes incredibly ignores this and is about to bring off McFadden for Weir. Valente runs the full width of the pitch to tell Moyes that Osman is clearly in trouble so he should wait. Moyes then brings on Weir for Osman. Just another example of how dopey this fella is!

"Rooney left for the money", "Radinski left because he was crap", "Jeffers because he was trouble", "Bent because he was lazy" ? that is what the Moyes fan club say. But maybe it was due to something else ? like lack of service, getting played out of position, or just plain bad management. Isn't there a pattern here? Who's next? Hopefully Beattie and not Johnson!
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (10/12/06)

Moyes on borrowed time

For a club with Everton`s limited resources, far too many of the current manager`s big money buys have failed to provide a meaningful return. Wright, Kr?ldrup, Davies, Beattie, Van der Meyde and probably Johnson fall into this category, whilst much more would have been expected of Neville and Valente. In my book, only Cahill, Arteta and Lescott have really done the business whilst Yobo and McFadden frequently flatter to decieve.

Having said this, I do believe that Moyes`s prime failure has been his inability to recognise the main strengths of his signings and thus integrate them into a consistently functional playing pattern.

`Moyes's teams are always hard to breakdown,`is a statement we hear frequently from his fellow professionals. Those of us who see them weekly might dispute that but it would be difficult to argue that his main tactic is based on anything other than solid defence. Too many of the players he has brought in have been indoctrinated with his philosophy to the extent that even out-and-out attackers like Beattie and Johnson have had to sublimate their natural skills to `hard work` and defensive priorities.

What we have arrived at after nearly five years of Moyes's stewardship can only be described as an expensive mess. Too many expensive players who don`t perform; a team devoid of any kind of style or pattern; a lack of adequate cover ? particularly in midfield; and a continuation of the boom and bust syndrome which will be the hallmark of this manager`s reign.

For all the outpourings of sublime confidence from the Chairman and his sycophants ? and we shall hear more of it at tomorrow`s AGM ? I, for one, do not believe Kenwright to be the fool you make him out to be. He will not be unaware of the points I and others (now a rapidly increasing number) have made to him.

Moyes is on borrowed time, believe me!
Stewart Pollard, London  (10/12/06)

Manager has lost the plot

After watching the Portsmouth game, I am totally confused by David Moyes's team selection and tactics. He has lost the plot.

In defence, he seems hell-bent on trying to find a place for Weir and Stubbs ? why split Yobo & Lescott when they were starting to get an understanding? The problem right-back spot is of his doing: since he's been here, we have never had cover for Tony Hibbert yet we have four left backs

He makes changes at half-time and then states we played better in second half. Why? Because he cannot make his mind up what system he wants to play. Everybody KNOWS we need two good midfield players in January but don't hold your breath ? he keeps blabbing that he is happy with what he's got.

Maybe it's me but the faces and body language of the players say it all. Chopping and changing positions does not do anything for consistency. He has to get it right next Sunday or God help us.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (10/12/26)

We don`t talk about injuries...

Moyes says on Sky,`We don`t talk about injuries,` but then goes on to say `we were without three full-backs and four midfielders who all might have played.` I have news for him: Pompey had five players unavailable through injury and suspension, so clearly their reserves are better than ours.

Clearly Moyes has failed to build anything like a proper squad at Everton and the implication is that that is down to restrictions on finance. If the latter IS the case, and Kenwright is incapable of bringing in meaningful investment, then he should `do an Ellis` and let somebody buy his train-set.

It will nark me forever that Lerners` HQ at MBNA is 70 miles nearer Goodison than Villa Park but he got no encouragement from Blue Bill, whatsoever. God, who knows, we might even have had a decent manager in place by now!
Ken Warner, Chester  (10/12/06)

Don't blame the forwards

We have a good defence, my only worry is Yobo should be going to the next level now ? I am sure if he was with a club like Arsenal, he would be at that next level, there's a lot of potential there. Why do we blame the forwards? They cannot go get the ball off the defenders and put it in the back of the net. That's our midfielders' job but we've only got Arteta and that's it.

The only positive is Arteta; Osman and Cahill play well together but it doesn't help whan Osman and Arteta are on opposite wings. Osman is not a winger, we saw that against WestHam. If we can spend every penny we have in January, it shouldn't be a right back, it has got to be a midfielder who can drive us forward, shoot from the edge of the box, just like Gerrard does, how many time has he got them out of the shite? Someone like Nolan. That in my opinion would make a MASSIVE difference to our lack of goals.

ps: We have a goalkeeping coach, why not a defensive coach?, Watto; a midfielding coach? Reidy. Just a thought...
Colin Malone, Wirral  (10/12/06)

Aesthetics ? yeah, what he said!

As the saying goes, build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door (Ralph Waldo Emerson). A new stadium MIGHT be seen by some as a cure-all, but I think it might only be a cure for a lack of zeroes in the pounds column in various people's bank accounts.

"Show me the money" said Cuba, the vested interests, aka 'all the usual suspects', 'seem' keen to latch on to EFC as a mehod of feathering their own nests... Translation: we will get some grants and other stuff, rubber-stamped planning permission etc, and get our hypermarket / casino complex built ? and, oh yes, there will even be a football stadium.

Fogetting, by the way, that half of the local population might not consider going there coz of the blue connection... you think not?? Well, I pass for reasonably sane (just) and you will struggle to find anything much red in my house; I'm sure I don't walk alone in that respect either (pun intended).

Long story short: we only fill Goodison 2 or 3 times a year ? why spend a third of a billion... get the team right and all else will follow. Are Moyes and Kenright the people to do it? That is another matter... I doubt it, but what do I know? I'm only a fan.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (10/12/06)

Musical chairs

For the second time in three games we've had Moyes's very own version of musical chairs. This one even more ludicrous than the previous. Our defence has been the single area in which we have performed well this season.

Yesterday, our only recognised full-back starts in midfield, replacing McFadden, who put in a decent shift against the Hammers ? so much for all the talk about limited midfield options.

Our two central defenders are shipped out to the flanks and the two veterans are restored to their rightful positions ? all the more amusing when these selections are accompanied by a statement accredited to Cahill urging the youngsters to seize their opportunity ? fat chance! Result: for much of the game, the team played like strangers, which is hardly surprising.

When will Moyes realise that Beattie and Johnson simply do not hit it off. Ironically, Beattie and Vaughan appeared to have a much better understanding as a front pair if the West Ham game was anything to go by. In fact, Vaughan was one of the few positives from that game ? hardly surprising, then, that he is limited to a late appearance. And the one player whom he might have played off has already departed to allow for the introduction of a recognised midfielder in McFadden. Subsequently, Valente drops back to the position he should have started in.

God only knows what the starting line-up will look like for Chelsea. As for Moyes's after-match comments, well I have to agree it wasn't good enough; the team selection and tactics were a total disaster... Frankly, I'm beginning to believe the players are fast losing confidence in the ability of the manager to make the right decisions and it's beginning to show.
Gerry Western, London  (10/12/06)

Pompey 2 - 0 Everton

Last week we were a point from 3rd and now we are 10th? Wow, it's a really hard league this season. To be fair, we are missing pretty much all of our best players and Portsmouth have a good side this season. At least Anichebe finally got that chance so many people have been demanding. He had a whole half against Portsmouth, what's the verdict?

A couple of weeks ago somebody raised the point of consolation goals that we never get. In our six defeats this season we have scored only once. Why don't Everton score consolation goals??? Losing is bad enough but a goal would soften the blow.

I guess the problem with consolation goals is that your strikers have to be good enough to score them. The goalscoring threat of AJ and Beattie is about as visible as Britney's knickers.
Johnny Matrix, London  (9/12/06)

It's pretty easy to answer that over the last TWELVE matches:

Vaughan & Anichebe: 2 goals
Johnson & Beattie: ZERO goals
Ergo, Vaughan & Anichebe are streaks ahead, and should be given a few full matches together. What about it, Davey? — Michael

4-4... Score Draw

Just read Andy Davey's article about a 4-4 draw at Goodison against Newcastle in the 1970s. There was another one, much earlier. I reckon the first game I ever saw ended up at that same score but I've no idea when it was. Early 1950s? Can you help? I did the stadium tour recently and Dave Hickson didn't seem to remember that game.
Eric Cundliffe, Ormskirk  (9/12/06)

1951-52: Saturday 13 October 1951. It was in Division 2 (now equivalent the 'The Championship' and were away to Queens Park Rangers. 17,256 watched the 4 - 4 draw with the Everton goals coming from Buckle (2), Eglington, and Parker. Oh, hang on, that wasn't at Goodison? Does it matter?

Not happy today, but...

Blaming Moyes, and claiming that he should have covered against our current injury deficits, is simply not realistic. Outside the top 3, which other Premiership side wouldn't suffer badly if it lost five full backs and its three most creative midfielders?
Neil Pearse, London  (9/12/06)

The Fantastic Four

Funny how three of the "fantastic" four start in today's team and lo and behold it's a defeat. The Fantastic Four that I am referring to are Beattie, Weir, Davies and Richard Wright. If we start with any two of these we are guaranteed NOT to win. May scrape a draw but that's it. Three out of these four play and its a guaranteed defeat.

I see Beattie and Weir were hauled off at half-time today ? will Vaughan or Anichebe start in the fat waster's place next week? Course not! Will Hughes start in Weir's place if no one else is fit? Of course not!

Interesting to see Moyes say, and I quote here "we have been short on numbers since we lost Kilbane". We didn't lose him, you stupid bastard - you didn't forget to bring him back from an away game or anything. You decided that the squad could easily cope with only 5 recognised midfielders (I'm not counting Simon Davies as he barely qualifies as a footballer). Great thinking that ? did he not see we would get injuries or suspensions at some point??

He's now going into the loan market I see. Is anyone he brings in really going to be any better than what Kilbane could have offered? Probably not! Fucking genius, our Manager!
Steven Mills, Knotty Ash  (9/12/06)

Superman

In a frantic effort to find players able to play for the first team, David Moyes has tonight received permission from the Premier League to sign Superman on loan until further notice. This in addition to a Wardrobe from Real Madrid and two spring chickens from Lazio reserves because of a dearth of players able to play.

It has come to my attention that two more first team players are not fit to play against Chelsea next week due to tripping on alighting the team bus back from Portsmouth following Everton's glorious and steadfast 0-2 defeat. Both have possible cruciate ligament injuries that could see them sidelined for up to six weeks. That makes an injury list of 23 first team players and it's not even Christmas.

Superman will play in midfield and attack as necessary, posssibly at the same time, but has not scored for sometime, which is why Real Madrid have freed him up, to give him experience ? my quetsion is WHAT? At Everton?? Nevertheless Moyes is being positive about this situation saying he's seen worse in Scotland. All I can say is what a manager ? we should all get behind him and Kenwright, right now ... and push them over the cliff!!!!!!
Peete Stewart, London  (9/12/06)

Unhappy

In watching footy on TV here in Canada when I can, over the past few weeks, I have noticed how many ex-Everton players there are who have been let go in the past 5 or 6 years seem to be doing so well for other teams, any one got any answers?

I was a Moyes fan and would still like to see him suceed but WHY does he keep playing Beattie when he has other options available? Vaughan and the other young players come to mind. If the ones who are paid the big bucks to preform don't do the job, give someone else a chance.

I was impressed with Andy van der Meyde the last game I saw: play him; see what he can do. I am afraid Moyes has lost the ability to motivate players. I am begining to feel it is time for a change, for someone with a bit more passion. I see Hearts have let Pressley go... sign him now; he and Neville will certainly put a little more backbone in the squad.
Chris Miltson, Manitoba, Canada  (9/12/06)

Rooney, Gravesen, Speed, Dunne, Kilbane, McBride, McCann, Bent... Okay, maybe.

But Watson? Tal?? Oster??? Li Tie???? Unsworth????? Xavier?????? Gerrard??????? Jeffers???????? Cadamarteri????????? Come on!!!

Pressley from Hearts? What's that all about then? Yes, I know we need more players (and God knows hopefully that the same message has been picked up finally by Moyes) but I don't get this business of you identifying a player and saying "sign him now"! Do you honestly think someone at Everton will act on your advice?

The other likelihood is that the scouting people at Everton already know far more about Pressley and any other player you care to name (coz, after all, it's their job!) and have already decided whether or not to pursue any interest.

Your copy Football Manager 2007 is on its way... — Michael

Some Of The People, None Of The Time

I can safely say that there are plenty of you out there feeling pretty silly around about now. Evertonians are the most easily conned football supporters on the planet. Even as I write this there is some clown on the radio saying its not Moyes's fault today.

Well, you suckers out there who have continually failed to see this fool of a manager for what he is... you deserve him! It was last season at Pompey that Moyes introduced the now legendary 8-1-1 system. Today's pathetic line-up was nearly as bad. Being the shitehouse that he is, he completely ignores Vaughan, who was the star last week, and goes for safety first again ? WHY?!?

We are not going to win fuck all ? and even I don't think we will go down ? so why not experiment??? Try something new. Try to give the opposistion something to think about rather than laugh about. Try and be different instead of continually opting for the obvious.

I am sick and tired of Moyes.
I am sick and tired of Everton being the Premier League's joke side.
I am sick and tired of watching Everton play shite.
I am sick and tired of Evertonians being content with not being relegated.
I am sick and tired of ale house football players making fools of themselves at our expense.
I am sick and tired of a smug Panto Prince running our club in to the ground.

It's got to stop, all this nonesense... Please, for fuck's sake, don't defend Davey any more ? the man's totally shot. Watching Everton play under Moyes has never been easy but now it's as much fun as watching a tramp spew up.

Kenwright is a disgrace for putting up with this crap but, as long as the gulible out there stay on board, nothing will change. As for me, I am rapidly lossing interest and can not take another season of this shite; Cyprus, here I come.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (9/12/06)

Knee-Jerk!!!!

Nothing but the best will do

Having just watched the Portsmouth game, I am gutted. It has finally hit me how bad we are! We have no money, an awful squad, a negative manager and a club that promises so much but never delivers. Why am I so gulible?

We have a ground we are all ashamed of and I found out from a Club acountant last week that the "new" TFT displays in the Park End have been bought from the Highbury refurb ? I didn't believe it until the display was turned off and you can clearly see the Arsenal crest burnt in to the screen.

Where do we go from here? Should we be treated like this? I for one will not watch the team I love while it's so poor. "Nothing but the best will do"! ... Who's kidding who?
Phil Spen, Chester  (9/12/06)

I thought they actually tried quite hard in the second period after a poor first half. But watching them at the moment is indeed a struggle. ? Michael

It's the general ? not the troops!

I didn't see the match nor did I bother to go and watch the game but, from what I hear, it was a complete disaster! However, today I feel owes more to the injury crisis and the ineptitude of David Moyes rather than Portsmouth over-powering us! In fact, Portsmouth are the exact opposite of Everton football club in every department:

  • A rich low-profile club, while we are a poor glamour club.
  • An experienced yet limited manager who can motivate average players to a good battle unit, while Moyes is a reasonably experienced manager whose players are remarkably unmotivated under him.
  • And their chairman is rich and direct, while ours is a lying and selfish twat!
What really worries me is that Johnson is playing with the same conviction as James Beattie is, and that is very alarming! Moyes must go as this club is sinking into the mire under him; he is now worse than Walter Smith ? and I thought I would never say that!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (9/12/06)

Why Worry? Be (relatively) Happy!

Ok, I know all football fans moan but I must admit we are amongst the worst. I've been a follower for over 43 years. I have seen some sublime moments, but also play that made me contemplate spending time with the mother-in-law.

Our best and classiest player is Mikel Arteta; yes, I would have his Babies. Only after picking up my cheque from the News of the World. Yet, one mis-timed cross or pass and we seem to get on his back.

As a club, we are making slow but painstaking progress from the abyss of the nineties. We haven't got any Roubles or Middle Eastern Oil money. Any progress has been made on solid ground, in the face of the 'robber barons' of the so called 'big four'. We aren't owned by a foreign corporation; Bill Kenwright is one of ours. He's Blue through and through, and doing his best.

Millions of foreign money will not guarantee success. Only the players can do that. If they buy the wrong ones, look out. If the going gets rough, watch them bail out. After last season wouldn't you have taken 9th by near mid-December? Our best players are injured, Arteta and Cahill. Yet we are still competing! So Why worry? be happy! or relatively...
Michael Berry, Otley, West Yorkshire  (9/12/06)

Bill Kenwright is one of ours. He's Blue through and through, and doing his best to hold on to complete control of the Club, in the face of massive foriegn interest and untold millions in potential investment for players, new ground... everything that could make us great again. [Just thought I'd help you along a bit with that dangling idea... ;)].

No, I don't know if it's true, but "Do the maths", as they say: Bill labours 24/7, searching for new investment, and persuades friend Robert Earl to buy out former friend Paul Gregg (and family) for a "small profit" [ ? a cool ?2M and change...]

Meanwhile, the takeover of Premiership Clubs by foreign entities with money a-plenty continues unabated. Perhaps someone will ask Bill to explain this apparent contradiction on Monday night? Then again... would we actually believe what our True Blue leader tells us? Oh Christoher Samuelson, where are you now??? ? Michael

How's it come to this?

How on earth has it come to pass that we put out that team that we did yesterday? Shouldn't it be that we could replace our injured players with decent backup? This is just ridiculous that our squad is so small that we can't even field a decent team when players are missing... I wish Bill Kenwright was here so I could give him the slapping he so deserves. You're not wanted, Bill; just go already! Sigh...
Nathan Round, Berri, Australia  (9/12/06)

I think we'll be hearing from Bill on Monday how wonderful everything is, what a wonderful job his people are doing, and how wonderful David Moyes is as team manager. And then Bill will be duely voted back on to the Board of Directors, so he can continue his imperious reign ?for so long as he has breath in his body?! ... That will put you in your place, eh, Nathan?

Disgrace

What a terrible match. It was complete and utter crap. Why not give the yougsters a start next match ? they can't do any worse. And to top it all off did anyone see Ray on X-factor it makes me sick him sayimg that he was singing You'll Never Walk Alone for all the scousers. I think we should all vote for Leona and Ben...
Paul Jones, Liverpool  (9/12/06)

Oh yea, play a bunch of kids, against Chelsea, at home? Come off it, lad. — Michael

Mr Dodd ? are you for real?

Can you please reconsider any more drivel from Mr Dodd. I think he is taking great joy out of winding up real Evertonians! There is no way, surely, that anyone can continually apologise for the paucity of football served up by the Blues. We are absolutely woeful. Yes we conceded a goal in a million but we lost 2-0, not 1-0. Our attack and midfield are powder puff; our manager tactically inept. How could anyone take any positives from that?
Tom Mott, Cheshire  (9/12/06)

Apparently. "real" Evertonians take positives from every match. People like you and me here on ToffeeWeb who call it like we see it, with brutal honesty, are thus castigated for being 'negative'. I guess it's a way of blaming a pretty easy target rather than daring to voice criticsm of the team we are supposed to be supporting. Complicated, isn't it? — Michael

Writing on the wall for Moyes

The further decline of Everton was summed up by today's result. We have now been beaten by a club that is basically a glorified Championship side. No doubt, we will hear all the usual excuses which I will not go into; this result is a clear indication that we are headed for a bottom half finish, possibly a relegation fight!

Our manager is a Championship manager and today's result shows that he is even struggling to beat a glorified Championship side. All we can look forward to this season now is a predictable-bottom half finish, no silverware etc. The Championship beckons under this manager; the sooner he goes, the sooner EFC will improve ? get rid!

Is there anything to look forward to this season ? nothing! Down we go!!!
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (9/12/06)

Awful

I've just had the mis-fortune to watch that utter rubbish on the foreign channel in a pub. Yes, we have lots of injuries but that's what the sumnmer is for ? to build up a big squad to cover times like these.

I think this current Everton team is one of the most boring and clueless teams I have ever seen. Good luck to all you loyal fans who have nothing better to do but, while this dross is being served up by the negative dour Scot and a Chairman who I reckon I've got more idea and money than, I will be doing my utmost to keep my distance from this once superb club.
Gary Norman, alsager,stoke on trent  (9/12/06)

Only Moyes.....

Only Moyes could start the game with four centre-halves and his only full-back on the wing! Faddy should have been on from the start instead of surrendering all the initiative to the home side. I`ve been saying for weeks we`re in the shit and Moyes's tactics today confirmed it!
Alan Whiehead, Speke  (9/12/06)

Destined for the bottom half

No excuses, we just have a poor squad. Injuries do not cause you to lose games. Portsmouth's first win in 4 games and they're 3rd in the league! Goes to show how shite we've become. When the transfer window opens in January, can we transfer the manager?! Happy Xmas... my arse!!

Totally Aghast
Tommy Green, Tesco  (9/12/06)

No disgrace

With six or seven first choicers missing, there could be no disgrace in losing at Fratton Park. By all accounts, Everton were by far the better team in the second half as Davey rang the changes in an attempt to salvage something from what was always a hopeless cause after an early flookey goal. Please let`s have none of the usual criticism ? the lads played their hearts out ? and we`re still in the top half!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (9/12/06)

I can't help wondering, Richard, if an Everton player had had the skill and forethought to even try someything like that, never mind actually pulling it off, would you be calling it a 'flookey' goal? (Or even a flukey goal...?) — Michael

`For so long as I breathe`

Reference the price Everton might fetch on the open market, I cannot see this as being much more than ?45M based on the ?9M Earl is said to have paid for Gregg`s 22%. Consider also that Randy Lerner got Aston Villa lock, stock and barrel for ?66M including a re-developed stadium and only ?10M of debt and you begin to see that, even at less than ?50M, Everton is not an attractive buy.

But all this is pure speculation as I have just heard Kenwright`s PR, Mike Parry, say on Talk Sport that the great man intends to control our club `for so long as he has breath in his body!` What a prospect!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (9/12/06)

Once an actor, always an actor... ? Colm

European league

In response to John Mcfarlane's comments: would it really be that sad to see 'the big 4' fuck off and play in a European league? I wish they would. Where are their bragging rights then? It's not like you can go into work on a monday and give stick to a Barcelona fan or discuss the game with a FC Copenhagen fan.

A lot of their fans' enjoyment would be taken out of the game because, outside of the medi,a there would be no rivalry in a European league. The 'big 4' can dig their own grave and the rest of us would enjoy a more competitive league.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (9/12/06)

I've tired over the years, shouting for something like this to happen. I'd have no problems with the G14 and their ilk all fucking off to a pan European slush fund, occasional football matches between them to appease their fans: with one proviso ? if they do swan off to a vision of European league football for the great and the good, they can only return to domestic football via the route all non-league clubs take! No instant return to the Premiership once they get bored of Barcelona one week, Milan the next! Football, as has been said on countless occasions, is well and truly fucked! ? Colm

Surely the more ominous option is that they do set up their G14(+) league... but they don't fuck off at all ? just retain their current membership of the Premier League, and play their reserves there!!! ? the worst possible outcome... and is there anything that would stop them doing this now! ? Michael

In reponse

Gregg sold his shares, because basically he has no interest in football and there was conflict on the board ie, it was not a united Board. So we assume BK arranged for Robert Earl to buy his shares off him. Gregg has walked away with a small profit but is now out of it. Note this does not give Earl control. Similarly don't expect him do put further funds in.

An investor coming in to buy the club will not just want BK shares, but also Earls and probably somewhere between 75 to 90%. So, at that point, the Board would have to make a recommendation to the shareholders as to what is good value per share and in the best interest of Everton. It's their duty to do so.

As per the last balance sheet, on paper the shares are worth nothing as it was slightly negative... hence why there is a Directors note in the accounts as to unvalued assets e.g. homegrown players. Rooney before in the books technically just an overhead and for accounting purposes is technically worth nothing, but that's not true is it when he was sold. So there is value in the club.

So an investor coming in has to settle the debt as the board are responsible for the original financing of it and will no longer be there. How you value a business is down to who is buying it as different people have different ways of assessing it. The board have their valuation of it

In Everton's case I don't know what the terms are for compulsary purchase of the minor shares. There may be non. But as happened at Man Utd a lot of them did cash in. It enabled them to get to 90%, change status from a PLC back to a limited company (bound by a different set of rules) and I think (although not sure) able to buy the remaining 10%. So if someone comes to Everton and promises to clear the debt, build a new stadium and bring better players in. The major shareholders will sell and the train set will end up in new hands.

Where you are correct though a benchmark is what Robert Earl paid for his shares. But it is not the value of the controlling interest, one possible valuation. As in The Murdock example above. With a united board, though, if they can raise the finance, they may just go ahead with Kirkby anyway.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (9/12/06)

You like to believe that Gregg sold his shares, simply because he'd no interest in the football. That's a viewpoint consistently played by an onside local media, particularly since the fallout in the summer of 2004 when Gregg's frustration with his fellow directors spilled over into the public domain. With a knife in his back he stopped attending Goodison Park. Have you seen our second largest shareholder, Mr. Earl, present at any Everton game yet, Eamonn? No? Perhaps he too has a dislike for football. Or maybe it's Everton's style of play he's not enamoured with!

You've taken hook line and sinker the labelling of the 'new' Board as being a united Board. I'd argue it's more a case of this 'new' Board being an onside one, safely secure now with its 70% voting bloc. If that's what a united Board is then fair enough...

This is a potential situation alien to most Evertonians who possess a share in the Club. Many own shares that have passed from generation to generation and others have simply purchased a share in the Club, not necessarily to effect change at the top (how we wish, eh?!) but to be safe in the knowledge that they own a wee small bit of the Club, probably framed over the mantlepiece! In it for the love, not the money.

It frightens me that the only year recently where we didn't lose money was the year the Club were able to list Rooney's transfer fee into the Accounts. We can all see and read into matters differently ? I fall into the category believing, right or wrong, that Everton's turnover in recent times, is dependant on the sale of assets. We, literally, have little left to flog now!

The announcement of our move to Kirkby will, I believe, be made on Monday before the AGM. Signed, sealed, about to be delivered. By this 'united' Board you speak of. It will trigger many varying emotions, all from people who love, live and breathe this Club of ours, in different ways. To those who view a move to a stadium out in Kirkby, largely financed by outside interests, and not by our 'united' Board, can I ask how will you feel in time to come, when Kenwright bites the hand that feeds and walks away with more cash than he could possibly dream of, his beloved Everton pawned off to someone who views Everton as nothing but a business interest and most definitely does not possess the same passion you or I have for the Club?

As Kenwright et al count their lottery winnings, we'll remain divided as fans, and the Club wallowing further on the periphery. Happy days ahead? I fear not. ? Colm

Your question

"Rather intersting article in The Independent today, talking about the price tag of Premiership Clubs. It mentions Everton as being a potential target for new ownership, but then fails to deliver the price. By my calcualtion, share price is ?35M, plus debts of ?20M or ?47M... maybe someone could help me there... ? Michael"

The shares are sold mainly by private treaty. Which means I will sell them to you for this much. As such you can put conditions on the sale... i.e. you pay off the clubs debt, build a stadium etc e.g. Liverpool. By the way, my profit is X.

In short, what someone is willing to pay; and the seller is a greedy grabbing bastard who wants not only the most amount of profit for theselves but also charts the Everton future. Hence why Kenwright / Parry have not sold up as yet. The latter deal is closer but not a forgone conclusion. That is my simple expression of it. There is no finite value.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (8/11/06)

Funny how one can come up with a completely different outcome based on the same set of facts. Yes, the shares are for sale by private treaty. But all I got asked for was a bunch of cash. I signed no treaty on the future of Everton, and I think you miss the point I keep repeating on here: the trading of shares really has nothing to do with the club itself. The idea that conditions or caveats are put on the sale of the shares is complete and utter nonsense.

And as to the price paid, it was my decision whether I felt the price was fair value for what I wanted to purchase. And it's the seller's decision whether he thinks he's getting enough. And I don't know how much profit was made... but that's what shares are all about, is it not? I suppose they could negotiate a price, but you are probably right: the seller has the advantage... unless he is desparate to sell.

There's no fixed price... but there is the current going rate, and there is the implicit valuation based on the ?9M Robert Earl coughed up. Like public shares, the numbers bounce around, but within a reasonably narrow band or price bracket. ? Michael

An Apology to Mr Wyness

With hindsight I perhaps was a little harsh and incorrect on my comments surrounding Mr Wyness. I therefore would like to offer an apology to Mr Wyness and his family for my comments earlier and for any offence caused. I wish him continued success on guiding Everton through this uncertain period.
Mike Whittaker, bristol  (8/12/06)

Very nice, Mike. I'm sure you'll feel better for it!

Sweet? Smell of Sucess

Bill Shankly will be seen as the most visionary person in the history of the game if Mourinho, Wenger and Benitez get their way. He said in jest that there were indeed only two teams in the City of Liverpool - Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves. This is exactly what will happen if the BIG 4 are allowed to field separate teams in the Football League. Imagine it Everton FC relegated and Liverpool Reserves promoted.

If Fifa, Uefa or the FA do not bother to wield some power and get ALL clubs to conform to some basic principles then the game (which has already lost a great deal) will become more like WWF than a sport.

I fear that it is too late to stop the Big 4 from doing whatever they like and our only option as fans of clubs outside of the Big 4 is to stop attending matches. This however will have a detrimental effect on our teams and the Big 4 will not be unhappy to see a few rivals go to the wall.

I personally wouldn?t rule out the possibility of a new European League being formed in the very very near future. Sad times for anyone who enjoys SPORT but, hey ho, that?s Globalisation for you.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (8/12/06)

Long-Term, Please!

Last Sunday's game: without our only genuinely creative player, a dour, workmanlike struggle was on the cards. The players duly obliged, by being the better side in both boxes, where things really matter. Short-term ? three points and a hard-earned victory; Long-term ? after five years, where's the next level coming from?

The financial figures: we all know that last year's figures were a fabulous work of creative accountancy and that our inevitable lack of success would hit turnover, so what's the big deal about the ?10M figure? Short-term ? big deal; long-term ? where's the next level going to come from?in debt and a team that can finish between 4th and 17th. Both are clearly passionate about the club and appear to be doing their utmost.

However, we have a choice:

Do we want to remain as the thinking person's Bolton in a decrepit old stadium beloved by people of my age?

Or do we want to make a fresh start, build a new stadium and take a new approach on the pitch that makes us more attractive to potential investors?
At some stage in the next couple of years, one club will break free from the pro-licence drudgery that is 5th to 17th in the Premiership by mixing positive football with a battling spirit. I'd like it to be Everton.

I can't see it under the present regime, on or off the pitch. I'd like their cheerleaders to provide some concrete evidence to help me change my mind.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (8/12/06)

No Doubt!

Read on teletext yesterday that David Dein will reject any proposal from Uefa to limit a starting line-up of teams to 4 overseas players. Of course he will! He cites legalities for the reason of course, but his fear and that of the G14s is that their monopoly on being the elite will be under a big threat... bring on the change! Everton will be alright with our current squad (if the UK players count as same nation though!).
Nick Entwistle, London  (8/12/06)

I thought we'd been there, done that... It'll never happen in the EU, surely? ? Michael

Financial Losses

The announcement of the ?10M loss for the year has started to eat away at the back of my mind. I vaguely remember reading that, at the time the current Board took over, the club debt was standing roughly at ?40M. For all things negative has been said on this website, myself included, I do think that the Board has worked very hard at servicing this debt and has been sensible in general with money. It hasn't spent money it hadn't got over the last couple of years and has still provided money for transfers when able.

Now I appreciate that that the profits over the last couple of years have in part been boosted by the Rooney money but a ?10M loss does seem very sudden at the same time. Some have said that it will be offset by extra revenue next year from TV rights but I think that, once you start spending money you haven't got yet, you will always be playing catch up.

Now I'm not an accountant, I know, but I'm just worried that this loss may start to be reflected over the next couple of years. If revenue streams and merchandising pick up over the next few years, great. If an investor comes along, brilliant. But right now, I'm just not that blind or naive enough to think that the present Board is up to steping up to the next level.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (8/12/06)

Oh Kieran... where to begin? First some minor points:

  1. "at the time the current Board took over" ? The Board of Directors is composed of individuals who join the Board at different times, serve for different periods, get voted on or (rarely) voted off... there was no point at which the current Board "took over". Bill Kenwright has been on the Board continuously since ~1988 (? I need to confirm that).
  2. I haven't been tracking the debt level (now there's a little task for the weekend) but ?40M is in the range. There was the ?27M Bear Stearns 'mortgage' of future season ticket sales (can you see the next point coming?) and then there is always a fluctuating bank loan on top, plus other short-term loans...
  3. "the Board has worked very hard at servicing this debt" ? they have to service the debts (which means meeting interest payments) or the roof falls in. I'm not sure where the "worked very hard" bit comes from... It's just something a business has to do.
  4. "It hasn't spent money it hadn't got over the last couple of years" er... isn't that what a debt is? And worse, to my mind, is paying interest on money you haven't got ? servicing loans. I'm not saying these are things the Club doing are wrong ? they are all part of running a business with a ?60M annual turnover ? but the picture you paint is just a little off-beam.
  5. "a ?10M loss does seem very sudden" ? If you look at the make-up of the number, it's a composite of changes year on year ion a number of operating factors: turnover (down a bit); salaries (up a lot); etc etc. I think it is a mistake to get hung up on the net profit or loss figure. We should be looking beyond that.
  6. "once you start spending money you haven't got yet, you will always be playing catch up." Well, that was the fear when we cashed in on future season-ticket sales ? money the Club hasn't got yet... that is what got them through one big hole a few years ago. A certain Waynne Rooney got them through another hole more recently. Then there has been the ongoing sale of assets: a car park here; a training ground there...
And those are really the big concerns for people who are watching from the outside. EFC Co Ltd is funding ongong operations by making one-off sales. Asset-stripping. They cannot seriously continue to do that over the long-term. At some point, there is nothing left.

Or we will need another Wayne Rooney (or five Jeffers/Balls) every few years simply to survive... ? Michael

Loan Arranger

Good to see Moyes has his priorities right as far as his loan targets for January are concerned. Several papers report today that `he is stepping up efforts to secure the signing of Copenhagen`s RIGHT BACK, Lars Jacobson, who is equally adept at left back. This will release Phil Neville to concentrate on his best position in midfield.` Really?
Bill Pardoe, Aigburth  (8/12/06)

The Manager has spoken, kemo sabi. We must follow in his tracks.. and eat his dust. — Michael

It's not a right... it has to be earned

I noted with some interest a comment in Peter Laing's reply to the "Golden Vision/Blind Alley" article. He says:

"The era of Philip Carter will be remembered as our most successful, enough the Club would say to make him Life President, yet it is messrs Carter, Kenwright and others who have presided over our continual decline from our rightful place at the top table of English football."
To me, this statement reflects why there is a malaise at Everton Football Club and why it's stagnated for the last decade or so. The club does not have any justifiable or legitimate claim to be at the top table of English football. No club does! Not Liverpool, not Man United, not Arsenal nor Chelsea. It has to be earned; worked for. Both on and off the field.

I fear that, too often within the walls of Goodison, gentlemen such as those mentioned above ? along with others ? have held the the view that Everton had a right to be among the elite. Rather than go about ensuring that Everton had the necessary structures in place to be considered a top club, they sat back and waited for it to happen, assuming that we had a right to be part of the Big Five.

Well, hopefully, attitudes have changed. If not, the move from Goodison ? which, sadly, seems to be almost certain ? will amount to zero.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (8/12/06)

Hanging On

I think David Hall may have hit the nail on the head with his remarks about Doug Ellis. It`s precisely because Kenwright has no intention of giving up control that nobody of substance is prepared to invest in our club. I guess he`s hanging in the hope of scooping the jackpot via some unsuspecting Ruski or Viking!
Alan Pledger, Froncysylite  (8/12/06)

As a committed Evertonain, you can fully understand Bill Kenwright not wanting to relinquish control... unless it would be "in the best interests of the Club" ? the impossible measuring stick that Bill has claimed.

For effective control, a new owner would acually need to buy out Woods and Kenwright, who hold around 44% of the shares in EFC between them. The difficulty might actually be the 25% of EFC shares that are held by smaller shareholders, and how a potential investor views these. I don't see why these would be an issue, since in practical terms Kenwright has controlled the Club and it's destiny with far less than a majority shareholding, but there ya go...

I personally believe the amount Bill (and Jon Woods) would accept for them to go would be way more than anyone is willing to pay... at the moment. But, with each passing year, that day approaches. ? Michael

Not so deadly

Doug Ellis was a dirty word in these parts but he did re-develope Villa Park into a beautiful traditional stadium ON ITS ORIGINAL SITE without saddling the club with decades of debt or selling the site to a supermarket. I used to tell Villa fans they didn`t know how lucky they were!
Trevor Hill, Sutton Coldfield  (8/12/06)

Rather intersting article in The Independent today, talking about the price tag of Premiership Clubs. It mentions Everton as being a potential target for new ownership, but then fails to deliver the price. By my calcualtion, share price is ?35M, plus debts of ?20M or ?47M... maybe someone could help me there... — Michael

Wyness

Last year, Wyness was patting himself on the back saying how he had turned Everton's finanances around so much we had now entered the Top 20 of the Deloitte list. We now hear he was ill for most of last year ? hence his oversized salary this year. So are we to read into this then that his input and contribution to this 'success' was jackshit if as he states recently he was too ill to pick up half his salary, bonus and pension? Perhaps if somebody mentioned to him to lose some of his weight he may be able to do a proper days work?
Mike Whittaker, Bristol  (8/12/06)

Oooo... that's a bit weightist and rather abusive, don't you think, Mike? There has clearly been widespread amazement at the bare financial numbers that are required content in the Accounts relating to Director's income. Perhaps a note of explanation in the Annual Report might have helped, although I doubt it somehow.

However, I don't think anyone can really stand in judgement unless they have some familiarity with the details and circumstances of the story. To imply what you have, based on two record years of turnover under this CEO's guidance, is actually quite disgraceful and I think you owe him an apology. ? Michael

It's started

The Board haven't even announced that we will be moving to Kirkby yet and already the Kopites are starting to call us 'Woolly backs' and 'Out of towners'.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (8/12/06)

Scousers, woollybacks, out-of-towners indeed we Blues may well be. Who cares? One thing you can offer by way of return is to pass comment on their origins, for I do believe Liverpool FC remain the bastard love child of Everton FC. No further comment! ;-) ? Colm

Matter of control

More than a year ago, Doug Ellis told me he had come to realise that in order to get in any meaningful investment he would have to relinquish control of his beloved Aston Villa. The rest is history. I wonder if he said the same thing to his big friend Bill Kenwright?
David Hall, Taunton  (8/12/06)

Indeed... but does Bill do listening??? ? Colm

PC Check

Sorry all, but I do feel the need to ask... If current negotiations are fruitful, does it mean that Everton will be the only British Premiership team on Merseyside? Had to make sure that that was a PC question.... pheeeeyou.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (8/12/06)

Depends... What makes a "British" team? Playing in Britain? Having British players? Having a British Manager? Having British owners? etc.

I think the first one is all that matters, to be honest. The rest? Just let it go... it just sounds silly. — Michael

In response to Colin Hughes

I must say, Colin, your comments in your previous letter are a joke. Fair enough, we have 25,000 supporters turning up week-in, week-out, then you have a maximum of 3,000 away fans. This means when we played liverpool this season with the attendance of 40,000 people, say you have 1,000 in the hospitality suites, that leaves around 11,000 daytrippers at Goodison Park.

Get real, not everyone can afford season tickets or afford to go to every game! And remember how many obstructed views there are at Goodison ?would you pay 20 odd pound to sit in front of a big white pole? ? that also puts fans off. If we get a new ground, the commercial side of things would benefit the club financially with hotels, casino's and retail outlets being suggested.

You also say that Man City have gone backwards since they have been in their new stadium: I again disagree. They have been able to establish themselves as a Premiership team again after their fall from grace, which is probably down to extra revenue they have gained from that new stadium. And to say that Sunderland have suffered is simply a lie ? that's because they are a yo-yo team that put absolute shit on the pitch each week.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (8/12/06)

Investment

More happy viewing watching the sports news. Now Man City are attracting an investor. So that's Man Utd with cash, Liverpool with cash and now City with cash. So, once again, where does that leave us? And yes, we are also the ones with the shite ground.... and our fans are complaing abut a move to Kirkby.

The trouble is the pathetic state of Goodison reflects the pathetic state of the squad, manager, chairman ?in fact the whole fucking club! That's why no corporate whore from Russia, USA, South Africa or anywhere is interested is this sorry lot. As a Blues fan for 29 years it's such a shame what has happened to a one-time "Great Club".
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (7/12/06)

It's my trainset

Manchester City are in talks with a potential investor to inject a vast sum of money into the club, Villa and West Ham have men in place to propel them into to the future. So the obvious question is - "What about us?"

I refuse to believe that Kenwright and Co can not pay off some contacts and meet some foreign (or not) sugar daddies and sell the dream to them. They sell the dream to us fans each season, and many of us buy it each time! I must not be the only one disillusioned with the lack of investment, coupled with the lack of ambition from the Chairman?
Luq Yussef, London  (7/12/06)

I think Bill is right on top of this one, Luq. He told us he is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to locate the investment that will carry us forward.

[How many of our Kenwright lovers actually believed that line, by the way? Does anyone have a clear understanding of how Bill does this 24/7 thing, coz 'm shot after about 10 or 12, I need a drink, some R&R, a fight with the wife, and good few hours kip before I can function again. And I need my weekends... Haven't I seen him sitting in the Director's Box for at leat 90-odd mins watching us play? That's not really searching for investors, now, is it? Was he telling fibs?] — Michael

Ticket for the Smack End anyone?

I have a great idea which really could alter the finances of the club. Let's tear down Goodison and jerry build a steel-beam Tyvek-and-Quickrete monstrosity in one of the most deprived comunities in Britain amid dank streets, boarded up off-licences, and kerbside carpets of used hypodermics. That should attract plenty of commercial sponsorship! Oh... we're doing it already? Sorry.
Steve Dylan, Heswall  (7/12/06)

It's Cynics Night on ToffeeWeb!

Why is a loss good?

Why is it that a massive club like ourselves is proud and happy to announce the fact that it has made a ?10 million loss? It's a disgrace. A club like Everton with a massive fanbase should be making a profit every year.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (7/12/06)

That'll be news to them as well. You know, we had people writing in before saying the exact opposite, castigating us for making a fuss about the ?10M loss, and saying it's no big deal in an ongoing business venture...

So do we believe you, or do we believe them? Your argument seems a little spurious: we have a massive fanbase... but they want to get the goals on the internet for nought instead of signing up for EvertonTV; they are proud to bunk in over the turnstiles, or sneak in on a youth ticket; only 32,000 of them turn up on a wet and windy Sunday evening (actually that was a pretty good crowd, considering); they complain about being ripped off by the Club... need I go on? — Michael

Compete or Die.

It won't escape anyone that football is now a desirable business. The Glazers bought Man Utd(early adopters)... or was it the Russian? Then Villa and West Ham ? biccy makers indeed. Jaffa Cakes are cakes not buscuits, by the way. Next it's the Arabs with Liverpool. Man City now have new investors for an empty stadium. So the challenge is not looking back ? it's having the ability to look forwards and grasp the opportunity.

Thankfully, someone from here sent me the EFC accounts which I read with deep interest. It's very clear that Everton are being ambitious in their goals now; not quite doing a Leeds but the aspirations are clear in the numbers. I think it's outrageous that Keith Wyness has beeen paid what he has; I am equally outraged that Sandro is on a sicky for the same money.

Everton are risking things at the moment, but I believe the Board are adapting to the changes in football and indeed the world. It only takes technology and investment to change things. We are doing that, funny enough. The important thing for me is how they justify the current expenditure and what is the retrench position.

The monopoly of Sky may be breaking and we have to not fook it up this time. Now to do that, we need performance on the pitch it may just take the five years Moyes suggests. Like Steve Guy... I want it now.

What I also want is ethical, something that is deeply traditional; I'll compromise with British ownership and a move. Foreign-owned and a move? I'll hang me boots up.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (7/12/06)

Seedy, sorry tale!

So Buster didn`t actually get ?466k in the last financial year. The statement of accounts - which will no doubt bear his signature - have got it wrong. He was actually off sick for most of the year (or was it last year?) and didn`t get the chance to get his hands on the pay-roll in time.

What a seedy, sorry tale. And who was it who said `Once you`re in a hole, stop digging!`
Harry Meek, Worcester  (7/12/06)

I think you're a little confused. The explanation given is that the total quoted includes two years of bonus and pension payments. I did not read anywhere saying that's not what he got; I did read somewhere saying this is what he got, and the explanation was that he was ill last year (or was it the year before?). So where's the problem? Is someone lying? Sorry for being a little dense, but how does that make this a "seedy, sorry tale"? — Michael

Goodison

Why all the letters all of a sudden about a ground move? It just simply won't happen.

We have a hard-core support of about 25,000, which is reflected in our season ticket sales. Any excess support in the ground is made up from a mixture of away fans, day trippers wanting to watch a Premiership game, and complimentary and hospitality packages. We simply don't have another 15-20,000 wanting tickets.

Forget it, folks; it has nothing to do with success. Look at Arsenal: 10 years of success in a 38,000-capacity stadium. Whereas Sunderland and Man City have gone backwards since moving to bigger grounds. If we stay at Goodison at least Liverpool can't build a car park on the vacant premises and really rub our noses in it.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (7/12/06)

Oh right... so it's all one big joke then? All that pain and anguish for nothing... boy, do we feel like a bunch of numpties...

We are not moving! Yippeee! Colin says so, so it must be true. He says it's all bollocks!!! We don't have the extra fans. Duh!

I just hope somebody explains all this to Billy before he puts his big foot in it on Monday... — Michael

How many more?

At the signings of Beattie and Johnson, I recall Moyes describing them both as `15-20 goals a season men`. It has taken the former almost two years to reach that lower target (inc. 3 pens!) and with nearly half the season gone AJ is unlikely to hit the mark either.

I just cannot believe they are both bad players ?everything in their records show them in a positive light ? so it has to be down to Moyes`s formation and tactics. He sent Kr?ldrup back to Italy in pieces ? how many more good players is the man going to ruin?
Ben Thorley, Overpool  (7/11/06)

Now that's not funny...

Up the Creek!

I see Google News UK is leading with the Hard Rock Cafe takeover by the Red Indians (sorry, Native Americans) but I was under the impression that Robert Earl was no longer involved.B ut methinks it still leaves Everton `up the creek`!
Andy Watts, Heswall  (7/12/06)

Wot? More jokes!?!?

Lightening the gloom

What a treat to see a bit of levity in these columns ? especially from the younger (female) element of our support. I was beginning to think we were all suffering Moyes`s Disease ? the tendancy towards talking humourless garbage on a daily basis.
Ben Allen, Prescot  (7/12/06)

How depressing is that?!?

Big Poll Winners

Typical of our Chairperson, Adam, he fails to report on the serious polls we conducted after the meeting! Simon Davies was the hands down winner of `The player we would most like to see the back of` poll although he did finish runner up to Mickey Arteta as `The most shagable`. The Gay Icon award again went to James Beattie whilst David Weir got `The most like my (grand) Dad` crown!

Now you`ve got the whole story!
Tamara Button, Ormskirk  (7/12/06)

Hahaha! Thanks, Tamara. These Chair-people can be a bit of a problem, eh? — Michael

New stadium a death knell?

So we're the poor relations and any new stadium will be the death knell of the club? To be frank, that is utter bollocks.

I've been going to the game for over 30 years (save for a couple when I was at Poly and couldn't afford to come back that often) and Goodison has gradually become more and more tired. The facilities are not great. I was in the Bullens for the pre-season friendly and, to be frank, it was looking a little tatty.

OK, a new stadium may be outside the boundaries of Liverpool but that is just the way the government have drawn the boundaries; it could quite easily be inside if someone had moved the pen half-an-inch on the map!

Better facilities, easier access and more corporate facilties might actually improve the money the club has and the team.
Steve Linden, Ashton-in-Makerfield  (7/12/06)

Circle the wagons!

With apologies to the PC monitors, I`ve just heard on the 1 o`clock news that the Seminole Red Indian tribe have bought up the Hard Rock cafe Group. Does this mean that the cowboys who run our club are in `heap big trouble`?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (7/12/06)

Response to Golden Vision Blind Alley

Unfortunately the old school are very much that, "old school". The move to Kirkby offers a real opportunity for an ailing giant to build from a solid base. The comments about "one club in the city" are comical when you consider Manchester United are "not" in Manchester ...yet they are the biggest Manchester Club.. nay, the biggest football club in the world. When all is said and done, the location of the ground is not the issue; it's the ground's ability to attract good players, modern fans (who no longer are happy to urinate on eachothers' feet) and real investors. Fair play to King Kenwright.
John Pitchford, Liverpool  (7/12/06)

How many real investors has Bill Kenwright brought in as a result of his 24/7 search these past many years? Do you think Robert Earl invested in Everton? Coz he is the major investor who has been brought in to date. Perhaps that is what some of Buster's massive bonuses were for... What did the club do with the ?9M he shelled out?

It's a question you may have trouble answering... because that money didn't get invested in the Club! It went to buy shares from another investor, whose investment was ? you guessed it ? buying shares in the Club. The money ? ?9M ? went to the family of Paul Gregg. Is Bill still searching for that real investment? 24/7?? Yeah, right... — Michael

Blind Alley? Not really!

I can?t really disagree with any of the points made in the John McFarlane?s article. However, in my view, the main reason for our decline into the shadows of LFC lies with the amazing success of our neighbours during the 70s and 80s. Their now influential fans were hooked when they were kids by the exploits of the teams of Shankly and Paisley. Many of these now hold positions of great influence in business and in particular, the media. The effects of which are well documented in the article.

The second main reason was the passing of John Moores who?s principal attribute as far a Everton was concerned was that he was a brilliant businessman. His death had two effects, first and most important was the inheritance of his nephew, who suddenly had a lot more money to put, not into Everton, but into Liverpool. Secondly, his passing eventually led to the Johnson situation ? need we say more on that subject?

We are unlikely to attract any new investors of the MUFC or LFC calibre, reason being that we do not have a strong enough international ?brand image?. The DIC money will herald the end of LFC as a club that local people can identify with. Followers of that club will become consumers, showing brand loyalty, rather than fans. Just as the Everton of the 1890s had to move on to a more suitable and modern ground, so has our club of today.
Frederick Whitehead, Gueret, France  (7/12/06)

That's Entertainment!

Terrific! Moyes says it will take another five years for us to ?develop?; He doesn?t believe in the Academy system (no shit!), he plans to bring in some loan deals, citing the Larsson deal as a good example ? OK Dave, we?ll have a couple of players with Champion?s League experience then please. And he apparently has not dismissed the idea of loaning out Vaughan to Palace.

Any more good news? Oh yes, we are still in debt (apart from the CEO); another player has done his hamstring. And you know what? I really could suffer all of this as long as the team were entertaining us because, football IS part of the entertainment business, although everybody at Everton seems to have forgotten this.

The days when I looked forward to August, wondering if maybe this was to be our year, disappeared long ago with the advent of the Premiership and Sky. It will never be our year unless some foreign investor fancies a new hobby. And, if we are to be denied the excitement of watching a new face emerge from the reserves in the hope he might just be the next big thing, then the least the club could do is serve up something enjoyable to watch, or am I just being hopelessly idealistic?

I do not subscribe to the view that you cannot be entertaining and successful (relative success in our case), but given the choice between a hard-grafted and dour seventh place, or a fifteenth place won by playing open, skilful and adventurous football, then I would chose the latter. If relegation really is a risk if we start playing proper football then the game is well and truly fooked.
Mick Gill, Crewe  (7/12/06)

'Intent'

I wonder if someone 'intends' to foul Johnson in the area on Saturday, the referee will have no hesitation and point to the spot? It seems now that all the previous penalty claims were now genuine, after this new rule has been unearthed by Sky United...
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (7/12/06)

Loan ranger

I just followed your link to 'Moyes in loan star state of mind' at Pravda's official site. Is our Davey wearing plastic hoop earrings a la Pat Butcher in that picture?

Is that the secret to securing back-to-back top twenty finishes?
Mark wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (7/12/06)

A dying breed?

Whilst I try to keep abreast of Everton politics via ToffeeWeb,I have to say that very few of my fellow supporters in college give a damn. Whether the club makes ?20 million or loses ?10 million, who is on the Board or who buys shares leaves them absolutely cold. Even where we play hardly registers ? because what matters to them is that the TEAM is successful.

As the Chair of the Evertonians group, I asked members to list their most critical concerns of the moment. Not surprisingly they came back with:

  1. AJ`s failure to score;
  2. Lack of quality midfielders;
  3. Whether we can keep Tim Howard.
David Moyes scored a 78% satisfaction level (3 points up on last year) whilst Mikkel Arteta was voted Player of the Year by a 90% margin. Asked to vote on the ground move to Kirkby, an alarming 80% expressed `no view`!

So there you have it: the opinion of 38 avid young Evertonians. I just have to add that the Reds got over 100 to their winter meeting so are we in danger of becoming a dying breed?
Adam Cotterill, Ormskirk  (7/12/06)

There is no doubt that the football experience is and should obviously be of paramount interest to Evertonians. That is all most of us are really interested in at the end of the day. But, depending on the level of Everton involvement you want on a daily basis, that interest may extend beyond the 90 mins of football every week. You might want to know which players are fit, or have injuries. Who is playing for the Reserves. What players are being rumoured for transfer in or out during the next window... Things we focussed on for years here at ToffeeWeb.

Internet mailing lists and more recently our Maibag have shown that there are a portion of fans who want to look further behind the scenes, who's interest in Everton and in supporting the club have no limits. Most of the stuff we publish that goes way beyond the match is to reflect these interests... but you can't do much about it for those who aren't interested. That content is there for those who are. — Michael

Spun like a good 'un

For a perfect example of the spinner's art, take a look at yesterday's Echo.

The problem was, how do you make a ?10 million loss sound good? The answer? Come up with a headline like 'Blues praised despite ?10 million annual loss'. But how do you back the 'praise' up? Easy, you just mention unnamed 'financial analysts'. You can't actually quote them, of course, because they almost certainly don't exist.

But you can make people think you've quoted them by including some very positive opinions from an independent expert by the name of B Kenwright. And to really make your day, you may then find those very same mysterious 'financial analysts' being given more column inches in The Times, no less.

You couldn't make it up. Or rather, you could.
Hugo Kondratiuk, London  (7/12/06)

The Rooney Mill

We hear that Wayne Rooney is believed to have earned upwards of ?20 million from all sources last year. But Rooney`s move to Man Utd enriched more than he and his beloved Colleen. Certainly his agent handled more than a few bob and I have no doubt that Buster`s massive bonus was a direct result of the Club`s ?20 windfall.

I wonder how many more have filled their boots on the back of `the move that will never happen`?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (7/12/06)

Listen, Brian - most Evertonians simply refuse to entertain the notion that their club were key movers in ensuring Rooney moved onwards, and sadly upwards - whether that's a former CEO who was a founder member of Stretford's company; the three then current first team players (one remains); the employees at the Academy who 'worked' young Rooney; or the Chairman staring into a financial abyss who sent a following CEO out to Portugal in the vain hope of seeing him return with some Abramovich riches coming our way. Far too many Evertonians take word for word the garbage that's spewed from the back pages of the Echo. ? Colm

Big Keith

The ?466k paid to Keith Wyness works out to about ?9k per week. A load of money by virtually any standards, but still a fair bit less than blokes like McFadden are reportedly earning.

Maybe we?re criticising the wrong people for being overpaid as I reckon it's appropriate that a chief exec gets more than an underperforming employee, even in the warped world of football economics. Everton?s been run in an amateurish way for too long and if we have to pay a bit to get it run professionally then so be it. Whether it actually is being run professionally or not is a different question!

Incidentally, I don?t think we should read too much into the financial loss if it appears that it can be funded by the increased revenues from TV rights that are just around the corner. At least it means the team is being invested in.
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (7/12/06)

re: Oliver Ridings

Just curious as to what Oliver was referring to regarding Moyes's comments at an LMA dinner. What was supposed to have been said?
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (6/12/06)

And here's me thinking you were an avid reader of our Homepage Headline News items. Scroll down to the story subtittled "...LMA Dinner..." and all will be revealed... — Michael

Ground move - an opportunity

It's very interesting when you hear how affected Liverpool FC are affected by grounds like Man Utd. An extra ?2M per game they claim... we have no chance. It's like they have won the Champions League every season! A fact they stuff up our arses at every opportunity.

Whilst their Directors fornicate over a sell out to the right parties. "Liverpool" now has a value after a successful 20 years on TV ? and there, by a bit of "luck", go we. No Liverpool fan was supportive of this move, although the directors urge this. Sure like us, they want money but not at any cost. Parry and Co have sold their soul. Not unsurprsingly.

Now if Kirkby is on the cards from a business head point of view, please grab it. The window for change is small. Evertonians need to do the right thing; if the last 20 years have taught you nothing... This will be a hard lesson if we get it wrong.

If any Evertonian has the remotest twinge of doubt... I mean, think about it. Oil money is now involved and a move to Kirkby should be endorsed. Unless we can find a Russian billionaire to bankroll us... who wants that. We have our ethics. Strictly blue and strictly ethical are the way forwards.
Eamonn Byrne, Shrophire  (6/12/06)

"Strictly ethical"??? We ARE talking Football here, are we, and not the WI Knitting Circle? — Michael

In reply to Brian Baker

Don't think it's as simple as you make out. A true Blue will probably make the journey to Kirkby despite the fact that they may currently walk to the stadium. It's the FUTURE generation I'm concerned about, who maybe don't see us a team from their city (yes, I know it's just outside, that all Kirkbyites are scousers anyway, etc, but it's a perception and that's what might count for a lot of prospective fans).
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (6/12/06)

Ripping us off

I am shocked at fat Keith's big fat pay cheque and the way we are absoloutely ripped off. Quote from Kenwright: "On the financial front, under the astute and careful guidance of our Chief Executive, we have again proved ourselves to be prudent with a sound sense of business acumen. The fantastic level of support enjoyed by our club never ceases to amaze me; it is magnificent."

Don't make me laugh; ?10 million loss, paying our chief exec gets ?500,000 to create this loss and also move us to Kirkby. Well done, you fat cretins, give yourselves a big pat on the back. Perhaps our support for Kenwright and Wyness shouldn't be so magnificent.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (6/12/06)

They are the leaders of our great club, the one we support; we must therefore support them. All we need now is a Little Blue Book: The Sayings of Chairman Bill. Hmmm....[thinks:] I could be on to a nice little earner there... — Michael

Lazy Journalism

The recent article by Phil McNulty shouldn't be taken too seriously; when you strip it down, it's simply a re-hashed collection of soundbytes gathered over the last six months from anything remotely connected with Everton FC. In fact, it's downright lazy journalism without any real appreciation of WHY Everton FC will accept the offer by Knowsley Council to relocate to Kirkby. This was the same journalist who fell out spectacularly with Joe Royle during his time at the realm at Everton and who resorted to 'cat-calling' in the coloumns of the Echo.

When the dust eventually settles on Everton's ground move (wherever that may be) it can't happen soon enough. With the mega-bucks financial investment across the park imminent, Everton's status within the game will suffer further unless we can increase our commercial revenue.

Of course, the recent announcement of the Chief Executive's massive pay increase would have been tempered if things had been improving on the pitch, but I do believe some progress has been made off it with the development of the new academy at Halewood due to open next year and turnover only slightly down on the record set last year. However, we still need outside investment if progress is to be maintained, but I fear Everton are simply not 'attractive enough' at present to lure the real money from overseas ? or anywhere else for that matter.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (6/12/06)

Kirkby v Irag

Michael: In response to your reply to my previous letter. I hardly think that Everton's move to Kirkby can be compared with the US led invasion of Iraq. I can't see the Kirkby residents putting up much resistance against BK's amoured spearhead... or could they?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (6/12/06)

I don't think that was quite my point... but I like it nevertheless! ;) ? Michael

No Vote, No Say ? Bill Kenwright's Everton

As I told you, Blues, your say in our stadium move counts for shit. There will not be a vote becuase Kenwright has aready locked himself into a deal with Tesco. Simply put, your opinions, investment and right to to be heard count for nothing. 128 years of tradition and identity pissed away.

My last thought would be this: if you are going to the AGM, find your balls and say what you know is in your heart. If you're a fan, well think on becuase you don't add up to shit... or maybe you do, maybe we will all find our balls and to tell Bill to his face why this move to Kirkby is wrong. Sleep on that.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (6/12/06)

Two issues there, John. 1) I believe the majority agree with the proposed move to Kirkby and 2) angry shareholders promising to "let Bill have it" is now an annual ritual in the run-up to the AGM but it usually ends up being a few dissenting voices rather than a vocal and unified critical bloc ? Lyndon

Earth Calling Ginger...

I know it's the latest of his quality soundbytes but Moyes's latest when asked about the reported line-up for Nugent and a swap of Davies for Boa Morte is that he wants to strengthen other areas of the squad. Does this mean another teenage keeper or any other position we don't bloody need a player in ignoring the glaringly obvious? The man's a genius; cue Doddy.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (6/12/06)

More stadium propaganda

I had to laugh when I read Phil McNulty's assessment of opposition to the proposed Asbo Stadium as "murmurs" from a few "traditionalists" and "gloom and doom merchants." Recognize this for what it is. McNulty is a kopite who would love to see Everton move out of Liverpool to Kirkby.

Remember when he thought Walter Smith was the best thing that ever happened to Everton and firing him would be a catastrophic error? The pretzel-like contortions of logic that link Stade d'Asbo to Liverpool FC's takeover by an alien government baffle me.

Again: if Mr McNulty has inside information, let him show us the numbers that will convince us it makes sense. At least we're no longer using the euphemism "Knowsley".
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (6/12/06)

..."If Mr McNulty has inside information...." Oh! And there was I thinking he put his name to an article penned from within Everton's communications department. Watch this space for Friday's EXCLUSIVE from Dave Prentice on "IT'S OFFICIAL! Everton are moving to Kirkby!" ? Colm

Remission

Just occurred to me that `life` now means 14 years which with remission can be reduced to seven. Perhaps Chairman Bill will use the same criteria to get himself off the hook in a couple of years time!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (6/12/06)

Fine Old State

I cannot believe that people don?t want to move to Kirkby because it isn?t technically ?in the city?. Who fuckin? cares?!?!?! Get out of Goodison NOW and get a new place built. Even Darlington have a new stadium to play in for fuck?s sake. Goodison is old and worn out, but we will never forget the good times it has brought us. Time to MOVE ON, I fear...

I must say that I agree with the article about the state of the ?beautiful game?. I used to live and breathe footie, but the sparkle has gone now for me. Mainly because we (and the other 15 mediocre sides in the Premiership for that matter) have fuck all chance of winning anything worth winning. The only time in the past Christ-knows-how-long we get a glimmer of hope and the Mancs snap him up. That is the problem you see; we 'needed' the money ? simple as that. We couldn?t refuse the offer because of the Bosman ruling (which is another sad symbolisation of how footie is these days) and the fact we are swimming up to our ears in debt.

Moyes has done OK with the limited resources he has had available ? maybe his decision-making can sometimes be called in to question ? but all-in-all he has done alright. We seem to have another few ?crackers? in Johnson, Vaughan and Lescott; problem is when one of the ?Big 4? come along flashing their wallets, we will bow down and completely capitulate in front of them like last time. Now that the ?Big 4? are at the top, they will simply keep taking the best players from the other teams to prevent us / them from becoming a threat. Then the vicious circle begins again?

Football as I knew it has died and this money fuelled shambles we are presented with every week now rules. I for one am becoming increasingly sick of it. Nil Satis?
Andy Callan, North Shields  (06/12/06)

Loyalty

All Everton, supporters should ask themsleves one question: "If Everton moved to Kirkby, would you stop supporting them?"

If your answer is "Yes" then I wish you all the best with your new club and have a nice day.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (6/12/06)

Isn't that a bit like the Blair-Bush axis of evil asking supporters of the so-called War on Terror if they would support an invasion of Iraq? Something about "if you are not with us, then you're against us"? Trouble is, Brian, things are usually a little bit more complicated than the simple black or white clarity you are seeking. — Michael

Obscene rewards

How obscene is it that, in a year the Club loses ?10 million, the Chief Executive is rewarded with a salary increase to ?466,000? Not content with being hoodwicked by his manager into a deal for life, this idiot Chairman of `the best football club in the whole world` lets the CEO con him as well!

Regardless of where we finish this season, they`ll be getting no more of my `hard earned`, I tell you!
Gordon Price, Liverpool  (6/12/06)

Balance at last?

Good to see a pro-establishment article by Phil McNulty getting pride of place on the home page this morning. Recent outpourings of the site have given a distinctly anti impression to the powers that be and do nothing to futher claims of genuine support for our great club.

Whilst Toffeeweb is now universally seen as the retreat of the carpers (who see good in nothing even 2-0 victories!), virtually everyone I meet of a blue persuasion accept and welcome the reality that we are now moving in the right direction both on and off the field.

Since the removal of all postings by Dutch, I have become a lone voice and have thought long and hard of giving up the fight here. But whilst it would be easy to move my `particular brand of sycaphantic support` to another site, someone must be bold enough to stand up to the narkers whom you encourage to slate everyone in any position at Goodison Park.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the top billing of Phil`s article means you have begun to see the error of your ways. But I won`t hold my breath!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (6/12/06)

Don't read too much into it, Dickie. We have always presented headline links to articles in the news that are pertinent to the interests of discerning Evertonians. But I don't see why you are so cocky about that article: it was poor Merseyside journalism at its worst, with nothing new that had not already been posted on this site, written up on the basis of the most tenuous, essentially outdated concept of ground-sharing, which had been ditched months ago. What other connection was there with Liverpool FC that woulld prompt such an article?

Do try to keep up with things, Richard... We could insert for you a special link to Dominic King's daily dose of sycophantic drivel and club-sanctioned propaganda ? I'm sure the 'powers that be' would just love that! — Michael

No common agenda

I can`t quite see how Moyes`s reported comments at an LMA dinner squares with the club`s current multi-million investment in a new youth academy. His antipathy towards such ventures has, of course, been long known and is a clear indication that there is no common philosophy as to how the club should be developed.

If the manager had proved to be a shrewd operator in the transfer market, it would be easier to fathom his reasoning but with his record, well.....
Oliver Ridings, Rhyl  (6/12/06)

I am annoyed!!

I have just been reading the Daily Post about the club losing ?10 million, and there are a couple of points in the article that really pissed me off. Firstly, there was no mention of the potential move to Kirkby in the clubs report because of the ?sensitivity? of the subject ? what a cop out. Secondly, last year Keith Wyness made a load of club staff redundant in a ?streamlining? exercise and then gave himself ?250,000! What a disgrace. If the CEO of BA, BT, or British Gas behaved like that he would be lynched.
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (6/12/06)

Merry Christmas

It can't get much worse ? the dark side are going to be awash with dosh, they get a new stadium in OUR heartland, and we get shunted out to the sticks. What sense does it make to move farther away from the fanbase? The stadium deal might be quite attractive but long-term it's bad news for Everton.

We only got 32,000 against West Ham, one of the lowest gates under Moyes, but not quite down to Smith levels. I would guess that 60% of that crowd were true locals and might not be keen on going to Kirkby to watch kick and rush. I'm surprised there isn't an organised campaign to keep EFC within the city. The dark side appear to have got it right on all counts and the icing on the cake for them is that we are gifting thousands of new supporters who will just follow the nearest team.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (6/12/06)

Reply to Adam Fenlon

Share a ground with LFC? I would rather share a sleeping bag with Elton John and George Micheal. I strongly advise you to report your loss to the local constabulary. Maybe they can help you find the pride in our club that you seem to be sadly lacking.
Jimmy Fazackerley, Worcester  (6/12/06)

Challenge

I'd like to challenge Dodd or any other of the Kenwright and Co sycophants to try in a Dominic King style to gloss away the latest ?10M loss, Wyness's pocket stuffing in the face of other staff getting the bullet to save costs, and his beloved Kenwright's lack of information on the proposed ground move with the usual "commercial sensitivity" bollocks.

The club is being ran more like an old boy's club than ever before and the only income generated seems to be at the expense of the match going fans or those muppet wannabes who venture into the mini Billy Smart's circus tent behind the Park Stand. Handing over a commercial avenue such as retail stores stank of a quick buck back hander at the time and the stench still hasn't left.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (6/12/06)

Now come on, Gavin. You are supposed to be a supporter. Apparently, that means you should support the club ? in all its endeavours, financial decisions, and personnel issues. Next you'll be wanting a say in big decisions, like where we play or football in the future... — Michael

Too late to get into Stanley Park?

I reckon Everton should now do everything they can to try to resurrect plans for a shared stadium with Liverpool. For that lot to have a centrally located stadium with much greater capacity than our likely out-of-town stadium would undoubtedly result in them stealing future generations of local fans who may otherwise have been Evertonians.

As the Reds hold the financial upper-hand well and truly with their newly found oil money, Everton would need non-financial arguments or tactics to have any chance of getting a piece of this lucrative stadium. Possibly political lobbying of the councils and relevant authorities that the local area?s best interests are served by a shared stadium might be the best chance, I know some permissions have been granted already but I?m sure there must be loads more bureaucratic hoops they need to jump though .

Come on Bill ? employ some deal-makers who know how to get the best result for their club and don?t be led to an easy option by potential corporate partners with their own agendas at heart!
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (6/12/06)

!!!!!!!! [I'm gobsmacked] — Michael?

Hang in there lads

Relegation was not a case of "if" but "when"... Then Moyes came and suddenly we are discussing top-half or even top-four places.

He was first criticised for releasing a stack of academy players that he thought were not good enough. So far, none of the youngsters he let go have shown his assessment to be wrong. He is not perfect but on the other hand let him without sin cast the first stone etc.

I, like many others, have criticised decisions he makes yet, since his coming, the air of despondent desperation has changed to one of aspiration and dreams. We now argue among ourselves about a new stadium or European spots. That is very different to the old hand-wringing, wailing, down the gurgler stuff.

Some, including myself, think Moyes could be more adventurous but, on second thought, we see lots of adventurous young managers ? not many adventurous old managers. I believe Moyes 'svision of our future is no less than mine and, one step at a time, he is grinding his way toward it. It could be a terrible mistake to give up on our frustratingly slow yet inexorable progress for a sleekier untried kind.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (6/12/06)

Motto redundant!

Given what we`re hearing about budgets, targets and security of employment, I guess `full potential` means finishing 10th EVERY season. Looks like we shalln`t need that old motto any longer, anyway!
Don Peters, Overpool  (5/12/06)

On track for a 4th-place finish?

After tonight's results, we are up to 6th! Spurs are 4th on 62 points, Bolton 5th on 59 and we are 6th on 58. Arsenal lead Blackburn on goal difference on 57 points. It is going to be a rough season for those European places. Just hope we have enough players!
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (5/12/06)

?????? What are on, mate? Do I even really want to know? ? Michael

Kirby to destroy Bill Kenwright

I can't help thinking that, if Bill forces this down our necks, it will be his downfall. It might take a while but I think he will fall.
Tony Ruane, Reading  (5/12/06)

Thanks for that, Mystic Tone! If he goess any time in the next half-century, you'll be able to claim the credit! — Michael

Potential

If Moyes thinks it will take another 5 years for Everton to reach their full potential, does that mean it will help get us out of the Second Division?
Peete Stewart, London  (5/12/06)

Oh ye of little faith... — Michael

New Stadium

Why can't we wait for Liverpool to move to Stanley Park, borrow Anfield for 3 years whilst rebuilding Bullens Rd, Gwladys St, and the Main Stands? We don't need a new stadium... we can't sell out Goodison Park. We have time on our side. We want to stay in the city, we want to stay at Goodison. Instead of just moaning that Bill can do whatever he wants, why don't we try using people power? Are we the People's Club or not? Stand up, Blues.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (5/12/06)

It's hardly a moan... it's just a statement of fact. But you have some great ideas there, Dan. Thing is, redevelopment of Goodison Park has been suggested a number of times over the past 10 years and the Club basically says every time "It can't be done". To them, a move makes much more sense, and a number of your fellow Blues actually agree with the idea, which makes Power to the People a bit problematic.

Some still think the fans will be given a chance to vote on it, which I doubt, personally. I guess we'll find out more next Monday. Watch this space... unless you plan on pushing ahead with some mass demonstrations before then. Let us know: we can provide full internet coverage to support your efforts. — Michael

Anfield sell out

In line with some earlier comments Re the red sellout to Maktoum crowd, the Mirror went to great lengths to show that they have much more cash than the Chelski boss. The difference is that Chelsea are the Russian billionaire's TOY and his alone, whereas they have been or will be part of a large conglomerate who I hope upset things a little. Things may not go smooth, I'am getting on my mat right now.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (5/12/06)

Amended motto

Just picked up on the posts about the Reds ? the spawney bastards! But no need to worry about the Arabs pinching our motto, we need only amend it slightly to `Nothing satisfies like finishing 9.75th`!
Kevin Sparkes, Birkenhead  (5/12/06)

Anybody got a phonebook?

According to Morton Fisher, as long as we average 9.75th position over the next ten years, we`re stuck with Moyes forever. I have a sneaky feeling that the Tesco Car Park will be empty long before then so better find someone to replace the Clown at the top pretty soon. Anybody got a phonebook for Dubai?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (5/12/06)

Another striker?!

Spot on, Kieran, buying another striker is totally unnecessary. How would it make the likes of Vaughan and Anichebe feel if they were to fall another place in the pecking order? These lads don't get enough of a sniff as it is. More important to bring in some player(s) who can make things happen for us in the middle of the park. Celtic have this bald-headed guy who would fit right in with Carsley and Johnson...
James Newcombe, Oxford  (5/12/06)

Hahaha!

I`ve been laughing my dick off this morning at the news of our rival`s sell-out to the Arabs. So bloody skint that Moores has had to sell his birthright to cover debts and the move down the road! Makes our move to Kirkby seem tame, eh?

At least we still have one of our own in charge and long may it remain so. From today onwards, Everton is the only British club in Liverpool! Hahaha.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (5/12/06)

The above post has in no way been edited by any of the editing team (agendas hidden or otherwise optional) ? as we're all on the floor in stitches laughing! NURSE!!!!!! ? Colm

Not much left for Kirkby

How ironic that our rivals are about to be taken over by a family known throughout racing as `The Boys in Blue.` Strange too, that the mantra of the fithly rich sheik is said to be `No finishing line in the race for excellence.`

Last week they pinched our city and our park, now it`s the colour and the motto... Not much left to take to Kirkby, is there?
Alan Spiers, West Derby  (5/12/06)

Nothing but hope in our hearts as we walk on, alone, with hope in our hearts out towards Kirkby. Oops!!! ? Colm

David Nugent

So we're going to pay ?5M for David Nugent and this will end our goal drought. According to the Mirror the guy has scored five goals this season. That's in the Championship, not the Champion's League so I don't quite understand how the guy is going to end our goal drought.

I could understand the need to buy in a striker if all the current ones at the club were getting a lot of games between them and were not getting goals. I could understand a possible new striker ending our goal drought if he was banging in the goals elsewhere, or scoring a fair amount at a decent level.

What I don't understand is rumours like this gaining pace when all our strikers haven't yet had a go at solving the apparent goal drought and aren't getting the service from a midfield that does need bolstering.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (5/12/06)

Lay off AJ (2)

So, according to Dick Fearon, Moyes must find a way to make best use of Andy Johnson. Personally, I feel he should have thought of that before he signed him. To me, AJ is nothing but an out-and-out goalscorer. Sure he can run, but usually up blind alleys and his ball skills leave much to be desired.

But, and it`s a big but, he has shown over several seasons that WITH THE RIGHT SERVICE, he can find the net and there aren't many of those about. If he does become a flop at Everton, there will be only one man to blame ? and his name ain`t Andy Johnson!
Colin Taylor, Ainsdale  (5/12/06)

Talking of big buts at Everton... surely that's a straight 'head to head' between Beattie and Van der Meyde, as owner of the biggest butt... - Colm

We`re in contention.....

No worries at Everton, then, with Sunday`s win propelling us back into contention for Europe. But the ?6 million man hasn`t scored a `proper` goal since April and his ?8.6 million partner has now gone nine matches. The midfield`s total crap and more players get injured in training or maimed by their colleagues than in the heat of battle.

But let`s look on the bright side! We`ve got a brilliant young manager who once got us to fourth in the league and, as I said at opening, we`re in contention for...
Brian Gruffiths, Halton  (5/12/06)

A Blankety Blank cheque book and pen??? - Colm

To Rest Or Not To Rest?

Johnson is clearly struggling and his goal drought must be worrying him. I suppose it's a question of whats best for a striker? Do you continue to play AJ knowing that sooner or later he will get a goal which should restore confidence? The downside is that, the longer he plays without a goal, the worse the situation will become.

Or do you rest AJ in the hope that a break will recharge his batteries? A rest for AJ would allow Vaughn to get some games, increasing the chances of the team scoring. Of course resting AJ could add to his lack of confidence as all strikers claim they need games.

One thing is for sure: if Vaughn is to be given a chance, it has to be AJ who makes room because Beattie is just starting to recapture his best form. Personally I think Johnson should be rested for the difficult away fixture to Portsmouth. Let Vaughn have a go at them.
John Matrix, London  (5/12/06)

What is it with Evertonians and their amazing ability to mispell players' names? VAUGHAN!!!! - Colm

The `other`Bill

Whilst it makes easy copy, mention of Moyes`s `contract for life` always fails to mention the conditions attached to it. Bill is no fool as anyone in show business will attest and as I understand it, the promise of employment `til hell freezes over` is on the assumption that, over any given period, the budgeted 10th position is maintained.

To the end of last season, the average position Moyes has achieved is 9.75, so there is no worry at present. But fall much below the standard and I suspect you`ll all see the other side of the ruthless entrepeneur. I know ? I`ve been there!
Morton Fisher, London  (5/12/06)

Exit stage left then? Or through the hidden trapdoor?! ? Colm

Re: Kenwrong and Kirby

I read Mr Cribb's post and it struck me that we have a Chairman who possibly would change the club crest to suit his own needs.

I wonder do some of the fans think like me that maybe there should be a mechanism in place to hold a Chairman in check?

It seems to me that any move from Goodison Park is messing about with the Holy of Hollies and one man is not bigger than than the sum of its parts.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (5/12/06)

But there is (was!) a mechanism supposedly in place, to "keep a chairman (and the Board) in check" - shareholders. However, with Robert Earl fronting a company responsible for acquiring the entire Gregg family shareholding, it now means that the chairman has, in effect, a 70%-plus bloc vote. Like it or not, he can do what the hell he likes now. ? Colm

The other Andrew Johnson

The suspicion/belief that Moyes will never build a really good side is re-inforced by his treatment of Andrew Johnson. Here is a player whose reputation is that of a predator ? a striker who, given service in or near the box, will slot them home; his record at Palace tells the story.

But I believe Moyes remembered another Andrew Johnson ? the all-action forward of Birmingham City who rarely scored but used to run the shit out of his Preston North End. What a bargain! Two players for the price of one (even if it was ?8 milllion!). No need to re-inforce a midfield that had been woeful for a whole season ? in fact time to make a few bob on the only "active" winger on the books!

And so, just like he`d done with Beattie, he managed to fuck up another ace striker because he has no appreciation of their role unless they run, run, run for the greater good of the team. Both have my sympathy but there`s no hope, believe me; this man wouldn`t have had Puskas in his team unless he`d run about a bit!
Michael Meek, Droitwich  (5/12/06)

Seriously?

It's nearly Christmas and Everton are just a single point away from 3rd place.

I'm not asking everyone to support Moyes but please be fair. Do you really want him sacked when we are just a point from third?
John Cottee, Romford  (5/12/06)

A new low.....

I was curious to see AJ's upcoming signing session for a new DVD. Have Everton started realising a 2006-07 third of the season commemorative special? No, just the latest in a long line of embarrassments. A DVD celebrating one victory over Liverpool.

As good as that feeling was, I beleive this quote from Football 365 sums it up best: - "The Big Four are also victims of their own success. Teams no longer strive to beat them, instead settling for soporific constraint. Draws at home against a member of the perceived elite are thus celebrated as wins. Real victories spawn inadvertently self-mocking commemorative DVDs."

This is another celebration of our mid table mediocrity.
Jerome Esterhazy, Australia  (5/12/06)

Maybe with a good Christmas period and the spawning of a decent FA Cup run, the marketing boys could revamp "Off To A Flyer" Vol. 2? ? Colm

Wait and see

While it was not a thing of beauty, yesterday?s game was undeniably uplifting. Yes, the football was by-and-large rudimentary but in extremely difficult conditions and with a threadbare line-up we showed spirit, enthusiasm and some of our supposedly second-string players performed well. In particular, the drunken Dutchman showed he can do the business and if he does, his crossing will give us an added threat up front where poor AJ seems lost. However, despite enjoying the win, in honesty, we aren?t that good and I?m not confident we can stay in (what should be) a European qualifying place in the league (7th).

After the Man Utd game I was really pissed off. Not that I expected us to win, but the way we were casually brushed aside was annoying. It was a painful reminder that, when it comes to challenging for the league, we don?t count, and won?t count until there are seismic changes at the club. This means in reality that until someone comes along and pumps millions into EFC (for players) we will have to make do with our current state of 'not counting'.

Many say ? and to a point I agree ? that we should try, if we must be mediocre, to at least play more attractive and adventurous football, like West Ham yesterday. But then look at where they are in the league, and at how many times they have been relegated playing ?attractive? football while we have constantly featured in the top flight since 1954.

It does, however, get a little exasperating watching the goalkeeper (through no fault of his own) gather the ball and prepare to hoof into the opposition half. Did Tim Howard roll the ball out to any one yesterday, even once? Surely, when playing in a gale, the best place for the ball is on the ground, but one suspects he?ll still be launching it in totally benign conditions next May.

If so, and if we?re in another mediocre league position, questions about the manager?s future will justifiably arise. But let?s hold judgement until then. In at least three out of the four seasons since Moyes arrived, we have had a period where we have gone on a winning run (6 from 6, 5 from 6); if we can produce a run like that this time, it could do wonders for where we finish in the league. After the high of the Derby win, this season has become a bit of a let down and the early confidence and expectation have been replaced by annoyance. But there are a lot of games coming up this month and by January the writing of Everton?s season will be on the wall. Let?s hope the slogan reads: Europe!
Martin Downey, Belfast  (5/12/06)

In support of AJ

I, and many others, have already stated that AJ will deliver the goods when he gets decent service but there is a limited range of service that he can effectively use. Under pressure, it takes extraordinary skill to put through-balls along the ground into a working space in front of and in playing distance of a fast-moving target man.

AJ's first touch is no better or even worse than that of Marcus Bent; therefore, a build up using rapid short interpassing is out of the question. Because anything above waist height is a wasted effort, service from the wings is restricted to low crosses.

We are not blessed with extraordinary providers so David Moyes must find other ways to make best use of AJ's above-average speed, determination and goal sense. If a solution is found, I am confident that AJ will seem cheap at the price we paid.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (5/12/06)

Is it just me?

While we are busy scoring points off each other over Moyes, the dark side appear to have landed a blow that's knocked us for six. How the hell Kenwright sleeps at night I do not know. Surely someone somewhere must realise what a bargain Everton would be. If so, then Kenwright is a selfish evil bastard only interested in his own kudos as club owner. Give him a fiddle so he can play while we all burn, Nero-style.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (4/12/06)

Some might wonder aloud that it is yet another fine example showing up, again, Everton's total and abject failure to embrace ANY outside investment. Further proof, as if needed, that the current chairman and his on-side Board are happy to sit comfortably and oversee the trainset. Everton a bargain? Perhaps, right now today, we both know of the Club's potential. But in the years to come, will we be able to ask that same question as Everton move further and further away (and I ain't talking Kirkby!) from the higher echelons of the domestic game. In simple terminology......we're foooooooked! - Colm

Don't sell your soul

At least we are not selling our club and our soul to a government a million miles away, and are not ?80 million in debt. And I hope at least the local money that Liverpool have taken is now returned. They must be a very desparate club.
Harry Rushton, Merseyside  (4/12/06)

They ain't half as desperate as a Club nearer to our hearts, Harry! Remove the blinkers mate. - Colm

League position

Spurs, Villa, Man City, Newcastle and Bolton. If we can finish the season above these five teams,t hen this is about the best we can hope for. This is were Everton FC is at this moment in time. No team is going to win the Premiership by finding a modern day equivalent of Reidy, Sharpy and Andy Gray.

Top six has to be our ambition, unless Bill is big mates with a dodgy Russian, we have to get real. Our 4th place was a fluke. I think we won six away games that season, as many as last season when we finished 11th. I just hope to see us at the new Wembley in the next few years.
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (4/12/06)

Issues

Whilst the whole stadium debate is a hot topic, it is also quite spirit-crushing because I feel we can do sod all about it. The People's Club indeed...

What has gotten on my man-tits most is the conjecture regarding yesterday's victory. In short, I spent the first 20 mins wondering where we would craft an attacking move from, then the next 20 baffled as we actually looked half-decent and fashioned one or two chances before seeing the first half out... But, without wanting to sound like the psychophanic Mr King at the Echo, I thought we were much improved in the second half and worth the three points.

Unfortunately, my love comes with a huge dose of bias (although I think Moyes seems out of his depth and you could have a huge supplement in the Echo just for his delusional qoutes) to the point of a Red colleague refering to my blue-tinted specs. Due to this bias, I thought I would seek out some neutral perspectives: lo and behold our mate Mr Chiles thinks we were a different team second half (admittedly I felt uncomfortable at Gavin Peacock saying it was more like us due to the energy levels exerted) and the Sky write-up saying how we had too much for West Ham Utd and were the better team second half.

I'm not saying we were vintage, but until we have a commanding midfielder (Carsley is a knuckle head; if he was a genuine enforcer ? seeing as skill isn't his strong point ? then the more fragile members of our squad would have the freedom to create) we probably never will be. The player is out there but we can't buy all our players at once; not that money can buy Moyes some more tactical savvy...

Finally, in my wee rant (or ramshackle confused summary), whether or not he scores, we look more dangerous with AJ in the side. He probably isn't fully fit but he'll start doing the business again; his pace (and positional sense) make him a no-brainer in my eyes. Beattie might still have something to offer, as he looks a different player when we have a genuine winger (VdM was class personified against West Ham, by the way; Davies doesn't count, he's shit).

As for McFadden, he blows too hot 'n' cold in one game to be relied on by his team mates, but his versatility shines in his ability to be mediocre in two positions! If he made the right decisions in the right areas of the pitch, he would be ace ? but he can't... so he's not! Rant over! COYB!!
John McCabe, West Derby, Liverpool  (4/12/06)

Much a Davies about Morte!

Like I said yesterday, I was left with an uncomfortable feeling after the game. No, not only because of the typical dire football under Moyes, but because our winger showed us the quality that Moyes hates to see.

Moyes literary played AvdM by default last night and to be fair Andy put in the quality that Johnson, Beattie and Cahill have been starved of all season. Andy has his problems, like Gasgoine did, but when you have such a talent, you have to give him a run, especially when that was our third win in 12 games. And AvdM did more in one half than Davies has done in two seasons.

But Moyes doesn't like flair, and that's what makes me so angry. Imagine a fit AvdM, Boa Morte, Cahill, Arteta, Johnson and, er... a decent striker: Everton will be a top six team standard. But, as Michael will paid testament to, what is far too attacking for Moyes ? hence why I was angry yesterday as, if Davies had been available, AVDM would have been getting splinters on his arse.

Moyes! ? You will only succeed by playing attacking football. Please give Van der Meyde a few games. Rather him than the black haired fluffy sheep!
Luq Yussef, London  (4/12/06)

Jan Leeming = ToffeeWeb?

A mate of mine was saying he thought this site must be a love child of Jan Leeming (I'm a Celebrity fame). I can't think what he means ;)

For the record, I would like to tell the TW team to keep up the good work!

PS: Is Anichebe out for long? And what exactly is the matter with him? All I read in the papers was that he was injured in the warm up.
Mike Wallace, Stoke  (4/12/06)

Not being familiar with her performance on the show, you'll have to enlighten us as to the slur! :)

Lescott & Yobo

Reading a few newspaper articles of yesterday's match, the general consensus in the Press was that Lescott had been run ragged and turned inside out all night by the arrogant Argentine, Tevez. I for one thought Lescott had a fairly good game. Of course, he was never going to keep up with Tevez but, when he was called upon to clear the danger, he did so quite well. He spent a good deal of time covering for Valente who couldn't track back quick enough sometimes.

Overall, I was far less worried by his performance than by Yobo's. Although right-back is not his preferred position, it really isn't unfamiliar to him, as I remember him having a stint there either last season or the season before when we were short on right-backs. He always starts his first few games there quite solidly but, when he is being played there for an extended run of games, he seems to lose concentration during matches. I don't blame him for his distribution, as he doesn't usually play there; however, his defending was a bit worrying for the past few games.

This may me being over critical but would it be unreasonable to have Stubbs tried at right-back? He didn't do much wrong last night and he seemed at home in that sweeper position for the last 5-10 mins! Even a bit of skill to boot! :)
Eddie Caplan, Oldham  (4/12/06)

AJ

Why the continuing unfounded criticism of AJ? Some of the contributors have branded him as diver, another flop, very expensive luxury and Championship player. Their argument is that if you cut the passes to him he is useless and except for the goals he is not contributing anything to the team.

Something must be very wrong here. I watched the highlights of Everton-West Ham on Everton TV again and I can?t fault him for anything. The guy is not more than 1.75 m and he may have had his neck injured on Sunday as the only balls going in his direction were hoofed aimless balls and he went for every one of them. Of course he was beaten in almost every air-duell but he is 1.75 m and not a target man, his strength is when the ball is played on the ground in his path, he knows where the goal is, he has the nose, the pace and the skills to put the ball into the net, as simple as that.

On Sunday there was only one situation when the ball was played on the ground and into his path and that was after a mix-up between the West Ham defenders and Beattie. The result: a sharp shoot and a very good stop was needed by Green to prevent a wonderful goal. For the remaining 60 mins, he was chasing bouncing balls all over the park and his determination and workrate allowed him to create a great opportunity for Beattie, which was wasted.

The second time when the ball was played on the floor with purpose was in the 92nd min and then it produed a wonderful goal by Vaughan. We can?t expect Johnson to win headers, take the ball from the halfway-line, beat 3-4 defenders, and then to score. Just imagine that, instead of AJ on Sunday, it was Henry or Ronaldo ? what would they have done? I am afraid nothing more than our No 8. He must get some service and I don?t mean aimless hoofed balls, otherwise, yes he would be a flop and we will rely on Beattie because he ?offers us something more? and ?adds new dimension` to Route One ? scoring penalties?
Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (4/12/06)

So, to summarize: he's not a flop. But he hasn't been getting any service (well, some). He can't score without good service, and if he doesn't score he will become a flop. Did I miss anything? So it's 10 games now... on this basis, how long should his goal-drought last before he is declared a flop? Or is he actually carrying an injury? — Michael

Boost for morale

The most important thing about yesterday's win is that it must get the squad believing again. If we had played brilliantly and only got a draw, heads would have dropped further still. That we won playing badly means that the gods and lady luck must be smiling upon us. And that must lift the self-belief of the players and hopefully improve their performance next week.
Alan Rooney, Lingfield  (4/12/06)

I guess footballers are not generally reknowned for their smarts, so to see a slice of good old lady luck as a flilip to their 'self-belief' probably makes comeplete logical sense to them... let's hope so! — Michael

Fourth place? ? you're 'avin' a laugh!

With the sudden talk of a Champions League place, I really think Evertonians are dreaming. We sit uncomfortably with five other contenders for this spot, three of which either have new sugar daddies or are about to aquire them. These of course will excersie the benevolent nature of their parental wallets come January.

Moyes has done a terrific job this season; however, our problems lie in midfield and the absence of a true ball-winner, lets hope he has enough sense to trade in Beattie and McFadden (the Scottish Beattie), make use of our two substantial home-grown talents and purchase a ball-winner or two.
Peter Pridgeon, New Zealand  (4/12/06)

Johnson Target

Whilst I agree with Perry Grainger that Johnson is looking only a shadow of the player he was in August, I do feel it is premature to write him off as just another Marcus Bent. I do not subscribe to the `poor service` arguement behind which any non-scorer can hide as I think he has always been a striker who fashions his own chances. Most of us would have settled for double figures from the little man by Xmas and so long as he hits that target he`ll have proved a good buy.
Sean Little, Parkgate  (4/12/06)

Healthy debate

It's good to see a range of healthy debate about yesterday's performance. Michael issued a challenge as to what was positive about yesterday's game. So I'll respond if I may.

  1. One of our youth had an accelerated chance to get his goal. Delighted for the lad.
  2. Another of our youth, who has been out of form, got his first goal of the season ? according to him it's two in a week [smiles]. First of many, I hope.
  3. A ?-stone lighter James Beattie is working hard to improve his form for the Blues. He did well yesterday.
  4. The much aligned VdM gets his chance and shows the class he is blessed with. Keep up the good work.
  5. Lescott continues to purr like a Ferrari. Now that would make a nice addition to our ranks come the summer.
  6. Another good performance by Valente.
  7. Tim Howard saved the main real chance they had and was comfortable with the others.
  8. We won 2-0, not 1-0 although both give three points. Goals win games. We scored with the wind when they could not...
  9. Those 3 points stick us back up in the mix.
  10. Despite a total decimation to our squad, West Ham did not give us another football lesson.
QED. There are positives to take out of yesterday's game. Equally, we can bitch about what is not right. Personally, I thought your match report was harsh given the circumstances. Hey ho, your opinion.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (4/11/06)

Weell done, that's a lot better than slagging off the critics. — Michael

With God on his side

According to Wikipedia, Bill Kenwright was Chairman of his Christian Union at school ? therefore, wait for it, not only does Moyes have the backing on Bill but also the full support of God. There's no getting away from the fact that Moyes is here for eternity ? it certainly seems like it!
Peete Stewart, London  (4/12/06)

Biting the bullet

Moyes should bite the bullet on Saturday and play Vaughan from the start. My own preference for a partner for him would be Beattie as he contributes far more to overall play. Johnson is turning into a very expensive luxury.
Mike Mason, Cronton  (4/12/06)

The Art of Good Management (hmph!)

In his own words:

'It's an unbelievable result' ... 'I don't know how they did it. I think we ended up with five centre-halves on the pitch and four centre-forwards' ... 'everyone was playing out of position but I think that epitomises the spirit we have'

Maybe it was the wind what did it ? and Moyes also almost apologised to Pardew.... ' - can somebody please explain to me how this man, no doubt very personable, holds the position he does? Because I don't get it anymore?
Peete Stewart, London  (4/12/06)

Do you really need an answer or is that rhetorical? He seems genuinely amazed to have pulled off the win!

He's got the job for life, and that's down to this other bloke, Bill, who really likes what he does, and has obviously been giving him personal tuition on "What to say to the Media". — Michael

On the count of three........

I don't know if any one noticed the different tactics employed by our players on Sunday. Our defenders, except Nuno Valente, obviously have the 'Moyes' safety first ethic tattooed on their foreheads as they just humped the ball as far and as high as possible at their first opportunity. The rest of our team, expecially Osman and VdM, would try and pass the ball to feet.

I know when you are defending there is a time for a passing and a time for playing safe, but that doesn't seem to be instilled into our defenders at all. They treat the ball like they are handling a hot potato. Isn't it time Moyes got them all singing from the same hymn sheet, and all playing passing football.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (4/12/06)

No. Apparently you can only play passing football if you are one of the big four and have pots and pots of money... The rest of them can only hump and hope.

At east, that's the 'conventional wisdom' espoused by some on here... I don't quite get it myself. What could be more basic that one player running into some space, while his teammate plays the ball to him? Is it really only allowed in the Champions League? — Michael

Johnny Matrix??

Just browsing through the mailbag and I can't help but notice 'Johnny Matrix' ? reminds me an awful lot of a certain Dutch Schaeffer! Am I the only one who has recognised this?
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (4/12/06)

Nah... he's one of the Matrix brothers who went to my old school in Fazak many years back. Honest, Guv! ;-) ? Colm

Good win, Poor performance

Great win on Sunday with some key players out but not a very memorable performance. Come on, people; no-one can be happy with the actual way we played yesterday ? seriously.

Van the Man, who played alright, wanted it played to Yobo on the right where we could bring it forward on the floor... but Yobo never wanted it, always looking forward waiting for the ball to be pumped over his head. we needed to get it on the floor but too many times Howard had no option other then to whack it up the field and hope for the best.

All in all, a good win; forgettable performance. Better needed at Pompey next week.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (4/12/06)

Agree with all of that but the reality is that if we play lousy again next weekend, but come away with three points, most will rejoice, joyfully accepting three points and watching Everton inch closer to that fourth (or even third!!!) CL place. Crazy game, this! ? Colm

And on the plus side....

Yes, it was an over-all poor performance on Sunday but I thought Andy van der Meyde's first half was a tremendous boost. He was playing some good football, convincingly beating defenders, getting behind the defence and putting in some wicked crosses that needed a Cahill ? or the AWOL Beattie ? on the far end.

As many of us have been down on AvdM in the past, we should acknowledge the job he did in some very difficult conditions. I hope he has the chance to improve on this as I believe he's twice the footballer McFadden is ? and McFadden has had multiple chances to show he's up to Premiership football and flunked just about every one of them.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (4/12/06)

Fair comment, Peter. ? Colm

Kenwrong and Kirby

If Liverpool actually close the mega bucks takeover deal, they will have secured their status as a big 4 club for the next generation of fans. Does anyone remember when Everton used to be that? Not only that, but Liverpool will move to a new ground not outside of the city but within spitting distance of their own ground.

On the other side we have our beloved blues: debt-ridden, lacking leadership, and a vision of a windswept carpark outside of the city without a pot to piss in. Cheers Kenwright, thanks for the last 7 years... how is your theatre company doing these days, going well is it?!

We have not had the best Chairmen in our history but we never had a selfish self-centered coward like this one. To me, it feels like the club is being run out of this city and our Chairman is happy to approve the move to Kirkby becuase he won't sell and admit he has taken the club as far as he can.

My worst nightmare is that we move to Kirkby, realise the huge mistake we have made, Kenwright sells... but it's too late to go back. Remember, Kenwright will go in the end but what will be left when he does go? And will it represent our vision as lifelong blues?

Say no to Kirkby
John Cribb, Liverpool  (4/12/06)

Your worst nightmare is nearer being a reality that most care to consider. They're more concerned with the merits of Van der Meyde's first earned paycheck in almost one calendar year! Knowledgable Evertonians??? Hmmm... - Colm

Long lost...

Taking the positives from the West Ham game: Vaughan needs to be playing more! Sorry Mr Moyes, but he is old enough and now's the time our paper-thin squad needs him.

VdM is right footed, can take on players and pick out a pass/cross. Let's give him some games on the right wing to earn the right to stay.

Lescott is class!

Negatives: How about playing the ball on the bloody ground and can we at least have a go at passing to our midfield, not over them?

Also, it's good to see Dutch back in his Commando guise. The pro-Moyes slant gave it away mate!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (04/12/06)

Uh? What?? 'Dutch' is back!!! We can't have that... Good catch Adam: I thought it would take more than three posts but, once he was in, he couldn't contain himself. — Michael

Dreamer David

Methinks that David Hall exists in a dream world of flying wingers and bustling centre-forwards, in a world where centre-halves were dour and goalkeepers custodians of the onion bag. Forget it, Davey, let it go. In the real world,`footie` is a `product` and any kind of success merely helps `to grow the brand name.`

For gawd`s sake, don`t go over all romantic on us, lad, not at your age... or I may just have to remind a few that it was YOU who turned our beloved eight page proggie into the `Matchday Magazine!`
Harry Meek, Worcester  (4/12/06)

Hahaha! but best keep that one quiet, please, Harry! — Michael

Forever Blowing Bubbles

Cahill, Neville & Arteta were missing, possibly Everton's top three best players. Still we beat West Ham. Encouraging to see Andy van der Meyde get a game, though its too early to suggest his Everton career is finally beginning.

Lescott just continues to impress in every single game. Forget Andy Johnson, Joleon Lescott is far and away the best signing Moyes made this season. Steve McClaren, are you watching?

What impressed me most is that goalscorers Osman (can you believe that was his 100th appearance) and Vaughan (so good to see him back from injury) are both products of Everton's Youth Academy, whom Moyes has developed.
Johnny Matrix, London  (4/12/06)

Old Nick

"...ordinary men are always deceived by appearances and by the outcome of a thing..." Niccol? Machiavelli

Then, Old Nick, you can put me firmly in the category of ordinary men when it comes to following the Blues. When we win, I'm happy; when we loose, I'm sad. It can affect my mood for days.

However, simple soul as I am, unlike those cunning chaps at ToffeeWeb with all their Machiavellian machinations and imaginings, at least I am able to share in the pure unbridled joy of thousands of fellow blues when our team is victorious. They may not be the best team in the world, but I do love those beautiful Blue Boys.
Simon Lamb, Ellesmere Port  (4/12/06)

Hehehe... that raises a chuckle, Simon. Nice one! — Michael

Typical

Bloody typical Everton. Screw more money out of you to join Evertonia so that you can be gauranteed match tickets and then fuck that up as well. I booked my flights for the Boro game months in advance as always, safe in the knowledge that I could get my match tickets through Evertonia. Well worth the money, I thought.

This had been working perfectly for every match up until today when I logged on to buy my tickets as normal only to be told that Evertonia members were now only allowed to purchase one ticket. What fuckin good is one ticket to anyone? Who bloody travels to a match on their own, particularly if you are not from Liverpool? Evertonia my arse. 20 quid for a fuckin e.mail once a month.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (4/12/06)

Flattery?

Despite a 2-0 victory and Everton moving into a point of a Champions League spot, unbelievably, I feel I have to leap to the defence of our manager. You're up against a team who couldn't score in a brothel, your midfield is decimated by injury and the weather is atrocious, so what do you do?

The answer: forget trying to play football through the middle, chuck on a load of defenders, a load of attackers, sit deep knowing that the opposition aren't capable of forcing an opening, and attempt to hit them out on the break. This is exactly what Moyes did and it worked perfectly. The players performed well under the circumstances and should feel happy with the way things worked out.

And the scoreline wasn't 'flattering'. West Ham were extremely poor, managing a meagre two chances of note in the entire game. Everton had just as many decent opportunities, if not more, and, more importantly, managed to convert two of them.
Steve McBride, London  (4/12/06)

Well, when you put it like that... he's obviously a genius!!! ? Michael

Where did the fun go?

A combination of bad weather and adverse traffic conditions meant a very late return home, so the delights of ToffeeWeb and, in particular, your match report had to wait until this morning. I have to say that on first reading, I found it unusually judgemental but nonetheless accurate for all that. My first sports editor always told me,`Tell it as you see it and let me worry about the politics.` (Clearly that advice is no longer dispensed at the Echo ? and it is the worst for that, I`m sure!)

Reading through your report a second time, I began to see it not just as an indictment of how Everton play but, with only two or three exceptions, of the Premiership in its totality. It is a fact that there is absolutely nothing to choose in entertainment terms between at least 17 of the clubs. They are all sent out with the mantra `Don`t concede,` ringing in their ears and after-match inquests inevitably focus on goals given away, usually because of the inadequacies of referees but often because `our defence went to sleep!`

Have you noticed that attackers never have bad games these days because they `have so much more to their game`; that midfielders usually escape criticism because `we were missing A, B or C`, notwithstanding that `we` were just as bad when they did play!

No, the focus is all on defence ? not just at Everton but at nearly every club in the Premieship. Retention of status is everything and increasingly coaches and managers are defenders who, because of their very lack of flair, never quite made it as players and therefore still have to work.

The truth, dear friends, is that whoever you support,you either like it or lump it ? there`s no fun it for sure. You either accept `the product` as it is because it ain`t going to change, or you find something else to blow your money on. I know how I`m thinking this Monday morning!
David Hall, Taunton  (4/12/06)

That is a great letter, David. Spot on. No doubt you remember that time, so long ago now, when the good fans of Everton at Goodison Park would actually applaud a well-crafted goal from the opposition? It really is such a different game now, and the emphasis on defence at all costs is what drives me to the brink of sanity. Your incisive comment about the current stock of managers and coaches seems almost painfully apt. — Michael

Whine, whine, whine

I'm getting sick of the continual negativity on here. Win, lose or draw there's a bunch of whingeing. We could beat Man Utd's first string 10-1 with a team of Academy kids and all some people would focus on is the fact we conceded a goal.

The West Ham result could've gone the other way? This makes the West Ham match different from every game of football ever played in what way exactly? Two of our lads pulled the trigger and hit the target. None of their's did, hence 2-0 Everton.

We currently have a swathe of injuries cutting through the team but we got a result. If you want nothing but fancy football and a team that can afford whoever they want then just piss off and be another plastic fan for Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal. Rant over.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Ballymena  (4/12/06)

You miss the point that it is not 'plastic fans' ? whatever they might be ? who are whining and whingeing. It's a portion of Blues fans, some of whom have supported the club for many years; all of whom are Evertonians.

If it was just me, then fine, have a pop. I'm used to my views being denigrated. But the attitude you espouse in your last paragraph screams a kind of intolerance I find unacceptable. Please show some respect to your fellow Evertonians and at least have the grace to understand there are a wide and very diverse range of views out there, none of which are necessarily 'right'. — Michael

Credit were credit's due (part two)

Michael, I think you missed my point. Which was that we DID play poorly in the first half, but Moyes did something to turn it around at half time. He is often criticised for not having any positive influence during games. Well this time he did, and with pretty slender resources to work with. We were a different side in the second half, and that's why we won. Doesn't he (and the team) deserve some credit for that?
Neil Pearse, London  (4/12/06)

I confess I didn't see any change in the game. For me, it seemed pretty much the same throughout. Maybe Carsley dropped deeper and Osman played more forward, which may or may not have been a factor in his goal. Since the goal came from a blind clearance, that part of it was down to a huge slice of luck, after Beattie's exceptional effort to create it. I struggle to see the manager's crucial intervention there. Then it was the same turgid stuff until the death, and another excellent piece of individual determination and skill that got the second goal. Maybe I shuld watch it again, but I don't have that kind of fortitude, I'm afraid. ? Michael

Everton 2 West Ham 0

That was a pile of shit on Sunday. Yep, I am grateful for the 3 points because it is 3 more points towards saftey. That's about all you can say for a team that played as poor as I have ever seen a team play since Walter Smith's side.

It was, and let's be honest, a fucking shocking attempt by 11 very well-paid Blue players to try to move and pass. If we got into Europe, do you really think that we would last 2 mins? Everton need to get to 40 pts and then flush the manager and some of some our players down the pan.
John Cribb, Liverpool  (4/12/06)

Now I think that's way over the top... or are you being *ahem* "ironic"? ? Michael

In response to Alan White's Shame on us all

For what mate? Let's keep things simple, Moyes has had five years in charge to fashion a TEAM, he has not achieved that goal. The standard of football we play under this man is nothing short of abysmal, why do you think the home support is so poor vocally? I apolagised to my lad on Saturday for raising him as an Evertonian, I really didn't want him having to watch shite.

We have a few diamonds in the side but we need a central midfield that can provide service and someone who can actually put a tackle in. Have these facts escaped Moyes for the last five years? He knew we needed a striker that could score goals before the start of last season and said so this season!

Some of the comments the guy comes out with are cringeworthy and I don't think he actually has the respect of the players. He lost mine in December 2004, this man has been in charge when we have suffered some of the most embarrassing defeats I can recall. He is not good enough to manage Everton Football Club ? it's that simple, so shame on you if you think he is.

I think the support for the manager is highly divided and to have a go at the lads running this site because they also have their own opinions is a digrace. I see no anti Moyes slant from them, just realistic comments from lads who have seen better times and expect more than is currently being served up for what is supposed to pass as football.

Everyone gets a say on ToffeeWeb and the anti-Moyes brigade get their fair share of brick bats. David Moyes does not inspire me as an Evertonian but he is not going to stop me from being one. Let's hear what everyone has to say but lets be realistic about this man's tenure so far.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (4/12/06)

Good comments, Stephen, and thanks for the words of support. Your penultimate statement caught the eye: "David Moyes does not inspire me as an Evertonian but he is not going to stop me from being one." ? that's very good! I might need that on a T-shirt! — Michael

Fluffy handcuffs

All I'd like to say is well done to the lads and Davey Moyes. I have in the past criticsed DM for his lack of attacking substitutions and sitting back and holding on rather than trying to kill off teams (to throw in an obvious clich?). It was great to see Vaughan come on early enough to make an impact... and brilliant that he grabbed a goal too.

Well done, and who knows ? maybe Mrs Moyes might have a a surprise for Christmas with the new David the adventurous!
Chad Schofield, Cirencester  (4/12/06)

Let's Enjoy It !

We score two great goals against reasonable opposition (on the day), get three points and all with half a team, in conditions where you would get three years gaol for leaving your dog outside ? and still there are moans of discontent! What the hell do you expect? We don't have the resources of the other lot, Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal and until we do will never be chasing the title - much as I deplore the thought.

Unfortunately, football has gone completely pear-shaped since Murdoch got his grubby hands on the game. Let's instead regard the plus aspects; a great contribution from AvdM, continuing improvement from Lescott and a safe pair of hands in Tim Howard. Yes, we need to improve in many areas, especially passing, but all-in-all I was reasonably content with yesterday's performance and I would suggest that most realistic supporters would agree.

OK, so my specs are a little rosy tinted but then I go back to the late 40s when things were a tad easier and I remember the good days of Kendall, Ball & Harvey et al. Surely one can dream?
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (4/12/06)

Johnson doubts

I have to say that Nick Amitage`s summary of yesterday`s performance is much more on the button than that originally posted. Sometimes the end justifies the means and yesterday was a case in point.

What did worry me, however, was yet another anonymous game from Andy Johnson. Now the apologists will say that he was not 100% fit ? but, if that is so, why was he playing and risking further injury?

James Vaughan came on for the cameo role which so used to piss off another youngster of recent memory and was able to demonstrate the incisive striking skills which are currently beyond AJ and, for that matter, the `useless Beattie`. Far better for him to have started the game with Johnson getting the 20-minute `livener` at the end.

For my money, Johnson, when not scoring, offers far less than did Radzinski and not much more than Bent. If Moyes is to get anything like his money`s worth, he has to find a way to play to his strengths ? although, on current form, there aren`t very many of them!
Perry Grainger, Garston  (4/12/06)

Missing a trick?

I listened to the game on Five Live yesterday after finding my subscription to Everton FC entitled me yet again to listen to the commentary, adverts for used cars and cut price beans at Spar from City FM. Anyway, I managed to catch the highlights (what there were) later on TV. Not that I missed much though. I had thought the result against Sheff Utd earlier this season was hollow, but yesterday's surpassed that as David Moyes continues to prove that football isn?t about entertainment

Moyes, in an effort to deflect us from urging new signings and an increase in quality, has led us to believe that we have a squad deep enough to survive all but a nuclear holocaust. Yesterday, we were down to the bare minimums with a half-fit striker, a winger with less than 90 minutes of first-team experience since Big Ben ushered in the new millennium, and a patchwork defence. Maybe Moyes is rotating the squad so our players are fit for the title run-in ? you think?

We were fortunate then to face a team that have worse form on the road than a 1985 Trabant. However, our play was dull, one-dimensional and unintelligent. With gale-force gusts, you would have thought Moyes would have had a "Plan B" that didn't involve hoofing the ball in the air from defence ? obviously not. Andy van der Meyde was promising, but you got a distinct impression he wasn't singing from the Moyes hymn sheet. He seemed to be doing one thing, while everyone else did their usual.

On the commentary, the commentators made a point that after about 25 minutes, fans were heading out for their half-time pie. Maybe when Pravda send me their e.mails, they should contain pictures of Beattie munching into a Steak & Kidney, rather than stood there in his shirt looking moody. At least when the football gets so bad you want to chew your leg off, you'll think of Beattie and head off to pie stall early. We were really that awful in the first half, that if West Ham had gone away from Goodison with a 2-0 win it wouldn't have flattered them ? and that is despite our second-half performance.

We often talk of how the BBC and others have their LFC bias, but honestly with that standard of entertainment dished out week-in and week-out, who but a dyed in the wool Everton fan is going to watch/listen to it? If the paying fan is nipping off for their pie early, then the MotD viewer is definitely going to switch over.

It does upset me though. I?ve supported the Blues for 30 years and, even when times were bad, we were able to put on a show. At best these days I?m able to give a technical critique of a game. Everton was always a by-word for entertaining football, but these days? well I can?t put it into words. I want to enjoy the experience of matchday.

Reading, Bolton, Wigan and Sheffield Utd seem to be able to carve out results while giving the fans something to warm them up on a cold weekend afternoon ? and they have limited resources too. Why can?t we? Some of our fans seem content with continual mediocrity, however if points were given for entertainment, we would be relegated by Christmas.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (4/12/06)

Great letter, Mark. You some up my frustrations very eloquently. — Michael

Fair reviews

I'll admit I'm not currently in the 'I love Davie Moyes' brigade but I will have to say that if you want a supposedly unbiased account of the game then you should go to one of the commercial websites.

Having said that, I used the Soccernet gamecast option on Sunday and found this amusing when it popped up:

'Lescott concedes another corner under pressure from Tevez. It is headed behind for a corner. This is West Ham's twelth of the game. If this were a game of Gaelic football, and corners were worth one point then West Ham would have won this game by now. It isn't though and we are stuck with that reality. Oh, and the corner, in keeping with the tradition of this match, is wasted.'

We all know most of the media don't really give a toss about Everton but I think people should wake up to how crap our reputation is with the rest of the footballing world in terms of entertainment... which you may think makes no difference as long as we get some points. But if you were a potential investor or sponsor (and no natural reason to support Everton) would you want to let your name be associated with the dross we see most weeks?
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (4/12/06)

Frankly, my dear(s),..

I don't give a damn whether we were Good, Bad or Ugly. I left the ground voiceless as usual but smiling despite being chilled to the bone and not just a tad soggy. I go to watch my team win games and when I want to watch really good footy I watch Barcelona on the telly. Sad but true.

I can dream and hope that one day we will consistently play some amazing stuff and dazzle the opposition into submission but I know, and I think we should all admit, that unless rules are brought in to change how teams are funded, we will never get a look-in beyond the also rans of the Premier League. Having said that, yes of course we should aim high ? I don't pay the Stupidity Tax, er, I mean Lottery, every week to win a tenner. I do it to win the millions. I know it's not going to happen but I still live in hope!

I would sell my soul to see the sort of football that graced this wonderful ground when I was a kid but it ain't gonna happen in my lifetime, so I have to just love what I've got ? my team, my lifelong passion for Everton, and I would still be there even if we were bottom of the league, no question.

On more practical issues, just a few thoughts: Tim Howard, the Board must sell every available granny (me included) to secure his services asap.

Valente - I can't agree with a previous post about Nuno being crap. He's a stylish, footballing left-back who can pass out of defence and make overlapping runs into space. He got caught in possession at Charlton and it cost us dearly but by that reckoning every player except perhaps Lescott should be shot at dawn! Valente also had the guts to make statements to say he was sorry (that from someone we rarely hear from otherwise) and what a refreshing change that makes!!! A player who is honest? By heck, a real Heineken moment there!

As for VdM, well, all I can say is every time he got possession, the crowd were lifted (just like it was when AJ started banging in the goals) ? there was an air of expectancy and he didn't disappoint in my humble opinion. All in all, a gutsy performance and a win. No coulda, shoulda, woulda's from me. Easy to please? Yes, that's me. Come on you blues, make an old woman happy ? a point or three at Pompey will make my day.
Lue Glover, Flint  (4/12/06)

Ah, a good lesson there, Lue, in how to lower our sights and accept ? no, learn to love ? the inevitable. Well done! — Michael

Misery

Luq Yussef says he feels cheated by the win. Seriously. You really are part of a team of the most pompous and miserable individuals I've come across.

You've been so mermerized and conned by the bright lights of Sky and the Euro CL millions that you cannot enjoy a win anymore. It's bleat bleat bleat about how we aren't up there with those greats in Europe. Who gives a shit. Watch most CL games. They are mostly boring rubbish played by petulent children.

A hard-fought game on a windy December Sunday, which we won, is what English football is really about and where tradition lies. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (4/12/06)

In Lescott we trust!

It wasn't pretty but I fully endorse the comments made by Nick Armitage. Job well done under difficult circumstances.

I also wanted to add my appreciation to another composed performance from Lescott, who alongside Howard, has been the differnce between us being 7th or 17th. Arteta has the style, Johnson has the goals (fingers crossed); however, I know where my vote will be going come Player of the Season. He is different class!!
Allan Price, Shropshire  (4/12/06)

His compsoure is a breath of fresh air at the back. And am I right in thinking he actually tries to play the ball out of defence when he can, rather than resorting to the Stubbsian hoof? — Michael

Well Done, Boys!

This season there have been games where Everton played really well but didn't take all three points. The awful referee decision against Newcastle and the last minute Man City equaliser are examples. After those games, everyone complained that although Everton played well they didn't have the cutting edge to finish teams off.

Against West Ham, Everton fielded a weakend side, battled the weather and, although nobody can call it a great performance, the team worked really hard (Beattle for the first goal was superb example of the Moyes work ethic). While the Hammers floudered in front of goal, Everton had the cutting edge and that little bit of quality to put the ball in the net and take all three points.

Still people are complaining. Personally I'm going to enjoy the victory and delight in seeing Everton rise up the table again while further cementing themselves as a genuine Top 10 team.
John Matrix, London  (4/12/06)

Not pretty but the points are on the board

The last few games in particular have confirmed what a lot of people have been moaning about all season. We look poor even if we manage a win, and most of our points are gained by holding on for dear life after getting our nose in front, more often than not by scoring a goal against the run of play. With few exceptions our midfield has been outplayed in almost every match, and at times seems incapable of stringing more than 2 or 3 passes together.

Yet somehow we find ourselves a point out of a Champions League spot, close to half way through the season. Is it luck? Maybe we've had a little, but I'd say we've had our share of bad luck to, particularly with some key decisions going against us in a few of the earlier games and we've had more than our fair share of injuries.

It's not pretty to watch but the negative approach we adopt seems to be reasonably effective in a competition where the standard is looking increasingly poor outside the top 4 or 5 teams. A lot of clubs play prettier football but the reality is that more of these are below us on the ladder than above. In the end, Moyes's job is to get the points on the board and at this point I think its fair say he's done a reasonable job in doing so.
Simon Potter, Sydney  (4/12/06)

Cake and Eat it too?

I think a lot of the negative posters on this site try to have it both ways. Moyes was mocked considerably by many for claiming that we played a lot better than the 3-0 scoreline against Man U indicated (which was true in my opinion). This point was disregarded with critics saying that 3-0 was a fair reflection on the very simple basis that Man Utd scored three goals and we got none. In other words, never mind the positive aspects of the performance, focus on the scoreline.

Now, having won 2-0 against West Ham, a polar opposite argument is raised by the same negative camp saying that we should ignore the scoreline and focus on the fact that if we?d been unlucky West Ham would?ve converted their chances and we could?ve lost!

There were a lot of good signs in that performance last night, despite the overall standard of play being pretty poor.

Oh and did AVDM?s performance give Michael and Colm some answer as to why ?some evertonians have so much faith in him?? While we obviously need to have him get some fitness and actually string a few games together, at least his skills on offer actually give us some of that attractive football that everyone?s demanding. It will be nice to see him link up with Cahill too.
Adam Fenlon, Perth, Australia  (4/12/06)

The point was nothing more than this simple comparison: if the scoreline on Wednesday flattered Man Utd, then this scoreline today flattered Everton. What's wrong with that? It's not a polar opposite argument: it's the same simple point. Nothing more, nothing less. No 'agendas'. Moyes basically said as much, admitting himself that we did not play all that well. But the important thing was that we got those three points.

It was good to see Van der Meyde put himself about a bit and get in some of this service everyone has been crowing about. The pity was there was nobody on the end of them. Is that because it was too windy? Beacuse they have never played with him? Because they are not used to it? The team needs a lot more coherence before it can take advantage of his skills... which makes you wonder what they really do in training, and was the source of my admittedly provocative comment that they don't really seem to want to play with him. Let's hope that's not true... — Michael

Agendas?

I agree with Sean Rothwell, the match report on the Homepage was pathetic today. Not because Everton were magnificent as they definitely were not but because they did something the Hammers could not do and that was score two goals from a dearth of chances in terrible conditions (which may not have been apparent watching the game on the telly!) and the team were decimated by injuries.

Constructive criticism is fine, I have indulged in quite a bit of it myself on this site. But there is an increasing sense of 'other agendas' on this website which as I read it borders on a demonstration of a kind of 'hatred' for the Club. I can live with this when it arises from a few posters but when it is encouraged by the editors I begin to wonder about the motivations.

Sometimes I wonder whether the site, for them (the editors) has become more important than Everton Football Club. If it has that's fine, that's up to them but when it becomes impossible to see anything positive about the Club you purport to support then maybe it's time to jack it in.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (3/12/06)

It's amazing how the aspiration for some half-decent football from the team you support is now condemned as 'other agendas', and "a kind of 'hatred' for the Club", until "it becomes impossible to see anything positive about the Club you purport to support". Are you people serious? ? Michael

How to feel?

I agree 100% with Michaels assessment of that game. Blame the weather if you like but the fact is, we are THAT bad in just about every game. I just can't believe so many Evertonians like Moyes and seem to think we are a decent team... have you all become lemmings or what?

I'm starting to get real mixed emotions about Everton right now. I'm overjoyed when we win and move closer to safety; but every time that happens the chance of Moyes leaving recedes, and so does the chance of watching us play decent football.

And to those muppets who don't think there's anyone better to replace him... you are the biggest lemmings of all. Without barely looking outside the Premiership there's a good chance we could get Coppell, Jewell, even Redknapp, and Dave Jones would jump at the chance. All of those would do better at Everton than this idiot, and that's without even casting the net further afield.

Another thing that drives me mad about him is his ridiculous micro-managing of the players when the game is going on. For God's sake they're Premiership players; let them make decisions on the field! You bought them, you were never a Premiership player yourself, so shut the fuck up once they cross the white line. Tactical instructions OK... (now that's a laugh!)... but constant 'hold', 'inside', 'look left/right' etc just irritates the shit out of good players.

Obviously that's just one of a long list of his faults... Anyway, rant over; I'll watch with baited breath to see how long it takes for the majority to see the Emperor really isn't wearing a stitch!
Mike Price, Songhkla, Thailand  (3/12/06)

I keep hoping, like a fool, that Moyes is going to change... but he isn't going to change really, is he? The way his teams play is cast in stone. The gameplan is as plain and obvious as the nose on your face. The triumph of effort and workrate over skill and finesse is so deep-rooted. The "Get rid!" mantra ensures that palying the ball out of defence and through the midfield, at pace with accurate passing among teammates is just not going to happen.

[I still don't understand why a lack of money prevents us from playing the ball to feet when we are in possession, especially when there is a gale blowing. Perhaps an apologist could help me with that one...]

I know I should take that extra step and support your stance, Mike, that it is perhaps time for him to go. Yet I know too that Kenwright will not entertain such thoughts, so I tell myself any emotion expended on the subject is basically wasted, and I keep hoping that something miraculous will happen. See, I can be positive! ? Michael

Credit where credit's due

We were particularly poor in the first half, and lucky not to be overrun by the Hammers. But ? credit where credit's due ? Moyes did something to turn it around at half-time, and we were clearly the stronger side in the second period. And in all honesty, we did not much look like conceding after Osman's goal, despite their late pressure.

Positives include: ALL the players showed massive commitment; AvdM can clearly add something; Vaughan looks fit, lively and direct; and Lescott and Howard are rocks. Of course, we still need reinforcements in midfield ? but not all over the park.

With so many injuries, and players coming back from injury ? I agree with many of those posting: your negativity is way over the top on this one.
Neil Pearse, London  (3/12/06)

So "We were particularly poor in the first half" yet "your negativity is way over the top on this one"??? I'll have to ponder that little conundrum...

Let's face it, the risk of losing a goal was real for a large part of the second half. It's easy in retrospect to claim "we did not much look like conceding after Osman's goal," but I think a large contingent of Evertonians were a little nervous at that stage.

I think, too, if you're not there at the game, you miss out on the tremendous elation a late goal can give you. You have that as the primary focus when you leave the ground, and all the dross that went before is largely forgotten. — Michael

From my seat

Saw the team and thought we would get beaten. What transpired on a windswept afternoon left me enjoying a game of Premiership football for all the wrong reasons. West Ham ? the football-playing side ? against a makeshift Blues XI, gave us a game to remember for its sheer unprectability.

First half, Tim kept us in it with some good shot-stopping, ably supported by Lescott, who in my opinion went on to give an imperious performance worthy of MotM. It was an odd game to observe in as much as many of us have slated Osman for being weak yet his ability to pass and move and indeed find players in Blue shirts gave us an added dimension from central midfield that has been lacking for a while. It took him 'til half time to really come to terms with his role but in that second period he upped the ante some 10%, as did the rest of the team, and deserved his well-taken goal.

To see him go off later with what seemed a hamstring job took the gloss off it a little but we persevered and ? although ending with FIVE centre-backs on the field (Walter Smith would have been proud) ? managed to allow James Vaughan to give us the points in injury time with a goal that seemed to particularly delight the young man. On this goal, the crowd roared, knowing it was two minutes into injury time the points were safe. But in the preceding 92 mins, I don't think the Blue hoards were confident at all and believed as I did that a point would be a result under the circumstances. Hanging on to 1-0 would do... but 2-0 was the icing on a very fragile cake.

Negatives to take would be that such a threadbare squad can't keep delivering three points. McFaddon and Beattie are not the future.

Positive points would be that ? if we could get Osman-like passing to Blue shirts in midfield, cosses VdM-style, allied to some excellent defending from Howard, Lescott (in particular) and a determination to give their all in all games ? then, with a squad worthy of the club, we may indeed progress.

Yes, I enjoyed the game for what it was as a paying customer but I just hope that those who represent us realise that today's game was a most enjoyable one-off and don't lose sight of the building that needs to be done. A long way to Pompey next week... just hope we have a team. See you there -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (3/12/06)

Some great insights on Osman's role, Ken. It would be great if he could regain some of his earlier confidence but I think it must depend a lot who he is up against (his marker) and who the ref is. Or maybe he's another one opposition managers have fingered and said "Just a nudge will knock him off the ball and neutralize a huge chunk of their creativity and threat potential". I'm sure we'll have plenty in the Echo tomorrow about how 'Osman's goals can now take us forward' — Michael

We won...

And that?s everything I can say about the game. I am in the pro-Moyes camp but if a performance is bellow par then I cannot excuse it and, apart from the result today, there was nothing positive.

I would challenge everyone to show me the positive things. In the first half we were second-best and out-played in all parts of the game ? possession, coreners, shots on/off target and only great save from Howard prevented a well deserved lead for West Ham. I felt sorry about AJ who was left chasing bouncing balls all over the place, there was virtually no midfield, only hoofed balls up-front ending in lost possession (62% for West Ham at one stage).

However, there was one exception, he was our best player in the first half and if anything was going to happen, it was going to be via him. His name: Andy van der Who??? Only he and Valente were trying to keep the ball on the ground; he was taking on midfielders, firing decent crosses in the box, switching wings, terrorizing the West Ham defence? The cynic in me says that we were paying him 2 years' salary for virtually doing nothing and now, after he is finally fit and capable to display his undoubted talent, he is off to PSV ? but that?s another story.

The second half ? well, as expected, AvdM couldn?t last more than 60-70 mins and he was rightly substituted. From then on it was really, really painful to watch ? only hoofed balls from Howard and our defence, we hadn?t had any ideas in midfield, or any game plan other than 'keep it tight and hope for the lucky break'.

We scored the goal which was in the way we played, hoofed hopeless ball, great determination from Beattie to cross it and the loose ball was smashed home by Osman. You know the script after that ? defence. Still, I was confident that we would win this one, a Moyes-style 1-0 win. And on came Vaughan and scored good goal. I was so happy for the lad, he managed to score from open play ? something James Beattie, for all his work rate and quality crosses from AvdM today, hasn?t managed for more than 20 games. Vaughan needed just two substitute appearances...

I can't fault Beattie's effort but there is no quality at all, everything for him as forward was summed by the volley execution from the AJ lay-off?
Stefan Tosev, Vienna  (3/12/06)

Some good sensible comments there, Stefan, but you are bold to put them forward on here: you will be called "ridiculous" for viewing the game in this way. I thought you had been one of the more positve and supportive of all things Blue? Don't tell me the reality has got to you too?

I'd forgotten that absolutely horrendous volley by Beattie ? subliminally blocked it from my mind, it was so bad! — Michael

A win is not always the best result

Four points I want to raise regarding today's game:

1) Why does it take an injury crisis to force Moyes's hand?

He plays the much criticized Van der Meyde (my Man of the Match) right wing, and he played really well with good crossing and the urgently needed touch of creativity. But he wouldn't have got a look in if any other players were fit, so again another example of Moyes not being the right man to lead us to better days.

Moyes is way too negative, even Smith played Gasgoine and Ginola together!!! Yet Moyes is still 'idolised' for being exactly the same as Smith, if not worse, as he has had better players and more money to spend!

2) Howard, will he stay or will he go?

Again commanding and a match-winning save from Boywer, but all the uncertainty about his future is unsettling for all concerned! Get it sorted, Chairman!

3) What right has Beattie to start this match?

Let's not mess around, Beattie is a fat pile of turd! Vaughan has to at least be tried with Johnson, who wasn't even 70% fit. Beattie is the worst No 9 we have ever had! But again our friend Moyes refuses to see it. What a waste!

4) Did Everton deserve to win?

No! And I really don't understand the fans who say "be positive" after today's result!? Like piss I will! We played better at Man Utd and look what their reserves did to us. This type of football will only get us to mid-table at best, and forget playing like that in Europe or have people already forgotten last season's brief and painful adventures?

I feel more cheated after today's game even though we won, as Moyes only does the right thing when he is forced to, never by design! In Moyes we trust, BOLLOCKS!
Luq Yussef, London  (3/12/06)

David Moyes: a fraud in messiah's clothing!

"Get off his back!" "It's not his fault it's the players they're crap!" All things generally shouted in the direction of anybody who dares to criticise ol' ginger bonce.

Let's get one thing straight: David Moyes has been given more time and more importantly MONEY than any Everton manager in history to make a difference... but the fact is we are no better off now than we were 10 years ago. Not only that, the football we are playing is some of the WORST I have seen since I don't know when!

I can't remember any midfield being so physically lightweight and devoid of ideas. I can't remember any manager who panics when WE go one-nil up! His tactics are a mystery even to the players, his substitutions are a joke! And his ditherings, sorry dealings in the transfer market are the butt of many an away fan's jokes.

Let's take a look at most of his signings:-

  • Richard Wright: over-rated, accident-prone and whatever we pay him is way too much!
  • Joseph Yobo:- Yes, I will dare to criticise... he's now 25/6 and we're STILL waiting for him to fulfill his potential and he's prone to the most awful errors.
  • Per Kr?ldrup: WHO! Need I say anymore on him!
  • Li Tie: We go through all the hassle to get him and then he dissappears through injury only to be perfectly fit when needed to play for China!
  • Marcus Bent: should be renamed Barn door though we did make a tidy profit on that one!
  • Andy "sick note" VDM: Payed well today but Nessie has been sighted more often than him!
  • Simon Davies: What exactly can he do?
  • And (last but by no means least) James "pie man "Beattie! This man is not fit to wear the No 90 ? never mind the coveted and legendary Everton No 9.
Most managers would have been sacked after signing two of these but not Moyes! And PLEASE do NOT mention 4th place two years ago ? the only reason we got that is that becuse Liverpool and Bolton won less games than us after Christmas '04.

Oh yes our European embarrassment / collapse / surrender: Moyes's failure to lure a decent striker or goalkeeper cost us dearly. His lack of man-management skills are legendary. When was the last time we reached an FA Cup quarter-final, never mind a Semi?

So in conclusion before anybody says this isn't his team: it is! So if we don't qualify for at least the Uefa Cup after him spending nearly ?100 million in his time here, the only proper thing to do is SACK HIM!!
Martin Handley, Solihul  (3/12/06)

Wow! Here I was thinking perhaps I was a little off-base but you have some serious issues there, Martin. It's very one-sided to look at the transfer downside and totally ignore the upside. Also Beattie, to give him credit, did wonders to rescue that lost cause today and cross for the clearance that led directly to the first goal. [Although it may not strictly be his, I reckon he deserves the 'assist' for sheer persistance and application... but there were times during the rest of the game when your description was more apt.]

And we're headed back up the table again ? how on earth can you possibly call for Moyes to be sacked! — Michael

Everton 2 - 0 West Ham

Really good result. With so many injuries winning this game 2-0 was extremely encouraging. Also good to see Osman return to form. And great goal by Jimmy Vaughan, the question now is, Victor Who?

I really think Everton are on course for a Top 10 finish and all credit to David Moyes for that.
Johnny Matrix, London  (3/12/06)

It was a good result, but it could easily have gone the other way, and it really flattered us, in my opinion. Why did you ask about Victor? It seems he's injured, and may have been carrying an injury when playing ? something which Moyes does with his players.

You must be on the blue pills, Johnny Matrix, to credit the manager for something he has not yet achieved this season. Something that is at best only a figment of your imagination? Try to keep it real, please, and celebrate it when it happens, but not before (remember the nonsense last season about "back-to-back top-ten finishes"? We finished 11th.) ? Michael

WELL DONE THE BLUES!

We sang our bloody hearts out today only to get home to see you slagging off the team. If you had been at the match instead of in front of the TV you might have some conception of what it was like out there. All I`ll say is that today proved that Moyes has developed a team of real battlers and for that, at least, I`m grateful. WELL DONE THE BLUES!
Ed Cannon, Blundellsands  (3/12/06)

Cheer up

Totally agree with Sean Rothwell. Me and my mate really enjoyed our Sunday afternoon watching an exciting Premiership clash which Everton won 2-0 despite having nine first team squad members unavailable. And how do ToffeeWeb report it?

  • 'Talk about flattering scorelines',
  • 'typical backs-to-the-wall defending'
  • 'plenty of conceded possession'.
This website has become a parody of itself. Have you forgotten that you're meant to enjoying watching football and supporting a team?
Paul Martin, Cardiff  (3/12/06)

That's were the difference lies: you can convince yourself that Sky is providing you with football at its best from the best league in the world. It's great that they have plenty of paying customers who continue to support the game, no matter how bad it gets. They've done such a good job that I can now basically watch it for free, or at least no added cost, and that's great.

Or you can recognize it for what it really is, and call it mostly shite. I wouldn't mind if it was the odd game that was poor, but it seems every game we play these days (since those heady days at the start of the season) are turning into exhibitions of the poorest football imaginable. I would have thought this was inescapable for most fans, but there seem to be plenty of you who are affronted by such an assessment. I'm sorry you are affronted, but it doesn't change my view of what I watched. — Michael

Stop it!

Here we are stitting 7th in the table, give the lads credit please, it's about getting the points afterall. Having watched a good few Premiership games, apart from the top money sides, we anit doing too bad. You moaners should stop looking at the 80s, we just haven't got the money to compeate any more.

Carry on the good work lads, and you moaners ? get with the team!
John Daley, Cumbria  (3/12/06)

Alarm bells ringing

I have to agree with Alan White that your report does you no credit. After all, this was a scratch side playing in a gale so it was never going to be pretty. To win was a great achievement although the alarm bells are beginning to ring re Johnson. When not scoring, he has even less to his all-round game than Beattie ? his `runs` usually up blind alleys of opponents` choosing. Even in this `skill`, he would be a poor second to Marcus Bent who cost an eighth of his price. Looks to me like another `turkey` to go with Kr?ldrup and Beattie!

But well done to the lads, especially the collusus Lescott and young James Vaughan.
George Farrimond, Newtown  (3/12/06)

Spot on, ToffeWeb

I'm amazed anybody can say we played well today ? we were completely out played and out passed by West Ham this afternoon. However, what pleased me most was that, at least for the majority of the game today, we had more offensive type players than defensive. We still were crap at keeping possession, with ball on deck, for more than 60 seconds; however, there were glimpses of decent interplay ? particularly when Andy VdM was involved.

It will be interesting what Moyes does next. Despite his off field problems, AvdM's 70-minute performance this afternoon showed us that he, along with Arteta, are the only two players completely comfortable on the ball in tight situations. I just hope the lad can stay fit, stay out of trouble and Moyes gives him an opportunity to get properly match fit. The two or three crosses he sent in, first half, were world class.
Mike Whittaker, Bristol  (3/12/06)

What I found astoundoing was that there were no Everton players on the end of those crosses?!? Fans have been screaming about lack of srevice, and here is the guy who provides the service. The problem is I believe, the other players don't really want to play with Shandy. When he has the ball, they stand well off him, they don't show for him, they make it as difficult as possible for him to do anything constructive with the ball. What a waste. — Michael

Don't watch if we're that bad!

Why do some of you bother watching Everton play if it causes you so much displeasure? Nobody forces you to watch. If you're bored watching either don't come or switch the TV off.

Today's game was never going to be a classic, the wind was so strong there were slates blowing off the roof of the Winslow before the game. How can you expect flowing football in those conditions?! Why can't people just be happy that we won? You can praise the way teams like Arsenal play all day long, but that's got them one more point than us.

Also, I don't think I could name one player who didn't get stuck in and perform decently today. Lescott, Howard and Valente were solid as usual. McFadden and Van der Meyde showed why they should be supported and not continually castigated. Most Everton fans that I speak to are acutely aware that both of them possess the necessary class and that they deserve a run of games in order to prove themselves.

Many of you doom-mongers seem to be suggesting that you are happy that we won despite your whinging but this really does not come across. By all means be critical but at least refer to specifics in doing so, don't merely suggest that because we didn't pass like Brazil our performance didn't merit a win.

And to the fella who said West Ham gave us a footballing lesson in the first half, I've never heard such shite ? and how can you give a footballing lesson without scoring, it's the whole fucking point.

I for one am pleased with today's performance and find it totally unbelievable that some of you are so negative about every aspect of our play that it casues such desperate and frequently indulgent criticism. I can't ever imagine myself, as an Everton fan, not enjoying or wanting to watch our team play and I find it quite tragic that some of you are so turned off by doing so.

ps: the depiction of the match on the homepage is pathetic.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Can we look on the bright side?

Do you think we can have a bit more getting behind the team than the moaning about Beattie, Moyes, Kenwright or whatever. I see more moaning than anything on this page. I have been an Everton fan for 23 years and I love the club, I try and look at the positive, not the negative. Okay, not everything has been rosy in them 23 years but I've still tried to look on the bright side. So can we have a bit more praising of the team, not just getting on their backs.
Jon Newby, Bebington  (3/12/06)

Yes, Jon, the floor is yours. Here's the challenge: write us an article that is positive and uplifting; don't dwell on the negativity but seek to espouse only those bright and rosy aspects of our team, our club, our players, our manager, our Chairman, our Board of Directors.

The funny thing is, whenever I issue this challenge we never get anything back. Just more moaning. Ooops, now I'm moaning again! — Michael

Welcome result

Not pretty but effective, Beattie struggled alongside Johnson but then again I'm not convinced this pair are suited. However, Beattie did begin to exert an influence on the game when he dropped back into a slightly deeper position in support of the midfield and this was for me the telling point in the game. Lescott was simply superb and would have been my choice for MOM.

McFadden was tireless; can't understand Moyes intention to substitute him ? all the more questionable when one considers his contribution to the second goal. Van der Meyde made a huge contribution given his level of fitness, which begs the question as to why he is not selected. Osman scored a very good goal.

As for the game as a whole, I think it was best summed up by the Sky panel who, at half time, were highly critical of Carsley and Osman and their individual contributions but subsequently chose to award Osman the MoM, presumably for breaking the deadlock ? just about summed the game up for me that did.
Gerry Western, London  (3/12/06)

It's goals that count

Have to admit, you lot called it right again today. Yes, the conditions were bad, but them Hammers showed us how to play in the first half. Still, we were superb in defence and they couldn't get the ball in the net, which is what the game is all about ? as Ossie and Vaughany demonstrated to perfection. 3 points in the bag. Ace!

Keep up the good work, lads.
Phil Edwards, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Shame, indeed

More crazy match reporting from ToffeeWeb today and I agree with Alan White. The website has become detached in recent months and some of those writing match reports are going out of their way to find negatives to back up their own preconceived opinions on various individuals connected with the club.

The weather conditions made today's game effectively unplayable and the absence of Neville, Cahill and Arteta stripped us of three key players. I'm therefore delighted with the win and character shown and pragmatic about the performance. We can do better but in the Premier League you don't have an automatic right to win games, whatever your club motto may be.

The Christmas period will be crucial, I'm sure, but I'm confident that this side ? with Anichebe and Vaughan creeping in ? will challenge for a European position.
Brian Richardson, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Oh, there's that 'agenda' again: "preconceived opinions on various individuals connected with the club" ? what are you talking about?

Cast your mind back to the beginning of the season, the close season, in fact, when we were advised that Everton finally had acheived "squad depth" ? cover in all departments. I thought it sounded a bit daft really considering we had five out, three in when it came to first-team players, and soon we had a bunch of injuries to confirm the worst: this squad, like all of Moyes's squads is threadbare at best. Which is why it is such a magnificent achievement for us to win games when we have significant injuries. — Michael

Unbelievable

The people on this site sometimes take the piss. No mattter what we do, you have a point to moan. We won 2-0 today, Lescot was a rock today, Howard was awesome, Beattie battled to get the first goal, Vaughaun smashed it to an extent that a Premiership keeper not be able to save it, we played well.

I really despair with this site (I know this won't be published) but why does anyone that posts on here "support" Everton???
Paul Heyes, Essex  (3/12/06)

I was with you there 'til you said "we played well." We won, yes, and winning is good. But you shouldn't confuse it with playing well. And lay off with this childish rubbish about "support" ? ask instead why anyone who wasn't an Everton supporter would actually watch that game in its entirety. ? Michael

Strikers who don`t!

Have to say I share your view of today`s performance... total crap. West Ham gave us a football lesson in the first half and should have gone in two up at least.

Van der Meyde was the first winger we have seen this season and he did give us another dimension but I go along with those who say that to negate Johnson you just push him out to the wings. Beattie was a `no show` apart from his cross to Ossie ? so, to me, Moyes has wasted ?15 million on two strikers who don`t!
Peter Prichard, Roby  (3/12/06)

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Anyone who has played football will agree that today's game was a tough one to play in. It was freezing in the stands and the wind was swirling throughout the game. It was however, refreshing to see Tim Howard back between the posts and you can see the confidence the defense have in the man. Hopefully we'll be able to make him a permanent addition in the summer.

Stubbs and Lescott were solid with Yobo and Valente doing their best although they were a little dodgy on a few occasions. Carsley did his usual chasing and trying to break up play whilst Osman made it clear his best position is through the middle. Unfortunately, I think Beattie is continuing to do himself any favours. His control is woeful and he only shows commitment when it suits him.

Lots of people have been slating the service that Beattie needs of late, well, AvdM supplied plenty of it today and where was Beattie? Nowhere! As for McFadden, I can't see any advantage that the guy gives the team. He's slow, makes bad decisions, and gives away far too many stupid fouls that could be very costly to us. AJ did his best but looked a little less sharp from his lay off.

Well done Osman for taking his goal well, and the same goes for Vaughan. However, let's not get carried away, this one could easily have been a reverse scoreline before the end of the first half. Let's hope we can get something at Portsmouth and stay in touch with the top six!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Upwardly mobile Everton

So who said we had no strength in depth? Without no less than SEVEN players, The Moyestro shapes a side who bring off a most satisfying victory against all the odds. Added to which the Mailbag`s pet hates, Beattie and Van der Meyde play out of their skins to bring home the bacon. Shame on all those Evertonians for expressing doubts about where we are going ? which tonight`s table shows is in a decidedly upwards direction!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (3/12/06)

Richard, what I don't understand is that we were "3 points off third place". We got the three points today... how come we aren't third? — Michael

A win is a win, I suppose

Important 3 pts today, and I know a win is a win, but I just can't get over how excruciating we are to watch. That's my moan over.

A couple of plus points: I thought Van der Meyde had a half-decent game; wonder if Moyes will have the bottle to start him against Chelsea? Lescott solid again, and two well-taken goals.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (3/12/06)

Shit, Brian, sounds like you and I actually watched the same game! I can see we will be in for a bag-full, calling this one as it was, and not relishing the marvelous victory Moyes's boys achieved. I'm sorry, people, but I can't say it was any different than how I saw it, and it was poor. I challange anyone to disabuse me of that opinion. — Michael

Shame on you all!

Just switched off Sky to read your disgusting appraisal of today`s game. I am beginning to believe that you hate it... really hate it when Everton win!
Alan White, Bebinton  (3/12/06)

Come on, it was 92 minutes of rather crap football, punctuated by two very well-taken goals. There was so little quality on display, it was frankly pretty dreadful to watch. But if you enjoyed that, fair play to you, fella. Just be mindful of our motto: Nothing but the best is good enough. — Michael

Players; good or bad?

I feel I have to defend a few of the comments Muhammad made RE my E Mail. Valente ? best left-back in a decade? You have got to be kidding, right? We are talking about the same Valente who only last week gifted Charlton a goal and who likes to duck out of the way if the ball is racing towards him (could you see Brian Labone or Dave Watson doing that?).

RE Ferguson's contract extension, I agree he made a significant contribution when we finished 4th. However, when that season finished, it was surely time to let him go? The season after was a disaster if it wasn't for a rebound from a penalty that he missed he would have been the only cenre-forward in Everton's history to have gone a whole season without scoring.

Pistone is a joke. Constantly inconsistent and even more injury-prone than Bilic was (and that is saying something). What use is a player if he is always injured?

Comparing McFadden to Henry ? come on, let's be sensible here. McFadden not only had his contract extended but he apparently had his wages doubled ? what did he ever do to justify either action? Poor management to say the least; if he has such potential, why was no other club in for him?

RE Rooney, we didn't get ?30M for him it was ?20M with more clauses than you can wave a stick at. ?23M for the most talented player in a generation good business? You must be joking?

As I said, I think Moyes is a good coach/motivator. To summarise I think he is out of his depth RE transfer dealings; he needs some assistance/ mentoring RE this aspect of his management.
Steve Burbage, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Funny numbers

We hear this morning that `the lot across the park` are to be sold to the Arabs for ?450 million. Now I never got a Maths `O`-level but if Robert Earl got 22% of Everton for a paltry ?9.5 million, I reckon that makes `them` worth TEN TIMES as much as us. Can`t be right surely?
Clive Pridgeon, Caersws  (3/12/06)

It's like they say... something is only worth as much as someone is prepared to pay for it. Go figure. — Michael

Be very aware

For the last four seasons, I have paid monthly for my season ticket, which worked out me paying an extra forty quid in interst. That was with the HFC bank. The last two seasons, a company called, Call 4 Cash, has the nod from the club. I pay by direct debit like with my household bills. I've only just discovered that the debt was not going down, and I called Call 4 Cash and asked why, so they told me i was paying a massive 29.9% interest. I was disgusted, how can the club i have supported all my life work one up me like that. So be aware. The People's Club???
Colin Malone, Wirral  (3/12/06)

Let's Get Behind Beattie

We all know how frustrating the situation is. But moaning about it and slating Beattie isn't the solution. Let's get beind him and see if it raises his game. If not, then it truly is game over for the lad.
Mark Williams, Liverpool  (3/12/06)

Missing Steve

Whatever happenned to Steve Spencer,the super star youngster signed from Oldham in a hail of publicity last season but never heard of since?
Niel Prescott, Chadderton  (3/12/06)

I think he plays the odd game now and again for the Academy Under-18 side. — Michael

Dutch lives on

The mystery is solved. Dutch has re-surfaced in Malaysia under the even more exotic name of Muhammad Amin Azman. How does he think them up? Luckily for Moyes, Azman`s selective memory / view (Kr?ldrup didn`t happen,then? Hibbert broke through under Smith, Rooney was a boy prot?g?...) is shared by the dope in charge of the train set. More`s the pity!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (3/12/06)

Beattie in midfield?

Picking up on Gerry Western's point, Beattie should be taken to the middle of a field in Shropshire and left there.

He shouldn't play again or he'll have no resale value at all. The club should claim he's been carrying an injury which will resolve by January 1st and blame his poor form on this "injury". Then try and sell him to Newcastle or Middlesboro.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (3/12/06)

I won't Beattie about the bush

Long story short: if Beattie was on loan or trial, he would have been sent packing long since. It's only the investment of his massive fee keeping him in the frame.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (3/12/06)

COme on, now, we're on the verge of a big game... he's bound to play... he might even score! Let's get behind him, just for today. See if it makes any difference... — Michael

Sycophantic ramble

This site gets lots of stick, especially from the eternally optimistic contingent of our fellow blues. Can I just say that ToffeeWeb, so far as I'm concerned, is THE definitive Everton site for rational and realistic comment. I hardly ever look at the rest, they pale into insignificance compared to ToffeeWeb.

Keep up the good work boys and thanks for putting so much effort into it. Don't change. Yours grovellingly... ps: Moyes out! ;-)
Tom Collie, Maghull  (3/12/06)

Hey Tom! Post of the Day! What a guy!!! I agree with you 100%. Except the last bit. He's still learning, he took us to 4th place, he can kick us on again. In Moyes we trust! (Hmm... we haven't heard that for a while!) — Michael

Steve Burbage's post is rubbush

1. Valente is by far the best left-back we have in the past decade. He may be lacking a little bit of pace, but defensively and offensively he is a very good left-back. And it's not like he was signed for ?10 million, he cost us ?2 million... in what world can he be considered to be a bad signing???

2. Ferguson earned far less in his contract extention, something like ?15k-?20k per week. Ferguson did get us some vital goals and countless points playing a big part in securing the 4th place. So again, why was extending his contract a bad decision???

3. Pistone played almost every game two seasons ago, was a part of a defence that that finished 4th place. Moyes would be dumb not to extend his contract. He still remains a good versatile defender.

4 McFadden. Again, for the promise he has showed last season, it would be dumb not to extend his contract. He may not be the Scottish Rooney, but he has shown he is slowly developing into a good player. Anyway, Theirry Henry only started exploding when he was 24. McFadden is still only 23.

5. For Beattie, Wright & Davies, I have to agree: bad signings ? especially Simon Davies: ?3.5 million but no resale value. That's ?10 million down the drain. But you win some, you lose some.

6. Moyes is good in the transfer market. If you look in a bigger perspective,Johnson, Lescott, Yobo, Nevile, Arteta, Valente, Martyn, Howard have proved to be good signings by Moyes.

7. Moyes has saved us millions by bringing up young talent. If it wasn't for Moyes, we wouldn't have gotten ?30 million quid for Rooney. We probably wouldn't have seen Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan and Anichebe. All which could save us ?10-?15 million.

ps: If we win tommorow, we'll eastablish ourslevs in the top half, with the top 8 having a 3-point gap with the rest. COYB!!!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (3/12/06)

Polar Opposites... or just Middle Ground?

As supporters, detractors, critics and blind optimists that populate this excellent site we all have two things in common: the fortune to follow a truly great and historic club; and an opinion. Most opinion (and rightly so) seems to concentrate on the following:

  • Achievement / Stagnation
  • Champions League / Relegation
  • Good buys / Bad buys
  • Motivational brilliance / Tactical ineptitude
  • Move / Redevelop
I am sure most Everton fans will agree that, in the current climate, the best we can ask for is 'Top Six' and a good cup run. Is there another manager out there who can deliver it? Of course... but who? Can we move up to the next level? If so, who will pay for it? Not Bill for sure.

We have to be realistic and accept that we are a middle-tier club (Tottenham, Newcastle, Blackburn and Villa included); however, dreams are all we have and the choice of manager (current/new) and the location of the stadium (current/new) are THE biggest issues concerning if we will still be a truly big club this century.
Simon Temme, Bristol  (02/12/06)

Tomorrow's game

The West Ham game now assumes enormous importance. If we lose we could well find ourselves battling things out over the festive period with teams hovering around the third relegation slot, given that we will have played one more game than most. With Chelsea to come in a fortnight, I think it's fair to say we won't be taking much away from that fixture.

I do hope Moyes is not tempted to line up as he did at Manchester; the last thing we need is Stubbs at the back. Personally I'd like to see him try something different, changes with a purpose rather than for the sake of it. If Johnson is declared fit I'd like to see Beattie deployed in the centre of midfield ? he certainly affords a physical presence and his ball distribution is generally good. It would also relieve some of the pressure he is clearly under whilst still allowing him to get forward into positions where he might get opportunities on goal.

In fact, regardless of Johnson's availability it would be worth a try as it could give Vaughan an opportunity alongside McFadden assuming of course they're given some support from the left flank and not having to rely on the hapless Osman; Van der Meyde perhaps... he was, after all bought with the intention of making the occasional appearance, I presume?
Gerry Western, London  (2/12/06)

What was that pithy saying about the road to hell? Paved with good intentions... As Colm has asked before, on what basis do Evertonians continue to place their faith in Andy van der Meyde? ? Michael

Oster observations

reference Paul Hardcastle's letter about John Oster! What is the point in talking about a player who was useless whilst with us and pretty much wherever else he has been. Just because the fella made a good cross in one game does not compare him to some one like McFadden. Although Faddy is limited as a player he is far superior to Oster. Please talk about things that matter instead. RANT OVER.
Abbie Sanger, Portsmouth  (2/12/06)

I would have thought it mattered that our 'Oster' seems incapable of creating an opportunity like that for his fellow strikers. What we would do for one, just one pin-point cross that one of our towering forwards could score from. — Michael

Michael Ball

I know it's just rumour and gossip at the moment but I do think that Michael Ball would be a good signing in January. We need a decent left back, he's the right age and, most importantly, he came through the ranks, which means he would play his guts out for the club. I do remember something about possible recurring knee injuries, though, and, if he isn't that settled at his current club, then fitness might be a problem.

I don't know how I feel about the idea of useing Andy van der Meyde as a makeweight. I know some of the issues with not getting a game have been of his own making but confidence is a large part of any player's game and I just wonder at how badly he's been handled by Moyes. Even if he has behaved like a diva, at least do the man the justice of giving him a run of games to see what he can do before showing him the door.

If Moyes is going to persevere with Beattie in the hope of the man coming good then at least be consistent and do the same for other players.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (2/12/06)

Too Many Poor Signings

Moyes for me has made way too many poor signings eg, Davies, Beattie, Andy van der (Who?), Valente; also his contract extensions to say the least have been very dubious eg, McFadden, Pistone, Ferguson etc. This brings me to the conclusion that Moyes is probably a good coach/motivator but poor in the transfer market, perhaps what we need is a Director of Football who advises and directs the transfer/contract side of things.

A good manager (such as Big Sam at Bolton) will achieve a ratio of 75% good signings to 25% poor. Moyes's record is around 50/50 ? this isn't acceptable and shows his ineptitude in the transfer market. Added to this why aren't any of the kids coming through? Surely there must be some who are ready to make the step up?
Steve Burbage, Liverpool  (2/12/06)

It's funnny you mention that, beacuse there are those who see some pretty savvy moves by Moyes in the transfer market (is 50/50 that bad if the 50% good ones are a siginficant improvement?), while question-marks hang over his real effectiveness as a coach/motivator. Also, he has given the opportunity to quite a few kids in his time, but only slowly and sparingly ? he doesn't want them to burn up or break down. It's all down to perceptions, I guess... — Michael

Which Way Now?

It's the eve of the visit of West Ham United and I have to say I'm nervous!

My early-season euphoria has been severely tempered and I am now desperately wishing us all the way to 40+ points as soon as possible. As a true Evertonian I was, obviously, more than happy with our start but if I allow myself to ditch the 'blue spectacles' and look at things with non-bias, I think I (and probably all Blues) were getting very carried away for two reasons: we beat Liverpool (convincingly); and we were above Liverpool in the league (until last week).

As Evertonians, we are obsessed with beating and beng above them when, in actual fact, if truth be known, we WERE only above them because they WERE marginally worse than us.

For me, the Club is stagnant and will only move forwards with the removal of Mr Kenwright (who is a lot like me... nice enough bloke but no money) and Mr Moyes who is proving himself, in my opinion, to be tactically inept at Premiership (and European) level. Remember Bucharest!!!! With the current regime, we will continue to be 'also rans' in this league, which I don't believe translates to Nil Satis Nisi Optimum!

Paul Jewel & Steve Coppell are showing what astute managerial decisions can harvest. The big difference is that, in cases of Wigan & Reading, you also have forward-thinking ambitious and, let's be honest, extreemly wealthy Chairman. Move over, Bill.
Chris Watson, Mold, North Wales  (2/12/06)

John Oster

What a lovely piece of football from John Oster to set up that first goal for Reading today. I believe that is what McFadden's efforts for us are meant to look like.
Paul Hardcastle, Neston  (2/12/06)

He could never seem to produce it when playing for us... how old is he now? According to our files, he'll turn 28 next week ? Michael

I've had enough

The last few weeks have proved to me that David Moyes is not up to the job of managing Everton. I'm not interested in the argument that we have moved on from the constant battles with relegation, the fact we finished fourth (how we managed that I'll never know) and so on ? the reality is we are awful.

Our midfield is filled with toothless-at-best chamionship players (Arteta aside); he persists with Beattie, when as we all know, he's useless; why can't he just accept he's made a mistake ? all managers make them, even some of the greats.

The sad thing is the Board of Directors seem to be happy for Everton to languish in mid-table mediocrity. Sir John Moores will be spinning in his grave...
John Anderson, Walton  (2/12/06)

Kit on eBay

Just seen a football kit worn by Van der Meyde on eBay for sale at ?80. It is described as worn by him in a match. Does anyone know if he ever completed 90 minutes?
Leigh Sadler, Essex  (2/12/06)

The Echo mentioned the other day that he had never managed that feat. Did it add "seldom worn"? — Michael

Talking turd

Moyes does talk turd. Although he thinks Beattie and McFadden are doing `very well` up front neither of them can score for pussey. He says today that the only thing lacking in star defender Joleon Lescott`s game is `a couple of goals!` Will own-goals do then, Davey, you rent-a-quote muppet!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (2/12/06)

Missing

Where's Tony Marsh??? Have I missed something here does any one know what's happened to our Tony? Has ToffeeWeb barred him for some reason?

Come back soon, Tony, wherever you may be, and enlighten us all again about Mr Moyes...
Terry Downes, Stoke  (2/12/06)

I thought Tony hinted at his own frustration with Moyes, and with other posters who could not grasp his message of doom.

"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 it's 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."
He wrote that two weeks ago... We certainly haven't banned him but it does seem that events have taken over from Tony in conveyng the reality of many things he claimed to be true about the limitations of our current manager... Either he smashed his PC to bits, or he no longer feels the need to point out the obvious. ? Michael

Wayne's reaction

I think it's one thing to expect a "partisan" crowd to act a certain way, but surely far more realistic to expect and indeed demand that one highly paid professional to act as such. The meek and mild Speed never felt the need to react, so why should the tough nut? It would appear that he has all the rewards and yet still would like to rub our noses in it!

I constantly read on these websites that we are the paying customers and therefore have the right to vent OUR feelings towards our team, so why not against a member of the opposition? The vast majority feel a sense of betrayal, and Rooney has never so much as refuted his desire to move away from us, so why not? Anyone remember a certain Paul Power scoring against his old club while at Everton... That's class and that's professionalism.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (2/12/06)

Cut the crap!

Whilst my faith in David Moyes has been shaken lately as doubts of his ability to `take us on` have emerged, I do believe that we are currently in a wonderful position to claim a top-six spot this season. The inconsistency shown by both Liverpool and Arsenal means that only the top two positions are spoken for and literally any of the teams above the bottom four could, with a good run, make Europe.

Moyes has made some excellent signings ? and a few mistakes ? but what he must demonstrate now is the ability to utilise, organise and motivate his squad to maximum effect on a CONSISTENT basis. Like most Evertonians, I just don`t wish to hear that he can`t explain why Beattie can`t score or Yobo switches off. It`s his bloody job to deal with those matters and provide the answers via consistent scorelines.

Joe Royle once stopped talking to the Echo because he could`nt seem to say the right thing. Moyes should take a leaf out of his book and concentrate on getting things sorted on the field ? quick!
Eric Holman, Litherland  (2/12/06)

A modest manager

It`s a sure sign of how far our club has fallen that fans are even talking about snapping up players from Villa and Celtic Reserves. What I don`t understand is how Moyes could have dreamed that he would get through the season without any long-term injuries. Once again, he has been caught short and ill-prepared. To adapt an old saying, `A modest manager with much to be modest about!`
Peter Whitton, Homer Green  (2/12/06)

January indicators

It is an undeniable fact that Everton need not one but two midfield players urgently. The manner in which this problem is addressed in January will be a firm indication of the Chairman`s ambition and the manager`s skill in the transfer market. I am not optimistic on either score!
Don Taylor, Connah's Quay  (2/12/06)

Go for Pearson, Moyes!

Yes, the local press has Moyes showing interest in Hendry with O`Neill replacing him with Celtic`s Stephen Pearson. Given his own connections with that club, perhaps Davey would do better to go for the Scot himself and thus give the Merseyside bissies a break!
Alan Woodhead, Birmingham  (2/11/06)

Team v West Ham

I hope Dave Moyes selects Vaughan & Anichebe to spearhead our attack from the kick-off; we need a fresh approach. Their cameo roles in the recent away game at Charlton gave Evertonians hope, they can be aggresive in a positive way.

The real problem area is midfield, with the exception of Arteta, it's a toss up. I would hope that Neville drops back to right back alongside Yobo, Lescott & Valente, and could the manager find a place (IF FIT?) for Andy van der Lucan to provede some decent balls in for the youngsters?

May I just comment on a letter sent in by Steve Callaghan: everything you wrote, Steve, regarding our fans obsession with insulting opposing players the players he mentioned all go on to inflict damage to us in their displays, and may I mention Gary Speed among them who left for reasons that have not been printed.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (2/12/06)

Transfers!

We certainly need new signings in the summer but more urgently in January. We have been linked to Kevin Nolan and David Nugent, we clearly need both of these players but once again it's all about finances. Do we have the cash? Do we have the balls to spend big and try and finally compete? Unfortunately, I don't think we do, it's same old same old mid-table mediocrity unless we do something about it in January!
Philip Gray, York  (1/12/06)

Response ? Fairwell to Wayne

When are we going to learn? Sentimental codswallop from the article 'Farewell to Wayne' This is 2006 and here is a young lad brought up in a Croxteth Council Estate with the brightest talent of his age in the world in his profession, offered more wealth than he could ever dream. We criticize the lad for celebrating his goal against us and kissing the badge - yet it is ok for fans to berate him, his family, his girlfriend with all indescribable venom.

Why begrudge the lad his chance in life to chase glory and riches beyond his dreams? Wayne's first glance at the results list each week is to check on Everton's result ? trust me that will never leave him. He is just a normal lad reacting to vile abuse from idiotic supporters who should know better. My advice is conserve your energy and use your vocal support to cheer on the blues with pride and reserve criticism for our own players and management when they don?t deliver as the present duty holders of Everton FC.

Let?s cut out this vile venom to players and fellow supporters and show some class instead. He was one of us, he has moved on, he is a young boy doing the best he can to make something of himself, he is still a blue at heart but his talent was too big for Everton FC in their current period of transition.

I wish the boy well; I was angry at the way his departure was expedited but no more ? let it go as there are more important things in the world to worry about. So what? Barton shows his arse, Fowler sniffs the byline, Gerrard tells us to shush ? Raise above all this and let's get back our sense of humour and show our class once again.

There is no longer true old fashioned loyalty in professional football any more and young players are effectively brainwashed to reach for the stars ? no matter who they trample on. Very rare is the trend bucked ? perhaps only Gerrard has resisted the overtures from Agents and other clubs alike ? but Gerard is a little older than Wayne and more mature.

Yes, Wayne may look back in years to come and recognize he may have handled the situation a little better but will no doubt seek solace in his multi-million pound lifestyle, his honours and his career exploits at the top of his profession. Please let?s move on and let?s bring back the pride, passion and most of all our sense of humour and, please, no more 999 phone calls calling in the police if we get a little bit of stick back from players on the pitch.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (1/12/06)

Stubbed Out

I didn't think Alan Stubbs could resort to it but....

"Man United have 75,000 fans, a huge backing and they have their pick of the players from around the world but in the end I thought the 3-0 scoreline completely flattered them."

I'm sorry but Everton have many thousands of fans, a huge backing and a pick of players from around the world. What a piss poor excuse. And it was our players who allowed them to be flattered by showing them such respect. You need to show these Manc bastards no respect Bolton style.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (1/12/06)

Football has finally reached the point where players and managers spend more time and effort talking about it (and talking shite) than they do actually playing the game (badly) or training for it. Enough already! ? Michael

No to Hendry

If Moyes can ship VdM out in January, he would be a fool to replace him with a toe-rag like Hendry. All Villa fans know him as an extremely talented kid who pissed it all away. The number of well publicised scrapes he has been involved in are legendary and how ever well he`s done at Stoke, he should be avoided at any price!
Brian Goodall, Lichfield  (1/12/06)

Hendry fits the bill

With absolutely no prospect of getting a Barton or Nolan in the January sales, I would not be adverse to a loan or reasonably priced purchase of Lee Hendry. Hendry is the sort of all-action midfield competitor we are lacking although it is true that his off-field antics have not endeared him to a succession of Villa managers. Perhaps, given his experience with the Dutchman, Moyes may be just the sort of hard-line manager Hendry has been lacking.
Alan Sterling, Sutton Coldfield  (1/12/06)

Rooney abuse

My opinion of Rooney is that he's little more than pond life but, even so, I must admit that I was surprised at the vitriol aimed at him on Wednesday night. I don't defend his kissing the badge which infuriated me but is he really the total traitor that people make him out to be?

While the court case with Moyes is pending, I'm not prepared to condemn the guy outright. I do tend to believe the club that they wanted to keep him at all costs, but goodness knows, with all the spin that comes out of GP these days, how the hell do I know if Moyes and Kenwright didn't actually want shut of him to service the debt and fund some limited re-building?

As I said, I don't like him but I'm wondering if there isn't more to this than we mere mortals will ever know... And as to the songs about Munich ? come on, we Everton fans, we're better than that!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (1/12/06)

Uh oh... a Rooney Debate re-opener! Please God ? NO!

Job the comforter

As a "man of the cloth", please forgive my need to clarify the role of Job (see letter from Arnie Castledon). Job was not actually the comforter ? he had "comforters" who proved to be less than their name. Job in fact was renowned for his patience ? perhaps a virtue that Evertonians need at the moment, though our trials are somewhat less severe than those of Job.
Alan Wilson, Switzerland  (1/12/06)

Well said, Dick Fearon

I agree wholeheartedly with Dick Fearon; I too am sick of all the pessimism on this site. I am not blind, I know we are not a good team at the moment, but to villify people for being optimistic is a disgrace. Everyone needs to have hopes and dreams, or what is the point? How many posters on here who tell fellow Evertonians to live in the real world, put money on the lottery? It may be a sobering thought, but any individual Toffee has far more chance of seeing Everton win the league than they have of winning the lottery.

I also feel that anyone who goes against the grain is liable to have a sarcastic comment posted, when they should be applauded for speaking their mind (even if fellow fans/Toffeeweb officials feel they are wrong), after all it is far easier to go with the flow than to put a differing viewpoint across. This seems to be the case with the ground move debate especially.

I will continue to read the mailbag letters, despite not agreeing with the majority of them, because as far as I am concerned, any blue who takes the time to write in desrves respect, even when I disagree with their points of view. Remember, we all want what is best for our team.
John Molyneux, Cheshire  (1/12/06)

People are "vilified" (that's a bit strong isn't it? This a friggin website ? not the Speanish Inquisition!) for living in the past, reminding us endlessly that David Moyes took us to fourth place, that he's better than Walter Smith, that progress has been made.... WE ALL KNOW ALL THAT!

There is no "flow", other than that espoused by the people who write in. The first 20 mails after the Man Utd game were almost all critical, negative, depressing... You can't really blame them?

As for the ground debate, I don't get your point. There's been for and against right across the whole spectrum. The issue of Kirkby being inside or outside of Liverpool is a concern to some; not to others. In the interests of openness and full disclosure, we would like to see a lot more about the feasiblity of redeveloping Goodison Park. Others are happy being told the club has considered it, and rejected it. I don't know how you can say there is some fault in the way that debate has been conducted on here. — Michael

Hendry van der Meyde?

My local paper reports that there was a big Everton contingent at the Brittania on Tuesday evening believed to be watching Lee Hendry. Hendry is said to have transformed Stoke`s fortunes since signing on loan from Aston Villa but Potters fans tell me his recreational interests have much in common with Andy van der Meyde! Davey be warned!!!
John Radford, Hanley  (1/12/06)

Response to Kieran and Editors

I don't mind people responding to the here and now. I am known to spout off if the subject grasps me. I try and consider my views at all times rather than react to the results. Now for some they shut up when we win, and for others become vocal when we lose or are in difficulty.

To me there doesn't seem a sense of perspective. Some have it, some don't. I think I know, with my own eyes, what is going on at Everton and I am entitled to my opinion as anyone else... or critisised for holding it if I express it.

ToffeeWeb gets the citicism because an awful lot of readers view the editoral team as having agendas. I would assert that's not fair based on the way I have been treated. They do: the want Everton to be a big football club and that is their agenda. However, this site is used to enforce their opinion.

The overtone of this site is not fair though, and the editors are to blame for this. On reading it, you make the assumption and assert your views in an anti-Moyes and anti-Kenwright stance. People read between it and view ToffeeWeb as negative.

But because TW does publish some considered articles its a very enjoyable read.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (1/12/06)

That's probably a fair comment. If having an 'agenda' is wanting the best for Everton, wanting us to be great again, so shoot me!

A critical part of that equation is the role of Manager and Chairman. ToffeeWeb is generally light on the fawning praise and sycophantic droolling ? if that's what fans want, there are apparently plenty of other places they can go for it.

We see this website as catering for a somewhat more discerning fan, who wants to know what's going on, who wants to hear about what is happening both on and off the field, and who wants to make up their own minds about the current state of things, both as they are now, and in the context of Everton's history ? something which I think we uniquely provide.

When it comes to the manager and the Chairman, it's a bit retro-Chinese communism ? any criticsm and you are instantly labeled "anti-Moyes", "anti-Kenwright". But at ToffeeWeb, we sincerley want these guys to succeed. If they were world beaters, we couldn't be happier.

Intelligent criticsm of what they are doing, in a justified and generaly responsible way, ever mindful of that higher goal, is what this INDEPENDENT website is about. Not mindless trust of the kind espoused blindly by Richard Dodd. However, if someone writes in with glowing support, oblivious of all their faults, we publish that too. Would we really do that if we had an 'agenda'? — Michael

Bizarre outpourings of the Comforter

I have to agree that the outpourings of our manager are becoming more bizarre by the day. His latest attempts to talk up the Useless Beattie actually does the guy no favours for he is badly in need of a good kick up the arse!These days the so-called Moyesiah sounds more like Job the Comforter ? and nobody believed a word he said!

But do you know that any kind of win against West Ham will restore him to the deity and his disciples led by the Saintly Richard will be out in their droves. Just you see!
Arnie Castledon, Moreton  (1/12/06)

I'd luv it if we could beat West Ham, I'd really luv it... — Michael




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