ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — January 2007


Yozza

Well, what can anyone say apart from, "Does this club want to ever push youth team players into the squad?" I echo the sentiments of the mailbag writer who said "We don't want the average age of our defenders dropping below 30, do we, Moyes?"

I thought Mark Hughes had a very promising career ahead of him and as a true Evertonian ? he would have given his heart and soul to the club.

School of Science... my arse!
Matthew Davies, Swansea  (31/1/07)

Promising Talent? Don't Come Here

I can't believe that a promising talent like young Mark Hughes has been shipped out of Goodison, and for an 'undisclosed' fee at that. Yet again, the club seems terrified to let us know anything regarding finances ? wonder why that should be? But, more importantly, Hughes was a kid who looked like he could make it given the time and experience, which of course he was never likely to get with David Moyes.

So now our defensive cover is again left to Alan Stubbs, whose pace is roughly the same as Stephen Hawking's after a bad asthma attack. Some great planning for the future there, Blues. All we need is an injury or suspension for Yobo or Lescott and we'll be up shit creek yet again. Maybe one will get injured and the other suspended for the same period, and what happens then? Play Osman at centre-half?

I don't know about everybody else, but it really pisses me off big time that we can get rid of a good young player like Mark Hughes without giving him a decent chance to prove himself ? especially when we haven't got a big squad in he first place. How long will it be before the ginger one bemoans our lack of depth at the back and is then forced to shell out big bucks for a defender?

Our 'youth policy' just reflects the current state of the club ? a fucking shambles, stifling ambition, and with no sense of leadership. Why would young talented kids ever want to come here?
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Selling Hughes

You can slate the club for many things but you can't slate them for getting rid of young talent that then goes on to make a big splash in even the Championship let alone the premiership. Anyone know how Peter Clarke is doing? Kevin McLeod? Anthony Gerard? Francis Jeffers?

If Mark Hughes was good enough, don't you think a Championship club would have come in for him? Maybe I'll be proved wrong this time, but in the last 8 years, the only player to make it anywhere is Gavin McCann and he was sold by Smith.

I remember before Osman made it into the side there was a huge clamour for his selection and now he gets a lot of criticism from fans for not being strong enough and in some fans opinion not even Premiership class.

I guess only time will tell if Moyes has made a mistake in selling Hughes but I would hazard a guess, based on his track record, that he has made the right decision.
Jay Wilsom, London  (31/1/07)

Oiling the wheels

Fantastic news that we have managed to recruit one of Europe's hottest prospects in Manuel Fernandes ? albeit on loan. It would appear that Moyes has played safe and kept his powder dry with January not his priority in terms of major transfer business. The out-going of Simon Davies and Davie Weir cannot really be argued with and it would appear that Moyes feels Mark Hughes will not make the grade in the Premiership at this stage of his career.

One would hope that, come the summer, we will see further transfer activity with targets such as David Nugent a more realistic option. In looking at the teams that have spent heavily, it would appear that West Ham have panicked badly in the transfer market: players bought will probably have get-out clauses should they fall out of the Premiership.

The news regarding the situation with the DIC group should alert Wyness, if he can persuade Kenwright to put down the train set then a trip to Dubai to negotiate a potential takeover would be a real shot in the arm and really rub the shite's nose in it.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Transfer Hell?

Question: Would Mark Hughes have turned into a £6M centreback? The answer is: "I'm not qualified to answer that, I've seen him in the Cup against lower league opposition and dancing with James Vaughan. Moyes and the staff have seen a lot more him and decided to let him go. Fine - they're the best people to decide that."

You have to be an exceptional footballer and (increasingly these days) an exceptional athlete to make it at the highest level. However good our youth academy is, and however many chances they are given in the first team, we aren't going to spew forth £6M-£10M players from the Academy every year.

Hopkins, O'Hanlon, Clarke, Schumacher, Symes, Jevons, Gerrard, Fox... Just some of the many players that Moyes has let go. How many play in the Premiership? How many in the Championship even? So far, Moyes hasn't made a single error in ditching these players.

Vaughan, Anichebe, Hibbert, Osman. Did Moyes not give these players their chance in the first team? I suppose, as they are success stories, that they have succeeded despite Moyes and not because of the work of him and his staff?
Dave Southword, IOM  (31/1/07)

Fernandes

Well, Fernandes has actually signed! Moyes says he looks forward in the next few months to seeing him play. I just wonder how many times he will play while he is here. If it was down to me, he would be right in the team on Saturday. Knowing Moyes, though, he will probably play him center-half!
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (31/1/07)

Hughes Out; Fernandes In

Love the logic; we let go of a young defender who was nowhere near the first team and only the mighty Northampton wanted and we bring in a full international player who's the same age and rated at £12M.

You all see this as bad news? Who was Mark Hughes? Some guy who never made it out of the reserves and now plays for a lower league side.

I hope Moyes doesn't come to regret letting Hughes go, Moyes is such a bad judge isn't he... Clarke, Gerrard, Chadwick, Hopkins, McLeod and all the others have gone on to such dizzy heights?

Face it, like all clubs, 90% of their young players simply aren't good enough for top flight football. I'll be very surprised if Hughes does anything other than lower league obsurity.
John Cottee, Romford  (31/1/07)

Alan Smith!!!

Alan Smith will not be an Everton player by Wednesday night! You heard it here first folks.
Alex Daley, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Dubai Investment Fund

Nothing ventured, nothing gained... maybe the Club could reach out to the DIF... jilted lovers sometimes do crazy things. Buying a controlling interest in the Blues might be fun for them.
Paul McGinty, Brielle, USA  (31/1/07)

Don't tell me: Brielle is the goat capital of the USA, init! ... Sorry! Anyroad, I thought it was the DIC? Dio you really they would have any interest in us? They are only out to make gobs of dosh, double-quick. — Michael

Six out of ten

I give Moyes six out of ten for his transfer window dealings.

First off, the players he's been prepared to bid for were all quality : Barton, Bougherra, Fernandes. He has been true to his word, he has not gone for a quick fix, he has only pursued players who he thought could add something to the team.

The failure to land Barton and Bougherra is no reflection on Moyes in my book. Barton was not available. Bougherra chose Charlton over Everton, I suspect because he figured that he'd have a better chance of first team football.

Should Moyes have gone for more players, especially given the injuries to AJ and McFadden, and Beattie's poor form? I would have liked to see us bring a striker in for sure, but who could we have got? Nugent, who we might have gone for, was not available. Very few quality strikers have changed hands during this transfer window.

Moyes got more money than most of us would have expected for Simon Davies. He made one serious blunder though in letting Davies go before Fernandes's registration had gone through. This very nearly backfired on him.

Weir and Hughes both wanted to go elsewhere and get some first team football, but it's disappointing that Hughes couldn't have been persuaded to stay. We're looking very short now on cover at CB.

So this all leaves us a bit short on numbers, with plenty of business to do during the summer, but hopefully a bit stronger on quality. Whether that will just be to the end of the season, who can tell?
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (31/1/07)

Mark 'Not-So-Sparky' Hughes

Many will feel that Mark Hughes was never given a chance at Everton but I don't think that's fair. He may have had only three first team oportunities but Hughes had plenty of reserve games and training ground sessions to impress Moyes.

That Hughes failed to do so only confirms that, just like Sean O'Hanlon and Peter Clarke, he simply wasn't good enough for top flight football.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Transfer fun

Isn't transfer Deadline Day fun being an Evertonian? Watching other teams bolster their squads for the run-in, we're probably one of the only clubs with a weaker squad after the window shuts. That is unless Moyes thinks we can achieve more as a more motivated unit without Simon Davies, ahem ? bullshit.

Even less of an excuse having nothing to do over FA Cup weekend..

Loaning a few players to help push for Europe never harmed anybody; there are a ton of decent players out there who need first team football for the rest of the season..
Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (31/01/07)

Success in the window

So a successful `window` for Costcutter Wyness. Davies, Weir and Hughes off the payroll permanently and Vidarsson for now. With a bit of luck, the authorities won't change their mind over Fernandes so there`s only the extra wages of Da Silva to find. Pity Davey couldn`t delay his arrival until after we settle the bonuses in May but guess we can`t win `em all. Now, who can we find to take over this bloody France Collection franchise?
David Ormesher, Overpool  (31/1/07)

Another one of those seasons

Its nearly 5:50pm on Deadline Day; this season, we have sold four players from our very small squad and we have only brought one player in. I think Moyes has finally lost the plot. What happens when we have a few injurys? We do need a left-sided player and a striker. Where does that leave us? Unless Moyes has got alot of tricks up his sleeve, I think we are FUCKED. Instead of fighting for a top 7 finish, I think it will be a bottom-half finish. I hope I am very, very wrong but it's just this sinking feeling I have...
Craig Nolan, Neston  (31/1/07)

Hughes and Ruddy out?

So Fernandes looks a cert now, but sad to see Hughes has been let go, we are definitely short of CBs! And I see no John Ruddy on the Everton website squad page...
Andrew Humphrey, London  (31/1/07)

What!?!

Gutted

I'm absolutely gutted that Mark Hughes has left for Northampton. Like every other bluenose, I've been glued to numerous websites hoping to see our ridiculously small squad get some much needed reinforcements, only to see people leave ... it is very disappointing. I genuinely thought that he was one for the future. His pursuit of first-team football is an understandable reason and, given the managers reluctance to give youth a chance, he probably didn't see things changing any time soon.
Ben Howard, London  (31/1/07)

Likewise, Ben. A sad day.

Another youngster gone

Surprised to see "promising" youngster Mark Hughes go; obviously making him reserve team captain was preparing him for the lower leagues ? not our first team. Does anyone see the sense behind this?
Dickie Bill, York  (31/1/07)

The party line is that Moyes is the judge: point to one single Academy player Everton have released who has ever become good. James Everly at Blackburn Rovers is the only exammple I can name... and I think he pre-dated Moyes. I believe this arguement misses the point, though. The potential is obviously there in these players, or they wouldn't get to this level. Why do so many fail at the final hurdle? Could it be that these players get neither the opportunity nor the encouragement to progress? — Michael

Dishwashing? Yeah whatever!

Well, I had to chuckle at the Ladies Day advert. Sinks? Dishes??? What century are these plonkers living in? Ever heard of dishwashers? ? you know, those sort with a plug at the end of a cable and you stick it in the socket? There is another sort of course, he generally answers to the name of 'oi you' and can't be plugged into anything, though God knows I've tried.

Seriously though, I didn't take offence, I have just learned to expect rubbish from the Official website. Take the 'injuries' pages ? not checked today but up to yesterday no mention of AJ or McFadden's injuries just Nuno and Boyle. How hard would it be to update that one page? Don't start me on the transfer saga or should I say 'no transfer' saga? The site is rubbish, we're treated like rubbish and still no bloody news about anything except oh yes, Mark Hughes has gone. Great, I'm speechless.

Saturday is looming, my blood pressure is rising and I feel like the management at EFC is treating us with utter contempt. Why can't they just put one poxy little message on the OS that says 'yes there are a few issues to sort out, we'll keep you posted'. ANYTHING that might give us something to calm our frayed nerves. Don't keep us in the dark all the time. We're grown ups, surely it's not beyond the wit of man to produce a statement that at the very least, tells us that something is going on or that the deal is dead or that Fernandez is here or whatever.

'Oi you, where's my drink?'
Lue Glover, Flint  (31/1/07)

Self Destructing?

What the hell is going on? Apparently we have just sold Mark Hughes to Northampton for an undisclosed fee. Another BRIGHT YOUNG PROMISING TALENT leaves the club. Are we in self destruct mode? We deserve ANSWERS !!!!
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (31/1/07)

Wyness Schemes to attract more fans to Goodison

Big Keith has been pushing new schemes to attract fans to Goodison, an example being 'Ladies Day' against Blackburn.

Well I'm no Marketing expert, but I think I've got an idea for Keith that might attract a few fans back ? SHOW A BIT OF AMBITION AND SIGN A COUPLE OF QUALITY PLAYERS THAT WILL HELP THIS CLUB PUSH ON FOR A EUROPEAN PLACE!

Maybe Keith has already looked at this, but maybe, just maybe if this club showed a little ambition for once then supporters might just start to come back.
Lee Wilson, Wirral  (31/1/07)

So much for defensive cover!

1615: Mark Hughes is on the move. Relax Rovers fans, not that one. Everton's young defender has gone to Northampton for an undisclosed fee.
David McGrain, Edinburgh  (31/1/07)

Mark Hughes

"We are not a selling club anymore" ? have we not heard that from Wyness, Kenwright & Moyes? So why is the reserve team captain departing, who has been at the club since he was 7, for a League 1 side?
Gareth Price, York  (31/1/07)

Older and wiser

According to the BBC's site, Mark Hughes has been shipped out to Northampton Town for an undisclosed fee. We can't have the average age of our six-man defence dropping below 30 can we Davey?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (31/1/07)

Transfer Hell

Just want to say how tough these transfer windows are. Every year I get sucked into the media hype which I know is absolute rubbish but I wish to be true. Riquelme to sign being the most ridiculous!

I am however very upset on the sale of Mark Hughes. I think it's sad to see a truly professional Blue slip through the ranks. His goalscoring record for the reserves is top notch for a defender and his blue roots will be sadly missed. I think Andy Holden knows that more than anyone! I do question, however, why another defender has left. This in my opinion is a bizarre bit of business, considering Stubbs's injury record!

God I hope we beat the horrible shite on Saturday!!
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

I'm shocked by Hughes's departure. But I shouldn't be. Moyes has no great faith in the Academy. How much must that translate down to the players? Yes, there have been a few come through... but perhaps there could have been far many more that are held back at critical moments in their development, when things might have been so different if they'd been pushed on and inspired to perform at the highest level. If they then fail, fine: sell 'em on. But most of them must know that, with Moyes they don't stand even stand a chance. — Michael

Another one gone

So now Mark Hughes has gone 'n all! Great... three sold; one long-term injury; AJ a major doubt, and Moyes said no-one would leave due to the paper-thin squad he has put together.

Lets face it, we ain't getting anybody in; Moyes has missed yet another trick. What's the betting we get the Echo tomorrow with "Hibbo, Pisto and Naysmith are like 3 new signings!!"

BOLLOCKS!
John Audsley, Leeds  (31/1/07)

No ban for Doddy!

Hey, hang on Colm. Before you start banning Doddy ? just remember that`s how it all started in Germany.As someone once said `I don`t agree with a word he says but will defend his right to say it!` Anyway, as you`ve said many times before, he can`t help being a prat and he does give us a good insight to what `the company` are thinking!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (31/1/07)

I've figured it out!!!

I can't believe I missed it for so long, it was so blatantly obvious. Richard Dodd is in fact a creation of Bill Kenwright and Keith Wyness - HE DOESN'T EXIST!!!
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (31/1/07)

He may well be able to use both feet!

Reply to Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin. As the title says but Micheal Ball is a LEFT back...
Ian Bonnette, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Wyness, the Marketing Genius ? II

Colm, I do think that if Toffeweb "officials" were to point out to the Communications Dept at People's Club the potential damage the ridiculous kitchen sink/women image will do they might remove it. If they don't get the point then Local or National Press might be interested and it could embarrass the CEO into an apology or a resignation.
Rodger Armstrong, London  (31/1/07)

Wealth of riches

The news this morning that Andrew Johnson is making such a brilliant recovery clearly negates the need for additional signings `up front`. With Liverpool managing to get clearance for Mascherano it is almost certain that Fernandes will soon be announced as a done deal. As I have said repeatedly this signing plus the arrival of Manuel de Silva is a clear indication that Davey has addressed the occasional weakness in midfield.

Whilst all the hard work that has been put in over this window may not have brought the rewards it deserved, I do think most of us will agree that we now have a very balanced squad. The welcome return to fitness of Tony and Sando means also that Phil Neville can now return to his best position in midfield where some level of rotation will now be possible.

Given that most Mailbaggers wouldn`t give Faddy the time of day (most unjustly) we still have a wealth of riches up front, having a re-juvenated Beattie as well as the two young bucks to support AJ.

I know that some people prefer to look on the black side ? and probably spend their whole life doing so ? but with all my heart I do believe Everton are moving in the right direction and that the derby game will prove it.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (31/1/07)

Colm has told me not to talk to you anymore, Ian, and to stop allowing your posts into the Mailbag. He says you're jerking our chain, with your cunningly convincing portrayal of a loyal Evertonian. But I still like you: I think you're funny. — Michael

Ladies Day

I think many people are missing the point about the Ladies Day advertisment. The sink full of dishes is trying to show that there are a number of stigmas still in place about women that need breaking. One being that they belong in the kitchen, and another that they don't belong at a football match.

I must admit, I don't think it's the best advertising idea in the world, and the fact that people are moaning suggests that they haven't got the message across but it's by no means sexist; quite the opposite.

I was at Goodison for a press conference today, with Degsy, Sharpy and Waggy all on show. Pity we couldn't be signing NEW players of that quality!
Dean Paton, Wirral  (31/1/07)

Fernandes... and the G14

Just on the off-chance that someone who works for the club is looking at this site... How about printing off a web-page from a Liverpool site about the 'Special dispensation' given to them and sending that with the Fernandes paperwork along with a little note from the club's solicitors about a man's right to earn a living. It seemed to work for the sons of a G14 over the bloody park!

If we don't get a European player on loan but they can have a Non-EU player who has already played for the maximum number of clubs, it will be a fucking travesty! Why not just give them a goal headstart for the derby as well!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (31/1/07)

Dave Woods: Top Post, fella

Pissed myself laughing, it's just shameful that its not far from the truth.

John McFarlane Snr, how sore is your arse from sitting on the fence, mate? I don't think I have read such a smug and totally useless peice of writing on here for a while. Claiming to be a middle-ground moderate achieves nothing.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (31/1/07)

Wyness, the marketing genius

Following up on Steve's comments on the embarrassing Ladies Day campaign, check out the picture on the Club Homepage of a sink full of unwashed dishes with the caption "Where have all the women gone". How reassuring to see that the powers that be at EFC are so in tune with modern society.

Great for our PR isn't it? This is the final proof that Wyness (presumably he approved the campaign) is an incompetent clown and should be fired.
Rodger Armstrong, London  (31/1/07)

If someone was to inform the ToffeeWeb readership that the wonderful image of an overflowing kitchen skink full of utensils was taken in the kitchen area attached to the Communications Dept. People's Offices, would you believe it?! ? Colm

Special Offer for Irish Fans

What a fucking joke. After all the hype of the link-up with Ballyoulster (an amateur club in Kildare, who seem to have more ambition than us at the moment), and with Celtic Horizon tours, the official Everton Site has a special offer: Get the FUCKING FERRY and a BUS TRANSFER to Goodison to watch poxy BLACKBURN beat us! All this and we get shipped back across the Irish Sea after the game. So we don't even have a chance to have the craic with some of the funniest, friendliest people on the planet!

This the type of shit that us Shamrock Toffees have to put up with. Like the team they sent over last April to play Bohs. The stadium was full of long-suffering Toffee fans, and they sent their youth team. Would it have killed them to send over some of the "big" names, even as part of an end of season piss up, just as a "Thank You"? Still, some people will probably take up this offer, rather than fly RyanAir. Baah.
Alan McMillan, Dublin, Ireland  (31/1/07)

I know I shouldn't really comment on this matter but fcuk it, I will! I wish nothing but goodwill to those involved with Ballyoulster even if I have serious reservations about Everton's supposed commitment to the game over here in Ireland. I'd rather not go heavily into detail on that as I've mentioned it (ad nauseum!) before here and elsewhere.

As for the championing, by Everton, of this supposed "special" offer for "Irish Toffees" - just who the hell do you think you are trying to fucking kid here, Mr Wyness, eh? ?99 for a boat trip there and back to Dublin with a match ticket thrown in a special offer? For Evertonians?

I know of a few Blackburn fans who asked me to get them tickets for this match but they ended up booking their own travel arrangements some weeks back with the very same company now being used by Everton. Their price? Why, only ?99! Which makes a mockery of Everton trying to make it look as though they've cut an excellent deal for Irish Evertonians.

They've still a long way to go before being in any position to champion any such deal with Ryanair happily plodding along flying over hundreds of Evertonians week-in, week-out ? for a much lesser price. - Colm

Mr Kenwright

Mr Kennwright, I know you love Everton and you will always be an Evertonian, but for the future of the club, can you move to the side? Stay on the future board and remain a supporter, but do what you do best - which is? Putting on a show! Put Everton on the world stage promote them. Remain a first class supporter; every supporter knows we need money ? more money than you have. The hard way in football has gone (Money Talks)

Tell me ? What will change when we move? Lovely ground; same Championship players, and still no money... or will you pull £40M out the hat? No, I don?t think so. I look at teams like Portsmouth, West Ham, Bolton, to name a few, overtaking our club in everything but support of Evertonians.

Love you for what you have done to put our club where it is today but, if the same continues, tomorrow may be a different story (Quality players can only be bought with quality money).
Joe Walsh, Woking  (31/1/07)

Exciting, ain`t it?

So now we know. It`s Fernandes or nobody. Doddy`s mate, Dom, `who has the ear of the management - all of them` - tells us so in tonight`s Echo. The Moyes view is that they`ve been good enough to get us to 7th (or is it 8th?) so they should be good enough to see us safely into the top half at the end of the season. Exciting being an Evertonian, ain`t it!
Mike Rawlings, Southport  (31/1/07)

So long as you carry on lining their pockets is all that seemingly matters! Where's the ambition, the will to succeed? ? Colm

Acceptnce of Mediocrity

After reading several recent articles about the standing and perception of our once great club I feel the need to write in and express by views.

Under Kenwright, Moyes has gone from being highly ambitious to a man who now seems to accept midtable finishes as being an achievement. Having watched Everton since the early 80s I have seen a wide variety of teams, some incredibly bad and one team wonderfully gifted. It is the dream of finding another team like Kendall's that keeps me coming back week after week.

The negative statements by both manager and chairman do no encourage me to dream or give my children (the next generation of supporters the chance either.) What is the genuine chance of them seeing us challenge for the title or even contest a cup final? Little chance bordering on zero but we seem to accept this as being outside our reach.

As long as I have breath in my body, I will never accept Everton as being a mediocre club. So come on, put some passion, drive and ambition back in the club and let me dream again.
Nev Binnyman, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

What a joke!

Are we serious? Andy fucking Cole is the latest name to be linked with us ? just seen it on Skysports. No more! I can't take any more!! I'm going insane!!!
Simon Jones, Birmingham  (31/1/07)

Hooray for Sanity

In response to the artice "PATIENCE.. FOR NOW AT LEAST" by Tom Griffiths, it is my belief that his views are held by most Evertonians, "the silent majority" as it were. I concede that a sizable minority hold pro- and anti-Moyes opinions, but that is exactly what they are, a "sizable minority."

The pro-Moyes brigade appear to believe that all is well and that there isn't a need for change ? a mistaken belief, the result of [and resulting in] complacency.

The anti-Moyes brigade, however, recognise the need for change, but appear to be radical in their approach. They call for the removal of David Moyes without nominating a suitable [available] successor.

It is my contention that the Evertonians who hold the middle ground, recognise the need for change [be it of attitude or personnel] but are at a loss to determine how these changes can be effected.

Tom Griffiths, in his excellent article has spoken up eloquently for the "Silent Majority". As Evertonians we all want to see our team playing the football that Manchester United and Arsenal produce but, without the quality of player that they possess, we should temper our aspirations and adopt a degree of realism.
John McFarlane Snr., Skelmersdale  (31/1/07)

Savaged

What's going on? It's deadline day and we haven't had one Robbie Savage rumour so far this year.
Paul Lowrie, Spain  (31/1/07)

Like Savage, we haven't got a leg to stand on... - Colm

Did Pompey field an Illegal player?

The FA has rejected Everton's application to register Manual Fernandes because he is not wholly own by Benfica. So how did Pompey manage to get his registration past the FA? If Fernandes was in fact an ineligable player when he played for Pompey earlier this season, should not the FA sanction them. Like awarding the points to us when they beat us 2-0 while playing Fernandes.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (31/1/07)

You can just see them....

The OS webmaster, DD, Lovey and Bully sitting in the offices at Goodison?

OS Webmaster: Come on, fellas, I haven?t put anything on the site yet about Fernandes, transfers, etc. We need to keep the fans informed as to what,s going on. It,s nearly two weeks since we first told them we were on the brink of signing him, pending the formalities of his medical. I remember I posted that you two (Lovey and Bully) were backing the manager in full this transfer window. I also remember that I put on that you (DD) wouldn?t sell Davies until we had a replacement. Right fella?s what am I putting on?

The three stooges sit there blank-faced.

DD: Right, don?t mention Fernandes for a start. You could tell them that we signed Anderson, the much sought after Brazilian super kid.

OS Webmaster: But we signed him last year, we can?t use him again.

DD: Erm, put something like this? We?ve come a long way in the last few years, the lads are an honest bunch who are trying their best. It?s the same core as we?ve had since we finished fourth. How does that sound, Lovey?

Lovey: Well it's such an honour to be the Chairman of this club, I just can't believe I?ve got here at last. It's just a dream come true. This clubs in my blood. Remember, Sharpy, Kendall, Reidy, they were all legends?

OS Webmaster: But Lovey, that?s not telling the fans anything new, they want and deserve some news from us. What about you, Bully, have you got anything for them fans, such loyal fans, who?ve put up with dross for years?

Bully: Well, tell them about this scheme we?ve brought in to let them sell their season tickets for individual matches. Viagogo means that we?re up there with the Mancs and Chelsea. That?ll sort them out, they?ll be happy with that.

DD: I?ve got one, tell them I hope Alex McCleish does well for old Bonny Scotland. That?s a goodun.

OS Webmaster: But haven?t we got any news at all on possible transfers? Are we still trying to get someone? Is the Fernandes deal dead?

Lovey: I work 24 hours a day for this club, tell them that. Oh and I love them all?

OS Webmaster: But it?s Deadline Day, let's feed them some shite even if we?re doing nothing at all. Make something up.

The three stooges look at each other, all three saying at the same time? ?Just tell them the £8M bid for Ronaldinho was rejected and we?re seeing if we can increase it to £8.1M on the never never?
Dave Woods, Warrington  (31/1/07)

They say a lot of truth is told in jest... - Colm

Ask Liverpool!

With less than 12 hours to go, still no confirmation on Fernandes. Perhaps next time we want a player with a dual ownership Wyness will ask Liverpool how to fill the forms in! Or perhaps he could outsource all transfer registrations to an agent!
George Preston, Burtonwood  (31/1/07)

The suspense is killing! I'm waiting for Bill to wheel out a "it doesn't take £5M to buy a £5M player" some time before midnight! ? Colm

Dodd and Dom King?

So, Richard, if you are such bosom buddies with Dom King and your "insider info" from the Echo says more than one signing today, can you please explain Dom's article that Fernandes will be the only signing (if any)? Are you two as daft and bereft of accepting truth and reality as each other?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (31/1/07)

Have you ever seen Mr Dodd or Mr King in the same room at the same time? Or Mr Dodd and Mr Ross? I think someone's afforded themselves a wry smile with the length this one has run to be honest... Colm

Err, am I missing something?

If this Manuel Fernandes guy is so good why, oh why, have we still not had confirmation of his arrival from the club? Surely if he is worth £12M, Everton would be proud to announce his arrival? One other thing, does any one else think AJ might also have amazing healing powers and appear against Liverpool on Saturday?
Paul Fuller, London/Essex  (31/1/07)

'Special Dispensation'

I've just read on Skysports.com that the Kopites have been given 'special dispensation' to sign Mascherano. This is absolutely disgusting. Not only has Mascherano played for two clubs already this season he is also part owned by Kia Joobrachian. Yet again FIFA have bent the rules for them lot, but why is it we are not allowed to sign Fernandes? It makes me sick. Its one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us!
Dave Matthews, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

What would Rambo do??

I am absolutely fucking sick to death with Fifa, Uefa, The Premier League and the FA and even Liverpool Council always giving those pricks across the park preferential treament.

First Uefa: They change the rules so the Shite can play in Champions League even though (according to the rules set in place at the time) they didn't even qualify.

Then the Council: They fall arse over tit to help them find a new ground but only offer us a token gesture of support.

Now Fifa, The Premier League and the FA are on there their knees sucking the red dick by letting the Shite sign Mascherano even though FIFA rules dictate that this shouldn't be allowed to happen. Meanwhile the very same governing body can't wait to interfere and knock us back when we try signing a player as he's owned by two different parties!!!

Isn't Mascherano part owned by this MSI company, (as is Carlos Tevez) but lo and behold they're both okay to sign to a Premiership club.

I am fucking sick to death with the way our club is mistreated by the powers that be. I'm only a 22-year-old blue but I'm only another rant away from a frigging coronary. Actually, I'm going to stop moaning and do something to help the situation. At first dawn I'm going to hunt down Sepp Blatter, Lennart Johanssen, Richard Scudamore, Brian Barwick and Warren Bradley like the fucking dogs that they are!!! COYB!!!

ps: I'm not crazy just little pissed off :[
Ryan Jones, Preston  (31/1/07)

Just an aside, you're wrong about Warren Bradley. He'll tell you pretty straight that the Council have attempted dialogue with Wyness et al ? contrary to Wyness' insistence that nothing has been forthcoming from the local Council. It's not LCC that has a period of exclusivity with Everton, y'know! ? Colm

`Three new signings`

Surely this morning`s story that Andrew Johnson MIGHT play on Saturday is a smokescreen to assuage all our criticism of lack of signings? With AJ `almost fit` and Hibbert and Pisone available, we can expect the old line about `it`s like having three new signings`. Wait for it!
Neil Workman, Wirral  (31/1/07)

Are you suggesting our press office boys are fabricating stories as a method of deflection?! Surely not?! - Colm

Incredibly excited?

My God. There is someone on this planet who is "incredibly excited" by our possible first-team line-up (Tom Griffiths). My despair has reached its nadir. All I can say is that, with such complacency in the ranks, it is no surprise that the club continues to treat its supporters as mugs who will accept any old rubbish.
Alan Burnham, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

I reckon I'm not pretty far behind you ? I've not felt this low about matters since those heady days when Walter was playing Steve Watson up front with a striker (on loan!) sitting on his arse on the bench! Still, onwards and upwards with our progressive CEO and his Spin Machine... Colm

Viagogo

I agree on previous e.mail: I give my tickets to friends family etc when I can't make a game. (Although I am finding it increasingly difficult to give them away lately).

My main point is how do we sell our season tickets when we have all been issued with season cards. Do we have to send our card and hope the buyer returns it in time for the next game?
Derek Frackelton, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

Double Standards?

Only fourteen hours to go and still no Fernandes.

Understandably this is going to take time, the guy is owned by two seperate parties. Just like Mascherano who has also played for two clubs this season and has already been given clearance to join our neighbours who don't seem bound by the rules us small folk are (5th place for the Champs League anyone?)

Whilst I doubt every word from Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness I genuinely believe the club want Fernandes and are trying everything they can to sign him meaning... the people with the problem are the FA... that's the same FA who gave the red shite special dispensation to sign Mascherano. WTF?

I hate to come across as the poor victim here but I am sick of this shite. Liverpool are like the teacher's pet who can do no wrong and we're the slow, trouble maker down the back of the class. Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness are far from blameless in the transfer market but it's a combination of football's governing bodies that are screwing us.
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (31/1/07)

And you're surprised?! ? Colm

There's Pro Marketing and then there's Wyness

Ladies Day FFS, "Everton ? it's not just for boys", where does this bloater get them from? Now I am not being sexist here because we already have a great female fanbase at the club, which I am sure is appreciated by us all. It's the embarrassing advertising campaign that is doing me in.

Most females I know have a great deal more sense than men; unless they are already die hard Evertonians does he really think we are going to attract anymore simply because he has labelled the Blackburn game a "Ladies Day"?

We are paying this guy a fortune to trot out Soccer AM ditties that do not raise a smile, let alone pulling any more lasses. The man is an embarrassment, like so many of the EFC hierarchy.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (31/1/07)

Absolutely spot on! (Cue incoming complaint from the sensitive Communications Dept. at Everton) ? Colm

Saga, what saga?

Oliver Elliott has a short memory indeed. By my reckoning, it took over eighteen months for Anderson da Silva to arrive at Goodison after his 'signing' was first announced. So how can he describe the few days delay over Fernandes as a saga?
Alan Vernon, Rainhill  (31/1/07)

Johnson-more spin?

So, after all the bullshit about AJ being out for months, we now hear that he`s in contention for Saturday. Is this a wind-up or a (not so) clever strategy of Moyes to hood-wink the opposition? Or, more likely, is it just spin to cover the failure to make any `window` signings and he still won't play until Easter `because he suffers a setback`!
Matin Sirrus, Cronton  (31/1/07)

Tut, tut, such unfounded cynicism! Everton would surely never enter into a world of spinning and economising the truth by hoodwinking the most knowledgable fans in football! ? Colm

Easy if you`re Liverpool

Listening to TalkSport and heard discussion on Liverpool`s signing of Javier Mascherano. Apparently he`s part-owned by the same agent as Fernandes and Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph said he has no doubt that Everton have appealed to Uefa and Fifa and will gain the same outcome.

But why do our neighbours find it so much easier `to get their own way` than we do? Just think Euro Champions entry and Stanley Park!
Seb St Clare, Harrogate  (31/1/07)

G14... G14... G14... G14... G14... G14... (repeat to fade)... - Colm

Spanner In The Works

Liverpool are in amazing form and the way they are going could in fact win the Premiership. They need to be stopped. It won't be easy but what better motivation can there be then to stop Liverpool winning the title. No Blue-Nose wants to see the Red-Shite finally win that title; come on, Everton, you can throw a spanner in the works I know you can.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (31/1/07)

But we haven't even got a spanner we can call our own to throw... - Colm

Viagogo

What's with this Viagogo malarchy? I hit the site to find that there are two other football clubs (of note) attached to this group. What I can't fathom out is, who would use it? I was a season ticket holder for the past 12 years, but would I have used this site to "sell" my tickets if I couldn't go to the game? No, I wouldn't. I'd have given them to a mate, family member, colleague from work or the local window cleaner.

So what is the point of this site? And, what would the club get out of it?... errrr nowt, as far as I can see.... more than happy to be corrected on any point. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Mark Brennan, West LAnc  (31/1/07)

I was hoping you were gonna tell me!

What a saga!

We`ve had some transfer sagas over the years but I don`t recall anything like this Fernandes serial. Surely a club like Everton could target a player with less baggage?
Oliver Elliott, Parkgate  (30/1/07)

Fulham Players

What's with Fulham? John Collins, Mark Pembridge, Brian McBride, Tomasz Radzinski and Simon Davies. It's like their transfer policy is to purchase players not quite good enough for Everton...
John Cottee, Romford  (30/1/07)

Fernandes

Fernandes? Who cares? Nobody knows anything about the bloke apart from what people are reading in the press. If he is tied up with MSI or the Kai Joorbachian character, we don't want anything to do with him. A 21-year-old from Portugal who isn't Ronaldo is not a solution to our ills. We can't be sure he'll improve the squad significantly and it will be adding another player to an area where what we actually need is a dominating modern midfield enforcer.
Nick Smith, London  (30/1/07)

So that's him nailed... before he's even kicked a ball in anger!

Woe, woe, Fernandes

One of your writers asked why Pompey didn`t have all this fun tying up Fernandes to a six-month loan. The answer is that they did and the situation with his ownership is so complex that `Arry swore he was not going through it all again! Peter Stirrie, the CEO, said he did bugger or else for weeks when he first signed ? so thank you, no thank you, a second time!
Merton Andrews, Fareham  (30/1/07)

Pantomime season!!

Will here we go again!!! But at least Blue Bill has got his Panotomime sorted for next Christmas! Called Transfer's to Goodison. It has suspense, intrigue and comedy and lots of tears!! This is what has happened to our once great club. See you all at the Playhouse next Christmas!
John Evans, North Wales  (30/1/07)

Who Owns Whom?

If the papers are to be believed, we can't sign Fernandes I(on loan) because the Premier League/FA are not happy with the fact that he is "owned" by two parties. Then I read that the Mascherano deal with Liverpool is all but done, even though he has played for two clubs already this season which is agin the FA/Premier League laws. Could it be that there is one law for the rich top four and one for everyone else?

Also, DM is quoted as saying that if any midfielder is likely to score it is Barni Vidrasson. He'll be sent out on loan to the Shetlands or somewhere equally sublime... Will someone please tell me I'm dreaming? After all why would we need that type of player?
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (30/1/07)

Fernades Again

Why are Everton having so many problems with signing Fernades on loan when for Portsmouth there were no such problems?
Chris Aldous, Colchester  (30/1/07)

Michael Ball

I know I mentioned the guy before but I've just been browsing through the in depth news section of the website and see that City have Michael Ball on a six-month loan. The article mentions his knee injuries but state that he has been injury-free over the last two years.

Now fair enough, he might not have played enough games to strain his knees but my point is this: City brought him over on a week's trial. You would presume they carried out physical and medical tests on him just to be sure. They then signed him on loan until the end of the season. Very sraight forward, very simple, and no embarassment.

How hard would it have been for us to do this? If his knees proved to be shaky by the end of the season, it's a punt I would still have had no problem with as a fan. He's only 27, he's very talented, and an Evertonian who never wanted to leave the club. It would have been a decent risk to take. If his knees did prove up to the task by the season's end you could possibly have picked up the guy for a song.

You could then have allowed Pistone and Naysmith and the like, drains that they are, to go in the summer without fear of being short of players. Valente and Ball would be two decent right backs to have on the books.

Now maybe the guy was pissed off with the club over the way he was treated. I wouldn't blame him in the slightest if he had sworn never to darken the door again. But it just seems like a simple solution to quality cover for right back and one that could have been very easily arranged.

I know this was the theme of my last post. It's been a common theme all week, new news it's not. But it just makes my blood boil to see the way other clubs handle transfers compared to us. It's more of a rub when the club tries the boyhood Evertonian angle to try and sign players just so they can do it on the cheap. I then see one like Ball get away and I just want to scream.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (30/1/07)

Well, I hope you feel better now, Kieran, for getting all that off your chest. I don't know why you allow something like ths to get you all worked up, though. Fans don't decide which players get signed: Mangers do. Which is why I really have no time for all this "Why don't we sign X Player from Y Club" nonsense. It is just pointless. They may or may not have looked at Ball; he's now signed for City anyway. Let it go! — Michael

Blind mice

I am at total loss over the events of the last 24 hours at Goodison Park. I total understand and agree with the FA rules regarding player ownership; Fernandes should only belong to the club who has his registration. But then why were West Ham allowed to sign Tevez and Mascherino when the club don't actually own them???

What really bugs me is that Everton should of done their homework before-hand, thus avoiding all this hassle. Maybe these events were intended...

Anyway I now have given up caring about this Transfer window ? whoever signs will sign and whoever doesn't can sod off! But again Everton look amateurish with all of their approaches to players. Should have done it the sneaky 'Man Utd' way!

Lastly, on the way home, I heard Adrian Durham say regarding the £18M Bent bid from West Ham; 'Fans must be stupid to believe what their clubs tell them'. Yeap, that about figures it!
Luq Yussef, London  (30/1/07)

7 habits...

Sorry Phil, but I disagree. I remember not long after Moyes started he said he could see no reason why Everton shouldn't be challenging for the highest spots. A few seasons later we finished fourth. That's beginning with the end in mind. The fact that Moyes has won manager of the season twice without winning the league shows that most managers respect how far he has taken the club with relatively low transfer funds available. Success attracts investment, however, so I think the long-term plan will develop further. Don't forget it took Alex Ferguson years to win anything and Shankly didn't even reap the full benefits of his work.
Martin Chumley, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Shut up, Doddy

The Dodd joker is obviously a wind up merchant, or just Dominic King incognito. Let's cut to the chase here. Everton have the smallest squad in the Premiership. They have lost FOUR players through sales and injuries in the last fortnight and have signed no one. Fernandes would only be a loan signing having signed a new contract with Benfica 'til 2011, making him a pointless addition to us. He is also a cast-off from the mighty Pompey as well. Everton also sold Kilbane in August and are now sitting on 5-6 million quid which the Manager/Chairman won't spend.

The only players coming back from injury are shite like Pistone and Hibbert and we have'nt played any decent football since early season. Despite this we COULD qualify Europe next season, courtesy of the appalling standard of Premiership football. But we would have needed a minimum of two quality midfielders arriving this month for that to happen. Instead, the Manager does nothing, terrified of making a bold decision. He is pathetic.

This club is going to Hell in a handcart. One day, all the people like me, Marsh, Toffeeweb's Michael etc. will be proved right about this Manager and Chairman. Sadly, it might take a few more humiliations like the one we surely face on Saturday for cretins like Richard bloody Dodd et al to get the message.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Now, now, Gareth. I know it's all very frustrating at the minute, but try to be nice. No name-calling please. And I don't agree with you that Moyes is doing nothing. He has signed Da Silva, remember. But, as I've said before, it's the constraints that he has agreed to work under, combined with his own sterotypically Scottish frugality, which limit any profligacy in the January transfer window. The amazing thing to me is that you and many Blues act with shock and horror, as if this were some complete surprise. Yet we go through the same song (with slightly different words) every transfer window. — Michael

Fernandes

I mailed Graeme Sharp from the club site earlier today with:

'Hi Graeme.

Do you know the state of play regarding Manuel Fernandes? The conflicting stories from both Benfica themselves and the press in general, combined with the total lack of updates from the club since last Monday, have left me wondering whether the Blues will sign the lad, or have given up. Can you shed any light on it? Thanks,

Mark Wynne

I just got a reply by e.mail that says:
Mark,

We are still having problems with his registration but there is nothing else the club can do. I believe it's a problem with the FA and his representatives.

Regards

Graeme Sharp


Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (30/1/07)

Clear as mud. I guess you need to understand what comprises the documentation supporting a player's registration. Naïvely, I would have thought that the Club would be 100% responsible for such documents, and not the player's representatives... but what do I know? — Michael

Please not Healy

Rumour has it that David Moyes is looking to David Healy to bolster his attacking options. This is the same David Healy whose goals-to-games ratio is one goal every 2.86 games (7 in 20) in the Championship!

Meaning, if he transfers that ratio to the Premiership and plays every remaining game he'll get a whopping FIVE GOALS!!!! Making each goal cost approximately £400k if the £2M price tag is to be believed.

Now before anyone says it, I know I am getting ahead of myself and it's purely speculation at the moment but please God let it stay that way. I'd rather we stick with Vaughan, Anichebe and Fat Boy Beattie...
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (30/1/07)

Leeds, 'Money' and Excuses

Yes, it's that trime of year when our lack of meaningful activity in the transfer window is justified by one word ? Leeds. Interestingly, it is the excuse often given by peopoe who harp on about our 'lack of money', forgetting the amount of money we have actually spent in comparison to the rest of the 'Mediocre 16'

For the umpteenth and hopefully final time, Leeds went belly up because, despite buying and nurturing good players, they persisted with a 'young' manager who talked a good game and looked increasingly out of his depth the nearer he got to genuine success. Sounds familiar?

All I want is to see Everton make genuine progress. Since the start of last season, Moyes has done nothing to convince me that in terms of genuine short-term success (a trophy and/or Uefa Cup qualification), long-term team-building, flexible playing strategy and entertainment value, he can take us further.

Instead of telling us to 'support the team' (what do you think we do?), I'd prefer some kind of rational explanation (rather than blind faith) as to how Moyes is going to take us further.

Eighteen months ago, the man was a 'genius'. Anyone who questioned the long-term quality of our squad was ritually abused. Since then I have read on this website that 'cups don't matter', 'there's no money in the Uefa Cup' (ask Spurs?), 'we haven't got enough money to finish higher' and finishing seventh is brilliant management because 'otherwise the bonuses will be too high' Oh yes, and 'it's impossible to do any better'.

I'm all for stability, but only when results are delivered. There are people out there who want to invest heavily in English football clubs. There are players who can think independently and are comfortable passing and receiving a football. There are managers out there who have clear strategies and know how to get the best out of their players.

Regardless of your views of the current Everton set-up, I think every Evertonian has a duty to ask why we aren't getting enough of them.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (30/1/07)

A great response, Paul, to the increasing clamour we are hearing that everthing is just fine. ? Michael

Fernandes

I have been very dubious about this whole Fernandes deal since about Tuesday of last week when there has been no word from the Club. I am also not sure if the ownership issue being raised is an issue; an exmaple I can give is Tevez & Mascherano who are joined owned.

One wonder I have is the reason Fernandes has signed a new contract with Benfica is that it frees him up from the company who own half of him, thus making it easier for Everton to sign? Just thoughts, but the whole thing does seem strange to say the least.
Chris Aldous, Colchester  (30/1/07)

Push

Michael you claim 'There is little evidence he really has any intention of pushing this Everton team toward European competition.'

Cleverly worded. Moyes intends to inspire them and train them toward European competition, not 'push' them, he trusts the players to push themselves. The evidence of that is in what he does.
Martin Cornforth, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Let`s support our own!

Can`t understand why you feel the need to `knock` my every posting. Dom is a good Evertonian who has the ear of the management ? all of them. He works hard to redress the balance in spite of being greatly outnumbered by Liverpudlians on the Echo staff. Why you can`t pick the good guys from the bad I know not!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/1/07)

I don't know, Richard... could it be the propensity for sycophantic drivel that you and Dom seem to have in common? At least now I can understand a reason for it from him: that he is over-compensating. But writing in the manner he uses to convince us ? as you do ? that everything is rosy and all bad thoughts must be swept under the carpet, just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. Let's have some balanced realism. That, to my mind, would win far more respect. — Michael

Wheat from the Chaff

Like many bluenoses I too look at Toffeeweb first then on to Newsnow to check the in tray for signs of new blood. I too search the headlines to sort the wheat from the chaff and find myself disappointed when some exotic sounding player from warmer climes slips past Goodison Road. I have to say, though, most times I have never heard of these players except on Footie Manager and even then the scout on the game says ?he?s not as good as Yobo and never will be!?.

The Bougherra guy wanted to play at the back in his favourite position; I don?t want a guy that dictates to the manager where he will play so good luck Charlton. Dario Grady said once, he ?can tell a player and his attitude by looking him in the eyes?. I guess Moyes didn?t like what he saw there. I don?t want make-weights in our squad. Fellahs that come for the money and the Blue Bar and aren?t good enough and then you cant get rid of them (Shandy Van, anyone?)

Moyes is right to hold out for players he really wants, cos the players we want we can't afford and the players we can afford aren?t good enough or aren?t available ? especially in January.

I think we are assembling a decent team; we just need quality cover for them. Panicking at this time of year is counter-productive and leaves a legacy we don?t want. Let other clubs spoil the balance of their teams by signing make-weights and drifters. If they couldn?t get it right in the summer what makes them think they can do it now?
Neil Alecock, Huyton  (30/1/07)

Comic farce?

Like all posters to this site (probably with Doddy and Dutch excepted) I don?t think what we have and are showing on the football pitch is good enough. I'd love to see us sign a few players and play a bit of attractive football - just to warm the cockles of my heart, so to speak.

I'm realistic in knowing that, while the present regime are in place, little is likely to change. Moyes is like George Graham without the tactical nous and the sense of humour, whilst Kenwright comes across as a control freak (it's his trainset and nobody else is allowed to play with it). Everton are a mid-table club, content to live off the scraps of the Big Four. That's the way it is. I'm not happy with it, in fact it makes me furious, but I have no say over it. I'm an Evertonian and couldn't imagine me not being so. I?ll still support the team, but the way the club is run really makes me sad.

The football on show is the poorest quality entertainment provided anywhere in the Premiership; even my other half (who?s a red) tries to console me about it. She?ll say: "Watford have got to be worse to watch?.. well actually, I know they don?t win much they are fun to watch. Errmm... what about Sheffield United... No? I know, Blackburn? But they?ve got McCarthy". Then there will be an embarrassing silence before she pipes up ?They can?t be that bad, can they??

Like most Evertonians right now, I?m frustrated with the transfer debacles, firstly Bougherra and now Fernandes. Ultimately, I think Bougherra must have been looking at the bank balance and the draw of the capital. I want any new player to want to play for the club, not decide his priorities based on how far his wife has to drive to Harvey Nicholls.

The Fernandes deal really confuses me though. I think the way the club handle the publicity of these things really needs to be looked at. Okay, the fans want signings, but if there?s one thing that will annoy them more than the Ginger Führer stating that the January transfer market is overheated and he won?t be dipping in, is this drip-drip of news and speculation, coupled with a week old announcement on the website.

When I look at the site news, okay I accept the interviews with players and the news on the ladies team, but top of the heap is the Ginger Führer commenting on the SFA?s appointment of Alex McLeish as the new Scotland boss. Like I give a shit!

Last time I looked, my direct debit didn?t list the SFA as its originator. I pay Everton football club for Everton content, not news about Scotland, Wales or the planet Zanussi.

More than that, I want honesty. If they?re having problems with a particularly difficult transfer, I?d like them to tell us. Obviously the discussions between club and player (plus his Mr 10%) are likely to be shrouded in secrecy, but some form of communication surely must be in order. I don?t want the ?will he, won?t he? transfer gossip. Let?s face it, I can go to the BBC?s site in a morning, but for a club that styles itself as the ?People?s Club?, it would be nice to keep more people (the fans) in the loop.

Frankly I?d rather have no news then a surprise signing, rather than a link to the ?Fernandes Deal? that is slowly dropping further and further off the main screen. Come on Everton Football Club. Why not conduct yourself more professionally rather than embarrass all of us with ?Keystone Cops? attitude?
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (30/1/07)

Great comment, Mark. Unfortunately, the problem is they think they are being "professional" by maintaining the level of secrecy over what is going on. — Michael

The point of the Fernandes loan

I think there would be a big point here for us to bring Fernandes in for 6 months. What if he helps us a lot in qualifying for Europe, but then leaves in the summer? Would that be pointless? We could then bring in another midfielder of similar or better quality to kick on from where he left. I think its absolutely rubbish to state that we're better off without him for the remainder of the season, unless we're able to sign him permanently.

His real quality is another question, I haven't really seen him that much, but would expect other clubs to snatch him if he's that good. Then again, Mikel was all ours!
Kjetil Moen, Oslo, Norway  (30/1/07)

... and since they haven't!!! What does that say? Or does it suggest your logic is perhaps flawed???

A light-hearted competition

Have a look at this: "explain in 10 words why Everton are better than Liverpool"

It's a bit of a laugh and the chance to win a cracking hand painted pop-art canvas of Duncan Ferguson. All the entries (within reason) will be published on Monday.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (30/1/07)

Good vibes

It`s past noon and still no official confirmation from the Club that Fernandes has put pen to paper. Who was it said he`s a difficult customer? But Nuno and Tim are fit so (apart from AJ) we should be at full strength on Saturday. I`m getting good vibes at last!
Ferdie Mason, Altcar  (30/1/07)

Phil Lupton's Comment

I can appreciate the comments made on effective management and totally agree that Everton should be able to make progress using it. However, I think the management at Everton are realistic, and take it in small proportions. Making and achieving small targets one by one and slowly but surely dragging us away from relegation woes and into potential European candidates. After all, look what happened to Leeds when they set their targets too high too soon!

I for one respect what the Everton management are doing today and long may it continue!
Brett Bradshaw, Bootle  (30/1/07)

Phil Lupton's Comment

I can appreciate the comments made on effective management and totally agree that Everton should be able to make progress using it. However, I think the management at Everton are realistic, and take it in small proportions. Making and achieving small targets one by one and slowly but surely dragging us away from relegation woes and into potential European candidates. After all, look what happened to Leeds when they set their targets too high and tried achieving them too soon!

I for one respect what the Everton management are doing today and long may it continue!
Brett Bradshaw, Altrincam  (30/1/07)

Phil Lupton's silly article

You portray the Fernandes transfer like we've been waiting for Moyes to decide if he actually wants the player or not for the past week. Based on what, exactly? As the FA have turned down our proposal for registering the player, this EVIDENCE (not spin) suggests that we are trying to pin down a permanent option, as it doesn't matter who owns him if we just loan him. Much more proactive than just signing him on loan and hoping for the best in the summer? Isn't the 'end' they are working towards getting the player in permanently?

Also, how exactly do we take the leap that considering giving an 18-year-old prospect a few games away on loan is a prime example of bad management? How is sending Bjarni out on loan not proactive? Is the 'end' not giving the lad some experience making him a better player to challenge for a first-team spot?
Dave Southword, IOM  (30/1/07)

I would love it.....

Reading some of the garbage which people write on this site, I must be the only Evertonian who is pleased with how we are doing this season. However much you try to say otherwise our, 7th position is well merited for the simple reason we have chalked up more points than the 13 clubs beneath us!

Everton do not play the rubbish football you harp on about but have perfected a style which has proven highly effective in delivering results. No, it is not as pretty to watch as Arsenal but given our limited resources productive for all that. Moyes has made the team 100% more successful than we could ever have hoped under Smith, playing exactly the same tactics as we did under your hero Joe Royle.

To me, the loan signing of Fernandes on top of the arrival of Da Silva has clearly indicated that the manager recognises the weakness in midfield and has moved to address it. As we are in derby week, I would expect ALL Evertonians -including yourselves - to be waving the big blue flag instead of carping on about things we can do nothing about.

To borrow an old phrase, `I would love it, just love it, if beat them this week`.
James Cromer, Wavertree  (30/1/07)

James, if we were highly effective in delivering results, we would be a lot higher than 7th. That's not me ? that's what David Moyes and Phil Neville have said about games in which we have dropped points needlessly.

"100% more successful than Smith"... hmmm... the only maeasure of "success" in football is trophies. Neither of them have managed success and at his current rate of stagnation (we finished 7th in 2003, and have developed a remarkably consistent approach to avoiding cup runs that might also lead to success) it will take David Moyes a lot longer than the second half of his 10-year masterplan to achieve. — Michael

Fernandes

Seems to me that, unless Moyes has someone in the Fernandes mould lined up to come in but not until the summer, this loan deal is pointless. Yes, we need him and he'll probably be a great asset for 6 months but what's the point if we can't sign him in the summer?

Also is it too much to hope that the deafening silence from evertonfc.com is because they are waiting to announce another deal along with the Fernandes one? I think we've all earned it...
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (30/1/07)

Read 10 pages of a book

I am shocked to read such a poorly constructed article that has based its arguement on a book you haven't even finished reading.

Firstly, might I suggest you continue to read your book and once finished re-write your post, and take you own advice by identifying your end goals, structuring your arguements and planning correctly.

Regarding Vidarsson, just as he scores, Moyes is putting the young midfielder in the shop window to get a loan opportunity. That's proacive. The end goal? To get him experience and ready for first-team action.

As for the Fernandes transfer, maybe with hindsight we would have handled it slightly different. You suggest you don't know all the facts: the FA rejected his registration on the basis that it doesnt agree with regulations regarding player ownership. This will be a complex and detailed rule that I'm sure Everton were trying to maneouver around. Hence the time it took. Saying the player either wants to come or doesn't, that we can afford him or we can't is naïve beyond belief. Are transfers really that easy?

Above all, your incompetent attack on Kenwright and Moyes is shocking. We have seen plenty of people try to pick apart this team in many different ways. I find it comical you have attempted this after reading just two of seven parts in a book.

If you continue reading, I'm sure you will find something that says "Prepare and structure your opinions and views, back up your claims with facts and put forward a clear and indisputable arguement".
Gary Keey, Upper Warlingham  (30/1/07)

Enough is enough

Tony Marsh is seriously annoying, he always looks for the worse outcome and will use the smallest detail to slag off the club. His latest rant is that there are no new players joining before the deadline ? clearly he has forgotten Da Silva and Fernandas, that's two by my count, Tony ? and there's still time for more.

I give up with Tony Marsh, I really do. Remember at the start of the season when Moyes decided not to start with Lescott for the first couple of games? Some sensible fans assumed Moyes was allowing Lescott a chance to adjust to his new club; Tony Marsh immediately called Lescott another Krøldrup, claiming he would spend all season on the bench behind Yobo, Stubbs & Weir (now departed).

Tony Marsh also claims we all know Everton will lose to Liverpool this weekend. Didn't Dutch get banned for predicting Everton would lose to Spurs? Can't you do something about him, I don't mind critism of the club and manager but it has to be constructive.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

If I did 'something' about him, I'd have to do something about the hordes of people writing in to complain about him and all the other idiots who are no longer starstruck by the progress we have made under David Moyes since the Dark Days... Surely you are not asking for censorship?

And for the umpteenth time, Dutch was not banned; he was asked to discontinue posting under a false name. He chose to discontinue posting. ? Michael

Dodgy Ownership / TW Trust

I believe the reason we couldn't sign Fernandes permanently is that rule on dual ownership. Similar to West Ham loaning the two Argies.

I also noticed in the link, above the text about it, that those lovable Reds are trying to get the FA to bend the rules for them, so Mascherano can play for three clubs in one season, despite the regulations. Rafa cites EU laws and all that.

Yes well why does the UK have so many problems getting non-EU players in, when they're all over Spain and Italy? UK Laws, Rafa, old bean. Still, you're Liverpool, so no doubt the FA will pander to your request.

One final thing on the TW Trust. The price is a grand for a half share?? When I was in the UK they were being sold by the slightly controversial Ticket Bastard for less than that. I know there is no floating price as such. Colm should be able to update, as an ex committee member of the ESA.

Better go before I incur more wrath!!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (30/1/07)

What? He's undercutting us??? But this difference is he has got shares to sell ? we haven't. So we have to hedge against inflation, an uncertian timetable, and a potential surge in share price that could come at any moment. According to our business plan... Hang on! Why am I telling you all this? It's highly confidential. I'm sorry but a strict silence will have to be maintained until we know for sure what is going on. — Michael

Deliveing Dave

Good to see that Davey delivered Fernandes to us after all! A pal of mine on the Echo says there will be at least one more in before midnight tomorrow and with da Silva looking good and Hibbo and Pisto fit that`s FIVE extra players for the run-in. Well done, Mr Moyes!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/1/07)

A pal of yours on the Echo? Not Dominic by any chance??? There seems to be some doubt about the Fernandes deal being completed, according to him, Richard. — Michael

Answer to Moyes critics

Moyes's success speaks for itself ? that's why you hear more from his critics than his fans. Ten years ago we would be playing Cadameteri up front on his own. The quality we have now means that young players like anichebe aren't under that sort of pressure. We were consistently in a relegation fight ten years ago now we are challenging for Europe.

As much as I liked the Dogs of War the mentality was to 'make it through the day'. Moyes is ambitious and his belief that we can challenge for Europe, despite relatively less investment than the likes of Newcastle, is paying off.
Martin Cornforth, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Err.. when Moyes speaks for himself, his target is ensuring Premiership survival. There is little eveidence he really has any intention of pushing this Everton team toward European competition. — Michael

What a shambles!

Well it is now Tuesday morning, and as always the first thing I do is log on to find out how my team is doing. The official Everton website is my home page... nothing new on Fernandes! Then onto BBC, Sky Sports and ToffeeWeb, they all report the completion of the deal. Knock, Knock... is anyone home!!!!
Will Bruce, London  (30/1/07)

It's 'red tape'. That's what the doorman helpfully told somebody (from the press) a week ago. No doubt the ominous spectre of "commercial sensitivity" prevents them from making even a basic statement about what the hell is going on. Instead it has to be pieced together from other websites, newspaper and media reports that quote FA spokesmen. And then they wonder why some of the fans (whom they consider to be "drunken knobhead Evertonians") get rather frustrated... Michael

Re: I Just Don't Get It

David Turner, I read the first paragraph of this and realised what utter and complete tripe it was.

If you are seriously suggesting that sitting midway in the table with some quality players in Arteta, Cahill and Lescott, is worse than watching Mitch Ward and Alec Cleland strutting their stuff then you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
Richard Osborne, Birmingham  (30/1/07)

Fernandes

It appears we finally have our man, on loan at least. Yet that was the original intention. Nothing's been said yet regarding permanent moves in the summer.

I seem to be doing this a lot but I thought it necessary to point out again the farcical behaviour of some correspondents, convinced that the transfer was:

  1. a smokescreen to disguise inactivity
  2. in the process of being hijacked by Liverpool
  3. royally messed up by the board/manager/CEO/tea lady/David Weir
All of this based merely on supposition and assumption that silence meant the club was lying and whatever Moyes/Kenwright/Wyness are doing must be wrong. Last week they released a statement informing the fans the loan would go through but was being held up by red tape. Yesterday, and presumably today on the OS, the FA confirm that the transfer was held up by... red tape, the same red tape we knew was complicating the transfer in the first place ie, the ownership of the player.

Please, for the good of your sanity, withhold judgement on these things until the verdict has passed. Had the transfer window closed with no Fernandes and no alternative then unleash all your vitriol on the club. In the mean time, let them do their job.

In my view the Fernandes loan deal, assuming no absurd clauses, is a fantastic signing. He's exactly the kind of player we need and, if the ownership issues can't be sorted out, we have him for the rest of the season then can turn our attention elsewhere in the lengthier summer transfer window.

The strange business over him signing a new contract with Benfica makes little sense. The only logic I can apply to it is that it is related to the lengthy negotiations which would suggest the ownership of the player has been somehow altered. To me it seems unlikely that Benfica would have bought out their co-owners ? why would they risk money on a player they're trying to offload? I suggest it may be more a case of altering legal definitions. That said, this is mere speculation and in keeping with my earlier comments I suggest we wait for some more concrete news from reliable sources.
John Holmes, York  (30/1/07)

Reply ? Jims letter to Bill

I was quite enjoying this letter from another planet until the writer threw in his ?good Honours and Masters degrees? at all us beer drinking, foul-mouthed morons. Somebody had to go to work to get you through Uni mate.

Something constructive in the piece would have been useful and an acknowledgement that the School of Science is ok if you are a rich club with big pockets. Try and play pretty football at the Emirates and it doesn?t always come off, ask LFC. Life in the Premiership also includes grinding out results and the odd battle.

I?ll stick with DM while the Professor dreams of us having a team like West Ham (I think they are on their 4th manager since Moyes arrived).
Brian Preston, Barrow  (30/1/07)

Having signed him will he play?

If its true that we have signed Fernandes, will Moyes play him? We have had players in the past on loan, and Moyes does not use them for one reason or another. As the clock runs down on the January window, it looks as if what we have got will have to do. Moyes's team selection and tactics for the derby game will be very crucial, I hope for the fans' sake he gets it right... or I feel that he will be in for a very rocky ride.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Fernandes Arrives - but will he play???

What if there's a similar clause: 3 consecutive games and you have to buy him? Then the best we can expect is 2 game run-outs. Or maybe he'll become another Matteo Ferrari who couldn't be played because we'd have to pay him????
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (30/1/07)

... or the FA will reject his registration documents... This whole business gets sillier by the day.

Two key Points

1. I believe people are wrong to be so critical of the club before the derby. This game does make a big difference. Surely it's the best and biggest match in the world! See what happens before being too critical, I fancy a shock leap to stardom from Beattie or Shandy Van Der Meyde!

2. Please can you write a page about the ToffeeWeb trust. Despite supporting BK, I'm interested, and could invest. Sounds like a good idea. Keep up the good work!
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (30/1/07)

Fernandes Conspiracies

Im sorry if this sounds like another broken player rant over this deal but I do think that there are some issues here and would like to know other peoples opinions of them.

Fernandes has signed a new 4-year deal with Benfica on the day he signs for Everton on loan. If he is as good as he is meant to be (ie, the next Vieira), and surely he is confident of his own ability that he could make the current Benfica team, and Benfica are probably still in Europe so he has that to play in as well, and a title run in ... why leave that to join a club where his future doesn't lie and that has no prospect (this season) of European football or silverware?

After all, what are this players incentives to play for us now, knowing he will not be here in 5 months time? And by the same virtue where is our incentive to play him?

Surely he doesn't want to keep going through all these contractual problems every window? Also according to MSI's official website Fernandes is not listed as one of their players. Does this mean that this new Benfica contract has bought out the MSI intrest in him?
Gareth Price, Lancaster  (30/1/07)

The whole business is shrouded in mystery... seems this business of multiple ownership needs to be jumped on by Uefa or Fifa. — Michael

Fernandes arrives after all

Well, it seems a deal of sorts has been done so it would appear this one can now be put to bed. Looks a terrific prospect, personally I felt the recent rumors linking him with a move to LFC were way off the mark. So what will generate the next round of frenzied emotions? Beattie's rumored departure? Well I guess we'll have to leave that to the media hounds.
Gerry Western, London  (29/1/07)

Liar or idiot ?

"We have been short on numbers since we lost (??? someone stole him ?) Kilbane on deadline day," said David Moyes fairly recently.

We have now "lost" Davies, Weir and more than likely Vidarsson on loan. Additionally, Johnson and McFadden have been lost to injury. I can only assume that a)Moyes is a LIAR and we have to sell EVERY January to cover our summer debts or b)Moyes is an idiot who thinks you offset a loss in numbers by losing more players.

DON'T SELL BEFORE YOU BUY!!! Also, if one more person mentions Pistone is fit again I am going to hang myself. Pistone has been injured for the last 18 months of the 24-month contract that we reluctantly gave him after having seen him injured for about 24 months of his previous 36-month contract. If he was a horse we would have shot him a long time ago and sent him to the glue factory along with Dunc, Van der Meyde, and Naysmith. Instead Moyes gave ALL of them new contracts. Why? This guy must be clinically insane! Either that or he just plain hates us!
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, Fl  (29/1/07)

Kieran, I don't now about Moyesie but I am increasingly convinced the transfer window tends to send more and more of our normally sensible fans over the edge...

Transfers

I may have missed the boat here as according to the news pop up on my side bar we have got Fernandes on loan til the end of the season, but rather than some fans go off on one about another drawn out transfer can they not see that the main problem is that we can't afford to buy the guy!

I can't see us having a massive transfer fund for the summer so I'm not surprised to see that we don't want to blow the lot on one bloody player. We need a left back, left winger and a goalkeeper as well as bulking up the midfield.

I seem to remember us spending big with money we didn't have and it coming back to bite us on the arse under the last manager, so it aint gonna happen with this one.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (30/1/07)

Critics gazumped again

Just seen on BBC news that Fernades has signed for Everton on loan until May. Can we now expect a flood of apologies from the anti-Moyes Brigade? No? I thought not.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (30/1/07)

Is seems, Dickie, that some of them are a bit steamed about this bloke extending his own Benfica contract at the same time, putting him no doubt well out of our reach financially. Or are you perhaps content that we have secured a £12M-rated sensation for six glorious months? — Michael

Transfer window

So according to Sky, Manny has signed on loan, but has extended his contract with Benfica. What a typical load of shite from the clowns Bill & Dave! We'd stand more chance with Bill & Ben off the telly. There is no incentive for the player; good or bad, he's not staying but if he plays great well maybe Liverpool or Man Utd can get him.

I was talking to a guy today who I've known for years any he spots my tatto; this guy never gets excited but he changed into blue mode as he's been a season-ticket holder for over 30 years but stated this is his last if Kenwright stays. His tantraum would have been well recieved on this site, the gist being the only thing worse than our transfers failings is the standard of football we have watch. So it's not just ToffeeWeb that's getting pissed off; time for The Trust to takeover...
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (29/1/07)

Another re-arranged fixture

Already depressed at the lack of signings in the transfer window, I notice that the Everton v Fulham game has now been switched to Good Friday. Yet again, the poor punter is at the mercy of all powerful Sky and has to make alternative working / social arrangements in order to attend a match that isn't now taking place on the day it was arranged for. If that was pop concert or a theatre show, wouldn't we be entitled to a refund?

Punters who buy a season ticket do so for Saturday 3:00pm kick offs We've now only got 2 such fixture at GP from now 'til the end of the season. Why are we so popular given our crap football, I ask myself?

I know this isn't Everton's fault per se but it makes me wonder why I bother with a season ticket sometimes ? that's without the taking into account the dreadful "entertainment" currently on offer. Still, there's always "Ladies Day" to look forward too, I suppose. I wonder what Luvvy and Bully are cooking up for this one 1 Linda Carter, aka Wonderwoman, being presented to the crowd before kick off? Any suggestions?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (29/1/07)

Err... I think Sky have been rearanging fixtures for something like 12-plus years...

Everton? The Big Club's Feeder Club

I've just learnt the Fernandes transfer has gone ahead, though Benfica appear to be retaining his services in the long run. When Manchester United loaned out Tim Howard to us so that he can get "more Premiership experience" (for their benefit rather than ours) and Fernandes will be around for 6 months, it makes you wonder about Moyes's long-term strategy.

Surely, isn't it about buying young quality players on a long-term basis so that they can grow into a team that plays attractive, competitive football? The reason why we're not getting that at the moment is because Moyes's main objective is just to get through the day. As long as we pass the 40-point mark, any points on top of that is be a bonus.

I'm sorry, but a club like Everton should not be thinking like that. That school of thought belong to the likes of the newly-promoted clubs. Moyes has been at Everton for almost five years, but he has failed in making Everton an attractive proposition for young players. Our football is predictable, defensive and dire.

We need to be on the second level of seriously challenging for cups and Uefa Cup spots (the first level was steering away from constant relegation battles), and convincing young players that their future lies with Everton FC. Becoming a feeder club for the likes of Manchester United & Benfica is a step in the wrong direction!
Hayley Freelander, London  (29/1/07)

Now the fun starts

So it looks like Fernandes will be coming to Goodison after all. I note that his `difficult` agent, Kia Joorabchian, is the same joker who wanted to take over West Ham but couldn`t raise the money. Can we expect some similar shenanigans with Everton?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (29/1/07)

Apology

If Reuters are correct, then Fernandes is to join us after all, on a six month loan.

If this is correct, just to prove how fickle we football fans are, I would like to apologise to that magnificent band of men on the Everton Board for such a wonderful job they are doing.
Tom Evans, Bverley East Yorkshire  (29/1/07)

Funny thing is... no announcement from Everton FC.

Bring On The Shite

Yes it's true: I can't wait for Saturday's game at Anfield. I want it over and done with so we can all move on. I think I speak for most semsible Evertonians when I say that we already know the outcome. I even know Moyes's gameplan and teamtalk...

"Today, lads, we will go 4-5-1 with Beattie as a lone striker. Knock it long to James whenever you can and try to pick up the scraps from any knock downs. No fucking fancy dribbling or passing ? just get it forward quick as you can. Look, boys, we don't need to score unless they do so keep it tight and try and nick a goal from a corner or free kick. Whatever you do don't give the ball away by shooting from long range it a waste of time all that nonsense. If they do score early doors then we are fucked so don't let it happen."

Now if I know this and you all know its what Moyes will do then so does Benitzes and his team. I reckon the game will be over by half time and the Red Shite will avenge the defeat at Goodison in September. Moyes's record at Anfield is shocking and I am so glad I won't be there. This is what it's coming to with this manager and I know plenty more lads who want nothing to do with this game.

The window is about to slam shut on our fingers yet again and not a fucking new player in sight. If we get twated by 3 or 4 goals on Saturday then Deadly Dave should walk. If he doesn't then a lot of our fans will. Like it or not, this is our only chance to capture some sort of glory this season ? if glory is what you can call it.

Our only chance is for Moyes to throw the shackles away and let the players have a right fucking go. Sit back and be negative and we will get ripped to shreds. Which approach do you think Deadly will favour come Saturday???
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Bit premature with you ejaculation, there, Tony (you doom-mongerer!): we have our second new player confirmed today. ? Michael

Humbled

This is my first visit to the mailbag. I have just spent the last 60 minutes or so, reading through the submissions and the main thing that stands out is the strength of feelings that exist from the contributors. The eloquence of some of the entries leaves me humbled and cannot fail to make you just stop and think as one entry states 'behind the headlines'.

The one overiding feeling is the need for a seismic change in the organisation. The latest debacle during the transfer window serves to illustrate the need for heads to roll. I cannot for the life of me understand why Davies was allowed to go before getting Fernandes or another replacement on board. The Fernandes situation can be added to the lengthening list of farcial actions by those supposedly in control.

I maybe stand accused of kicking a man when they are down, but criticism of what is happening at present is merited. I accept I am following events 140 miles away and do not have access to the whispers and gossip, but there appears to be nothing positive emerging from Goodison.

I made the journey from Wirral 44 years ago to my first game and as with countless thousands since, have stuck with the Blues. In my honest opinion, having experienced the drought that was the late seventies and early eighties, we are no further forward now and I honestly think that we stand at the edge of oblivion if we do not get things correct with any proposed ground relocation.

This brings me back to the main point, and it is that the present board are not fit for purpose. Change at the top needs to happen and quickly.
Tom Evans, Beverley, East Yorkshire  (29/1/07)

You, sir, are the kind of fan who is ripe for the ToffeeWeb Trust (see below). Send in your money NOW!

Manuel Fernandes

Send him packing!

Why would he sign a further deal with Benfica if not just to sting millions out of Everton. Come on Moysey, anyone whose dealings are too dodgy for 'Appy 'Arry is a well too dodgy geezer for the likes of you...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (29/1/07)

Toffeeweb Trust

I have seen a few references to this in the mailbag but nothing else. Can someone explain what it is, when it was set up, what it hopes to achieve?
John Crawley, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Yes, of course. The ToffeeWeb Trust has been set up in response to a fan who maintains that all this blather in the ToffeeWeb Mailbag will achieve nothing: that in order to have any real and lasting impact, we the fans, need to gain a controling interest in the club. So we have set up a Fans Trust to bring this about.

The main purpose is to purchase Everton shares so that we can increasingly gain control of the club. All it takes is money: your money. For a small initial investment of £1,000, you will receive a Promisory Note entitling you to one-half of one share in Everton FC Co Ltd, as and when we are able to purchase them. The best way to pay is directly into my PayPal account: bluefrog at gowebway dot com (recombine this to make up my e.mail address ? this way avoids 'spiders' and the like).

The response so far has been fabulous. We are well on our way to our first target. All we need now is for loyal fans like you to get on board. Send money now! You know it makes sense! — Michael Kenrick, Lifetime President, ToffeeWeb Trust.

Jim Hourigan: It's a waste of time.

Like yourself, Jim, I'm in my forties. Started going in the 60s to reserve games, in the old Goodison Rd stand. I enjoyed the plain crisps and orange more than the football, but that was the way at the time. It's how you served your time. The days are long gone but fondly remembered by myself and countless others who started out that way.

Your letter, Jim, could have been written by many our age. I have written before and got no reply. With the way the club is run and what ever it is JJB sports are supposed to offer us. Do you really expect a reply?? Good luck to you Jim. Please let us know how you get on.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Repetition

Any one can tell me about how Moyes is dithering again, Wyness is spinning his spin and Bill is just talking shite and how we're playing useless football. Yes, I know that; we all know that, but why the constant repetition, why the continued slagging off of anyone and everyone?

I'm a season ticket holder and I drive from London for all home games and I get pissed off with Fernandes-type stories etc. But I am an Everton supporter and nothing feels like celebrating a goal at Goodison or away. I just hope that, when this window shuts, we can all stop worrying about how we could struggle with a small squad, and get back to thinking we might actually go alright.
Niall Clinton, London  (29/1/07)

Naill, if we were still winning three games and drawing the the other one out of every four we played, then the mood, I assure you, would be ecstatic. We'd be up were we deserve to be, commanding respect and looking forward to making a btter run at Europe.

But we're not. A lot of fans are seeing through the shite, finally, and know that being 7th among a buch of shite also-rans is really no great shakes. If you are not part of that mood, fair enough. But if you want repetition, look also to those who say things like: "Is being 7th so bad?" You are hardly being original with that one, are you. —

re: Chris Jones

Chris, mate, you say you can't understand people having a go at Moyes for wanting to buy a player and play him out of position. I can understand your point if the player you want to play out of position is already at the club and you have no choice but to do it. However, when you are after a defensive midfielder who can play a bit as well, you go and buy that type of player; you don't buy a centre-half to do that job. But, at the end of the day, if Moyes could play Howard there, he would because you don't have to be anything special to hoof just it!
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (29/1/07)

Just another day...

A young Everton fan was walking down the road thinking to himself, "One day we will win the league!" when he came upon a bottle in the road. After picking the bottle up and rubbing it, a genie popped out and gave him two wishes, but the Evertonian had tree. By the side of the boy was his dog, who was very old and had a leg missing.

The first wish was easy: Lots of Money! ? Granted.

The second wish that his dog too be well and have all his legs; the genie replied "So sorry but I cannot perform miracles."

The third wish was for Everton to win the league: the genie thought about it for a minute or two and said, "Can I have another look at that dog?"
Joe Walsh, Woking  (29/1/07)

Here we go again!

Just read that the Fernandes deal is on the verge of collapse. What a surprise. A quality player wants to sign for us and the club does their best to mess it up. Get him in on loan and then haggle about the fee before the summer. We cannot afford to lose another central midfielder to the filth across the park...
Jonathan Hutchinson, West Derby  (29/1/07)

Craig and history

I enjoyed your piece on fans forum and the bit where you say you would have loved to have seen one of our great teams in their pomp. It brought to mind my youth when we did have a hell of a team and I remember seeing a massive banner headline on a national Sunday back page, it declared BLUE MERSEY FLOWS and then went on to describe our win the previous day. I hope one day we both see the like again. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (29/1/07)

Calm down!

I know I`m a simple soul but all of us agree that the highest position a team outside `the cartel` can hope for is fifth. Everton are currently seventh and have been there or thereabouts since the season started. OK, the football`s crap but certainly no worse that that of every team we play in `our league`. So what`s all this crisis nonsense? If Moyes can get somebody in who will improve the team he`ll do it. If not, we`ll struggle on just as we did when finishing 4th. Calm down!
Miles Lithgo, New Brighton  (29/1/07)

Thus speaks the voice of mediocrity!

Easy Pickings

I`ve come to the conclusion that Moyes won`t have VdM at any price and I think he`s most unlikely to start in the derby. I think Corner`s got it about right although if Valente is still injured Pistone will be in at full-back. Picking the team from so few available players is not a difficult task ? getting them to perform at Anfield may be!
Bruce Rogers, Crosby  (29/1/07)

Bougherra

Word on the ground is that Bougherra didn't sign because Moyes couldn't guarantee him first team football, not over his position as previous letters alleged. Which makes a lot more sense, as Charlton are in a more desparate plight and more willing to make such a pledge.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (29/1/07)

Just over 48 hours left...

...and we still haven't heard anything about Fernandes. What's going on, Everton? My prediction for who will come in before midnight Wednesday is:

  • Alan Smith on loan
  • David Healy for £1M
It's not really strengthening the squad though, as it will take at least a month to get Smith match-fit and Healy is unproven at Prem level.
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Wake up and get real

In response to Craig Heywood's article 'Don't forget your history', Moyes has progressed us over his 5 years ? why jump ship now? Give him another two years! We are not accepting mediocrity ? we are being realistic, how is it possible to change 20 years of dross in 5? Be patient and support the manager.
Paul Coldicutt, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

If "being relaistic" is accepting 7th, then let's look at it from that perspective. Remember the "Magnificent 7th."!?! Moyes progressed us to where we are now in just one season ? never mind five, or TWENTY! Since then, the net effect of the highs and the lows we have gone through is stagnation ? if we retain the 7th place we currently occupy (and I'm being very generous here: 7th to 4th = +3; 7th to 17th = -10).

If we can't even mange to hold on to 7th, then we will have a net decline since Moyes's trimphant first full season in charge, when we all expected so much from him. He delivered in that first season. Since then it's been ten steps forward, ten steps back (although it felt like 1,000 steps back becuase of "raised expectations").

So let's have no more of this "get real" nonsense, please. ? Michael

Bougherra Says it All

It?s January and its cold, dark and fucking depressing enough as it is already without my beloved Everton becoming a burden. I don?t get my hopes up anymore when we are linked (strongly in some cases) with players joining. The fact is, it?s a waste of breath even talking about potential signings until they are holding the scarf up on the back of the Echo. Even then it?s likely we wouldn?t see them play for some time until Deadly Dave has hammered any quality and flair they possess out of them.

So here we are once again, another failure in the transfer market for Dithering Dave. I don?t give a fuck for Bougherra; I?ve never seen him play, he is not the one who got away (well I hope not). It is this quote from him on the Sky Sports website which has got me irate:

"But the trainer was honest with me from the very start, he said to me that he needed a general purpose player who could play defensive midfield. For me it is out of question that I change position. Indeed I started life as a defensive midfielder, but no one ever noticed me in this position. The position of central defender is that which is appropriate to me and at 24 years I want to continue my progress in this position with my club as with the national team." ? Sensible lad!

Now, if none of you Moyes apologists can see a problem with this quote, which I have no doubt is 100% true, then you have a problem. If it is a defensive central midfielder Moyes is after then go and try and sign a fucking central midfielder!! Not a centre-back who you may think can play defensive centre-mid (remember trying Yobo there??).

I remember a similar thing happening with Craig Bellamy. It was rumoured Bellamy didn?t sign because he didn?t like the plan Moyes had for him when the two held talks. At the time I thought it was just Bellamy being the knob-head we all know he is; now it just looks like the lad didn?t like what he heard from Moyes, and he was probably right.

On top of all this, I am losing my enthusiasm to watch us play. All I care for is the result. I don?t enjoy watching the style of football the players are made to play by Moyes because its shite. I am shitting myself for this derby, signing an attacking player or two on loan or whatever would give me some optimism. As it is I just hope we don?t get twatted by the Red Shite, because it's what I am fearing...

Come on you Blues!!!!!!!
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (29/01/07)

Response tto Open Letter

Jim, it was a masterpiece. I totally agree with all the statements made. Until the last couple of weeks, I was one of Davey's biggest defenders but, with all the messing about again during the transfer window, selling two players and not having replacements lined up is not far short of corporate negligence.

I saw Da Silva at the weekend and I believe he could come good but it will take time; we then have two out long-term injured and now the talk is of letting two of our other young prospects go out on loan at the very least and it is starting to look like incompetence.

Thanks again for a good article. Caveman
Paul Cave, Bracknell  (29/1/07)

In response to part of Jim Hourigan's Letter

Jim says:

"Finally, I applaud the decision to move Everton. Sadly the depressing and run-down part of the City that Goodison sits in will no longer support a Premiership club in the 21st Century."

Can't agree with you there Jim, this area has supported not one, but two big clubs for over 100 years, and our illustrious neighbours certainly don't feel so inclined. It has a proven track record for allowing people to get to and leave in the numbers required via various transport modes..... Kirkby has not, and has nothing like the public transport and road capacity of Walton, nor the demagraphic centrality to serve its target market, before you even get into the outside the city/identity issue.

I also don't find Walton depressing to be honest, or is that just the footy (which won't necessarily change at a new site). I actually find the walk through the myriad of tightly packed streets, across one of Liverpool's few surviving Victorian High Streets to where the ground finally comes into view quite exhilerating.

If I choose my route carefully, I am often zapped back nearly 40 years to when my dad first took me, most uplifting. Regardless, surely there's tablets you can get for that.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Give him a break!

Matthew Davies sseks to pillory Moyes for telling Bougherra the role he envisiond for him were he to have signed for the club. Matthew indicates Moyes should have let Bougherra sign first, then told him. Well how stupid and dishonest would that have been? And how long before someone else then pilloried Moyes for being a liar and poor man-manager, misleading a player when signing him?

As for those who criticise the manager for wanting to get a player to adopt a new role or play 'out of position', how many great managers of the past have been applauded for spotting that a player is not currently in his best position? Didn't someone convert Sutton from a centre-back into a striker, and prior to that someone spotted, conversely, that Frank Stapleton made a good emergency centre-back?! And how many experts spent years bleating that Bryan Robson might become the world's best sweeper ever if only he had the desire to try it!?

Evidently, in the eyes of many, Moyes can't do right for doing wrong.
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (29/1/07)

Reply to Harry Procter

Harry; Whilst I agree in principle with your posting, I feel you are missing the point somewhat. If Mr Kenwright works 24/7 to improve things then, after all this time, what has he improved? The club is more unstable now than it has ever been. What with ground moves, mounting debts and falling attendances.

You are also correct in stating that a signing will not determine if we are here or not next season. But should we not be on the look out for possible players to strenghthen the squad? Instead, we the fans are told that what we have is good enough, when in reality the majority of us know that we are not good enough by a long way.

'Fancy dan' football you call it? Entertainment I call it, and that's why I go to watch football. To be entertained, not bored rigid by negative "don't lose at all costs" tactics. I could go on but honestly cannot be bothered, as it has all been said before by more articulate people on this site than me. But I know what Iwant from my football club and it is not what we have at present.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (29/1/07)

Another typical example!

So on the day that Bougherra signs for Charlton, he comes out and says that he didn't sign for Everton because he was asked to play out of position at defensive midfielder. At least let the lad sign before telling him what you want him to do for god's sake!!
Matthew Davies, Swansea  (29/1/07)

Football Manager 2007

I know how much Michael hates us playing Football Manager 2007 but with the derby approaching what`s the harm on a punt on the side Moyes will field? Here`s my forecast, although not my pick:-

Howard;
Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Valente; 
Arteta, Neville, Carsley, Osman, Naysmith;
Beattie

Subs:Wright, Hibbert, Pistone, da Silva, Anichebe.
(I assume that Cahill is injured.) I bet the Reds are shitting themselves!
Alan Corner, Willaston  (29/1/07)

I thought Valente was injured? Cahill ? sounds like it was just a small knock, so I'd be surprised if he did not play. No Van der Meyde? (Where was he on Saturday?) — Michael

Jim Hourgan

A really good letter Jim, but I doubt whether you will receive answer, the man is too self-possesssed. He's too bloody arrogant and power crazy!!
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Signings?

I don't why you lot are complaining. If you look at the big clubs, Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, they've all made little activity in the trasnfer window. It's a common fact: prices get inflated in January.

Young for £9M? You're having a laugh! If Aston Villa were smart like us, they should have signed him early next summer. Look at how good our summer signings are! Lescott is a snip at £5M, Johnson has already entered double figures at only £7M.

Anderson da silva looked very good in the friendly, and he can't be worse than Davies. By selling to Fulham, we were able to retrive the cost paid for him two seasons ago.

People have highlighted the injuries of McFadden and Johnson. But we still have Beattie, our top goalscorer last season; Cahill, who is now a fine goalscoring half-striker; Anichebe and Vaughan, very promising youngsters.

In Midfield, we have both our flair players, Arteta and Van der Meyde back. So, while all the doom-mongers are depresed, I shall look forward to a good European challenge. We have now pacey centre-backs instead of Wier and Stubbs, actually top-notch midfielders, and strikers who will fire us into Europe! COYB!!!
Joey Baxton, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Just why was I different?

Brian Williams and Harry Proctor call for patience with the present regime. I`ve news for them ? most of us have been showing patience ever since we went to Wembley in 1995!

The likelehood of more academy kids getting shown the door makes me ever more frightful of our future. We can`t afford to sign anybody and apparently few of the kids we develop are any good. Everything the club`s ever owned has been flogged off and when Goodison goes the same way, the only thing that will be prospering is Buster`s bank balance.

Sometimes I have to wonder why I just had to be the different one in our house!
Jack Radford, Melling  (29/1/07)

Bournemouth friendly

As a Bournemouth fan I would like to thank David Moyes for bringing such a strong squad for what was a very interesting game.

Also a big thank you to the fans who came. You were a great credit to not only the club but yourselves.

I only had the chance to talk to a few of you but we at Bournemouth have a soft spot for Everton through Jimmy Gabriel (both a player and Asst Manager) and Joe Parkinson who sadly had to retire.

Good luck not just for the "big" game but for the future. In these days of the Premiership being considered a selfish rip off and distant from the rest of the leagues it was very nice to see such gentlemanly contact from the Toffees.

Thanks again.
Roy Wescott, Bournemouth  (29/1/07)

Increasing madness

"If Viddarsson is shit then its Moyes's fault, he clearly hasn't been bought on in the right way. "

If only I'd had Wenger as my PE teacher at school... It was Mr Sewell's fault I'm not playing for Everton today...

Seriously guys, calm down. Ok the transfer window hasn't gone great so far. But in December there were some unanimous thoughts:

  • Weir isn't good enough, let him go
  • Davies is a waste of money, cash in whilst we still can
  • Who the hell is da Silva and will he ever arrive?
Fair enough there were also calls for midfield engines and wingers. Only the conspiracy theorists can seriously believe that genuine efforts haven't been made (and to the best of our knowledge are still ongoing) to bring some in.

As for the mad paniced buys in the last minute of the transfer window which add nothing to the squad. Examples please? Looking at Toffeweb's transfer history I can only really see Jeffers as being a complete panic 'buy'. Martyn and Arteta were both signed on deadline days and as I remember the Arteta signing came completely out of noewhere.

I'm not saying the board and manager are models of competency but history suggests we should judge them after the window closes not days before and when calling for signing that add something significant to the squad note that there have been very few such signings across the Premiership as of yet. Perhaps the idea of over-inflated prices, not enough quality available and bored tabloid writers has something in it. I mean come on... Everton are on the verge of signing David Healy but have somehow messed it up just because an Everton scout was seen at Elland Road... seriously...
John Holmes, York  (29/1/07)

Davies confused

Wales Manager, John Toshack, suggests on Teamtalk that Simon Davies never knew what Moyes expected of him at Everton and that he`ll do much better under Chris Coleman. Yet another player none too impressed with the Moyes School of Management...
Alan Oker, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

A coach please......

After 5 years of David Moyes as Everton Manager, I am reaching the end of my patience. The 'Do Not Lose' mentality is killing any chance we have of playing attractive football.

With Kenright appearing to continue to favour Dithering Dave, all that I can suggest to imrove matters is to secure a new coach. Alan Irvine appears to carry no weight at the club and cannot be described as a coaching genius. He has a reputation for being a Yes-man. Is there any chance of recruiting a new coach to improve our attacking options?

I am losing the will to live because our football is stagnant and boring. We MUST do something soon else our proud and loyal supporters will revolt with both Moyes and Kenright becoming the joint targets.
John Sheron, Ipswich  (29/1/07)

Tension

The week of the derby for me always brings with it tension, shredded nerves and heightened anxiety as the game approaches. This week and Saturday's fixture should be no different, however my angst is being escalated by several factors, most notably:

  • Two days to go before the transfer window shuts with no news on Fernandes or any other possible signings

  • The injury to Andy Johnson and continuing poor form of his probable replacement James Beattie

  • An untried Anderson da Silva likely to figure in the event of no further reinforcements in midfield and Andy van der Meyde given a start with no other options

  • Liverpool seeking revenge following the 3-0 result in September

  • Moyes continuing to deplete the squad in terms of numbers with the prospect of Vidarsson going out on loan. Albeit Vidarsson hasn't played a first team game but both he and Mark Hughes are counted in the squad numbers.
I will keep checking ToffeeWeb and news now for any possible developments; if not, then a prayer to Saint Brian Labone for Saturday may be our only hope...
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (29/1/07)

Feedback on ToffeWeb generally

Just a very quick note to say how much I appreciate this site. A few months ago, I rated this site as very good. Now it has become brilliant and it is proving to be an oasis in the desert that greets all Evertonians as they seek enjoyment when following the club. This particularly refers to the latest shambles in the transfer market! Many many thanks to the regular contributors and all who have had articles published recently. keep up the good work.

Yours appreciatively,
David Bodian, Watford  (29/1/07)

Thanks for that great compliment, David. — Michael

New Everton

So Wyness finally admits in the MBE interview that his lack of enthusiasm for a France Collection Museum is because `there`s no money in it`! What a surprise.

Whilst we don`t expect every employee to have the same sentimental feelings for the Club as we we do, it`s not unreasonable to hope that they all repect our history and traditions and wish to preserve them.

In truth, more than the old First Division died when Sky, Carter & Co set up the Premier. Quite a lot of Everton died as well and, for good or ill, today`s Everton is not the one I grew up to love. Oh yes, they play in Blue shirts (sometimes!) but by the time they move to Kirkby, New Everton will be firmly established. I shall not be with them.
Harold Makin, Speke  (29/1/01)

Re: Open letter to Bill

Agree with everything Jim is saying. The team are not playing good football (v Liverpool and Newcastle apart) and the fans are getting restless with DM. I was at Man City and fans then were talking of boycotting Wigan. Time for a change.
Peter Norris, Leeds  (29/1/07)

Mr Hourigan

Oh dear! Mr Hourigan, you have no chance of any kind of reponse from Mr Kenwright. Instead, why not offer him some bright ideas for a West End musical? Or, better still, suggest a few B-list celebrities who could be invited to walk onto the pitch before kick-off with an Everton scarf held high above their head. Now there's a couple of ideas which would certainly grab his attention. Anything of a serious nature concerning Everton obviously has little interest for him.
Ted Lewis, Kenilworth  (29/1/07)

Another non-graduate?

If I was Bjarni Vidarsson, I would be counting my days as an Everton player. When the Moyestro sends you out on loan it usually means that he`s giving you the chance to impress another employer. During his tenure, only Osman has been `brought in from the cold` and even then Moyes needed a lot of persuasion!

Word is that Mark Hughes, Pat Boyle and probably John Ruddy will also be on their way come April as the manager continues to demonstrate his lack of enthusiasm for the high-cost Academy. Perhaps it could be outsourced?
Nick Parsons, Childwall  (29/1/07)

Utility player syndrome strikes again

According to Sky Sports (and the player himself) the reason that Bougherra chose Charlton was not the wages on offer (although he's hardly going to admit to that is he?) but the fact that Moyes was going to play him as a defensive midfielder/all round dogsbody! Well I guess if that's what Moyes was intending it's better to not sign the player and have him throw his toys from the pram later, but surely we need a new central defender, as well as midfield re-inforcements!
Andrew Humphrey, London  (29/1/07)

Transfers

I have had enough of this fucking transfer window and deadline day cannot come quick enough for me. Why does the club make us a fucking laughing stock nearly every transfer window? I couldn't give a fuck if we bring a wagon load of players in, the damage has already been done to me. I am the only Everton fan in my family and the stick I have been getting is unbelievable. Even my grandad, who is a Stockport fan, has had a little dig! The only good thing is they are all back in Liverpool, so I just don't answer the phone anymore.

One more thing: it's too late in the season to get rid of Moyes now. But,if there is a god he won't be here for the start of next season!
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (29/1/07)

Get behind the headline

The Brian Williams letter is just about the only sensible posting we have seen in January. I used to work for a company whose chairman was very fond of telling us that his principal job was `to ensure we`re still here next year`. The same goes for Kenwright. We may not like it, but what`s the alternative? Blue Bill didn`t get us into this mess; he inherited it and has said over and over that he works 24/7 to improve things. I believe him.

In Wyness he has found a very hard-nosed lieutenant who will make the difficult decisions. In Moyes a manager who will work to a mean budget and yet do more than just survive. Of course, the 4th position was a surprise and European entry came too soon but with what we had it was a miracle and as compared with the budgets of others, 10th is always a very good achievement.

Now in the history of Everton Football Club, this transfer window is but a trice. Whether we sign another mid-fielder or striker will not,in itself, determine whether `we`re here next year`. And neither will a sudden tranformation to `fancy dan` football. Few of us will go home feeling better for losing 3-4 than we do after those `awful` 1-0 victories.

So let`s all try to get behind the headline, can we? What`s far more important than `Everton sign star striker` is `Everton ready for 54th successive Top Flight season`. Lack of ambition, maybe, but as long as we`re there we`ve always a chance that a Mr Big will emerge to relieve Bill of his burden. Just keep the faith, that`s all!
Harry Procter, Hoylake  (29/1/07)

Wasteful Moyes

I see David Moyes has failed to persuade another promising young player to join us; instead he chose doomed Charlton. This shows how awful the man is in the transfer market. I mean what sane man pays £750k for Anderson da Silva for 6 months? Why not save that money and give Majid Bougherra the money he wants?

Moyes really has no clue what he is doing we have our biggest game of the season on Saturday so the week before he risks argueably our best player, Tim Cahill, in a meaningless friendly ? in which the obvious happened: he picked up an injury and now is unlikely to play in the match he loves scoring in.

What a fool this man is but we might as well accept that the fool is here until he completely fucks up and takes us to the Championship.

ps: Prepare to lose the bragging rights.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (29/1/07)

"Both Victor Anichebe and Tim Cahill were withdrawn at half-time with minor knocks, but neither is thought to be serious." ? Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post

Tick, tick, tick, tick.....boom

Two days 'til the end of the transfer window. Davies out, Weir out, Johnson and McFadden long-term injuries, Vidarsson out on loan. In - only the mysterious Mr Da Silva.

It's going to be a long five months I think....
Michael Johnson, London  (29/1/07)

Fee before medical?

I'm not sure why Kenwright & Co would now be baulking at Fernandes' fee, isn't that usually agreed upon prior to the player undergoing a medical?
Simon Potter, Sydney  (29/1/07)

It was editor's license for "overal financial package, terms and conditions" ? which wouldn't quite fit in our headline. — Michael

For the love of god

Please, I truly cannot take any more of this shite. Deadline due in two days; players heading out and nobody heading in... True to form, we've even made a cock-up of this transfer window ? can these clowns in charge not get anything right?

I tell you what will happen: Wednesday afternoon we'll go out and panic and get in 2 or 3 shit players who offer fuck all to the squad. In the meantime, old Davey Boy will let a young lad the club has nurtured for 3 years go out on loan when we've got no midfield. If Viddarsson is shit then its Moyes's fault, he clearly hasnt been bought on in the right way.

I know it has been said before but how many of the young lads would actually want to stay at Everton with the track record of arsing them about? Saying that, I wonder how many of the senior players will be asking their agents to "Sort this out" come the summer. Mr Cahill, Arteta, Yobo, Lescott ? your taxis are waiting.

For the love of god, Kenwright, this has gone on long enough; if nobody comes in of any quality in the next two days, sack this clown. Arghhhhhhhh!
Ste Boileau, Walton  (29/1/07)

Truth and lies

"My own view is that it's a sad situation when so many Blues fans have so little trust in what they're being told by the club, and are so ready to assume the worst." ? Nick Wall, New Brighton (28/1/07)

"Well, all I can suggest is that you go back and compile for yourself a dosier on the utterances from the club and Moyes over the last month regarding Simon Davies. Then let us know how reliable they are as a source." ? Michael

Well, this is from the OS on 20th January : "Following weeks of speculation Cottagers boss Chris Coleman has now made a formal offer for the 27-year-old midfielder, who arrived on Merseyside from Tottenham 18-months ago. Everton have rejected the approach ? despite Moyes labelling Fulham?s offer as ?decent? ? due primarily to the fact that his departure would leave the squad desperately short of numbers.

"The Blues Boss has now held talks with Davies, who is in the squad for Sunday?s game at Wigan?s JJB Stadium, to explain the reasons behind his decision. Moyes said: 'Fulham have made an offer for Simon and we know that. At this moment in time we don?t feel as if we can afford to lose midfielders unless we are able to bring anybody in. But there is nothing out there that is available, suitable or the type of player we are looking for.

"'Finance wouldn?t change that. The offer we have got for Simon is a decent offer but it is more to do with the availability of other players. I can?t see it changing. Whether it changes tomorrow or after that, I couldn?t tell you. I have spoken to Simon and we have had two or three conversations. He knows the situation. We are working together to try and get the best for everybody. But Simon is not finished here and is part of the squad for tomorrow?s game.' "

My point is this: if the decision to sell Davies was only taken when it was believed that the Fernandes deal was a sure thing, then Moyes's statements and actions are entirely consistent. You're doing exactly the kind of thing I was moaning about ? implying that the club have been lying to us over something when it's perfectly possible that they were being basically honest, even if they weren't telling us the whole truth.

Let's wait and see... but if we find that they've not been honest, and if the Fernandes deal collapses spectacularly, leaving us short in midfield, then I'm afraid Moyes and the club will deserve all the criticism that will be levelled at them.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (29/1/07)

Vidarsson Loan

Just a quick comment on the people ridiculing Moyes for suggesting sending Vidarsson out on loan. The kid is 18; much as we're all desperate for some added quality in the midfield, not every player is ready for top-flight football when still a teenager. To me he still looks extremely lightweight which is fine for a striker with burning pace but in the heart of a midfield built (rightly or wrongly) around combativeness like Everton's, in a league as physical as the Premiership, he's likely to be exposed. A couple of months in the lower leagues to get him some experience whilst his body catches up with his ability may not be a bad idea.
John Holmes, York  (29/1/07)

Real Progress Spotted

From ToffeeWeb's Bournemouth report: "a decent Hibbert cross"... Blimey. And we scored from it too!!

Love Hibbo to bits. Good defender... but... to be honest, I have been hoping for Phil Neville to stay at right back. Hibbo is just awful going forward, even when he bothers. Can we seriously accept a full back who can't contribute down the wing?

Come on, Hibbo, I'd love you to prove me wrong...
Tom Brown, London  (29/1/07)

Surprised?

I'm really surprised that so many others seem to be surprised (this WILL make sense honestly) that players chose other clubs above Everton when it comes to transfers.

Take Bougherra going to Charlton to 'allegedly' quadruple his wages for instance. If there's any truth in this then, hey 'Wake up and smell the coffee'. Our history means nothing to him. Dixie Dean, the mid-80s etc... they won't buy him his Porsche Boxster. The lad's 'allegedly' been made an offer he can't refuse.

There's only a very small number of players who'll sign for a club because of their love of the club. It's a job to them ? plain and simple... and we don't and can't pay what others can and will; end of story.

Why can't we? Because books have to be balanced and we have to stay in business (I know it hurts, it hurts me too) and as a business we haven't been that good for a long long time.

Much as I'd like progress to be quick and sustained, it ain't gonna happen I'm afraid. It'll be slow and frustrating and laborious (if it ever happens at all). Would we take a risk with the club's financial life and pay 'inflated' wages in the hope that success will be attained... and risk a Leeds scenario? (Look at them now.)

Unfortunately we're an upper mid-table club at best and probably will be for a long time to come. Oh yes, it hurts to admit that, as I'm of an age to have enjoyed those heady days of the mid 80s. But times have chenged... and we didn't.

Having said that ? Do I love Everton? Oh yes! Do I pray for the miracle of a super-rich investor to get us where we'd all love to be??? ... Every effing night!!
Brian Williams, Wirral  (28/1/07)

Feeding us fibs

Below is an extract from a recent interview of Keith Wyness by MBE for the Bluekipper website:

MBE: Season ticket sales. What is the final plus or minus compared to last season?

KW: We?re about eight hundred down after half-season ticket sales.

MBE: Lounge membership?

KW: We?re down about one hundred.
Now I am a member of one of the lounges namely ?The Peoples Club? and I can tell you that there are at the very least one hundred empty seats in this lounge, so where Wyness gets his figures from is anyone?s guess.

I too will not be renewing for next season, the food's bad the facilities are just as bad. The only plus is the bar staff ? a lovely friendly bunch ? but it isn?t worth £1163.00 per season though. Sheisblue.
Shelia Blumfontein, South Liverpool  (28/1/07)

If you are interested in what Buster had to say to Michael Durkin (aka "Mikey Blue Eyes") read the whole interview here.

24/7 Lies

The latest shennanigans regarding our inactivity in the transfer market serve to remind the complete ineptitude that exists within the powers of Everton FC plc. Although I am not Moyes's greatest fan, I do genuinely sympathise with his plight. He identifies the players who he feels will improve the team but the axis that is Kenwright and Wyness continue to fuck around and leave the squad shawn of both depth and quality.

The recent publicity stunt with Sylvester Stallone smacked of Kenwright at his schoolboy theatrical best, coinciding with the presence of Robert Earl taking up his seat for the first time in the Directors Box. The issue that angered me most was that we have heard little if anything from Robert Earl regarding his plans for Everton, this fact confirming his 'silent' role on the Board allowing Kenwright the freedom to continue with his trainset.

Every major investor looking to pump money into the EPL in the form of ownership of a Club will look at Everton as a provincial backwater Club headed up by a theatrical maverick. If we are to once again compete at the business end of the game ? and that means paying the going rate for players ? then regime change is duly needed. The alternative is to continue to miss out on any prospective talent, continue to lose our better players and be linked with second-rate players who would not attract the attention of the clubs around us.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

So minor points: Everton FC is not a plc ? Public Limited Comnpany. Its shares are privately held; the correct title is "Everton FC Co Ltd". It has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public.

From what Moyes himself said at the AGM, he is fully on board with the fiscal constraints placed upon him by Kenwright and Wyness; I think we can be sure they are all working together to do what they can, given those limitations.

Regarding Mr Earl, he's just a shareholder; he's not even a Director. He doesn't have his own plans for Everton; he's here to support Bill Kenwright and to help him implement his plans ? that's what the Gregg buyout was all about: giving Bill the freedom to continure to operate his trainset without the irritant of Paul Gregg questioning his every move.

Regieme change is a non-starter. Even George Bush doesn't care about the massed hordes of Evertonians yearning for democratic control of 'their' club - it ain't never gonna happen (unless YOU lend YOUR support NOW to the newly fledged ToffeeWeb Trust...).

"... be linked with second-rate players who would not attract the attention of the clubs around us." Err... isn't there a certain irony regarding the likes of Fernandes (£12M-rated midfielder) and the attention he may be attracting from one particular club 'around us'??? — Michael

So easy...

We could have had Barton for £1.5M and Nugent for £2M a year ago. Two very useful players who could have helped Everton along this season. Management is so easy for those who aren't stupid. Oh, and Davies looked quite tidy for Fulham yesterday. Maybe Dithering Dave should buy him back. After all, he's done that before. How can anyone think this regime is anything but pathetic.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

Future Blues

As a lifelong Evertonian, it saddens me to see the current plight the club are in. As much as I appreciate that the real individual quality the players of the current squad (if 26 players amounts to a squad these days?) possesses far surpasses that of any other squad in the last 10 years, something at Goodison just isn't quite right.

I had the privilege that my most impressionable years were spent watching Everton in the 80s when, if they weren't winning trophies, they were at least competing and reaching finals; going to Goodison was electric. In some ways, even through the 90s, I got to see more than any Newcastle fan has. I saw my team win the FA Cup and Charity Shield and even dabble in Europe.

What do the kids who frequent Goodison these days really have to look forward to on a Saturday afternoon? The Derby aside, one of the biggest cheers I heard this season was the Rocky chants when a 60-year-old fallen giant emerged on the pitch. Now I was one of those people, I confess, but the drivel that followed for the next 90 minutes epitomised for me the problems in our game. Fans can't get excited about a team that plays negative football; there is no spark, no flair, no va va voom!

I see, week-in week-out, kids sitting around me bored to their back teeth because the football we play is so dull. The way things are going, we won't need a new stadium because we won't be able to fill it. The days when kids chose to support Everton are slipping away...

I'm a very proud Evertonian because that?s the way I was brought up; I had no choice. My dad's a proud Evertonian because he chose to be, infuriating my Derby County supporting Grandad because one Saturday he was taken to Goodison as an away supporter and fell in love with the club.

Why is it so difficult for us to play attractive football? We now have the makings of a very solid defence so why can't we take that forward and start to attack teams? You watch Arsenal (or even Tottenham) attack teams and it's frightening: one in, all in; no dithering ? just straight for the jugular. The crowd are on the edges of their seats for 90 mins and even if they lose they leave the ground saying "at least we had a go".

Against Blackburn, Reading, City... we didn't have a go; not even at Wigan ? we just got lucky. Davie Moyes, I think you're doing a terrific job with what you have but the time has come for you to lead this club, to go forward & to take risks. We?ve lost our captain, our main striker and two of our attacking midfielders, leaving us with a threadbare squad and I anticipate, come May, more excuses as to why we let our season slip.

The time has come where Blue Bill, Mr Wyness and Mr Holywood need to decide whether this club is a sleeping giant or a fallen giant. We are a club with a proud history and tradition, but the way we are going it will only be history. Excite the youth; wake up the terraces, and breathe life back into our fallen angel!
Martin Jarvis, Shropshire  (28/1/07)

Great letter, Martin.

Cut Moyes a little slack

God knows what all the fuss is about lack of signings this month. If the list that Dodd gave is complete only Arteta was worth the effort in previous years.

Just remember that Hibbert and Pistone are now available, we`ve got da Silva ? and Naysmith played his best football at wide midfield under Smith. We`re supposed to be supporters, not knockers, so let`s cut Moyes a little slack shall we? COYB!
Geoff Bradley, Heswall  (28/1/07)

Do you know boring it is to hear that "We`re supposed to be supporters" shit? Here's a revelation for you, since you don't seem capable of figuring it out for yourself:

WE WOULDN'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK IF WE WEREN'T SUPPORTERS! It's because we care that we comment.

And Moyes has been given plenty of slack... five years of slack. And boy has he slackened off from the feisty, lively, vibrant manager who was appointed back then.

Yes, Hibbert and Pistone are aviaable agisn... but Johnson and McFadden are not. Neither is David Weir or Simon Davies. If we were short on numbers before, what do you think that makes us now?

Just Trust Our Man Moyes

This time last year, everyone was screaming at Moyes to spend the limited funds on a new striker. Rumors had linked Everton with moves for Dave Nugent and Lee Trundle but Moyes decided he wasn't going to pay over the odds. He kept the money and in the summer he made went after and secured the signing of Andrew Johnson.

A couple of years ago, Moyes allowed Tommy Gravesen to join Real Madrid during a January window. Everyone claimed Everton had no chance of holding on to 4th place after that; everyone said it was a crazy decision which would cost us the chance of Champions League football but, as always, Moyes knew what he was doing. GravesEn was out, the far better Arteta was drafted in and Everton held on to 4th place.

Maybe Everton will sign a player before the deadline passes this week and maybe they won't. Moyes knows what he's doing. I'd like to see a new face but if Fernandes decides he can hold Liverpool to ransom, and if no other players are brought in, then fair enough; let Moyes save his money and get who he wants in the Summer.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

Shaking my head!

Michael mate, I can not agree with your theory about our transfer policy. It may seem logical and simple to yourself but to other fans it is not as black and white.

Say every club adopts the same method as you subscribe, then transfer dealings will only be a matter of money and the player's desire to play for a club. In the history of the Premiership (when the money came in), I have never seen a club who has been in for so many players, yet achieved a 17% success rate with their targets.

I agree that, due to a general incompetence with Everton, when playes like Bellamy meet the powers that be, they are put off straight away. But they are a small percentage of the players we have gone for who get to the discussion stage. Many other targets are lost in the sea of waffle and espionage on Everton's part.

Bids that are lower than other clubs, bids on players who already have rejected a move to the club, bids that other clubs say they never received, agreeing fees then dithering long enough to make Everton look like they were unlucky... You and I both know that this happenings behind the scenes, and especially with assets already at the club á la Rooney and Speed. So please tell me that these things never happened at our club? And why other clubs seem never to go through these pangs of transfer dealings.

So I partly agree with your theory, Micheal, but I question your willingness to think outside your comfort zone!? Reality is stranger than fiction in some occasions, remember Britain went to war for regime change sake... hang on, that wasn't true was it!!!!

Crumbs!
Luq Yussef, London  (28/1/07)

Just a couple of points: I'm not as flexible as you when it comes to the mindgames here... can we stick to Everton? And transfers in?? I love a good conspiracy threory but let's keep Rooney and Speeed out of this too, shall we?

Yes, we have a low success rate: I think 17% is on the high side. I think it's closer to 10% overall, when you consider every name in our Rumour Mill. Is that the club's "fault"? Not entirely. I don't know the percentage but I doubt that the club actually chases a good proportion of them ? but let's stick to the ones the club actually acknowledges. To claim they are part of an elaborate smokescreen, rather than genuine (if fundamentally flawed) attempts to bring in players on the cheap... well, I've said my piece.

It's not a "comfort zone": I'll debate the cheapskate approach but it's hard to challenge really becuse we all know the club is basically skint. That doesn't mean they have no money for transfers. It means they have to be extremely tough in negotiations. And the result is... well, I'm sounding like a broken record now, so enough! ? Michael

Glorious 10th

I think the only debate going on about transfers at Goodison is whether Everton can hang on to 10th position with the existing squad. If that`s the bonus `kick in`, that`s all Buster and Davey will be interested in!
Vic Jones, Kirkby  (28/1/07)

Michael

So Michael doesn't believe in the smoke and mirrors theory concerning Evertons transfer policy. Basically, Michael believes that it is bad luck that means that every time we sell a player to offset transfers from the previous window (eg, Davies now and Kilbane on deadline day offset Johnson, last year we sold Bent, Kroldrup to offset summer etc) that we just miss out on replacing them. Hmmmm...

OK so Fernandes would have cost Pomepy $12M and no one saw that as a problem? Hmmm... Blackburn had already had a $7M bid for Barry Ferguson turned down when we offered $6M, hmmmm... We offered less than Newcastle had already bid for Owen and that was real?

Well I have also heard that Michael believes his parents used to put presents under the tree as well as Father Christmas and that it's just a matter of time before he will get a visit from the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (28/1/07)

As I say, funny bloke, you can present them as a smokescreen if you want. I never said nothing about "bad luck" by the way. But the stated aim of the club, from the very mouths of the current encumbents, is that they will not be held to ransom ? on transfers or on wages. Extend that further and they will try to get players in for less than they are worth, and pay them less than they want. Most will say "No Way". Very few will accept.

Now, with that in mind, re-read what you wrote above, and see if this admittedly somewhat less conspiritorial explanation actually jives quite well with your potted history lesson. I know it won't convince the convinced, but if you stand back and analyse "the facts", you should see a chink of light darkness in there... surely? — Michael

Still some hope

I know Doddy talks rubbish much of the time but there is a modicum of truth in what he says. Moyes has done great to get us to 7th and really our football is no different to two thirds of the Prem. Moyes does always leave it until the last minute and I still think he`s got something up his sleeve.
Seb St Clare, Harrogate  (28/1/07)

The Window

The window is almost closed and the mailbag is full of angst, will we / won't we sign anyone? I believe we need desperatly a central dominant midfielder, one who can lead, tackle and pick a pass. Add to this a wide midfielder who can cross accuratly whilst tracking back to double up on the defensive side.

The CEO uses words like 'We pushed the envelope' last window which to a non-nerd like me means we are skint, so what so many of us can see is blatently needed just ain't going to happen. The manager said when Killa was sold it left us short so now we have let more go it can only mean we are short of short.

Come Jan 31st we will revert back to the famous words just prior to our Champions League adventure, and I quote 'We go with what we have got'. Bill will say his team are doing all they can 24/7; Keith will say we were willing to push the envelope to help the manager; and David will say what he required is just not out there and if you don't believe me, ask Jose.

The fans will bemoan the window and then get on with what is, and the mailbag will not take on any new look and the majority will still bemoan our style of play. I will still go to games knowing as an uneducated fan (in the manager's words) what really needs addressing but having no say whatever in changeing anything, and I will still cheer what there is to cheer and vent my spleen on our shortcomings.

So the January window will come and go; not much will change. Optimism, glass half full, soon be Summer window... is that all we have got to sustain us? What a sad state of affairs for a once great club with so much history to be reduced to no more than than a third rate wanna-be who don't seem remotely able to operate at the second tier of the market.

Still I'm a Blue who knows what the head says but the heart will always rule. See you next match.-- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (28/1/07)

Yet another sickener?

Have just read the latest crap from Daft Dickie Dodd. The more often this cretin posts the more I`m convinced he`s a Red trying to wind us up. If Moyes springs another sickener like he did last year with Stubbs ? perhaps Weir`s has second thoughts! ? I swear I`ll burn my season ticket!
Ivor Martin, Bickerstaffe  (28/1/07)

Isn't it just possible...

... that we're being told the truth? That Fernandes does want to sign for Everton, and that the transfer is just being delayed by bureaucracy?

I'm as nervous as anyone else. I don't regard it as a done deal, and I keep checking every few hours for fresh news. But I can't understand why some people seem to have given up hope of it taking place. Presumably Everton were expecting the deal to go through when they sold Simon Davies and issued the statements about red tape. Since that last Everton statement, there has been no news from any credible source about the deal. As far as I can tell, any talk about other clubs being involved is just unaccredited gossip, and hasn't been picked up by any serious site.

Probably by the time most of you read this, we'll know whether these fears have been unfounded or not. Whatever happens, my own view is that it's a sad situation when so many Blues fans have so little trust in what they're being told by the club, and are so ready to assume the worst.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (28/1/07)

Well, all I can suggest is that you go back and compile for yourself a dosier on the utterances from the club and Moyes over the last month regarding Simon Davies. Then let us know how reliable they are as a source. — Michael

Transfer rumours

Well, we all seem to be getting overly excited about the latest headline regarding the on-off transfer of Fernandes. Whilst I would not discount this entirely, as it is Everton after all, this headline was running on the same site last Tuesday and the tread was not really picked up by the tabloids. With almost a week gone it could be described as old hat. I suspect if there had been some mileage in the claim, one would have expected LFC to have concluded the deal by now. Personally, I do believe Moyes will do some business ? whether it's the players regularly touted in the media remains to be seen.
Gerry Western, London  (28/1/07)

Two Points

Fernandes ? If we don't sign the guy it's another messup by Everton. Going off YouTube, the guy has immense talent and if he would go to Liverpool it would bitterly harsh for us to take.

The Squad ? In my opinion we need to sign at least four players before the window shuts in the shape of a centre mid, winger and two strikers.
Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

Bjarni Vidarsson

Right so you have a good cameo and score a goal in a friendly. The squad is down to 8 midfielders, including you and a player who is on a short-team deal and 'not ready to play'. Your manager then says he's going to loan you out.

Anyone else see the problem? Surely with the shortage it would be sensible not to loan out a 'promising' youngster and instead allow him a few games. Instead it sounds like we'll be down to 7 midfielders by Wednesday.

God this is getting depressing.
Rob Heaton, Crewe  (28/1/07)

Aarrggghh

I've just recieved TWO seperate text messages from redshite fans proclaiming how we are a joke and that as soon as a decent player comes anywhere near signing all they have to do is whistle... Well I'm fucked right off with this. I've put up with all sorts of shit over the years but this is the final straw. Why get the boy in to do a medical (and leak it to the press) if the main parts of the deal weren't looked into?

Whoever deals with the transfers in and out are an absolute disgrace. If he signs for the shite it will be a very, very sad day and show once and for all that, however much we want it, we won't ever be a proper club again.
Matt Garen, South Wales  (28/1/07)

Err... see below. I think frankly the Club have given up trying to keep a lid on things, and it's the agents that love to blab ? who do you think makes the most money on a deal like this? He proably picks up a Finders Fee from Everton no matter what. And a bigger percentage from Liverpool or whoever agrees to pay the player's wildly inflated wage demands. Get over it! — Michael

Childish? Not at all...

How can you say Micheal that my reaction is childish when this will be the umpteen time we would have failed on a transfer that should of been in the bag!

You say that all the signs were there that Fernandes wasn't going to sign, signs that I stated earlier today and weeks before that! But what made 'my head explode' is that Liverpool again will benefit from our blunders and if that doesn't make you angry then I don't know what will. Maybe a derby tanking, will we will get with these threadbare squad.

And if you, Micheal, don't believe the transfer smokescreen, then please explain why Everton BALANTLY said we want to/will sign Barton, Boureggra and Fernandes, and failed on all counts! If, as you suggested, we have not the money to do these things, then why put these stories out in the first place?

The facts are we are two players lighter in an already skinny squad, is that something to be happy about Micheal?
Luq Yussef, London  (28/1/07)

Luq, I know I'm wasting my time with this explanation, but here goes. I believe Moyes/Kenwright/Wyness have made genuine attempts to apporach and/or sign these three players. I believe their apporach to these ? indeed to any transfers ? is for Moyes to identify a player he wants, and for the standard process to begin, as he stated in the case of Barton. If the player is available for transfer (Barton was not), the next part of that process is offering a fee, which can be accepted or not.

The final phase includes negotiations with the player's representatives to develop and agree on a contract. That's the area that I believe is the most probelematic for us because our miserly three are hoping to sign these players on the lowest possible wages they can get away with. It's a strategy that is doomed to failure probably nine times out of ten, which to me explains the clear failure rate we see. But hey, Moyes is going to take that one in ten who agrees Everton's terms and who says he wants to play under the diligent and highly qualified guidance of the Moyestro. (Okay, I strayed a little off course there...)

These are not "smokescreens", although that is how they can easily be made to appear if you have a mind to. The strategy may seem to us foolish ? certainly a waste of a lot of ewverybody's time, and definitely extremely frustrating for the poor gulible Blue in the Street who thinks we are about to sign every player they can find on Football Manager 2007 that they quite like the look of.

I sincerely believe they want to bring players in, but not "at any price" ? only at their price ? which explains the umpteenth failure you speak of.

If you want, we can talk about the wisdom (!) of this approach, but not all this childish "smokescreen" nonsense, name-calling, fretting about them building up our hopes only to crush them cruelly, and angst about opportunism on the part of the neighbours. Welcome to the Transfer Window... it's not quite what you thought, is it? — Michael

Patience, patience!

In all the gloom and doom surrounding the APPARENT collapse of the Fernandes deal (how good it is to see our Club not falling for the last-minute ransom trick), your correspondents are overlooking the fact that Davey often likes to hold his water until the final hours of the January window before announcing that re-inforcements have been brought in.

Last year it was Alan Stubbs, whilst previously Arteta, Beattie, Plessis, Saeed, McBride and Turner have all been snapped up as the window was closing. So have patience and if, by any chance, we have no newcomers, be sure that is because Davey has absolute confidence in a squad good enough to see us safely through to the end of the season.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/1/07)

Richard, you idiot! Why would he try to be getting players in if the squad is good enough? Which, as the smarter ones of us know, it isn't. He's said himself we are short on numbers. To make the statements you sometimes come out with goes beyond blind sycophancy and well into the realm of insanity. — Michael

Face The Music

I don?t understand all the hue and cry about transfers into and out of the club. Am I right in thinking that Mr Kenwright stated at the AGM that the wage bill would have to be reduced? Kilbane, Weir and Davies have been sold to help balance the books and thus reduce said wage bill.

Due to the vagaries of those who make the fixtures, Everton only have two single home games in February and March. Therefore cashflow will be at a premium. As we have outsourced nearly everything connected with the club, maybe Mr Wyness could persuade Mr Moyes to approach employment agencies who it would seem have an endless supply of hard working East Europeans. The club would be saved the tiresome task of paying the wages every week/mMonth and could consolidate the expense to a quarterly or half-yearly one-off payment.

I believe that David Moyes is unfairly criticised regarding the business side of the club. After all, any manager can only operate within the guidelines set down by those who own the club. If he fails to toe the line, he will, like any other employee be dismissed.

It makes me wonder if the purchases of players such as Krøldrup and Beattie were of his own choice or the choice of an owner who saw a good deal regardless of the talents of the players concerned. Everton have been reduced from a world class orchestra to a one-man band.
John Paul McFarlane, Lancs  (28/1/07)

That time again

It's time to stop the moaning. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can influence what goes on on the pitch by picking holes in everything from the performances to the transfer dealings to the merchandising. The reason we fail to operate in the transfer market is down to Moyes and the reason he is still in a job is down to Bill and Co.

The fact of the matter is we need to begin the campaign now to oust Moyes and his allies. Waiting for something to happen is how low we have sunk over the last 15 years. We chased Johnson and the only reason Bill survives surely must be down to the fact that he's a Blue.
John Hegan, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

!!! I thought everything was was fine; we're 7th... in with a shout for Europe, playing "pragmatic' football... !!! — Michael

3 Days Left

Davey Moyes, 31 August 2006: Sad to loose Kevin Kilbane, he admits to having a very small squad. A good start to the season before injuries to key players curtail our progress.

January transfer window: David Weir goes. Then, after saying Simple Simon was going nowhere, he fucks off to Fulham.

The Anderson da Silva Franca saga gets sorted out but he'll be brought on in the rezzies first, so says Moyes.

This feels like I'm writing a rant but it's more serious than that: it's a worry. One for the derby next week; and one for our ability to field a full team for the rest of the season. I do hope Moyes has something too report in the next 3 days ? otherwise the rest of 2007 could be painful.
Adam Harris, Wirral  (28/1/07)

BT wanted by Spurs

Either BS Bill has released this PR crap to make the gullible think BT has quality or Martin Jol flew back to Amsterdam and has been smoking heavyweight gear all weekend.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (28/1/07)

Fifa rules

You can't play for more than two clubs in a season. Maschareno had played for the Brazilian club, then West Ham, Liverpool would be the third if he signed for them. Fernandes hasn't played for Benfica this season so would be eligable to play for us.

The fact is we can't sign anyone. I hope people are starting to realise what a shambles we are (so something can be done about it). Prospective players certainly are. Why did that other fella choose Charlton FFS?
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (28/1/07)

I thought I saw somehwere that Charlton were quadrupling his wages. I can't see us even coming close to that. It's the same issue, basically: we will go after these players and see how they feel about the honour of playing for Everton. They won't get as much as they could elsewhere, because the Gang of Three have made it clear they will not pay over the odds (ie, they won't even pay anywhere near the going rate).

All the numpties writing in for weeks before and during the transfer window about this player and that player you think we should sign and how important they will be for advancing our European quest... when is the reality of this crazy business going sink in? ? Michael

Another Disaster

With another disastrous transfer saga on the cards, when will Everton learn about keeping quiet until the deal is wrapped up? The failure of Kenwright and Wyness to successfully negotiate and tie up deals for top players (eg, Sissoko, Parker) is seriously hampering Moyes in turning Everton into a team qualifying for European football year-in, year-out.

If in this transfer window Everton fail to bring in a top-class midfielder and maybe a couple of loan deals to help with the push for Europe, then it is time for the people at the top to go and the only way that can be done is the fans turning on the Board. Let?s hope it isn?t necessary and the Fernandes deal is announced on Monday morning, but I won?t hold my breath
Ian McDowell, Liverpooll  (28/1/07)

It can't get much worse!

Without calls of defection from myself, I've just looked at a Liverpool forum and those Red bastards are loving the fact that Manuel Fernandes is going to them now! I cannot believe, REALLY BELIEVE that another Sissoko saga will happen again to this club!

Quotes from the Reds like;

'He had the sense to reject Everton'
'What a steal from Rafa'
'He is the new Makelele'
'Everton targets are Liverpool's to steal if they are any good'
I am sick, SICK to the pit of my stomach with this shite club! Nothing is confirmed but it is obvious that we are fucked and this only shows that this Board are a bunch of FUCKING morons who must go!

And the likes of Dodd, Atress, and Micheal, who all dismissed my claims that Everton targets are smokescreens to cover how broke and useless we are, what defense do you lot have now!!!

NO FUCKING WONDER FANS ARE NOT RENEWING SEASON TICKETS TO FUND KENSHITE AND HIS CLUELESS MOB! EVEN YOUR EVERTON TV IS SHITE YOU DISGRACE OF A CLUB!!!

Roll on Da Silva ? if he looked good then he is only hope for the season! Even then Moyes won't play him 'coz he has skill!? FUCKING MOYES!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (28/1/07)

Dear me... having a little paddy there, are we, Luq? Your reaction really does make me laugh.

It's like you haven't been paying any attention whatsoever to what has been said, to the direction that has been established for our little club. One young player a year... The ten-year Masterplan; don't break the bank... "We will not bankrupt this club."

Calling them childish names will change nothing. Blowing you little top when the course of this transfer was really quite true to form, and half-expected if we are honest ? all the signs were there from the start. A midfield enforcer ? rated at TWELVE MILLION!; bizarre three-games-on-the-trot kick-in purchase clause; player half-owned by two separate entities... this was doomed from the start.

However, I still do not believe any of this "smokescreen" nonsense ? that is just as childish as your name-calling. Grow up, fella, before your head explodes. ? Michael

Red tape

Have an idea what the red tape could be holding up Fernandez deal. Fifa rules are that a player cannot be transferred more than once in a 12-month period (see Sky Sports article on Macerano going to Liverpool). Let's face it, if I am right and we are waiting for Fifa or any other amateur football body such as the sweet FA to make a decision, forget it.
Keiron Dunn, Huddersfield  (28/1/07)

So, remind me, err... Stubbs: tansferred to Sunderland, then back to Everton six months later? Or was he relaeased and therefore a free agent?

Yesterday's game

I've just watched the highlights of yesterday's game and I have a few points to make, granted it was a friendly and against quite a poor side, no disresprct to Bournemouth:

  1. Anderson da Silva looked good and his passing range was excellent. Produced a couple of neat chip passes over Bournemouth's defence which would be ideal for AJ. Should now be given a chance ahead of Osman.

  2. Why does Moyes persist with Osman? Gave him half a game and he's just as useless against lower league players.

  3. Must now decide what happens with Vidarsson as he looked lively when he came on. Does he give him a chance or get rid?

  4. What happened to Van der Meyde? It would have been a perfect opportunity to have him and Arteta playing balls in to Beattie, but he wasn't in the squad?!

  5. Stubbs is starting to play like Weir did last season; he was turned far too easily for their goal. It might have to be his last season with the Blues.

  6. Why didn't Moyes play Ruddy for half a game with Wright the other half? Games like this are ideal for younger players.
One extra comment: I hope the Fernandes rumour that he could be going to liverpool is false otherwise its another Sissoko saga, and only the board and Moyes can be blamed for that for shouting off about it, á la the Sissoko deal.
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

Didums

Touchy lot, you Aussies. Fair play if you are a genuine Aussie as your unbridled patriotism doesn't allow for critism of one of your own. But if you are an ex-pat then have a word with yourself. I stand by everything I said about Cahill; whether Moyes's tactics are crap or not, I still think Cahill is an average prem player. Players like Deco, Henry, Essien and Van Persie are world class ? players who can be pivotal and turn a game when required. Please don't tell me Cahill is in the same league as these because the plain honest fact is: HE IS NOT!

Keep doning the sun hats, your sanity may return. G'day boys.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (28/1/07)

Manuel Fernandes

Although this is not definite and is only what I have heard, but I was told yesterday that the reason Fernandes is taking so long to sign is that Liverpool have made a last-minute move for him.
John Bamble, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

One last letter...

Well, just came back from the pub and before I fall over, I thought I'd reply to a couple of letters.

Firstly, to that great comedian, Mr Dodd: surely your first name is Ken and NOT Richard. Having just spent the last seven weeks in Liverpool, may I say not many people I met were happy with this steady progress to 7th/8th; as most of them were in their 50s, they feel at this rate they may never see 4th/5th acheived.

As for putting nothing in the club's coffers, I'll show you my Visa statement if you show me yours!

Then on to my learned friend Kevin Sparke ? who may I say, is a man whose previous posts I greatly admire ? though Kevin, you seem to have succumbed to the mediocritis acceptus bug in this post. You're stating the obvious with things like 7th/8th is better than 17th/18th. Of course it is but 17th/18th is better than 20th! How low can we go in our aspirations?

Anyway Kevin, when I'm next over, I'll buy you a beer in one of Bootle's many fine pubs ? just don't go near that Weld Blundell, you'll fall asleep by 9.30.

So maybe it's time to agree to disagree. Even though I know we all want success for Everton, that concept obviously means different things to us all. To all my fellow Evertonians across the world, I continue to look forward to reading your views on the magnificent ToffeeWeb.

One more tinnie, then it's bed.

NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM
Dave Stewart, Perth, Western Australia  (28/1/07)

Mr Marsh

Spot on again, Tony. I agree with every word written ? it's just a case of how long will the likes of Arteta, Johnson and Cahill put up with this shyte Moyes calls football. Already I think these three are showing signs of being pissed off with it ? especially Johnson. Poor old Vaughan... bet he's wondering what he as to do to get a start [maybe go out on loan]!
Terry Downes, Stoke  (28/1/07)

In defence of the Aussies....

...and I've no reason to, given I work for an Aussie company and the Ashes is killing me. Everton, 7th they maybe, are serving up pure pish at the moment. I thought it was bad enough on TV so I came home to see if the perspective was better from the Gwladys St. Sadly fucking far from as we were outplayed by Blackburn. More worringly, Moyes was completely out-thought ON EVERY LEVEL by Hughes. Beyond embarrassing. If that's good enough for you then really, stick it right up yer arse. Lads I'd been going the match with for years, home and away, don't bother anymore. That tells me all I need to know.
Simon Costall, Hong Kong  (28/1/07)

Somebody hold my coat!

Derek Thomas, who asked you to butt in? Now I am faced on two fronts by traditionalists who believe that a win is acceptable so long it's done according to the niceties of some unwritten rule, while a win within the rules, yet not in a nice fashion, is condemned.

Over 30 years, with age groups 6 years to senior amateur level, I was an accredited football coach. I did my best to teach the finer points of the game to the kids but the year prior to them moving into senior ranks I spent time with them on self-preservation. If those kids were to enjoy a long career in our game, it was sad but vital they learned a few tricks of the trade. I might add that those tricks were learned the hard way on the fields and streets of south Liverpool.

A case in point is that under arm thing ? within the laws but not nice eh ? still rankles doesn?t it. Maintain your rage, Derek; in the far distant future, the Kiwi?s might have a chance of revenge and I hope they bloody well take it and stuff the niceties.

Closer to hand is the derby and I don?t give a bugger how dubious or otherwise any goals are scored so long as it is us that scores them. In the past we have been cheated out of enough games to worry about such things. Regardless how we play as individuals, the one absolute sure thing is that Tiny Tim will not shirk a single tackle and be in there, as usual, punching above his weight. Oh gawd, does that mean the boxing fraternity will hop in for their chop?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/1/07)

Strewth, another flamin' whinger!

Blimey, is it any wonder the Aussies' favourite charicature put-down for ex-pats is the ?Whinging Pom?? Dave Stewart stop being a drongo, put away your instincts to yabba; try not to act like a galah and stop coming the raw prawn, you're not

To go through your points one by one:

?Top middle-order club? ? Well, it's better than bottom middle-order club, not ideal not acceptable ? but what would you like to see ? storming the executive suite demanding the manger?s head, a campaign of hate mail directed at the chairman?s family, accosting the manager?s kids on the way to school; kicking the manager if he drops our favourite player? (All of which have been done in the past to various Everton managers).

Nah mate, I?m not happy, I?m not happy with Moyes, I?m not happy with Kenwright but most of all I?m not happy with the crooks who have turned a competitive league into a procession ? have a look at the top four mate ? does the correlation between money earned and spent and final league position not fit a little too tightly for it to be coincidental? I demand success, in my placid way ? but with an English stiff upper lip and realization that, despite what Mr Shankly, said it?s not a matter of life or death ? it?s a flaming game mate.

?Winning cups is bad" ? Nope, I wouldn?t say that ? however, a certain club across the park have won quite a few in recent times and they are not exactly jumping for joy. The measure of success has changed from winning cups to how much money you can earn from a high finish in the Premier League. It stinks, it devalues the FA Cup, and Uefa Cup with players and teams alike; fans know this, which is why they stay away in droves. Have a look at all the conspicuously empty seats at cup games throughout the Premier League. Wyness has written elsewhere that away support has dropped at Everton League games because of illegal access to broadcast games in pubs and I guess you could extend that conclusion to cup matches. I?d argue that it is an erroneous conclusion and that fans stay away because they?re pissed off spending top dollar to watch bottom draw performances week-in, week-out ? why extend the agony. Most fans know that if you draw Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool the chances are vastly in the opposition's favour ? end of cup run and another £35 down the dunnie. (Do you know how much ale you can buy in Aldi for £35!?!)

"7th/8th is good" It?s better than 17th/18th

"6th/5th (soon to be 4th if Platini gets his way) is bad" It?s not as good as 1st but not as bad as 9th. Oh, and there is not a cat in hell's chance that Platini will push that reduction through ? all of the big European clubs have been pissing in that pot for so long it?s become seen as their natural right ? they will resort to the courts or they may even consider a breakaway league.

?It's only a practice game" it was ? what did you expect, the World Cup Final? A re-enactment of the storming of the Eureka Stockade on the Bournemouth goalmouth? A 12-0 rout followed by a lap of honour complete with dancing girls and full firework display? If I?d have been Moyes and have seen a player running at 80% never mind a 100% I?d have dragged him off the field quicker than Pete Docherty can drag on a bong.

Finally Dave, you said this in a previous letter ?Australians demand success in their sport and that is why 999 times out of 1000, Australia will always beat the opposition?. I?ve just been on the NFL website and noticed that my club St George finished 4th last season ? is that because their fans were not demanding success or because they were not Aussies?

Strewth Dave, you?re probably a bonza, fair dinkum bloke but you?re argument?s plenty shonky ? you need a few more tinnies mate.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (28/1/07)

If we awarded gold stars for letter of the day.....! ? Colm

Tim Cahill

The Tim Cahill in David Moyes's Everton, our Everton, is different than the Tim Cahill in the Australian team. He isn't just a run-all-day type player or just a head in the box either ? maybe if Moyes had a decent gameplan he would show the effectivness he has. An average prem player? In this team he is... though that could be said for 4/5ths of the team!
Nathan Round, Berri, Australia  (28/1/07)

Mirage!

Another transfer window and another transfer disappointment; is any one really surprised?

Fernades is not coming by the looks of it and I only shake my head as why the club love to mess with our hopes, only to pull the rug from under our feet! Fernades would have been ideal: defensive yet creative midfield. Maybe Moyes saw Da Silva in the role and made up the Fernades story to worry Da Silva into action. By the way, how did Da Silva play yesterday?

Even Etherington would have been OK is this stage of the season. Even though he looks like Kilbane Mark II, some pace and crossing from both flanks would only better our forwards, in particular Beattie. But more misery and lies from our beloved Board will put paid to that. And Alan Smith? Please! If I was him I would stick with United reserves as that standard is better than ours!

We will go into the second half of the season with six midfielders and more false promises from Moyes. But with Richard 'Ken' Dodd and Paul 'Stato' Atress happy, we sure all be!
Luq Yussef, London  (28/1/07)

Sad thing is Luq ? are you really surprised? We outsource everything bar new players! ;-) - Colm

Dithering Sunday

Dithering Dave will be having apoplexey this morning with the news that Spurs want Beattie. `If only I`d acted sooner to snap up Nugent`, he`ll be thinking, instead of wasting a week pondering over that Bougherra from Wednesday.

And what`s to do with Fernandes? Nobody knows who owns him, so better play it safe or perhaps I could take a chance ? better not, though, with decisions to be made over Da Silva as well. Now where`s that list of left-backs... oh, is Pistone ok now?

Who`d be a manager,eh?
Colin Tunstall, Wirral  (28/1/07)

Spurs bid for Beattie

Just heard on Sky Sports that Spurs have bid £4.6M for Beattie. What a tragedy that injuries to other strikers will prevent Moyes from biting their hand off!
Ben Whiting, Southport  (28/1/07)

Fernandes

It's probably a load of bollocks, but I have heard the reason for Fernandes not being on board yet is not down to red tape ? more to do with the fact he is actually talking to two other clubs.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (28/1/07)

Whatever it is ? if we arrive on Thursday morning without an addition or two to this threadbare squad it will be nothing short of a disgrace and gross mismanagement. Looking forward to a week of spin from our mates in the Echo! ? Colm

Aussie Dreamers

With the Mailbag in danger of a takeover by foreigners (particularly the Aussies), I thought I would start the day by redressing the balance. In all the clamour for new signings ? and we have one already in Anderson de Silva (very promising debut yesterday!) ? are not Evertonians forgetting that we have held a position amongst `the best of the rest` since the season started?

Whilst this is clearly not good enough for the Antipodian dreamers amongst us, realism dictates that `The Big Four` are a given and like 15 other clubs we must fight for the scraps. We have seen in the past that mid-season additions can bring disruption to a tightly-knit squad and if Davey considers we already have the men to see us through to May, who are we to disagree?

Of course, in an ideal world we would be paying £70k a week to Aussie full-backs for their compatriots to salivate over (just as they do with Tim Cahill) but I am sure that the demands of long distance `Evertonians` who put absolutely nothing into our great Club`s coffers are not exactly upmost in the mind of our very capable team chief!

On the much wider issue of what would be an acceptable finishing spot this season, almost all my wide circle of Evertonian friends(most of whom attend matches on a regular basis!) agree with me that 7/8th would indeed represent a sign of steady progress. To view this as a lack of ambition is merely a further indication of the surreal world that so many of your correspondents inhabit.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/1/07)

Bang out of order to dismiss "long distance" Evertonians for not, as you incorrectly assume no doubt, putting into the Club coffers. Then again, perhaps the "long distance" Blue has become increasingly wary of Everton's sometimes not so efficient online retailing. Then again, yet another reason for you to champion our outsourcing! Are you Ian Ross in disguise taking the piss? ;-) ? Colm

Off to the pub

Firstly, I forgot to mention in my last two letters, to the boys who run ToffeeWeb, well done! You truly are the broadsheet of all websites and I'm sure Evertonians of whetever belief appreciate having such an intelligent outlet to write to.

Secondly, in regard to underarm bowling, all the Aussie Toffees I know (and there are many of us), put it in the same context as medioctius acceptus, A disgrace!

Lastly, it's 4:00 pm, It's hot 105°F. I'm off to the pub to meet some Bluenoses to plan our 'demand success' strategy.

NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM
Dave Stewart, Perth, Western Australia  (28/1/07)

Tie me kangaroo down sport

Seems it doesn't take much to get the Tasmanian Devils frothing at the mouth and of course scoring more goals (or runs). However it takes is the name of the game... but it ain't what you do ? it's the way that you do it... so, Dick et al; just where is it you all stand Re: UNDERARM BOWLING???
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (28/1/07)

Mediocritus Acceptus

The terrible disease of 'MEDIOCRITUS ACCEPTUS' is spreading accross the body of that 'grand old lady' called EVERTON and if we don't do something about it, it WILL become teriminal. We must be on our guard constantly against this insidious disease. It can strike anytime. Warning signs usually include a strange smile of acceptance whilst making inane ramblings such as:

  • "Top middle order club" - What the fuck is that???
  • "Winning cups is bad"
  • "7th/8th is good"
  • "6th/5th (soon to be 4th if Platini gets his way) is bad"
  • "It's only a practice game"
These people must be helped. When you meet them, resist the urge to punch them on the their blue noses. Instead, teach them our history. Introduce them to world-renowned positive thinkers such as Tony Marsh/ Luq Yussef / Gavin Ramejkis. Do not leave them to suffer. The disease must not be allowed to reach the brain. If it does, then ?HIT!!!

Nurse, pass the taxi please!
Dave Stewart, Perth, Western Australia  (28/1/07)

Benny McCarthy

I see Benny McCarthy scored his 15th goal today. Weren't Everton linked with him? I was wondering whether this was another of our all too familiar 2nd place finishes when it comes to the transfer market?
Ron Cope, San Francisco, CA, USA  (28/1/07)

South Coast Shame

I have seen the Bournemouth footage and it's not very pleasent at all. All credit to Moyes: at least he is consistent... Consistently AWFULL! Friendly or not, Moyes and his fucked-up tactics are representing Everton FC and that shit just isn't good enough. 7,000 Bournemouth fans must be thinking WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? Get Exeter in next time.

We are fast becoming an embarrassment to the Premier League and I am sickened by what I am seeing from Everton these days. Every chance they get, the Moyes apologists try to defend him and I just don't understand why. Stick a top ten finish up your arse; I want to see us out-class a side from time to time. If we can't do that to a 3rd Division outfit like Bournemouth, then you know we have got problems.

The quality players we do possess are having the life sucked out of them by Moyes. Players like Cahill and Johnson would be world-beaters if they had a manager who could teach them something new from time to time. Get the best from them in roles they would relish. Instead they are nothing more than carthorses in Deadly Dave's masterplan of run-and-chase football.

Wheres the new signings we have been talking about all week? I will tell you where... They must have took one look at Moyes's miserable kipper and thought "No thanks!" In fact, that Sheffield Wed player would rather go to fucking Charlton than get mixed up with this bullshit club! Sugar coating and rose-tinted spectacles will never ever hide the truth. Moyes is so out of his depth in the big league. He needs to get back to Preston or some other Lancashire backwater as we are much to big for him.

The three stooges act of Ginger, Baldy and Billybull is starting to wear very thin. According to Wyness, we are only 800 season tickets down on last year's figures so things can't be that bad. Well, the way things are going we will be 8,000 down next season ? if not more... then what? Another Five Year Plan? More phantom signings? More kick-and-rush Football. What about the bonuses, Buster? If this carries on then lets make Howard Wilkinson our new manager. Why have a clone when the real thing's available?

As for the JJB fiasco highlighted by Kev Latham: Kev, wether we like it or not, mate, Liverpool are light-years ahead of us in all aspects of the beautiful game. On both the playing side and the marketing side of things. That's why our shirts are at the back of the store and that's where they will stay as long as this current regime stays in power.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (28/1/07)

Get out the Lynchmob!!!

I maybe a parochial Toffee Aussie, but the games we watch down-under show a different Cahill to the one your watching Mr Lynch!!

I'll be sending out the Aussie Lynchmob if you put forward anymore outlandish comments about a player who has given more, in terms of value for money (maybe argument for Arteta and in a couple of years Lescott), than any other player under Moyes's regime.

Have you ever seen him play for Australia. Mr Lynch!?! Just to enlighten you, under the guidance of the master tactician, Sir Guus Hiddink, he scored two quality goals that led to us (Aussie) beating Japan. He was allowed to play his natural game and proved his worth as an attacking midfielder.

Maybe, Mr Lynch, you should be asking Mr Moyes about the way he is instructing Toffee Tim to play!!!

I'm heading out to England next Chrissie, for the first time, to see my beloved Toffees in action at Goodison. It's safe to say that I'll have more pleasure watching the likes of Cahill and Arteta running around the park than a Carsley, Ossie or Stubbs!
Steve Pendleton, Perth, Western Australia  (28/1/07)

Toffeeweb Trust

When the ToffeeWeb Trust takes off and we are all shareholders with your good selves on the Board, I can see a slight problem: while there are plenty of applicants with the skills to turn dross into maybe soethinmg that's improving and we can all buy players what we need... is there someone that's willing to censor the mail and lie through their teeth no matter how much we cock up? So, for this position, may I propose Mr W Kenwright as at this he's a god.

Also, my I ask a favour: does anyone know the time and date when Camera scored for Wolves against us a couple of years ago only I had a heart attack 5 mins after while listing to the match but when asked the date this week I could not remember. Thanks.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (28/1/07)

I censor the mail and lie a lot already; but you're right ? he'd be far better at it than me.

And regarding your enquiry: Saturday, 1 May 2004; about 4:10 pm... Match ReportMichael

Is it Kick an Aussie Day?

Dave Lynch, you are kidding aren?t you? Your criticism of Aussies in general and Tim Cahill in particular is pathetic and not worthy of a reply yet, as in the case of my recently caught 20lb mackerel, the bait proves irresistible.

So Tim just pops up for the odd header eh? If that?s the case, he is 100% more effective at it than the rest of our lot. He has more idea where the goal is than all of 'em put together. Only Johnson and Arteta on their good days are anywhere near Tim's equal in goal scoring.

Maybe you confused Tim with the other Ossie, y?know, the little one with dainty footwork that promises so much but with total lack of impact, Or Cars, who could not hit a barn door with a banjo. Or Phil, who?s recent fluky goal doubled his tally for the season. Or the two Js who?s defensive and attacking headers are one and the same. I could go on about goal scoring abilities of the rest but if the message has not sunk in by now it never will.

As with many Mailbag posters, Dave seems of the opinion that it is not scoring goals but how you make them that count. Australians, being latecomers to the world game, have yet to comprehend that esoteric concept. Silly buggers that they are, they still cling to the idea that scoring more goals (or more runs as the case may be) than your opponent is the main purpose of the game and it matters little how it is done.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/1/07)

Gosh, how the wrath doth rise when provoked! When are you lot actually gonna run out of water? — Michael

re: Happy to take second best

After people complaining about not being able to get Everton Merchandise in JJB stores, I ventured out to the local one store in Dundalk and guess what: NO EVERTON MERCHANDISE whatsoever! Unbelievable! I was going to ask the shop assistant(girl) why/when is there any Everton merchandise, but she would just giggle or look confused. Why is there no Everton merchandise in JJB stores?
Jamie Carroll, Ireland  (27/1/07)

Fernandes

Is anyone still convinced that this guy will actually sign? I usually accept what goes on as, although I wish I could, I cannot affect how the club is run. It's ridiculous that we have not even had a heads-up since Monday, apart from a leak to the BBC which is dubious at best.

Why cannot someone at the club just admit there is a problem? If he doesn't sign, I guarantee that there will be no mention on the official website. The first we will know about it is hearing he's signed for someone else.

That said I'm still behind Moyes, a repeat of the last Derby please!
Rob Heaton, Crewe  (27/1/07)

AlternativeThinking

Ask yourself this, The last team outside the 'Big 4' to win the FA Cup? The last team outside the 'Big 4' to qualify for Champions League?

The answer to both questions is Everton. We have a pretty decent side and if you accept that the 'Big 4' are competing in their own little league then Everton are currently 3rd in the Premiership just a few points off Bolton and Portsmouth.

We got it pretty good really.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

Yea, Paul; keep telling yourself we're 3rd. No wonder you're such a happy and contented bunny.

Here's an even better idea: Let's say the Big 6 includes Bolton and Portsmouth... Yes! We're top of the League!!! — Michael

Uefa mysteries

Can one of Chairman Blue Bill's friends please explain, if the Uefa Cup is worth so little that, even after getting a bye to the next round, Tottenham proceed to claim for lost television monies from Uefa? Now it doesn't take a genius to tell you that, even with Tottenham's greater wealth than our own, television rights for a single lost match are worth chasing ? they must mount up.

Well, anyone actually believe Kenwright enough to try to do the sums? The other thing worth bearing in mind is the recent appointment of Michel Platini who has openly stated he wishes to revamp the Uefa Cup and reduce the team count in the Champions League. I think it's worth the punt, revenue and profile both of which this club needs a damn sight more than the bollocks from BK and Wyness.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (27/1/07)

Nugent

Great goal by Nugent today ? a player who could have been signed by Moyes for £2M two years ago. Nugent even comes to watch Everton when he's not playing... Another missed opportunity by dithering Dave.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

Sunstroke

What is it with the Aussie toffees and Tim Cahill, they all seem to think the sun shines out of his arse!?!

All that sun must have addled their brains, as all I ever see is a player with limited passing ability, dodgy tackling ability and a knack of going missing for periods of the game. Ok, he pops up with the odd header in the box, but to me he is just another average prem player that suites Moyes's mentality; ie, he can run all day.

As for the ToffeeWeb Trust fund, the cheques in the post but you can only cash it if, cometh the revolution, I am allowed to re-enact the St Valentines Day massacre in the centre cicle, and no prizes for guessing who is going to be mown down in a hail of lead. POWER TO THE PEOPLE'S CLUB!
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (27/1/07)

Getting gazzumped by Charlton

Now that is worrying. It could be the player is typical of today's mercenary football players. The bright lights of London are more appealing than Liverpool and the surrounding areas. Add more money on offer, it's obvious were he's going.

Or is it the football we play and getting told how he would fit in to the squad and how we want him play made him go for Charlton? I'd never heard of him or what he was like. Only time will tell if he made the right move for the right reasons...
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

Plenty to beat Moyes about the head with there, if you are so inclined. Or not. This one is open to so many different interpretations and perceptions, it's best just forgotten, IMHO. — Michael

Uefa Cup or not?

Re comments on the Uefa Cup, it's not the fact that it's not a money spinner that concerns me uppermost, it's the fact that we've got such a small squad that we'd struggle to compete on an additional front. Also, the further we progressd, the more we'd be affected by injuries, suspensions and fatigue. What would be the point if the league position suffered and we ended up embroiled in a releagation dogfight again?

We need 5 or 6 more players before we seriously consider competing in Europe. As for the FA Cup, there's no way that I'd wish an early exit from that competition. You only need to play 6 matches to win that one ? not the 17 that's required to win the Uefa Cup. Besides there's even free weekends set aside to compete in the early rounds of that competition.

ps: What did BK say at the AGM by the way?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (27/1/07)

Transfers

I know everyone has had their say in who we should bring in and the way Everton deal with transfers etc but I felt I had to comment on this transfer window. I have just been reading about how close we were to signing Bougherra who, from what I've heard, sounds like a good defender. BUT why are we chasing defenders when it's blatantly clear we need to strengthen the midfield first, and the strikeforce second?

The defence is well covered with Yobo, Lescott, Stubbs and Hughes as centre backs with Neville covering at a push. I'm panicking over this Fernandes deal now, as this has been dragging on for a week and the window shuts on Wednesday, it's looking like we are going to have to struggle on till the end of the season with five midfielders. Prove me wrong, Moyes, and bring in Fernandes, David Healy and a fast, skillful winger, maybe Richardson from Man Utd.
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

Happy to take second best

I know we've been over this ground before, but I've just come back from the JJB store in the town centre ? you know, the one next door to the Liverpool FC shop ? and it's absolutely criminal the way that they're 'merchandising' EFC. If you haven't been in the store then don't bother if you're looking for our stuff, because it's right at the back in a little corner with the golf gear. Unsurprisingly, the Liverpool stuff (of which there is loads, by the way) screams at you from its huge displays. In fact, you may well be forgiven for thinking that JJB are Liverpool's official retailers, or an extension to that shithole of a shop next door.

But we can't put up with that, can we? After all, JJB are OUR official retailer, and surely we call the shots. So what is the Fat Controller Wyness doing about it? Well, as you'd expect, fuck all of course. Here's a man who gets paid big bucks to put our club up there with the best of them in marketability, so you'd think that he'd be on JJB's case bigtime. But here's a quote from an interview with him on the Kipper site: 'Well, the fact is we have given JJB the right to trade and they have their own commercial imperatives too. But they recognise the advantages of giving Everton goods a big splash if they can. It?s still early days though. This is the first few months of dealing with them so both sides will be assessing the first impact of the deal'.

There it is, then ? it's all down to JJB; we as a club appear to have no influence whatsoever, we'll just go where they put us, and that's well down below the kopite stuff. So much for our 'official imperatives'. We just don't seem to matter as a club, and we don't seem to want to do anything about it.

For me, the whole JJB fiasco just reflects what's happening throughout our club ? don't rock the boat and don't, whatever you do, demand higher standards from people who you pay well to perform at the top of their game. It doesn't matter that we're 7th right now ? if you accept that for Everton then you'll always accept mediocrity.

JJB deserve their arse kicked, but we know that will never happen, just as we know ? with one or two exceptions ? that we won't see any class or style on the pitch for the foreseeable. Our stated ambition is just to stay in the Premiership, pretty much as we can just about stake a place in JJB stores. For a great club, we're setting low standards which we're having some difficulty living up to.

But that's the direction our once proud club have taken ? happy to take second best, both on and off the pitch. For some, that's acceptable; for others like myself it's heartbreaking.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

Perhaps now would be the right moment for this quote from Chairman Bill:

"I think the Club?s in terrific hands, because of what Keith?s done, because of what Robert?s done, because of what everyone at Everton is trying to do. Because what they?re trying to do is their best. Nobody involved in this football club wants to do anything but their best. In communications. In marketing. In community. Off the pitch. On the pitch. All we want, and you?re quite right to say we?ve got to pitch the position we want to be in. We just have to be the best at everything we do.? ? Bill Kenwright, 2006 AGM

Money not the only criterion

The recent letters dismissing qualifaction for the Uefa Cup as a genuine goal seem to be based on something the Chairman said about the competition`s unprofitability at the AGM. If, indeed, he did say it, the remark was a disgrace ? shocking evidence of how commercialism can infiltrate and destroy a heritage.

Leaving aside the money, serious participation in the Uefa Cup would provide the experience of European competition we so lacked in 2005.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (27/1/07)

Colm: What did our Great Blue Leader actually say on this issue? — Michael

I demand success

Re Everton's poor football being the fault of supporters who are easily satified...

I?m not satisfied anymore; I do not accept the mediocrity at Everton FC and DEMAND success?

...okay? right? what happens next?
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (27/1/07)

Success will be arriving... shortly. Meantime, why not invest in the ToffeeWeb Trust? You know it makes sense. Then we can all demand success with one resounding voice. The response so far has been tremendous, with more money rolling in 24/7. But success can only be guaranteed for those who invest. Don't be left out! — Michael

What to expect?

I'm sitting here after trying to watch the match through my EvertonTV subscription, and I don't really know what our football team is trying to do out there. I haven't really known what to say after games for the last few months, I would hate to admit it's starting to make me somewhat indifferent.

First off, I am of the younger generation, never been used to seeing fantastic football, but still, I can't really be satisfied with the way we play these days. As a lot of other posters here, it seems to me all we do is play those long balls! It was relieving to see Anichebe at Wigan, the way he made an impact right away, with the same supply AJ got. But what bothers me is how we fail to even TRY to play through our midfield.

We never let Carsley play up to Cahill, and Cahill has stopped trying to get it from Cars. And Mikel is so wide, and doing well there obviously, that he doesn't really get a go in front of the central defenders either. Maybe whoever replaces Davies will be more central and more offensive.

Oh, I forgot Ossie, and that must be because he's anonymous. All credit to the lad, he TRIES, and he never stops running, but he's not enough for us. Mikel Arteta is our best player no doubt, and he needs to get some skilled lads around soon. Please let Fernandes be ours come Monday.
Kjetil Moen, Oslo, Norway  (27/1/07)

Practice makes perfect.

If it is a practice match, shouldn't they be practising how to play football?
Jay Barlow, Manchester  (27/1/07)

No; all they need to do is defend and keep a clean sheet in the first half, get a goal in the second half. High efficiencey football at its finest; Moyes is the Moyesiah! We are all set for the derby now! — Michael

Unbelievable

The recent post by John Millward really beggars belief. This guy cannot be an Everon fan.

He says it is good that we got knocked out of the FA Cup early and that we can do without qualifying for the Uefa Cup and then tops is all by saying Moyes should get another 5 years.

Excuse my french but FUCKING HELL! The idea of Moyes having a master plan beyond defend like shit and hang on if we score would be laughable if we didn't have to suffer every week.

For Christ's sake, John, have some ambition or at least demand some excitement by way of a cup run. The aim of the game is to win trophies ? honestly I know it's an old fashioned view but once you've experienced it, its quite nice ? you never know it might even be better than finishing seventh (I can see the end-of-season DVDs flying of the shelfs now ? especially with the extended highlights of Wigan away.

By the way, Mark, watch out ? if Bill Kenwright sees your letter he will be after you for a DNA sample sample and will then be looking for a cloning machine on ebay.

Come on, boys; get off your bellies and stand on two legs. If you really want to see what the Moyes master plan looks like, next Saturday luchtime will give you a really close-up view...
John Doolan, Barnstable  (27/1/07)

What a Shower

I can't believe the shower of shite I am watching at the moment. Apart from seeing some of the younger lads in action, it is quite diabolical. What is the point of having a midfield? We might as well play six defenders and six strikers as all we seem to do is WHACK it upfield. I'm shitting myself for the derby game.

ps: What the fuck's happened to Fernandes?
Jay Barlow, Manchester  (27/1/07)

Come on... it's only a practice match.

Made up

Can we all contribute nonsense about players signing for Everton before Wednesday night? Alan Smith???

I would bet the rest of my season ticket that we only sign Fernandes before the deadline and that's if I'm being hopeful.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (27/1/07)

I bloody ask you!

What crap some Mailbaggers come up with! AJ afraid to jump and better NOT to qualify for Europe ? I bloody ask you? Add that to all the transfer garbage and it makes me wonder why I bother to log on. And as for that twat Dodd is concerned the sooner he`s banned the better. Come to that, why don`t you just close down and concentrate on the TW Trust Fund?
Alan Woodhouse, Fazakerley  (27/1/07)

That's a great idea. Lots of money has been rolling in... but I don't see your name anywhere. Cone on, now; don't be left out! — Michael

Do we really want mediocrity?

I am very surprised with John Millward's comments. He "breathed a sigh of relief" when we went out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round?! He also does not want to compete in Europe. Okay, the Uefa Cup is not as lucrative as the Champions League, but if we got in it and had a good run then I can't see many Evertonians complaining!

Also, we do not enter competitions solely on the basis of the financial reward at the end. I would LOVE to win the FA Cup again, even if it brought no money into the club. My highlight as an Evertonian was when we won the Cup in '95, and it certainly wasn't because we pocketed a bit of cash.

In the days when money dominates so much of football, let?s try to remember what we love about this game, and let?s not go celebrating when we crash out of every cup in the first round so we can concentrate on securing a mid-table position in the league.
Mark McDermott, Oxford  (27/1/07)

Well said, Mark!

AJ afraid to jump!

Andy Johnson is the latest graduate of the Everton School of Silly Logic when he says in a piece on soccer365 that he could have avoided the challenge by Kirkland but didn`t like to jump in case he was accused of simulation. How daft can they get?
Peter Stewartt, Gresford  (27/1/07)

EvertonTV

Anyone else watching the cock-ups on EvertonTV? Whilst the streaming quality is impressive, the organisation is pretty dire! Good old Everton, fancy thinking they could do something properly?!
Dean Paton, Wirral  (27/1/07)

Since when did video streaming involve a series of still images accompanied by the occasional verbal comment and (if you are very lucky) a three-second burst of actual video before the still images return? — Michael

Success ? Who needs it?

Does a fan demanding success guarantee success? Does a fan accepting mediocrity guarantee mediocrity?

My belief is that far too many Evertonians have thrown the towel in and will now settle for any dross the club serves up. This is legitimised in many ways ? my favourite being 'there's not enough money'. I believe this attitude is picked up by those in power and (in a way) affects their thought process. Whilst they would like to be successful, who cares if we aint? Certainly not a lot of fans... Hey! they'll still turn up!

The constant demanding of success must surely put some pressure on those in power to perform and sooner or later it WILL happen. You do not chance upon success, it has to be worked for. Maybe I've been in Australia for too long, the Aussie sport ethos has rubbed off on me. Australians demand success in their sport and that is why 999 times out of 1000, Australia will always beat the opposition.

To Dick Fearon, and all my fellow West Ausralian Toffees, 'ot innit?. Let's light the barbies, open the tinnies and dream that Everton can find another 10 Cahills, then success will happen. COYB
Dave Stewart, Perth, Western Australia  (27/1/07)

Threadbare squad

Back in September, we sold Kilbane right at the death with no opportunity to replace him. Ok no Zidane, but a good member of the squad especially for the left hand side. As of now in this window, we have lost Weir, Davies, Johnson for god knows how long and McFadden for the rest of the season. What was a small squad back in September is now 5 players less. Still the powers that be seem reluctant to dip their toes in the transfer market.

I find this quite remarkable given that we weren't in Europe, went out of the Carling Cup in the early stages, went out of the FA Cup at the first opportunity. Okay, we are 7th in the league but does anyone out there truly believe we can get in to Europe with the players that we have?

The style of football that we play has to be the worst that we have ever played. Our season is about to fritter away yet again and no one seems interested in doing anything about it... WE DESERVE BETTER. This is supposed to be progress! Yet no-one sems to be doing anything about it!! Oh sorry, they have arranged a friendly in Bournemouth to keep us interested on this FA Cup free weekend... WHAT IS THE POINT???
Kevin Bennett, Chester  (27/1/07)

We are building a better squad

I have to say that in the context of the modern game, EFC are doing ok. Yes, we'd like to be challenging for the League and Cups, whose fans wouldn't? Yes, I'd like money available to sign players but when is the last time (excluding Rooney) when we've had a number of players worth alot of money? We've a committed and focussed manager, a Board who aren't prepared to "do a Leeds", and a transfer policy that is slowly but surely improving the average age and quality of our squad.

When's the last time we had two young quick centre-backs, a current England international centre-forward and two of the most highly praised central midfield players in the league in Cahill and Arteta? Not for 20 years, that's when. Let's support what's being done. It's more positive (numerous false dawns aside) than it's been for a long long time.
Mark Pendleton, Shepshed  (27/1/07)

Smith a Toffee soon!

Alan Smith will be an Everton player by Wednesday night. You heard it here first, folks!
Mike Westgate, Stockport  (27/1/07)

Europe? No thank you!

I think the majority of Evertonians would agree with Ray Robinson that our club can do without qualifying for a minor European place at the end of this season. The last qualification turned out to be a curse ? too soon, too expensive and too disappointing. In my view, it set Moyes`s masterplan back two years as it suddenly presented new and unexpected priorities the Club were ill-equipped to meet. Whatever we tend to think about Kenwright, he is certainly no mug and was honest enough to admit at the AGM that Europe - or the UEFA Cup at least ? is not all it is cracked up to be.

To my mind, the same goes for tha FA Cup these days, and I was not alone in breathing a sigh of relief when we said goodbye. The less distractions we have in becoming a sound top middle-order club, the sooner we shall be in a position to challenge the Big Four for Europe proper. Just two places in the Prem equates to all that can be earned by winning the Fuck All Cup so what is there to miss? Seventh in the League will do nicely, thank you!

I know I am not alone in believing Moyes has earned the right to another five years and as one who finds little fault in the pragmatic football he provides, I sincerely hope he gets it.
John Millward, Homer Green  (27/1/07)

All this before

Re Ralph Jukes's posting on a move for Preston`s David Nugent, the rumour mill among North Enders suggests the goalscorer is on his way if, and only if, they get knocked out of the Cup this afternoon. Trouble is, we went through all this last year with Everton baulking at the fee at the last minute. Personally, I`d stick with Beattie and the two kids and save the money 'til summer.
Nigel Dunn, Preston  (27/1/07)

Count your blessings

Sky reports more confusion across the park this morning as an American consortium announces take-over interest. Got me thinking how fortunate we are to have strong, stable ownership and a principle shareholder whose main interest isn`t focussed on filling his wallet. Even compared with the mighty Chelsea we are well off with Chairman, Chief Executive and Manager all singing from the same hymn sheet. And, by the way, look out for a couple of key signings on deadline day as the Moyestro keeps his powder dry!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (27/1/07)

Don't stop taking the tablets, Richard!

Time To Play Ball

Why doesn't Everton consider bringing back Michael Ball? He's quality, proven and True Blue. With Stubbs and Pistone set to finish their contracts end of this season, Ball's ideal to provide some defensive cover, and more importantly, leadership.
Jason Heng, Singapore  (27/1/07)

... and his knee is crocked. Massive risk. Sadly, it's a sensible decision not to go after him. — Michael

The dreaded transfer window

It looks increasingly like we are heading to the end of another transfer window that will yield little in the way of substantial bolstering of an already threadbare squad. True, I may yet be proved wrong, but at the time of writing, the only certainty is that Davies have left. I don't regret this per se, as I have on the past written that I would be glad to see his departure. However, I do not think it is a wise move, given Moyes (or is it Blue Bill's?) penchant for failing to close a transfer deal, to let a player go without first securing a replacement.

I, like all the rest of us long-suffering blues, am not privy to the innermost workings of the club, or it's wage structure. However, I do manage a small business, employing 10 members of staff. This I consider to be the absolute minimum needed to keep the business going, and I would certainly not let anyone go without a replacement being lined-up. Don't get me wrong, I understand how hard it is to attract and secure the services of the right person, but it can be done. Maybe Davey's downfall is his person-handling capability (or lack of it). In which case, we are back to a "General Manager" situation, although Blue Bill and Mr Wyness don't seem to be the obvious choices!

I am a bit pissed-off with the way transfers are handled at my club. I am like all true Blues; I love the club and hate seeing the mediocre shite that purports to be Everton.
Tom Edwards, York  (26/1/07)

Worldwide support

In responce to Stefan from vienna who said "there about 100,000 evertonians worldwide", i say add another naught to that figure pal. When we won the cup in 95 an estimated 300,000 turned out and our continuity in the top flight for 50 years has gained respect and followers all over not just Merseyside. You only have to look at the letters on this page to see this. Only Man Utd and Liverpool can outnumber our support among English clubs. Give us a period of success and standard of football equal to Arsenal and you would see how big our support is.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (26/1/07)

Customer Service from our Club

I have recently e.mailed the club to have my away jersey signed by the players for my son to which they declined because they pretty much want to sell that kind of service.

I have been a regular at EFC during my life, bought all the jerseys and even saved my paper round money when I was a kid to watch EFC, I ask the club to do one thing and sign my jersey and they e.mail back saying no due to high demand for fundraising, bollocks to that.

We will never be a top club again until we learn how to look after our fans, its all take take take from this club. If you're a loyal fan fuck ya, and that attitude sickens me. Pretty much everything about how EFC do business stinks, no care for the proper fans.
Dylan Goodison, Bootle  (26/1/07)

I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is a load of bollocks. Where does this perception come from that it is reasonable to request that they sign your poxy replica shirt? Coz you've been a loyal fan for years? Gerraway! Why not request to have high tea with your favourite player?? Have them send Andy Johnson round to cut your lawn???

They are there to play football. Full stop. ? Michael

Cheer Up!

I can`t believe the air of pessimism that permeates the Mailbag at present. In my book we are doing `very nicely, thank you` and although we have a small squad they have shown themselves capable of competing well with their mid-table rivals. And why all the gnashing of teeth over the loss of Davies and Weir ? most of you wanted them gone anyway!
Ben Curtis, West Derby  (26/1/07)

Changed priority

I think I can say with some confidence that David Moyes pulled the plug on the Bougherra signing after changing his mind towards signing a striker. David Nugent is now very high on his `want` list although the Preston striker will cost at least a million more than he would have done last year....
Ralph Jukes, Mere Brow  (26/1/07)

Ambition

This month has brought us a great deal of frustration. The prolonged transfer saga of Fernandes and the injuries to Johnson and McFadden being the causes of our worry and frustration. The transfer will hopefully go through but the injuries are another matter. We are left with Beattie, Anichebe and Vaughan as our recognised strikers. An under-performing ex-International and two youngsters who have yet to prove that they can hack it in the Premiership week after week.

We are, no matter what Marsh and his ilk say, on the verge of a European place but the next few games could be crucial. This surely is the time for Kenwright and gang to break the bank and bring in a top striker. We don't want a one or two million stopgap ? we need a proven man who can hopefully provide the impetus for us to press on up the league.

I have supported the Blues for over 65 years and whilst I would love to see the School of Scince once again be synonymous with Everton, I am realistic to know that apart from Arsenal the football I grew up with has disappeared from the coaching manual.

So come on, Kenwright; buy big and at least give us hope that we will be back in Europe.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (26/1/07)

Isn't it obvious to one and all

Having read the article submitted by Tore Fredlund and numerous messageboards, post match reports and media comments too numerous to mention moves me to ask the question: If the problems with our team are so obvious to fans and other coaches alike why doesn't David Moyes address them?

Buying expensive quality players who have honed their talents elsewhere is not the answer for clubs in our financial position. Translating good,p ossession football from the blackboard to the training ground certainly is. There is talent and quality at EFC, albeit a painfully thin squad, so ultimately the methods of the coaching staff must be called into quetion. Why do we play so 'narrow' and defensive? Why do we play in waltz-time, one pass forward, two to the side? We must overcome the missing link between defence and attack, we must be more contolled and confident in turning defence into attack. Playing head tennis or 'keepy-uppy' on the training ground isn't going to win us games. Where does the 'knowledge' of Moyes's pre-season jolly to Italy to study training methods manifest itself? I've seen little or no evidence of it yet.

Unfortunately, the people who matter in the backroom staff seem oblivious to the concerns of the people who matter on the terraces until the results put their own 'infallibity' into question. Any 'New ground' ideas should be put on the back-burner 'til we can produce the quality football to fill it!
Hugh Binns, Manchester  (26/1/07)

Too soon for Europe?

I know that all true EFC supporters would like to see the club finish as high up in the PL as possible but do we really want a Uefa Cup slot just now, I ask myself? Yes, I'm being serious. I know that being in Europe raises the profile of the club and helps attract players but if the piggy bank is as bare as ours apparently is at the moment, there's little chance of enticing sufficient players of the necessary quality anyway.

The point I'm making is that, unless you get to the semis of the Uefa Cup, you make little money; with our paper-thin squad we'd be hard pressed to cope with the extra number of matches anyway, our league form would dip markedly and, heaven forbid, we might even start having to worry about relegation again.

I almost can't bring myself to say it but maybe NEXT season is the time to realistically target Europe after we've strengthened our squad with a few more Lescott-type signings ? preferbaly in this window and over Summer.

Next time we go into Europe I want us to be properly prepared for it. Imagine what might have happened last season if we'd progressed in Europe at the expense of our precarious league position!

I'll settle for 8th this year but that doesn't mean settling for prolonged mediocrity (before Mr Marsh jumps in!). Now if someone could guarantee a 4th spot and a place in the actual CL with all the revenue that that would bring in, that would be different!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (26/1/07)

I think no less a personage than William Kenwright, CBE, has said something already along these lines... ? Michael

Adding value

I read yesterday that Wenger saw his job as `seeking to add value to the players in my care`. Well, he`s done a good job with the likes of Vierra, Henry and Fabregas and (from what I saw against Tottenham) at least half a dozen others. He was less successful with Jeffers and Wright but managed to work them off on us! I wonder how many Everton players would consider that Moyes has `added value to their game` whilst they`ve been in his care?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (26/1/07)

Just being pedantic here really, because I agree with your point, but there is one that springs to mind, although he claims Moyes actually held him back, while the credit for bringing him on should really lie not with Moyes but with Colin Harvey... Tommy G must also be seriously indebted to Moyes for his elevation to the heady ranks of Real Madrid. — Michael

A win is a win

I can't disagree with posters who say that as long as we win it is a good three points. I do disagree though with those that say we are doing okay with our present style of play as it has brought us 35pts and 7th place. Having seen all our games to date, I believe our present style of play has cost us 12pts and 3rd place. On transfers I ignore all channels of news until I see someone holding a shirt or a scarf on the back page of the Daily Post ? UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (26/1/07)

Second best

So Michael, you call my assertions re: demanding the best 'twaddle'. Ok fella, you're entitled to your opinion. However, unlike you, Tom and others, I won't and don't accept second best, whether this be in work, personal life or in this case supporting the club I love.

The way I see it is that those who demand sometimes get, whereas those that don't get taken for granted and ignored. If you and Tom are happy spending your 30 notes on watching and therefore accepting second best then good luck to you, and if others like you continue this trend then second best is what you'll get.

I on the other have decided that second best is not for me, so I therefore refuse to buy into it any longer. My season ticket was not and will not be renewed, my Sky Sports subscription has been cancelled and my regular visits with my son to the club's shop have stopped.

Some will see this as cutting off your nose in order to spite your face, however, I see it as a tool to promote change. Whether or not you subscribe to the belief that clubs like Everton no longer fully rely on and are therefore no longer influenced by the actions of their supporters, due to the huge TV revenue they receive. The fact is that, once attendances begin to fall below an unacceptable level, things will change and the disillusioned like myself will once again be heard and valued.
Paul Caldwell, Liverpool  (27/1/07)

I think we're all getting our wires crossed here. Yes, fans demand success. Admirable: most of us I think would assert the same ? it harkens back to the old Sir John Moores quote I like to repeat now and again... but tht's not quite what you said.

What you said was "The reason why these clubs achieve this success is quite straight-forward.... their supporters demand it." As if it was such a simple idea that this was all it takes! Or the implied corollary: that those clubs which are not successful, it's because their fans settle for second best and don't demand success. Try telling that to the next ferevent Geordie you meet... and tell him it's his fault they haven't won anything since God knows when. — Michael

Missed out

Looks like this fella has Bougherra'd off to Charlton, according to the BBC.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (26/1/07)

Moyes Pollution (a clever pun)

I believe on the whole, Moyes has signed good players, with a couple of duds thrown in, which is only to be expected. Even when a player has been signed by Moyes who isn?t up to it, he himself has been the Judge, Jury and Executioner ? of the ?awful? players Moyes has signed, how many of them are still here? There are three players Moyes has signed who have been below what we could expect in quality for a team in our position: Kilbane, Davies, Bent ? and all 3 were sold on, for roughly what we paid, or with profit.

Others, like Wright, Beattie, Van der Meyde and McFadden, were signings that most people would have made, and it's only bad fortune and other circumstances that have led them to now be considered failures. In fact, aside from Wright, the others could all still have a part to play and could become the players we thought they were before we signed them.

Saying that the football we play is getting worse every week, apart from being unfair, is counter-productive to what the team is trying to achieve. We are usually difficult to beat, and we have, at times, played some great football under Moyes. Consistency is what we lack, and maybe we could be more cynical, or less bothered about it when we are. All I know is that if you give any other team in our league an inch, they take a foot (quite literally in some cases ? I'm looking at you, Kirkland), whilst we seem to stick to the rules and get punished or criticised for it.

Even when Moyes makes an honest approach for a target, some of us complain, while Liverpool stole Ziege from Boro, and United Rooney from us, and we just took it and moved on. So maybe all we lack is a lack respect, both for our opponents, and the rules. If that?s what it takes to win these days, then I?m happy being midtable and honest, and gladly take the good surprises when they present themselves to us.

When Moyes took over, and we lost 6-2 to Newcastle, Moyes said that he aimed to create a side full of younger, hungrier players who could challenge near the top of the league rather than the bottom, and said that Newcastle where a good example of what could be done. In the years that have passed, we have improved, and arguably taken their place, given we are the only team outside the current top 4, Leeds (LOL) and Newcastle who have managed the coveted Champions league qualification.

Moyes met his 1st goal by keeping us up. He met his 2nd by creating a team CAPABLE of performing against the upper echelons of the league. He met his 3rd goal in getting us to break the top 4 strangle hold and get to the CL group stages. Who?s to say he won?t someday meet his ultimate goal, in bringing some long awaited silverware back where it belongs?

IMWT. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
Kevin Kendall, Bootle  (26/1/07)

Fernandes

I have heard rumours that this Fernandes lad is quite a decent footballer. But, don't worry, Doddy and Co ? Moyes will soon knock that out of him! Maybe the reason there is a hold up is that he has watched videos of us play and realised what he could be letting himself in for... Also, Da Silva couldn't even get a game with a second-rate Spanish side....
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (26/1/07)

Fernandes? No sweat

So according to some Pompey fan from Warminster, Manuel Fernandes is a bit hot to handle! Well I`ve got news for you,mate. He`ll be playing for the man who tamed Duncan Ferguson and turned Tommy G. (`Like dealing with a five-year old`) into a Real Madrid star. Andy van der Meyde is also beginning to learn the facts of life as well. Our Davey`s no Southern softie like `Appy `Arry` ? he`ll handle Fernandes, no sweat!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (26/1/07)

Richard: Don't go anywhere ? I'll be needing you to front our new PR operations...

Our ''squad''

Oops - sorry - earlier I said "I would swap" our team with the majority when I obviously meant I wouldn't"!! See, this is why I am becoming frustrated with Moyesie.

I really believe that any of Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Hibbert, Valente, Arteta, Cahill, Johnson & Beattie would walk in to any other side bar the top 4 and Tottenham. That's the bulk of the side and Osman, Davies, Naysmith, VdM, Anichebe and Vaughan would get in any of the lower-half teams.

Further, Cahill, Arteta & Lescott are good enough for a regular place in all but possibly the Chelseas first team squad (Lescott would be a cert given their current injuries). So why are we struggling against Man City, Wigan, Fulham, Charlton, Boro, Fulham, Blackburn, Reading, Portsmouth, Fulham & effing Fulham FFS?? The team has enough talent to rip through them so why haven't we?

Because of the negative, cautious and predictable tactics that we set out to play. So when we achieve the 40 point safety mark we will cut loose and show our true side eh? Anyone really believe that? Remember Maine Road? Highbury? We have a decent team already ? lets see them play please Mr Moyes! Sorry, been down the pub! But Come on! we are better than this!!! Aren't we???
Mark Murphy, Horsham, arse end of no where  (26/1/07)

From imbibed fluidity cometh much lucidity ? Obviously!

Defence: best form of attack

The posting from Brian Baker made me laugh. Barring injuries, I`m betting the team against Liverpool will have both Neville and Naysmith in midfield with Beattie up front for his defensive qualities!
Paul Shiels, Wem  (26/1/07)

The horror... The horror

In response to the Toffeeweb Trust. Dear god, back away from this! The very thought of the Toffeeweb contigent being let loose as more than observers fills me with dread. Quite aside from the boardroom battles of Kenwrick chewing lumps out of the carpet because we aren't winning the league every season from tomorrow forthwith, whilst playing Arsenalesque football ? as Kenwright chews lumps out of scones with cream because there aren't any Everton fans rich enough to buy him out ? there's the awful prospect of the contributors to the mailbag dictating tactics and transfer policy.

Whilst one contingent fills the team with the academy players the other buys every has-been and never-was (Murphy, Healy, Mido) going, a third contingent will be carefully depleting the squad of any depth by selling every Naysmith, Pistone, Carsley, Beattie, McFadden going to make way for the influx of quality, while the fourth contingent will be buying to fill every position where we don't have the "best outside the big four" with the money that they raised from selling squad players worth the same as the has-beens and never-wases ? leaving us with a 23-man starting team of young strikers, old strikers (and Johnson); Hibbert, Yobo and Lescott at the back; no left-back because we sold them all because they weren't as good as Lescott; and 12 across the midfield as none of them are quite good enough in a four or five.

Oh, and Howard in goal. We all agree on him :)
John Holmes, York  (26/1/07)

Hmmm... I need a Plan B...

Joe Walsh, Relegated

Weren't you relegated from the Eagles front line, Joe, for being wasted all the time? Seems like old habits die hard...
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (26/1/07)

Enjoy a good win!

`The only beauty is in winning`, screams a headline in the Daily Mail and whilst it is merely a summary of comments made by Bolton`s Kevin Nolan it is, I am sure, an axiom most Evertonians would go along with.

Whilst last Sunday`s win at Wigan was undoubtedly a turgid spectacle, that had much more to do with the conditions than any desire of the management and players to `win ugly. We may lust after the silky skills we all enjoyed during the early Catterick and late Kendall Mk I reigns, but the truth is that those days have gone forever. I may be a little more tolerant than some of my fellow `olds` (where on earth did that description come from?) but I still enjoy a good win however it`s achieved. I bet, in all truth, most of us are the same!
Donald Tranter, Wire  (26/1/07)

Tony, be fair!

On Moyes's transfer dealings in this window, you are really being harsh!

He is going after Manuel Fernandes. The boy has actually had a medical. He is EXACTLY the player we need ? young, aggressive, defensive midfielder who can free up and feed Arteta / Cahill / Johnson. The transfer is not easy because he is part-owned by a sports company. Redknapp couldn't make it work.

This is a sign that Moyes actually knows what the team needs, and is prepared to make a difficult deal to get it. On this one at least, give the manager a break.
Neil Pearse, London  (26/1/07)

Hold your water, folks!

I love the Mailbag. In particular, I lap up the acerbity of Tony Marsh and Brian Noble, the blind optimism of Richard Dodd, the measured criticism of Harry Meek and the occasional gems from David Hall. And I miss the Dutchman! What I can`t stand at this time of year are all these missives from Evertonians imploring Moyes to sign this player or that or demanding to know why we missed out on Superman or Joe Palooka.

The modern transfer is a thousand times more complex than the days when Harry Catterick simply asked our wealthy benefactor to buy him Howard Kendall or Alan Ball. Unless you are as rich as Chelsea or as profligate as West Ham, you work on what`s available and the main players in that cesspool are the agents we all love to hate. The long delay in concluding the Fernandes deal is typical of the merky waters that have to be navigated.

So hold your water folks, I`m sure `Davey` has it all in hand. Whether the new men will be any better than those they replace is another matter altogether!
Clive Richards, Prescott  (26/1/07)

Well said, Clive. You seem to have a good grasp of things... I like you. What position would you like in the new heirarchy? — The Boss

Possible team against Liverpool

So, it looks like both Anderson da Silva and Manual Fernandes have been training at Bellefield this week. It also sounds like Da Silva has been doing very well during training as well.

Baring any problems with 'red tape', if both do well against Bournmouth, the line-up against Liverpool next week could be:

Howard
Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Pistone
Arteta, Fernandes, Cahill, Da Silva, Osman
Anichebe

Subs: Wright, Beattie, Carsley, Vaughan, Stubbs
Don't you think our midfield is starting to have a classy look about it?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (26/1/07)

"Classy"? Bizzare... Da Silva has been out for SIX MONTHS and still has not played even a reserve game. I have my doubts that either of them will play at Bournemouth. And Moyes will always pick Carsely, especially against Liverpool, no matter what new players he has. —

No more posts from you until you've coughed up your £1,000. El Presidente

It's up to us

Many people who write in have strong complaints about Everton, Kebnwright, Wyness, Moyes... Well, he answer of all these problems lies within us and it is not to stop going to Goodison Park as a passive protest ? let's be proactive, let's take the power, let's set up an Evertonian Trust and start beeing masters of our own destiny!

According this ToffeeWeb page the nominal bookvalue of the club is around £30M or £40M. We have regular attendancies of 35,000 and there are about 100,000 Evertonians all over the world. If 20,000 fork out £1,000 each, The Trust would accumulate £20M and be able to buy 50% of the shares. Everyone would be entitled to 5 shares max; in this way we would prevent potential shareholders of being overpowered. I know that £1000 is maybe not so small amount of money but if you divide this over the last 15 years of struggle I am sure everyone of us would have parted with £6 per month.

The best solution of course would be to buy 100% of the shares and before someone states that this won't be so easy I would like to point out that there are a lot of different ways to force someone to sell as the Johnston saga proved.

We have done a lot of things first ? why not become the first club to be owned by its own fans? We don?t need sugar-daddy, we need an Evertonian Trust. The Board will be elected every let's say 4 years to give us some stability; we would be able to decide whether to move or stay, because I don?t think any politician would want to be confronted with 40-50,000 potential voters, we would be able to put LCC under pressure and who knows we might redevelop GP. We would be also able to determine the transfer budget and manage our montain debt, we would raise our profile among the other supporters.

This can stay a dream or it can turn into reality ? it's up to us?
Stefan Tosev, Wien, Austria  (26/1/07)

That's a great idea, Stefan. Let's call it the ToffeeWeb Trust. Payments can be made immediately to the following PayPal account: bluefrog at gowebway dot com. We will need to build this initially as a fighting fund, since we don't have the shares, but each £1,000 investment will receive a Promisory Note for one half-share in Everton Football Club Co Ltd ? to be converted into the real thing at some future date (unspecified). Please send your money now, as there is no time to waste. Thank you.

Michael Kenrick
President
ToffeeWeb Trust.

Relagation

Looking at our remaining games left, it scares me to think of being relegated instead of the top 10 finish we expect. Are we putting all our hopes on two youngsters up front?

James Beattie is the old-fashioned centre-forward: he loves to be on the end of crosses from around the goal area. Sadly, we lack quality players to make that happen. He is asked to do things at Everton that are not his strong points. For me, Beattie is not the answer.

With AJ out fore a while, McFaddy joining him, Beattie not the answer, and Everton too lightweight in midfield, Moyes needs to wake up! We need two signings: a proven striker (anyone will do) on loan 'til end of season; and a midfielder (Danny Murphy) for £1M.
Joe Walsh, Woking  (26/1/07)

Jeez,... this transfer biz is a cinch, init?

Spin City

A lot of the reponses to Moyes's transfer policy has been overly negative.

Davey seems to be addressing the problems that all of us can see. He has shipped Davies, as all the fans and seemingly the player himself wanted. And for those of you who assume the worst, do you not think that the "undisclosed fee" may be for Fulham's benefit rather hiding our own blushes?

Moyes also seems to be doing his best to patch up the lack of bite and passing ability in midfield by finally getting Da Silva on board (though it remains to be seen if he has the quality) and now Fernandes.

The links to the Algerian lad Bougherra who has been training at Bellfield again shows that he is trying to bring down the age of the squad (an ill created by Wally Smith) by shipping out Weir and buying a younger alternative.

The fairly obvious PR "tactic" of denying any transfer window activity seems to have been ongoing from the Goodison staff ever since Moyes got stung by overly large quotes when all the agents knew we were sitting on £20M of Rooney money. We were all wailing and gnashing our teeth at the end of last season when Davey said he had no money to spend ? then, within a month, he had bought Johnson, Lescott and Howard (on loan) to the club.

A similar announcement came in December, when in fact the club now seem to be quite busy in terms of bringing some new faces in and getting rid of deadwood. Up pops a denial of Davies leaving, only three days before he departs. Similarly the moves for Healy and Etherington are denied as tabloid tattle but what is really going on behind the scenes?

As I have the dubious pleasure of working in PR, I would suggest that the Everton press advisors seem to be revelling in being a Ministry of Misinformation and trying to keep their targets and more importantly their agents guessing. This is frustrating for us but obviously something Davey feels is essential in the highly complex negotations that football transfers now entail.
John Williams, London  (26/1/07)

Is it me??

There's lots of debate about 'would we rather have good, entertaining footy or ground-out, hoof-ball type results'. Why can't we have a bit of both? The conditions against Wigan and indeed the type of football Wigan play would have dictated a hoof-ball, fast game with Victor on from the start but we still perservered with the endless little passing triangles tight up against the touchline, usually ending up with Osman losing the ball. Or on the odd occasion tonking it in the air for AJ. Neither approach was suitable for the Wigan team or conditions.

Is it too much to ask that the manager changes tactics to suit the opposition or the conditions or (whisper it) the type of players WE have?

We can play decent stuff, the first half against Fulham was probably our best footballing performance of the season that I have seen but I'm sure others will have better examples. We played good, attacking and attractive football with plenty of movement on and off the ball. We are capable of doing it ? so why not more of it when the opposition etc dictates that we might get away with it?

Yes yes, I know we're 7th and with a positive goal difference etc but surely we need some imagination from the manager. We've got naff all to play for this season and we will have to come up with some cracking displays (and wins) to have any chance of maintaining our hopes for a European place. Personally, I can't see it happening but I hope that I'm just being pessimistic rather than realistic.

Goodness knows what's happening with the transfers. A previous post said that, now that we have two strikers injured, Moyes will look for some extra defenders to make sure no one scores against us. That made me really laugh at the time but now it seems like there might be some truth with DM sniffing around the Sheff Wed player. There was me thinking we needed a holding midfielder or similar.

Dear God, why does loving the Blues sometimes make me want to reach for the anti-depressants? It's like being married to someone with a heap of irritating habits ? you love them really but sometimes you want to shove them under a bus. COYB - 'Til death do us part.
Lue Glover, Flint  (26/1/07)

Great letter, Lue! — Michael

Article by Rick Tarleton

Just want to say how much I agree with Rick. He's 60, I was 83 this month and I recall those players well. It's true in so many ways. The pitches we played on in those days were horrendous in the winter months, yet the players seemed to float over them. The "Golden Ghost" was one of my favourite players and is to this day.

Well written Rick. Let's have more from you!
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (26/1/07)

Good luck with Fernandes!

The fannying about over the Fernandes transfer is not `red tape` at all. It`s an exact replica of the delay in Portsmouth signing him last summer when there was total confusion over his `ownership`, terms, agent`s commission, image rights, how many games he needed to play before the purchase clause kicked in etc, etc, etc....

As these problems extended into the season, Harry decided "it weren`t worth the hassle" and just left him out. I`m assured most Pompey fans didn`t miss him!
Eddie Jarman, Warminster  (26/1/07)

Do I win a coconut?

After my recent posting about Bougherra and that Mark Hughes offers the same for free, I am now convinced of a fabulous money-making opportunity. I should contact Buster Big Pockets and suggest he scraps the academy and earns another Buster Bonus as we barely bother with anyone from the youth team. I have wondered for a while now if this was because the only ones left have the football indoctrinated out of them to play good old reliable hoofball defence at all costs.

I also wondered about the lack progress those that get bladdered make too, but here's a thought ? if during your most influential formative years you have skills blunted and any self-belief battered, how could you become anything other than another boring defence clone? Secondly, if you were a manager who heard a kid was available that got released you too would have the view they must be shite, great spiral to be caught in. We can simply buy other teams kids and mould the football out of them instead.

My next money-spinning angle is to become a slimy football agent with exclusive rights to trade to Everton FC. I would find any old player possible and add the priceless words "Defensive" and "Utility" to their CV, the regular "hard working" and playground classic "tryer" would light Moyes's eyes up a treat and guarantee me another winner whether the players are shite or not.

Not felt this cynical for ages but the window is closing fast and we are not just two or three players short ? it's a hell of a lot more. We have useless left backs like Grimsmith and the Piz Buin Ponce who are next to useless; an injured Valente ? so just there is three ? add Hibbert makes four; an attacking and holding central midfielder makes five; Kilbane has been gone for months without replacement makes six; McFaggot makes seven; AJ makes eight. I for one can't see Moyes using any of the kids beyond Anichebe even though I hope for Vaughan to get at least a sniff but that still leaves us short.

I predict our season to end in a sad pathetic whimper.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (26/1/07)

Head tennis

Firstly I apologise for not letting this lie. Head tennis is an activity done in the gym at Bellefield before or after training. I was fortunate enough to visit Bellefield on an open training day and spoke to Dave Billows about the excersise. It is really unfortunate that McFadden got injured but it inturn will hopefully mean we can see more of Jimmy Vaughan.

In response to Alan Clarke, I believe there are many reasons that we don't play good football week-in, week-out:

  1. Due to the tightness of the league outside the top 4, clubs have to really grind out wins to suceed in the very harsh Premiership league.

  2. Tony Hibbert, Cahill, AJ, Nace and Nuno's injurys have really hurt us this year. Our squad is too small and Kenright does not have the funds to increase it. He could have either bought 5/6 average players (as of recent years) or 2/3 quality players (I know what I prefer in terms of future development)

  3. We have been bullied in the transfer market (Emre, Sissoko, Parker to name a few).

  4. If we are playing two up front we lack the real wingers to accompany them (Arteta & Van de Meyde don't defend like proper wingers).

  5. Our midfield are not good passes of the ball (Arteta excluded); Osman, Carsley and Cahill are not used in our team for their passing and creativity.

  6. Moyes's substitutions have let us down when we needed them.

  7. It hasn't been dreadful all season! Tottenham away (10 men), Liverpool, Newcastle, West Ham, Arsenal away, Reading away and Chelsea to name a few.

  8. Refereeing decisons change games. Offsides and penalty decisons haven't on the whole gone for us. Goals change games.
I think that Moyes must take some blame as well but to claim this season is awful is a little extreme and harsh on the manager who has built a side that is 3 or 4 players away from a truly exciting side.
Charlie Dixon, Liverpool  (26/1/07)

Striker crisis, what crisis ?

The main crisis this club has suffered from this year has been in midfield and it looks like Moyes has finally acknowledged this fact with the proposed signing of Fernandes and finally getting Da Silva into the fold.

He is now hinting that we may have to bring another striker in, is he really saying that he does not rate Vic or James alongside Beattie for a few weeks?? Vaughan is quality FFS ? what has the lad got to do to get a chance. C'mon Moyes!
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (26/1/07)

My take on Richard Mansell's piece

Just thought I?d offer my own take on Richard Mansell?s piece:

  • Beattie ? Marginally better than Ferguson, £6M was a complete rip off. The only way we?re gonna get 15/20 goals out of him a season is (other than through bribes) by having two wide players who can practically put the ball on his head. Also don?t let him take penalties, it?s like watching school playground football ? ?hit the ball as hard as possible and the keeper won?t stop it?. Also needs to drop a few cup sizes?

  • Wright ? Worse than having a blind man in nets. If we get £2.50 for him, take it

  • Davies ? A waste. Too expensive, no return on investment, lost money on him too I reckon. Broke my heart to see him in the starting XI.

  • Krøldrup ? Waste of money, probably would have been a good defender for us if he wasn?t a footballing defender as Moyes prefers defenders who hoof the ball aimlessly 60 yards up field.

  • Van der Meyde ? Jury still out on this one. Probably could be a cracking signing IF he stays fit, gets a run of games and is willing to try.

  • McFadden ? The Scottish Rooney? He?s not even the Scottish Jeffers, maybe the Scottish Cadamarteri?

  • Rodrigo ? Flop, where is he now?

  • Pistone ? I cried when Moyes offered him a new deal. Must be let go at season?s end.

  • Naysmith ? God loves a trier and so does Moyes. One of the ?good honest professionals? of the game, not a coup by any stretch of the imagination but not a failure either.

  • Kilbane ? Did what was asked of him was good for the first couple of seasons and we got our money back. Nuff said.
I?ll not get started on Eddy Bosnar, Guillame Plessis or Patrizio Pascucci?.
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (26/1/07)

I'd say you're on the money with every one of those, Declan. Wannabe our new profile writer? — Michael

Da Silva

With Everton playing Bournemouth, I wonder whether Da Silva will get a little bit of action? Hopefully we can get Fernandes in time and maybe Bougharra. I would like us to make a cheaky loan bid for Smith and would like Etherington as well.
Paul Ashcroft, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Please dont send me to Coventry....

..it's lonely enough being a Blue in Horsham!

Well, I was at the Mickey Mouse cup game as well and as I recall it was 2-0!

But it was the 0-0 that the majority remember as the rock bottom, "something must be done and we need to buy new cushions for the main stand" debacle. I have seen many abject Everton performances over the years but that truly was shoite!

Come to think of it, Fulham away in recent seasons, West Ham away under Walter, and Bolton home last year, Tranmere... etc, the list is growing the more I think about it!

The thing was, the same team that struggled against Coventry (twice) suddenly clicked and played together as a unit pretty consistantly. But I just can't see Moyes building a footballing side around long balls to Johnson. It's not going to click until we get a Peter Reid or Paul Bracewell type in midfield.

I think we have a decent spine and I think they can play much better than they are but I'm not sure that Moyes has the bollox to cut 'em loose. I may be looking through blue-tinted specs but I would swap our first TEAM for anyone outside the top 4 apart from Tottinghams possibly. It's tactics that are holding us back.
Mark Murphy, Horsham, West Sussex  (26/1/07)

9 Nov 1983: League Cup v Coventry City (H) 2 - 1 Win. Heath, Sharp. Att: 9,080

Would swap? or Wouldn't swap?

Over to you, Bill...

Just finished reading Tore Fredlund's piece on Everton's strengths and weaknesses. It's one of the best written and astute articles on Everton's present state of play that I can remember.

And then it hit me!

Would he fancy the job? He's got the qualies and the nous, he can speak better English than David Moyes ? and is almost certainly better looking!
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (26/1/07)

Beautiful Game Overrated

What I was trying to say was that the 'beautiful game' football Arsenal play is very tedious. I get annoyed watching them and their short pass game. It lacks passion, I can't stand it when their players opt for another pass when clearly they should shoot. All that falling over when challenged and complaining to the ref, no thanks.

I much prefer Everton's more direct approach. I love watching Carsley and Neville declare war in midfield. What they lack in technical ability they make up for in passion. I just find the directness and hard work ethic of a Moyes team far more exciting then watching 11 foreign panies play silly kick ball.
John Cottee, Romford  (26/1/07)

Toss another prawn on the Barby

TW readers from west Australia don?t need me to tell them how bloody warm 104°F can be or how, to reach the surf we use two towels to bunny hop across a sizzling beach, or to avoid dehydration, copious amounts of cold lager must be imbibed, and how, stripped to the bare necessities on these sultry nights, we wait and hope for the slightest breeze...

Jeez it?s a tough life isn?t it? Made only bearable by knowing that in a dark, freezing, wet, distant land the boys in Blue are battling to drive ever upward. Hey, Michael; with another cold tinny to hand I wish you, Tim Cahill and all Aussies be they here or there a happy Australia Day.

I don't know if it's the heat getting to me but the following just came to mind. If there were three Premier league trophies of equal merit with the Championship of one based on the team that makes most passes, the second going to a team scoring most goals, the third exactly as is. Which of them do you suppose would generate the most excitement?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/1/07)

Thanks, Dick; now I have a better understanding of the severe mental stress through which that poor bugger Rolf Harris had to suffer. — Michael

Window Shopping

This transfer window carry-on is turning out to be another Moyes/Kenwright disaster story, don't you think? Why does it happen to us every season without fail? We are desperate for cover in every department but, as far as I can see, not much is being done about it. Portugese Midfielder anyone seen him yet? Other clubs are not finding it as difficult as Moyes to attract players ? so what's wrong with Everton?

We can all play Championship Manager at times but surely there must be a couple of players in the whole world who we could sign without breaking the bank. Loan deals at least. Any of our fans still deluding themselves that we are bound for Europe then stop now. We ain't going. A quick glance at our remaining fixtures should be enough to persuade you to give it up.

Liverpool at Anfield next for the Blues but if you add away fixtures at Bolton, Aston Villa and Chelsea it doesn't look so healthy for the target does it? More worrying for me are some of the remaining home games we have left to play: Blackburn, Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd still to come to Goodison... and the points tally starts to get even smaller by my reckoning.

The 8 games mentioned are more than half of what we have left to play and we will struggle to get points from any of them. The squad is too small and lightwieght to see us through and we will be lucky to finish in the top 10. I reckon 11/12th will be our finishing posistion come May. It's hard facing up to reallity I know but some of us have to do it.

Then again, we won't be relegated ? and that's all that matters these days, or so they say. We need new a transfusion of new blood quickly to save yet another season from going down the toilet. Can Moyes do it? I doubt it. Does he want to do it? I doubt that as well. I reckon he is too scared of transfer dealings in case he fucks up again.

Dont worry, though: if you get your season ticket application in early for next season, you will get the discounted rate. YIPPEE!!! Don't get caught in the stampede will you.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (26/1/07)

Hold yer horses, Tony; there's still a week left, isn't there?

Albert Luque

As mad as this may sound, why don't Everton put a cheeky bid to take Luque on loan till the end of the season? With Arteta and the numerous Spanish players Liverpool have, he'd surely settle in and after all, can he be any worse than Beattie?
David Rodaway, Liverpool  (26/1/07)

Slow & steady progress

You quite rightly pointed out in one of your repostes that in every season since Moyes took over we have finished with a negative goal difference. It is quite remarkable really that he's managed a 7th and a 4th with that record, although the two drubbings by Arsenal that 4th season knocked 10 goals off our balance.

However, this season we currently stand at plus 8. We have, to date the fifth best defence and the seventh best attack. This has been achieved with our main goalscorer absent for 2 months and a remarkable retiscence by referees to give us blatant penalties for most of the season. Yes, the style of play is not that good at times, but would you rather be seventh or twelfth?

At this stage of Moyes reign, we are seeing another almost imperceptible (to many, but not the majority I think, of my fellow Evertonians!) improvement. We are no longer winning games only by one-nil and you can see from our intended transfer targets (Fernandes and Bougherra) a quest for younger, more technically adept players. Weir & Davies replaced by those two is progress in my book.

There are failings, of course, and not everything is perfect, but it IS getting better. Patience is required. We fell a long, long way over 15 years and that damage cannot be undone instantly.

The darkest hour in Kendall's team of the eighties was Autumn 1983 when you may recall we could not score a goal to save our lives. In under a year it was the complete reverse. Nobody could have predicted it based on what was happening in 1983 and indeed the low crowds of that time indicate many of us had given up completely (notwithstanding the economic hardship of the time).

It's a long hard road; you can call me blindly optimistic if you like, but we are going forward and there are other factors like the new training centre, youngsters like Molyneux and Kissock to add to the Vaughans and Anichebes that suggest it will keep on that way. The style of play will come in time, but results have to come first.
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (25/1/07)

[Deep sigh...] Karl, I've got news for you: the results are not really that great. We have managed to win barely a third of the games we have played! Moyes himself says we should have won a lot more games than we have. Put another way, we have failed to win twice as many games as we have actually won this season. Is that really an improvement? Certainly not over winning three out of four games ? which is how we started out the season.

All this talk of "slow & steady progress" is just bollocks. It's boom and bust, surge then slump, feast or famine... And as for this nonsense that the football is getting better... IT'S GETTING WORSE BY THE WEEK!!!

How can you claim that the signing of Fernandes and Bougherra is progress over Weir & Davies? I sincerely hope they will be, but they haven't even kicked a ball for us yet. Given Moyes's decidedly mixed record, there is just as much chance they will turn out to be crap. I sincerely hope not, but the jury hasn't even heard any evidence yet!!!

As for the youngsters, they are always high risk. Just look at the incredible number of promising academy players who do not make it ? far far many more than ever do, let me tell you. Where is Vidarsson now? Scott Spencer???

You are indeed optimistic if you think the style of play is going to improve. I wish it would but wiser council has explained (see below) why it never ever will under Mr Moyes. ? Michael

Do the fans have power?

Paul Caldwell suggests that the fans have the power to alter the ways our beloved EFC play, or what they achieve? Sorry mate, but expectations of the fans will nowadays, sadly, amount to nothing. Newcastle, Spurs ? demanding fans but their teams are no better off than us.

The Board needs ambition, as does the manager and his players, true. However, the days of Sky (spit) have given the clubs so much income outside of gate money that the business men in charge of clubs can allow the playing side to be of no value so long as the team survives in the moneybags league.

I recall the 60s, more the 70s and loved the mid-late 80s, but much as I would love to see those days return, I am realistic enough to say I just cannot see it happening without a very rich sugar-daddy Abramovich turning up.
Tony Pickering, Wiltshire  (25/1/07)

Fans acceptence of reality...

... or demanding success has nothing to do with a team's fortunes....

Paul Caldwell says with reference to the successful clubs: "The reason why these clubs achieve this success is quite straight-forward.... their supporters demand it. They don't and won't accept second best"

Man Utd's fans where demanding success for 27 yrs, didn't get them anywhere... except one relegation, and nearly lost them Mr Ferguson. Man City's fans annual sack the board/manager/ballboy protestations hardly saw them fill the trophy cabinets either. Fan's aspirations, demands or even on the otherhand unswerving support all have very little effect on any real footballing outcomes, especially for clubs like ours where the margins are so tight.

"Liverpudlians accept nothing other than winning,"

Then how come these demanding fans didn't have a mass walkout after the twin Arsenal debacles then? They're just the same, with slightly higher expectations commensurate with their vastly superior wealth and successes of the past... demand all they want, they haven't won the league for years ? only 3 years less than we have.

The partisan customer isn't always right... He is by definition a mug; being a footy fan is blind faith, it's tough luck, but there you have it. Accept it or rebel against it, it won't make much difference. Just go along, vent your splein if necessary, hope it has the desired effect, and go and get bevied with your mates after... and if/when the good times come back we'll enjoy it all the more.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Glad you responded to that particular piece of absolute nonsense: success comes because the supporters demand it.... What twaddle! Are people really serious writing this stuff or is it a concerted effort at a wind-up? — Michael

Beautiful Game? Its football for god's sake

I must agree with John Cottee in his slant on the beautiful game. The Dogs of War didn't roll about on the ground at the slightest touch.

Would players like Johnny Morrisey, Bruce Rioch, Norman Hunter, Paul Reeney or Ron Harris (to name but a few) stay long on the pitch these days? They played the game hard and it was a joy to watch but I don't remember them breaking anybody. Todays players want to fanny about and are frankly fragile.

People keep asking did I watch this match or that match; the answer is "No". If Everton arn't paying I don't bother. I watch Everton because it's a duty, if I want Excitement I watch Rugby League.
Chris Rawsthorne, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Reply to Richard Mansell's post

I don't normally slag off other Evertonian's opinions but either Richard Mansell's recent post is a wind-up or he is simply content watching second-class shite as long as they "try hard" and "give their all."

I'm all for a strong work ethic but if you haven't got the ability, all the effort in the world isn't going to make you good enough for Everton FC.

I am realistic enough to understand that Nil Satis Nisi Optimum will not be a motto properly adhered to by any Everton player in the near future as we do not have an Abramovich to buy Ronaldinho et al for us but second-rate players are second-rate players and I was happy when the majority of those listed in Richard's post had gone as EFC deserves better!
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (25/1/07)

Hammer.. Nail... Head... WALLOP!!!

Beautiful Game Overated

Its a question of personal taste; personally, I find the pass and move fannying about football the likes of Arsenal play a bit tedious. I much prefer Everton's blood and thunder football, real grit, "Dogs Of War" style, especially when we had General Duncan leading the line.
John Cottee, Romford  (25/1/07)

The "Dogs of War" sytle football Joe Royle had Everton playing, with the likes of Andre Kanchelskis being much more effective than the Big Lummox, certainly was a pleasure and a delight to watch compared with the current fare... if that's what you meant! — Michael

Excused?

Just a question to Charlie Gofton: who does he hold accountable for our appauling style of play, week-in week-out, if Moyes doesn't want us to play that way?

It's people like Tony Marsh who can see the bigger picture; we've had 5 years of Moyes and another 5 years won't change a thing. Hiding your head in the sand and accepting the dross served up on a Saturday is narrow minded.

1 = 20... we'll need more than that to fill the stadium if this crap continues.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (25/1/07)

Reinforcements

I am getting a little twitchy now about our depleted squad. I understand the club is trying to bring in players but will not be held to ransom.

However, having said he was not going to release any players and was happy with his lot, Moyes has let Weir and Davies go. Added to the injuries to AJ and James McOverrated, then we are four bodies down at present with the window about to shut firmly in less than a week.

Added to the fact that we already had a small squad, we are looking very fragile when compared to the other clubs in and around the Uefa Cup positions. Let's see what develops but this is looking like another missed opportunity akin to the Champions League reinforcement debacle.

I would love to be proved wrong with the signing of several players who could push us on towards European qualification instead of mid-table mediocrity. Let's see...
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Reply to someone's post

I want to reply to the post that said the following players were appauling and are failures:

  • Beattie - Thrived last year and got us up the table; when we play to his strengths he's a good player ? at the moment, we're not.
  • Wright - Everyone raved about him first season, just unlucky that we signed Nigel, fans got on his back.
  • Davies - Large fee, fans never took to him but always gave his best.
  • Krøldrup - Agreed: a waste.
  • Van der Meyde - How can you judge him as a failure already, he's played about 10 games?
  • McFadden - A good player but not premiership standard and at £1.5M hardly a failure.
  • Rodrigo - Not Moyes's fault he got injured.
  • Pistone - He simply needed a left back, won't be on mega money, not a failure. Also he was the best defender in our 4th position season.
  • Naysmith - I didn't see the point in re-signing him but always tries.
  • Kilbane - Fans slagged him, but he did what all good players do: turn their opinion with good performances. He was excellent for two season when we really needed a player like him, but then his time went, an absolute snip at £750k. I compltely disagree that he was a failure at Everton Football Club.

Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

It would seem, Richard, that you have only a positive view of our worst players and seem unable to really factor in the negative aspects of these players that most of the rest of us have witnessed to our anguish. How you can claim that McFadden is not a failure 'coz he cost us 'only' £1.5M is simply ridiculous. And Davies really always gave his best??? Geddaway!

Trying to convince anyone that some minor or historic positives in a player's career outweight those horrendous negatives that have rightly condemend most of these listed as journeymen at best and utter dogs at worst is really quite laughable. ? Michael

Mark Murphy ? Send him to Coventry

Well, Mark, as much as we were all at the goalless game against Coventry ? I think it may have been New Years Eve '83 if fading memory serves ? I think Shaun Sparke was referring to the Coventry League Cup match where Sharpy climbed highest out of the mob to nod home a close-range late winner, or was it a late equaliser, oh that fading memory of fading great and so happy days... Think the other late scorer might have been Inchy and indeed it was a low crowd of 8 or 9k. Oh well, can't wait for my home game this Saturday. See you in the Queen's... Oh it's a grand old team.
Steve Green, Southampton  (25/1/07)

Bobby Collins

Further to what John McFarlane was saying about the impact of Bobby Collins, I found this magnificent piece on Collins's impact at Goodison in the Leeds United website.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (25/1/07)

Priorities?

I see that the head of the Premiership referees has admitted that Everton should have had more penalties this season. It does really make you wonder if Davey is struggling to find things to do with his time or whether he's just become paranoid. The refs admission will change nothing of course, but it must make Davey feel vindicated.

Is it unreasonable to expect our Manager to be concerning himself with bigger issues such as the Transfer Window (buying not just selling) and seeking to push on from the lofty 7th place we find ourselves in. Maybe it is, because we've been told by the Manager that the ambition for the season was Premiership survival.

Midtable mediocrity is not good enough for most of us I'm sure, but, if Moyes chooses to spend time compiling video evidence rather than trying to strengthen the squad, and improve the style of football we play, it's tragically the best we can hope for.
Rodger Armstrong, London  (25/1/07)

That was last week's news, Rodger. And in the very next game we are awarded a penalty. That alone should have been sufficient vindication after any doubts one might have had about the video-nasty. But to connect that with your perception of Moyes's inactivity in the transfer market is a bit silly. — Michael

Excused!

In response to Tony Marsh and Michael's comments re: 'Fans like Gofton and Atress are one of the main reasons Everton FC will never get anywhere soon'. Is that the conclusion? Fans who have gone home and away for the last 17 years are to blame? I think your article is very easily written and probably supported by the other narrow minded Blues who have become so bitter because of years without a trophy and bragging rights in the city.

Do you really think I don't want Everton to win everything, every year! For Michael to question my acknowledgement of the size of this club is laughable. Much like his reccomendations for change. Do you really think Moyes wants to play boring football? Do you think when we train that he practices just the long ball?

I was merely pointing out that the doubters have been proved wrong before! I haven't seen other big clubs Villa, Tottenham and Forest in The Campions Lague of late. Look at Leeds! I enjoy nothing more than watching the likes of Arsenal, United and Barcelona play fantastic football for this is where the beautiful game comes into its own!

1 = 20 comes from a certain Mr Brian Labone!!! If you know your history....
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Charlie, they spend their time in training doing head tennis and trying to figure out how (not) to defend free-kicks with a man on the goal-line, FFS. That's from the man himself! If the team are not actually playing the sort of football he wants them to be playing, then what does THAT say about the manager's abilities? Think about it. — Michael

The Sky Premiership

I am a regular vistor to ToffeeWeb and enjoy reading the contributions, but I have never felt the need to join in until now. The debate about Moyes will rage on, just as it did in the times of Smith/Bingham/Lee. The truth is that Everton have not consistently played attractive football for the majority of the time since the break-up of the 1970 championship team.

Those who place the blame on Moyes are missing the point. Sky's Premiership doesn't allow teams outside the 'big four' to risk playing attractive football. So long as obscene amounts of money are awarded on points at the end of the season, teams will play (under orders from the Board) the 'Bolton' way because it is the most effective way to gather points.

If we want attractive football then we need a change of system (payments linked to goals scored or a dubious entertainment factor?), not necessarily a change of manager. That might draw the crowds back and take some of the attention off the big four. Some of the attacks on Moyes are justified (he's not perfect), but many are downright juvenile. Evertonians pride themselves on a sense of fair play and good judgement, whatever else we may lose, please don't let us lose that.
Marc Dawson, Midlands  (25/1/07)

Less is better than lesser

Marshy, have to say that you're spot on again mate. I, like you, can't even begin to understand where some of the subscribers to this site are coming from. They seem to think that mediocrity is acceptable and that ambition and success belong only to those who achieve it year after year.

The reason why these clubs achieve this success is quite straight-forward.... their supporters demand it. They don't and won't accept second best, therefore the powers that be, manager, chairman et al, are left in no doubt whatsoever as to their responsibility and accountability to those supporters.

I myself work alongside both Evertonians and Liverpudlians, and the difference in their respective ambititions for their clubs is astounding. Liverpudlians accept nothing other than winning, an Australian mentality as I call it, whereas Evertonians (me and Marshy excluded) now appear to have been indoctrinated into the English way of thinking, in that second is better than third, or in our case 10th is better 11th. Remember, folks, that it us the supporters who ultimately hold the overall power, as without us the club would sink. It should therefore be the duty of all Evertonians to demand the best, after all isn't that the motto our great club was built on?
Paul Caldwell, Liverpool  (25/1/07)

Irish players

I often ask myself (as a native Dubliner) have my beloved Everton got any scouts in Ireland as we seem to be missing out on on an awful lot of talent as of late: for example, Doyle & Long of Reading; Odea of Celtic; Stokes of Sunderland and many more gems from the Emerald Isle. Davey, would you take a look at Glenn Whelan at Sheffield Wednesday ? this player has Premier League written all over him and he won't cost a mint.
Joe Ball, Maidenhead  (25/1/06)

Shaun Sparke ? Coventry City

Great piece and more or less my feelings but I cant see the happy ending this time sorry!

I was one of the few at the Coventry City home game. It was misty and damp and I was in the enclosure nearer to the Park End with a bunch of long-suffering mates. My memory though is of a goal-less draw and I'm sure the crowd was more like 13,000. (Although like Shaun it seems like every Blue I meet was at the game including some who must have been very mature foetuses!!)
Mark Murphy, Horsham, West Sussex  (25/1/07)

Official Attendance: 13,659

Brother Beyond

Shaun is quite right: we do look awfully weak in midfield at times and it would need divine intervention rather than a misdirected back-pass to alter our fortunes at the moment re skillful incisive passing in midfield.

Thanks also to Rick Tarlton for a very readable assessment.

As to my brother ? I wish now I'd left him on the other side of that fence when we were legged up County Road by irate Leeds hooligans in 1980 ? I would have done kid but our mum would have killed the pair of us ? you for getting battered and me for letting you!
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (25/1/07)

Wasteful Moyes

As I do not follow the fortunes of other clubs with any degree of intensity, I am unable to judge whether Moyes is any better or worse than his rivals as far as transfers are concerned. What I do know is that, in his five years in charge, he has blown roughly 50%of the money made available to him on sub-standard signings/re-signings.

Not far short of £25M has been expended on players who have turned out to be `sadly lacking`. In this list I include: Beattie, Wright, Davies, Krøldrup, Van der Meyde, McFadden, Rodrigo, Pistone, Naysmith and posibly Kilbane.I think questions could also be asked about the `lazy` re-signing of Weir and Stubbs. In all, this makes up a complete team of `disappointments` and must raise questions about the great man`s judgement ? not only on the quality of the players signed but also on his own ability to blend them into an effective unit.

In true lower league style, Moyes seems to consider adaptability as the prime criterion. Whatever Davies`s shortcomings, he must have left Everton with his head ringing from all the roles he had been expected to fill. Beattie came to us as an out-and-out target man who has been required to adapt his game to include very considerale defensive duties. Even Johnson,(certainly not on the list of failures) is now expected to work as much as a wide player as he does in a central striking role, whilst Neville must be dizzy from his switches between full-back and midfielder.

I have neither the interest nor inclination to discover whether this approach is typical of his profession but, to me, it labels Moyes as a `messer`. He seems confused about the type of player he needs and when he gets one equally confused about the role they are to play. He messes about with formations and his match-day tactics smack of prevarication in extremis. No, this isn`t the worst Everton team I have seen in 40 years nor Moyes the worst manager but I continue to wonder if the Club`s limited resources are being both expended and utilised to maximum effect.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (25/1/07)

Ball and other issues

Michael Ball was a good player until Walter Smith decided to play him until his knee nearly fell off. He has just been released by PSV and is on trial at Manchester City. That is City who are desperate for players and have no money. Do we need another left back who is made of glass?

Also, I despair about our fans sometimes. I am no James McFadden fan but how small time is it to be overjoyed about his injury?

Finally, can we refrain from singing "Easy, Easy, Easy" against Wigan when we have played some of the worst football I have ever seen? I cringed when I heard that. If we ever tried to reclaim Goodison Park and come up with a Gladwys Street Charter, I would throw myself off a bridge but singing that "Easy" shite is out of order.
Ben Greenwood, Chester  (25/1/07)

In response to Dave Woods

"Every transfer window, we all check out every rumour mills going, forums, everything ? desperate to find links to players to add to our wafer-thin squad. Every year, twice a year. And every year we are fed the same bollocks by the ginger one and his two bosses."

Ho ho. You believe everything the newspapers says, get your hopes up? When we don't sign the player, then start blaming the club. Some genius you are!

As Micheal says, unless the player signs for us, or at least it's on the OS, don't believe any journalist bullshit. Sometimes, the club makes contact and asks for availablilty, but that doesn't mean they are making a bid.

Personally, I'd rather us not sign anyone if it means we have to pay over the odds. If passing this window means we're making signings like Lescott, Johnson and Howard for the right money in the summer, I'd rather wait.
Joey Baxton, Manchester  (25/1/07)

The early sixties ? Rick Tarleton

I was a season ticket holder in the 60s and don't think Southall played in that amazing team.
Mike Forster, Toronto, Canada  (24/1/07)

I think you missed the point: that was his best Everton XI ever ? not just from the 60s ? but where in the name of Goodison was Alan Ball??? — Michael

Hoof ball vs beautiful game

This seems to be getting a lot of attention so here is my take as an Everton and Hibs fan.

My local team, Hibs, hired Tony Mowbray as manager a couple of years ago. They went from playing hoof ball to a passing game in an instant. They are now widely credited as being the best team to watch in the SPL, even by the Glaswegian media (this is unheard of). John Collins has come in and continued the good work. Players who used to launch Unsworth/Stubbs style punts began putting their heads up and rolling the ball along the floor. I can?t get enough of it.

The only issue with this is it?s a much riskier game. It means playing the ball about in your own half. It also means not hoofing the ball to safety and regrouping all the time. It means we invariably get great entertainment on a Saturday but maybe lose the odd game where we were the better side and should have won. We are several points behind a more pragmatic Aberdeen team in the league who we played off the park, winning 4-1 last week.

I have a feeling that outside the top 4 and their massive cash in the Premiership, the sides that play this way face the same issue. Newcastle, Spurs and West Ham are probably sitting below where their fans think they should. They probably leave some games and can?t believe they?ve lost. Maybe claiming some kind of moral victory anyway. Yet they are sitting behind more pragmatic teams in the league.

The stakes are much higher in the Premiership. Every place is worth £500k and this will increase next year. There are only 6 points between 8th and 15th place. If Moyes loses two extra games and drops to 15th he will be crucified (on places like here!).

I guess my point is ? trying to play a passing game in the Premiership, unless you have serious cash to buy players, is risky. For Hibs in the SPL, we know we won?t get relegated, but are some way off winning the league.

I think there is room for Everton to improve passing and movement... but I?d prefer European qualification. But would I go back to watching hoof ball at Easter Road for a few more points a season... not a chance!!!
Ed MacDonald, East Lothian  (24/1/07)

It's always the same....

Every transfer window, we all check out every rumour mills going, forums, everything ? desperate to find links to players to add to our wafer-thin squad. Every year, twice a year. And every year we are fed the same bollocks by the ginger one and his two bosses.

We hear that it's difficult to get players in this transfer window, wait for the next one, etc, etc... we may as well wait till the summer now with the Davies money? You can just hear them!

Leaks happen from within the club, to show that we are actualy trying for players. A pinch of salt is required. We may well sign a no-mark or two to fill gaps (probably on loan), but would anyone be surprised if they fucked up the Fernandes deal...? More spin, please, Mr Wyness!
Dave Woods, Warrington  (24/1/07)

Talking of those planted leaks, how many times in this window alone have we had Ian Doyle proclaim in the Daily Post that Everton were about to make a bid for Player X, only for the club to immediatley issue a denial, saying there is no truth in the rumour that we have any interest in Player X.

Now, given the much improved relationship between the Mersyside papers (or is just the Liverpool Echo?) and Everton FC, you have to believe that there is mutual foreknowledge of such things. So the only conclusion must be that they are deliberate leaks... which raises the question: what purpose does that serve? Is it really to pacify a portion of the fanbase that believes this somehow shows potentially fruitful involvement in the transfer market... in which case, why the denial?

Every year, twice a year, I try to make sense of the nonsense that flies around in the name transfer links. And every year I say: next time, I'm just not falling for it. Wait 'til they appear at Goodison holding scarf or shirt. — Michael

Flops & Co

Thank heavens we've off-loaded Simon Davies to Fulham. He was a bad signing labeled as a Welsh Wizard who was 'technically gifted' and the "undiclosed fee" confirming we made another loss ? just as we did with £5M flop Krøldrup ?stinks! Maybe the manager realises his mistakes and will swiftly dispose of further flops and sicknotes: Beattie, Van der Meyde, McFadden, Pistone and Naysmith. Ok the last two were initially signed by Smith but Moyes re-signed them so they are his flops!

Summer signings where much more positive and it would be nice to think the manager has learnt his lesson and will make far better choices on future purchases. However, even if he does import the type of players we need, does he posess the ability to get them playing decent attractive football, or atleast allow them to try?

The underlying fact is that Everton cannot afford to be wasting time and money on players that don't deliver the goods. Likewise, there is no point buying a certain type of player and getting him to perform outside of his natural abilities or making out he's something that he's not as the fans will just hate him!

IMHO we have two problems that stick out a mile. One is a threadbare squad and the other is what I'd call 50/50 syndrome. By this, I mean 50% of our squad are quality players who can carry or sometimes inspire the poor half. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true when those who are unsuitable drag the quality down to their level and can demoralise them.
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Those were the days my friend...

Congratulations to Rick Tarleton on his piece on the Everton of the Sixties. I grew up watching Harry Catterick's Mersey Maestros. There was usually an electric atmosphere in Goodison ? up to 69,000 fans stood shoulder to shoulder and although football with two wingers was very different then, it was technically of the very highest quality and superbly entertaining.

More goals were scored and there was a true sense of catharsis at the end of a game. Goodison was a true fortress and Everton earned envy and commanded respect. Unfortunately, so few of Everton's games of those days survive on video. In one of the few in which Alan Ball and Alex Young played together, we literally took Manchester United apart and gave them a footballing lesson.

Interestingly, the core issue back then was as it is today: Money. We had it; most of the others didn't. To quote the contemporary song: "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end." O Tempora! O Mores!
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Fernandes a Welcome Change

Count me among those tired of seeing us bid on the same Joey Bartons, David Nugents, and <insert your own marginal Scottish player here> of the world. If we ever get all the wrinkles ironed out and finalize this deal, the acquisition of young and emerging talent that may cost a bit more than the norm represents a welcome ? if only temporary ? change in the line of thinking that David Moyes is accustomed to.

The Joey Bartons and David Nugents of the world appear to have about the same upside that the Simon Davies's and James McFaddens have ? very little. Is an expensive move for Fernandes risky? You bet. But I'm ready for my club to start taking some bigger swings if they ever have hopes of knocking down bigger opposition.
Rob Vera, Oklahoma City, OK, USA  (24/1/07)

Re: Just checking

Fair enough, I agree with you to be honest. I should really have put 'wrongly' doesn't think his players can play attractive football.

I think we have to remember that our players aren't THAT good, but I get your point that they're definitely good enough to do the basics of good football.

I mean, I'm sure Moyes would be pleased if we started playing brilliantly and hoof and hope all but disappeared. Maybe he doesn't know how to make it happen. But this doesn't mean he actively coaches the players to boot it.

He's a bit of an odd manager really isn't he, hence the debate I suppose...
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (24/1/07)

He's a bit of an odd manager... or he is right on the cutting edge of the new football paradigm, and we soft-arse supporters aren't quite with it. Well, except for Dickie Dodd, and the other Apologists who recognized these incredible qualities of visionary foresight in our manager long before anyone else and are able to gloss over the huge swings in his record to to maintain their conviction that we are making slow and steady progress... he is the Moyesiah, after all! ? Michael

Kindred Spirit?

In response to Rick Tarleton's article praising [and rightly so] the 1963 league winning team, he was correct to say that the team that won promotion in 1954 was to an extent an ageing outfit, but I think it may have been an oversight on his behalf to omit from the players worth watching, the following: Jimmy O'Neill, Eric Moore, Peter Farrell, Cyril Lello, John Willie Parker, and Tommy Eglington.

It wasn't the norm for clubs to purchase as many players season to season as it is today, but it was obviously a failing on behalf of the Board not to strengthen on the back of promotion. [It would appear that today's management is not the only one to get things wrong].

He is also correct to suggest that the catalyst was the involvement of John Moores, but the seeds were sown in 1958 with the acquisition of Alex Parker and Bobby Collins. Ian Buchan was in charge of team affairs at that time, but I believe that the transfers would have been overseen by a club director.

The appointment of Johnny Carey led to further recruits: Tommy Ring, Roy Vernon, Mickey Lill, and Jimmy Gabriel ? to be joined at a later date by Alex Young and George Thomson. The team that represented the club for most of the 1960-61 season was Dunlop; Parker, Thomson; Gabriel Labone, Brian Harris; Lill, Collins, Jimmy Harris, Vernon, Temple. Tommy Ring played the first 11 games, a broken leg sustained at Stamford Bridge opened the door for Temple; a further six players were used in what was a problem position.

That team secured 5th place in the league, the highest placing since the Championship-winning side of 1939. The dismissal of Carey and the appointment of Harry Catterick lit the blue touch paper and, as they say the, rest is history (if you know it!). Although I am slightly older than Rick, I sense a kindred spirit.
John McFarlane, Skelmersdale  (24/1/07)

Michael Ball

So the best left back we've had in the last ten years goes to City on loan, when we could actually do with him ourselves. Micheal Ball can also do a good job in the centre of defence and midfield and he's an out and out Evertonian. Totally over-qualified for our dunce of a manager.

Speaking of which, I notice the naive Moyes is still getting rid of players before he's brought anyone in. He'll never learn. And if he does sign a couple of foreigners he'll probably throw them straight in against Liverpool instead of waiting until the game after.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Now, now... you're not allowed to criticise our wonderful manager and certianly you mustn't call him naughty names. Go and stand in the corner!

A few points

1. We're a far better side now than when Moyes took over. Until the progress has clearly stopped (ie, our league position starts falling over a couple of seasons), why change things and risk making things a hell of a lot worse.

2. Playing nice football is great but nowhere near as important as winning. And we're clearly doing more winning now than we typically have for the past 15 years or so.

3. Let's be realistic. Let's not settle for mediocrity, let's settle for slow and continual progress.

4. 1 = 20

Ronnie Mukelteo, Merseyside  (24/1/07)

The thing is, it's not slow and continual progress:

  • 2002-03: Great progress; Magnificent seventh with negative goal difference; Manager of the Year. Superb first full season.

  • 2003-04: Massive reversal; falls out with and eventually loses Rooney; Lowest ever points total with neagative GD.

  • 2004-05: Fabulous Fourth, Champions League qualification. Fantastic achievement with neagtive GD; Manager of the Year ? again! Unbelievable!

  • 2005-06: Crash & Burn; European fisaco; massive embarrassment in Bucharest; out of four cups in one season; cannot score for months; finally recover in 2006 but can't manage top ten with negative GD and the lowest ever goals scored.
Now forgive me, please; that is anything but "slow and continual progress"!!! The only element of continuity is the fucking negative goal difference!!! No, it's a massive rollercoaster ? and it is making me violently ill!

1 = 20 ??? WTF??? ? Michael

Short of funds?

Could it be that the reason the Fernandes deal is taking so long to tie up is because the coffers don't stretch to a permanent deal in Summer? If Portsmouth couldn't afford him with all their new found wealth, how can we?

What with Howard's loan deal to make permanent and no doubt future payments to make on Lescott, will there be anything in the pot at all come Summer?

Or do we simply worry about that later?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (24/1/07)

Just checking

No one actually thinks Moyes prefers playing poor football to good football do they? He's said lots of times about the importance of quality players and how he likes to see good goals.

He's just not a big risk taker and, rightly or wrongly, he doesn't think his players are good enough to play attractive football and win match after match this way. But to say he coaches the long ball into players because it's his "style" is just totally wrong.
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (24/1/07)

Talk is cheap, Ben. We can only go by what we see on the field. His lack of confidence in their ability to play football, his insistence on defensive saftey over attacking adventurism... the list is endless, Ben: have you not been paying attention?

In the first half against Wigan, I counted 46 aimless long-ball hoofs upfield in the first half alone. It's the same game after game. Are you trying to tell me that Moyes wants them to play any differently? Or does that explain why he spends the whole match yelling at them?

The latest stunning revleation of Moyes's brilliant training regime is that they actually practise head tennis!!! And sure enough, every Everton game without fail seems to feature a sequence of that utterly mindless head tennis that gets us absolutely nowhere. But there I go again, looking for a player to trap an airball with his foot or chest it down and control it in one movement ? as like what we wuz taught to do as kids. No; now it's fucking head tennis!!!. Unbelievable. ? Michael

McFadden & Davies

Will anyone actually miss McFadden? The longer he is out, the better... and then a transfer back to Scotland will do us all a favour. I am sorry it did not work out for Davies though. He was never given a run in the one position; I have seen him play in three different positions in one game and, yes, he didn't set the place alight but we will never know now. The last two years he was at Spurs he played right wing-back, so I ask myself, why did we buy him when we don't play that system?
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (24/1/07)

Stop it Mr Dodd, you are killing me!

I have never knowingly insulted anybody on this site but I make an exception for Richard Dodd. How he can even suggest that Moyes could have helped Alex Young to improve is the daftest thing I have ever read. He would never have picked Young. He would have treated him like an alien because he played a game that Moyes does not appreciate. Effortless efficiency is not considered as attractive as running about like directionless loons lumping the ball ever higher even when the playing surface is sound.

As for McKenzie (not a particular favourite of mine)... he would probably have refused to play for Moyes if the Manager insisted that the game had to be played his way. Having written that last sentence, I realize that the present team is lacking in real characters (or mavericks) willing to challenge this manager's pre-occupation with ugly football and that is a major part of the problem... 7th or not.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Worried!!!

We have five strikers... well, I say "strikers" ? two are young raw lads and another is the club record £6 million waste of time and money (why doesn't Moyes cut his losses and get rid?). The other gives the ball away more often than not ? and our star man is out for a month.

Why dont we take a chance and go for Mido or even better Nugent? WHY OH WHY is the Fernandes deal taking so long or is Moysey waiting to unvail more people to get the squad numbers up? People like K Richards, S Wright-Phillips or even Milner from Newcastle would be good players to go for and to add to the squad.

According to wot the internet is saying, Mark Hughes is on his way out. Why we are already short of numbers or is Moysey starting to loose the plot?
Craig Nolan, Neston  (24/1/07)

Straight-forward transfers

Another transfer window, another set of dodgy transfer targets and rumours:

  • Fernandes, while talented, is apparently a trouble-maker, with a dodgy agent thrown in.
  • Joey Barton, talented player again but would cause a row in an empty room. Didn't want to come to us any way.
  • Andy Johnson: we paid too much money for him. Lescott, huge concerns over his knee before we bought him.
  • Beattie, overpriced but your cheque just cleared so tough.
  • The Sissoko debacle anyone?
  • Now David Healy: average Championship player.
What is it with David Moyes and transfer targets? Fair enough, Lescott has turned out to be a gem, but why can't I read a piece of football coverage and see that we've put a bid in for a Freddie Lundberg or a Robert Pires? Decent players in areas we need that are the right price. Just for once I would like to see us put in a bid that's accepted for a decent player, no strings or complications or sneering by other clubs' fans attached.

And then, just to rub it in, Andy's injury means Beattie is probably going nowhere before the summer. What chance he'll be worth even less then?

ps: Just back from New York. Found a bar that shows the football ? it's called the Irish Bar and is on 54th Street and 7th Ave.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (24/1/07)

Targets

Manuel Fernandes ? Taking too long for my liking; have United come calling??

David Healy ? Good player; cheap price and wages, can score goals, pacey, a good back-up and a good squad player to have.

Mido ? We are in need of a man who can score goals; this man is proven and at £3M surely worth a look.

Shaun Wright-Phillips ? If we can get him on loan and even if he only stays for the 6 month loan, he'd surely be an excellent addition and that would give us an extra dimension.

Next Game Tactics - From our last team sheet, we need to find players to take the place of Johnson, McFadden and Davies; the next match will be tough.
Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Er... McFadden didn't actually feature on our last teamsheet. The next match is in fact a boondoggle down on the English Riviera... it's the one after that I'd be worrying about, against a rampant Liverpool at Anfield: they ussually are tough. But it's in games like this that defensive resilience, hard work, team spirit and committment come to the fore ? things David Moyes has shown he can get from his players. But will it be enough to neutralise the scoring of goals that still seems to be crucial to the winning of such games??? — Michael

Apologist Acceptee No 2

I have seen the good days, yes as far back as the 1930s including the odd sighting of Dixie in his declining years. On odd occasions during my time as a rabid supporter, the lads have done me proud but, I must tell you not all that often.

The problem today is the 'Big Four' who largely, through the possession of considerable wealth, have assembled a succession of top sides, which with the exception of Arsenal, they would not have been able to do if given the money David Moyes has at his disposal for most of the time.

Certainly, the big hoof down the pitch from certain defenders has me writhing in my seat as much as anyone of you. However, I am aware that the composition of the side today is noticeably better than for some years.

Slowly, yes ever so slowly, we appear to be trying to improve the quality of young players coming through the Academy. The trouble being that they are about a couple of years short of the age when they will be a considerable addition to the squad.

Whether the change I anticipate will come soon enough for me, I am not too sure but for you younger supporters, 'Keep the Faith', I do believe the time is coming when we will have another odd moment to feel really chuffed about.

However, without a sort of Sugar Daddy, I rather feel we won't enlarge the Big Four to the Big Five
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (24/1/07)

Apologist Acceptees 'r' Us

Think back to the time when Walter Smith was being mooted as Everton Manager - I remember people saying "this is exactly what we need - a good disciplinarian who'll take them by the scruff of the neck" etc. But the football then was atrocious, besides the brief period when Jeffers and Campbell where a hit.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think Moyes is doing himself any favours with the way he sends teams out to play but he is the best man for the moment. Consider the days of finishing 15th, 14th... at least with Moyes we have had 2 top ten finishes and one more on the way ? hopefully! Unless we get a sugar daddy, it ain't going to happen. If you look at the Premiership it has nearly always been the teams that spend the most that finish in the top 5.
Eugene McLoughlin, Ireland  (24/1/07)

Sad, pathetic and very worrying...

If any Evertonians out there who where contemplating suicide have read the latest posts from Paul Attress and Charlie Gofton then I am afraid they will have committed Hari Kari by now.

Gofton can be excused just a little as he is still a fledgling Bluenose but Attress he wants locking up for spreading such mind-numbing shite. His latest gem, "Ssimply gazing at the table with a smug look on my face because we are in the top 10" made me want to vomit. My toes are still curling up in my shoes as we speak. Horrible! ? just horrible that any fan of ours can really think like that.

Where's the ambition gone these days? Why are we starting to accept such poor standards as being fantastic achievments? Another season will pass us by in May and with no Cup runs to talk about and no European Competion qualified for ? how's that an achievement???

The football we watch is as bad as I have ever seen... but that's okay as long as we stay in the top 10, is it? It's not the fucking pop charts, Paul ? it's the world of proffessional football, where success equals money, and money equals success. Being in the top 10 gets you fuck all, mate.

Fans like Gofton and Atress are one of the main reasons Everton FC will never get anywhere soon. They set the bar lower than the world champion limbo dancer. Too easily fooled and quite happy to buy into the Kenwright/Moyes bullshit machine. No clue of what real success for a club of our size and tradition really is. No idea of how damaging views like theirs really are to this great club of ours. Absolutely no grasp of what most fans would like to see out on the pitch on a Saturday afternoon.

If fans accept this shit as being wonderful then more of this shit we shall get and that's the reality of it all. Any more of this crap and I will be on suicide watch myself. I always thought it was Kopites are Gobshites but now I am not so sure. Less than a mile seperates the two clubs so why is it that the demands and ambitions of both sets of fans are a million miles apart? Liverpool supporters demand success and so the Board at Anfield act accordingly. We, on the other hand, want nothing more than survival ? and that's all we get.

Its not hard to figure out is it? Sing "Davey, Davey Moyes" at games and tell Bill everything's okay and this two fans ? I really am.
Tony Marsh, Wits End  (24/1/07)

Ah! Tony.... as ever you nail it in inimitable style. But the hordes of AA supporters ? Apologist Acceptees ? is growing by the day and the likes of you and me are old fossils the game is leaving behind. — Michael

Davies

First things first; bye bye, Si! Add your name to the ever growing list of "What in the name of fuck did we sign him for?" players.

Secondly, why does it always take so long for Everton to do a transfer dealing?
David Lawrence, Cork, Ireland  (24/1/07)

The Wigan Result

I too was happy with the win at the JJB stadium, which resembeled a farmyard rather than a football pitch. I moaned when the passes went astray (yet again) but the conditions were bad enough to keep the dog inside by the fire.

I saw the Arsenal v Man Utd game later in the day. Their pitch actually had to be watered according to the commentator to ensure the surface was soft enough! After a few passes began to go astray I counted all of them for the last hour of play. Would you believe the tally was Arsenal 35 and Man Utd 36. I was quite gobsmacked and in future perhaps I won't get quite so animated when the Blues indulge in it.
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (24/1/07)

I must admit I noticed the same thing, Tony, and was hoping no-one would bring that up! Maybe I will have to concede that modern football really is a totally different game now, where the qualities that all Evertonians I knew growing up held dear in earlier times (ball control, skill, flair, accurate passing, retaining possession etc) are all a thing of the past ? sacrificed upon the altar of a new expediency.

Quite what that new expediency comprises on the field of play is something I struggle to appreciate in any way.

I will admit, though, having never played as a defender, and never really having studied that black art, I probably have a complete lack of appreciation for 70% to 90% of what now passess for "football" ? because, as wiser souls below have pointed out: defensive football is the only thing that matters now. Goals are merely fortuitous opportunities taken from set pieces or defensive mistakes.

Talking of which, did anyone notice in the Sheffield Utd v Reading game, there was an exact replica of the Everton free-kick that Reading defended to a man with a superbly drilled move, which put at least four Everton players offside at a stroke the other week at Goodison? Only this time, the Sheffield Utd players stayed onside ? and scored! Michael

Quality football

In 2004-05, when we started the season, endless so-called writers and experts had this club down as a relegation certainty. Stretford had put pound signs in Rooney's eyes and Radzinski thought he would have more success at the 'bigger club' ? Fulham! At that stage in the height of my devistation and anger, I wanted Moyes, Irvine, Kenright and Sir Phillip Carter out.

I then watched, throughout the next year, the unthinkable: a side so gritty and defensively brilliant, achieve Champions League quailfication ahead of Liverpool with an -1 goal difference. I was absolutely overjoyed; those writers who had us down for relegation did the noble thing and awarded Moyes runner-up Manager of the Year. The LMA went one step further and gave him the managers' Manager of the Year award. All this for a man relatively unknown outside of the Football League. Had it not been for a truely poor referring decison and a disastrous 90 minutes in Bucharest, his reputation would have crossed over the water and beyond.

This is so easily forgotten and some may argue his downfall, but for 90 brilliant minutes at home to Man Utd and Newcastle and 50 mins here or there against City, Portsmouth, Norwich and Palace away, the football was never great, but I bet not one single Evertonian in the world cared the slightest bit as you woke on 9 August 2005.

Good quality football is unimportant to those of us who just want to win and suceed. When we get into Europe three years on the trot and continue to unimpress with our new expensive acquisitions then I will start to worry but, until that day, 1 minute of brilliance, luck, class, flair, skill or off the arse will do for me as long as I can wake up the following day and sit smuggly, clutching a glass of asprin. WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!!
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Just one point: "...relatively unknown outside of the Football League." ??? This is the Summer of 2005 you are talking about? At that point, David Moyes had been well known for a number of years as the manager of one of the biggest clubs in England, a sleeping giant called Everton. However low you think our profile was, becoming the manager of Everton ? not to mention the wonderful title Moyes bestowed upon his new club at the time ? propelled this young (then) unknown (in 2002) upcoming Football League manager to the very heights of football fame.

Let's not rewrite history for the sake of a point you are trying to make. David Moyes was in no way a football unknown when he became Manager of the Year for a second time, lest you forget! — Michael

What a great day!!!

First we get money for Davies then McFadden breaks one of the very many useless bones in his foot. Quality! ? what a good day all round for Everton.
Sam Bowley, Bristol  (24/1/07)

Noble v Dodd

I actually read Mr Dodd's letter without knowing he was the writer... first time in a long time. As for Mr Noble, I too, by his criterion, am a control freak. Over the years I have broken 3 coffee tables, 1 standard lamp a birdcage and a big toe kicking every ball of televised Everton games. I sometimes kick and head every ball when I'm watching highlights of games I've been to. I'm sure others do similar... remember the wonderful image of Big Joe heading the winner from the touchline in `95?

Also, I wonder if a bit of bullying at the right time by the right people might have saved the careers of, Mssrs Kenny, Cadamarteri and Jeffers, for example?

Finally, unlike Mr Noble I am not a member of the inner-circle of the Secret Order of the Blessed Knights of St Domingo so could he please provide us all with proof of the "truth" of the current management's intolerance of Rooney.
Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (24/1/07)

Oh god no, please. Not the Rooney stuff all over again! ? Michael

Fernandes

Gotta agree with Ben: I'm getting a little worried too. Not that I don't have complete faith in Moyes, Kenwright and Wyness (ahem, ahem) but this Fernandes deal sure is taking a lot of time huh?

Looks like McFadden's injury will give Moyes a reason to buy another full back "We're down on numbers upfront so we better get even more men behind the ball..."

Oh the joys of it all...
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (24/1/07)

Please...

... can we sign Fernandes? Am I the only one starting to get a little bit worried...
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (24/1/07)

Bye

Just wanted to say cheerio to Simple Si. Cheerio.
RJ Leighton, Phnom Penh, Cambodia  (24/1/07)

Ave It!

It might not be very cool to admit this, but I was absolutely delighted by the result on Sunday. As you've probably guessed I'm more of a tactician than a lover of the beautiful game. I'm an Evertonian and if we can win by means fair or foul, I'll take it.

It's all very well glibly stating that if we can pass well in the five-second build up to our goal then we can keep it up for the full ninety, but this demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the game of football, and sport in general. The point you seem to be missing is that there are two teams playing. On Saturday, Wigan weren't going to stand applauding us as we passed pretty triangles around them, before back heeling the ball into the net. No. They were always going to scrap tooth and nail, bundling us off the ball, kicking, shoving, and generally dragging us into a scrap.

And oh yes, it's blowing a gale, the pitch is like a bumpy sponge, and the neat ball to the winger looks an absolute synch from the warmth and comfort of your barstool, but in reality it could go absolutely anywhere. And the likelihood is, if the monster up front chases it down he's going to ram it straight back down your throat. In conditions like that the only safe option is the hoof, and thankfully that's exactly what we did, and we won. Good.

Ridiculous airy-fairy notions that the beautiful game can somehow be imposed upon the JJB on a wintry Sunday afternoon in Wigan, would end us up in one place. The Championship.
Steve McBride, London  (24/1/07)

I would advise you, as a football tactician, to rewind the tape, and analyse it carefully. The hoofballs bought us nothing. Strangely, we stopped playing hoofball when Victor came on and we started to move the ball into the penalty area a little better. That's what won us the penalty; that's what got us the win. The second goal was icing on the cake. It takes guile and creativity to win any game, however bad the conditions. If Moyes allowed no ? actually encougaged ? these values in his players, perhaps we'd be winning the games he says we should have won, but didn't. — Michael

Nobby sees the light

Good to see that so many of today`s posters take a much more supportive view of David Moyes than Brian Noble. Whilst, for once, Nobby feels able to admit that the manager`s approach is at least pragmatic, he is scandalouly wrong on one point.

There is absolutely no evidence that Davey did anything but advance the career of Wayne Rooney and whilst I know little of Young and MacKenzie, I am sure he would have done the same for them.

As far as this magical ingredient `flair` is concerned, the present side has it in abundance. Arteta, Lescott, Johnson, Yobo and Neville are all signings of supreme quality and as the maestro continues to improve the team so will the quality of their output.

Yes, Mr Noble, Davey is here for a very long stint. Thank God for that, I say!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (24/1/07)

This *present* Everton side has plenty of flair? Shakes head and scuttles off to the next incoming mailbag submission.... - Colm

I need a new hero!!

Couldn't believe my ears.. just heard Kevin Ratcliffe [who was until now one of my heroes!!] say on Welsh radio that Simon Davies was not made to feel welcome at Everton and would be glad to get back to London to a bigger Club [Fulham!!] to prove himself.

So Kevin rates Fulham as a big club does he? Is he on another planet? Nice guy, he might be, but Simon Davies has only scored 1 goal in 57 games for Everton... pity he didn't prove himself at Everton.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (24/1/07)

A Good Team?

Is anyone actually saying we have a bad team?

Tom Bennett has inadvertently proved a few different points. The fact that we are seventh while rarely playing anything approaching decent football only proves that the Premiership is shite outside of the top four and that if you are an organised team that can pinch the odd win, up the table you go.

The margin of error in this approach is very tight. When it went well for us, we finished 4th, when it went badly for us, we finished 17th and 11th. I can't see us getting any higher, because the teams above us have more players who can do damage to their opponents. We won't make up five points by not losing.

The 'reality' of the Premiership at the moment is that people are being brainwashed into believing that entertaining football outside the top four is 'impossible' and that in order to have a team of intelligent players with a sense of movement and comfort when passing and receiving a football, you need to have a bottomless pit of money ? though the figure keeps going up the more money Moyes spends!

I'd like Moyes to turn the clock back five years and think of the attitude and spirit he generated in his first full season, when, funnily enough, with genuinely little money, we entertained and finished 7th. Wasn't 'impossible' then, was it? Now we have 'better' players playing dreadful safety-first football.

Imagine this improved squad with that old approach from the same manager.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (24/1/07)

Good letter, Paul. That is exactly what I've been pushing for. But now I've fianally accepted Football is Fooked, I'm switching over to rugby. — Michael

Tesco and Investment

Further to my posting about regeneration funding of the Everton area, from this article it now sounds like part of that regeneration just down Scotty Road could include what sounds like a pretty big Tesco superstore.

Just gets me thinking now, with having a huge store just down the road, what Sir Terry Leahy plans to do if BK sells him Goodison Park should this regeration go ahead, which is sounding more likely then the area is on the up.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (24/1/07)

Gavin, there's been whispers for the past couple of weeks, all suggesting that Tesco are to build on the site of the market on Great Homer Street. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what plans Tesco may or may not have for Goodison in the event of Everton moving outside the City boundary. ? Colm

Stuff The Beautiful Game

No offense, Michael, you're a top bloke but you're beginning to sound like a broken record. The good football argument is now very tired.

Personally I don't give a stuff how exciting the football is, I will gladly sit through 90 minutes of utter dross so long as we win and I can spend the rest of the week smugly gazing at the league table with my beloved Everton in the Top 10.

The beautiful football is a bonus, getting points on the board is what's important and Everton are still 7th so Moyes is doing great in my book.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

Football is fooked.

Attack vs Defence

I agree entirely, Jim, that attack needs to be worked on; my point was merely that if the defence are working on not conceding goals then the attack by proxy must be working on scoring them.

You're making several assumptions throughout your response including a lack of coaching knowledge on my part (I'm an amateur football manager :-)), that the attackers have to 'just get on with it' (is that a quote?) and that I actually agree with the massive emphasis on defence hinted at.

In reality, I make no comment on the quality of training, whether I agree with the methods or whether there should be a shift in emphasis ? I simply pointed out that attackers are getting practice (the fact that it doesn't seem to be doing them any good is irrelevant in the context of that point).

However, my light-hearted quibbling over semantics aside, I agree that Everton are not playing particularly well at present and definitely look devoid of ideas going forward, which in itself is an indicator that the attack aren't performing well. While I do feel it's important to make yourself difficult to beat in the first instance, the quality of defender at the club suggests we could be a little more expansive.

Nevertheless, it's worth pointing out that I for one feel that the system against Wigan wasn't necessarily that negative ? simply that attacking fluency was lacking. Furthermore, in a sense Moyes's hands are tied in that Beattie is out of form (and not worth a start) and Anichebe is still a bit green so we're lacking in options a little up front (it's obviously of course down to the manager to put this right).

Looking at it more generally, I think there is a trend for top flight teams to adopt a more cautious, defeat-avoiding approach, particularly on the road. Some of this probably boils down to the dominance of the Premiership by a small number of clubs; they're so far ahead that teams try to stifle their play rather than try to beat them and risk a hiding. Right or Wrong approach? Who knows? Sad? Definitely.
Chris Hutcheon, Leeds  (24/1/07)

Be Serious ? An alternative Perception

I can't believe people get bored of watching Everton, maybe you're watching the wrong sport.

I love watching Lescott, Hibbert, Neville, Carsley, and Nuno doing great passionate slide tackles. No other team gets the same passion! When you see Arteta do all those fabulous skills, with Cahill's passing, surely you must be able to chill out and appreciate it. They do a good job.

Could it be that we are so near, yet so far. Maybe we need another two attacking players of the quality of Arteta, Johnson, and Cahil. Can you imagine five players with their ability?

Sometimes when people are stressed they see moaning as stress relief, I've got a feeling that the moaners are moaning because they are following a leader. They are not moaning because of the actual football, they are moaning to fit in with their strange friend that is moaning about the football.

The football's good and Charlie Gofton merely stated how a lot of young blues feel.

Evertonians are special, we are lucky. Think about what we have got not what we have not. Be patient. Nuno Valente is a class act, to suggest he's boring is saying you hate football.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (24/1/07)

I think you're wrong: the football really is Shite with a capital S. But I also think you're right: I'd much prefer to watch a decent game of rugger! ? Michael

Missed Opportunity

A week-long series of events to commemorate William Ralph Dean`s Centenary should have been the cornerstone of efforts to raise the money to purchase the France Collection. Obviously Buster couldn`t find a fanchisee - or couldn`t see a way to turn a buck from it more like!
Don Taylor, Howarden  (24/1/07)

A job for life

I have come to accept that the debate re the abilities of Moyes and Irvine can have no sensible conclusion. Whilst both, in my view, are extremely limited in their vision of what the game is all about, it is obvious that they take a pragmatic approach focussed on survival ? both in terms of Premier status and of their own tenure.

Both to me are control freaks as illustrated by the `kick every ball` touchline behaviour and the bullying of Anichebe after the Newcastle game. I would go as far as to say that as `died in the wood professionals`(both of very average ability)they despise flair, regarding it as the cult of the individual, preferring instead a kind of football communism with all the defensive paranoia that the phrase implies.

In truth, they were intolerant of Rooney just as they would have hated the silky skills of Alex Young or the antics of Duncan McKenzie.

But whatever our `reservations` ? far too generous a word for how I feel about them ? they (or at least Moyes) are here for what I suspect will be a very long shift. In the business sense, Kenwright would be mad to gamble on a change purely because the product on offer was not visually attractive. The experience of Charlton who wished to `move up a gear` from Curbishley shows how dangerous is a gamble like that.

The other factor ? and by far the most significant one ? is the ever lowering demands and perception of the game by the Sky generation of supporters. The `top four` are now seen as a given and any manager outside that cartel is required only to pick up the scraps. For most of his tenure, Moyes has proved more than adept at working within that limitation and if that is to the satisfaction of his Chairman then I can well understand that he truly has `a job for life.` Enjoy!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (24/1/07)

Okay, when you put it like that, I think it is something I will very reluctantly have to accept. As Colm has been saying all along: "Football is fooked"!!! ? — Michael

It ain't what you do

It's the way that you do it... and Moyes's teams don't do it very well, from a spectator point of view anyway.

But in business ? and make no mistake football IS a business and has been for years, starting back when the first worker (player) was sold (transfered) to a competitor (other club) for a profit, on to the maximum wage being abolished, the workers thought that was in their favour and it was in cash terms, but in real terms it made the ones with the cash (bosses as ever) even MORE powerful.

Fast forward to MOTD, publicise the product. Throw in a carrot for the workers in the form of BOSMAN.

Remember when, in the 80s the price of a stand ticket was £4.00 INCLUDING a program, a bit of success and up it went to £4.50 WITHOUT the prog. G14, the PL, the CL, Sky, pay per view, agents, the stock exchange, etc etc anyway you get the picture... IT'S A BUSINESS.

In busnesses, targets are set and, if achieved, bonuses are paid (isn't that right Buster??) but if the targets are (how shall I say it?) 'false' or seemingly grand, but in reality only sustainable in the short term... 'by implementing this scheme (and behind every scheme is a schemer, eh Buster?) initial savings of xxxxxx will be achieved in fiscal 07-08,'. Don't mention that the caterers' (say) are making money hand over fist, giving a poorer service at a higher price and that the 'savings' are actually made by sacking 'Betty' and her ilk who have done it for years.

All this 'guff' and not one mention of the customer, who used to be the fan but is now a world wide television audience / cash cow.

Twenty odd years ago (how quick it went, how heady they were) I had the chance to speak with a big wheel (pardon pun) from Fords / Detroit and fell into the simple trap, when asked what is our core business, what do we make?? Right away I dived in, cars! Wrong!... we make money, that's what we do and if we could make that money without having so much as a nut and bolt in the place WE WOULD!

So, from what I can gather, our core business isn't football, it isn't even winning, it's about making money and you do that by staying in the Prem, anywhere from 7th to 17th will do and anything over that is big money, so even better. That's why we have crap football, cos (decent) football is no longer part of our core business.

If mid-80s style football comes along, all well and good, it will be a bonus. But don't hold your breathe! it isn't part of 'our' core business... more's the pity.
Derek Thomas, Auckland New Zealand  (24/1/07)

Excellent rant there, Derek! ? Colm

Now that analysis, cynical though it may be, makes more sense than any of the lame excuses trotted out by the Moyes apologists. Good one, Derek! ? Michael

Euro places

If my memory serves me right, Fifa say defending champions don't gain automatic qualification whereas Uefa say otherwise. In the case of the EPL, a team finishing outside the top 4 but winning the CL will qualify, and the team that finishes 4th will be out.

Remember the hoo-hah last season because Spurs almost finished ahead of Arsenal? They were saying even if Spurs finished 4th but if Arsenal beat Barca in the CL final, Spurs would not qualify.
Daniel Lim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  (24/1/07)

Rules are made to be broken, particularly when concerning G14 clubs, lest we forget! ? Colm

Not Pretty ... but aye, we WON didn't we

I watched the Everton game on Sunday away at Wigan and, to put it mildly, it was like watching paint dry. Not bretty but aye we got 3 points. After watching the Arsenal - Man Utd game I realised it is gonna be a LOOOOONNG time until we get to the level that these teams play at. I basked in my teams glory though... Ugly but WE WON though.
Colin van der Ross, South Africa  (24/1/07)

Euro places

"NB I am unsure what effect an English side winning the Uefa Cup and finishing outside the top 6/7 will have on this.."

As Liverpool and Brazil have realised, Fifa changed the rules a few years back,: the winners of a cup do not gain automatic entry the next season.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (24/1/07)

We must have a good team?

After the result at Wigan, someone at work (neutral) commented that were having a good season. I thought to myself that we've only played well on 2 or 3 occasions (Liverpool and Spurs, Newcastle we were ok) yet we're in 7th place only 5 points off 5th. With this in mind it struck me that we can't really be that bad a side, even if we don't play great football.

Also we're still yet to go on a good run this season, which Bolton and Pompey already have. We seem to win 2, draw 1, then lose 1, but never go on a run of 4 or 5 back-to-back win's. It's supposed to be a mark of a good team if they can win without playing well, which I think we've done most of the season. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that we must be a good team, and I can see us finishing 5th this season.
Tom Bennett, Coventry  (24/1/07)

Working class heroes

To my lasting regret, I did not see the great man play but, going by my dad and Len Darby?s countless tales, they were unforgettable years to be an Evertonian.

Len was an older workmate who worshipped Dean. His proudest possession was ?Dixie Dean ? The Life Story of a Goal Scoring Legend? It was signed by the great man himself ?to my old friend Len?. I begged Len for a loan of his treasured book and after proving my Everton credentials it came in pristine condition wrapped in several tissue papers enclosed in a sturdy brown paper bag. Because my job was boilermaking, I had to promise to wash my hands before reading.

Dear old Len eventually joined his idol in the big blue heaven that awaits all true Evertonians. When a proper and decent mourning period had passed I dared ask his dear wife about the whereabouts of that book. She told me that four blues, obviously less considerate than I, had beat me to it. With a sympathetic smile she told me they too had missed out because in accordance with Len?s last wishes it had been buried with him. Vale Dixie, a great player and Vale Len Darby, a great supporter.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (24/1/07)

I think we´re doing fine

The only way to start and turn things around is to sign promising young players or to use the youth within the club. Moyes is doing just that. Every year we´re getting closer and maybe in about 2009-10 we´ll be ready to challenge the top four for real. Then next time we´ll make it to the groupstages in the Champions League and build from there.

I think we should be optimistic, look at Newcastle for example, what a misery, they just can't get it right. We´ll finish 5th this year, already!
Håkan Trondespore, Sweden  (23/1/07)

Or 15th!

Dixie Dean tribute

Many thanks to Ian Macdonald for a brillant piece on Dixie Dean. A great insight to the greatest of Evertonians. However, a small sentence had me searching for the history books. I never knew that Dixie had played 12 games for Sligo Rovers (I obviously don't know my history!) and then discovered that my hometown club Waterford had prevented Dixie from winning an Irish Cup medal. I mentioned this to a Wateford United club member today and he couldn't recall such a final.

A little bit of research concluded (Google) that it was in fact Shelbourne that had denied Dixie another piece of silverware. Waterford did win the cup in '37 but it was Shelbourne who were victorious over Dixie after a replay in '39.
Rodger Cropera, Waterford  (23/1/07)

For all to see

Without wishing to sound too patronising, if Chris Hutcheon had ever coached, he would realise that defending or breaking up play is the easiest element of football. Creating, scoring and attacking are the most difficult ? why else are forwards and creative midfielders so expensive compared to full backs and centre-backs? If you don't work on attacking as a principle then the players do not develop the necessary habits of attacking play.

Also, Chris, the point being made by Stubbs was that the emphasis, ie the coaching, was about how to stop the others scoring and at no time did it move to how to score and how to break down a defence. Alan Irvine and others concentrated purely on the defenders and more or less let the attackers just get on with it. Do you actually think that this is good progressive coaching for a Premiership club?
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (23/1/07)

Unreserved apology

It would appear that my article, Experts and Happy Days, was not met with a favourable response in some quarters. It was admittedly, written with a degree of sarcasm, but was not directed at any group or individual. On reflection,the reference to the unemployed was to say the least, insensitive, and I apologise unreservedly.

What prompted me to write it was the fact that so many posts on this site, highlighted problems that most Evertonians were already aware of, and no realistic solutions were proposed; there was also a tendency to villify certain individuals at the club. The fact that some supporters do no not march behind a banner chanting for the removal of Board and Manager does not mean that they are content with mid-table mediocrity and inept performances. It could, however, mean that, because they don't have the answers to the problems faced by this once great Club, they can only offer their support to the incumbent regime, until such time as solutions are found.
John McFarlane, Skelmersdale  (23/1/07)

He's not coming

Thanks for publishing my piece 'Poor Form' on the front page. I particularly liked the 'standard excuses' tag line. Very good. However I prefer the term 'reasons'.

Apologies if you've heard it all before, but I honestly get the impression that some of the mailbaggers genuinely don't understand why middle order Premiership clubs adopt the negative tactics that they do. The motivation for the article was to try to shed some light on the subject.

Of course there's always the head-in-the-sand NSNO brigade that believe we're the chosen club. That some kind of football messiah is going to stroll up County Road and resurrect the beautiful game in Walton. But he's not coming ? the money's better elsewhere, just ask the last miracle worker to grace Goodison Park ? Wayne 'once a blue' Rooney.
Steve McBride, London  (23/1/07)

I do utterly reject this line of thinking. It is a total cop-out to the newly imposed values of the Sky morons. It has nothing whatsoever to do with being "the chosen club". "He's not coming" you say... but Steve: HE'S ALREADY HERE!

There is no reason whatever why a decent manager can't assemble a decent group of players and get them to play decent football... oh look! We have two out of three already! And occasionally they can play some decent football! They've proved they can do it.

Nothing in your article explains to me why Everton players hoof the ball aimlessly up the field rather than playing to the feet of a teammate who has already made a move on his marker and can run onto it. Come on, it's not that hard... is it? ? Michael

Mad Women

I agree with Kevin Sparke's article but let's not bring politics into it!! I believe the re-structuring by the mad women of our economy and decline in manufacturing in the 80s was essential to the future success of our economy....
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (23/1/07)

Right... not bring politics into it ? indeed! ? Michael

In response to Steve McBride

Your artice does make some valid points about the better quality of first team players and the paper-thin squad, but where I have to disagree DMs policy when we do hit injuries. Taking your example of AJ's unfortunate ankle injury, why do we have to change a system (and by that I assume moving to Victor / BT leading the line)? We have a perfect and similar backup in James Vaughan. All too often, the way DM has moved from 4-4-2 to 4-1-4-1 to 4-5-1 and back not only demonstrates to the players that he doesn't have a system he favours but also each change takes 2-3 matches to bed back in. Let the system dictate the players and not vice-versa.
John Waugh, Lancs  (23/1/07)

Moyes through & through

I have been a Blue all my life (21 years) and will continue to be one forever. My dad missed my birth as he was still enjoying the fantastic sights of Rotterdam after are famous win in '85 so i come from the right breeding. I read ToffeeWeb everyday and enjoy the articles and comments made by our fantastic army of Bluenoses; however, I feel that I must now speak up for the club for which I live and breath.

I can assure you that I am sick to death of my Dad's endless talk of the glory years and how it will one day happen for me. He does this to make me feel proud of the Blues, and as a result to keep my faith in this great club alive. However, I speak for many of my friends of my age group and younger, when I say I don't need cheering up, I don't need being reminded of the history this proud club boasts, of what great players have played over the years in the famous Royal Blue.

But most of all, I dont need to read endless e.mails and messages from veteran Blues complaining that this Everton side is suffering under the leadership of David Moyes. Those of you who are first to complain of the poor football played are those who so easily forget the plight of us younger blues who, bar a fantastic win at Wembley and a very brief visit in Europe, are absolutely delighted with what he has done to our not so long ago laughable club. Sure we are not the best side to watch in the league, but with the resources we do have, he does a fantastic job.

How can anyone consider getting rid of the man when not one of you has come up with a suitable replacement. Taylor, Coppell and Jones to name a few are comical. For this club to move forward we need to get rid of the moaning, move to a new ground, start getting behind our club at home matches and listen to our young fans whose commitment to this sleeping giant is unquestionably priceless, and like it or lump it, Moyes through and through.
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (23/1/07)

I despair at the lack of critcial assessment this view repesents from fans who should know better, fans who should have been brought up proper by their dads to know and understand what constitutes decent football.

Please, let's have enough of these pathetic and untenable excuses about lack of resources that have somehow held Moyes back and made it somehow necesary for his teams to play utterly shite football. Please watch a replay of Arteta's second goal and then explain to me why we can't play football like that for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes in a game? Instead of a minute at the end, if we are lucky.

It's not about getting a replacement for Moyes; it's about getting him to make more ? not less ? of the ample and highly paid resources he has at his disposal. This is supposedly the best collection of players assembled by an Everton manager in 20 years. Let's see some demonstration of that on the field of play, and not these boring excuses all the time. ? Michael

Euro places

In terms of Englands Uefa coefficients, it stands at: 4CL, 3UC, and 1ITT. This means that the top 5 are guaranteed European football, due to the last 2 places going to cup holders. If Arsenal or Chelsea (provided they finish above 4th) win the League Cup then that will guarantee 6th place in Europe. Finally if this happens (or Spurs win the League Cup and finish in the top 6) and the FA Cup final is between TWO sides in the top 6, which then means 7th place will be enough for the Uefa Cup, with the new format of the Intertinto Cup the "reward" for the side in 8th. Therefore, it is highly probable that 8th place will get a place in at least the Intertoto Cup.

NB I am unsure what effect an English side winning the Uefa Cup and finishing outside the top 6/7 will have on this.
Gareth Price, Lancaster  (23/1/07)

Arsenal Fan

I wonder what the response would be if we sent the same questions out to other fans at other clubs? Facilities? Parking? Doesn't bear thinking about...
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (23/1/07)

Funding is obviously about.....

Interesting to see that funding for regeneration of Liverpool does exist ? Decision due over Everton plans. Why not expand this regeneration to Walton and namely L4 around Goodison Park?
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (23/1/07)

Dixie Show

Just to correct the notes on the Radio Merseyside show, you can listen again NOW, and for the next seven days to the programme; you don't have to wait seven days. In fact, if you do, it'll be offline and you'll miss it.
Nick Lewis, Glendaruel, Scotland  (23/1/07)

Thanks for that. It is The Football Phone In and Rugby League programme. — Michael

Manelele

(From Wikipedia) - Manuel Fernandes' strong positional sense and tight marking are so impressive that Chelsea manager José Mourinho is known to be a keen admirer. Mourinho went as far as to compare his young compatriot to Claude Makélélé, stating that the Portuguese midfielder was better than the Frenchman at the same age. In the wake of these comparisons, many Benfica and Portugal fans have nicknamed Fernandes Manelelê.
Rich Williams, Grenada  (23/1/06)

Attack against defence

In response to Jim Hourigan's concern at Everton's training methods regarding the lengthy pitching of attack against defence ? he fails to grasp one important issue; that this exercise is only 50% based on keeping the ball out of the net. Does the attack not get decent practice trying to break down what according to Alan Stubbs is a pretty decent defence?
Chris Hutcheon, Leeds  (23/1/07)

Yea... but the key point is: THEY FAIL!

Fernandes in and out

Good to see Moyes replacing the disappointing Davies but mates down at Pompey tell me Fernandes is no great shakes. Apparently he`s a volatile character whose agent fell out with Rednapp because he wouldn`t play him in three games on the trot for fear of being committed to buy.I wonder if the same constraints will apply at Everton?
Malcolm Davies, Newbury  (23/1/07)

Dixie Dean Tribute

Sorry if I have missed something but are the club doing anything to mark the great man's 100th year? Or will it simply be forgotten about by our current keepers. I watched something on the BBC the other night about Dixie and the man himself states that he scored 84 goals that famous season. 60 in the league and the rest in cups and internationals. Truly amazing.
Ste Boileau, Walton  (23/12/07)

I thought it was actually 100 goals in all (56 games) but admittedly they were casting the net a bit wide to make that incredible total:

60 League goals
3 FA Cup goals
4 goals for England
6 goals for the Football League
8 goals in FA Trial games
9 goals on an FA tour
10 in friendly and charity games

Credit where its due

If Moyes manages to bring in Fernandes and Etherington in this window I think the man deserves a pat on the back. He has obviously listened to the crowd and reacted positively; here's hoping...
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (23/1/07)

Uefa Cup

Don't want to put the lamp on things (let's face it there's not much to put the lamp on really) but what are the Uefa Cup places this year? As I remember last year it was only 5th place guaranteed with the possibility of 6th if the right teams appeared in the cup finals. This year I've heard people talking about 6th as a guaranteed place so I was wondering if that had changed or something?

Don't think we'll make 6th anyway ? there are better teams than us round about ? but it gives me a bit of interest and it's good to look up for a change rather than over the shoulder. With 5 points needed for the magic 40 and nicely sat in 7th place, it's nice to hope for a bit ? until we do our annual end-of-season explosion.
Michael Johnson, London  (23/1/07)

Dixie Book

Just to chip in, buy this book ? Dixie Dean by John Keith ? and enjoy the read, share the history with your loved ones, so many people just don't know Dean's story in depth.

And another question ? pretty sure I'm not the first or last to ask: why hasn't this story been made into a film? As others have quite rightly stated, other sporting legends have been immoratlised on film, I just hope some day Dean will be too, hopefully not by some shabby cheapskate but with true expense and passion, his life story is inspirational.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (23/1/07)

This is in no way a reference to the archetype of your last line, but did not a certain theatre impresario venture into the world of film-making in the Arizonia desert recently? Surely this is Bill's chance to leave a lasting tribute and make himself a real name in Hollywood. Incidentally, what was the movie he was working on... and where is it now? ? Michael

Re: Sit Down Please

In response to Brian Finnigan;s demands that Moyes should sit in the stands and stop trying to direct teams, I wonder if he watched the Arsenal vs Man Utd match. He would have seen both Wenger and Ferguson regularly on the touchline whereas at Middlesbrough on Saturday Sam Allardyce took a seat in the stands and got a perfect tactical perspective on his team conceding four goals. During the world cup Sven was lambasted for never getting off his arse whereas the FA punishes manages by banning them from the touchline.

I don't suggest that one place is necessarily better than the other. Just that if Moyes feels he can operate better from the touchline then let him do it. As it was, in the face of all the complaints about long-ball football I watched him several times bollocking players (Phil Neville in particular) for aimless hoofs upfield.
John Holmes, York  (23/1/07)

Therer are places I remember...

...some are gone now and some remain. So Mr Flexman, if, as you say, Arteta is the best player you've seen in your lifetime... well then, the answer is obvious... you've only had a very short life. Just as long as Moyes doesn't start calling Fernandes 'The Portugese Rooney'...
Derek Thomas, Auckland New Zealand  (23/1/07)

Moyes is unaware?

A reaction to the claim that Moyes is 'unaware' of the need for a dominant central midfield player, to replace the hard work being done by a less able Lee Carsley: One word, Sissoko. Moyes nearly landed the signing of a complete unknown who's gone on to become a sensational signing for Liverpool. As hard as it is to admit it, he's been a terrific player for them. This may spark another criticism: "Yeah but 'nearly' isn't good enough LOL NSNO!!".

A fair criticism in some cases but surely no one could blame Moyes for this, whether you think it should all have been conducted with Soviet secrecy or not, the lad was always going to Liverpool when they registered their interest. He was Benitez's player, end of. This shows Moyes knows what we need and he's not going to jump into the market and buy shite to appease the the 'experts' who write internet columns. To do this would be a stupid risk. We need to wait until the right player is available. I doubt whether Joey Barton was the right player, and regardless of that he was unavailable anyway, or at least didn't want to leave.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (23/1/07)

Always look on the bright side

Here is a poser for our football purists and aficionados of the beautiful game: If in the derby we are rubbish yet somehow bag the points, will you be happy? Personally I would not give a damn if everything before was garbage should our winning goal come from a rebound of someone?s backside.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (23/1/07)

Everyone knows the answer to that one, Dickie. Nobody gives a shit about playing style in the derby ? a win over the old enemy is paramount. A 0-0 draw, not conceding in classic Moyes style, would be a fine result too, no matter how we play. But Liverpool have been banging the goals in recently, haven't they? And the inspiration of a 3-0 reversal at Goodison to avenge. So I fear the worst, I'm afraid. If they can't score against us.... well... — Michael

Present only half the story

With all due respect to Sean Flexman, he can only ever be half an Evertonian if he chooses to ignore the glorious past. How barren is life if we are ignorant of all that preceded our time? I never saw William Ralph in action but I had more pleasure from reading Ian Mac`s Dixie tribute today than I get from a dozen games in the Moyes regime.

My seven-year-old grandson never stops asking me to recount the great man`s feats and my duty as an Evertonian necessitates that I oblige him!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (22/1/07)

Harry, that is brilliant. In the very fewest words, you have captured so much ? so much that Sean has missed. Brilliant. — Michael

Playmaker

With the welcome news of the probable signing of Manuel Fernandes, commonly referred to as the 'new Makele', it would appear that we may finally be a step closer to addressing the long-term future of the defensive midfield position. I am certainly hoping that Fernandes fulfils his apparent potential and becomes the anchor man of the Everton side and not Nyarko-like in his commitment.

The news from Spain that all is not well for Riquelme at Villarreal, his future hanging in the balance following non-selection for Pellegrini's last five squads. After witnessing first-hand his dismantling of Everton in the Champions League qualifier and his performances for Argentina, such a player would compliment Arteta, Cahill and Fernandes in a 4-1-4-1 system. I'm sure if Riquelme does become available, then a queue of G14 leeches will be waiting to buy him.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

For all to see

Well, not quite ? as I'm sure not everyone reads the Guardian. This morning's report by Richard Rae paints an awful picture of the paucity of football offered by Everton and the lack of ambition by the manager. I don't know his allegiance but let me quote a couple of lines from his report

"This was a grim, joyless match from which nobody got what they deserved, least of all Everton"

"Coming to a club who had lost six matches in a row, David Moyes showed a poverty of ambition by sending his team out with only Johnson up front, intent primarily on not conceding a goal"

Now unless Richard is a closet red (or a pie muncher), his analysis of both the football and the tactics reflects what many of us have been thinking and saying for some time. From a National paper of some quality, this is a sad indictment of our football. Is it then any wonder that we fail to get the recognition and acknowledgement this great club deserves when national reporters are quite clearly appalled at the football on offer?

Yes people will quote the pitch and the weather, but were his tactics and the team's general play really that much worse than what we have seen of late? Well I for one don't think so.

Let me add another piece of information that comes directly from the mouth of one of most senior pros at the club ? Alan Stubbs. He was recently involved in a bona fide function in the evening and was asked in a personal conversation about his day at training. He explained that they had spent 2½ hours playing attack against defence. Corners, free kicks, general play etc. and was eulogising that they had not conceded a goal in the whole time. He explained that Alan Irvine was taking the training and that it was all about not conceding. This, he said, was the norm and that they concentrated almost every day on how not to concede.

Now I know good defending is important, call me a optimist and a dreamer if you like, but surely the overriding purpose of a game of football is to set out to try and win the game, not to win by default because the other team are even worse. Yes, some games call for a more conservative approach, but against Wigan!!!!

I can hear people already saying "Yeah, but we got 3 points," and "Who cares as long as we win?" Well, I for one do. I have loved the game of football and Everton since I was able to run. I played at a decent semi-pro level and like to think I know a bit about the game and what it means to people watching and playing. What I see is demoralising and does not reflect well on our great club, particularly not on an anniversary such as today ? class and quality were phrases my old man used about the great man. How he must be turning in his grave watching the drivel on offer today.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (23/1/07)

Excellent points in there, Jim. No wonder the team often falls apart and is without any confidence when the do (god forbid) concede a goal. — Michael

Please be discreet!

For goodness sake! Will Everton shut their stupid mouths and learn that stealth is the best policy with transfers!

Fernandes is a potentially exciting yet hard working player, more than I can say for the departing Davies (hopefully). But like Lyndon commented on, we don't want a Sissoko, Collymore and Bellemy situation again. Let's wrap things up then work the PR angle after.

And if this deal comes off then, for once, Moyes and co will get some credit from me. A six-month loan deal is a win for both club and player. Club to pay off the full transfer and player to integrate into the team (God willing). But I still want another left-back and Diop to add to the squad as we are thin-bare in those areas. Right-back isn't as urgent with Neville doing well there.

And please, fans, please let's not get all teary eyed with Davies leaving. Kilbane worked hard and is still a favorite in my eyes, even Pembridge was is in that ilk. But Davies is an out and out donkey, and will go down in the Neil McDonald hall of shame!
Luq Yussef, London  (22/1/07)

We have come far in reletively short time

There are a lot of anti-Moyes letters appearing so I thought I would like to redress the balance. I will do this by comparing the individuals who played in Moyes's first game to the palayers in the team now:

  • Howard v Simonsen - Howard a far better keeper, Simonsen at Stoke, enough said.
  • Hibbert v Hibbert - A vastly improved Hibbert in Moyes team now.
  • Weir/Stubbs v Yobo/Lescott - A reliable duo, but slow and only mid table quality have been replaced with pacey much coverted center halves
  • Carsley/Gemmill/Gravesen/Unsworth v Arteta/Neville/Cahill/Osman - Admittedly still not a great midfield and Gravesen was a big loss (but only the player he became under Moyes) but Gemmill and Unsworth replaced by Arteta and Cahill is a totally different class!
  • Johnson/Beattie(Anichebe) v Ferguson/Radzinski - We do play one up front but for purposes of direct comparison I would say we are stronger, Beattie has only shown glimpses but what did Ferguson do? Johnson has given a fair amount of goals and I feel a big difference is when other teams commit for a goal AJ gives us a counter attacking tool.
In conclusion, Moyes has created a much stronger team ethic as well as more talented individuals. This has, it must also be remembered been done on a much smaller budget than Middlesborough, Tottenham, Newcastle et al. I for one hope Moyes stays a lot longer.
Chris Cornwell, Kent  (22/1/07)

Yes, that's a very uplifting analysis, Chris. Unfortunately, it doesn't really address the prime concern, which is: how come this wonderful assemblege of players pruduces the most god-awful football under the guidance and direction of one David Moyes? Why can't they play better football? ? Michael

Pride & Prejudice

Lyndon, I couldn?t agree more with your response to Sean Flexman. I am thirty and consider myself lucky to be born an Evertonian. I am extremely proud of our history and think it is absolutely disgraceful that there has not been much media attention paying tribute to William Ralph Dean. If Dixie had played for some of the other teams we could mention I?m sure there would have been more coverage today.

Incidentally, my Dad told me that there was a little bit about the great one on ?Inside Out? a BBC programme on Friday night. I e.mailed the BBC to say thanks for being one of the very few to have done this. I got a response thanking me for my e.mail. Not surprisingly, it was from a fellow Evertonian. We should stand up and be proud of our history. I?m surrounded by kopites and Mancs at work but I always have my say and truly feel proud to put them in their place.
Carolyn Hayre, Preston  (22/1/07)

Sit down, please

You're not running a Sunday League team.

Just as disturbing as the impoverished football that Everton play, is the sight of the Manager jumping about on the touchline like some Gym Teacher or Sunday League parent, barking instructions to his players. Great managers such as Wenger do not need to be constantly updating their game plans to the troops throughout the 90 minutes of each and every match. Rather, the approach is generally one of calm and consideration about what he is watching. Half-time is then used to address shortcomings and discuss alternative strategies.

The best place to give instructions (orders) which are tactical or otherwise is in the privacy of the dressing room. Moyes' antics on the touchline are counter productive as they appear to confuse some players and intimidate others into performing in a way that is alien to their footballing instincts.

My wish for the remainder of this season is that Moyes spends at least the whole of the first half of matches in the stands (above ground level) so that he can better appreciate the overall shape of his team. He can always communicate with Irvine in the dug-out if anything major needs immediate attention.

Please be seated, Mr Moyes, and have some faith in your players. Left alone, they might surprise you with their natural footballing intelligence. Keep shouting at them and you will end up with eleven second-rate centre-halves on the pitch.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Brilliant letter, Brian. Spot on! — Michael

Keep quiet until the deal is done

How many times will it take for Everton to learn? It seems Moyes learnt his lesson and keeps quiet about deals, now only for Wyness to announce to any other prospective suitors that, although he is having a medical, no deal has been done, or as he put it- "The transaction is not complete." Sign him, then announce something.
Adrian Simpson, New Orleans, LA, USA  (22/1/07)

William Ralph

As a small boy from Kensington with Grandad, Dad and uncles, we would walk to Goodison for the game then back home again. As much as they talked of the game we were going to see and then on the way home it was the after-match inquest, without exception, the great William Ralph was discussed and I was never allowed to forget what Everton stood for in terms of great football and the many heroes down the ages.

Every walk to and from the ground, one story would always come up and I have never forgotton it ? although to this day I don't know if it is true. But apparantly the great man was walking down Scotty Road and passing on the other side was Scott the Liverpool keeper. Bill nodded to him in recognition and with that Scott threw himself headlong along the pavement and shouted 'I saved that one'

I am sure many Blues have stories of what Grandads, dads and uncles have passed on to them about our great teams and players and how well the football was played and those of us old enough to have seen for ourselves a great Everton team win things will be forgiven for bemoaning our current style.

William Ralph Dean THE GREATEST GOALSCORER -- and he was a BLUE. UP THE BLUES!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (22/1/07)

Good Business

Getting rid of Davies and signing Manuel Fernandes is an excellent piece of business by David Moyes, and it reaffirms my faith that he is aware of our defficiencies as a team. Getting him on loan until the end of the season is a win-win situation, meaning if it doesn't come off we can send him back, but assuming he does well we can finance the deal using some of our summer budget if necessary.

This is another young player with his best years ahead of him, following on from Cahill, Johnson and Lescott. The manager has to be applauded for this piece of business.

Davies is a player who has flattered to deceive at Everton. He polarised opinion more than most players I can remember. I wasn't at the game on Sunday, but Michael described him as 'shocking', yet the Echo gave him Man of the Match. One thing he always did was try his best, which sadly you can't say about every professional footballer. If effort alone was enough, he would still be an Everton player, yet sadly the end product was often not good enough, and my instinct tells me it was the right time to cash in.
Danny Broderick, London  (22/1/07)

Totally agree that if the Davies and Fernandes deals comes off, it will have been a good piece of business. I'll only be convinced, however, that Moyes is "aware of our deficiencies as a team" when he signs a dominant central midfield player. Sadly, just as was the case with Andy Johnson, it looks as though it's going to take a year of bitching by the fanbase to make it a reality ? Lyndon

What an operator!

So Manuel Fernandes is an Everton player and the great operator Moyes has pulled it off again! Whilst all the doom-mongers were saying he`d missed the boat, Davey was beavering away to move Davies on and snap up the young Portuguese star. When will they all learn that our manager keeps his powder dry until the target`s within his sights!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (22/1/07)

Um, Dickie, lad, the last I heard neither transaction was complete. Let's not count our Sissokos before they've signed, eh? ? Lyndon

Live for today!

I know little of Dixie Dean and even less of the long list of `famous` strikers some old boy wrote in about last week. What I do know about is the here and now and that means we won well yesterday, are seventh in the hardest league in the world, that Moyes is a genius and Mikky Arteta the best player we have had in my lifetime.

Can we start to live more in the present and give credit where credit`s due? Otherwise me and me mates will have to set up a site especially for the under 80s?
Sean Flexman, Litherland  (22/1/07)

Feel free, Sean, but you dismiss the history on which our great club is founded at your peril. It's what sets us apart from everybody else; you only have to look at how Sky's short-sightedness has helped, in combination with our own failings since the 1980s, to drastically diminish our profile.

I'm 33, Sean. I only started supporting Everton in 1986 but I cherish and revel in every bit of our history, from 1878 onwards. It's what makes me so incredibly proud to be an Evertonian and we should be so lucky as to have such a yardstick by which to measure the current squad's achievements... or lack thereof.

Don't forget that today's here and now will one day become tomorrow's history and you wouldn't want any success you might witness in the coming years so casually dismissed by future generations, would you? ? Lyndon

Baffled

Does anyone know what [since scoring against West Ham] James Vaughan has done to upset the Ginger One? He seems to have slipped right down the pecking order after doing well when he came on. Any ideas???
Terry Downes, Stoke  (22/1/07)

It's an interesting question, Terry. Many people I've spoken to believe that Vaughan is a more complete striker than Victor Anichebe but I suspect that Moyes preferred the latter's physical presence as a foil for Andy Johnson. Now that AJ is going to be sidelined for a few weeks, Vaughan may get some more opportunities. I certainly hope so as I believe he has a lot to offer ? Lyndon

RE: Answer Please

I feel as though you are being a bit harsh on Beattie, I think his time on the bench might have lit a fire under his ass to get into shape and start to perform on the pitch.

He does seem to have lost a lot of weight and although I believe that Anichebe can offer us so much more upfront than Beattie, I feel due to the age and "rawness" of his talent he is probably better off on the bench until he matures a bit.

A lot of people on this site call for James Beattie to get sold to the nearest club that wants him. But I firmly believe that if given the chance to prove himself again with the right supply Beattie could produce a season for us like he did at Southampton a couple of seasons ago.
Ste Bano, St Helens  (22/1/07)

Well, at least you and David Moyes have one thing in common: an unfailing belief that James Beattie will one day come good. How many chances has he been given already? How many more does he need to prove taht he is simply as useless as Simple Simon. At least Moyes finally got rid of Davies... and for an incredible £3M. Credit due in spades there... Michael

Two glasses

A win, three points, the prospect of a new player. Heady days eh? BUT... Awful spectacle on the pitch, very little to be proud of, nothing more this season to play for.

When I read the posts on TW it becomes clearer that we are a mix of glass half full and glass half empty kinda people. For someone like Richard Dodd, the glass is always half full, maybe for Tony Marsh, it's half empty. So, let's hear it for the half full brigade (cunningly described as the pro Moyes gang) :

We're 7th in the Premiership, we are not threatened with relegation, we are 10 points off 4th place, we have a good team of players, we have a manager that lives and breathes EFC, we stuffed the Dark Side, we have a Board that will support said manager til the end of time.

We have a manager who has signed Lescott, Johnson, Arteta. There are other positives to stuff in the glass that's half full and let's not forget We ARE 7th in the Premiership.

And for the glass half empty lot? We are 7th in the league but should be should higher, we have a manager who has no imagination when it comes to tactics, we have a team that includes a few luxury items (fill in your own personal hate objects), we have a manager that doesnt understand the concept of well timed substitutions, we throw points away (Reading, Man city, Wigan, Charlton) because of those ill timed or non existent tactics/substitutions.

We are awful to watch, we treat supporters with contempt, we have a manager who even when we are 7th still insists that his ambition is to stay in the Premiership -did anyone else cringe with embarrassment when he said that? We have a manager who has signed Kroldrup, Davies, BT. We are 10 points off a relegation dogfight. There are also lots of other views and possibly facts to pour into the half empty glass and we ARE ONLY 7th in the Premiership!

So, both glasses hold exactly the the same amount of Chang - we ARE 7th in the league and some of the above points are facts. It's not just about being pro or anti Moyes, it's about how you see things at Everton.

Yesterday after watching that awful game my glass was half empty. Today it's half full. Choosing to ignore what's in the half empty glass. Call me fickle? Yes, very probably, but still love the Blues regardless.

You know, it's just like having a partner with lots of irritating habits. You love him really but you just want to choke him to death now and again. COYB!
lue glover, flint  (22/01/07)

Just How Good Was Dixie

I seem to remember an article on ToffeeWeb some years ago which did a statistical analysis of Dixie Dean's goal scoring record. It compared the ratio of goals Dixie scored to league totals and used this to compare his records to the modern day. Perhaps today would be a good day to set up a link to it so we can all see how great a goalscorer Dixie Dean was.

By the waya a fantastic article from Ian McDonald about Dixie, it brought a lump to the throat reading it ? brilliant!
John Crawley, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Ooops... forgot about that. I'll get it up as a Feature Article... Michael

Thank You

Thanks, Ian Mcdonald, for your piece on William Ralph Dean. Its tone was perfect and a fitting tribute to the greatest of all our centre forwards. If anyone wants to know more, John Keith's marvellous biography of the man is a superb read.

My dad, Joe Tarleton, brother of the great Nel and brother-in-law of the superb Ernie Roderick, knew Dean and when I was 18 in the early 60s took me to "The Dublin Packet". My dad introduced me and he and Dean talked for over an hour about the old days. Dean seemed a modest and straight-forward kind of bloke. He asked me how I'd become an Evertonian because all the Tarletons were notoriously red. I explained that when I was seven Everton got promoted and Liverpool got relegated and so I became a blue.

My dad was one of the old school; when he was at home, he was a merchant seaman, we went to every match at Goodison and Anfield. My dad was a firm red but, like so many in the 1950s and before, he loved his football and he wanted his city to do well. If you like, Everton were his second team. That attitude and the attendance at home matches in on alternate Saturdays was common and we saw many faces in both grounds. Two things changed that attitude: the affluence (and cars) that allowed fans to go to away matches; and the chauvinism which Shankly brought into the Merseyside scene. Now I find myself supporting United twice a season and Chelsea four times a season.

But my dad and his ilk were great football fans and I am so grateful that he took me to meet the greatest of all Evertonians. Thanks, Ian, for a superb article, you did the great man proud.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (22/1/07)

Boys From The Blue Stuff

It would seem that those of us who are currently unemployed should refrain from commenting on Everton?s affairs. Those of us who have had no dealings with football as administrators, managers or players should not pass judgement on what we see happening on and off the pitch. We should politely doff our cap and be thankful for the privilege of paying to see our heroes.

Well I?m sorry I refuse to keep my own counsel on matters relating to The Blues and I?m sure many other ?experts? on the site would think the same. I don?t write to entertain people or for self-gratification, I write because I care about the football club as much as the next Evertonian.

When listening to some of the professional pundits, writers and commentators ? many of whom have been involved in the game at the highest level ? you would be forgiven for thinking that some of them should be joining the dole queue for their lack of insight and knowledge. As an unemployed person, a large proportion of my income is spent watching the boys in blue and therefore it hurts more when entertainment has not raised its ugly head.

I wasn?t born unemployed, but I do choose to express a view whether it is warmly welcomed or otherwise. During William Ralph Dean?s career at Goodison, I?m pretty sure that a large proportion of Evertonians would have been unemployed, but then again they probably didn?t express their point of view either.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (22/1/07)

??? I think you took that a bit personal, like. Your namesake was merely musing, methinks.... — Michael

A Silly Thing To Say

Wayne O'Rourke claims that, because Manuel Fernandes fell out with Harry at Pompey, he would definately fall out with Moyes.

I feel that is very hard on Moyes, sure he's had players he didn't get along with (Krøldrup, AvdM) but he's also developed relationships with players and gotten the best out of them. For example:-

Mikel Arteta was a bit of a football gypsy before joining Everton; couldn't settle at Rangers, only a handful of appearances at Sociedad, but he seems to love Everton and often sings the praises of David Moyes who is getting the best out of him.

Personally I think if Manuel Fernandes listens to Moyes and does as directed that he'll find himself playing his best football under Moyes.

There's always the chance Manuel Fernandes won't fit into a Moyes team but I'm not stupid enough to write the player off before he's even signed.
John Cottee, Romford  (22/1/07)

Playing his best football... or being forced to get rid, hoof it up, punt it our, or get back to provide cover for the defence. Time alone will tell... — Michael

Collision course

According to that top scribe at the Echo, Dominic King, our prospective new arrival fell out with nice guy Harry at Pompey. Fuckin hell... I'll give it 2 months under the Ginger Misery!
Wayne O'Rourke, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Experts and Happy Days

I am amazed that Everton Football Club finds itself in such a parlous state, both on and off the pitch, when there are so many experts within its fan base, people with a supreme business acumen and a football awareness [allied to man management skills] that would guarantee success on a continuous basis. Some of these experts are regular contributors to ToffeeWeb, an added bonus is that some are currently unemployed and would be available for immediate appointment.

Sadly I have to rule myself out of the equation, firstly on the administrative side of things [the fact that I couldn't manage my own affairs when the cost of living was 1s/1d a pint, and "Woodies" were 2s/11d for 20 hardly inspires confidence].

Secondly,on the playing side it's a slightly better picture, I captained my school team and then graduated to the Skelmersdale Sunday League, where I attained the dizzy heights of mediocrity, I reached the same level as a manager, and I don't think my team talk of "you've told me you can play football, now go out and do it" would be sufficient motivation for the millionaires of the Premier League.

The knowledge of today's football fan indicates how the game has progressed since the "cloth cap" days of my boyhood, when all that concerned us was what we watched on a Saturday afternoon ? no floodlit European nights back then; no need for corporate investment or sponsorship of any description ? and Goodison Park was the finest ground in the country. Oh Happy Days!!!
John McFarlane, Skelmersdale  (22/1/07)

I think we'd find, John, that there is a massive difference talking it versus actually doing it. — Michael

The Immortal Dixie

A late uncle of mine saw the immortal Dixie at his best, and needless to say, Dixie was his all time hero. "Good in the air? Let me tell you, Dixie could get a ball an eagle couldn't reach", was a saying I grew up with. My uncle also carried Dixie's picture around in his top pocket (well, my auntie never scored 60 in a season for the Blues, did she?).

One night when my uncle left the pub it was pissing down with rain, but he insisted on showing his mate Dixie's picture ? unfortunately it fell out of his hand and into the wet gutter. 'If it's good enough for you Dixie, then it's good enough for me', said my uncle lying down in the soaking gutter next to the picture.

A great article by Ian Macdonald too, by the way, should be required reading for all serious students of football (as well as a few journos). Even though it's a long time ago nearly everybody knows about Dixie's baseball contemporary Babe Ruth, and yet for a supposedly football obsessed country, its greatest ever goalscorer is only a legend at his own club. But a legend he is, and always will be, because nobody will ever ? ever ? come near to doing what he did.

God love you Dixie, our club is so privileged to have had you wear the blue shirt.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Answer, please!

When oh when, oh when, oh when, when when when when will Moyes learn we MUST start with Anichebe? And when oh when, oh when oh when is he going to learn that James Beattie will NOT score for us again or even look like he can! If Beattie starts the derby and Anichebe doesn't, then bless my soul ? I'll spit!
Noleen Daya, Cape Town, Southa Africa  (22/1/07)

And if Beattie went on to score the winner in the upcoming derby, you'd spit even more? Whatever floats your boat! Spit perhaps?! ? Colm

A Dixie's birthday wish

My wife is currently expecting our first child, due next Sunday (28 Jan), but I couldn't help thinking what a wonderful thing it would be if he or she was born today, 22 January 2007, the 100th birthday of William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean. Alas, it doesn't look like this is meant to be - only 11 hours to go and no sign of the bairn!

One thing is certain, my first-born son will be named William after the great man, whether or not it's this baby or a future addition to the Price clan.
Richard Price, Gloucester  (22/1/07)

Add two weeks onto the due date, Richard ? and call the kid Valentine! Best of luck. ? Dr Colm

Manuel Fernandes

Just when a sliver of doubt emerges, David Moyes goes and inspires his team to an important win against Wigan and then captures the very exciting transfer of youngster Manuel Fernandes. It's hard to doubt Moyes when he continues to keep Everton in the Top 10 and continues his quest to build a young side which could mature into a regular Euro qualifier.
John Cottee, Romford  (22/1/07)

Tribute to Dixie

What a joy was the Ian MacDonald piece on Dixie - it should be compulsory reading for all Evertonians. Without getting carried away with the moment, Blue Bill should announce TODAY that the new ground is to be named 'The Dixie Dean Memorial Stadium' ? wherever it is built! That would go a long way towards healing the wounds we shall all suffer in the move. Please Bill, do something right for once!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (22/1/07)

Moyes on football

I thought young Victor did just enough at Wigan to ensure he`s dropped from the derby game! (Don`t want him getting ideas above his station, do we?) If AJ`s unavailable to plow a lone furrow, Moyes will no doubt prefer the defensive qualities of Beattie at Anfield.

His quote after yesterday`s dross said it all about his football philosophy. viz:-`Today we dug it out and we were resolute at the back. I always believe that if you keep clean sheets then you have a chance`.

And there was dear old Dixie thinking he had to score all those goals for Everton to be successful! God rest his soul and deliver us from Moyes!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (22/1/07)

Dixie Tribute

What a great article on Dixie Dean! As a lifelong Blue in my 41st year, an ex-matchday car-minder in Walton, a season ticket holder (and who now lives at "Goodison" on the Wirral, the front room being my Blue Room ? decorated with EFC articles!) I thought I knew alot about Everton's history and great players but not to the depth shown in this article.

What struck me most was how deep the roots spread with the history of our city ? and Wirral. Dixie was a working-class hero and a true gentleman. We should promote Dixie Dean and Everton FC in 2008 when I hope our status as City of Culture is not limited to the slave trade and the Beatles. Think how the US immortalise the greats like Mickey Mantle etc ? and we should at least do the same. Dixie is up there in any era with the true sporting greats on the planet.
Mike Hughes, Irby, Wirral  (22/1/07)

Fernandes / Da Silva

Hopefully by the time this is posted Manuel Fernandes will have signed; I'm excited by the prospect of seeing what he can do for us.... However, my question is about Anderson Da Silva ? has anyone seen him play? Is he any good? Or will he be another Eddy Bosnar/Guillame Plessis???
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (22/1/07)

I think you've answered your own question there Declan! ? Colm

Dixie Dean

There's no doubting the historical significnance Dixie Dean gives to EFC. He is an icon of the dominant brand which was Everton in the 30s.

It's just a great shame that the man who could have done the same in the modern day ? Wayne Rooney ? choose the incorrect and poor decision to leave the footballing institute that is EFC. Dixie, RIP... ps: any derby tickets????
Rob Millington, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

No spares I'm afraid, Rob! The tenuous link to Rooney makes me ask would Everton have retained Dean's services if he was playing in the modern era? Somehow I doubt it! Cash being King! ? Colm

Ian Mac ? you did us proud!

Just like to echo the sentiments of an earlier poster and say what a great article by Ian Mac (especially true the bit about Barry Murray). My young son is 8 months old and I already have him everything Everton you could ever wish for. He has a fanatical Dad and a fanatical Grandad as well as Aunts and Uncles but I too will be printing that article and keeping it for him.

Many times I have been asked, "Why do you support Everton?"; Many times I have been told "Why are you making that poor child support Everton?" and with the help of Ian I can show them. The article sums up everything about Everton and why we are Blues. Everyone can be a footy fan but it takes that special someone to be blue ? and hopefully I have created another one.

One another note, a great win for the blue boys yesterday. Everton have a way of turning your great weekend into a bad one with a loss but hope the win on such a fitting weekend helps us get back into the top sides in the Premier league!
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (22/1/07)

Fantastic!

Excellent stuff from Ian Macdonald ? thanks fella!
Kevin Sparke, Nothumberland  (22/1/07)

When

Now that we have almost enough points to plan for next season, will David Moyes allow the players to express themselve fully in the remaining 14 games of the season? Unfortunately I don't think he will. If we do obtain a Uefa Cup place, all well and good, but please do it by attempting to play attractive football. This mentality of keeping things tight until half-time is boring and leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

We have nothing to lose by going all out, home and away, to score as many goals as possible and if we play as well as we can we will achieve a European place. But we'll probably carry on in the same vein, a win every three games, and a total of between 50 and 55 points with no sign of entertaining football along the way.

Ian Macdonald's piece should be shown on a Billboard at Bellfield to let those who manage and play for the club know what Everton FOOTBALL Club really stands for.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (22/1/07)

Pass The Parcel.

If anyone needed proof of the direction we are headed under Davey Moyes then look no further than yesterday's game at Wigan. That was without doubt the most awful display of football I have ever seen in my life. I know we have taken 3 points away from home but its embarrassing watching so called professionals giving the ball away so easily wearing an Everton shirt.

Simon Davies has to be up there with Jim Pearson and Alan Bailey as the most useless player ever to pull on the royal blue jersey. In fact he makes Jim Pearson look like Zico. Osman is a very close second. We can not continue playing like this and hope to keep hold of our fan base much longer, can we? Somewhere along the line the fans will say enough is enough, won't they?

What goes through Moyes's pea-sized brain all week God only knows. If that's the best he can come up with in terms of tactics and a game plan then he needs to seriously reconsider his career choice. Mcdonalds are taking people on at the moment I hear.

Paul Jewell is suffering at Wigan from Rugby town syndrome but it's Moyes and Irvine who favour the up and under approach. Eddie Wearing would have loved us. I know survival is utmost in Deadly Dave's mind but does the game really have to be played in such a horrible fashion? I know we can do better we have all seen it at times this season so why do we always revert to route one hoofball? This boot it anywhere at all times and hope for the best has got to stop, hasn't it?

I have watched highlights of every game played this weekend in the PL and we are by far the least pleasing on the eye. In fact we even dragged Wigan down to our level yesterday and that's saying something. It's so simple to pass the ball along the floor to a team mate and not just lump it down the channels, isn't it?

I often wonder how the youngsters at Everton are being coached these days. Don't forget Rooney and all these other kids [Vaughan, Anichebe etc] are a product of Colin Harvey's set up. Moyes's and Irvine's new generation of kids have just been knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at Goodison by the mighty Millwall. Need I say more?

I am definitely going to swerve the Derby game next month because I really do fear the worst. I hate Anfield and the Norweigans that flock there but it shows how little faith I have in Moyes and his ways that I have to avoid the place.

One post I read on here states that we are only 2 points off the top 6 places and Europe is within our grasp. Does anyone seriously think we would stand a chance in Europe playing the way we do? Count me out I was there the last time Deadly Dave took us in to European football. It wasnt pretty at all, was it?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Tony ? I accept this may be a point lost amidst the angst. You make a lot of valid calls on the style of play (if you can call it that at times!) but I fear your view is tainted by the personal abuse often dished out to the likes of Moyes etc.

As bad as things may appear, with yesterday's offering ranking, for me anyway, alongside some of the worst garbage I think I've ever seen played in the name of EFC ? it remains a fact, whether you like to admit it or not, that Everton under David Moyes have moved away from the relegation scraps that haunted us during the mid to late 90s. Today, looking at matters through a glass more than full and overflowing angle, we're well in the hunt for a place in next season's Uefa Cup and perhaps it is worth reminding ourselves (and I tend to side closer to your view on playing matters!) that Everton, through good and bad years, very rarely qualified for the Uefa Cup via a League placing. ? Colm

Enigmatic Everton

What are we to make of Everton this season? I mean, seriously, many of us are highly frustrated at our inconsistency, our ability to take Chelsea all the way and outplay Spurs IN LONDON with 10 men, but to scrape incredibly dull draws with Charlton, Fulham, Reading etc. But then again, you look at the stats:

  1. We are seventh in the table. Even if we are leading a middle order longer than your arm, we are at the head nonetheless
  2. Only the top 4 teams have a better defensive record in the league
  3. Only the top 4 ? and Portsmouth ? have scored more goals than us
Now don't snipe, I'm not claiming that being 5th top scorers, behind, Portsmouth, is something to be overjoyed at. We have dropped stupid points this season. But it's bizarre that such stats paint us in such a good light, when we are so frustrated at what we see watching the team every week. Imagine what we could do with some tactical flexibility, and a squad, rather than an 11 plus 3 players coming back from long-term injury and some untried youngsters. Who knows, if Paddy Boyle wasn't injured, we could have a new established left back by now?

Either way, it SEEMS we have come a distance since not being able to buy a goal (literally) last season, even if this is not truly the case. 34 goals in 38 games was no state to be in. Ever again.
Chris Odedun, London  (22/1/07)

Reading have scored 34 goals ? same as Portsmouth; 3 more than us.

Dixie Dean article and some www links

Really enjoyed the Dixie article by Ian MacDonald, thanks for publishing it. There's not much to say really is there - amazing!

Anyway I did some googling etc and came up with the following - not much but worth a look: - The squad of 1931

British Pathé

'Take Me Back To Those Good Old Days Of Dixie...'
Tim Taylor, Nottingham  (22/1/07)

Warning! The last clip contains footage of Billy Maher singing! ;-) ? Colm

Thank you, Ian!

A massive thank you to Ian MacDonald for his most moving tribute to 'Dixie'. I tell you without shame that I cried as I read it. I printed it immediately and it will be 'handed down' with all my Everton treasures.
David Hall, Taunton  (22/1/07)

Nice one, David. Truly one of the greatest ever to don the shirt. ? Colm

Simon Davies

Did anyone else notice Simon Davies finally skin an opponent yesterday? I couldn't believe my eyes! Is he finally beginning to show us what he is capable of, or do you think he just wants a move back to London? Skysports updates are crap. Read yesterday that it was Gary Naysmith that clattered AJ. No wonder people groan when he's picked. Poor sod is victimised by everybody!

Great three points, although I still don't understand the logic of getting out wide and putting in high crosses for the midgets in the box. When Ferguson and/or Beattie were up front it was hoofed from back to front. They proved yesterday that they can play that game, so do it with Beattie or Anichebe FFS! Fat Arse might even score from open play then.
Mark Creevy, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Reply to Rob Fox

"Chairman Bill has already told us that there is absolutely no money in the Uefa Cup and qualifying would only kick in very expensive bonuses for players and staff."

Quote from a Richard Dodd message dated 17 Jan entitled 'Happy as we are'... Now Doddy wouldn't tell such damning untruths about his beloved Bill... would he?
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (22/1/07)

Poor game ? great result

The conditions did not help in creating a great game, Poor pitch, strong wind and a Wigan side who were not going to give much away.

The best that you could say of the first half, was that we held our own. When Andy Johnson went down we all thought the worst; getting stretchered off, with legs strapped, looked sickening; news coming as I write this is looking a little brighter.

When Victor came on he battled well and won a deserved penalty, Arteta netting. Then a great ball in from Phil Neville, finished well by Arteta gave us a great result in poor conditions. Let's hope AJs injury is not as serious as it looked...
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (22/1/07)

Zed-Victor 1 to BD ? over and out!

The BBC match commentary yesterday said this was the worst match they'd ever seen. They talked about the rain, the size of the crowd and alluded to more people being in a JJB store than actually watching the match, even how many pigeons were on the roof ? anything but the dire exhibition in front of them.

The Guardian quotes: 'This was a grim, joyless match from which nobody got what they deserved, least of all Everton, though their fortune in winning was offset by seeing their leading scorer, Andrew Johnson, carried off with what looked a serious ankle injury. However, preliminary checks have revealed "no obvious fracture" to the striker's left ankle, according to the club.

Coming to a club who had lost six league matches in a row, David Moyes showed a poverty of ambition by sending his team out with only Johnson up front, intent primarily on not conceding. Thanks in no small measure to Johnson's injury it worked out, which the manager might contend is all that matters in the end, but it made for desperately prosaic viewing.'

"I don't think anybody is going to come to Wigan and get a win in any other way," said Moyes. "We wanted to be dogged and determined, we set out not to concede, especially in the first half, and we got there in the end."

So there you have it ? a wonderful account of routine life in the premiership. A routine team organised by a routine manager with routine facilities ? I cannot stand to watch this drivel anymore. It's not like they're not well paid, it's not like they don't have a fantasy lifestyle...

I hate the waste; I wish I had their income; I wish I could regularly perform so badly and get away with it. They are so crap it's embarrassing and I have my own credibility to think of; they've gotta go, I can't do this anymore. I've gotta be selfish and pull back from the abyss; I've gotta save myself.

Everton FC this is it ? this is the end ? GOODBYE!
Peete Ptewart, purgatory  (22/1/07)

Disservice?

Exactly my point, Richard, they have outsourced the commercial activity of our ground status to Tesco without exploring every conceivable alternative. Kenwright stated that he's signed a deal not to look at other options while negotiations are ongoing with them on the Kirkby site.

Goodison for Ever-ton met with the council and reported that they are still open to suggestions of sites within the city limits including the redevelopment of our current home. Therefore Mr Wyness has commended his model to the Board without exploring every conceivable alternative!

As for what George Graham thinks of Moyes, who cares? It's far more important what Everton fans think of him! I seriously doubt the majority would speak glowingly of the job he's done, just take a look down the mailbag, the guy is mediocre (like our team) until he proves otherwise!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (21/1/07)

Good job

Credit to Moyes for collecting the 3 points. In those conditions and a really bad pitch, we had to work hard to win aganst a tough relegation-fighting team (something we are no longer, thanks to Moyesie).

I thought Davies was not overly brilliant, but he got stuck in with some nice touches to help the team. Anichebe again deserves a mention, but what a difference a rested Arteta and Cahill makes.

We're now 35pts from 24, just 2 pts from a top 6 spot. There's 14 games to go, we can really target a European place, as Moyes noted in his post-match comments.

COYB!!!!
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (22/1/07)

The latest platitude...

"We're moving but slowly; give Dreary Davie more time..."

Like Chris Thornton, I've been around a long while (too long?) and seen most of the stuff to which he refers. The difference being of all the previous managers we've had I'd put Moyes about on a par with Bingham and that may well be doing Bingham a disservice. To compare Moyes sides and playing style? (oxymoron alert) with the sides produced by the likes of Carey, Catterick and Kendall is bordering on libel.

I don't know how often Chris gets to see the Blues these days but, if he watched today's dirge at Wigan, believe me that was no one-off by any means. I never go to Derby games these days, got fed up with Liverpool stuffing us years ago. Thankfully I'll miss the Anfield game because the way DD has got us playing, we're on for a hiding.

Chris says our 'progress' is slow ? at this rate I'll be in my bath chair before we manage to make the 6th Round of the FA Cup again.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (22/1/07)

Joseph Anichebe???

Anyone notice on MOTD2 just now they did a little slot on Anichebe, showing how well he played when he came on, then at the end showed a still of Yobo. Whoops BBC!
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (22/1/07)

A Few Points

Firstly, well done to the lads and Moyes for 3 more points. It's true that we don't play the best of football, but neither do Chelsea. As a fan I'm more interested in our points tally than our style of play. The fact is that we have 35 points after 24 games, and this suggests that we must be doing more right than wrong.

Well done also to Phil Neville for another excellent cross, similar to the one he provided for Johnson at Tottenham. People criticise his distribution, rightly so, but he's the best right back we've got in my opinion, and I've never seen Hibbert cross a ball like that.

However, we seem to be overly reliant on penalties for my liking ? we needed one today to break the deadlock, and when we lose we always seem to cite more evidence of a penalty not given. There is a definite lack of creativity, and if we could address that then maybe we could improve the points tally further...
Danny Broderick, London  (21/1/07)

Praise from Graham

Scot Edwards does me a disservice. What I said in yesterday`s posting was that I knew Mr Wyness would have considered every other option before deciding on outsourcing commercial activities.

As far as today`s game is concerned, I did not travel to Wigan but watched the live Sky transmission. Commentator George Graham spoke glowingly of the job David Moyes has done at Everton and I am sure the majority of Evertonians agree with him!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/1/07)

George Graham!?!?! That's funny, Richard... That's really funny.

No credit to Moyes

Brian Noble is absolutely right, Moyes can take no credit for today`s win. In those conditions, he should have had the big man on from the start and let AJ roam the wings instead of the useless Davies. Just before we got the second goal he was shouting to play the ball into the corner and if we hadn`t scored Neville would have been in for a bollocking!
Alan Spiers, Fazakerley  (21/1/07)

Response to Michael's comments on my submission.

Okay, Michael, fair enough; Phil Neville's cross brought us the second goal, but if you analyse his distribution before the goal you might understand my frustrations, and it's not the first match this has happened either.
Brian Harrison, Maghull  (21/1/07)

I don't think any of our players show consistently good distribution. They're capable of it but it's obvioulsy not something David Moyes wants his players to be doing. It's too dangerous; they can be pulled out of their defensive shape too easily. Along with "Pass & Move", it is tantamount to high treason in the hallways of Bellefield. I can see them being torn off a strip on that build-up for not passing the ball back to Howard, who could have punted it high up field once again... — Michael

Blinkers

Richard Dodd, whatever you're on could you please meet me outside the Main Stand at the next home match and give me some of it?

I have to say, your support for the three stooges is admirable if a little misguided. However, your last couple of posts have sent me over slightly over the edge. Firstly, you statement that the Tellytubby had explored every conceivable option on the new ground is madness. It was posted only a few days ago on this site that the Goodison for Ever-ton group had met with the leader of Liverpool City Council and were told there had been no recent contact from the club over sites within the city boundary.

I didn't make it to the match today and wasn't able to watch it on TV either. Fortunately I had a radio and heard Barry Horne describe the game as woeful. We got a penalty from nothing and played one decent move which resulted in an injury-time killer punch. Great, three points, but can you see us getting anything at Anfield against a side who are currently playing very well?

Finally, if we ever do start playing football the way it should be played, I hope one of your three mates make special dispensation and install a box of Kleenex next to your seat! Get your latin book out, look up Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, leave the drugs alone for a week and it will all start to become clear, I promise!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (21/1/07)

Re: Accidental win

With regards to the letter about our "accidental win" ? Sure, the first half showed two teams playing dull and not very exciting football but so many games are won through a stroke of good luck. In this game, considering how many times luck has gone against us this season, I believe it´s our time.
Dylan Kincla, Victoria, BC, Canada  (21/1/07)

McFadden on his way!

Word tonight that Moyes and McFadden have fallen out `big time` and the Scottish Rooney will be on his way before the end of the week. Prepare then for an anti-Moyes rant of Radzinski proportions!
Colin Tunstall, Thornton Hough  (21/1/07)

Funny the rumours that start when a player is dropped...

False nostalgia?

Like Tony Marsh, I've seen Everton at Wembley numerous times, starting with the greatest Cup Final ever in 1966. I went to my first match in he 1950s when I was about five; like everybody else, I pine for the great and glorious days to return and don't feel confident they ever will. But what a lot of people seem to forget is how infuriatingly inconsistent Everton can be, how mediocre we were in the 1950s, for a couple of seasons in the mid-1960s, throughout most of the 1970s, the early 1980s and, let's face it, mostly since 1987.

All Everton's managers seem to get accused of being negative at some point ? Harry Catterick had his critics, especially around 1965-66 when he was rebuilding. I don't think people ever really believed wholeheartedly in Billy Bingham; and Gordon Lee drove loads of people potty and away from Goodison. And how many Evertonians wanted to see Howard Kendall sacked before 1984?

Now people are having a go at David Moyes, and although he deserves some criticism, I think he's basically doing a sound job. I can't think of anybody who'd be significantly better because any new manager would be hampered by the same lack of finances. I've seen Steve Coppell's name mentioned, but remember his spell at Manchester City?

I think in today's football climate clubs like Everton need stability, and unless we get a new billionaire chairman, progress is going to be slow and based on teamwork and team spirit, shrewd signings and, I hope, good young players realising their potential and staying around for a bit.

I don't want to tempt fate, but we seem to be moving in the right direction, albeit not particularly quickly.
Chris Thornton, London  (21/1/07)

From my seat

Away win, three valuable points, yet I didn't come away ecstatic. I thought our football, even on a pudding of a pitch, was below par considering the opposition on the day were woeful. We seemed to play to what strength they had by looping high balls to the pint-sized AJ for most of the first half; hence no real chances. This continued in the second period until AJ had to be stretchered off and Big Vic came on ? oddly, for a short period, we played to feet with the little man off and the big man on; strange... but it paid dividends when Rhino upended Vic in the area and Arteta put away the penalty with some aplomb.

We then dropped deeper and deeper and I thought "Here we go again; we will give something away..." Luckily Wigan couldn't capitalise and right on the death we put the move of the game together, the cross of the game came in with a midfielder breaking into the box and it was a brace for Arteta; before that, we couldn't cross a bridge!

For the Blues,in a game where we looked the better team by miles,I thought our two best players were Yobo and the imperious Lescott, which tells its own story. It was good to get the win but that elusive dominant midfielder must be found if not in January (where I agree with the Manager: it's a difficult time to get the man we really need) then all the stops must be pulled out in the summer window.

Still maybe today was more about the points than the performance, the next league game must be all guns blazing. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (21/1/07)

"All guns blazing"!?! Against Liverpool at Anfield? Don't make me laugh. More like 4-5-1 shut up shop, and grab an opportunistic goal if we can. — Michael

Re: Gareth

Gareth mate, Everton could have played in perfect conditions today and the football would have still been shite! Like most of the football this season.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (21/1/07)

Today's Game!

Thankfully we got a win out of what was once again in my opinion a poor performance from us. I am getting totally boring to all my friends on my slating of Leon Osman. Did anyone know he was playing today ? his contribution was so limited? How the hell does he keep his place in the side? he may have 'quick feet' but, if you're slow, weak and can't head or pass ball, surely this counts for nothing?!

Moyes seemed positive on his after-match interview in saying he may be doing some business in the transfer market this week; let's hope he does and its a midfielder. I'm pleased with another win but we must improve in every department.

ps: In response to an earlier posting. I thought Phil Neville had a good game and his great cross resulted in a great goal; he, alongside the excellent Lescott, is one of our better players.
Si Mar, Liverpool  (21/1/07)

Winning by accident

I know it`s churlish to knock a winning team but am I alone in thinking that today`s victory was gained by accident? If the unfortunate injury to AJ had not occurred, there is no way that Moyes would have introduced Anichebe until the sacred 70th minute and even then it would not have been at the expense of the little man. He should have seen from the trouble Heskey was causing that this was the day for muscle over speed but thank gawd that fate took a hand. Let`s just hope Johnners is not too seriously injured.
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (21/1/07)

Just whisper it quietly amonst yourselves... and don't tell Doddy ? he'll have a fit! — Michael

Johnson crocked

Johnson out for two weeks, we are clearly in a world of shite! Miller is worse than Beattie and McFadden, so Moyes may as well stick with what he has got!

As for today I think we all learned that Davies is totally useless, Neville is a decent right-back if nothing else, and Anichebe hopefully will be a good strong striker. Oh yeah, please sign Arteta on another five-year contract!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (21/1/07)

Re: B Waring

In response to Mr Waring's comments, it would be unfair to judge Everton by the quality of their football this afternoon. For the most part (until the introduction of Anichebe) Everton did their best but the conditions made this virtually impossible. We improved after the introduction of Anichebe as we were more able to hit it long and have a target to hold the ball up.

As for the second goal, that is the exact kind of footbal we need to reproduce vs Liverpool as, for the most part, we will be playing on the break. Also the quality of the Anfield pitch will be so much better and a passing game will become possible.

ps: I'm glad we have now made our trip to the JJB as, after seeing the state of the playing surface, it will only get worse when the Superleague begins again soon...
Gareth Price, Lancaster  (21/1/07)

It came right in the end

Just back from the JJB. Must say that while I'm happy with the 3 points, the performance was again generally dire.

The game changed when Johnson went off. Anichebe, who, in my opinion, still has a lot to learn suddenly became the focal point for the long balls out of defence. To his credit, he held the ball up superbly in a way that AJ can never do.

Anyway, the point of all this? It took an injury to change the course of the game. Playing high balls into Cahill and Johnson was never going to work. For me to truly rate Moyes as a manager, he needs to work these things out for himself ? if necessary during the course of a game ? and not wait for circumstances to force his hand.

Still, another 3 points ? mustn't grumble too much!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (21/1/07)

Wigan Game

Richard Dodd, fair enough ? you keep to your perpetual party line of your beloved Chairman Mao Kenwright and his cronies, maybe you are Formby's answer to Trigger from Only Fools and Horses, but do you actually go to the game? Up to AJ getting injured the football was bloody awful and don't give me shit weather blah blah as I've seen players in the 70s play in the equivalent of ploughed fields make a better go of it than either side did most of the match today.

Fingers crossed over AJ's injury and hope that rednose Kirkland's smirk is wiped off his face sooner rather than later. Anichebe looked lively when he came on and caused Unsworth a nightmare he had nothing to respond to other than a foul and a well taken pen by Arteta steadied the support which despite the shite game was much louder than the locals.

The second goal was what we as fans pay our money to watch; incisive passing from Arteta to Beattie to Neville and a lovely cross straight to Arteta's well anticipated movement between two Wigan players and game over.

So don't give me fantastic win: it was huff and puff hoofball for far too long, how tall do people think AJ is? It was a hard-earned win but the majority of the match was the usual dour kick and hope Sunday league outdated tat we have been seeing far too often. Keep the ball on the deck, pass and move; we can do it, if only Moyes and Irvine can let them.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (21/1/07)

Deadweights

A relieving win today, which I thought was going to peter out into one of those 'should have got something' games, like Charlton away, Fulham away etc. However, a few things came to mind:

  • Firstly, Simon Davies has no future at the club.
  • Why the hell is Phil Neville captain let alone on the pitch? He might be committed, but his distrubution is overall poor and looks panicked when on the ball.
  • Osman is not an Everton player.
  • The game highlighted our need for a powerhouse midfielder who will throw a proper tackle in and distribute without an unecessary hoof up the park.

Brian Harrison, Maghull  (21/1/07)

I thought Davies was shocking. Was this a re-affirmation of Moyes's faith in his "technically gifted" Welsh Wizard? Or is he being shop-windowed? Strange how no-one has beaten up on Moyes/The Club for very mixed messages about what has been going on regarding the Fulham bid...

But I must say, you look a bit daft slamming Phil Neville for his distribution when 'twas his beautiful first-time cross that gave us the second goal. — Michael

We can play football!

I thought we struggled against a very poor wigan side today. Once again the football was dire but a win is a win. I just hope Moyes goes home tonight and looks at the second goal again and again. Maybe he might think, "Hey, we can play decent football and it looks good as well." Because that second goal had quality written all over it!
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (21/1/07)

Davey`s shrewd pressure

A fabulous win at Wigan ? we can only hope that AJ is OK.Back up to our covetted 7th position and we can safely say that Davey`s shrewd pressure on the referees` panel ensured a good penalty shout got its just rewards today. What an operator!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/1/07)

Wigan Match

A bland game of football in dour conditions; I'm very pleased with three points. Yobo was outstanding at the back, and led the backline well. I would also say that the introduction of Anichebe changed the game with his robust and direct style.

It looks like Johnson may be out for the derby, but I think Anichebe could step up and make a name for himself... BRING 'EM ON!!!
Dean Paton, Wirral  (21/1/07)

Barton

Barton: He got into a fight with a young Everton fan a couple of years ago. He injured his foot after a fight with Richard Dunne. He pulled out of a move to crappy Boro because his wage demands were too high. His brother is a murderer. Basically this is not a guy we want unless we are looking for the next Billy Kenny; talented but tragically flawed loser-type of player.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (21/1/07)

Let`s be honest

Let`s be honest, Everton have never had a player who goes to ground as easily and frequently as Andrew Johnson. Does it not strike you as peculiar that this controversy has followed AJ from Palace to Everton? Now I`m not saying that he`s a diver or sets out to fall over his own legs but he must have a very unusual centre of balance to hit the deck virtually every time he gets inside the box. I am aware that to take a position at odds with most posters is tempting fate but I do feel that Johnson is becoming more famous for the penalties he doesn`t get than the goals he scores!
Peter Bailey, Croydon  (21/1/07)

Confession of incompetence

Here we have it, at last: the truth. Keith Hackett, referee supremo, after viewing a compilation of video clips provided by Everton, admitted we should have been awarded several crucial penalty kicks.

Similar things take place in other games each week. Keith?s solution is to advise his referees on how best to position themselves in relation to the action. Is he blind or stupid? Could he not see that the best solution was at his finger tips and staring him in the face as he watched the videos???

People pay huge sums to watch a game, in many cases making personal sacrifice to do so. How often are they cheated of a fair contest merely because the referee makes an error of judgement? There is no place for old well-worn excuses such as, ?it's all part of the game? ?referees are only human? ?players are diving or exaggerating? and ?things even out over the course of the season?. Tell that last one to fans when a bad decision knocks their club out of the cup or gets them relegated.

With their reputation and wages at stake, I am surprised referees are not at the forefront in demanding hi-tech assistance. A portion of the recent huge increase in TV cash should have been conditional on the introduction modern technology.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (21/01/07)

Re: Barton

Did any of the people who think Joey Barton is keen to sign for us hear the level of abuse a section of our so called `fans` gave him at GP this season in regard to his brother? Do you think Liverpool fans would give him any less if he signed for us?? I heard from a Scouse mate living here in Stockholm that his entire family has has been forced to up sticks due to the scandal concerning his brother.

Believe me, I'd love a player like Joey to do a job for us in the middle of the park, but there is a reality on Merseyside that will not allow his return, even if he and his dad are true blues. It will NEVER happpen I¨m afraid. COYB.
Ian Taylor, Stockholm  (21/1/07)

History of deception!

Michael and the other doubters who refuse to accept that the Barton saga was a staged attempt to appease the fans then look into these facts, then pass judgement.

First case: Kuyt and Owen. Kenwright more and less admitted that we had no chance of landing these two, yet Moyes bleated all the summer of 05 that we were close to clinching the deals. Then Kuyt club said they never received a bid from Everton, only from Spurs, who Kuyt then turned down.

Second case: Alan Smith. Moyes again says he wants to sign Smith to partner Rooney up front in a desperate attempt to keep Rooney at the club. Everton bid £7M to Leeds, which flushes out Man United and Smith eventually ends up there. Then Everton sign Marcus Bent and Cahill for a combined total of £2.3M, sell Rooney and Radzinski, and Everton remain threadbare for the season. If the bid was genuine, what happened to the £5M outstanding that season?

Third case: Muller. Even through this has nothing to do with Moyes and Billy bollocks, it typifies Everton attempts to deceive the fans. I never forget the excitement and clamor around Muller coming to Everton, I was very proud! Until in the 11th hour, when season ticket sales went through the roof, Everton pull out of the deal due to 'Tax' reasons! The whole thing stunk and that was that. Another empty promise from the club.

You don't have to be Steven Hawkins to realise that this club cannot be trusted. Look at the exits of Rooney and Speed, who can not say they were not 'engineered' by the Board and Co.

Deception is the tool of the strong, and naivety if is the excuse of the weak. Go figure.
Luq Yussef, London  (21/1/07)

Just as I suspected. You have nothing in the way direct and relevant evidence regarding the Barton saga. It's all based on supposition and conjecture extrapolated from other admittedly dubious transfer sagas that have dotted our history. Does that really mean the Barton biz was a scam? I don't think so. You'll have to do a lot better than that, Luq. Try and present the evidence IN THIS CASE, without reference to any foregoing episodes. — Michael

Moyes, you missed the boat... again!

Joey Barton was never coming to Everton ? Moyes needs to be realistic; he had his chance in the summer when his agent offered him to us and Moyes refused his services, thanks to the Echo always putting Joey down and claiming he has a bad attitude! Anyone who watched Soccer AM today would notice he would be a good character in the dressing room.

It broke Joey's heart when Everton fucked him off when he was only 14 and he will always feel bitter about that because he was accused of things that weren't true. Before Xmas, Newcastle offered him £16M over 4 years to sign for them, he gave it some serious thought but refused! He has decided its not about money ? he wants to win trophies now, so he will only leave if a top team comes in for him and, let's face it ? we're winnin' fuck all for the forseable future under Dithering Dave!
Tom Barton, Huyton  (20/1/07)

Fair Game

I believe that David Moyes should be applauded for contacting the relevant authorities about his belief that Everton have been treated badly this season by referees. I know other clubs suffer the odd decision for and against, but how many have had 8 from 10 penalties refused in just over half a season?

We may not have converted the pens if they had been given. We may still have ended up losing points. But the crux of the matter is that if everybody learns a lesson then surely this type of dialogue between club and authorities has to be a help to those who wish to see a game decided fairly without the nagging doubt that there is a conspiracy. If all clubs and officials met maybe three times a season and talked rationally about percieved incorrect decisions, it may mean an end to those Managers who, aided by TV, shout the loudest and put undue pressure on referees.

How many of us would say it was just a case of swings and roundabouts if we were ten points closer to the drop zone?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (20/1/07)

It Ain't Rocket Science

Just watched the City v Blackburn game on the box and Christ, the movement on and off the ball from the Blackburn side was a joy to watch! They simply made City look pedestrian. Why oh why cannot we expect a little of the same from a team blessed with infinitely more resources both on and off the pitch?

I'm sorry but the answer has to lie with the respective managers. Clearly, Blackburn have it drilled into them to pass, pass, and pass again. I simply don't accept that Mark Hughes has more talent at his disposal than David Moyes, it boils down to the fact that one side is coached better on the training field and is allowed to express itself accordingly.

The Everton manager now has virtually a full strength side at his disposal for the match tomorrow against the mighty Wigan; just watch and compare the tactics employed.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (20/1/07)

Oh dear O'Brien

Dan, for god's sake leave the conspiracy theories alone. If this, if that, if my auntie had bollocks she'd be my uncle.

You do yourself no favours by sending in paranoid laden postings, refs see it for what it is at the time it happens, and if it wasn't for those fuckwitts on Sky analysing the arse out of everything we may have some decent after-match debate.

Instead we have definites, it was, it wasn't and no grey areas which to my mind supporters used to chew over for the whole week until the next match. As for ToffeeWeb contacting other web sites to start a protest... if you feel that strongly about it FUCKING DO IT YOURSELF!

Concentrate on the now and leave the past alone. We have a game tomorrow, if you hadn't noticed.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (20/1/07)

We don`t suffer alone!

I have just watched the full gammut of post-match interviews on Sky Sports News and without exception every manager complained about off-sides (given or ignored), free-kick and penalty decisions, sendings off and time played. I mention this to illustrate that ? contrary to the views of David Moyes and most Mailbaggers ? Everton do not suffer alone!
Dave Skelton, Chester  (20/1/07)

Memories of the blessed Dodds

Stan Farrimond`s reference to Ephraim Dodds brought back many happy memories. `Jock` had been signed to fill the not inconsiderable boots of Tommy Lawton and was my first Everton hero ? because (like me) he had to suffer a Biblical name! In the first season after the war he seemed to score in every game (I think it was 19 in 20 games) and my father, a religious man, told me he was blessed. But the team that had been Football League Champions before the war weren`t up to much and fell away further once Joe Mercer went to Arsenal.

A couple of years later, my hero Dodds was transferred to Lincoln and replaced by Harry Catterick, who in all truth was not a very good player! Years later when he returned as Manager, Catterick had to win a couple of trophies before I went near to forgiving him for usurping my hero!
Malachi George, Parbold  (20/1/07)

Hovis dreams

I enjoyed Tony Marsh's article and it brought back a lot of similar memories (cue the Hovis music). I also agree with the sentiment that says we should accept nothing less than demonstrable pursuit of silverware. It is absolutely not beyond Everton to do just this, provided the sustainable investment is there to do it. This is why I can never see the point of anyone not supporting a ground move; sooner rather than later and to wherever will enable the generation of the most income.

Of ever increasing importance is TV revenue, with the latest deal to be announced making a drop out of the Premiership even more catastrophic than it already was. This is what I think Moyes is on about when he repeats his mantra of 'survival first then see where we go'. Like a number of teams, it's an unfortunate fact that the margins between success and failure seem to get ever tighter. Look at West Ham or Charlton; the former in particular were meant to 'push on' this season and become a regular top ten outfit. Instead, they lost their focus and then their managers and (for Charlton in particular) the Championship now looms.

This is not a defence of Moyes or his tactics, but I think that any manager who replaced him would have that same safety-first mentality. Unfortunately, the latter also breeds a footballing style that can hardly be said to be pleasing on the eye at times, but I have seen (albeit inconsistent) glimpses this season of a really good side, which is missing a couple of much needed additions and a bit of strength in depth to make any pursuit of silverware credible.

The problem, for all of those of us who are as old as Mr Marsh, is that the process is much slower than we want. Moyes has steadied the sinking ship, he has stopped the regular bouts of relegation fever. For this we should be grateful. However, the issue now is whether he can take us to 'the next level' and get us winning trophies. How long he is given by either the fans or the Board to achieve this feat is anyone's guess. Mine's at least another two seasons.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (20/1/07)

In Response to your comments Michael

Where did I asy that Moyes had not contacted Pearce? Of course he contacted City officials ? he had to be seen going through the motions in order to get any credence with the bid. My point is simple, the facts of the matter are all he had to do was have a word with Joey senior. Are you geddin this now Mike?
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (20/1/07)

You make me laugh with this shite, you really do. So DM talks to City but had no intention of actually going for Barton because (as you only knew AFTER the event) Barton was quite happy at City and not interested in joining Everton. Yea, right: now it is definitely becoming clear... NOT!

How do you think the super-sharp Evertonians would have reacted if Moyes came out with this line: "Well, I had been thinking about making a bid for Joey Barton, but I bumped into his dad in the Alex Young lounge and he convinced me that Joey was happy at City, so I didn't actually bother calling them to see if the player was available." !!!

No, instead this is what it says today on the Official Everton Website:

David Moyes has revealed he stuck rigidly to the rulebook when enquiring about Joey Barton. Everton expressed an interest in the Manchester City midfielder earlier this week, but were told he wasn't available.

Moyes has been keen to point out that he only operated through the appropriate channels in the Club's approach for Barton. He told evertonfc.com: "All we did was go through the right people. The chairman contacted the chairman at Manchester City. They didn't want to sell and as you have probably seen from my comment, we respected that decision."
I must be really stupid or guilible or something but I read that and it makes complete sense. I see no need for a conspiracy theory. I simply don't understand why this episode is not accpeted at face value by Evertonians like you. Why are you so convinced it was a scam? And please, don't repeat the same twaddle about Joey Barton's dad, FFS! ? Michael

The Pride and The Passion

Who could doubt that we don't posess either when you read articles by Kev Sparke and Tony Marsh? Sadly, neither appear to be eminating from the stands or on the pitch where it really matters.

Our away support at City was nothing short of abysmal, never before have I witnessed such a collective trance. Things have got to change on and off the pitch, let's get right behind the lads tomorrow and show them what it means to be a Blue. See you all there.

On another subject Michael, I fail to see why you don't believe the Barton saga was anything more than a smokescreen mate. Joey senior goes to all our games. All Moyes had to do was have a word in his ear and ask if Joey still had any interest in playing for us.

He went public to placate us: nothing more. COYB
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (20/1/07)

That is hardly proof that he never spoke to Pearce or City about the player's availability, and was therefore blatantly lying to us? I think that is just ridiculous. [Note to the apologists: I'm actually backing Moyes in this silliness!] ? Michael

Fernandez Coup?

It would seem according to Skysports.com that Everton have snatched the signing of Fernandez from right under the nose of Middlesbrough. This can only be good for the Toffees as this lad has been linked with Manchester United all the way through this current transfer window; hope we get him. Not sure what he's like, though; has anyone actually seen him play? All I know is he's a midfielder.
Ste Bano, St. Helens  (20/1/07)

Stuck with Davies

One of the Fulham websites is saying that Everton have given backword on Simon Davies`s £2M transfer after Papa Bouba Diop has decided to move to Wigan rather than Goodison Park. Diop is quoted as saying, `I liked Paul Jewell from the outset of our discussions` but fails to mention his impression of Moyes. Looks like we`re going to have to make do till the end of the season. Oh dear!
Mo Hartley, Totteridge  (20/1/07)

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Micheal, your reaction to my last post made me laugh because it was proberly an accurate summary of what I said.

On a serious note, I think the odd officiating mistake is acceptable. If Man United missed out on the title though because of 10 denied penalties that they should of had, there would be uproar! To a lesser extent I actually think pretty much the whole premiership bar 'top four' is treated in the same way.

Am I the only one that thinks the premiership is exactly the same as Serie A was 5yrs ago? Maybe Toffeeweb could get in contact with fanzine websites of other similar clubs, an talk about protests. It has to come from the fans. Apart from 1 or 2 Man Utd an Arsenal games, in the last 5 yrs every time we have failed to beat the top 4 we have been left moaning about referrees. Same reaction to the same repetitive problems.

I feel if we want success we should be pro-active!
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (20/1/07)

When history is writ

When you see such a shrewd judge as Martin O`Neill stumping up £10M for a kid from Watford,you begin to realise what a snip was Andy Johnson. However,the cruel truth is that, unless Moyes can find a way to provide him with some service, the chapter on Johnson when history is writ will have him more famous for falling over than scoring goals! Sort it, now!
Alan Ferrar, Hawarden  (20/1/07)

One Eyed O`Brien

How stupid is the Dan O`Brien's posting! So Everton should be 19 points better off if only referees had given every decision in Everton`s favour? If this young buck bothered to watch games with BOTH eyes open he would recognise that our opponents have had just as many `good` calls refused as we have. Nothing is truer than the old adage `it evens itself out` and it's well about time that we all got on with seeing our team in its true light rather than hiding behind spurious excuses for failure!
Ben Spicer, Wirral  (20/1/07)

Send for Ephraim Dodds

My memory of Everton goalscorers goes all the way back to the magnificently named Ephraim `Jock` Dodds in the years immediately after the War. We`ve had some good `uns ? Willie John Parker, Roy Vernon, Fred Pickering, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Graeme Sharp, Gary Lineker and Tony Cottee all live on in the memory ? and some `stumers` - Bret Angel, Bernie Wright and Rod Befitt stand out. But NEVER have we had the hoo-ha that surrounds today`s `hero`, Andy Johnson.

Now it`s a sign of my age that Johnson does not strike me as a main goalscorer at all but more a support player to the likes of Beattie (what a disappointment!) or the younster Anichebe. That the three of them have collectively mustered only a handful of goals between them since September tells me that they are all somewhat lacking in the art for which they are employed.

For the main focus of attention to be on the number of penalties not awarded to a striker rather than on the goals he scores appears to me to be straw-clutching in extremis, although my younger family members assure me their collective failure to find the net is really `down to the inadeqacies of the midfield`. Certainly Johnson and Co have plenty of apologists but the fact remains that they are paid hansomely to do what Dodds, Parker etc. did for fun ? often in bad teams!

Football is a very simple game made complicated by coaches and managers wishing to build up a mystique around their trade. The sooner someone (Moyes) realises that his primary aim is to get his very expensive `strikeforce` to concentrate on doing what they are paid for and not merely run all over the pitch, the sooner the team`s present malaise will be over and penalty disputes consigned to history.
Stan Farrimond, Childwall  (20/1/07)

Winge Winge Winge ???

Just wanted to reply to Pat Tudge of Crosby and Moyes's action with taking a tape of penalty decisions we have had go against us to the relevant authorities. Pat declares that it's demeaning, pathetic and that Moyes is losing the plot. I think it's a masterstroke and it's about time we start emplying tactics like this, after all, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd & Liverpool all stand up for themselves, so why shouldnt we?

Having just read the response we got from the "relevant authorities" it would seem like it was a good and justified idea. Well done Davie Moyes! Maybe AJ will get another penalty this season when he gets rugby tackled in the box.
Gary Carter, Portsmouth  (20/01/07)

Tony Marsh

Fantastic article. In my lifetime I've tasted success with Everton. I was only young in the 80s but I went to Wembley in 1995. I always thought you can't keep a big club down, at some point we'll come good again or at least have a one-off season where we'll win a cup. For anyone who manages to endure the torture of 90 minutes of Moyes's football, we know this will never happen again.

To me, "making progress" is not finishing 8th and classing that as a good season. This is not "moving in the right direction". At the moment, I feel the most hopeless I have ever felt as an Evertonian and not just because of the shite served up on match day. Part of it is because fellow Evertonians have accepted that what we have now is good enough.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (20/1/07)

From the mouths of babes

Dan O?Brien hints at things most of us have left unsaid for fear of being accused as poor losers. How long will it take AJ to lose the wrongful tag of diving, a tag hung round his neck by those trying to divert attention from their own well documented divers.

Best known divers in the Premiership include Drogba and Ronaldo, even the great Thiery Henry is known to indulge in the occasional dive. Mourino, SAF and Wenger successfully drew attention away from their own cheaters by deliberately and wrongly stigmatising AJ. There is little doubt that their brainwashing of referees has been very successful. The derby is looming and with it the prospect of Alonzo diving all over the place. Can we expect Benitez to join the exclusive brethren by adding his two bobs worth?

As far as I can see it has not done us a blind bit of good that our players obey David Moyes by getting on with the game and not remonstrating with officials. It is common for United, Chelsea and Arsenal players to mob referees. Is it my imagination that most 50/50 decisions go in their favour? The brethren play mind games and allow their players to harass referees because they know some referees are gullible.

I have not perceived any benefit from Moyes's dictum to the players, in fact quite the opposite. In 50/50 situations, referees take the easy way out by not awarding free kicks or penalties to the side least likely to cause hassles. Do other posters share my view?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (20/1/07)

Not waving; drowning

Much (too much) has been made of the 'progress' since Walter... 'it's tough at the top, it's tougher at the bottom... and downright boring in between' so went the words to a long lost TV prog 'Turtle's Progress'.

'In between' is just where we are... you can drown, so they say, just as easily in 7ins of water, or, if you will bear with me, 7th place as you can in 17ins/place, because in reality the depth doesn't matter, it's the fact you are drowning!

So to all those who say look at Davie waving at us from the 'heights' of 7th, much better than weary Walter ? all I will say is... He's not waving, he's drowning! Just like us, drowning in CRAP FOOTBALL !
Derek Thomas, Auckland New Zealand  (20/1/07)

Always with the conspiracy theories

Luq Yussef, I'd like to know where this smokescreen was concerning the chasing of Barton. There was perfect justififcation in trying to get him, local lad, blue and a lot better than what we have in that position. Moyes is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.
Carl Griffiths, Sydney, Australia  (20/1/07)

I just don't understand the assumption made by fans like Luq that this was all a scam. — Michael

Whinge, whinge, whinge!

So The Ginger Whinger has sent yet another complaint to the FA, this time in the form of a tape demonstrating a number of alleged wrong decisions by referees. Does he realise how pathetic this makes him and the Club appear?

Every manager in the land believes his team is hard done to and it has always been thus. Watch ANY game at ANY level and you will have cause to believe the officials make mistakes. But there is no conspiracy against Everton any more than against other teams. Such demeaning behaviour makes me think Moyes is losing the plot and he would do better to concentrate his tapes on demonstrating to his team how to defend free-kicks and how they came to concede them!
Pat Tudge, Crosby  (19/1/07)

Keith Hackett

If Everton were second in the league, 6points behind United, would people be calling for Moyse's head? I think not!

Well when you hear Hackett talking about the ten penalties we should of had, but did not get, it makes me wonder, should we be ahead of chelski, after 21 games? The answer is 'Yes'! Not including Newcastle and Reading offside goals, adn Arsenals rediculous free-kick, we should be 19 points better off!

How can people moan about Moyse? If referee's were fair we'd of had a good chance of actually winning the league this year. Some people won't accept my view, but then not everyone thought we were going to finish fourth did they?

Anyone can see that we have got serious potential now, hats off to David Moyes. How does money mean success, if with much less money than Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs, and Newcastle, etc we should be points clear of all of them. We do have hope. As a young blue (20 this year) I think we are close to success. I can smell it.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (19/1/07)

Shoulda, coulda, woulda... and you're 20 years wise? You can be excused, I'm sure.

Football is our business

I suspect I was not alone in struggling to come to terms with what Rob Fox was attempting to say in his overly lengthy piece. There are many theories about how the affairs of a top club should be conducted and it is natural that the topic should fuel wide debate.

What I do know about the Kenwright/Wyness model is that they have wisely decided to focus on the core business of football rather than expend energy and resources on subsidiary activity such as merchandising, catering, ticketing, publishing et al at which the club have never proved themselves to be particularly adept. Similarly, the attraction of a rented stadium is that vital capital will no longer need to be tied up in `bricks and mortar` with the added advantage of enabling guaranteed streams of income to be directed to the football core business.

Whilst there will be those who see this strategy as a denuding of the Club`s business functions, we can take it as read that Mr Wyness will have explored every conceivable alternative before commending this model to the Board. What we can all be certain of is that FOOTBALL is to be the total focus of our Club in future for which we should be eternally grateful.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (19/1/07)

Don't forget showbiz! That's aslo a proime focus.

I think you are far too generous when it comes ot assessing Buster's business decsions. I'm sure the first question is "What's in it for me" from backhanders to bonuses, and the idea that he has explored every conceivable alternative is preposterous. He is much more likey to have said, "This is the way I think we should do it," while making sure that his own intersts were well met.

I am absolutely CERTAIN that FOOTBALL is NOT the total focus of our club: It's MONEY! How would you feel then, Richard? Assuming you could open the blinkers just a fraction? — Michael

Tony Marsh

Best bit of words you ever hit the keyboard with. Your humour actually does come through in the regular posting.

The point is we agree; we agree on the goal, but not how to get there. I, like you, want my son to witness success and we keep getting tiny glimpses of it. Derby day this year was magical.

I have not made up my mind that Moyes ain't the man and after the shite that went before last season I set myself a goal of giving the guy this season. A full 38 games. I have said so.

I don't need that prick Keith Hackett to tell us we have been robbed of points and I don't need you to tell me how dour our football is. Getting through the mire isn't easy, but stupidly perhaps I still think we can do it.

We may not be playing "School of Science" but we have a team that can win games at this level. If Hackett's cronies had been at least competant where would we be right now?

Still out of two cups again is the correct answer.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (19/1/07)

Mr Marsh

A truly great article by Tony Marsh.

No doubt some will see it as over romanticised rubbish but it really was that good. The key point Tony was trying to make is also spot on. If others are content to applaud a top-ten finish and even praise some of the most dispiriting football I have ever witnessed then the likes of Tony, myself and many other will not.

If 5th is the best we can expect for the time being then why aren't we fifth? And more importantly why aren't we playing stylish football to get there?

Every home game I watch in despair as Moyes talks his subs to death and drains them of all enthusiasm as they wait to come on. If he is like that all the time it is no wonder the team plays like robots.
John Doolan, UK  (19/1/07)

YES YES YES!!

Hahaha, I'm the only Evertonian whose glad we're out the cup!! I'm stuck here, down at Bournemouth University studying Journalism (from Rhyl) and just found out we're out playing the Cherries in a friendly... BRILLIANT!! I'm going and so are me mates, none of whome are Evertonians... we're still a big catch... that proves it.
Martin Williams, Bournemouth  (19/1/07)

Reply to Tony Marsh

I totally understand your point of view, Tony. My father started taking me to the match in 1982-83 when I was six and all I ever knew was Everton winning. I remember turning to my dad with a bemused face the first time I saw us lose; he looked down at my miserable little kipper and said "It even happens to us once in a while son"! Fortunately I was present to see us lift league trophies, FA cups and a European trophy. Even the years we were pipped we were great to watch.

Similarly, the worst day of my life was the second derby cup final loss to Liverpool. I'll never forget that wanker Marsden singing "You'll never walk alone" when he should have sang "Ferry Across The Mersey". I remember kopites expecting us to join in with their anthem. NEVER!

Unfortunately, as you stated, there are far too many at present willing to accept the current trend because there has been an improvement on annual relegation battles. For those too young to have ever known the feeling of success and weekly entertaining football, I suppose you could be excused. However, for the fans that were there to celebrate great times and now accept less than mediocre without the guts to challenge the ideals of the hierachy. Shame on you!!!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (19/1/07)

New walldrobe please!

Even though the club smoke-screen was obvious to me regarding Barton, Everton have a realistic chance of signing Papa Diop from Fulham. Okay he has been injured this season but get him fit, and we will have a quality 'Terminator' in midfield! And probably much cheaper than Barton or Reo-Coker. Coleman wants to sell, so it is a no-brainer!

And to be honest, it is these sort of players Everton have a good chance of signing, as opposed to the ambitious/premium rate players. How do you think Arteta came here?
Luq Yussef, London  (19/1/07)

Got to love it

Hands up who didn't enjoy both Kev Sparke and Tony Marsh's articles, bet there won't be many. As good a reason as any why they should both keep posting. One thing that did strike me was I always assumed wrongly that Tony was an older supporter, he only has six years on me and many of his memories are shared with my own, the sublime 80s football and Heaven of Rotterdam, even the battling teams of the 70s when I wore my kit in school with pride and the football was still pleasing on the eye.

Keep it up guys, for the ones lucky enough to remember it takes me back to magical memories and for those who don't, scour the web & satellite tv for a history that isn't that long ago.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (19/1/07)

Eric Myles

I ususally manage to keep up with most Everton news, but I would be grateful if somebody could point me towards where Kenwright said he wanted to avoid getting into Europe to save paying bonuses. Or am I just not paying attention closely enough?
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (19/1/07)

Reply to Tony Marsh

Top post, Tony. I'm sure there's a hell of a lot more Blues with the same feeling of despair with the current Goodison regime. I for one got in just in time and my first Everton recollection is the 84 FA Cup final. Last week I was berating Moyes and his backroom boys for his negative and downright baffling tactics after we conceded. Once we scored I was just so relieved we wouldn't lose I ceased my complaining and went home happy we hadn't lost. I hate the fact that it's come to this.

As Tony states in his article, We are bigger than this and deserve the football our history demands. A new dawn is needed, but we need to start aiming for the sky before any miracles will happen at the greatest club in England. NSNO
Chris Lawlor, Sale  (19/1/07)

Bums on seats

The recent articles from both Tony Marsh and Rob Fox provide both elequence and clarity on the key issues that Evertonians currently face. Although both articles focus on different elements they are intrinsically interlinked, a Catch 22 situation on the playing side and a crossroads in terms of the future of Goodison. The recent visit of Sly Stallone as the guest of Bill Kenwright and Robert Earl served to highlight the current plight of Evertonians, an ageing Hollywood actor used to generate publicity for one ailing has-been to another.

I can recall when Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, this europhric rise to stardom bringing with it the catalyst for 'floating Evertonians', or an extra 4,000 season tickets purchased and a cap on new applications. The row in front of me in the Upper Bullens occupied by star-struck school-kids was a joy to see, the following season following Rooney's departure... empty seats.

The current stadium debate will continue to be a carrot-and-stick scenario: Will a brand new stadium bring with it the enthusiasm and demand for seats? Will corporate clients be induced by the brand but be quickly turned off by bland and mediocre football currently being played?

My sentiment would go with Tony Marsh's: if you can get it right on the pitch then things will undoubtedly happen positively off it. After all, although football has been like a crysalis in recent years, the endpoint is that people want to be entertained for the game as a spectacle and that's what ultimately puts bums on seats.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (19/1/07)

We were THAT good...

  • We had the worlds best goalie.
  • We had a centre back who, if he had been English, would have been lauded as the new Bobby Moore, and moreover, would have fitted into most midfields of today.
  • We had another centre back who scored 14 goals in a season!!!
  • A winger who sent 40,000 the wrong way before dropping a ball on a 2 foot forehead...
  • A dead ball specialist who could pick his corner and wasnt deterred by refs making him repeat the trick.
  • A midfielder with a dodgy knee who never stopped and never gave in.
  • Another who was silky skilled and had the vision of Nostradamus.
  • A couple of fullbacks who no-one escaped.
  • A centre forward who could get his head on anything, in the sky or at pitch level, whatever the obstacle.
  • And the ultimate target man who scored the best goal ever seen at Anfield ? EVER!
And a manager who got them together and told em to go out and stuff em! Jeez, where's me videos???
Mark Murphy, Horsham, West Sussex  (19/1/07)

How good were we?

My reply to Dylan, who is probably around the same age as me, is to read the autobiography written by Graeme Sharp ? Sharpy. The side of the mid-80s has righful legendary status, the team spirit and camaraderie well documented, but the insightful writings of Sharpy demonstrate the sheer will to win, trust and support that existed within that tight-knit squad.

There were no obvious superstars or big-time charlies and we are talking pre-Premiership era with little of the bollocks that exists today: eg. wags, leech-like agents and obscene wage demands. Sharpy colourfully portrays the spirit of '85 and the book is an absolute joy to read. Te game may have progressed but in my opinion not for the greater good of all.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (19/1/07)

No no not rats

Rather than rats I prefer an earlier Luq analogy where he compared us to lemmings. How much nicer to picture thousands of those furry little creatures impervious to danger as they race to the cliff edge. Ignoring all warning signs and detours placed by Tony Marsh & Co, onward they rush, chortling as they go. What mysterious compulsion drives them to the end of life as we know it. Is it belief in a spectacular rebirth in a brilliant new home and a place mid the high and mighty top four.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (19/1/07)

Times a changin'?

With the Wigan fixture looming, I cast my mind back to this game last year. Living not a million miles away from the JJB, I donned the neutral coat and got a ticket in the East Stand amongst the home supporters, as there wasn't a hope of getting a ticket in the North Stand with the Blues. This year, the tickets have gone on general sale? For a "local derby"? What's going on?

What really pisses me off is that I bought my ticket for the West Stand this time because I thought I'd have no chance of getting in the away end! I had been goading my Wigan friends that Everton would have more fans there than them, as their home support is abysmal.

Coincidentaly, after this fixture, Wigan are reducing their home fixture prices to just £15-00 per adult ticket. See you at the game... I'll be the one with the "mate 'n' prayter pie ont yed"
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (19/1/07)

Another 25 years under Moyes

Making steady progress under Moyes? Do me a favour. Walter Smith average finish 14th, Moyes average finish 12th. Thats steady progress? That means in another 25 years we should be just about up there. Trouble is I will be 84 then. Thanks Moyes for nothing.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (19/1/07)

I think your maths is highly suspect. The average finishing position after four full seasons for Moyes is 10th (9.75), which is definitely and without any debate significant progress over the preceeding years of misery under Walter. However, his average position is never going to look that great ? we could win the Premier League next season after finishing 12th this, and his average would still be below 8th (8.4).

Your projection would have us averaging 2nd under Moyes in another 25 years? Even if we win the Premier League every year for the next 25 years, starting next season, under Moyes, (How silly is this???) his average finishing position would still never get that high. ? Michael

It's just clicked into place!

After our Chairman publicly stating that Everton don't want to qualify for Europe as they'll have to pay player bonuses, it's just clicked when I read the Kevin Nolan column that this is exactly why we play defensively in the League.

We don't want to win and pay the players win bonuses, we just want to draw and stay up!!!
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (19/1/07)

Clear as dishwater

Can someone, no anyone please explain why after Joey Barton and Reo Coker appear to be unwilling to sign for Everton does our chance of signing a midfielder disappear? Last time I looked football still existed all around the planet and midfielders still exist elsewhere, is our scouting network really that poor that it only reads tabloid papers or watches Sky Premier Plus?

On another similar question, the links to the lad from Sheffield Weds, as far as I have seen from watching Mark Hughes in person and the Sheff Weds lad on TV, Mark looks good enough to do the same job and costs nothing.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (19/1/07)

The (Un) Holy Trinity

I?m prompted to write this as a comment on all the extreme postings regarding the custodians of our beloved club so let me just start by saying that I am not a ?head in the clouds, everything?s perfect? supporter like Richard Dodd (he?s gotta be just taking the piss or playing Devil?s Advocate). Nor am I a doom-and-gloom merchant (or as he prefers to call himself ?a realist?) like Tony Marsh.

So let me start off with the owner of this particular trainset. I personally don?t like Kenwright; I?ve had personal experience of his less-than-forthright dealings in the luvvie world (saviour of the Playhouse my arse!!) where he was only out to make things a lot more convenient for himself at the expense of other people (the workers and theatre goers). So I believe Michael when he says that Kenwright has been made offers for the club but won?t relinquish control.

Maybe it is just a big ego trip for him to be owner of his beloved Everton but I just can?t help feeling he?s hanging on for a bigger payoff down the line and only got his own interests at heart. Remember, we could be moving into King?s Dock the end of this season but for Kenwright knocking back the same deal that he is putting us into bed with Tesco?s with.

Now we come to our Manager, Davie Moyes. I?m neither pro- nor anti-Moyes but he does seem to polarise opinions about his management style. All I can say is I don?t care whether people like him or loathe him so long as he gets the team to get results and play football. Something which has been inconsistent in the last few years I agree.

Over the last four seasons, we?ve made Chelsea look ordinary, been outclassed by Arsenal and given Man Utd and Liverpool a run for their money, and played down to the level of all the other clubs in the Premiership. I thought we played well against Reading and have the makings of a decent side. And I think maybe many neutral supporters feel the same way.

Wyness also seems to take a lot of flack and unfairly so I think. He gets blamed for the lack of pies and pints at the ground and hiving the franchise off to outsiders but to me that makes sense. If the service is crap and you?re providing the service you have all the headaches, take all the risk and lose money. If you sell it off you have no headaches, no risk and actually make money from it! Similarly with the kit sales to JJB and the programmes to the Echo.

That way he can focus on the core business of getting money in for the benefit of the club and the team through other channels. Then, when we are financially sound and can afford to pay decent salaries to attract professional caterers and marketers, we can take back the businesses and manage them efficiently.

It would be nice to hear from Wyness of some sort of ?5 year plan? and it would have been even nicer for him to have deferred his big bonus until such a time as he has the club in a better financial position. That to me is a slap in the face to the supporters and is unacceptable.
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (19/1/07)

It takes time, ask Fergie

Will, Mitchell, I couldn't have put it better myself, we must be realistic and patient at the same time... considering the solid progress in the last five years, the next five will be the true test of Moyes. The backbone of the team is there, we're not too far away from being where we have always been-one of the "Big 5"....
Ian Dickson, Belfast  (18/1/07)

So, it's Bournemouth is it??

Instead of playing in the next round of the FA Cup, we've arranged a visit to Bournemouth for the day. Is this a sign of things to come? Does David Moyes know something we don't? Is this planning for next season? Maybe there's more qudos in this nice little earner than a boring old cup fixture ? he should have told us sooner then we could have saved up...
Peete Stewart, London  (18/1/07)

Dylan - we were brilliant!

How good was the side of the mid-eighties?

Well allowing for the fact that the modern game is all about pace (has Mr Moyes grasped this concept, I wonder?), the side of the mid-eighties would probably just about hold its own now. However, judged against its peers, it was one of 3 great teams that I have seen, the other two being the Liverpool side with Barnes, Aldridge and Beardsley and the Arsenal team that went unbeaten all season.

Goals came from all angles, one goal down meant nothing and we could be 0-0 at half time but there was every likelihood of 4-0 at full time.

I don't like living too much in the past and don't expect to see an Everton side like that again (hope I'm wrong mind you!), but the two things that strike me about that team were team pattern and balance ? something that we don't have currently under Moyes.

Being the eternal optimist (but not of Doddy proportions), I do long for Moyes to make some January signings as I firmly believe that, just like the team of '83, the nucleus of a good team is waiting to burst out at Everton. It took two crocks to galvanise that team ? Reid and Gray. With the right signings now, we could start to go places maybe.
Ray Robinson, Gridlocked Warrington  (18/1/07)

Lots of Cash

LOTS OF CASH/ In my view the reason we have no INVESTMENT at the moment is! The cash that is on its way (especially) if we stay In the premiership is mind-blowing 40 million a season fore the Next 5 yrs! That?s 200 million any BUISNESS man would love To invest in that, that?s why (in my view) we fail to attract Investment! Mr KENWRIGHT sees the bigger picture! He won?t The bloody lot I would say he has known about this TV deal fore A while
Joe Walsh, Woking  (19/1/07)

Time to let it go

Now it seems certain that we won't sign Joey Barton or anyone else of that quality in this window, I think it's time to just get on with what we have and trust Moyes to do what he did last summer.

I,like plenty other Bluenoses, checked sky sports news right up until 12 midnight at the end of last January's window in the hope that our glaringly obvious shortage of strikers would be eradicated with a late swoop. But no. But to be fair to Davie he said he would wait until the summer to spend what he had and spend wisely he did. I don't think anyone would swap the signing of AJ in the summer for the signing of some unknown like Pieroni from Auxerre or some of the other nobodies we were linked with back then. Had we signed a striker last January we would've been temporarily happy until we saw he was pony then berated Moyes in the summer if AJ had signed for Bolton and not us.

I'm as hacked off as any other supporter with Moyes's approach to signings but I'll be happy to be proven wrong in the summer if we do get the midfield general we so desperately need. Let's just get on with it and finish in the top 7 at least. We can do that with this squad...
Niall Clinton, London  (18/1/07)

How good were we?

The 1985-87 teams were a great example of what we are not right now. There were no superstars, but the overall quality of each player was very high. Yes, they sometimes completely blew it, but each player was a dominant force at their respective position and they played magnificently TOGETHER as a team.

Also of note was Kendall's knack of bringing in the right balance of squad members, so that when one of the first eleven went down he brought in someone who still maintained the balance of the team movement. The eighties champions tackled well (except maybe Kevin 'white shorts' Sheedy!), passed well and moved well off the ball. They were a threat to score from any phase of the game, which is something we seem to be significantly lacking in at the moment. When we attacked we did so fluidly and incisively, and occasionally brilliantly.

As for if any of the present team would get a game, personally, I could only see maybe Andrew Johnson, Mikel Arteta and Joleon Lescott getting some playing time with the 85 champion vintage, but maybe not so much with the 87 (if at all).

One last point about the eighties teams: it came about almost as a surprise. Who of the meagre few thousand left on the terraces after the humiliating defeat to Ipswich in the early eighties (4 ? 0 on an absolutely freezing horrible day) would have thought that only a few years later we'd be champions?
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (18/1/07)

Hmmm... so it was possible to rise from the depths of despair to actually achieve tangible success and trophies in the space of 2 or 3 years? We are reliably informed such an elevation is not possible any longer. It takes 10 years (according to the Moyes Plan).— Michael

How good were we????

Here goes:

  • You could name the team - I know non-Evertonians who can still do this!
  • Everyone was played in their position, with a few all-rounders waiting in the wings.
  • We could grind out results when necessary AND pass other teams to death.
  • The midfield had balance
  • The strikers could score goals
  • We had pace throughout the side.
  • The team was full of leaders and characters, so when it got tough we could turn games around.
  • We won the FA Cup, which helped everyone believe we could carry on progressing.
  • The manager openly trusted the players, which gave them the confidence to perform.
The point about this debate is that it has nothing to do with whether football was 'better' in those days. Look at the sides who are currently successful and you'll notice that they have most or all of these characteristics.

You can't get a Pro Licence for man-management and getting the best out of players, but that's the real difference between then and now!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (18/1/07)

Kev Sparke Article

Great read that, Kev, thanks very much, mate; brought a big smile to my face. It's a shame us Rats are on enforced starvation diets at the moment tho... maybe we should start spreading excrement on the Boardroom wall as a form of protest.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (18/1/07)

A few facts

I'll start by saying I enjoyed reading another good, well written piece by Kev Sparke.

I visit ToffeeWeb most days and its a great site, but I'm getting a little fed up with constant negativity and the never-ending slagging of Moyes and the Board. Now don't get me wrong, I get as frustrated with Moyes and the constant poor, messy football we play as the likes of Tony 'Misery' Marsh. I'd give anything to see us score a beautiful team goal every so often but I can't see it happening under Moyes.

What we must realise is sticking with Moyes is our best bet at the moment. Look at the facts:

- Newcastle: A club with seemingly unlimited funds but who always finish around mid-table. The simple answer to their predicament is the fact that they have a new manager every two seasons or so.

-Charlton are the other obvious example. Curbishley stayed there for many years, got them promoted and kept them in the Premiership. When he left in the summer, the team immediatly went to the dogs. They sack Ian Dowie after 10 games or something ridiculous and are now languishing in the bottom three, staring relegation in the face. Why? Because they didn't give Dowie enough time, suffered a knee-jerk reaction and sacked him, after giving him funds to buy the players HE wanted in the summer. They are on their third manager this season...

What I'm saying is stability is the key. Will Mitchell was right: look at Man Utd, Charlton (under Curbishley), Bolton under Allardyce. At the other end of the spectrum you have Newcastle and this season's Charlton.

Moyes won't be going anywhere any time soon, and moaning about him won't get rid of him.
Sean Gilbertson, Wirral  (18/1/07)

Comment on Andrew Keatley's message

Hi Andrew,

One does wonder at times what strange force compels us to head towards Goodison on match days and join the 30+ thousand there rooting for the Blues. As a supporter of more years standing than I care to remember, it seems t'was ever thus, with just one or two very brief interludes when we were really top of the tree.

However, a cursory glance at the two principal football leagues, The Premiership and The Championship, reveals that this famous old club is by no means unique. Think of Manchester City supporters, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and even some southern-based clubs like Portsmouth and Southampton. All these clubs are roughly in the same position. They too have their sporadic moments of glory. Nowadays, such moments are primarily a matter of luck, the acquisition of a couple of exceptional players or sudden access to money, so often only a fleeting access..

All of us live in hope ? more in hope than in expectation I'm afraid to add. However, we do get our moments of glory. This season's convincing victories over the 'auld enemy', those wearing red shirts, and dare I mention the name, Spurs!

Somehow we do seem to be doing better than for those years when we seemed to be permanently battling relegation but I don't see us scaling the headiest of heights till we land our own tame billionaire.

Meanwhile, we loyal fans will continue the trek to Goodison or wherever, each alternate Saturday. Its in the blood.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (18/1/07)

How good were we?

We were bloody good! We went from awful to sublime in the space of a few months. From Coventry at home to two cup final appearances we clicked and played some lovely stuff. By the time we played Rapid Vienna off the park we were damn near perfect. I was amazed when we didn't win the league in '86 but in '87 we got even better! We didn't just hope to win matches, we expected to!

Would any of today's players get in the mid eighties team? Not a chance ? not even Mikel Arteta! That '85 team would beat this lot 5- or 6-nil!
Mark Murphy, Horsham, West Sussex  (18/1/07)

Hiya Murph - those were the days indeed mate! You just *knew* the team would win, even if falling behind. Recommended viewing, sometimes shown on ESPN Classics, is the League game at home to Sunderland, where Ian Wallace put them one up inside two minutes down in front of the Park End. And Everton replied with four goal of the month contenders, a quite remarkable feat I don't think has ever been equalled. We were quality. - Colm

Noses in the trough

Re the massive increase in Premier clubs` TV income, players agents are already lining up a claim for a 50% pay rise for their charges! John Terry`s agent is leading the way with a claim for £150k per week for his man and you can bet that others will soon follow.

History shows that since the removal of the maximum wage in 1961, however much comes into the clubs they blow it all on transfer fees and wages. These days the managers and Chief Execs have their noses in the trough as well as quite a few chairmen! The chances of a hold on admission/season ticket prices or the repayment of debts is nil!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (18/1/07)

£40M for tenth!

I have just watched a lunchtime News item that indicated that from next season the Premier champions will net £50M and the wooden spoonists a mere £30M! On the presumption that the team who finishes 10th (Everton`s budget place) will trouser something in the order of £40M, there can be absolutely no justifacation for ANY rise in season ticket prices for 2007-08. If the Club is unwise enough to increase prices, I shall set up a boycot movement immediately!
Paul Driscoll, Thornton  (18/1/07)

How good where were we really?

This is a genuine question from someone who was old enough to remember and enjoy the glory days of the mid-eighties but not mature enough to appreciate the scale of what we achieved.

How good was that team really? Did we play consistent flowing attacking football every week? Was the competition harder than this year's league? If the Toffeeweb mailbag was available then would we still have found as many things to moan about regarding the club, players or mamagement?

This is a genuine appeal for some education. All I have to go on is the recent reruns on ESPN Classic which to be perfectly honest were a bit disappointing in terms of the standard of football in general (not just Everton).

ps: Another question's just sprung to mind whist typing this: Would any present-day player get a game in the championship winning sides?

Opinions please....
Dylan Thomson, Dumbarton  (18/1/07)

Debt cleared?

This may be ludicrously crude number crunching, but the new TV deal will see Everton get at least £30M per year over the next five years. Surely there will be some reason to believe a large proportion of our debt will be cleared in this time? Does anyone have any other thoughts on this?
Dean Paton, Wirral  (19/1/07)

Or perhaps we've spent in advance of future "earnings"? - Colm

10 Years Of Moyes By Wiil Mitchell

Its finally happened on TW ? an Evertonian has completely lost his marbles. Call the men in white coats. What the fuck are you on, Will? Moyes and Kenwright are the only hope of us regaining the School of Science tag you say. How can any sane man utter the words "School of Science" and "Moyes" is the same breath?

If you dont believe me, Will, Moyes is currently watching the progress of a player at Crewe with a view to signing him. The lads name is Billy Jones and guess what: he is a left back. Another fucking left back to add to the 10 we already have at the club. It's okay though because he can also stand in as a makeshift midfielder. Does that sound like School of Science stuff or just shit negativity once again from Deadly Dave? How about another right back for a change?

Its getting beyond a joke all this give Moyes more time crap. More time to do what exactly? Sign more defenders and try and become even harder to beat while forsaking any ideas of playing decent football. That needs another 5 years does it? Another 5 years of this utter garbage and there won't be anyone left to watch it, Will ? and that will be the real outcome of all this. Moyes will not sign players he thinks are flair players or players with big personalities as he sees them as a threat.

Anyone who remembers the School of Science days will tell you it was all about flair and big personalities mate. So do me a favour and stop talking shite. Giving Moyes flair players to work with is like giving a Wino Busker in the Lime Street subway a Stradivarius violin and asking him to knock a tune out. Stop dreaming, Will; Moyes is the wino busker and the violin is not playing sweet music.

The only science I have witnessed under Moyes is the science of aerodynamics and my fucking neck is killing me watching the ball drop from the stratosphere. Please dont insult the like of Alex Young and Co with your gibberish. Moyes and his tactics will never ever replicate those golden days.

By all means support your team and the incompetent manager who runs it but please get back to planet earth with your views, mate. They are embarrassing.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/1/07)

Let`s give it a rest!

With the likelihood of David Moyes finding a midfield general by the close of the window all but gone, I do think Evertonians should lay off criticism of the manager on this issue until we see what he can do about the situation in the summer. So many of the postings are repetitive to the point of boring and none of us (apart from Tony Marsh) can seriously believe that we really know more about the game than those at the helm.

I am not particularly fond of Moyes, believing him to be far too compliant in the games his chairman gets up to, but there is little doubt he is among the most accomplished of his profession and has established the stability we so lacked under all his Premiership predecessors.

Only a Dodd could be happy with the style of football Everton are dishing up but `needs must` and until the manager can bring in the missing link we will have to put up with it. So, please let`s all give the record a rest, can we, and enjoy what`s left of the season!
Tony Senter, Bebbington  (18/1/07)

Enough!

Enough is enough! Having been lucky enough to see us play attractive football throughout the 80s and 90s, I am fed up with the dross that is served up as football.

I am fed up with Moyes's miserable mug and Kenwright's disinformation (regarding the new ground and Liverpool council and probably a wide range of other things Ferguson and Rooney transfers, proespctive buyer et al). We need a change and we need it now. WE really need to organsie a protest because if we don't we are as guilty as 'blue' Bill of sinking the club.

Whilst I am at it. I know Steve Lyth well and you will never meet a bluer Evertonian. He puts his money where his mouth is and lives and breathes EFC. If he says that we were massively in debt then we were!
Russ Kavanagh, Ellesmere Port  (18/1/07)

We *are* massively in debt, that's a fact. But due to the nature of the Club Accounts, and the manner in which they are presented, it is not so much that we are in debt but how are we to service those debts. By the way, are we related? ;-) - Colm

Stallone

Did anybody see yesterday's Times newspaper? There is a picture of Sly Stallone at the premiere of his film in Paris wearing an Everton scarf.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (18/1/07)

All hope is never lost

Funny that in the absence of a coherent argument, any postings having the temerity to question the current management are now accused of 'expecting trophies' and saying 'all hope is lost'. Instead of the negative approach of having no expectations, waiting for the results and then finding some desperate crumbs of pretend 'success', here are my following hopes:

The management show some genuine leadership by stating our aim of achieving 5th spot. If we succeed, build on it. If not, we take steps to put things right until we do!

We enter cups to win them, as success breeds success. Most footballers will not come to a club where the 'genius' management aim for 8th/9th place because cups are 'not worth winning' and 'there's no money in them' Players want medals ? I used to think fans wanted trophies, not so sure these days.

We have players who are comfortable passing and receiving a football with the ability to think about what they are doing. This does not cost 'money', it's called leadership, trust, training and coaching. What do they do between games at the moment?

We bring in players with leadership qualities ? the ones who can lift those around them and grab a game by the scruff of the neck and change things. Other than Cahill, this is one of most colourless, uninspriring bunch of characters I've seen in Everton shirts.

We actually have some kind of positive strategy on the pitch. I find it inconceivable that after 5 years, we have no idea of this, other than the hard work, running and endeavour approach. This worked well in the bottom half of the table, but has clear limitations the further we up we go.

To my eyes, these hopes are positive and achievable. There's every reason to believe a club with our budget and spending power can do this. It's a question of wanting it.

Of course it's better to be 7th than 17th. What's stopping us from doing even better? What's the problem with actually wanting to win the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Uefa Cup, or just to be entertained? Yes, we're an established top ten side, so let's push on! What are we scared of?
Paul Tran, Kendal  (18/1/07)

Excellent letter, Paul. Top class. Compulsory reading for all who want us to accept the ststus quo and lower expectations they think are all we can achieve. — Michael

In response to Steve O'Shaughnessy

In simple terms, the goal was offside and highlighted by Andy Gray on Monday's review. He suggested that players may have obstructed the linesman's view when the ball was kicked (ubious). All that effort working on that defensive strategy in training was wasted (if you believe that was a delibrate defensive tactic that is...).
Steve Wainwright, Merseyside  (18/1/07)

Stuff the legends!

Will somebody please tell our star-struck Chairman that the only legends we want to see stepping out at Goodison come in the form of defenders, midfielders and goalscorers. His plan to follow Sly with Arnie and Bruce Willis may be a diversion from the usual crap his manager dishes up but it cuts no ice with me!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (18/1/07)

Don't send Moyes the way of Royle

Like some other contributers I lived most of my teens and early 20s humiliated with the spectre of relegation hanging over our heads. The end of 93-94 I believed was rock bottom, especially when Joe Royle took over for 94-95 and brought home the FA Cup and lifted us (reletavely) clear of relegation. Season 95/96 our best of the nineties, no silverware but we were a team to be feared yet again and missed out on Europe in the dying minutes of the final game of the season.

I was 21 years old when season 96-97 kicked off. All Evertonians expected us to push on and challenge for the title (yes, its true! even Des Lynam had us down as dark horses for the TITLE). However, after results weren't of a title calibre Joe Royle attempted to sign Tore Andre Flo. Apparently this wasn't a big enough signing for us and when the move wasn't sanctioned by agent Johnson the inevitable happened and Royle resigned! At 21 I was delighted with this as in my mind Joe didn't have the ambition large enough for my beloved Everton.

However, the following 5 years were the most disastrous in our history without actually been relegated.

Yes, I get pissed off with a LOT of our displays and even in heated moments scream "what the fuck is Moyes playing at" but this is because Moyes has giving me belief in our club again. Some of the best days of my adult life supporting Everton have come under Moyes. Finishing 4th above Liverpool, beating them 3-0 this season, beating Man Utd for the first time since Joe Royle did it.... and most importantly not being embarrassed as we continually fight relegation!!

I definately prefer going to the bookies at the start of a season and not seeing Everton even listed as relegation candidates and are more likely to be listed for a champions league place. I believe the club is going forward and the most reckless, naive thing to do now would be to remove Moyes.
Tony Darley, Dublin  (7/1/18)

Investment near!

I have heard that Canadian Billionaire Jack Kachkar, currently buying Marseille is also looking at investing in Everton. Although Fifa rules will prevent him having a controlling intrest in two clubs it is likely he will put in another front man to head it up. This sounds like good news as at the moment we could do with any financial injection into the club.
James Gardener, Neston  (18/1/07)

We'll wait and see ? but with the spiralling of income from television and other sources, there's no doubt all football clubs will become the focus of attention amongst speculators out there! ? Colm

Enough about `Daffy `Dodd

Mr Editor,I am sorry that to one or two misguided posters, my comments have become the news rather than an intended commentary on the news. That was never my intention and anyone who knows me - and there are plenty I assure you - will attest that the views I express here are my genuinely held beliefs on the Everton we all love.

Although usually it would be impossible to draw such a conclusion from this site, I am positive that my wholehearted support of the establishment is no more than a reflection of the views of the great majority of my fellow Evertonians. Only today, contributions from Will Mitchell and Steve O`Shaunessey echo views I have previously expressed and although I am not so daft as to think the tide is turning, I am encouraged by an indication that I am not entirely alone.

As far as being a `wind-up merchant` is concerned ,I would have you know that I support my club as I live my life-in truth, optimism and trust. I don`t expect too much and thus I am rarely disappointed but I do see the best in people and go through life with a smile on my face.

And that`s enough about `Daffy`Dodd. Please!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/1/07)

What about the offside

I looked at the highlights show again and it seems pretty clear to me: the Reading goal was offside. The geezer was trying to be sneaky and curve his run, but when the ball was kicked he was still making his way back on-side. I have been waiting for someone to say something, but the ludicrous defending seems to have attracted everyone's (includingthe linesman's) attention. Can you have another look at it and quell my rising indignation.
Steve O'Shaughnessy, Auckland NZ  (18/1/07)

It was offside... but it wasn't called offside. So it wasn't offside. Because it was awarded as a goal. And you can't score if you score but were offside when the ball was kicked. Which, if true, would mean the goal would not have been allowed to stand. But it was allowed. Therefore he wasn't offside. Although he did look offside. Hope this helps. ? Michael

Huff & Puff

I know this letter will just sound like the rest, but we have all had enough.

After match after match of Walter Smith displays, I honestly thought that attacking football would come back. Sadly years later, nothing has changed, and I don't know if it's Moyes or AJ the player but still the last to get 20 goals in a season was Tony Cottee.

Moyes has spent several millions on players just not up to the task ? how many of us wanted Beattie? You don't have to spend millions! Not too long ago, I remeber exciting players like, Nevin, Limpar, Beagrie, Beardsley ? all we have is Naysmith, Davies, Hibbert, Neville, Carsley. The final negative straw was Moyes saying he is is glad to see Naysmith back, well I'm glad he is... cos I fucking ain't.
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (17/1/07)

Dodd or Dutch?

I have to say I must a agree with Simon Amble and a few others who have questioned Richard Dodd's postings. He's entitled to his opinion, even though I don't agree with them. But they have had me wondering if Dicky is our old mate Dutch Schaeffer. His unquestioning support of and all things Moyes is very familiar. Anyway, just a trivial thought for the day.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (17/707)

Trivial indeed... I assure you their writing styles are both distinctive and clearly different. They will each be flattered by your interest and concern. — Michael

The poisoned dwarf that is Alan Green

After reading what the poisoned dwarf had to say about scousers on Sunday, it reminded me of a conversation I had with him before a derby match at Anfield three seasons ago.

I was a guest of a businessman friend of mine in the main stand. On entering the stand, Alan Green was standing in the aisle, blocking my entrance. As I was about to get past him he remarked to some fans in RED, how he hoped thay would beat Everton, as I excused myself to get past him, I remarked to him "I thought you were supposed to be neutral"? to my surprise he let me know in no uncertain terms what he thought of Everton.

Since that day it's been made clear to all Blue fans that he hates Everton. On Monday morning, I e.mailed Radio 5live regarding his obvious bias against EFC, and have since received an apology in return.
Norman Merrill, Everton  (17/1/07)

Belief

It's very difficult to believe right now that Everton can do anything significant this season.

The scale of disaster is not like last season. I remember vividly sitting at Christmas watching the derby and getting soundly thrashed again. The nice young lad sat next to me said "something has got to change". It did and our fortunes did. From New Year's Eve onwards we did a massive football task.

We have continued this from a points haul point of view throughought the year. Some though remain bitter and twisted and advocate change regardless of what that might bring.

I have much empathy with the people bemoaning our cup and season results so far. I won't lie though and admit defeat before the season has finished. Neither will I support biggoted views on what lies in store with the current custodians of the club or Manager. We are a passionate group of supporters and I am getting pretty sick of listening to "All hope is lost" views.

I am grateful that, with the current squad, no matter who we face, the result is not a foregone conclusion. Achieving that alone and believing it is worthy of note. Being taken seriously again and with other teams having to be defensive against us should be taken on board.

If it was easy then anyone could win the league or buy it??
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (17/1/07)

So... er... what is it you are saying exactly?

Joey Barton

This lad would be a fantastic signing for us, he could be our Gerrard MBE. It does appear unlikely that he will become an Everton player, as it appears we arent big enough to leave City for. But I pose this question: Why is it that players who are apparant Evertonians never seem to want to help make Everton successful, by having a drive to play for us? It does sadden me as I would love to be in their position.

I have been a massive fan of Moyes, but lately win, lose or draw, the standard of football is painful to the eye, and with each result we grind out I am losing faith; we need fresh impetus but Blue Bill doesn't see it that way. The slump Moyes got us out of is great, but the guy I think has taken us as far as he can, I think we need Howard Wilkinson or bring Roy Evans!
Donald Boyson, Bootle  (17/1/07)

Alan Green

What a biased, self-opinionated, fat, ugly douche bag you are. Oh by the way, that was just an 'off the cuff remark', Alan, so I know you won't take any offence! If Blue Bill and Wyness have any sense they should ban the twat from Goodison forever.
Tom Edwards, York  (17/1/07)

Now you know what happened last time he said bad things about us and got everyone mad... BEWARE THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL!!! — Michael

Doddy

Could Richard Dodd or his creator please come clean and admit that really he's an anti-Moyes agitator posing as a moron?

I'm not being ironic - 'His' last few posts have been so silly I no longer credit 'Richard' as a geniune defender of Moyes et al but an elaborate (ok not that elaborate) joke.

Well done, you had us for a bit. As someone who has some sympathies for Moyes (althought a little less love every game), if Richard is genuine he does the pro-Moyes camp no favours at all.
Simon Amble, Hereford  (17/1/07)

Some insist he is a wind-up merchant but I can't see it. I may be gulible but I honestly think he is genuine, if a little wacky for most tastes. He has been consistent in his stance and writing style, which is hard to do if you are not genuine. And let's face it, this is 'just' an internet sounding board: if someone really wants to go to the effort of creating a persona to get a rise out of the rest of the readers, does it actually matter?

I get exasperated at reading almost everything he writes, but that does not mean he is a wind-up artist. At the same time, judging by other posts we get, there are a significant number of fans who either agree with Doddy completely, or who at least share some of his views. Does that make them wind-up merchants? I think not.

One thing this forum provides, which is a little different from the 'Real World' of the pub, is exposure to the views of people you would never normally meet or interact with. For some who are used to having their views reflected only by like-minded mates, that clearly comes as a bit of a shock. ? Michael

My demise has been greatly exaggerated

I feel that I must reply to those who believe that failing to buy a season ticket is somehow tantamount to withdrawing their support of Everton ? they are totally incorrect. Buying a season ticket is a major purchase for most people and therefore it has to be given the appropriate consideration. Not having been on the planet for as long as some supporters, I obviously cannot compete with the number of games that they have attended. But it is those very people and their stories which influenced some of us to support Everton in the first place.

To somehow demean our loyalty by arguing that our ?passing would not be mourned? is insulting to both our previous dedication and to those who only occasionally attend matches due to circumstances. Any supporter who pays to watch Everton play football is entitled to choose whether to attend regularly or occasionally and their views are valid regardless.

Congratulations to those who have managed to endure watching the Blues for over 50 years. But even they would have to admit that the gulf between where Everton are in relation to being a top side is even greater than it was in the days of Second Division football.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (17/1/07)

Facts Reprise

Kenwright inherited a debt of £40M!!! I suggest you talk to a couple of the lads from Goodison for Ever-ton, they have most of the facts on Kenwright's tenure. Peter Johnson. for all his ills. did not leave Everton in debt to the tune of £40M and that, Danny boy, is a fact.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (17/1/07)

Okay, that's enough. Either someone produces chapter & verse from the Annual Report & Accounts or this one stops right here. ? Michael

The Moyes Mentality

Is it me or is it whenever I watch Everton I have no idea on how we are going to score. To me, and I'm sure to everyone else who watches the team, it's obvious we should be playing to our main players' strenghs. This means getting Arteta on the ball as often as possible, looking to play Johnson behind the defence, and asking VDM to go at the fullbacks. Pretty simple right? Anyone can see that, so why can't Moyes.

Does he honestly think that Johnson can win flick ons? Moyes's plan when he first came to Everton was to stop the rot, make us difficult to beat and so he bought a lot of hard workers, great for then but now we need to move forward.

Unfortunately, that battling mentality is still in Moyes hence him saying he just wants to get 40 points to stay up this season. I'm not saying I want us to play like Arsenal but at least we should be going to most games looking for the win. Every other club in the Prem look like they at least have some clue what they are doing when they get into the final third.
Trevor Thompson, Croydon  (17/1/07)

Response to Phil Hammer's Aticle

Interesting article reflecting the bigger picture. There has been a tremendous amount of online criticism levelled at David Moyes in recent weeks. The man is doing a fantastic job given the club's financial clout and general attractiveness to potential transfer targets. We are in far better shape now than in the dark days a decade or so ago. The FA Cup win, as big an acjhievement as it was, was a cup classic, the sort of thing that WILL NOT happen again too quickly regrettably, most of that season was a darn struggle if I recall correctly.

There is a tendency for some blue noses to get just a little carried away with 'how well we ought to be performing!' Everton have punched way way above their weight in the last few seasons, so let's not get all misty eyed and expect too much too soon. Mind you, a sign of progress is the growing expectation of fans, so perhaps therein lies the answer?

We lie in seventh for goodness sakes! Not seventeenth. You try putting yourselves in Charlton's or West Ham's shoes today!!
Alex Johnson, Kent  (17/1/07)

Credibility

Thankfully the 'Rocky Show' is over and perhaps Everton can now get back to the real world of winning matches and developing a style that is easier on the eye. To achieve this I am reminded of a quote from Mohammed Ali:

"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
A salutory comment by someone who's achieved success ? and one David Moyes and co would do well to consider.
Peete Stewart, London  (17/1/07)

Mid-table Blues

On recent form, I can`t see Everton getting any more than 50 points by the end of the season. This would mean another mid-table finish and once again we shall be asked to see this as progress. Whilst to Dodd & Co this may be acceptable, to me it would indicate total failure to build on an excellent start.

Most of us feel that Moyes`s unimaginative tactics have had a negative effect on Johnson; with Beattie a spent force and Anichebe in need of another season in the Reserves, it is hard to see where goals will come from. Everton are now drifting towards mediocrity and it will take more than showbiz stunts to keep crowds at the present level.

Like most paying fans, I go to be entertained and in recent weeks all I have got is depression!
George Ferriby, Rock Ferry  (17/1/07)

Moyes & Kenwright

Having read Rick Tarleton's letter regarding the team, manager and chairman I find myself agreeing with everything he says. I have been of the opinion that for the last season and a half David Moyes has lost the dressing room. There is only so much a manager can say to motivate a very average side and unfortunately we are now moribund of any thought process, ideas and even tactics. This coming from a manager who reportedly goes to every European seminar picking the brains of the top coaches and for what? Abject displays against Blackburn and Reading.. READING for gods sake!! I am still getting over the last few minutes of the City game at Goodison!!

As for the Chairman, he runs the club for his own ends. The Rocky thing on Sunday was PR and PR only. Now if Mr Stallone had stood in the centre circle and announced he was going to fund the new stadium, throw £100M at the team and open academies in Italy then, yep, Bill ? you done good. But handshakes and waves don't put the dinner on the table. It smacks of the PM going out to boost the troops ? it' just fluff!

Moyes and Kenwright have painted themseles into a corner. This lot is Moyes's team, his formation, ideas and tactics. Kenwright seems like a decent enough man. Indeed, some 10 years ago my mate wrote him asking him to step down in favour of Peter Johnson (hindsight eh)? Mr Kenwright sent him a long and detailed reply and wishing him all the best. That's the measure of the man. But this is our club and it should be run with trophies and style in mind and not seige mentality and mid-table mediocrity. Some will argue that we have come some way under their rule since the days of relegation threats and bankruptcy. That's not an arguement! What the hell were we doing in that situation in the first place?

Answers? Bill needs to seriously look at doubling the funds instead of doubling the press releases about the funds! We know what a mess Leeds got into but no-one is saying mortgage the club ? just simply nailing some proper deals. Get the money from Tesco and his American mates! Build the ground infrastructure and facilities and stop saying that this is where we are right now!! Relinquish power, Bill, and watch your club grow. We love you as an Evertonian but this ship's still leaking, mate!

As for Moyes? Sharpy says keep him. Don't just change for change sake. But how much longer can we put up with poor displays punctuated by the odd blistering performance? Europe? Hardly!! Yep. there is a lack of decent managers out there... shame about O'Neill. But at this point, it is an even bigger shame about Mr Moyes!!
Charlie Armstrong, Ormskirk  (17/1/07)

Happy as we are

Why so many Evertonians are clamouring for mid-season signings completely baffles me. The team have played well enough to be seventh in the table and, but for shocking refereeing and some misfortune, could easily be another 8 points to the good.

Chairman Bill has already told us that there is absolutely no money in the Uefa Cup and qualifying would only kick in very expensive bonuses for players and staff. With the top four places already spoken for, 7th or 8th would be an ideal finishing spot and I am sure the present squad can accomplish this with ease.

Let`s just recognise that Davey has done his best to tempt Barton to Goodison although I, for one, think we are better without him.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (17/1/07)

Nae bother

Well, Barton isn't coming to Everton... not really surprising. Although I hate saying this, it would probably be a step sideways for him. City are just as shite as we are.

In a way, though, I'm quite pleased as I don't think he would have added anything different to our midfield. Barton scores his share of goals from midfield but he's not a Peter Ried (which is indeed what we need). He doesn't hold on to the ball and keep possession, he just makes good runs into the box (and we already have the best in the business at that: Tim Cahill).

So chill out ? and be glad that we missed out on Traore aswell :)
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (17/1/07)

Shared name; opposing views

If the other John McFarlane, and those who share his views are so disenchanted then maybe it would be better if they carried out the implied threat and failed to renew their season tickets, the club no doubt would miss the revenue, but I doubt that their passing would be mourned by genuine supporters ? some, like myself, who have seen darker days: 1951-54...

There are aspects of the management of both club and team that cause me concern but I have never contemplated withdrawing my support, and I cannot envisage anything [including relegation] that would cause me to relinquish my season ticket.
John McFarlane, Skelmersdale  (17/1/07)

Facts

Just read a post from Steve Lyth saying we were £8M in debt when Kenwright took over and now we are almost £50M. As I remember we were far more than that in debt when Kenwright took over, somewhere in the region of £40M. Walter Smith spent £20M on John Collins, Olivier Dacourt, Dave Unsworth, Bakayoko etc, and that is why Duncan had to be sold for £8M, because the banks were on our backs. And all of this was under the stewardship of Peter Johnson. Just pointing out the facts...
Danny Broderick, London  (17/1/07)

Joey Barton - The Great Escape

Whilst appreciating that Joey Barton ticks off most of the boxes in our requirement for a midfielder able to complement Arteta and Cahill, I for one am glad that he has decided not to leave City. Can you imagine the ammount of pressure he would have been under back in our city? We saw how he was treated by our fans whilst playing for City, just think what his life would be like with the constant hassle and worse from Liverpool supporters. I was on the West County Blues coach that was attacked by these morons after the Derby match so I can appreciate that life would have ben very difficult for the lad.

Additionally, he has proved in the past that it doesn't take too much aggro for him to lose his bottle (ie, sticking lit cigars into colleague's eyes or hitting bluenose kids in Thailand etc) and that his first trip to one of Andy VDM's cosy haunts may well have been his very last. All in all, I believe that it could well be our Great Escape. Steve Sidell, with his Reading contract due up at the end of the season, would be a much better investment.
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (17/01/07)

Has anyone thought?

'I would just like to say I am not happy with the move away from GP' But the thing you have to remeber is that we asked for land in liverpool and where would it end up (Halewood). Not that I have any problems moving there but it is out the way, I think. When asked if we could move into Stanley Park and we got turned down. So why should we beg to get some land when Knowsley 10 mins down the road are offering a good peice off land to us?

I would just like to add that if we do deciede to build the new stadium in Knowsley, and just say that are new investor gave us permission to put a Planet Hollywood in our stadium, would the Liverpool City Cuncil want anything to do with us as there is only one other plannet Hollywood in this country and I belive that would have such focus it would bring tourists to see it. Just think: Beetles Tour, Docks Tour, and plannet Hollywood tour.
Craig Nolan, Neston  (17/1/07)

Rocky Horror Show

Strange that the BBC should feel the need to apologise for Alan Green`s derogatory comments about the Rocky stunt at Goodison. Most of the people sitting near me felt much the same about it and the biggest laugh of the afternoon went to the guy behind for the crack about the limmo! Funny (and peculiar) lot, Evertonians.
Paul Sears, West Derby  (17/1/07)

Show us the money

I'm sure that Mike Price from Vancouver knows what he means about the 'Moyes Factor'. However, he presents no evidence or clues to his claims that players dont want to play for Moyes or that 'he actually stalls or ruins many players careers'. What players have indicated anywhere that they don't want to come because of Moyes and what players has he ruined? What lines from ex-players were you reading between when you claim they believe Moyes/Irvine are a joke?

Your comment on the style of play and what you see as negative systems are your opinions ? fair enough, but I think it is scandalous to make claims about Moyes's talent and what colleagues think about him without presenting some evidence of this. He works for us, and I can understand the frustration because I feel it myself. But come on people, don't start kicking the man with unsubstantiated claims. Show us the money and we might just believe you!
Neil Alecock, Huyton  (17/1/07)

Deep In A Valley

Everton Football Club and some of its supporters seem to be relatively happy to accept the way the club is being run and the performances of the team on the pitch. They say that the dark days of relegation-haunted seasons are behind us and that things are slowly improving under David Moyes. I don't agree with those people, but can to a degree understand their position.

To me Everton's current standard of football is abysmal and, like so many others, it is out of habit that I am attending Goodison Park on a regular basis. My warning to those who accept what is on offer at the moment and the way the club is being run is two words: Wolverhampton Wanderers. By the time I started attending football matches, Wolves were starting to fall from grace after a long decline during the 60s and mid-70s. Fans of other clubs recognised that they were a giant of club but also had no fear of playing them home or away. They had been the team of the late 1950s but, similar to Everton in recent years, rested on their laurels and although having some good players were never able to regain their former position.

Those of us who regularly criticise the way Everton play and the way the Club is run are not doing so out of malice or dislike for a particular person. We are criticising because we don't want Everton to become like Wolverhampton Wanderers. No club, regardless of history, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or anyone else has a divine right to succeed. But fans of clubs have the right to expect the club they support to do everything ? and I mean everything ? in their power to provide the players and manager who can perform to the best possible level at all times.

I don't believe at this moment in time that Everton are doing at all well on this front. Whether that is due to poor attitudes among the players, bad tactics by the Manager and Coaches or a general malaise among the owners I don't know. What I do know is that any progress that has been made under David Moyes has been slow and sometimes painful. Everton cannot afford slow and painful progress because others such as Bolton, Portsmouth have made giant strides from where they started and have overtaken us in so many ways.

Everton Football Club needs to make giant leaps and bounds to get back to anywhere near the place where most of our supporters expect us to be. The cathedral-like atmosphere at Goodison reflects the misgivings of most of the fans. It is difficult to truly get behind a team and manager that betray the footballing beliefs and traditions of the club and its support.

Mr Kenwright exclaimed famously following the great escape of 1994 'Never Again', did he mean we would never face a last day escape or did he mean Never Again will Everton contend for silverware?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (17/1/07)

`The club formerly known as Everton`

In all the hooha about the non-signing of Joey Barton (just another `let`s go through the motions exercise, in my book) the letter from Rob Allen re outsourcing gets the `Letter of the Day` award from me.

What is left of our once great club doesn`t amount to jack shit and the forthcoming move to Kirkby ? a done deal if ever I saw one ? amounts to the Everton name being franchised off to Tesco. By then, Wyness will have moved on to his next victims, screaming out of the car park in his bonus-packed Bentley, leaving Blue Bill to be the Emeritus President of `The club formerly known as Everton`.

Rather like the football we play, the whole thing makes me sick!
Colin Devlin, Southport  (17/1/07)

Re: Moyes Factor

In reply to Mike Price from Vancouver. Mike I think you are being wholely unfair to David Moyes and Alan Irvine regarding how their reputation is held by the players. In the first place, how do you know what the players think of Moyes? Have they all told you in confidence that they don't like him? No.

I have been a supporter of Everton for more than 35 years and I have also been involved in football, both as a player and a manager at grassroots level for half of that time. So I have seen players and managers come and go. I am speaking from a footballing background that has a wealth of experience, both hands-on and as a long-time spectator.

Firstly when approaching the task of mananging a team of footballers, which I have done, you have to firstly gain the respect of the players, and to gain respect you have to give respect first. It's the same in a normal workplace and football is no different. If a worker does not respect his boss it will show in his work and in his body language when confronted by his boss. Currently the players at Everton are generally all hard working, willing to run for 90 mins, fitness allowing. Their demeanor in front of Moyes is both positive and enthusiastic, showing that Moyes does command their respect.

You have to believe me when I tell that Moyes is a very good player motivator, he can get the most out most players, commands their respect, and it is not his presense at Everton Football Club that is driving players away. Our failure in the transfer market is nearly always down to the sordid subject of money, or lack of it. My only critisism of Moyes, is in his sometimes questionable tactics and his apparent lack of flair.

I myself learnt some hard lessons, when picking a side and you often have to make mistakes for yourself for you to learn anything and Moyes is no different. Class players will only come to Everton if the money is right, we can possibly offer European football, and it's not too cold for them. Moyes and Irvine are a highly regarded profesional coaching team and it's not their presense that is keeping players away.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (17/1/07)

Phil Hamer

I think that Phil's piece proves the old addage that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Reglarly drawing or winning against the Big 4 may be one thing (although I'd have to check the stats to check if Phil's assertion is absolutely correct). The trouble is there are 15 other clubs and we don't seem to be able to achieve any consistent pattern against these. For instance, a great victory against Liverpool gets us 3 points ? then we drop home points to Villa, Wigan, Man City, M'Boro and Reading and lose in the cup, again at home, to Blackburn.

Added to this our away form is still pretty grim. Does any Evertonian feel confident of winning ANY away game that we play?

Yes Phil, Moyes's period at the club has not been without its achievements and its good points but it's time to look at the now and the future.
Carl Roper, Liverpool  (17/1/07)

Barton or No Barton

The "will he, wont he?" interest in Joe Barton, will probable drag on for a day or two, but the loss of Weir and reported interest by Fulham in Davies leaves us very thin on the ground. David Moyes must have someone in mind, but who? and for what position? My feeling is that a right back and a good midfield player are the ones I have in mind, but it's down to Moyes. I would not bet on Barton coming to Goodison.
Norman Merrill, Everton, Liverpool  (17/1/07)

Rock and a Hard place

The turn of the New Year 2007 for many Evertonians including myself was full of questions rather than answers. Will Moyes ever learn to change a game thats not going our way? Will the playing style ever improve? Will I buy my season ticket next season if the said playing style continue? And perhaps the biggest question of all right now which conviently seems to have gone quiet down Goodison Road is will be moving out of the city we gave football?

Evertonians at present currently stand between a rock and a hard place. The football we pay to watch is poor and there is nothing we can do about it but have a moan at the game or don't go. For many of us, that's not an option. The only thing that at present we can seem to get heated about (because I feel at present a general malaise amongst us that we can't do nothing about the poor football and the man who can do something won't) is the ground move debate.

This seems to have slipped off the agenda what with Rocky turning up and our transfer targets not!! Personally, I feel the Knowsley option is nailed on and not up for negotiation. This appears to be the case even more so now that the Goodison for Ever-ton group have come back with their results from meeting Bradley.

So come on, let's get heated and ask for Everton to look at all the options on the table because if they don't and decide to move to Knowsley (after showing us some glossy photos of a new dome in Knowsley no doubt) then we will leave our roots and our heritage for Liverpool to paint the city red and leave no sign of the Everton Football Club.
Alex Mather, Liverpool  (17/1/07)

Bring Joey home!

Joey Barton could be like a modern day version 'Peter Reid type' midfielder, but blessed with a better shot! Since Moyes prefers (thankfully) young British players with a sell-on value, 24-yr-old Barton represents great business sense in addition to the footballing necessity for our current team. £5.5M for an improving central midlfielder on the verge of the England set-up seems pretty good footballing sense, does it not?

Interesting aside: As a fan, I tripped up to Bangkok for the Thailand pre-season games in 05 and happened to stay in the same hotel as Joey Barton and Man City. As it was, I was drinking with Joey the night he slapped a cheeky blue urchin for winding him up about how he's not good enough to play centre-mid for EFC! That particular evening he had mentioned how Everton releasing him from the Academy was the making of him... he was determined to prove EFC wrong and be a successful footballer.

He also mentioned there was a time when he would have loved to play for Everton for nothing. Given the business side of football he should not play for nothing (and sure he wouldn't either after the abuse he got last time out!) That said, to buy him from Man City and pay him the going rate at Everton (his team afterall) would seem a marriage made in heaven... well nearly! BRING JOEY HOME I say!
Peter Moore, Singapore  (17/1/07)

Err.. I think you need to read the news articles, Peter. He says he ain't coming! ? Michael

Moyes Factor

I hope I'm wrong but it appears that Joey Barton isn't coming any time soon. I think that players don't want to play for Moyes and so don't want to sign for Everton. Can you blame them? the 'style' of football we employ is the ugliest in the Premiership. We are going nowhere; Moyes is a charisma-free zone and he seems to destroy a players natural abilities with his negative rigid systems; he actually stalls or ruins many players careers. The few talented players we have managed to sign have arrived despite him not because of him.

Reading between the lines from ex-players or listening to some of their direct comments it seems that the Moyes/Irvine factor is a joke. Some of the current players' body language seems to express frustration and disdain. I'd bet a month's salary that the majority of our 'talented' players [stop laughing at the back!] think he is a very basic, talentless fraud, and I'm sure that this will continue to hinder us signing talented players.

Lets face it he chases Evertonians away, and Evertonians who I'm sure would love to sign for the club just aren't interested in playing for him. If I was a player and had options, as much as I'd love to play for Everton, I'd avoid David Moyes like the plague!
Mike Price, Vancouver, BC, Canada  (17/1/07)

re: Groundshare

RE post from Darren Jones of DIC ? he must surely be a kopite as he doesn't know his history. The council refused EFC permission to use Stanley Park, the city council planners are run by a kopite/s (these are the words of a councillor by the way, a kopite one at that!) who knew the shite where after Stanley Park and deliberatley blocked EFC access to the park and continually denied planning permission for expanding GP. Just because they now 'offer' new sites does not excuse their previous lack of help.

As for the Kings Dock, why shouldn't we have had it for jackshit! Man City spent I think £4million and got a near 50,000-seater stadium because their council backed them all the way!! Now unless LCC can come up with concrete proposals don't believe a word they say. And for all you conspiracy theoirists, Merseyside police do not want two clubs in the city, they wanted us to move to Widnes, Cheshire.

Liverpool CC visited China a few years ago and promoted LFC not EFC, look at the 2007 800yrs celebrations, no mention of EFC being the start of professional football in this city. Let's face it, we ain't wanted so it's time to go!
Tommy Green, Bebington  (17/1/07)

Dave Laycock = Hero

How could I forget young Dave and his grandad old Dave? Between the two of them is dad Jimmy, a mad supporter of the dark side.

Only the names of players and management have changed since grandad Dave and I discussed the very things worrying our club today. At least we had a couple of league championships and FA cup finals under our bel, whereas young Dave only has crumbs of comfort to sustain his support. Others can make up their own minds as to young Dave?s character but to grow up in a household of rabid kopites during their years of glory yet still follow the true path is for me a sign of heroism.

Hold firmly to the cause, young Dave, god knows when, but one day it will be our turn to poke fun at your dad and his red mate Alan.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (17/1/07)

Sorry... what's the issue?

Maybe I'm stuipd (possible) or just really, really tired after being up since the wee small hours (most likely) but why is everyone getting worked up over Everton's handling of the Barton transfer?

Barton is contracted to Man City. Everton approached City to ask if he's for sale. City said no. Everton go away. This is how tranfers have been conducted for decades. Barton is a contracted player, if City don't want to sell they're not obliged to. Do people expect Everton to badger or bully City until they wilt? How would our fans react if the tables were reversed, say with Arteta?

Barton's agent has confirmed that there's a clause in the his contract that would allow him to talk to any club offering £5.5M. If Everton have met that amount, the ball is now in Barton's court. So a bit of realism please, people. Everton and Moyes are just following protocol saying they'll respect City's decision. And so they should. They don't deserve to be criticised for behaving correctly.

There are plenty of other things where they should be held to account though...
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (17/1/07)

Dream On

When will you lot ever learn. How many more times are you prepared to be hoodwinked by the powers that be at our club? Joey Barton will not sign for Everton so don't lose any sleep over it. Moyes had his chance to step in twice in the past two years but he dithered as usual and now the chance has gone.

JB would last about 10 minutes at this club working with David Moyes any how. Moyes and his Sergeant Major approach just does not appeal to the top players and that's why we always end up with shite. Why would JB want to leave a club playing in a brand new stadium and with a much better chance than us of winning something? Take into account the wage cut he would be asked to take because he is an Evertonian and it just doesn't make sense.

We all know we will win fuck all and play horrible football under Moyes so don't you think players know it to. Joe's not stupid and will realise that under Moyes we are going nowhere so signing for us would be proffesional suicide. Yes, he is an Evertonian, just like his Father Joe senior but so what? It didnt stop the gobshites at Goodison abusing him for no reason these past two seasons.

I know the lad and his family personally and it sickened me listening to the vile taunts aimed at him. That shithouse Rooney doesn't get as much abuse as JB gets. WHY??? No, lads, it's all a stunt I am afraid to say and once again Kenwright & Moyes have played the old 3 card trick on you all.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (17/1/07)

I think you're being a bit unreasonable, Tony. As I've said below, I believe this was a genuine attempt by Moyes to bring the player in. — Michael

Onwards Evertonians

Following Joey Barton's comments and reiteration to stay at Man City it would appear, Michael, that my previous comments on the matter have been vindicated. Although my post may have appeared somewhat of one suffering from a complex paranoia concerning the PR machine at Goodison Park, it would also suggest that the gist of what I was trying to communicate is true.

My beef is not whether Barton or any other player that we are linked with actually puts pen to paper, it is more to do with the empty soundbites that continue to be broadcast via the Official Everton website. These most ludicrous offerings concerning Barton are not in isolation, we had a similar situation a couple of years back with Scott Parker before he signed for Newcastle United. With a rigid wage structure in operation and limited transfer funds it is likely that Everton will continue to be linked with such players but never actually acquire them.

Parker and Barton would undoubtedly be the answer to many of the midfield problems that we are experiencing; however, the harsh reality is that we are only able to attract unproven players with little Premiership experience and the journeymen, featherweights and cast-offs that currently assemble as our midfield. This gulf on Merseyside is likely to widen with the DIC takeover at the darkside, but the Dodds of this world will I am sure continue to paint a rosey picture. Onwards Evertonians.....
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

WHAT!?!?! Peter, do you honestly expect to get away with that as an apology? Unfortunately for you, your original post still resides below, and contains gems like this:

"[T]he latest news curteousy of evertonfc.com is that David Moyes has made an enquiry to Manchester City about the availability of Joey Barton and been rebuked. Whilst their at it why don't they also suggest that we have also made an enquiry to Barcelona for Ronaldinho, but again he's not available?" In other words, David Moyes, the Club the website, the media ? everyone was lying. And you were the only one with a handle on the truth, eh, Peter?

"[T]he Club and they have duly responded [to the fans desire for a strong midfielder] with a 'well we have tried' in respect of Barton, knowing full well what the response from Man City is likely to be and the transfer never being more than conjecture." I'm sorry, but David Moyes says he approached Stuart Pearce and asked if he was available. Are you still saying David Moyes was lying, Peter?

"It seems however that Everton are intent on continually courting the media to deflect any potential criticism from fans on its inability to do business." I may be one of Moyes's and (indirectly) the Club's biggest critics but that is a load of unsubstantiated bollocks that flies directly in the face of the facts reveleaed today.

"It goes without saying that both Joey Barton and David Nugent would jump at the chance to play for Everton." Really? Apparently not, Peter.

You owe the Club and David Moyes a full apology. Nothing less. — Michael

Eastlands Better Than Goodison?

Joey Barton has stated that he thinks that his current club is going in the right direction. Cynics might say that he would say that, wouldn't he? I happen to believe that he will leave Man City in the near future and he will arrive on Merseyside but it won't be at Goodison Park that he plays his football. Moyes obviously knew that he could not get the player many would like to see in a Royal Blue shirt, hence the statement this morning.

If we are to progress this season, it would be better if the Blues spent the money sooner rather than later as prices in the summer will be a great deal higher than they are at the moment. Also, any major signings of the right quality and in the correct areas ie, Midfield General, would send out the right signals for those of us who are contemplating not purchasing a season ticket.
John McFarlane, Lancs  (16/1/07)

In Praise of David Weir

With all the doom and gloom recently, I think we should pause to send our thanks and best wishes to a great servant of Everton Football Club ? David Weir. He was always committed, always professional, and at his peak was one of the finest central defenders in the English game.

Good luck Davie, you will always have a fond welcome back at Goodison.
Neil Pearse, London  (16/1/07)

Davie Weir

Well if no-one else is going to say goodbye, then I will. Goodbye, Davie Weir. Thanks for your efforts and congratulations on being a captain of the greatest football club in the world. Good luck, back north of the border. A gentleman.
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (16/1/07)

Barton

Just heard Joey Barton being interviewed after the game tonight. When asked about the speculation, he said he was going nowhere because he was happy at City. Shame, because he was brilliant tonight.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (16/1/07)

Joey Barton

When people ask 'which player from the Premiership would you want to see at Everton, money no object?' the usual response is Henry, or more fancifully, Ronaldinho... I always answered Joey Barton. For me, he sums up the Everton way of playing, has some bottle, is a local lad, a skilful & thoughtful player and appears to have a done a bit of growing up in the last couple of years. Plus if we only have to offer £5.5M (£6M for Beattie?!) to speak to him then I say GO FOR IT!
Simon Jones, Wilmslow  (16/1/07)

Groundshare

What a load of rubbish the whole "council against us" story is regarding Everton's search for a new stadium.

We are always hearing how the council only want to help Liverpool and couldn't give a toss about Everton. If this is the case, why did they offer Everton the chance to have use of a magnificent arena on the Kings Dock for a mere £30M? Everton couldn't afford it so it didn't happen and as far as I am aware, that project went ahead regardless, whilst Everton continue to blame the local council.

The fact of the matter is EFC could not afford to put any proposal forward for a stadium and recent news from the GFE group has proved that the council have tried to help. Meanwhile, LFC are pressing ahead with their plans, plans that have cost nearly £10M in planning alone (would EFC pay half of these costs to groundshare?)

The bottom line is LFC are prepared to invest, whether it be investment or taking on debt. They have the fanbase and demand to back up their expansion plans. Everton have none of this, but want a stadium on a plate without having to do jack shit to get it.
Darren Jones, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Not again...

Before I said it is good that Moyes is intrested in the right players, but is it me or is this one of those "We've bid for Owen" things ? just to keep the fans happy? It better had not be!
Mark Parsons, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Barton saga

If the statements are true on Bartons clause then Moyes is approaching the subject in the right way. He's admitted approaching Man City on the player's availability and been told that he's not for sale. That's fine, and if the clause does exist then the ball is firmly in Barton's court. All he needs to know is that Everton are interested in his signature. If there is a clause, Everton will be aware of it, which leaves the final decision with the player himself.

As far as his treatment during City's most recent visit is concerned, I doubt that will be a greatly defining factor in his overall decision. Rooney was called a "Fat Bastard" by the Mancs before he joined them and he didn't support them as a boy.

I for one would love to see Barton in the middle for us. The fact that he's a local lad, an Evertonian at heart and exactly the kind of player we desperately need should be enough to convince us all to welcome him with open arms should he decide to make the switch.

I'm just thankfull that the manager is looking at the right kind of player!
Scott Edwards, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Sell out or sell off!

I personally think we need to start asking serious questions about the role of Mr Wyness and particularly what measures led to his bonus package becoming effective. Some cards need to be laid on the table here. He is rather quietly but systematically stripping the club of its assets and outsourcing anything he can to external bodies.

I was reading with interest that the Logic Group now manages Everton?s ticketing, retail, call centre and mail-order purchases, hospitality and online commerce, including merchandising and e.ticketing; transactions worth more than £10M a year. This will save the club money I'm sure because staff will lose their jobs and the back hander that Wyness receives from Logic for this nice piece of business is no doubt substantial.

I think we just need to beware. In the last 12 months we have gone from a significant, multi- stranded business, albeit badly run, to no longer making any money from our own catering, retail operations and now ticketing arrangements. Surely these areas could be made profitable through proper management rather than sell off.

I'm sure that the new contract holders aren't doing it in the name of charity. If we aren't careful, we will be watching a virtual team in a stadium rented off the biggest supermarket in Europe. Wyness in my eyes is taking serious advantage at the lack of business acumen that the very small Everton Board possess.

Mr Leahy has no doubt also spotted the potential to take advantage of this situation and blind good old Bill with the "I'm a true blue" line. Whilst you're all harping on about how shit the football is, just open your eyes to the bigger picture and the road that our club is heading down.
Rob Allen, Crosby  (16/1/07)

The ONLY way to do anything about that is to have a sufficient powerbase among the independent shareholders, who could (if there were enough of them) hold the board to account for such issues. As the level of interest expressed by Evertonians for participiation in a Fans Trust is next to zero, such power will always lie in the hands of the most powerful shareholder... Go figure! Or should I say "Go pound sand!" — Micheal

Well, you have him then!

I have just finished reading Gordon Strachan's autobiography; in the pemultimate chapter, he raves on above this fantactic striker called ¨Beats¨. He goes on for nearly 3 pages talking about his strengths in scaring defenders to death and working harder than any striker he has ever seen. Sounds like Rupert Lowe done us by selling us ¨Beattie¨. Did we buy the right player? Shades of the whether we bought the correct Bent! All I can say then, Mr Strachan, if you love him that much to dedicate so much of your book to him, buy him and take him north to Celtic ? as far away from us....

He also talks up our very own Kevin Richardson in his Coventry days saying how he won Championship medals with Arsenal and Aston Villa. ASTON VILLA!! To my recolection he won that medal with the mighty blue side in 85. When did Villa last win the league? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Ian Bonnette, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Smoke, Mirrors and a whole lot of hot air!

Firstly i would like to thank Paul Smith for an excellent reply to my letter, but I would have to say I will agree to disagree on the issue of supporting the likes of Beattie and McFadden.

Michael Owen, Dirt Kuyt, Muller, Scott Parker, Alan Smith and Stan Collymore. What do all of these have in common? These were players who NEVER had any chance of joining Everton FC, yet were used to give hope to those who still believe the club BS. All this hype suggests Everton's board knows the season is all over already.

Barton will not come to Everton because:

a) Everton fans slaughtered his brother, and kicked him out when he was a youth player.

b) Moyes's dithering when pressed on the subject, saying he respects Man City so it won't go further. If he was not sure when pressed then how the hell will he have the drive to sign him/convince him to come. And by Moyes blabbering, again he has alerted other clubs to a target, like the Sissoko saga all over again.

c) Barton will not come to a club the same size as Man City!
So please lads, forget this one as he won't come but hey ? there is also that defender from Sheff Weds to look forward to!

In Everton we trust... to lie and steal our dreams!
Luq Yussef, London  (16/1/07)

re: Joey Barton...

Michael, your reply to Ste Bano highlighted the bitterness Evertonians can show to "their own" and I accept we have our fair share of knobs, Barton's treatment being painfully unmerited. There is another side to the coin, however. Myself and, I presume, most fans are not privy to the full facts of Gary Speed's "defection" and so will have judged him, rightly or wrongly, on appearances at the time.

I know from mates in Wales that at least one of his lads wears an Everton shirt. Rooney is a different kettle of dung, though, and has never shown (to me, anyway) the least affection or respect for his ex-fellow Blues. He is now a die-hard naturalised Manc and ex-Scouser by choice. Contrast Rooney's and Radzinski's treatment with that of other returning old boys down the years, e.g Jimmy Gabriel, Alan Ball, Graham Stuart, Mark Pembridge.

The treatment we dish out is generally commensurate to the circumstances of the player's leaving and subsequent behaviour. Players reap what the sow in the modern game; if they deserve contempt, let 'em have it.
Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (16/1/07)

I'd overlooked the Radzinsky incident and that one was different (him mouthing off), you are right.

A couple of key phrases in there, though: "rightly or wrongly" and "appearances at the time". What we had in both cases was a carefully orchestrated campaign to ensure that both players left under a cloud. The stories behind them were quite different but the basic management decision was the same: This player has to go/be sold ? how do we do it with minimal damage to us (the Club) and maximum shit on the player? Job well done in both cases, I'd say. — Michael

Asking too much?

Two letters in today`s Mailbag say it all for me. The first from dear old Doddy sets out the fact that we should all be pleased where our team stands in the Premiership and the second from Ken Buckley asks why we can`t play more intelligent and elegant football.

Is it too much to expect that one day Moyes & Co might get it all together?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (16/1/07)

In Defence and Support of the Moyesiah

Almost every comment or article on I read on Moyes complains of his tactical ineptness or of a lack of ambition.

First of all he can?t be that tactically inept if he is the manager of a Premiership club that currently sits in a very healthy 7th position. Secondly, it is quite obvious just how ambitious Moyes is merely by looking at the potentially trophy-winning squad Moyes has built. Signing any one of England?s young talents including Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan or even Darren Bent is evidence of ambition to improve the team and supports the point that Moyes is building a sustainable push forward and upwards.

Considering the resources at his disposal it is difficult to imagine just what other quality players he could have attracted. With relatively meager resources Moyes has built an expectation of success.

I challenge each and every true blue to get behind the Moyesiah and desist with this dull and depressing weekly criticism. He?s not perfect but let's show more support for the man who will very soon have Everton finishing in the top six annually because after all, we are SUPPORTERS!
James Barr, Fairfax, USA  (16/1/07)

The new Peter Reid

Call me a fantasist or whatever... I have got this feeling that Joey Barton might have a similar impact that Reidy had in the 80s. It's just a pity there aren't the likes of an Inchy, Sharpy, Trevor Steven etc... in the squad to match this potential.

I still dream of the days of when football was played on the floor and when wingers put a cross in there was someone to get on the end of it.... oopps just woken up!!
Paul Kellett, Parbold  (16/1/07)

Everton are Financially Sound???

Richard Dodd, you really are a comedian. This chairman has increased our debt to around £50M from the £8M when he took over, why do you think no one is interested in buying into the club?

As for punching above our weight, it's not hard in a league primarily full of lightweights. Keep 'em coming, mate ? you brighten my day.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (16/1/07)

Barton continued......

Michael, having read your response and re-read my post, I am struggling to see which part is an irrational reaction to Moyes's comments regarding his efforts to sign Barton, it seems that at least two other posters agree with me.

Willie McKay, who presumably has seen Joey's contract, has clarified the specifics of the clause. From the BBC website:

"This is Joey Barton's clause, not Manchester City's and it's a clause they were happy to put in. Joey is entitled to speak to any club that makes an offer of £5.5M. Manchester City can't turn that down and refuse him permission to open talks. It's up to Joey whether he wants to leave or whether he wants to stay."

If this is true and Everton are prepared to offer £5.5M, then my point stands that the wishes of Stuart Pearce and Manchester City don't enter the equation.
Chris Jones, Manchester  (16/1/07)

Yes, if we can believe what this football agent is saying, rather than what our beloved manager is saying, there is a point where you could argue that Moyes could be more bullish. Hwover, to say "we know that he is available for a bargain price" is still a bit wide of the mark, if Moyes is telling the truth. Moyes is saying that he is not availabe. You (and his agent) are saying that he is (... if he wants to be). I'm leaning more and more to the thought that the player has no intention of joining Everton, as that would actually explain the whole business, and allow us all to be right. ? Michael

Comparisons?

Upon leaving the ground on Sunday, among the hubbub of conversations within earshot, most were bemoaning another poor performance from our team and this in the main has been picked up by the mailbag contributors. Many call for the managers head, many berate their perceived deadwood players and a good number booed off our team at half time. I think this is the sheer frustration of seeing, game after game, football played in a manner that is out of keeping for a team in 7th slot in the league. After all, they train together, play together yet come matchday they appear as strangers.

We are level in the league with Spurs, same number of goals scored, same points and shipped fewer and yet I have the feeling I may not be alone in thinking we would all feel a lot happier about our situation and more optomistic for the future if our 32 points had been garnered playing the Spurs pass and move game from front to back rather than achieving the same through Huff, Puff and Hoof. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (16/1/07)

Publicity Bill

Just read Dick Fearon`s posting from Aussie. Say what you will about Bill Kenwright, he certainly knows how to get publicity ? although I`d prefer it to be for the quality of Everton`s football rather than for his showbiz mates!
Stu Rawlings, Flint  (16/1/07)

Makes me glad to be an Evertonian

Reading of all the shennanighans going on at Chelsea makes me glad to be an Evertonian. We may be five places behind the London club but at least we have a true fan as Chairman and a manager who concentrates on getting the job done rather than creating news headlines. Given the disparity between the funds available at Stamford Bridge and those at Goodison, I think Kenwright and Moyes are a miracle team to get us where they have. Long may they continue in unison.
Sebastian St Clare, Harrogate  (16/1/07)

Not the only Blue in the village.

Hey Dickie (Fearon, not Dodd!), You're not the only Blue in the village ? you're forgeting me and my Grandad! Totally agree with the certain aura you talk about though. West Oz is full of sunshine supporters like the kind that ask how Man Utd got on the other day and act genuinely exited when you tell them they won. Following Everton is a bit deeper than that but if Rocky snares a younger generation of fans out here in the bush and makes us fashionable again, I for one would welcome it.
Dave Laycock, West Australia  (16/1/07)

The State of Everton

Two interesting and contrasting articles from Tom Collie and Paul Smith that demonstrate that we all watch very different games from different perspectives.

I have to say that while I agree with some of the points made by Paul ? I cant stand moaning for moanings sake ? I have to say that I identify more closely with the sentiments of Tom Collie's piece. He's spot on when he says it's our responsibility as fans to up the ante on the board and the manager.

There's a debate to be had over Moyes's suitability to take Everton any further but it shouldn't be against the background of the usual line of "who would we get instead?" This is a false premise - it's what the Echo said when the heat was on Smith. We did sack him and got a better manager. Smith, let us remember by the way, was sacked after a bad defeat AWAY from home in the FA Cup QUARTER FINAL.

The lack of pressure on Moyes and Kenwright is their reward for lowering the expectations of the club as a whole, something that will have a much worse effect on the club and the idea of what being an Evertonian is than any ground move will.
Carl Roper, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Joey Barton

Reading an article on Sky Sports.com it states that David Moyes has enquired about Barton but Manchester City said he isn't for sale and Moyes is respecting their wishes.

I'm not being funny but I'd wager if City needed that type of midfielder and we had one with a clause in his contract that enables him to talk to other clubs providing they meet a 5.5M price tag (a snip for a player of Barton's calibre) they'd be in there like a shot.

Barton is just the type of tough-tackling midfielder that was lacking from Sunday's game with Reading ? someone who can stamp their authority into a game. I hope Moyes disregards City's wishes as we desperately need a hustle and bustle midfielder and even more encouraging is Barton is a Blue!!
Ste Bano, St Helens  (16/1/07)

Er... isn't this the lifelong Blue who was given unmitigated shit by the Goodsion crowd last time he appaered? Then he got himself disciplined for his response amidst no small amount of acrimony and police complaints from loyal Everton fans??? Having seen what Everton and Goodison can do to their own (Gary Speed, Wayne Rooney), I would not be in the least bit surprised if Barton had told Moyes (perhaps via Pearce) to shove it, clause or no clause. — Michael

Cause for the Clause

Why is it that David Moyes is prepared to 'respect' the wishes of Manchester City by not making an offer for Joey Barton? The clause in his contract states that he can talk to any club that offers £5.5M or more. Therefore, if we bid that amount then the wishes of Baton's club mean nothing. Moyes will get nowhere by being Mr Nice Guy. Get the offer in and lets get him in Royal Blue ASAP and lets get our season going again!
Jonathan Hutchinson, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

Man Management

Ste Bano raised a good point about Moyes's recent public criticisms of Anichebe and Howard, but he is wrong to query if he would have been bold enough to have done the same with Rooney. In 2002, I was one of the 40,000 that turned up to watch Rooney mesmerise Bolton with a stunning display that had everything but a goal. After the game, Allardyce was singing his praises whilst Moyes was publicly rebuking him for not scoring ? he was barely seventeen and it was only his fifth full game for Christ's sake!

The criticisms of Howard and Anichebe were accurate but wholly unnecessary and counter-productive; how did they both play on Sunday as a result?

Also, where is the consistency in Moyes' criticisms? Week in, week out, players turn in sub-standard performances (we all know who they are) and nothing is said. I cannot, for example remember one word said against Beattie. We now have a young striker, who is plainly not ready, but whose confidence will have been undermined, and a previously solid goalkeeper looking like a nervous wreck, and we haven't even paid for him yet. I really do not get it.
Mick Gill, Crewe  (16/1/07)

More Spin

So the latest news curteousy of evertonfc.com is that David Moyes has made an enquiry to Manchester City about the availability of Joey Barton and been rebuked. Whilst their at it why don't they also suggest that we have also made an enquiry to Barcelona for Ronaldinho, but again he's not available?

The point I am trying to make is the continuing frustration at the audacity of the Club to communicate to fans via the media on its activity with regards to 'possible' transfer targets. If ToffeeWeb was to conduct a straw poll of fans on the area of the team that requires strengthening I would hazzard a guess that most would suggest central midfield with Barton probably high up on most people's lists. It's not suprising that this information has emanated back to the Club and they have duly responded with a 'well we have tried' in respect of Barton, knowing full well what the response from Man City is likely to be and the transfer never being more than conjecture.

Other clubs are able to keep their counsel in respect of transfer activity and player recruitment, it seems however that Everton are intent on continually courting the media to deflect any potential criticism from fans on its inability to do business.

It goes without saying that both Joey Barton and David Nugent would jump at the chance to play for Everton, clubs such as Man City and Preston would never be able to call the shots if say Man United or Liverpool came calling and expressed their interest. I may hopefully be proven wrong on Barton, but after so many false dawns and lies from the PR machine at Goodison I won't be holding my breath.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

So, three letters on the same topic: three totally different takes. I'm astounded. You're saying Moyes, the club, the website ? everyone is lying!?! Bullshi and spin, yes, we know that comes by the bucketload. But this would be a clear lie. Come on, Peter, please! — Michael

Thank you...

Thank god Moyes has expressed interest in someone! I thought that he wouldn't sign anyone, he still might not, but at least we know he is after the right player.
Mark Parsons, Liverpool  (16/01/2007)

Misplaced Loyalty

I have just read the following quote from David Moyes courtesy of the official website.

"I can confirm that we have made an enquiry for Joey Barton. However, Manchester City made it clear he was not for sale and we respect the wishes of the club and Stuart Pearce."

We could debate the suitability of Joey Barton as a transfer target all day long; however, the above quote gives me far more pressing concerns. It is widely reported that Joey Barton has a release clause in his contract which is triggered should a club offer £5.5M. Moyes has admitted his interest in Barton and the latter is a lifelong Evertonian.

Why then has our manager, a man paid handsomely by the club and offered the unflinching support of the Board, been so easily dissuaded from following up his interest? It seems to me that Moyes is adhering to some unspoken manager's code of honour. His loyalty is misplaced, I respect the man for not criticising other players or referees, I don't want a whinging manager like Wenger or Benitez but in this case his respect for the wishes of Stuart Pearce and Manchester City are to the detriment of Everton FC.

I don't believe for a second that if Everton had been foolish enough to allow Arteta to negotiate such a release clause in his contract, then managers such as Ferguson, O'Neil or Wenger would hesitate in taking advantage. Who could blame them? They are paid very well to advance the interests of their respective clubs and are expected by both the Board and fans to do everything within the rules and laws of the game to achieve this end.

We know that Barton is of interest to the club; we know that he is available for a bargain price (in the current climate); the only unknown is Barton's desire to join Everton. Moyes needs to forget his friendship with Pearce and his "respect" for Manchester City and do his job.
Chris Jones, Manchester  (16/1/07)

You say, quite adamantly, "we know that he is available for a bargain price" ... er, forgive me but the message from Manc City appears to be the exact opposite: he's not for sale. Your somewhat irrational response seems to hinge on the existence of a clause in Barton's contract that I am sure very few have read or seen... if it even exists. Beating up on Moyes for this is way over the mark, methinks. — Michael

Joey Barton

I think this would prove to be an outstanding move for Everton. Whilst Barton has had a number of disciplinary issues, he has the bite and tenacity that this club is lacking. I'm very suprised Wenger hasn't gone in for him as Arsenal have not been the same since Viera left.

With regards to the arse-baring incident... the Park End had been giving him stick all game about his step-brother and so I think they got what they deserved! 90% of the blues I've spoke to thought it was fair game and a bit of fun.

I'm sure he'd be welcome with open arms to the club, and at £5.5M he'd be effectively coming in exchange for Davies and Kilbane. Not a bad deal at all.

Let's just hope this isn't just another "We've bid for Alan Smith" scenario. Put your money where your (big) mouth is, Bill!
Dean Paton, Wirral  (16/1/07)

The Silent Protest has started

There have been a few articles recently, particularly in the last couple of weeks, regarding the current playing style of the team and basically genearal gripes about the Board and Manager. Some people have suggested that Moyes's position as our gaffer is at present untouchable, that no matter how inept the current playing style is and whether we're or 7th or 17th it wouldnt matter ? he would still be in charge because the powers that be (ie Kenwright) adore Moyes.

Some questions have been asked of the current support: at present I think its a general 50/50 split about Moyes, some have suggested that he has had 5 years; in the past, if the playing style had been as bad under other managers, we would have staged protests etc.

I think at present the silent protest has starting to happen, basically people are starting to vote with their feet and turn up, the attendances over the Xmas period were below average and I do feel a genearal apathy has hit some, if not a large majority, of Evertonians recently. The poor displays, particularly at home ? and I mean not so much losing (we have only lost a couple) but the poor playing style and lack of creative footbal ? couple this with lack of current transfer activity and that's a main reason for the below average attendances in recent weeks. It could also be lack of cash over Xmas but who knows!!

I don't blame people for voting with ther feet as sooner or later the Club will feel it in the pocket. I feel us Evertonians are among the most loyal supporters out there maybe along with Man City and I mention them because they share a city with more succesful neighbour and haven't won a trophy for years.
Alex Mather, Liverpool  (16/1/07)

In Response

I'm glad that my opinion was welcomed by further debate; it was meant to give a view that otherwise might not be considered.

In response to Mr Yussef: Unfortunately, I didn't see the great teams of the 80s (mainly due to the fact that I was only born in 1980) but I do know all about the good times and I can assure you that I do understand what the slightly older generation want ? the same as the younger ones: success for Everton.

I do not believe that the football Everton play is dire & negative. I am not pretending that it is as exciting as it could/should be but it is not as bad as you make out and we are 7th in the Premiership. We could be playing like Watford where the ball hardly touches the ground.

I am not having a go at the supporters at all, my point is that surely for the 90 minutes we give vocal & vociferous support to the boys and if at the end of the game we are not happy then let your feelings be known. I know this can be difficult but I believe that it would help, be the 12th man; not after we go one-nil up but from the first whistle and even if we go one-nil down.

With regards to AvdM, I agree that MOTD and indeed Sky did hide his performance ? going forward he was fine but getting back was sluggish. I am not having a go at him as I believe he has the quality to win us round but he is a 'luxury' player that unfortunatly we cannot afford to play every week ? I would keep him in the squad though for his attacking flair.

As a little aside, to say that Beattie has no passion for Everton, I believe, is nonsense. He was dropped by David Moyes, he didn't start whinging in the press ? it does seem that he got his head down, has got fit, lost weight and is looking like the player he could be, time for a chance for him I think. To say that his touch was poor and he didn't win a header on Sunday is wrong, I suggest we all look at the last 20 minutes of Sunday's game on TV and just watch him? Please don't think that I am a massive Beattie, secret Southampton fan, I just believe that he can regain the form he has shown and we are not really in a position to replace him.

Remember be positive!! NSNO


Paul mith, West Sussex  (16/1/07)

Global Yawning

In response to Tom Collie's article, I have to say I whole heartedly agree. We need to be competeing and we are simply not doing that. To draw 1-1 with a promoted side at home is only the tip of an ever dwindling iceberg. Global warming seems to be the topic of the day... Global Yawning when I'm at Goodison these days.

Moyes is punching above his weight and is the manager we thought he would be. Think about that for a second....

Moyes steadied the ship and moulded an average squad with only a handful of good players. Now we need to move on again, we need a manager with real ambition and ruthlesness. We need to shake the tree up and see what happens. If we don't we all know what will happen: Mid-table anyone ? 2007, 2008, 2009 ? do you want that? I don't. I want to compete and win.
Colum Cusack, Dublin  (16/1/07)

Everton are Champs!

Anyone reading the vitriol poured on David Moyes and his team in your columns since Sunday could be forgiven for thinking our great club stood seven places from the bottom of England`s Premier League rather than seventh from the top. We hear much in Mailbag about `reality` ? Harry Meek even ventured `real reality`, whatever that can possibly mean! But whichever way you read the table we are SEVENTH and, short of a disaster against a meltdown Wigan, we will still be there as the season goes into February.

To appreciate what a great achievement that represents, let`s just look at the clubs above us. Three of them, Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool, are riven with debt amounting to hundreds of millions. Chelsea went to the fringe of bankruptcy before being rescued by a Russian ogliarch who now wants to sign the players and pick the team. Portsmouth, also in the hands of a dodgy foreigner, play at a ground that makes Goodison look like a palace, whilst Bolton`s football is so dire that their gates are in free-fall.

Next we come to our beloved Everton, financially sound, chaired by its biggest supporter and managed by a British coach recognised throughout the land by peers and press as a genius. What more could we possibly ask for?

OK, it would be nice to see Everton play with the silky skills of Arsenal and score as many goals as Man Utd but 'let`s get real!' Within the constraints of a sensible, manageable but nonetheless ambitious budget, Everton are currently punching well above their weight. In fact, I would go as far as to say that pound for pound Everton are Champs!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (16/1/07)

Time for Extreme Makeover?

The time has come to use our limited funds well again. Sell Beattie, Davies, McFadden, Carsley, Pistone, Wright and use the cash to bring in Barton, a winger and a quick tall forward and give more opportunities to Vidarsson, Turner, Hughes, Vaughan and Boyle. Sign Howard permanently if possible. Ideas to utilise tiny budgets.
Arnez Desmond, Singapore  (16/1/07)

A bit more on Rocky

Say what you will about Rocky but, here in the bush, on the front page of our local rag, was a big picture of him at Goodison holding aloft the proud name of Everton. Our club also featured in an accompanying article. We have never had anything like this publicity and locals often ask what the name on my shirts and car licence plate stands for. After this burst of publicity they might have an inkling of what it's all about.

As the only Blue for hundreds of miles, there is a certain aura in being the only one in the village. I?m not too sure I would welcome a flood of wannabees created by the Rocky publicity...
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (16/01/07)

This is a survival machine, not a team

The Reading game has provoked more of us to speak our mind than I can ever remember ? so something must be happening. Most of the views put forward have been well argued, though I find it difficult to empathise with those who thought we played well. All right: impossible. Come on, tell the truth ? where were you guys when the match was on?

Whatever you argue, one thing seems to be easily forgotten - football is there to be an entertainment, even a joy. Something to lift our lives. Watch Arsenal, Man Utd, even the Spurs Newcastle game: The club that has most forgotten the joy of football is ... well, I'm sorry to say you know the answer to that one. All right there's another one close by.

Fuck, whether we're proud to be mid-table or should be better ? let's play football that gives us something to be proud of watching, some excitement, some exhilaration. On Sunday, Arteta didn't play and that's that for us.

Why do all you guys tolerate Carsley? He's the worst player bar none that's ever played more than a few games at Goodison, and he's a miserable negative spirit on the pitch. He get's the ball a lot and ? well, you know the rest. OK he's a decent tackler but ? for god's sake ? this is Everton!!! No wonder Smith wanted him (take him with Weir, please!).

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that Harry Hill is a fine man and does all sorts for charity, and I'd buy him a pint any time. But he epitomises the hopeless quality of the team when Arteta isn't playing. OK, Tommy in his different way also gave us creativity. For the rest, whoever is holding the steering wheel is making us unwatchable.

No-one can say this is a team any sane person wants to watch playing football. We watch because we have to, not because we want to. Come on ? it's true. But look at Reading, a nothing team trying their one or two seasons in the top flight. But they try to play football. De La Cruz ? hasn't played for ages but a real footballer at full back. The only one on the pitch.

Maybe it?s time to take a break from negative Scots managers and try to find someone who wants to build a football team, not a survival machine.
Peter Hall, Wirral  (15/1/07)

Whatever next?

A lot of sense spoken today. Ultimately if we don't bring anyone new in, and it looks like we won't, someone 1 be it DM or AI needs ? to get the players we have showing in the middle of the park. At Wigan, Arteta will come back, and we may well look a better side. But as has been said, it's just papering over the cracks.

Going forward, we need to plan carefully for the summer. Doubtless there will be a serious rush for 'bargains' come the end of the season. We may be lucky enough to find another Cahill, or maybe another Si Davies... Perhaps by then Sly and Robbie may have opened a Planet Hollywood on Walton Lane, so at least we may get more celebrities.

ps: Sean Rothwell ? you obviously never watched Brett Angell.
Tim Kelly, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Haven't you got any drying paint to watch, Brian?

"I have watched a recording of the first half of the match against Reading several times in order to fathom what Everton were actually doing and what purpose it served." says Brian Finnigan.

My God, I watched it ONCE live at the match and that was enough!!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (15/1/07)

Did you notice?

You have replied to a letter by praising Coppell to the skies and almost marvelling at how well his team passed the ball around and moved for each other etc. That's great and nice to watch, but what was the end result? On the Match Stats I saw on Match of the Day, I noticed that Reading only mustered ONE shot on target in the whole match. Whether that was Lescott's deflection or another attempt as well I don't know, having only seen the highlights yesterday, but either way that's a pretty pathetic effort for such a 'creative team'.

It is also worth noting that Everton have taken 4 points off Reading's 'wonder team' this season. Would you rather we had knocked it around nicely, as they admitedly do, and ended up with one point from the two matches? As we all know, results count in the end.

The team is short on confidence and we must do our bit instead of all the sniping. Everyone has an opinion and that's fine, but too much negativity will only drain the players' confidence. Paul Smith mentioned this on another post and he's spot on. We all know you don't believe in Moyes, but Coppell the Red as an alternative is scraping the barrel.

Have you any realistic suggestions as alternatives to David Moyes? That would be very interesting. My own personal suggestion to liven up the forward play would be an additional coach who was a player in an attack-minded team, who could add something different from first hand experience. I saw Clive Allen (49 goals for Spurs in one season 20 years ago) amongst Martin Jol's sidekicks at Spurs yesterday. Is it a coincidence that a defensive, battling midfielder of old like Jol can produce a team that put in 24 shots on goal yesterday. Mind you, they still lost... so results are still important aren't they?... see above! Maybe somebody like Peter Beardsley, if he's available, for us? Just a thought.
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (15/1/07)

Not me, mate. I have never advocated any other manager in place of Moyes. And I have no need to look at any other teams for a template of how I know these Everton players should be playing under the existing Everton manager.

"Short on confidence"... why? Whose job is it to give them confidence? Whose job is it to understand their individual talents and play them in a way that uses those talents creatively?? Whose job is it to give them a tactical plan that they can all buy into and perform together as a team that is greater than the sum of its parts???

Time and again, this ridiculous question about a replacement for Moyes... for the umpteenth time: Moyes is not going anywhere!!! But, while he's here, I WANT HIM TO BE A BETTER MANAGER OF EVERTON FC. Read that slowly. See if you can understand it. It's about quality. It's NOT about getting in a different manager.

You know what: Spurs v Newcastle was entertaining. It was a pleasure to watch. For an Evertonian, it felt like a privilege to actually see players pass and move. It proves we are not talkking shite: IT CAN BE DONE! There were loads and loads and loads of attacking moves. That's how the game should be played. Yes, the results are important. But the drama of the game is also an important factor, and the entertainment value of game has to be one of the prime reasons to go, to watch, to support. If, instead of an entertaining and dramatic spectacle, it becomes a turgid, dour, painful exhibition of utter dross, do really think that is a good thing? ? Michael

Support is a funny thing!

I'm sorry, Paul Smith (re: "Support"), but I think you?re wider off the mark than England first delivery in the fateful Ashes series!

You ask for fans to be supportive yet you seem oblivious to fans that have supported this club longer than you, and have seen better days, players and managers. All of us who have a go because we want things to be better than this current shite.

One question Paul, - why is there discontent if all was well? You mention some fans were moaning about Big Joe after '95 cup final? Personally I never heard such things; instead I heard fans saying that the football we played then should evolve back to the School of Science days. I think what you perceive to be non-support to the team is actually support to the traditions of Everton FC. And nobody is stupid enough to cheer a side that is playing such dire, negative and un-Everton like football!

I agree the players in the heat of battle should be cheered on and encouraged, but when you see players like Beattie and McFadden having no pride in the shirt then it is illogical to cheer them on! In fact a round series of booing is what a decent professional needs to buck up his ideas.

So in conclusion the team has, is and will always be well supported. But the number who travel to Goodison from far and wide, spend a mini-fortune on travel fare, food and tickets, then are subjected to utter bollocks in front of their eyes have every right to cat-call and voice their annoyance. Especially when all I can see to my top left was Ken Wright playing to the media ? isn't he supposed to be focussed fully on the match???

Unilateral support can only be achieved when either the club or its staff start showing the same passion and ability which is required and least of all expected! We are Everton, not the dog and duck!
Luq Yussef, London  (15/1/07)

Memories

Reply to Will Mitchell: Yes, Will, I do remember those dark days at Goodison ? especially the ones you mention against Coventry and Wimbledon. Can you honestly say that last season was any different from those that you mention? To me, last season was even worse than them ? only difference being we got out of the shit before the last game of the season.

One thing I do remember about those times is that Walter Smith wasn't smashing transfer records and spending the amounts of money Moyes has had at his disposal. Why is it that you Moyes apologists always try to use the Smith era as a yardstick by which you judge Moyes? It's utter fucking nonsense and really is pathetic that you are using it as an arguement/excuse to defend Deadly Dave.

Moyes has chucked as much money around as any of the managers from the second-tier clubs: Spurs , Villa, Bolton etc... Walter Smith had fuck all in comparision and was reduced to signing the likes of Gazza and Ginola in the end. Meanwhile, Moyes is buying the likes of Beattie and Johnson, Lescott and Krøldrup and many more. Please let that be the end of this stupid debate ? it's so silly.

Moyes is a crap manager NOW, regardless of how many times we have flirted with relegation in the past. By the way, Will, who was it given one of the biggest jobs in British football last week? Don't think your Darling Dave was even in the running, mate.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Nil Satis and John Moores

Re: Michael's response to Will Mitchell...... John Moores could utter those words with a certain amount of confidence. Regardless of his financial inputs (which I believe were mainly underwritings as opposed to donations), Everton early 1960s style was a completely different animal to that of today. Then we literally had the biggest crowds, the best ground and the richest History... so when he said it he meant it...

Now it's just a bit like the Street End singing "we're by far the greatest team...... etc". Something to aspire to, but other than that a distant memory... and not the reality of EFC 2007. The decline from the time when the motto was truly applicable began a long time before the current custodians, so let's stop whipping them with it and maybe one day we might claw our way back to those heights.
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (15/1/07)

Part of this has to be a mental thing, though: Positive thinking and all that. If the main thing the apologists can say (repeatedly) is that ensuring survival and achieving mid-table mediocrity are valid and realistic goals, then that is all we will ever achieve.

You have to aim higher. You have to play the game of football with the intention of winning ? or at least trying to score more than one goal. You have to believe you can do better than the resources available to you would suggest. The defensive crap* will be the death of me and many other genuine supporters whose love of the game is being severely tested.

* Actually, "defensive" is too generous a descriptor, as was amply demonstrated at the 23-minute mark on Sunday by a crass example of utter defensive incompetence ? coached, by his own admission, under the guidance and direction of one David Moyes (only the players didn't do it right... apparently) — Michael

Andy van der Meyde

If ever anyone needed proof that not going to the game and watching it on TV clouds the 'big picture' of who does and doesn't perform well, then listen to some of the ranting on this, and other websites, about Moyes having made a poor managerial decision by dragging AvdM off during the Reading game.

From the Upper Bullens it was patently clear that he is not fit and/or interested right now. Naysmith is a limited player who was cruelly exposed at times due to the Dutchman's lethargy which left us stretched at times, right across the back four and almost resulted in what would have been a game-ending second goal for Reading. Moyes was dead right to drag him off as he contributed precious little during the second half (I know; I had a perfect view of him staying down for thirty seconds after an innocuous challenge, and failing to track back, tackle or make any kind of forward, penetrative running at all).

I'm sorry but after reading how he was 'ready and fit' after injury worries and we were all about to see the real AvdM, I was fuming at his performance. This was a great opportunity for him, against a very limited Reading defence and he blew it completely. The team carried him on Sunday, he offered nothing at all and his body language spoke louder than his midweek utterances about performances that I don't believe will ever come... time is up for 'Shandy Andy' and I reckon Moyes knows it after Sunday.
Phil Gardner, Vancouver, BC, Canada  (15/1/07)

It was not football

I have watched a recording of the first half of the match against Reading several times in order to fathom what Everton were actually doing and what purpose it served. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion (not for the first time) that this manager has no interest in the game of football as it is played in virtually every country on the globe.

I believe that he really works as a Lecturer for the Open University. The video of Sunday's first 45 minutes is meant to be made available to Teachers of A-Level Maths courses. It should only be viewed after reading the course notes (or should that be team talk) shown on this Maths Revision webpage.

How people can pay good money to watch such garbage is beyond me!
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Boring

Whatever you choose to call it, it is not football on offer at Everton by the home side. My neck is hurting watching the ball hoofed up in the air all the time. Lescott is a good footballer ? so is Arteta and Cahill ? but I think thats it.

Do we change the manager? I think not, only because we will have another couple of years in limbo with limbo excuses while the new man builds his team with no money. However, how long do we have to watch what is on offer while DM is at the hel? ... a long time, methinks.

Who is there to take over and why, sadly, would EFC be an attractive option to anyone other than those in the DM mould, i.e. Championship managers who are given a chance of the top flight ? like the man himself. I can no longer keep the faith but my support will never cease.
Mark Lyth, Netherton  (15/1/07)

VdM

John Middleton: Thank you. I thought I was missing something. VdM had a howler of a game, but with one or two moments of skill thrown in. He honestly looked hungover, as not only was he not tracking back; he looked dazed and miles off the pace. I'm hoping he comes good but he's gonna have to improve 100% first.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (15/1/07)

Maybe?

I've tried to hold my tongue this last week with the usual drivel on show at Everton. First they have a "buy a ticket and torture your children for free" promotion, then they bring Sly Stallone on to the pitch. I was sat at home thinking: "He's got to be younger than Weir", but of course it was some promotional stunt by Bill to deflect attention from the football. What's the betting we see some more of Bill's showbiz chums before the season's end. Anyone fancy Elton John to give us some midfield mince?

Anyway, it looks like Santa got part of our wish list. It looks like Weir and Davies are on the way out. I've seen Rangers fans pulling their hair out in disbelief, and if we can con Chris Coleman into giving us two million big ones, then we're laughing. I'd like to think that money will be reinvested in the team, but the Ginger Fuhrer has already poured cold water on the speculation that we'll be signing Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew and Co. Our best-case scenario is a couple of loan signings. Our worst-case scenario is that it's all part of the cutting of Everton's extravagant wage bill, before Tim Howard is sent packing and Richard Wright begins the 2007-08 season with the number 1 shirt again.

I wouldn't mind betting we've done all our buying for the foreseeable. I don't see Wyness being too happy at having to announce back-to-back losses. Mind you, we could be surprised by a £20M spending spree as predicted by most of the red tops. I tell you, I want what they're drinking.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (15/1/07)

Does that not realate to the £28M influx of cash expected from the TV deal for next season? If we thinktransfer fees for Britsh players are a bit daft now... — Michael

RE: John Middleton and VdM

I have to agree with John here: although Van der Meyde in recent games has certainly improved, I think he was a little off the pace yesterday, hence Moyes opting to substitute him in the 70th minute. There is no doubt however that having him in the team is certainly of benefit; of course his back tracking must improve and his use of the ball must also, but this will come with games.

I think those pointing the blame at Moyes for taking him off are dead wrong, he looked nackered and needed a rest. I am afraid it's yet another example of people on here not appreciating what they have. Does anyone remember Coventry City and Wimbledon in the mid-nineties? Your talking about a manager who is in 7th in the Premiership! I would feel different if it was the bottom three.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Merseyside  (15/1/07)

Midfield

Our midfield is so weak, we need a player that imposes some authority on a game. Joey Barton would be my choice, he would make us play, and most importantly supply our forwards with balls to run at. I'd also like to see Nugent in a blue shirt, he's direct and goes past defenders, something we are sadly lacking IMHO. These two could revitalise the team.
Tony Graham, Mansfield  (15/1/07)

... or they could suffer an all-too-predicatble fate under the skilled guidance of the Moyes/Irvine "This is how we defend free-kicks" School of Negative Football. — Michael

Unrealistic expectations

Paul Smith's article is a welcome aberration from the incessant Moyes-Kenwright bashing. Many seem to have forgotten those miserable times, staving-off relegation year after year. Evertonians need to be more realistic about the club?s prospects and give our support to a passionate Evertonian Chairman, a burgeoning managerial talent and our (mostly) conscientious players.
Will Mitchell, London  (15/1/07)

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? Sir John Moores had a word or two to say about the subject, if you recall. I won't bore you by repeating his words ? they should be engraved on your heart! — Michael

Response to 'Coppell says No to Everton'

Tony, do you not think that Steve Coppell said no to Everton because he REALLY is a red??? I mean, he gave you the same answer twice and if someone asked me if I would manage Liverpool I would say no, I am a Blue ? end of conversation??
Paul Smith, West Sussex  (15/1/07)

I agree with you. Maybe Tony was trying to show persistence / can't take No for an answer? — Michael

Response to Paul Smith

Paul's article came from an interesting perspective ? from one who has possibly received some abuse in his time from the sounds of it.

I couldn't agree more that getting onto player's backs is counter-productive. The time to tell them you think they've been shite is at the final whistle but until then does anyone really believe yelling obscenities will garner an improvement? Why don't we all try it at work ? have a colleague come and tell us what a terrible job we're doing and see if we feel galvanised.

All that said, I'm afraid I can't agree with the rest of Paul's conclusions about the club's current status. I am one of many who have become disillusioned with Moyes this season and conceding things 'could be worse' doesn't negate the thought that they could also be better. But, to repeat what many anguished voices have said here over the last few months, what can we do?

What is a tragic irony for Everton is that Moyes does appear to have fashioned a decent team ? he just seems incapable of getting them playing decent football.

However there is no magical solution to this, so while he's here the impact the fans have on the game is even more important. We've all heard managers saying how important it is to "silence the crowd" at an away game, or even "get them on the team's back". If we're barracking the team after ten minutes, we hand the opposition this potentially critical edge. So next time Osman falls over or Neville plays a square ball to the opposition, it might be worth counting to ten and then screaming your frustrations at the opposition!
Simon Amble, Hereford  (15/1/07)

Van der Meyde

I must have been sitting in a different Bullens to the one some of the others have been sitting in. I thought VDM was very poor yesterday. Several misplaced passes, little or no hustle and absolutely no tracking back was all I saw. Yet Luq/Dupont and others criticise Moyes for taking him off??

Poor Naysmith was all I noticed. Any time he got forward, VDM almost flatly refused to cover him meaning gaping, and I mean gaping holes down their right flank. He tracked nobody, made perhaps two tackles the whole game and was again looking like it will take a good few games to approach match fitness, assuming another injury/break-in doesn't befall the man.

Two good crosses show the potential is of course there, but lambasting Moyes for taking him off is yet another pathetic attempt to blame the manager. Or does a different VDM emanate when watching from the comforts of an armchair, where Sky doesn't show his numerous shortcomings?
John Middleton, Dublin  (15/1/07)

Erm... hang on.... we are 7th aren't we?

The way people are moaning after Saturdays home draw, you would think we were 17th not 7th. Admitedly 3 pts would have been better than 1, but we avoided defeat, when it was staring us in the face. We did go up one place in the table over the weekend.

I can remember people moaning about Royle after we won the FA Cup in 1995, so whatever manager we have, and how ever well he is doing, there is always someone who is not happy. People moan about how our players played, without any thought about how well the opposition played. When we beat Liverpool 3-0 was it entirely down to our own brilliant play, or did Liverpool have an off day?

The game against Reading was always going to be a difficult game, and those of you who were hoping for anything different are living in another world. Well organised sides will not just sit back and let us play football, like we do against teams we play. Sunday's game was that kind of game, with two sides battling for ascendancy. Games like that always look scrappy because both sides are stopping the other side from playing and cramping the other side for space.

Don't forget, last weekend had it positive side: we moved up to 7th, Rambo was in town, and we were creating chances.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (15/1/07)

New Ideas / Squad Selection

Our problem is quite easy to see: we play the most predictable football in the whole league. Ask any fans and he can tell you what the players will do next.

Moyes clearly needs to strengthen the midfield as at the moment it lacks ideas, stength and fitness. Beattie needs a run of games and should be ahead of Anichebe in the pecking order.

With the supposed imminent sales of Weir and Davies, we surely now must be close to completing deals and will not only replace those two but add more quality. I wouldn't see the point in selling two just to buy two when we need more players in the first place.

In my eyes Barton is a must to replace Carsley and we also need to give youth a chance, Molyneux has pace, an excellent shot and plenty of pace.

Get a grip Moyesy!!!! or we'll be mid-table mediocrity.
Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Is Moysie really such a terrible Manager?

I read the comments from many 'Blues' criticising Moyes and the usual congratulatory comments from Michael, backing up the comments made. Nobody seems to comment on why David Moyes is such an unmitigated disaster if we are 8th in the table.

Tim Hopwood dreadful error which gave rise to the goal? Mind you (1) it was clearly offside (2) According to Moyes, the plan to defend that way or something like it had been conceived on the training ground. I feel myself it is totally a misconceived plan but it was nothing to do with Tim Hopwood.

The Reading goalkeeper made an error of judgement in coming out when AJ scored. Must he, therefore, be sent to the reserves to learn his trade?

Activity in the transfer market this January can hardly be described as buoyant. Surely all the managers are not to be described in the way attributed to the correspondents I have referred to.

Sure, I would not describe David Moyes as the best manager in the Premier League but I very much doubt if he gets paid what many of them do and season by season he's learning his trade.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (15/1/07)

Who is Tim Hopwood? ? Colm

The real reality

Surely not even `Starstruck Bill` can be truly satisfied with the way Everton are playing at present?

Leaving aside the `survival is everything` argument ? not worthy of any Evertonian let alone the management ? the fact that the team this morning occupies seventh position is more an indictment of the quality of the Premier League than any indication of a strong and attractive team.

I do believe that Moyes is at least on par with the majority of his peers ? all clones of a coaching freemasonary promoted by the FA and SFA. The influence of Wilkinson and his pals up north cannot be under-estimated and has served only to promote a brand of football long espoused by the FA`s `coach of coaches`, Charles Hughes, but rejected out of hand by the likes of Ferguson, Wenger, Venables and the more enlightened of the profession.

Totally without an original thought, 80% of Prem managers drill teams to operate within very prescriptive guidelines to the extent that all originality and flair gradually disappears from their play. Moyes is the arch disciple of the creed,`Do it my way or not at all.`

Whether his team finishes 5th or 15th, after this season they will be doing it without me!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (15/1/07)

I had a chat earlier this morning with a man I know who has the same coaching qualification, on paper, as our own David Moyes and I asked him why is it that with such qualifications he appears unable to change our dreadfully unattractive means of "playing football". I pointed out that Steve Coppell had put together that Reading side for little more than one million pounds and throughout the match yesterday they played with a freedom and a confidence not seen in Royal Blue shirts. Pass. Move. Create space. Options. Little or no hoof! Why can Moyes not see the error of his current ways? And why can't we get back to playing some of the football so pleasing in the opening weeks of the season? That, for me, remains the greatest mystery this season so far, and the biggest disappointment. - Colm

So, er... what did this bloke say, them? - Michael

How much more can we take?

The match v Reading has inspired me to finally make a comment on this site, reading the comments on this site for months ? love the work done by Colm and Co.

The match started with quite a quick pace and left me feeling optimistic that the appearance of Rocky Balboa had stirred up the crowd and the players enough to put on a decent football match. 10 minutes into the game the euphoria dies down, then we are left with utter dross to watch as Everton play Route One football for the rest of the 85 minutes.

In the 25th minute Phil Neville gives away a shoddy free-kick when there was no need too. then the defensive cock up happens. Which rocket scientist on the training pitch concocted that plan? Whilst watching it I couldn't help but think that was a direct result of DM belittling Tim Howard to the press at how he felt let down by the two goals from Blackburn.

So I figure Tim Howard's confidence is shot ? he needs a man on the post to help him out. I get home and read what DM had to say, "I take full responsibility for what happened, it was something we tried in training and they lined up wrong." Let's face it, Murty is a great free-kick taker but it would've needed some effort to beat Howard from there if he positioned his wall correctly.

All in all I was left feeling completely devastated that we only walked away with a point. What was worse was at the end of the match I couldn't care less after watching complete shite for 95 minutes. I used to be one of the Moyes fan boys but I feel what used to make him great he just doesn't have anymore ? comments in the media about Anichebe and Howard.

I wonder if Moyes would've dared to say to the press what he said about Anichebe if it was Rooney. I couldn't imagine it back then, taking the credit when we are winning, putting the blame onto others when we are losing. For the first time ever in DM's tenure I feel it's time that he took that Scotland job, before I actually start going bald.
Ste Bano, St Helens  (15/1/07)

Just one minor correction, Ste ? it's "Mike, Lyndon and co...!" Don't want to make the grumpy Editor any more narked! ;-) ? Colm

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good is the inexplicable fact that we are a highly respectable 7th and pulled in 34,000 for a lunchtime televised game with little away support. The bad is the dire football served up; and the ugly fact is that 62% of Echo readers thought Carsley was man of the match.

Endless punts upfield is Sunday League stuff. Do any of our players or management watch MotD to see football played on the floor? Not to mention the embarrassing way we got caught offside or the comic defending. Moyes should be ashamed of this amateur display and surely even he can see personnel changes are essential.

I wouldn't pick McFadden for a pub team, flashes of Osman is a luxury we can't afford and Anichebe needs a season on loan in the Championship. At least the appearance of Sly gave us a bit of light relief on a day when I was embarrassed to be a Bluenose.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (15/1/07)

Here's What I Think Too

I agree with Sean Rothwell?s post ?Here?s What I Think? or at least I agree with his thoughts on Davies, Van der Meyde and Vaughan. VdM looks quite promising in my eyes though he does have some way to go, he?s worth holding onto for now. Does anybody know why Vaughan is never played? In my opinion he appears technically very good and has pace.

Anichebe is not as bad as some people are making out. He has faults but is better than most of our other options and he did set up the Johnson goal. Carsley has been a good servant of the club but is old now and it is showing. Would be better suited to the bench.

Osman is too lightweight. I know he has some nice moves but he is too easily taken off the ball. Sorry to say that as I know he is a true blue but he needs to work on his strength if he is to stay.

For me the most infuriating part of the Sylvester Stallone show was not BK sucking up to him, was not that he has suddenly decided to be an Evertonian (or at least to pretend to be), was not that he left early or that he had no idea we had scored a goal when we had, but that he managed to get a coffee! The only good thing I can take from his visit is that Robert Earl is obviously trying to raise our profile in the hope of attracting some investment. Perhaps he has had a hand in the ?Young Everton? marketing exercise too?

ps: Mike Reilly ? I remember the Chelsea game when Beattie was sent off for head-butting. A very nice Irish man was sat in front of me and shouted at half time ?You ruin every game you get your hands on Reilly! You?re a fucking cheat!? I?m sure Reilly heard as the ground was silent, and the comment was well timed. Couldn?t sum it up any better than that ? we will never get any decisions go our way when he is referee.
Carolyn Hayre, Preston  (15/1/07)

Cannot agree abour Reilly. I thought he did quite well, other than failing to protect Osman. The biggest beef seemed to be that AJ was denied a penalty and/or that Sonko did not get a second yellow and a red, but the refs need to have some discretion in those circumstances. It was outside the area, wasn't an agressive tackle, more a niggly one, and he wasn't really the last man. — Michael

Some football, please...

Can someone tell me why we can't put three passes together? Yes, three? Not once yesterday could we do that, and did anyone get the feeling that Moyes's after-match interview was like watching a man waiting for a taxi? I bloody hope so, because he is turning into a young Walter Smith. Whatever happened to that young fresh manger full of positive tactics?
Tony Washington, Widnes  (15/1/07)

So Now We Know

So that's what David Moyes and his coaching staff do in training. How to fuck up defending a free kick? Even Stevie Wonder in a sandstorm could see what was going to happen yesterday, yet Moyes et al couldn't. He obviously practices how to fuck up our own free kicks as well, by allowing McFadden and Carsley to take them, as neither of these two losers could score in a Bangkok brothel. I can't wait for his next pearl of wisdom, perhaps he might try John 'Rocky' Rambo in goal.
Paul Charters, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Where is the highest building?

Here we go again: Monday morning and the prosopect of another week with nothing to cheer about has me looking in ernest for the highest point to jump from. I concur wholeheartedly with Jim Hourigan when he says his "soul hurts". Yes my friend, so does mine ? it's just a damn pity that neither Blue Bill or Moyes feel the same way. If they did, then we surely wouldn't be putting up with the utterly negative shite that gets rolled out week-in, week-out.

It's not just on the pitch where 'less than second best' is settled for; Moyes has supposedly cited Mourinho's lack of transfer activity and the impending Sky TV deals as an indication of an inflated market, that the 'public' (read you and I) won't settle for. Sorry, Davie, but in Mourinho's case, I think it's down to the fact that a manager who has spent more than £200M and is no longer getting results has maybe lost the faith of his chairman.

And if he believes the market is becoming inflated due to Sky, then why on earth does he not buy now BEFORE the market becomes too inflated for Everton to get anywhere near signing decent players??? Your contradictions are glaringly obvious, Davie. I would be happy paying an over-inflated £10M for a Barton, rather than watch my beloved blues go for a Burton for nothing.

Lastly, I just want to say that at the start of the season I couldn't wait to have a go at the ToffeeWeb boys for constantly berating the manager and the Board... well, I now stand firmly in their camp. The truth is that there will never be anything to look forward to and for Everton FC the the once inimitable 'nil satis nisi optimum' ? I'm afraid is no longer true!!

ps: if there is a cospiracy to infiltrate and censor ToffeeWeb then please hear this loud and clear: CLOSE THE DOOR QUIETLY ON YOUR WAY OUT!
Luke Berry, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Stallone

You have to hand it to Kenwright: without doubt, he gave us the laugh of the season to see that poor old fool jumping up and down in the centre circle. The shot of him drinking the liquid they pass off as coffee was even better! Thanks, Bill; that was almost as good as your fairy stories of investment.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (15/1/07)

Reply to Jim Hourigan's article

Reading Jim Hourigan's article about Cahill and Hibbert makes me realise how critical some fans are. As Jim says, "Cahill is undoubtedly a good player at attacking the box and coming late into situations. He scores goals from set pieces and will probably just about reach double figures." In fact he is one of the best players in the world at doing it - he is remenicent of Bryan Robson.

Like a lot of players of his style his first touch is to move the ball ? expecting him to dwell on it is not appreciating his style. And Jim Hourigan should re-watch games if he thinks Cahill's passing is poor ? he has vision around the box, passing to players going forward. He does not do a lot of possession passing ? he hits the ball into threatening areas, which is why he will continue to work well with Johnson.

His "tackling leaves a lot to be desired" is balanced by the pressure he puts on the opposition by harrassing them, causing poor distribution and possession turnover. The comment "his overall contribution to midfield play is questionable" is laughable. Here is a player Jim Hourigan accepts is whole-hearted; enthusiastic; will cause problems from set pieces, and will score goals but critisises him for what? Lack of style?

He bemoans that playing Cahill will immediately mean Everton will play 4-5-1 ? not seeming to appreciate that when Cahill plays Everton win more games. Essentially he plays as a link man giving Everton more chance of scoring and applying more pressure on the opposition defence. So what if his presence means that "neither Vaughan or Anichebe will play" ? he is a proven class act. Of course, really it means no such thing; Vaughan or Anichebe will at least come in for injuries or substitutes.

Talk about "accommodating him" ? He should be welcomed back with open arms.
Tom Maher, Australia  (15/1/07)

Tim Howard & Co - Part II

I wrote in about 10 days ago re Tim Howard performances of late and their effect on Yobo and Lescott. Well, yesterday was the final straw. Watching the game in a pub on South Coast with other Evertonians and watched in horror as Yobo backed onto line, then Lescott, then Naysmith. We were all shouting push up, push up knowing that any full-time £20k-a-week pro would know that's what you have to do ? but!!! Our stars didn't and the inevitable happened as we all saw. The rest of the pub erupted into total bloody laughter ? better than Xmas's Vicar of Dibley someone suggested.

Well, we said the boys are struggling a bit at the moment and you do things when you're under stress and Moyes will be bollocking them good and proper as Andy Gray also stated at half-time. To compound the issue our Euro Gold Prostar coach tells us he's been practising the defence all week in training!!! As well as Howard & Co, Moyes and Co, all bloody Everton fans are now the laughing stock of England.

Next week we'll be practising no wall, and all defenders to stand on the touchlines and mustn't move, so that Tim can get a good view of the free-kick.
Mike Oates, West Sussex  (15/1/07)

Shameless PR

I really don't know which made me more sick? The shameless parading of 'Rocky' Stallone, Kenwright every ten seconds flirting with the media over Rocky, or ultimately Everton's inept first half! Before the game, the appearance of Sly Stallone did fire me up for a memorable performance but ? just like Kenwright, Moyes and their promises ? it is all show and no substance.

Positives? Yes, after the shameless witch-hunt of Andy van der Meyde from the pro-Moyes clan, every week he is proving to be the class act many fore-sighted fans could see he always was! And it annoys me when these pro-Moyes jokers slaughter AvdM, yet defend Moyes! An absolute joke and a bloody disgrace! Howard was commanding again and AJ and Anichebe were a menace up front, once paired in the second half. And Naysmith was okay.

Negatives? Unfortunately, too many! Beattie must leave asap, as his desire is shot to pieces. But I fear he will stay, due to him leaving may upset AJ. Neville and McFadden were useless and Osman is far too weak to play in the center. But the biggest joke was Moyes playing Cahill when he hadn't even played a reserve game? This smacks of desperation and no belief in the reserves, in which Moyes brought in so work that one out!

In a nutshell, Tom Collie is spot-on! There needs to be a major revamp of this club or there will be a new ground and not enough fans to fill it. Has Moyes stagnated?
Luq Yussef, London  (15/1/07)

Frustrated

I don't know how much more I can take of this shite we are being served up. I was that frustrated yesterday that, when the half-time whistle went, I was nearly crying, and I'm not joking either.

I go to a lot of the home games, and have nearly an 8-hr round-trip to GP. I love Everton but I just don't know how long I can keep doing it. One more thing: how can some fans be happy with that display yesterday?
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (15/1/07)

Not good enough

After yesterday, and most of the past eight seasons, the discussion after the game once again was mainly on players & staff we have who are just not good enough.

Saying the same things about players e.g he can't beat a man, he has no creativity in his team, he is just a workhorse etc ? I really don't want to depress everyone with this as it goes on and on. The only change over the years are the players names: Kilbane could be Alexandersson; Carsley becomes Linderoth or Milligan; Moyes becomes Walter; Irvine / Knox... Oh this goes on and on.

What somewhat surprises me is how few players actually rise above this level of mediocrity (whilst at our club).
Steve Wainwright, Merseyside  (15/1/07)

Aussie Supporter Clubs

Are there any Everton supporter clubs in Australia, more so in Perth? I see that a Steve Jansen is listed on your Supporter page but has no email address. Could you plese let me know if there are any... ???
Josh Donhardt, Perth, Australia  (15/1/07)

I`m sure thats my article

Are you sure the article written by Lue Glover 14/01/07 was not written by me? I could not have put it anymore eloquentley myself had I tried. The only difference being I took the decision with my season ticket at the start of the season. Yes, I keep going back, but I still find it hard to stimulate my imagination into thinking it will all come good. Come on, Blues ? wake up and smell the coffee before it all becomes terminal.
Ken Fleming, Liverpool  (15/1/07)

Richard Dodd

Reading the mailbag, it seems as if most readers don't get Richard Dodd's sublime irony. I personally think the man is a genius, and always makes me laugh in how he can turn the utter utter shite served up by Moyes into an heroic victory.

Could he have his own column please?
James Welford, London  (15/1/07)

We need new ideas!

The game on Sunday clearly showed that David Moyes is now running out of ideas. Frankly I have supported him ever since he began the job. However, I have never been more frustrated than the moments after the Reading Game this Sunday. Here?re some of my thoughts:

1) When can we see the likes of Carsley & Naysmith stop hoisting the ball towards the moon to start a counter-attack? The ball was never passed to the right & creative people (granted we didn?t have Arteta for the game, but we still had VdM, Osman, Cahill or AJ)? The ball never went on to the feet of the midfielders. Anything related to the judgement of the players? Partially. But don?t forget that players carry out the coach's instructions!! Please don?t tell me that someone out there expects AJ to be winning the air battle with a six-feet tall, athletic Centre Back? Come on?

2) What is Osman doing out there? A feather-weight winger who has no speed and strength is useless nowadays. How many times did we see him get muscled out and lose the ball on the sideline? No doubt he is slick-footed and is one of the more creative people we have, but we need speed on the wings. Can he play in the centre of the park? Well, can he tackle?

3) Why is McFadden still being given any PLAYING TIME, let alone STARTING A GAME? Does he have enough speed and crossing technique to be a winger? I am sure all of you attending weekly games at Goodison for the past 3 seasons would have a better answer than myself. Is he a striker? Well, I would rather get Marcus Bent back.

4) There is a reason Phil Neville was sold by Man Utd. Just look at the foul he committed that led to the Reading freekick. Awful timing, poor judgement and one cannot get a worse location to have it. Not the first time and I?m sure there are more to come.

5) At 71 mins, Moyes took VdM out for Beattie, taking out the sole creative source in midfield and the best crosser in our team for the game. A kindergarten kid would tell you what to expect for the rest of the game. Route Square One: ?Inter-continental Missiles? into the Reading penalty area from ours? Indeed that?s partly how we equalized, but if we would like our club to compete with the ?Big 4?, that needs to be abandoned!

6) The style that Reading played: simple, quick & efficient counter-attacking football. That?s the way we played back in the season when we finished 7th. Is that a difficult way to play? No. Do we have the right players? If Reading do, I?m sure we do. How did Moyes lose his Mojo? That?s probably the next big mystery for all of us Evertonians?.

To reclaim the glory days of the 80s, we need to adapt to the trends nowadays, be it tactics or personnel management. It is fairly disappointing to see Moyes regressing so dramatically in those two areas.

Please, Scottish FA, where is your job offer for Moyes?


Dupont Koo, Hong Kong  (15/1/07)

Decisions, decisions

We all have to live with the decisions we make, some have even decided not to come and others are still making their decision. MK wonders about Victor's decision making, maybe some leeway allowed there due to inexperience, but, if, as postulated, DM is making them for him, along the lines of... "When 'this' happens, always run there," then the buck must stop with Davie coz if it continues then all we will have will be another Heskey...

If it's a case of "I pick the team and it's my way or the highway," then don't, as some (Robert Pullman) suggest, hanker after Irvine. Nobody stays in a job as assistant without having some empathy and similarity of belief in the cause. Some have said that Moysie is defensive coz he was a centre-half and it's all he knows, so if as maybe that Irvine is a 'Davie clone' that theory is a non-starter, Irvine was rather the opposite of that as a player.

The thing is with decisions, if you make one, as Moyes did in the games prior to the Newcastle away draw, to push out and, through the fault of the ref/linesman get caught out (and the fact that Roeder made a decision to exploit it), you can still make another and another etc etc. You don't have to be an inflexible control-freak. Assumming the players have the nouse (could be a big ask in some cases), why not allow a bit of initiative??? All you fans, don't decide to hold your breath, just add 'inflexible' to the other adjectives that apply to our manager. I am waiting for the little 'ex' to be added to the list.
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (15/1/07)

Is this it?

There's been some interesting letters of late. The prime impression received is that the 'positive' fans would like to stifle all criticism, especially of their heroes, Messrs Moyes and Kenwright.

Dunno if anybody else noticed but during recent weeks, a fair number of letters offered a very supportive and blue-tinted view of Moyes and Kenwright. In fact such was the similarity of several that I wondered if there was some form of deliberate and orchestrated exercise afoot. Especially as the Kirkby proposals were receiving a somewhat less than enthusiastic reception by so many.

Unfortunately for those particular contributors, now gone quiet, Mr Moyes has let them down again with yet more lack-lustre performances, so typical of his tenure at our club. Our 'positive' fans response seems to be to condemn Michael and Co at ToffeeWeb for having the audacity to print letters which don't concur with their view.

The current Everton set up appals me. We have a small time and skint (relatively speaking) chairman, a second-rate coach and a sizeable element of fans who despise any hint of criticism of these charlatans. Personally, I believe in freedom of expression, there's no way I'd want to gag anybody who supports Everton regardless of their opinion. Pity though how the 'positive' thinkers are so keen to quiet anybody who differs from them. I'm sure a psychologist could explain what's going on but I'm no psychologist. All I can see is a fervent element, so dedicated but equally lacking in evidence to justify their faith in a rational manner, that they feel the need for censorship (and shooting the messenger) of any opinion which questions theirs. It's creepy and is highly reminiscent of the US build up to the ill-fated Iraq adventure, anybody who dared oppose it was quickly rendered unpatriotic. Yeah right.

Another similarity is how the current Everton protagonists are so keen to decry what they perceive as insults but are quite happy to dole out the tongue lashings themselves, together with instructions for the rest of us to shut up.

The latest incarnation of IMWT is 'this is as good as it gets, live with it'. It's fascinating how they all lump on the same focus. Surely it can't all be organised... can it?

For anybody who takes a serious interest in trading the markets ? sport or financial ? statistics and probability theory are essential. When playing the sports markets, one factor soon becomes glaringly obvious: past performances are very good indicators of the likely outcome of today's event. Generally speaking, most participants in sport find their respective levels and are highly unlikely to exceed those levels on a regular and consistent basis.

Dismal playing style apart, scrutiny of David Moyes's overall record, especially at Everton, but at Preston too, reveals initial promise which remains unfulfilled and settles into nothing better than middling ? or worse! I'd venture that he's reached his level and all the goodwill in the world isn't going to move him up to the next tier.

All this 'he's still learning' is so much nonsense and is nothing more than expressions of hope over expectation. Statistically speaking, today's Everton, under the stewardship of David Moyes, is most likely to be as good as it's ever going to get.

Snag for me is I don't want to 'live with it' and unless something changes, come next season, one way or the other I won't be. Even if it means giving up the habit of watching Everton ? a habit which goes back for more years than I care to think about.
Tom Collie, Maghull  (15/1/07)

Brilliant letter, Tom. Spot on. I've had the feeling that something 'different' has been going on, with plenty of new names writing in isolated messages advocating support for the heirarchy ... all claiming to have hotmail accounts. We don't log IP addresses so we have no way of checking and we rely on people to be genuine with both their views and their identities. It would be sad if we have to institute some new procedures to ensure the integrity of the mailbag. ? Michael

Painful performance

Another painful day at goodison for us loyal supporters and I'm not talking about the fact that the sun was shineing in my eyes most of the afternoon.

It's time for Moyes to go. What formation was he playing in that first half? Poor Leon Osman didn't have a clue where he was playing while Mcfadden just looked lost and Victor should have been up against Sonko from the start.

Once again, Manchester United's 4th choice goalkeeper decided that he would allow several of his own players to obstruct his view for the free kick which resulted in their goal. His distribution was far too slow; quick throw-outs to the wings were ignored ? instead, he used his shite 100-ft goal kicks for the tiny AJ to feed off. The sooner Tim Howard gets back to what he does best ? warming Man Utd's reserve team bench ? the better. Get Turner in goal.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (15/1/07)

Highland Fling

I just had a weird idea. I'll share it with you.

David Moyes wants the Scotland job, Bill Kenwright wants him to stay at least until the Transfer Window closes. DM agrees but wants to be off before we play at Anfield. David Weir is being approached to become Everton Manager.

He's a decent bloke, mediocre playing career, a bit on the dour side, not too controversial, no real medals too show. He's all this and Scotish too. Kenwright is made up that he is able to continue Everton's proud traditions.

David Weir, David Weir, he's got no hair and we don't care David David Weir. Ah well... another five-year plan is forged.

In May/June it will be announced that the Knowsley Stadium discussions have stalled. Everton have to go back to the drawing board. Tesco have decided to build a boxing stadium and Casino in Kirkby. Robert Earl sells his shareholding to the creator of Postman Pat. Postman Pat and Fireman Sam are to appear at the first game of the 2007-08 season.

Exciting times ahead, will this Club never fail to surprise us?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/1/07)

At least it wasn't a dream... or a nightmare!

What do we do?

I've just read Lou's article and I can sympathise with everything said; I too am I'm finding it harder and harder to raise the enthusiasm to attend. For me its a 60-mile roundtrip that I have taken man and boy for over 40 years. Less than a lot of people, I know, but still requiring commitment not just money.

What do I want in return?

Well, I have been giving this question a lot of thought of late and Lou's article stirred my thoughts again. After much soul searching, balancing 'winning ugly' and all other euphemisms for crap. I know what I want:

I want to come to GP and watch my team play football, football the way it should be played i.e. passing to players in the same shirt, moving before the ball arrives etc, but above all playing to win games ? not playing just to avoid getting beat. I suppose I've been spoiled by the last 40-odd years from Alex Young and Co, through the Holy Trinity, the free-scoring years of Latchford and Co, to the team of the 80s.

The one common theme in all my years of watching Everton has been walking to the game wanting Everton to win and KNOWING that the team would also go out to win. How things are sadly so different now. I walk to the match with little hope of being entertained, my soul is depressed and as the match begins the atmosphere reflects my own sense of foreboding ? how many others sit like me in silence because of the paucity of the football, finding it so difficult to be enthusiastic and get behind the team?

I don't expect to win every game; I won't demand that... but I do demand that we set out to win games and play like that, because if we do I'll get behind the boys ? even if we get beat by a better footballing side. But how much harder it is when we are beaten or can't beat teams that are as equally shite as us ? and God how depressing it is ? has GP ever been as quiet as it is now?

So what do we do? I sympathises and understand Lou's point of view; I only hope my depression will not lead me down that path after all these years. But how do we get the message to those that matter? How do we show our anger at the aimless tactics? How do we say enough is enough? How do we show our utter frustration at the garbage they call football?

I don't know ? but something has to give; I only hope it won't be me. I was here before Moyes and I want to be here long after him. I want Billy Liar to know that to, but what on earth do we do?
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (14/1/07)

Good letter, Jim; good question, too. And for once I have no answers. If we protest, the apologists (and I have no qualms for using that suitably perjorative term to describe anyone who defends the dismal product of Moyes's coaching that was on view today) tell us we must instead be grateful: this is as good as it gets. We cannot afford to be any better than mid-table mediocrity, playing shite football. Apparently. — Michael

Changing Lanes

There have been some good posts in recent weeks which have started to change my mind about David Moyes. For example the post highlighting the fact that he performed far better tactically in the season we finished seventh.

I do like the man and feel he has excellent morals and I like the way he carries himself in the media far better than half the other whingers. However, he is simply failing to get the players playing anything that constitutes football.

I thought the movement from our forwards against Reading was particularly poor which resulted in the long ball stuff. Twice we played a simple ball to feet in the second half, once to Cahill and once to Johnson, which enabled them to turn and run at the back four. We looked far more dangerous on these occassions. Football really is that simple: PASS and MOVE!!

Moyes has to take the blame for this and if they've been preparing for defending free kicks like that all week then we really are in trouble. However, I do feel that Alan Irvine could contribute more; perhaps if we could bring in a different assistant manager to try and challenge Moyes a little and give him a different perspective, it could improve things a little. Otherwise we are going to experience frustrating afternoons like this for a few more years to come yet!!
Robert Pullan, Manchester  (14/1/07)

Bring out the Cat

Forget all that stuff about keeping things in house, our incredibly stupid defence of Reading?s free kick deserves a mass public flogging. If it was concocted at training our flogger in chief should be flogged.

On the subject of flogging ? yet this time as in getting rid ? we have a couple of titchy midfielders whose disappearing act is more suited to the stage than a football field.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (14/1/07)

More of the same

I know it`s an old expression but I do honestly believe Moyes has taken us as far as he can go. Now, at this moment, that means seventh in the Prem and I suppose that ain`t half bad. Many Evertonians seem satisfied and express little hope or ambition of getting higher. What Blue Bill has to decide is whether there is the potential for further development under a more dynamic manager. Certainly, under Moyes, we can expect only more of the same ? but I suspect that may be acceptable to the powers that be. I suspect all those `mid-table is good` Evertonians are about to have their way ? it`s Davey for another five years!
Clive Little, Wem  (14/1/07)

School Boy defending

I'm sure this is the 50th message you've had tonight about the same topic but the defending for the goal we conceeded today was bloody abysmal.

I'm a pretty decent Sunday League keeper but if any of my teammates ? semi-decent Sunday League defenders ? had been in the 6 yard box for a free kick on the edge of the area, I would have have told them to get out and form a line on the six yard box or just beyond.

I'm sorry but although he's been a good shot stopper this season, Howard really isn't the answer to our goalkeeper problems. He's proved himself liable to long-range efforts and today he's proved himself as a poor communicator / organiser of the defence. As far as I can see, the only positive side is that he's not Richard Wright.

Moyes has been in charge for five seasons now and hasn't resolved this key area of the team. Good teams are built from the back forward and until Moyes sorts this out we're never going to progress.

Yours flappingly and probably shouting at people who wont listen...
Richard Jones, Hemel Hempstead  (14/1/07)

Moyes ? The Entertainer?

Simply atrocious football!! Again at GP, and again on TV ? how Everton always fcuk it up on telly I'll never know!

Any manager with any self-respect would have walked after that debacle... Moyes's tactics? he only has one, defend, defend and, errr... defend ? don't shoot at the goal (thats another), and congatulates himself that he's keeping us mid-table. This is the most boring side I've ever seen.

I'm a season ticket/card holder and I only just bothered to get to the game. I must say tho' I wasn't disappointed was I... utter dross from start to finish. If we must suffer mid-table obscurity for a while, why can't we be entertained?! Football is a form of entertainment... isn't it?
Tommy Green, Bebington  (14/1/07)

From my seat

Another point toward safety and indeed toward my prediction of a ninth-place finish. We were treated to the "Rocky loves Everto"n show prior to kick off and then treated to the Rocky Horror Show for the next 95mins.

Cahill was back and an early shot masked the fact that he was what you would expect after a long lay off: ring rusty. We dominated play against what I could only describe as a Championship side and with a little more creativity should have been a few up. Instead we give away a free kick on the edge of the box and defended a bog- standard situation in the most bizarre manner. If that was just player aberration in retreating to the goal line and crowding the keeper well fair enough BUT if that was worked on the training ground then the perpetrators should be locked up.

The first half was abysmal with ineffectual players in McFadden, a lightweight Osman and the said ring-rusty Cahill. The manager tries plan A and B: namely 4-5-1 then 4-4-2 ? both fail on the fact of NO discernable midfield (how often do we say this?).

Second half and McFadden is jettisoned in favour of big Vic, still no improvement and Sidwell bossing the midfield with only Carsley as a deterrent we stumble on with some decent passing in the middle of the park but the end product was HOOF and still prey to a counter-attack.

Plan C is devised and Beattie takes us to 4-3-3; still no discernable improvement so on the 80min mark it's Plan D! All IN!!!

IT WORKS, Yobo finds big Vic's head; his flick finds AJ in between a flailng keeper and, Hey Ho! ? it's a point!!!

The best squad for 20 years that operates without an effective midfield; the best up-and-coming young manager in the Prem ? even after five years ? seems unable to stamp any particular style of coherrent pass-and-move play required to at least be top six material then I think my bleatings are forlorn but I would expect those that wield power at Goodison should at least have just a few misgivings on our "progress".

Still, Wigan next... Oh hell; it's an early Sunday kick off ? do we not like these? See you Sunday -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (14/1/07)

Down! Down! Stay Down!

I gotta hand it to Mr Stallone, he lasted through to the 83rd minute before he finally bolted. Man, I ain't seen him ever move so quick as when he jumped up out of his seat, almost walked all over Bill Kenwright in his rush to get out of the place. Kinda embarrassing really.

I know he's only here to promote the new film but bringing him along to Goodison is a bit like showing a potential new owner for the house you have been trying to sell for the past 18mths going well until you get to the dining room only to find your pet dog has took a dump right in front of the fireplace.

Still, Bill got to high five with Sly so all is not lost.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (14/1/07)

Coppell Says ''No'' To Everton

Todays game against Reading was one of the worst exhibitions of football I have ever seen from any Everton side. Absolutely useless in all departments and Moyes is starting to annoy every one I know with his pathetic touchline antics. How the fuck can he be permanantley on his side's back throughout the 90 minutes when we all know it's his stupid gobshite tactics that we are playing?

After what seemed like a hundred long balls aimed at AJ's head, I felt like going Rambo and jumping out of the stand and shooting Moyes with an AK47. If this as good as it gets for the next 5 years then we are well and truely doomed. After the game, Steve Coppell came in to the Joe Mercer lounge for a drink with a group of people I presume were his family. After a Chang or three, I said to the lads that I was going over to ask him if he would take the Everton job if he was offered it.

"Hello, Steve; sorry to bother you mate," I said. "but me and the lads were wondering: Would you take on the job here if you were offered it?"

Wry smile from Steve, "No mate; I'm a Red," he laughs.

"No, Steve, I'm am being serious: Would you take it?"

"No, I am happy at Reading and I am a red," he says still laughing "No way could I do it."

"Yea but, Steve, you would be near all your family and don't forget Liverpool the city is on the way up. Capital of Culture 2008 and all that. Albert Dock for lunch with the family, it would be great."

"Honestly I wouldn't do it." he says.

Then one of his family says "Yes he would. Then he says, "No I wouldn't do it," you know ? looking serious.

"Ok, Steve, thanks for your time mate," and off I went.

So there it is: Steve Coppell would rather stay with a smalltime outfit with a brand new stadium and a forward-thinking chairman than come to the Mersey giants Everton. I reckon Steve Coppell was being genuine with his comments so let's all cross him off our list of would-be succesors to Moyes.

"How the mighty have fallen" is all I could think of. As for Kenwright, his fawning over Stallone today made me sick to the pit of my stomach. can't belive this man is running our club as though he hasn't a care in the world while watching the shit Moyes is churning out.

Oh yes, Harvey Smith has been sacked this week as Head of the Corporate Sales. Something about not being able to secure enough sponsors for the lounges on matchdays.

I wonder why that is????
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/1/07)

Response to A Good Day's Work

I normally try to see the bright side, but today's performance was awful. As per usual, we play the game in a tight triangle on the right-hand side of the pitch and never switch the play to the left-hand flank. Carsley, with space infront of him to drive into and fire a shot, decided it was better to lay it off to the right. Naysmith was horrendously exposed time and again at left back.

We had no invention at all. The idea with playing three forwards is that one works the right channel, one the left channel and the other holds it up top. But they clustered in the box hoping for a lucky rebound from long diagonal balls. We were very lucky to get that goal in the end because we created precious little else.

I have been a supporter of Moyes and I don't believe that he has done enough wrong to deserve the sack. The reality is though that we are towards the top of the middle section of the league because we are fairly efficient (not SUCH a bad position I suppose). We are, however, light-years away from the bottom end of the top section. To achieve the sort of football that Man United and Arsenal play requires that those ethics run from the very top to the very bottom of the club and I don't believe that Moyes has that sort of influence.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (14/1/07)

1-0 to Doddy!

Just heard Andy Gray destroy Moyes`s tactics for the defence of the Reading free-kick. But ...surprise, surprise, Doddy was 100% right about the illegality of the goal. Hunt was offside as the kick was taken!
John Horton, Ormskirk  (14/1/07)

Let's see what really matters:

1) Everton defend in classic schoolboy fashion, after practising defending free-kicks with a man on the line all week, and give away the most utterly pathetic own-goal.

2) Hunt was offside...
No, I think you (and Doddy) lost that one. — Michael

Duo are Rangers Bound

David Weir and James McFadden wil both be sold to Rangers in the next week, Weir as a result of Webster's injury and also a heated argument broke out between Moyes and McFadden 6 minutes before half-time and spilled over into the dressing room (hence his substitution for Anichebe). They will cost a combined fee of £3.5M.

Everton will then turn to Arsenal to fill their void in the shape of Fabrice Muamba and Jerime Aliadere.

Talks are also ongoing regarding the Joey Barton situation; after today's performance the midfield clearly needs bolstering and Moyes is targetting Barton (Davies in other direction) and Wright-Phillips (on loan).
Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (14/1/07)

Oh my, you do have vivid dreams, eh? Lay off the cheese before you go to sleep!

Bollocks

Yesterday I wrote in saying that I was happy with where we are in terms of progress. I stick by that, BUT...

We were shite today. Ok, we dominated the game, but we did nothing interesting with the ball whatsoever. I actually think we really NEED VdM to get good again to offer us any kind of impetus going forward.

It really pisses me off how we can be so good defensively (bar the goal), get a lot of the ball and still only create two goalscoring opportunities. We just don't look like scoring. I'm not sure we ever have to be honest. Can anyone think of a time when we've played good football and scored lots of goals in the Premiership?

It's so frustrating. It's a lot easier to accept our current progress when you haven't recently been reminded of how crap we are to watch. No wonder we're on Sky once a decade.
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (14/1/07)

Er... Health Warning: this was the first of five (from seven) that are on Sky. Make sure you have insurance on that big plasma thingy...

Here's what i think...

Sylvester Stallone certainly picked the wrong day to come to Goodison. That was without doubt the worst home game of the season in terms of performance on the pitch and atmosphere inside the ground.

The performance today was totally inept and highlights the same issues that have been consistent problems throughout the season and during Moyes's time in charge. I feel Moyes has done a decent job, but at the same time I wouldn't lose sleep if he left (especially if The Special One is looking for work in the summer).

The main issues at Everton for me are:

  1. Davies is the worst player to pull on an Everton shirt ? I'm sure he doesn't mean to be awful, but he just is.

  2. Moyes's only tactic when things aren't going well is to swap Arteta and Van der Meyde (or whichever two wingers are playing) around. I think he did that at least 6 times against Blackburn ? what the fuck difference is that going to make?

  3. Moyes and substitutions. I've never known anything like it. Firstly, he always takes off the same players regardless of how they're playing (i.e. Van der Meyde); secondly, he consistently brings on a striker for a winger (defeats the object to me); and thirdly, he dithers over substitutions for that long that they have no impact on the game.

  4. Anichebe is nowhere near as good as some on here would like to believe. Personally, I think he looks average at best and needs to prove himself in the reserves. He is ball greedy, wins fewer headers than Beattie, cannot pass and has no idea that there is a game going on around him. Vaughan, however, looks a real prospect but is consistently omitted from the squad to make way for Stubbs or Weir. Bollocks.

  5. We don't shoot. Shots = goals. Not rocket science. Pretty much every home game this season, I would say we have dominated possession and have been camped in opposition territory but we have so few shots it's unreal.

  6. Johnson needs to be told to stay in the middle. During his purple patch at the beginning of the season he was not positioning himself near the corner flag and I believe that this has been coached into him. He cannot score from the touch-line so why does he keep ending up there?

  7. The long balls to the strikers are pointless. They don't win them. Ever. It's so blatantly obvious that this tactic is fruitless that it's actually criminal we persist with it.

  8. Van der Meyde actually looks like he might create something whenever he has the ball. People should lay off him. People near me today were lamenting everything he did despite him looking the only person who might produce a killer blow. I don't want to hear people moaning about him not defending, I don't want him to be a defender, I want him to get forward and produce queality crosses. We have enough defensively-minded players and coaches already.

  9. Some fella behind me said at the end of the match, "we'll be lucky to beat Wigan now". That wound me up because it's total bollocks. If we play better and score more goals then we'll win. Same with every game. No luck needed. Next game has nothing to do with today thankfully. That's the type of negativity I think everyone here hates.
Right, I've got that off my chest so I feel slightly better. Come on you blues!
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (14/1/07)

Sly sips

Can`t believe so many smug Evertonians are writing in tonight! Are you sure they`re not all Doddy aliases? Just heard Moyes say on Sky that they`ve been practising defending free-kicks with players on the line all week. He can`t have much faith in his goalkeeper, Martyn would have told them to fuck off!

And by the way did you see Sly taking a sip of a Goodison coffee ? from the expression on his face, he thinks the same of the catering as we do!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (14/1/07)

Happy? New Year

Well, where do we start? Firstly no zPremiership team can afford two luxury players in the team ?Van der Meyde and McFadden. First half: all wingers; no strikers. Second half: three strikers; no wingers. Five years on and Lee Carsley is the best (Arteta apart) midfielder at the club.

If Moyes is not going to buy or sell in the transfer window, then the least he could do is pick a formation that he believes in. Give the players an opportunity to get some understanding in the team. Pick the best team available and stick with it regardless of results and stop tinkering as it causes more damage than it's worth. Playing a settled side in the remainder of the season may actually set us up for next season. Constant chopping and changing will only lead to yet more uncertainty and leave us back where we started.

Did any one else notice Cahill's reaction to Moyes' overlong pep-talk in the first half?
John McFarlane, Lancs  (14/1/07)

Only the dreamers...

Just been reading the after-match postings. I do believe that sense is beginning to permiate your columns! Of course most of us recognise that Everton can never challenge for honours but we can make it bloody difficult for others in our mid-table sub league. Only the dreamers will not be satisfied with another top-8 finish.
Pete Fender, Burscough  (14/1/07)

Just enjoy!

Nobody, not nobody writing to this site, knows that Kenwright has turned down investment in the club. Just like nobody, not nobody, knows a thing about football compared with our very able manager.

Just accept, will you, that we are never again to be the moneybags team of the Moores era and we shall never challenge for a European trophy. But Everton are a good upper-middle team. Just enjoy!
Chris Woodyear, Walton  (14/1/07)

Hahaha! "Not nobody"!!! That's funny. — Michael

Crap

Richard Dodd: what game where you watching today?

The first half was as bad as it gets in terms of entertaining football. We look totally lost without Arteta and we're desperately missing someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck a la Joey Barton. Unfortunately from what I've heard, we've not got a penny to spend in January so it's loans or nothing.

And yes, whilst Sly was a novel addition to the match... I'd rather Kenwright was working on finding someone to invest into the club. I really do loathe him, Evertonian or not. Give up the train set, Bill, before you drag the club down into the Championship. We're closer to relegation than a European spot.

Rant over, I'm off to kick the cat and watch my counterfeit copy of the new Rocky film I bought off a Chinese girl in The Queens.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (14/1/07)

Today

I'm new to the letters page. Richard Dodd of Formby. Please tell me he's taking the piss.
Nick Smith, London  (14/1/07)

Now be nice. Doddy may appear to be a comedian (I think his dad still lives in Notty Ash) but he is deadly serious. — Michael

We need to sell before we buy!

I am getting more frustrated that we are not able to compete and dominate teams like Reading. We have too many poor players who just can't cut it in this league: no quality, no consistancy. Let's have a huge clear out and start again, as we're probably safe for this year and will end with nothing so what have we to lose? Get rid of Beattie, Osman, Van der Meyde, Stubbs, Weir, Valente, Naysmith and Davies and bring in some talent. Let's look to the future and start building know!
Nigel Roberson, Doncaster  (14/1/07)

Err... !!! I think perhaps you need a few slaps around the chops, fella. You are quite obviously sleepwalking. None of those players are going anywhere. And we are not getting in any 'talent' (apart from Da Silva). Here's the best news: We've been building for the last five years! Sorry if that comes as something of a shock, but it's best you come to terms with this new reality now rather than harbouring delusion of future grandeur that will never be fulfilled. ? Michael

Good second tier

How I agree with the posting of Gavin Laing. Everton played well today and stood up to the physical challenge of a far more `muscular` side. How Marsh and Co can suggest we should replace Moyes with Coppell defeats me - his side are just a bunch of bruisers!

I do think most Evertonians are sensible enough to recognise that we are a good second-tier club for whom 10th or above is very acceptable.
Colin Strickland, Huyton  (14/1/07)

Yes, we'd all be much happier if we accepted such lowered expectations. Top ten it is, then, Colin. I'm still trying to convince myself what a wonderful achievement it will be if we can just scrape another 8 points... we will survive for another record year in the top-flight! How fantastic is that!?! ? Michael

Left-footed Beattie?

Beattie is very much a right-footed player, Rick, so asking him to take that free-kick with his left would not have been a wise move.
John Richardson, London  (14/1/07)

I thought Carsley did a lot better with that free-kick than I expoected. It very nearly worked. Then we would have all been very happy ... even me! — Michael

A good day`s work from the boys

Apart from the result, I thought there was little wrong with Everton today. We had over 70% of the possession against the most cynical side I have seen at Goodison since Carlisle! Moyes seems to have broken out of his defensive shell and was well prepared to throw on the cavalry in pursuit of goals.

Since getting home and watching the recording of Reading`s goal, it is clear that the linesman should have spotted an off-side as soon as the free-kick was taken. But let`s not be greedy, 7th spot will do for now.
Alan Manton, West Derby  (14/1/07)

Sorry, I think we flattered to deceive. The attack lacked any real bite. It was ineffectual at best. We were at home, with nothing else to play for. — Michael

See the difference

You only have to watch Spurs vs Newcastle straight after the Reading match to see a difference in quality. No compliments to Newcastle, but they were forced to raise their game.

At Goodison, Andy van der Merde actually controlled the ball, advanced 5 yards (with a potential tackler nearby), thought... & made a pass. That is a rare moment this season ? fair enough, Arteta can also do that. Osman & McFadden have the right skills for Walter Smith.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg  (14/1/07)

Some fantastic stuff from WHL. Apparently, they are both mid-table teams with no reason to play defensive football, so that they can relax and play good football... or somethiong like that. The Martins strike was simply superb. Instinctive. He never looked up, never took his eye off the ball. — Michael

That`ll do nicely, thank you !

Gavin Ranjelkis argues that Everton should challenge for a Uefa Cup slot ? but didn`t Kenwright say at the AGM that there was absolutely no money in this competition? If this is fact, then he does well to apply the Club`s limited resources to the new stadium development and comfortable mid-table security. Most Evertonians I spoke to today, feel we`re ticking along well. Seventh/eighth will do nicely, thank you!
Gavin Laing, Speke  (14/1/07)

Osman...??? Beattie...???

What did Osman give the team today? So many times he had the ball in decent positions & either lost it patheticly or totally wasted it, with a rubbish cross/pass. He can't beat a man with skill, he can't get past a man with pace. He's useless!!! AvdM was having a good game & looked dangerous, so why did Moyes take him off???

The quicker we get rid of Beattie the better too! The man is a joke!! He didn't win anything in the air when he came on & didn't even attempt to jump for the ball on few occasions, his touch is appalling, he has NO pace at all, and doesn't look interested to play for us!!! Old Sly Stallone would of offered more!!!
Allan Barratt, Durham  (14/1/07)

I thought Beattie did a little better than he has in most games this season. Still nowhere near good enough, though. And Osman... I feel very sorry for him. He has great skill but there seems to be no answer for him when it comes to outsmarting burly defenders who brush him aside with impugnity. — Michael

Thank you, Chairman Bill!

What a marvellous day at Goodison! Up to seventh place after a wonderful fight back necessitated by yet another dodgy decision by an official gifting the opposition a goal. And coming away with the autograph of my childhood hero, Sly Stallone, just sealed it for me as a day to remember. Thank you, Chairman Bill, for making it all possible.

And, by the way, who was it said `Our Davey` is a defensive manager? No less than THREE centre forwards on to ensure we took at least a point from this vital mid-table clash. Manager Braveheart, indeed!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (14/1/07)

Oh, Jesus Christ! The goal was "gifted" through idiotic defending of the utmost ineptitude, Richard. Watch it again on MotD ? just for your edification. — Michael

New signings

It was clear to see against Reading that Everton need some new players to take it to the next level. If finances are in place in the summer, Heinze, possibly O'Shea, Robbie Keane and Kevin Nolan would be valuable additions.
Jens Hansen, Norway  (14/1/07)

Are they stupid?

For two weeks now I have watched Everton play headless-chicken football. They are not less talented than other teams, outside of the obvious candidates, they certainly try and are full of effort, but they are so stupid. For two successive Sundays they have been made to look poor in games where thay have dominated possession.

Let me give you four examples today of a total lack of footballing nous. Firstly Reading's goal: since the time when obstruction was unofficially dropped as a foul offence sometime in the early 60s, almost no teams have defended a free kick by defending the post with an extra defender, simply because it leaves them vulnerable to what happened today. Yet not only did Everton defend in this way, they refused to move up quickly so that Reading would be caught obviously offside.

Secondly the naive way four of our players were caught offside when we had a free kick.

Thirdly when you put on two big centre-forwards, you don't take off the one wide player capable of putting in a good centre to make room for one of them. I know Van der Meyde considers 60/70 minutes a long time, but he should have been kept on and the anonymous Osman withdrawn.

Fourthly the free kick at the death, Johnson should have run over the ball and the left footed Beattie should have taken the kick from that angle and bearing in mind the position of the keeper.

What do Moyes, Irvine et alia do in training, week in week out? We run but apart from Arteta, Neville, Yobo, Lescott and today, Van der Meyde, we don't look as though we know what to do with the ball or where our team's players are. To those Moyes apologista I ask the question, how is this team so lacking in football sense? What do they do in training?

Finally, I was so pleased to see Bill Kenwright getting on so well with his bosom friend Stallone. The sincerity of the man shines like a beacon on an empty sea. How fortunate we are to have him working so hard for us. Perhaps it is Moyes's lack of insight that makes him so valuable too our chairman?
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (14/1/07)

It can be done

I hope those recent posters that think that money has changed football forever in this country will take a quick look at the league table in Spain. 1 Sevilla, 2 Barca, 3 Valencia, 4 Real Madrid, 5 Real Zaragoza, 6 Atletic Madrid. 8 pts seperate these teams.

The teams in Spain cannot attempt to compete on a financial basis with Barca and Real Madrid, they dont have the same brand identity, can't pay the same wages those two teams can pay, can't draw the attendences of Barca or Real and can't compete for the same players. Look at who plays for Barca: Ronaldinho, Messi, Cannavaro, Thuram, Etoo. Yet, look again at the table. The other teams don't seem frightened (Espanyol beat Barcalona last night) at the financial might of these clubs and seem to be competing very well.

The answer may lie in the type of football played by these teams. They play the same type of smooth passing, attacking football as Barca and Real and try to compete that way and the evidence from the table is that they do compete very well.

In England there is a definite two tier system, Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsae and Liverpool try to play passing, attacking football while most of the compteting teams (especially EFC) play kick & rush or hoofball. It's just not going to work. Is it so hard for the club to look at what is happening in Spain and learn lessons for a way to compete? The way forward is by playing the attacking, passing game like we used to do.
Ray Said, Liverpool  (14/1/07)

Missing the point?

I just can't agree with anyone posting agreement to accepting our place as mid-table or lower-half mediocrity. Yes, I am old enough to remember the football from the 70s until the present day but I'm not pining on about what we deserve given our history etc etc as too many who have never known success at Everton just don't get that point.

Rational as it may seem but missed by so many is the simple equation, play better football and qualify for European football at Uefa Cup level, extra games and success in this competition, although nowhere near as lucrative as Champions League levels, is still a sizeable income stream. Increase income and increase ability to sign better players and increase the club's profile, an upward spiral of increasing the club's image and appeal to investors and players.

A better team would fare better in domestic cup competitions which in turn would again increase income and image and again allow better players to be signed. To aim higher but not at a Leeds spend or bust is an achievable business plan with careful speculative investment.

Accepting our fate as sub-servient extras to provide fodder for the bigger sides leaves us in the same boat as the last 20 years of mismanagement has. You should use history to learn from, not to repeat the same mistakes. We need to embrace cash streams and develop as a club on and off the park. Unfortunately, as I see it, the current regime's acceptance of dross whilst those around us develop gets us nowhere and it never will and the number of sides bigger than Everton is growing every season, investment or change is unlikely whilst the current management remain.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (14/1/07)

re Absence makes the heart grow fonder

In response to Jim Hourigan's article, I would say that he sells Cahill short. One thing that he brings to our side that has been sorely missed apart from his goals is his gamesmanship. He is the only player we have who winds the opposition up. He's the only player we have who constantly talks to the referee.

He is the closest thing we have to Robbie Savage, he knocks teams off their stride, and he gets players sent off (not an endearing quality I know but an essential one). He's the player opposition fans love to hate. Every team needs some bite and some nastiness. We've missed that side to his game while he's been out and I for one can't wait to see him back.
Jay Wilson, London  (14/7/2006)

We used to have a motto....

I have resolved to be totally relaxed about the outcome of today`s game. Beat Reading and I shall see it as just another indication that David Moyes is the `second coming`; lose and it will be just a blip on the progress chart. I shall adopt the same approach over the transfer window. Sign a midfield general and I shall acknowledge the manager`s shrewdness in the market; fail to do so and I shall recognise his patience. Nothing but nothing will upset me.

In short, I shall become just like the majority of modern day Evertonians and be grateful that I am allowed to support the club-the one that used to have a motto...
Ferdie Masters, Nox, Shropshire  (14/1/07)

If Only?

Reading some of the letters on any EFC website, does not give fans much confidence, but having said that some of the up-&-down displays don't do anything for the blood pressure. Today's game versus Reading should be a home win, but only if we attack them from the off. We tend to give teams too much respect, and only react when going a goal down. With Cahill back today and hopefully Van der Lucan showing some class on the RIGHT wing, his favoured side, we may see AJ get among the goals. But it is Everton I'm talking about, and "if only" comes to mind all the time.
Norman Merrill, Everton, Liverpool  (14/1/07)

Like "if only" David Moyes had coached his players how to defend a free-kick, rather than how NOT to defend a free-kick. I thought we prided oursleves on defense and set-pieces? Simpy attrocious. — Michael

Facts of life!

Chris Jones you are talking utter garbage and I have to defend our editor Michael.

Firstly, the term 'apologists' accurately describe how some fans are, who cannot or refuse to see the faults of Moyes. You fans apologise for every mistake and blunder the wide-eyed one does, yet have the nerve to curtail the majority of other fans who are critical of his faults as being negative, rude or cowardly!?

Many fans like Tony Marsh and our editor are not stupid, so they use their God-given intellect to weigh up if Moyes is any good or not. Not blindly sticking to the tired party bile of 'in Moyes we trust'. Last week on Radio Merseyside over 80% of callers were calling for Moyes head, why would they do that if he were any good? Then you have the small band of fans, like yourself Chris, who ignore his faults and call him diligent! Hence why you are apologists for him!

And believe me Chris, I and quite a few Evertonians would love to be in a room with Moyes. And I'm quite sure we would not be cheering him on!
Luq Yussef, London  (14/1/07)

Get on with it?

What does that mean? Get on with it? Why do we have to accept it? It's this apathy that frustrates me the most!

I believe the editors on here when they've said Kenwright has turned down investment. Therefore, he is guilty of mismanagement and I would say it's the present regime's fault. We may have to accept our status outside the top 4 but look at West Ham and Wigan who have both appeared in cup finals recently. I hold Moyes accountable for our record in the cups (and so should everyone else). If we do accept this present regime then it will only be to the detriment of our club so don't accept it and get on with asking for Kenwright and Moyes to leave.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (14/1/07)

...and so be it !

Ok I've resisited getting involved in "this" particular argument so far but I can't keep me trap shut any more.

Firstly, I'm of an age (49) to have been lucky enough to have enjoyed the very best of times in the mid-80s when me and a hand full of mates went alomst everywhere... and seemd to be at Wembley every other month. Great times indeed. Are they likely to ever happen again? Not in my lifetime.

It's the year 2007 and football will never be the same as it once was. We have to accept that beyond another Russian mafia millionaire with time on his hands and nothing to do with all the cash, or an Arab Sheik with a penchant for Red shite, then the Premiership is at best a four horse race or perhaps realistically three. Unfortunately, Everton was managed financially by dinosaurs (and look what happened to them) for a long long time.

It's only now that someone has come in and, love him or loath him, made people realise the business side of things is not just as important but (sadly) more important than eleven players in Royal Blue. They say money makes the world go around. It does... and we don't have lots of it. Not the present regime's fault I'd say. Stems from a good number of years of neglect? Mismanangement? Lack of vision? Whatever... Bottom line? The clubs with the most money will win everything. Accept it get on with it.
Brian Williams, Wirral  (14/1/07)

Jose for Everton?

Jose Mourinho for Everton? Surely a joke eh! maybe not methinks.. I know he likes to play games with the press re his tenure at Chelsea but consider this: He's won what he can with Chelsea (if he doesn't win Champions League this season he never will with CFC), he won it with no dosh at Porto then left to join Chelsea and make his money...

He likes a challenge and he likes us ? consider his comments about our support away at chelsea and the atmosphere at Goodison. He knows we are a giant of a club awaiting the right sort of manager (and ok, a few bob so he can enlist a few decent players) which I say again he did not need at Porto!

So all you who say who'd we get to replace the gingerbread man, I say Jose! ... Now only if we had a Board who had a bit of ruthlesness and savvy to start talks with him, get rid of ginger to Scotland now, start proper talks with moneymen and we may just get the manager we deserve!
Tommy Green, Southport  (14/1/07)

American take over Scouse pie franchise?

Re Matt Garen's letter about Planet Hollywood. I took my brother and sister-in-law to our local Planet Hollywood when they were over from the UK. It was supposed to be our last meal out before they returned to the UK. We waited 30 mins for our drinks and no food appeared on our table. My sister-in-law did her nut and laid into them and we eventually walked out, still hungry and ended up having burgers at a cheap Mexican place downtown.

They never sent us the complimantary meal tickets they promised... not that I would have gone back there again (especially after what my sister-in-law said to them). Given this excellent standard of service, I'm wondering if Mr Impresario is planning on offering them the food franchise at Goodison.

Be on the lookout at Goodison this Sunday, for a man disguised as a rampaging nutter, wearing a stars and stripes bandana around his head and carrying a rocket launcher, trying to buy a Chang and a scouse pie at half time, without drawing attention to himself. You have been warned!!!
Tony Swain, Auckland. New Zealand  (14/1/07)

Does not matter who we sign because...

Remember Brian McBride? He did pretty well in his six month spell at Everton, and was disappointed when the club choose not to take up his transfer. As I watched him bang goals in on MotD I wondered ? would he have the same effect at Everton now?

Obviously not,I presume, because of the dire and negative football we play. Fulham play to McBride strengths ? early balls into the box, him feeding off a target man and the midfield opening gaps for him to exploit. Surely if Fulham can achieve his with average strikers, why are Johnson, Beattie and McFadden struggling for goals?

Because Moyes prefers not to lose games as opposed to going out to win games, and I feel Moyes's management style has contributed to the decline of Beattie also. I can't get out of my head what Rooney said about Moyes ? that he wants to dominate at all times and at all costs! I don't mind that if that brings success, but surely it is bad management not to play to your forwards' strengths, particularly when he spent £15M for the pair of them. It shows tactical rigidness to always play negative, economical football.

We have missed Cahill recently, but not for his skill or passing! We miss him only for his goals and support to AJ up front. It is ironic that Moyes's most attacking formation is 4-5-1, with Cahill in behind AJ. Reflects a lot on Moyes's mentality football wise.

So cutting to the point, I don't think it matters who Everton sign under Moyes era, because until he changes his outlook on ambition (remember, his ambition is maintaining Premiership status), any creative player will struggle under Moyes mis-management and rigid tactics. And please don't refer to Arteta, we all can agree that he is wasted down the left wing!
Luq Yussef, London  (14/1/07)

Kids Fraud

Everton`s recently launched `kids go free` initiative is no more than a cynical attempt to halt the rapidly declining attendances at Goodison. The fact that to qualify the kids have to persuade their dads to cough up for a full price ticket (often for an obstructed view) nails the lie that the scheme is `an investment in the future of Everton`.

Like most other schemes cooked up by Wyness & Co, its main aim is to fill his own already bulging pockets!
Alan Shelley, Wavertree  (14/1/07)

Too many cooks...

Does this site suffer from too many old heads who remember the glory days of Everton? Back when one year you could be fighting relegation and the next you could be fighting for the title?

The English game has moved on, it's barely English anymore. Spurs and Newcastle have thrown millions at this league of ours and they haven't been able to break that top four. Do people expect us to do it with just a few big money (comparatively) signings? All I hear on here is "We need this...", "We need that...". If it was as simple as all that, every year we'd have new contenders for the title... but we don't. I can't think of anyone else who could do any better than Moyes. The team IS progressing. The club IS progressing. If we're so shite and so in decline, why do loads of you keep saying that magic phrase: "All we need is this...".
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (14/2/07)

Cahill & Hibbert

In response to Jim Hourigan's piece: In Hibbert's case I agree wholeheatedly. He is a battler and teams need battlers at various times throughout the season; however, ultimately he does lack the quality required to be successful in this league. Others in a similar position recently include Nicky Hunt, Danny Mills and the comical Tomas Repka.

In respect of Cahill, anyone can see the boy is very talented. I would argue that he and Lescott are the only players in the current squad that would regularly play in any side in the league. His contribution to the side is enormous and, although we have had the odd decent result since his injury (Reading away, Newcastle home), overall without his threat the whole side adopt a different approach to games, in no small part due to the fact David Moyes is tactically inept. He will make a huge difference in the next half-dozen games purely because of the way the opposition have to defend against him rather than our other midfielders.
Matt Garen, Newport  (13/1/07)

Yes, no, maybe

Is David Moyes a good manager? Yes, er... well, maybe not. Have his transfers been a success? No, but at the same time possibly. Are we improved as a club under his leadership? Definately, but probably just about. Truth is Moyes is good one minute, terrible the next, capable of near mircles and equally mystifying moments of madness. My opinion is that a top 8 finish is a must for most Evertonians, if they are to continue supprting this enigma. Do I personally think Moyes has taken us as far as he can? Yes... No... well, maybe...
Marie Laws, Wales  (13/1/07)

Signings

Unfortunately I feel we as a club, simply do not have the money to sign Sean W Philips for £9M million. I agree that width and pace from a wide position is crucial for us to take the next step under David Moyes; however, Rommedahl of Charlton would be a more likely possibility. That statement in itself shows just how far Everton have slipped over the past 18 years.

Laueren I feel would be a useful addition to the squad and somebody who could certainly fill in at right back or right midfield, helping Hibbert along in the process, certainly as an attacking force. As for Joey Barton, I too see that we need bite in midfield, but again I feel Everton's financial constraints have scuppered this move.

Regarding the players that we have, true: the squad is improved on 5 years ago, but still full of overpaid wasters in the shape of Wright, Beattie, Pistone and Van der Meyde. With more money at our disposal, I feel we would also see the departures of Weir and Carlsey, more due to their age than anything else, as well as Naysmith, Davies, McFadden ? and Howard ? for someone more adept at dealing with long shots.

Apart from that half of the squad and the inconsistency of the rest of the team then everything's fine.
Barry Richardson, Wales  (12/1/07)

Apologists?

Michael, I must take issue with your use of the word 'apologist' to characterise anyone who is prepared either to back David Moyes, plead mitigation on his behalf, and/or question the level of expectation exhibited by his detractors. While you are entitled to disagree with folk I think it is wholly improper of you to use your position to label everyone in such fashion.

I take exception at the blanket use of such a pejorative term for those who disagree with you; but then again, when you allow others to use such offensive terms as "bug-eyed" etc. when referring to an individual who appears to be diligent and just doing his job, then perhaps I shouldn?t be surprised.

I often wonder at people who are prepared to chuck such offensive terms around. I bet they?d soon complain if someone marched into their place of work and called them ?fatty? or ?liar?. It?s easy to be brave and ?gobby? when you don?t have to look the victim in the eye. I wonder if the person who referred to David Moyes as ?the bug eyed one? would display such arrogance if he was stood in the same phone box as him? I seriously doubt it!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (13/1/07)

Boring

In all the years I have supported Everton (I'm 38), I've never been as pissed off as I am now. Even when we spent every other year fighting relegation, going to the match was still the highlight of the week. What's happened?

It's Moyes, every time I see his grid, it depresses me ? the bugger never smiles. What annoys me the most is his failure to bring in a dominant ball-winning midfielder, one who can put his foot on the ball and control a game. I know its not easy, but he's had five years! Surely there must be someone out there who can do a job for us? Over to you, Davey.
John Anderson, Walton  (13/01/07)

Sorry, John, but they are just too spendy right now. Our frugal Scot will not be shelling out any of Bill's shekels for such luxuries at this time, or any time soon. And we do have "three new signings" anyway ? plus our new Brazilian midfielder...

And in any case, your expectations are way too high (or so we "moaners" are repeatedly told by the cadre of Moyes apologists). Just sit tight, hope we can survive this season, and then maybe next season we can look for another top-half finish to maitain our 'progress'. — Michael

We're Rocky...

Regarding Sly Stallone coming to Goodison, I think we've got enough play-actors at the club already!! Let's get safe and hope for better things next season: a mid-table position is about all were worth!
Tony Graham, Mansfield  (13/01/07)

Big Dunc

After watching Everton on Sunday as well as a few other games this season, I think I've found a perfect job for Big Dunc: Motivational Coach! Which player would fancy facing Big Dunc in the changing room knowing they haven't put a full shift in? Problem sorted!

Carry on the good work, Mr Marsh. I find myself agreeing with more and more of what you say (something which I never did originally). And finally, does anyone know what medication Mr Dodd is on ? some of his postings are surely a joke???
Terry Downes, Stoke  (13/1/07)

Just a wonder

What ever has happened to Player of the Month? Have things got that bad that no one was eligible for a while?

Oh and can we please bring Dutch back on an exchange for Richard Dodd, please.. That last one is just... well, is it a joke?
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (13/1/07)

We have had a number of database/ISP problems that Lyndon has spent an awful lot of time sorting out. I suspect this has prevented him from setting up the PotM page for December. Maybe this can be a reminder...

How to achieve success

My complaint with the present Everton set-up is the lack of fire power. Yes, we have, AJ but apart from him, where are a goodly supply of goals to come from? Take Manchester Utd, look at the strikers they have available: Ronaldo, Saha, Rooney, Scholes, Solskjaer, Giggs. All likely to come up with 10+ goals a season.

Everton? AJ (say 12 goals); Beattie, at present 2 goals both pens!; Cahill, say 10; all other candidates probably around 5 at best. Sure, we have the two youngsters Anichebe and Vaughan but they need another two years' experience, minimum, in my opinion. Lack of strike power is a dead weight on this Everton side and has been now for far too many years.

To supplement a good strike force, it is essential to have a strong tackling forceful midfield player, like Scholes, who can score the odd goal. Joey Barton springs to mind. Removes the weakness from our midfield. I have admired Carsley who has worked tirelessly in the cause... BUT he is no way near the player we want.

So! We want a Joey Barton and a couple of strikers who can weigh in with at least 10 goals a season.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (13/1/07)

John Rambo

I had a dream last night that Sly was actually visiting Goodison in the guise of John Rambo, rather than Rocky Balboa.

After storming the ground via the family enclosure in a tank, Rambo took out the shitty food vendors with a bazooka he made from a rolled up program and some string. He then climbed up to the roof of the top balcony and removed all the pillars blocking the views of thousands of innocent Evertonians.

With the fuzz now hot on his tail, he robbed a berghaus from a scally and parachuted into the Director's Box, forcing the evil Bill Kenwright to give up his trainset and allow the club to be taken over by someone who actually has a clue what he is doing.

He then made James Beattie kill himself by threating to make him earn his wages. In true Hollywood style, he saved a last-minute penalty and Everton went on to win the World Cup.

The End.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (13/1/07)

A Big Welcome for Rocky,please!

Whilst there has been a lot of `Sly` comments about Silvester Stallone`s visit to Goodison tomorrow, the fact that the Hollywood star should want to come to see our team is, I think, indicative of the increasingly global appeal Chairman Bill is bringinging to the Club.

`Brand Awareness` may be a dirty phrase to many `olds` but in today`s football market it`s everything. Who knows, we may even be able to stage Rocky`s first fight in the UK at Goodison Park! Let`s give the super star a rousing reception tomorrow.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (13/1/07)

"Indicative of the increasingly global appeal Chairman Bill is bringing to the Club"!!! Mr Dodd, I doff my cap; you've outdone yourself with that pearl of wisdom, Sir! Is it any wonder, with such charm, that he somehow manages to fend off all incoming investment, from all four corners of the globe. Stage Rocky's first fight in Goodison? For what? The last of the outsourced and cold sausage rolls? I'd rather give a rousing reception to the first player Everton sign this soon-to-be-closed transfer window! - Colm

Phase Two

The "What next?" article made me think about my expectations for Everton. Now, given that I'm only 22 and have witnessed pretty much an endless stream of rubbish as a fan, my expectations may well be lower than most.

So, for me, being comfortably in the top half is absolutely brilliant. When I was little, I used to pretend to be Tony Cottee and then Nick Barmby. Now I have a choice of AJ, Cahill, Arteta, VdM... Our defensive players aren't bad either!

So, Phase Two for me is to keep doing what we're doing. I like David Moyes. I like the fact that he doesn't sign crap for no reason (which is importantly different from signing crap for a reason) and I think he'll go on to be one of the best managers in the league.

Things I want to see:

  1. Keep VdM. I just think he's too good a prospect to give up. Even if he never gets to where he should be, he's still worth a squad place.
  2. Sell Beattie and get someone who actually has some mental strength. Preferably not Kevin Davies or anyone of that mould. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many solutions to this problem right now.
  3. Buy Lauren! No disrespect to Hibbert, I just don't think he's ever going to be good enough to play in a top team, and that's what we're aiming for right?
  4. Sign a foreigner that no one's heard of that's amazing. Please. Just once.
  5. Most importantly, get all our best players to stay. That way we'll keep finishing in the top 5-8, which is fine by me. Isn't it nice that we can actually give the best teams a decent game?
Basically, if I fancy us to beat most of the teams in the league that I classify as 'rubbish', then I think we're doing pretty well.

In response to the lack of flowing football we've seen recently, I think we really miss Cahill. As much as people criticise it, I think his link-up play is actually very good. He's always making options for people and he brings the best out of the rest of the midfield because of his energy.

I also think Moyesy is possibly a bit too pessimistic about the standard of his squad players; he always seems to play tactics that involve no good football when we have an understrength team. Obviously we'll be understrength again on Sunday without Arteta, but after that... just maybe.
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (12/1/07)

And if you know your history

I'm kinda sick of people slagging Moyes off, shocked to hear some sack talk, and absolutley amazed at disappointed Evertonians. So here is my article:

Signings

I used to be a very naive Evertonian; used to be. I used to be aggrivated when, of all these stories coming out of the rumour mill, only 5% of which come true. Then I used my common sense. Moyes has completly re-structured the Everton way of playing, and, the line-up. And we expect that Europe or tenth and above now? David Moyes has built a solid midfield, and broken the club transfer record TWICE! Granted, one was on a football player that needs a bra but when he has money available he spends it. He's also signed Mikel Arteta and Timmy Cahill. And their EFC credentials speak for themselves. Sure, he has signed some flops, but at least he's made an effort.

Positioning in the league

This speaks for itself: 8th ? for a club of our calibar, thats quality. A couple of mid-table finishes, and one scrape from relegation. Not too bad at all. So, to be honest, i think, in general, apart from the relegation scrape, which we were all sick and tired of quite frankly, this cannot be argued against. So maybe, just maybe, David Moyes is one of the best managerial finds (befor Mourinho).

So always remeber NIL STATIS NISI OPTIMUM and give the Moyseiah some slack, for once.
Shaun Turner, Biddulph, Staffordshire  (13/1/07)

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Following what I believed to be the exciting investment made by Mr. Earl, I looked further into the "Planet Hollywood" brand and was a little surprised to read that the company has been in bankruptcy TWICE since it was launched in 1991, and more than 70 restaurants have closed in that time.

Being a cynic at heart, I now wonder what motive Mr Earl has in investing in our club. The grotesque publicity stunt on Sunday with his mate Stallone (who incidentally is still a legal owner) sounds similar to when he appeared on the Aspel show with Arnie and Bruce Willis at the launch of the London restaurant - which Aspel later said he was ashamed about... not as much as I am now, Michael!
Matt Garen, Newport, S Wales  (12/1/07)

Additions

Moyesey needs to get his skates on to in order to stand ANY chance of squeezing into sixth place. We only need three signings no need to go mad. Get quality. Buy Barton. Buy S W Philips. Finally, buy Nugent.

The most important factor about buying SWP is that it changes dramatically how Everton would approach their game and how the opposition would see us. I have broached this subject with my mates who agree it would be a massive change of style should we get him. All three are quality and will put healthy pressure on other players ? plus Barton and Nugent are Evertonians. Finally offset the signings with cash for Beattie, Davies, Van der Meyde and Naysmith. ps: Allow Davie Weir to join Walter Smith as a thanks for services rendered; excellent signing.
Brian Foley, Cardiff  (12/1/07)

Larsson an Evertonian?

Could anyone provide a link or any Evidence to this?
Paul Tolen, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

Another villain?

I smiled at the letter from Dick in Oz who said Davey only has himself to blame for bringing down scorn on his head. It was he, after all, who so cruelly raised our expectations.

I remember back in the 80s when Everton were battling it out with Man Utd and Spurs for our first title win since the days of Harry Catterick. Peter Shreeves, the newly appointed boss of Spurs was doing a great job in his very first season as a manager (of any club). Spurs ended up 3rd ? their highest finish since 70/71 and great things were expected of him the season after. He failed to deliver and was sacked soon after. Serve him right I say!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (12/1/07)

Will Hanrahan

Has everybody read the article on the website titled, 'What Next?' by Will Hanrahan? I think it's a great piece of writting that accuratly reflects the situation Everton are in. It's pretty much a supporting statement of my critisised 'realism' post.

It's clear to a lot of people that we are not too far away. I think some people enjoy moaning, perhaps that's why they want Moyes out.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

People don't enjoy moaning: they enjoy watching decent football ? something Moyes struggles to even comprehend, let alone have his teams play. That's why some people want him out ? not because they "enjoy moaning". If you're going to talk 'realism' why don't you address this rather pressing issue, instead of sniping at supporters for their very valid concerns? ? Michael

re: It's Just a Phase - But whats next?

The reader who wrote the article that is the title of this comment article has hit on some important points.

It is refreshing to see that people do appreciate the steps that have been taken and acknowledge the people who have made it happen. Furthermore, it's also good to see an understanding of the stages we as Everton Football Club need to progress through, rather than blindly expecting each year to be better than the last. The one thing I would like to say is that, at the end of this season, whether we challenged the top 6 or not, it will have been successful.

That's a bold statement in light of the number of games left. But here's why I'm confident in saying it. Even if we finished in the bottom half, I feel we have learnt and developed well this year. We have shored up the defence and brought in Lescott who is going to be an exceptional player for us in the future. Yobo has learnt and seems comfortable playing with Lescott showing promise for a long defensive partnership.

We have found a 'keeper who seems to work well with our defence and have some good players in midfield and some great young strikers coming through the ranks. Most importantly however, is the fact that we have identified three or four positions where we are lacking. How great is it to say we are missing three players of quality? In Smith's time, we had only two or three players of quality in the squad. Now we only need three or so to make our starting 11 perfect. That is progress in my view as we have to work on budgets and gambles. Some work; some don't... we are now close to creating a complete team and then can work on the fringe.

Above all, I see this as progress and I don't expect to have a Central Midfield General in the squad this January. Neville, I believe, was bought as a stop gap 'til we found that exceptional player we need (not to mention his flexibility).

In the summer I fully expect Moyes to have three or four targets identified for this role we desperately need, along with some wide players. If VdM can sort himself out, even that won't be necessary. As stated in this well written article however, the quesiton is, where are you gonna find this player? For that reason, I am going to be patient with David Moyes, for he has a tough task of filling one of our last problematic positions and one I feel is the most critical in a team.
Gary Keey, London  (12/1/07)

Any season in which we are not relegated is a successful one. Anything else is just a bonus, right?

Intersting too that your focus is on the players either here already or coming in, which starts to look a little sad considering we are almost half-way through the current transfer window with no movements to report.

But you need to look beyond this to factor in what are the real issues that conccern some of us on a weekly basis: the way they are playing, and they way they are being coached. A number of people have commented that we are regressing in these key areas and that effect is going a long way to negate the benefits of building a good roster of names.

What's the point of building a good team if their ability to play good joined-up football is being coached out of them? — Michael

Brilliant, Tony

Just brilliant - I agree entirely with you.
Peete Stewart, London  (12/1/07)

I know it's negative, and unappreciative of the club's wonderful PR efforts to raise our profile and associate 'the Brand' with contemporay pop culture ? but I have to agree with you! What fraction of the The David France Collection price does his appearance fee represent, I wonder??? ? Michael

In response to Dick Fearon

Nobody is denying that Moyes has done a great job. We're all aware that he has brought us from being relegation candidates to nearly reaching the Champions League group stages and most of us are greatful for that.

But... when we were in the qualifying rounds for the Champs League, did Moyes buy the players that would enable us to reach the group stage and become a regular participant in this great competition? No; he bought Simon Davies and Per Krøldrup ? end of that dream.

Moyes now has at his disposal the best squad of players to pull on the Everton shirt for many a year. Most of whom are capable of playing attacking football. Does he encourgae that? No, he insists on playing a strategy built on getting men behind the ball and defending our no-goal lead.

Does he encourage the midfield to get forward in support of Andy Johnson, the finest forward we've had since Gary Lineker? Nope, he cost over £8M: he can clearly score goals all on his own.

I could go on but I won't. The point you seem to miss is that we are all aware and grateful for what he has done but it would appear he's gone as far as he can. And we need to get someone in who can bring us further befor Johnson, Yobo, Lescott, Cahill, Osman and Arteta decide their talents are being wasted and go elsewhere ? where they can win the silverware players of their calibre deserve.
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (12/1/07)

I am so glad you responded to that weird piece from Dickie, and with all the right points, Declan. Well in. — Michael

Its the future that counts

Am I the only person who finds this whole subject of the Everton memoribilia collection utterly boring? Personally, I am not interested in a load of dusty old relics. I've seen enough of them on the pitch at Goodison these last few years, normally at the centre of Everton's defence.

For fans like me, brought up on utter rubbish, all we care about is success on the pitch and nothing else. Perhaps it is symptomatic of a generation that has such a poor appreciation of history, but old programmes, contracts and shirts say nothing to me whatsoever.

If Evertonians want to channel their energies into something positive then let's start mobilising some kind of movement to get rid of that smug old luvvie gripping our club in his vice-like mits. Other clubs' fans put Evertonians to shame with their proactive approach to these things. A city like ours, with its proud Socialist and trade union history should lead the way when it comes to challenging institutions like Everton Football Club and despots like Kenwright. Yet we all sit just sit there and allow ourselves to be taken advantage of.

It's the here and now that counts, not ancient artefacts which will only collect dust in some Public Records Office.
Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

There's something in the greater human psyche about learning lessons from history. One that I though might have resonated for you was the connection between Liverpool's proud Socialist and trade union history, and its relationship to the City's wellbeing through all the social and industrial upheavals of the past 20 or 30 years...

But I don't want to stray too far off the point. If you have no interest in all that 'tat', fair enough. I doubt if anything or anyone could change your mind. It's one of things you either feel strongly about or have no interest in. The value of all that 'tat' is astouding, though: £1.2M. Enough to buy a half-decent young prospect. Or a mere fraction of the money wasted on, say, Alex Nyarko.

Given that the Club trumpets our history with increasing fervour (just look at this season's programmes), they really should have ponied up for the whole thing, which was offered to them at a very substantial discount. Going around cap in hand to the fans after creating yet another NPO to facilite plenty of dubious and unnecessary expenditures, with the inevitable 'administration' costs is highly questionable in my view. — Michael

Rocky Roads Ahead

So, after Sylvester Stallone has made his appearance on Sunday, what then? More Hollywood A-listers making the pilgrimage to Goodison Park to see the place where it all began for Sly? What would Tom Cruise think of the catering? Would Cameron Diaz find any bog roll in the Ladies toilet? Is the Chang cold enough for Bruce Willis? Let's face it, keeping major Hollywood superstars happy while they enjoy the Soccer is a real concern for most clubs these days isn't it?

Why worry that we haven't got a midfield enforcer ? we've got the real deal: we have got RAMBO! No one will fuck with us now. Who needs Barton, Nolan or Sidwell when John Rambo's in town? God help Steven Gerrard and co in the Derby; this fella takes out whole countries on his own. While we are at it instead of worrying about our goalkeeper problems let's fly Superman in. Fuck all will get past him when hes between the sticks.

In all seriousness, these Shennanigans are a fucking JOKE. Sly Stallone or his Burger joint buddy aint going to give us Jack Shit, man, so why are they here? I haven't got anything against Sly but these kind of capers are great when the team is doing the bizo on the pitch and the squad is in good order. But us fans aren't in a party time mood at the moment.

David "Norman Wisdom" Moyes and Bill "Mr Grimsdale" Kenwright must think we are as daft as themselves to fall for this old chestnut.

The team and the manager's job are going tits up. No new players are coming in this transfer window; "What can we do?" says Bill... "Let's fly in a movie legend and say he supports Everton, it never fails!" he thinks. I wonder if we will run out to the Rocky Theme instead of Z-Cars on Sunday. Now that would be a laugh.

See you in the queue for autographs, boys.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

Dixie remembered

In view of upcoming Dixie anniversary, I wondered if you'd be interested in a poem that was published in my book, Can We Have Our Ball Back Please?, that Macmillan put out last year:

Goodbye Dixie

He died in the stand at Goodison
Died watching a derby game
At the shrine where once ten thousand fans
Hymned the glory of his fame.

And could he have chosen a better place
Or moment in which to die
Than watching us play the old enemy
Under a mourning Everton sky.

Yes, even a great heart like Dixie's
Must one day cease to sing
But as with death so with football;
Timing is everything.
Regards
Gareth Owen, Ludlow  (12/1/07)

The finished article

After the Blackburn cup-tie, our season has all but finished. With a good start to the season we were all full of expectations and as usual Bill put his head above the parapet on radio, etc. Now that it's all gone sour we can no longer get a clear shot and Davey continues to defend his players but never defends his at times baffling tactics.

For me, it started at Middlesbrough: we were playing five across the middle and looking comfortable until Hibbert got injured but, instead of keeping the shape by dropping Neville back, he brought Beattie on. We lost the game and since then Everton have not changed or improved.

The team, even with Cahill, are still lightweight in midfield, we have three left-backs and one right-back, Johnson is suffering from the lack of quality service. Yet ? judging by the fact that there has been no activity in the transfer market ? this must be Bill and Dave's finished artice.
Phil Malone, Durham  (12/1/07)

Raising what bar?

Lad's I would just like to comment on the issue that Moyes has raised some sort of imaginary bar with regards to Everton's success. Granted he took us from a regular relegation team to an average mid-table side but is this success???

I think his football is dross and his teams are the least exciting I have ever watched but I am stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea: I am wary of sacking Moyes and bringing in a lesser manager that could not take our great club forward.

I was brought up in an era weher we won quite a lot ? through the 80s. And I just cannot get to grips with this mentality of "oh it's ok to lose in the cup to fuckin' Blackburn"! We are Everton Football Club ? and that my friends is why we are a mid-table side. We have allowed ourslves to be conned into thinking that mid-table IS success because of the failings of past managers and especially chairman. I think even Kenwright now believes Moyes is doing an excellent job because he too has succombed to this mid-table mentality.

I think every player that plays for Everton should be one of the best and that's why I am constantly never happy or frustrated as our new "regime" don't work like me!
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (12/1/07)

Fourth Place

Just been reading on the BBC and here that, if Platini wins presidency of FIFA (as expected), he's going to lobby for the English Premier League to have a reduction of it's 4-team quota in the Champion's League (sic) to 3 teams.

Put your money on Everton finishing 4th that year... on equal points with Liverpool.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (12/1/07)

Kenwright

Paul's quote from Disraeli on Kenwright certainly got me smiling. Bumped into the great man (Kenwright that is) at a service station on the M6 after the Newcastle game. Full of joy, supping a hot chocolate whilst some young man filled his motor with petrol. Cheerfully exuberant he was. And if anyone is interested, he used the M6 Toll. Let's hope that isn't coming out of the transfer budget.
Nick Smith, London  (12/1/07)

Its all his fault

I have come to the conclusion that most of the whinging on this site is a result of our raised expectations brought about by that ginger-haired bloke. He should have known we were resigned to being a hopeless basket case. He and BK are the reason we are at each others throat about the siting of a new stadium when with lick of paint and the old lady would have been suited to a club languishing mid-table in a lower division and in terminal decline.

The ambitious SOB had no right to drag us from dusty tomes where we wallowed in a distant yet glorious history. When he changed us from being perennial relegation candidates into a club aiming for a top 4 spot the pop-eyed bastard did not make a single apology.

Did he really have to fill our heads with that kind of high falutin' stuff? Why oh why could he not see we were reconciled to playing second fiddle to the reds?

Though he does not give a rats arse for our feelings on those things, he has made a rod for his own back and by golly we know how to use it.. Let us all rise up with one voice and demand a return to the days when we had no hope, no dreams, and nowhere to go except down.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (12/1/07)

Kenwright

Having recently attended the club's AGM, I would best describe Bill Kenwright in the words of Benjamin Disraelli when describing his great adversary William Gladstone. He is, and I quote "A sophistical rhetoric inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity. Gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments, to malign an opponent and to glorify himself".
Paul Charters, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

Cue the outbreak of wry smiles across the Evertonian divide! ? Colm

Show me the Way to the Last Whiskey Bar

............from my barstool, two of the more interestings issues that repeatedly crop up with Evertonians are the lack of investment in the club & its whimsical follow-on ? the wish for an impossibly wealthy benefactor who adores Everton, will rid us of Blue Bill, is steeped in the history of this grand auld club (to the point of naming his kids Dixie, Dunc & Bally ? awful names for little girls doncha think...) and who is willing to spend his hard-earned but honest spondulicks on a new stadium/training ground/team. Which only goes to show you the power of fairy-tales. Who'd have thought that so many Evertonians would have a Cinderella complex?>

Then again maybe I'm being harsh; after all, "fi-fie-foe honey, I think I smell TV money...". Yep, all those egghead Icelanders & dodgy Russians & Randy "no really it's just a common name in Cleveland, Ohio" Lerner don't deal in fairy tales. Maybe, like the mysterious Robert Earl, they are buying into clubs not because they see the potential of footballing magic beans sprouting to glorious heights but because they smell the pot of gold promised for next season. So maybe Evertonians are correct ? maybe our very own Prince Charming is just around the corner. But be careful what you wish for, there are prayers the Devil answers...

Surely no Evertonian would want to see our Blue Belle fall into the hands of some Beast who's only wish was the fortune the auld girl will (maybe) soon come into. Why, we only have to look at the sad tale of our neighbours across the park, Amorous of Anfield. All dolled out in her brightest red dress & reddest lipstick, she's all set to go to the Sky Ball with an impossibly wealthy Arab Sheik, little caring that he is a slave-trading robber baron who rates her only for her potential to bear him little nuggets of TV gold. That shiny new carriage is bound to turn into four rats and a wheelbarrow before it ends. All I can say is leave a trail of breadcrumbs and maybe she'll get back alive.

Nope, from this barstool, Prince Charmings are not a good idea. I say to hell with monarchy, up the Republic and how do we as Evertonians wrest control of the club from the Kenwrights & Earl's of this world and remake it as a genuine supporter-owed democratic institution, á la Barcelona or the Green Bay Packers??? Shouldn't this be what we're talking about rather than looking for a new Czar......??? Oh, and isn't it your round, mine's a Jameson.........
Paul Daly, Dublin & New York  (11/1/07)

Fans Trusts. Level of interst among Evertonians: Zilch.

Fair-weather fans

Jon Newby, I don't think you could describe anyone writing on this site as a "fair weather" fan. I know about such people because I used to live near Tottenham and whenever the local team did well everybody was wearing their hats and scarves and screaming in your face about how great Spurs were and how Everton sucked.

I specifically remember in April 1995 after a certain semi-final that these sames "fans" were all telling me I was a "boring twat who just talks about football and no one else gives a fuck about it." Those were "fair weather" fans.

There are three main types of fans on here: Optimists (Love Moyes/Kenwright) Pessimists (Want Moyes sacked) and Realists (think we may as well keep Moyes because anyone else would be just as crap). One thing they all have in common is that they are dedicated. If they weren't, they wouldn't be getting all wound up arguing their points on this excellent but fairly obscure web site.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (12/1/07)

Everton Treasures

Have tried all websites ? can we not buy this other than in UK?
Gerry Quinn, Houston, TX, USA  (11/1/07)

I believe in order to buy a book from a US outlet, said book needs to be published in the US, with all that entails. But I'm sure any of those websites will take your credit card number and mail it over to you, if you don't mind shelling out for the P&P and waiting a few days... ? Michael

Billy Liar Exposed Again!!!

Well, Blues ? were you aware that, before Randy purchased Aston Villa, he made enquires to purchase Everton Football Club? Our Bill "24/7" Kenwright refused the approach: the club is not for sale.

Everton will tell you that they had no formal offer and, due to "Commercial Sensitivity", they are not at able to disclose anything about Randy's approach.

Blue Bill needs to go... shall we start on Sunday!!!
Peter Moon, Liverpool  (12/1/07)

What have we come down to?

Whilst recognising that`s it`s often hard to see where people of a different view to one`s own are coming from, I do find it hard to believe there are so many Evertonians satisfied with what has been `achieved` in recent years. It`s as though the mind-numbing mediocrity of the Moyes regime is an end in itself.

  • That avoiding relegation battles is success.
  • That it`s okay for the club to clock up so many unwanted records.
  • That blowing huge sums on crap signings/re-signings is perfectly acceptable.
  • That we recognise immediate knock-out from any kind of Cup competition as a given.
  • That we welcome Rocky Balboa visiting Goodison as the main headline of the week....
Fuck me, what have we come down to? William Ralph Dean must be spinning in his grave!
George Minton, Walton  (11/1/07)

Lonely Life

It's a lonely life being an Everton fan over the other side of the world. Yesterday, by some miracle of fate, whilst browsing the DVD collection of a large local store, a blue cover caught my eye and the word Everton. Bugger me, it was a season review of 2005-06, a period of time I had spent in the UK myself. It's not often you'll find blue stuff over here. It was interesting to see the season encapsulated in a couple of hours.

What did I notice? Well, Beattie scored a few goals, but he also missed some real sitters. We rarely took shots at goal from distance, exception being McFadden, who scored a couple of crackers. The defence often went AWOL. We lost quite a few games 1-0 and received a few 4-0 batterings (did they hurt, or what??). Ossie appeared to be the only player prepared to run at defences and have a blast. Arteta shone as a quality player who can deliver many a troublesome ball into the box.

Whats changed? Well, Mr Dunc has gone, Lescott and Johnson have arrived, but other then that, not much has changed. What does really strike home though about our football, is the level of inconsistancy we display. So, last season, we beat Arsenal 1-0, lose to West Brom 4-0, draw with Man Utd 1-1 away, lose to Portsmouth at home. Same this season: Get a hard fought draw at the Arse, get thrashed by Blackburn at home 1-4.

I don't know about arguments over grounds, directors, money etc but I love football with a vengeance, having played it for 25 years, and have supported the blues for 40 years. I don't live in the past, even though I was brought up on Ball, Kendall, Harvey, Royle, Wilson,. etc. I like the modern game, as it is played, although not so much the influence of big money. I believe that if David Moyes is as passionate about football as he leads us to believe, then he would motivate the players with every nerve cell in his body, to go out and play to win every game.

It would seem that, other than the fantastic four, the rest of us succeed depending on our motivation, work rate, tactics and flair. I was blessed to watch Everton beat Spurs at White Hart Lane this season, 0-2. They showed all these qualities, even when down to 10 men. What really mystifies me is why they cannot be consistent and do this on a regular basis. Answers on a postcard please to... Bloody Confused, Auckland New Zealand.

ps: Love reading your letters. Don't slag one another off, we all love Everton.
Tony Swain, Auckland, New Zealand  (11/1/07)

Lonely? If you don't know Derek Thomas, also of your parish, I can help you two get in touch... — Yente

We're 8th not 18th!

I have to admit, it's getting harder and harder to log on for my daily fix of ToffeeWeb. I of course agree that everyone has the right to have their say, but on TW unfortunately, the doommongers have become almost unbearable. 'Stop coming here', I hear you say, and that moment is getting close, but I have enjoyed TW's coverage for years and it would be difficult to get by without my daily fix!

Anyway, it seems to me that the extra information provided by the internet has resulted in a speeding up of the over-reaction to good and bad results. Just as the win over the Toon was greeted over-exuberantly, so too were the defeats to City & Blackburn (sickening though they were). I'm pretty sure David Moyes felt that defeat as keenly as any as I do not doubt his commitment to the club even if he has failings.

If you look at the overall performances from what I've gleaned on live matches on TV, listening to every match and seeing two games this season, (Liverpool and Chelsea at home) the performances overall have not been bad, the odd very poor result aside (which happens to every team, even the two leaders).

If you look at the home games against Wigan, City, Chelsea and Boro, and the away games at Fulham and Charlton (another Joey faux pas) there were plenty of points there that could quite easily have gone our way with a little luck and some better refereeing (penalty shouts in particular). Now I know his detractors will blame Moyes for the late City equaliser, but surely he can't be blamed for the boot incident at Charlton???

What I'm trying to say is that, though there is a gap to 5th & 6th, we could quite easily and deservedly be in that ballpark.

As it is, the pleasure I've got out of results like the 3-0 at home to our nearest neighbours, the 2-0 at Spurs (with great football being played) and other great results over the last 5 years are way beyond anything achieved in the 10 years of dross (Joe Royle years excepted) served up before.

I think therefore Davie Moyes still deserves the benefit of the doubt. We can doubt his decision-making at times, but he should be given the full season before the verdict is pronounced.

In my view, David Moyes still has what it takes to maintain Everton's progress over the last few years. It has been madly frustrating at times as the team catapulted between 4th and 17th. In a way, Moyes has been the victim of his early progress, which is hard to maintain with the resources he has had and the squad he inherited.

Also, please lay off the personal insults in relation to the manager, he is a man doing his best under increasing pressure. It bears repeating that he can't be faulted for his commitment, so at least show him the respect he deserves for his effort.

Come on Mr Moyes, get the attacking football back, have a go the way you did when you first came to the football club and prove all the doommongers wrong!
Conor Feeney, Dublin, Ireland  (11/1/07)

Coppell? ? I don't think so

Well said, Kieran from the US. Steve Coppell is a Red, a fact he told the world getting on for 30 years ago in his Shoot! Magazine column! He's great working under no pressure for somebody with no real expectations. A bit reminiscent of Mike Walker at Norwich perhaps? He may not shock a group of journalists by parading around the Hotel pool in a posing pouch on a pre-season tour like the Silver Fox did, but he'd probably enjoy a similarly unproductive time.

Of course there are a few other out-of-work Managers with Merseyside connections of the wrong sort floating about. How about one of Keegan, Dalglish or Souness? They'd do a lot worse than Moyes.

We have to sit tight, give the Club, Manager and players our full backing until the Summer while we attempt to push into the Top 6. The time to judge and maybe replace Manager or players is the Summer, not now. Charlton and West Ham aren't doing much better after their knee-jerk changes are they?

Decide in May, when one certain Portuguese Manager will quite likely be on his way from West London! The fickle nature of football is perfectly illustrated in that farce playing out just now. Two titles and still they doubt him after a few draws! He he has said how he loves the passionate nature of us Evertonians on more than one occasion, so you can always dream! He'd have to give AJ a big hug though! He's the sort of Manager that could take us further than David Moyes has with relatively few resources (like he did at Porto) but Steve Coppell? Oh, please!
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (11/1/07)

Moyes ? tactics and substitutions

What does Moyes need to improve his tactics and substitutions?

a) Outstanding individuals - Ray pointed out that in Moyes?s first full season when we finished 7th, we were reasonably entertaining, coming from 1-0 down SEVEN times to win 2-1. This was almost entirely down to Rooney coming off the bench and turning the game around. Can Kissock do this next year? I hope so but having watched Macclesfield youth push him off the ball in the Youth Cup, I think it will take time (like with Osman).

b) A specialist coach for the attack ? to get them anticipating flick-ons, attacking the near post, getting to the bi-line or give them some training ground moves / free-kicks / attacking ideas!

Gordon Beattie, Cheshire  (11/1/07)

Great suggestions, Gordon!

Arsene Wenger's wheeler dealings

Marshy says:

"Please take a look at what Arsene Wenger has achieved at Arsenal since he arrived in this country. He has a permanent conveyor belt of talent pouring in to the club from all over the world that costs hardly anything but he always seems to make massive profits when he sells a player [Reyes apart]."

How did he do with Jug ears? Even this football genius has had the odd howler it would seem!
Tom Hughes, North Sea  (11/1/07)

Fair weather Evertonions

To all the Everton fans out there, I'm getting sick and tired of all the bitching about Kenwright and Moyes. Shut up and start getting behind the team. It?s a fact that between 1980 (Kendall?s first season) and last season (2005-06) David Moyes has got the 3rd best win ratio (39%), obviously Kendall?s first stint as manager he got 49% and Harvey got 40%, so he can?t be that bad.

I truly believe that Kenwright and Moyes will bring us some success, maybe not the success that we once had but maybe a few cups. To be honest I?d rather have a True Blue in charge in Kenwright than the Red Agent Johnson any day.

I?ve read in the mailbag that some of you are moaning about not buying anyone in the January transfer window; I bet those same people weren?t moaning when we bought three players before the World Cup, where was the bitching then! The fact is that Moyes has brought some shit but on the other hand he has bought in some top quality signings (Cahill, Johnson, Howard, Neville and my Player of the Season: Lescott). So let's stop the moaning and bitching and try and lift the team to hopefully get a place in Europe.
Jon Newby, Pensnett  (11/1/07)

So, you don't like the bitching and moaning... what do you do? Tell people to shut up while you do your own bitching and moaning ? at them!

How you can honestly believe Moyes will oversee cup win is laughable. Are you not aware that he has failed in his last TWELVE attempts? Whereas, the last time an Everton Manager did win a cup, the Chairman was none other than Agent Johnson.

This mailbag is here to allow a wide variety of views to be aired ? not just those you happen to agree with or support. Kindly don't be instructing our contributors regarding what they can and can't do. It's really unlikely any of the players read this website anyway, so the place to 'support' the team in any meaningful way is at the ground, during the game, when they are hopefully receptive to it and they will hopefully respond. Meanwhile, we'll continue to talk about any and all things related to Everton FC. ? Michael

Spill The Beans

I was very interested to read a recent post by Michael K which read;

"Say a group of wealthy Evertonians was to get together, go to him (BK) with a substantial investment plan that really would move the club forward, but that he would have to step aside... in the best interests of the club. Kenwright says "No", putting the lie to this "24/7" investment search bollocks. We have it on very good authority that THIS HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!"

For me this is quite a serious accusation to make of Bill Kenwright, can you elaborate further on your source for this comment and provide further details as to the nature of the offer? I have always found the tone of much of the ToffeeWeb content overly negative towards the current administration, the comment quoted above goes some way towards explaining your not so thinly veiled contempt.

My second point regards Moyes and the football we are enduring currently. As I sit every week biting my fingernails to the bone in the Park End, my patience wears ever thinner. Everton have become all too predictible, a couple of passes along the back until one of the full backs humps it up to whoever happens to be in that 10m sq. area of the pitch (even if it's a 5'6" striker) with everyone else feeding off the scraps. The one genuine footballer we have is Arteta who the bruisers of Blackburn neutralised easily with a few well-timed fouls.

I don't think we are far away in terms of personnel from having a quality side. I would like to see a winger (or 2) who knows his way to the byline and some midfield steel and guile brought in, I am just not sure whether Moyes is the man to get the best out of this side. What is abundantly clear to me though is that I see no genuine contenders able to take the club to the next level.

Maybe ToffeeWeb contributors can offer up some suggestions, not that BK will be taking any notice or even reading. If he was Michael, I would be expecting a call from his lawyers.
Chris Jones, Manchester  (11/01/07)

Well, as I understand it, the parties involved do not want to be named ? something to do with "commercial sensitivity" ? so there's not much more that can be told, I'm afraid... one of things we have to take on trust, I suppose. A bit like Bill Kenwright telling the shareholders there was imminent investment coming in from the Fortress Sports Fund. — Michael

There is no way out - Dylan Thomson

"What exactly have these clubs achieved?" Where do we begin?

Everton have entered into an exclusivity agreement with Tesco regarding the possibility of a new ground, after the debacle that was King's Dock. If all goes well, and the club relocates to Kirkby, we may have a new ground in perhaps three years.

Bolton, Reading and Wigan, with substantially smaller attendances than Everton, already play in modern stadia, with up to date facilities. I went to see Everton play at Spurs in 1985 on the way to our first championship for 15 years. It was very similar then to Goodison today, but now it is a modern stadium, with first class conference and dining facilities ? a stadium to be proud of, quite frankly ? unlike the crumbling monument to fading past glories that is Goodison.

If I remember correctly, Spurs are in Europe this season, and might have been last year but for some claimed food poisoning in the last game of the previous season. Bolton are in a European place this season as I write, eight points ahead of the Blues. I saw Reading in the old Fourth Division some 20 years ago. Although new kids on the block in the Premier League, now they are one point behind Everton in the Premiership, playing attacking football. Wigan are only in their second season in the Premiership, having finished above Everton last season in their first.

If I was a supporter of any of these teams, I would have had a lot of highs in the past few years as my team gained promotions, or played in Europe, or whatever, and all watched from my seat in my team's magnificent modern stadium. How many Everton supporters can feel the same?

One qualification for the qualifying stages of the Champions League, and preserving top flight staus ? by the skin of our teeth in some years ? is the sum total of Everton's achievements in the last eleven years. Goodness me, even the likes of Middlesbrough have won a trophy in that period. Newcastle, the perennial under achievers, have come closer to winning the Premier League than Everton have.

It is not about history per se. Past glories do not entitle any of us to future ones ? they have to be earned, and I understand that. But my expectations have always been that this club will try to play good football. And as a general rule, the better the football, the more likely the team is to succeed ? Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool didn't get where they are today by playing rubbish.

If my team played good football, it might, just might, be more successful. We will never know, but what we do know is that at least it would be more fun to watch and support.
David Bowes, Amersham  (11/1/07)

Response to David Bowes

Just a quick counter-response to David Bowes's article.

I don't really disagree with anything that David Bowes says ? I do understand Everton's past history and I definitely understand and appreciate the desire of Everton fans to reclaim our rightful place as one of England's top clubs. I want that too, more than anything.

However, I take exception to Bowes's contention that "I simply fail to understand how the Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspurs, Wigans, and Readings of this world can achieve so much, given their relative status and finances, whilst year after year, we achieve so little." What, exactly, have those clubs achieved? Since Moyes's first full year in charge, Bolton has finished 17th, 8th, 6th and 8th, whilst Spurs have finished 10th, 14th, 9th and 5th, compared with our 7th, 17th, 4th and 11th. That works out, over the past few seasons, to an average finish of 9.75 for us, 9.75 for Bolton, and 9.5 for Spurs! Wigan and Reading, meanwhile, both are Premiership new boys; time will tell whether or not they are here to stay or merely another Leeds United or Ipswitch Town. It is also worth noting that none of the above have won any more trophies in the past few years than we have.

The original point of my article was to state that it is not Kenwright's or Moyes's fault that we are in the position we are in. Moyes hasn't been perfect, as the Krøldrup fiasco and his cup record indicates, but he's done well enough in the circumstances. I do not wish to "settle for mediocrity" more than any other blue. I simply wanted to point out that given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, anything more than yearly mid-table finishes and the odd cup run may not be realistic, and more than anything else, calling for the sacking of Moyes won't help anything. It's not his fault that we have been shafted to where we are today, and he's done a better job than most managers could have in turning us around from the Kendall 3/Walker/Smith era and bringing us to comfortable mid-table mediocrity instead of the much scarier yearly relegation worries.


Kevin Jordan, London Canada  (11/1/07)

It's all well and good, but it doesn't address the fundamental issue: why is not possible for us to play better, more attacking, joined-up football? [If you guys are gonna do the broken record thing, then so am I!] ? Michael

Re: Money talk

Tony, you make some valid points on bringing through the youth players, but you are overlooking a few tidbits. Moyes has actually done very well with the youth system, bringing several youngsters into the academy, a couple of Scandinavians and just missing out on the American, Szetzla (or something like that). I keep hearing that he doesn't give youth a chance, but he hasn't got rid of any that have proved him wrong. Schumacher holding the central midfield for Milan? Valentine at Real??

No, anyone who has deserved the chance has gotton the chance. I actually agree with you, I think young Lee Molyneux is probably the best left-sided player at the club, but we have seen youth brought in too quickly and been spoiled in the past, to push the kids in too soon. I respect Moyes for taking his time with them and not letting the get ahead of themselves ? public lambasting of Victor aside.

Wenger, we all agree, has a fantastic youth system in place, but it's not like he's poaching all these players for next to nothing. Fabregas & Merida apart, he has spent money on Diaby (£2M), Song(£2M), Denilson(£4M) and Walcott (£12M). Thats £20M if you're adding, from just 4 of the "kids" from Tuesday night. I'm not saying it's wrong, but they spend almost as much on youth as they do on first-team players. Can you honestly say you want to do that at Everton?

So forget about attracting the world's brightest kids, it ain't gonna happen. Moyes has made the choice to take a select few, paying the next to nothing prices (£200k Vidarrson, £50k Boyle) and in our position both in the league and financially, I agree with this judgement.
John Middleton, Dublin  (11/1/07)

The grass is a little greener

It was dissapointing being knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round; also, the margin we lost by too. But Evertonians who are calling for the head of Moyes, and saying Kenwright is not the right man... I disagree with these comments.

David Moyes has definetely brought Everton forward as a football club and has raised that bar. Admittedly we still have a lot to do, but this will not happen overnight; football is about long-term planning these days ? you need Abramovich to have instant success.

But we have structure as a football club. With Kenwright at the helm, I believe he has done everything in his power to push the club forward; he made sure Moyes had money in the summer for targets such as Johnson and Lescott ? we even broke our transfer record too with Johnson!

We have a new exciting training facility on the way next year which will benefit the future of our first team, all the way down to the youth teams. We are looking at the prospect of a new stadium, and this looks much more realistic than Peter Johnson's attempt at least 10 years ago. For these factors alone, how can anyone say Kenwright is not the man? And Moyes should leave?

I believe a lot of people are fickle when we have a bad result, we are 8th in the league, and have a chance at Europe still. Focus on the positives, because the grass is a little greener than some of people's comments I have read in recent weeks.
Liam Young, Bebington  (11/1/07)

Long-term planning?!? No, it's about getting the players you have signed up to play as a team. Play to score goals, play to win matches. THAT is what football is about. Long-term planning, my arse!

So you believe Kenwright has done everything in his power to push the club forward? But you forgot one important caveat: as long as he stays in charge! Say a group of wealthy Evertonians was to get together, go to him with a substantial investment plan that really would move the club forward, but that he would have to step aside... in the best interests of the club. Kenwright says "No", putting the lie to this "24/7" investment search bollocks. We have it on very good authority that THIS HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

And for a lot of these supposedly 'fickle' fans (many of whom have supported this club for many years through thick and thin), it's not about one game, one bad result. It is so much more than that. If you have been reading the comments, the valid observations they make about the way David Moyes gets this team to play football, how can you just dimsiss these as being fickle? I think you do those fans an immense disservice. — Michael

Re: There is no way out

What exactly have Bolton, Spurs, Reading and Wigan achieved in this new era that is so enviable? I fail to see it.

I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that the current regime is so heavily criticised for it stewardship precisely because WE KNOW OUR HISTORY. We may actually suffer as a club becuase WE KNOW OUR HISTORY. Those who advocate replacing Moyes are comparing his tenure with those IN OUR HISTORY. However, these achievements will never be repeated by our club as long as the Premiership status-quo remains.

The vocal minority on here have unrealistic expectations. Times have changed, we are no longer a Big Five club and there's very little we can do about it.
Dylan Thomson, Dumbarton  (11/1/07)

It's tough to admit that there is some truth in what you say. Personally, I have trouble coming to terms with the idea that it is now impossible for any other club to break in to the current Big Four, never mind actually WIN something. As has been pointed out, we ? EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB ? were the last to do it, thanks to the mercurial Joe Royle, who I will love and adore for that accomplishment until my dying day.

But that is now ancient history. The hard thing to accept is that this really takes away the fundemental reason behind playing the game in any sort of competitive format. What's the point if you can't actually WIN anymore!?! That's why I find it so hard to accept. Coming fifth? Bollocks to that! — Michael

I never thought I'd say this but...

I am slowly but surely making my way towards the "anti-Moyes" camp. There are too many reasons to be angry and upset with EFC as a whole lately but, as our 'leader', Moyes has to start being honest and admit that he is sorely missing the tactical nous and the nerve to cut it at this level ? instead of blaming terrible performances on 'strange events'.

I know this has all been said before by other people but I felt compelled to throw my name into the hat regarding this issue. How can we as supporters allow this blatantly 'cup-phobic' man be given much more of a chance... believe me, Mr Moyes, the click is ticking. I find our current situation appalling for a number of reasons:

His tactics are so basic I believe my kid brother's Under-9s could give Everton a run (given the hill to start, and a good wind behind them!).

We have a 15- to 20-goal-a-season striker in James Beattie and my fear is that he will be sold cut price, move on and start banging them for whoever he signs for. Moyes' style just doesnt suit him and he's got no other ideas to try.

Then there is AJ, who, if I see running into corners with 'honest graft' again, would make me seriously consider jumping the barrier and right hooking the entire Everton training staff! This lad was bought to terrify defences with direct running, not ploughing the channels time and again. Surely Moyes realises that he makes significantly less impact labouring away in these postitions.

We need a decent ball-winning midfielder with a bit of class, yet every name that gets mentioned would rather sign for other Premiership dross. It simply isn't good enough.

He lies during every transfer window. We supposedly have around £10M at our disposal (albeit at the sacrifice of a summer kitty). Lads like Boa Morte, Reo-Coker, Ben Haim and a number of others including Joey Barton could all be bought (not at once, obviously) but yet again he drags his feet and procrastinates until the chances are gone.

Get your finger out, Ginger One! COYB
Luke Berry, Liverpool  (11/1/07)

Moyes going nowhere!

David Moyes is going nowhere while Bill Kenwright is in charge? Well, perhaps the best outcome for everybody ? like or loathe Moyes ? is for him to become the new Scotland manager.

Everton get some compensation money, a new manager, new playing style (hopefully), and Bill doesn't have to sack him. Scotland get a new manager and everybody's happy... aren't they? I will let the rest of you debate that one, as I think maybe Moes as gone as far as he can go with us, but that's no guarantee that whoever would take over would do any better.
Robie Picton, Wolverhampton  (11/1/07)

Re: Realism

I don't often reply to mail on here but the "Realism" message just got to me. I am sorry but what was said has little on nothing to do with realism. What is the point of having just 11 "potential winners" (btw, you mention only 9) if the moment one of them is crocked we're screwed. So, 11 potential winners can win the league but a team containing 10 or less means we have to put up with performances like that against Blackburn?

Where is the cover for Cahill? By your account, losing him has been the reason our season has gone downhill. Hibbert has also only played a hand-full of games, so specifying a wish-list XI isn't going to help anyone. Realism is ensuring we get as good a player as (financially) possible in all positions and also cover for those when they get injured/suspended etc. We are never going to spend £26M ? anyway, any we don't need to.

A winning team will also flourish around a nucleus of good players who enable the others to raise their game, but with one of two notable exceptions the season, this very rarely happens with our lot. By anybody's standards we are weak in a number of areas, not least midfield ... and no ? we shouldn't wait for JPK ? we need someone now!
Simon Maslin, Germany  (11/1/07)

Good points, Simon. [Note to Ed: You really need to ban the use of that "Realism" title.]

Money Talk

A lot of our fans seem to think that spending vast amounts of dosh is the only way a club/team can function in today's Premier League. They think arming Davey Moyes with unlimited funds would be the answer to all our prayers.

Please take a look at what Arsene Wenger has achieved at Arsenal since he arrived in this country. He has a permanent conveyor belt of talent pouring in to the club from all over the world that costs hardly anything but he always seems to make massive profits when he sells a player [Reyes apart].

Going out and spending big isn't the only way to be a manager or the only way to run a club. Being a wheeler-dealer is the most important part of a manager's job in my eyes. Even Deadly Dave deserves a little credit some times [Huge Gulp] ? the signing of Cahill, Arteta and Lesscott for less than £10M in total is a great piece of buisness. Peanuts in today's market place. It just goes to prove my point though, doesn't it?It can be done without breaking the bank every time you want to sign a player. The only trouble with Moyes is that he dithers around too much and also makes terrible buys which offsets the good work he has done. I can't imagine many managers buying Beattie, Davies, Van der Meyde, and Wright and laying out nearly £20M for the privelage of four such high-profile bench warmers, can you?

Throwing money at other clubs and agents does not guarantee anything. Having a good scouting network and a good eye for players is a far better system to adopt. Of course, there will always be a need to go out and spend big from time to time but at least its been proven there is another way. Finding and nuturing players who don't cost the earth then getting the best out of them is a lot better than the going down the Krøldrup road, dont you think?

If you dont believe me, just ask Rafeal Benitez and the boys in red what happened to them on Tuesday night...
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (11/1/07)

Poor officiating

Well, I think Tony Hibbert's slide tackling is a fantastic attribute to our team. I believe Cahill's link-up play in attack is entertaining. I think Cahill's goals are entertaining. I think Arteta and Osman play much better when Neville is in midfield.

It should also be noted, when analysing the situation that refferees have been match-fixing. Look at the league, count how many points we have missed out on because of poor officiating. Think; Blackburn, Newcastle, Man City (home and away), Wigan, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Arsenal. I make that 19 points lost as a result of dubious offside goals, rediculous free kicks and 'non-penalties'. With those 19 points we would be 2nd 4 points behind Man Utd, and 2 points ahead of Chelsea.

Surely we want to support our team? We have been hard done-by and added to that we have had injuries to Cahill, Valente, and Hibbert.

Where would Everton be, say the refs were fair, and we had no injuries, with United missing Rooney, Ronaldo, and Ferdinand? Can anybody actually argue with that? If you must, complain about the lack of Neville's prettiness, but to complain about our league efforts is a bit unfair, if you look past the newspaper.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (11/1/07)

Fear factor

Michael, I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment 'one mistake and they get roasted'. In fact, following the Anichebe fiasco v Newcastle it seems they get roasted even if they don't make any.

The whole team seems to have played with an attitude of fear for some time now ? not surprising with a ginger Victorian Dad pacing the touchline. Remember McFadden's start ? two blinding games before, presumably, he lost out to a full-back once too often. Now Faddy has a mental problem with choosing the right option ? probably because he knows what will happen if he doesn't.

All our flair players are scared to try things. The whole team is afraid to leave their posts. This fundamental lack of movement is why there's no invention or surprise to our play. We're a team with the brakes of a Rolls Royce and the engine of a lawn mower.

I'd like to see Moyes throw some caution to the wind for the rest of the season. We won't get relegated; we probably won't make Europe. So let's play with a bit of freedom and see what happens. At least it'll break up the monotony.
Duncan Lennard, Somerset  (11/1/07)

If only! But we still need 9 pts...

Finishing Positions

Michael, in response to another writer, you conceded we have never consistently won the title but we have usually been up there with the big 5. Not really if you glance at our record year by year the positions we have most often finished in are 1st, 7th, 11th and 17th.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (11/1/07)

Er... you missed one. Quite an important one: 1st (9), 4th (9), 7th (8), 11th (10) & 15th (8). So you got one wrong as well. Bit of a different complexion... But you can play any game you want with stats:

Top 5: 36 times;
6-10: 20 times;
11-15: 27 ties;
16-20: 18 times;
I win!

How about this one: based on a 5-yr moving average of our finishing positions, we were a real top-half team for over 30 years from 1962 to 1994. That's "living memory" for a significant number of current Blues fans... and ancient history for others. The last five years (under Moyes) our average is 11th ? in a smaller league. He's making porgress... slow progress... very slooooow progress.... — Michael

Really pissed off again

I have not contributed lately but after Sunday and reading the mailbag, I feel that I must put in my 2 pence worth. The football being played by EFC is nothing short of rubbish. The ?star? players are not performing. There seems to be no strategy or plan. There is no flair or imagination in our play. We cannot attract decent players.

Who is to blame? DAVID MOYES. This is his team, his tactics.

As an Evertonian I am sick to the back teeth of the shite that is served up week after week after week, there is no pride, no passion and no feeling at this club anymore. I am resigned to the fact that Moyes and Kenwright and Wyness are here for the duration and I for one have voted with my feet this season and have only been to 1 game, (v Arsenal ? Carling Cup) and that was to see some young lads play some decent football, something that I haven?t seen for many a season from Everton.

OK I know we have played well for about 10% of the time over the past five years. I wish for a lot of things but I know that Everton have fucked up my life for the past 45 years with a few exceptions and will continue to do so for the next 40 if I live that long.

What if Moyes went? Where would we get the money to replace the useless wankers that we have now? I am totally pissed off, even 3-6 doesn?t cheer me up that much. We need a new ground and a new manager.
Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (11/1/07)

Realism

I believe our first 11 is the best first 11 in the league. This point was proven, when we were the better team in every match until Cahill got injured.

Just becuase Shaun Wright-Phillips cost £26M, does not mean he is fit to touch Arteta's shoelaces. Money does not mean anything. If money was everything, why have Newcastle never won anything? Lescott cost £3.5M ? who would want to swap him with Rio Ferdinand, who cost £30M? I don't!

Man Utd and Arsenal are the only teams that maintain a high standard of 'sexy football'! Watching Liverpool versus Chelsea is like watching paint dry, but Liverpool and Chelsea still win trophies.

I find it rediculous how anybody can say that a team consisting of Cahil, Arteta, Johnson, Lescott, Valente, Yobbo, Neville, Hibbert and Howard is average. These are potential winners. What's the point in spending £10M on Nolan/ Reo Coker, if Moyse seriously believes John Paul Kissock will be ready next year. We are building.

You can break a leg in 2 seconds, but it could take 6 months to fix it. Everton were broke over a number of years. Just give the club the benefit of the doubt.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (11/1/07)

Realism?!? Best in the league??? So why aren't they capable of 'sexy football'? If true, then Moyes is definitely fucking up big-time! So what benefit of the doubt is that, then? Wait on JPK to come good??? — Michael

Think I`ll go see Rocky!

I am so excited, I can`t wait for Sunday`s game. Sylvester Stallone is to visit Goodison `to cement Everton as his favorite team!` I reckon this news will put at least 5,000 on the gate, the proceeds from which Moyes can put towards another full-back on loan (with an option to purchase,of course!).

Christ,it`s hard work being an Evertonian these days... think I`ll go see Rocky 26 instead!
Nick Fuller, Prenton  (11/1/07)

Not interested

The fact that Steve Coppell has been out of the spotlight for a few years seems to have caused some of you to forget that the only reason he isn't already at a big club is because he doesn't want to be. Every time he has somehow led a crappy team into the top flight, he has walked away because he hates the spotlight and the pressure. He has done it at Palace more than once and he did it at City after 30 days.

Steve at one point was in line for the England job but wanted nothing to do with it. He walks away, finds another crappy lower division team ? be it Palace, Palace again, Brighton, Reading or whoever ? and then, because he is so damn good, he ends up getting promoted, does well and then leaves again because he wants the quiet life. Yes, he is a brilliant manager; but no, he isn't interested.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (10/1/07)

The reality!!!

As I watched the Wycome v Chelsea match did anyone notice the corporate hospitality? Wycome ? a club divisions below us in actual football terms as well as size, history et al ? have a shed load of corporate boxes generating and maximising their income. Who's the forward thinking club? Their main stand had boxes the full length, their directors clearly had plans years ago that have been put in place and were generating income; we still have less than 10 ? and we're a Premiership club!!!

Stay at Goodison, argue about it, delay decisions, live in the past... Get real: if clubs divisions below us are already tapping into the modern football-watching culture, what chance have we of standing still let alone catching up with the so-called bigger clubs?
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (10/1/07)

Re Marsh's Manager Selection

In response to this article, Tony no offence, but you seriously have not done your homework. Why are you only looking at the facts that suit your argument. I am referring to your suggestions if we got a new manager. I whole heartedly agree with the option of Steve Coppell but your other choices bemuse me.

Jewell? At the time of writing Wigan are 17th, struggling to put together any form and are easily being sucked into a relegation fight. ONE good season in the Premiership and a crappy cup final is what Jewell can offer. Moyes has got us to 4th... are their achievements that different? NO. What track record does Jewell have... relegated Bradford? Sure he promoted Wigan but with a "Sugar Daddy" behind him in the lower leagues it wasn't a hard job!

Then you mention Burley. Good god give me strength. 1 season in the Prem with Ipswich they finish 7th and get into Europe. Next season they get knocked out of Europe, and are relegated... wow I'd really like him here. He managed a Hearts team very well but didn't even last a season! And since when was the SPL any measure for the EPL? Last manager we took from an SPL team (Smith) look were he took us! He is rebuilding a reputation with Soton but the Prem is still a long way off for him.

Martin Allen, another lower-league manager... what was Moyes?! I'm sure you were saying the same about Moyes as you are saying about Allen now! I understand your frustration Tony and wanting Moyes out... I hate abosolutely hate people suggesting that there are no managers to take Moyes's place. Of course there are! But your suggestions, Tony, are of managers I wouldn't want anywhere near the club (bar Coppell), and I wonder... if Michael so often snaps at people for saying which players we should sign (FM 2007 etc)- can we stop having people suggesting what new manager could come here, or at least make some decent suggestions!
Chris Platt, Crewe  (10/1/07)

Do we really have to do this? Moyes is going nowhere. Yes we all have different views and opinions on all these other managers, and (surprise!) thay each have their good and bad points, only one of them could possible be the next manager... and even then, no guarantees. We have done the debate and, as you say, done the FM 2007 thing... so enough already! ? Michael

Scotland Manager

With Walter Smith joining Rangers again, Scotland will be needing a new manager, the SFA are sure to consider David Moyes. Let's just hope Moyes is content enough to finish the job at Everton. Could be a scary few weeks though until the SFA find their manager.... Not Moyes, please, not Moyes.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (10/1/07)

Moyes ? Conundrum

The criticism, in my opinion, is rightly levelled against Moyes that his teams are dour, find it hard to score, need to score first to win matches and that his tactics and substitutions are frequently inept. In his defence, some apologists say that he is young and still learning his trade.

My stance on this is the opposite. In his first full season when we finished 7th, we were reasonably entertaining, came from 1-0 down SEVEN times to win 2-1 and Moyes's substitutions nearly always yielded positive results. What has he unlearnt during the intervening years? Or was it just beginner's luck after all?

Why has his gung-ho attitude become so much more cautious? He wasn't always so! The only explanation that I can offer is Rooney ? but that doesn't explain it all.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (10/1/07)

Excellent question, Ray. Not sure I fully grasp the "Rooney" answer... but I think you make an excellent point. He was actually a BETTER manager back then than he is now! Astounding. ? Michael

We can't play good football

We don't have enough decent players to maintain good performances when loss of form, suspension and injury kicks in. That was true when Gravesen went and left a hole in the squad. We brought in Arteta and he has filled the hole by and large. But these players don't come cheap even if you can get them at all. We all want great flowing School of Science football. But be real, how many Prem teams actually play that way and win or even stay in the division?

My view is that Moyes is a pragmatist and has to grind out the results in whatever way he can without the big squad of creative talent that Arsenal and Man Utd have. After all, we want results, but I dont think we can afford to have our cake and eat it.
Neil Alecock, Huyton  (10/1/07)

Well it's a view I totally reject. It is not about having so-called creative players we can't afford. It's about the players we already have ? that is all I'm interested in. Are you telling me that our players have got where they are without the ability to pass the fucking ball to another player in a Blue shirt? I don't think so. But they are coached out of this.

They are coached out of playing good football, they are coached into playing defensive shite, hoofball, "get rid"... Because Moyes believes the percentages for defensive shite football succeeding are slightly better than playing the ball forward constructively. That can be the only explanation.

But it doesn't need to be that way, and I'm sure those who watch other Premiership teams (I don't) could testify that there are other ways to play ? without having a load of expensive superstars. On (rare) occasions, the players have shown they can do it. Why don't they do more of it? I bet it's beacuse one mistake and they get roasted. — Michael

Brainwash Duo

Moyes and Benitez now seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Comparing the inept duo`s sayings over the last few hours sees Moyes coming out with `We owe the fans big-time, not for the performance which I was pleased with but for the unreal scoreline`. The Benitez excuse for his side`s home drubbing was `We both played our squad players and the goals was the only difference.`

Perhaps someone should tell these two pumkins that the bloody GOALS is what it`s all about so don`t try to brainwash the whole of Merseyside that there`s somehow another purpose to the bloody game! We were here a long time before you, maties!
Clive Whiting, West Derby  (10/1/07)

Billy Smart's Big Tent Show

Has Kenwright lost his marbles? Does he honestly think that the fans who have thus far enjoyed at GP:

  • Shit Food
  • Shit Results
  • Shit Football Management
  • and Lies and Deception in the boardroom...
Do they really give a flying fuck about a movie actor? And to top it off the front man for Phillip Green (Robert Earl) will be in town to discuss investment... honestly, the shite Bill forces down the fans' throats every week is incredible. Get this man out of our club!
John Cribb, Liverppol  (10/1/07)

Articulate Evertonians

Thought I would offer some comment on the articulate postings from the likes of Brian Regan et al that have appeared on Toffeeweb during the past week. What strikes me is the knowledge, logical reasoning and passion of fellow Evertonians, not suprising but equally impressive. Even the scribe that is Tony Marsh is able to lighten up an otherwise bleak and dreary January day when Everton continue to churn out the lacklustre and dreadful football displayed.

Without getting sentimental, Brian Regan has presented the bare facts in relation to Bill Kenwright and his continued schoolboy fantasy relating to the ownership and stewardship of Everton. I have it on good authority that, when the bun-fight broke out a couple of seasons ago with Paul Gregg and stank the place out making a mockery of the Club, a consortium of wealthy Evertonians had been approached in an attempt to wrestle control from Messr Kenwright. Mickey Blues Eyes from Kipper would probably roundly denounce these suitors as spivs and barrow boys; facts are facts, however, and there are some seriously wealthy Evertonians who would never invest a single penny with Kenwright in charge.

At the moment we are, as Brian Regan says, suspended in a situation of carte blanche and a society of mutual appreciation. We have a Board consisting of Kenwright, a silent partner in Mr Planet Hollywood, yes-men in Philip Carter and Jon Woods, and a CEO handsomely rewarded for his attempts to generate commercial activity. The relationship between Moyes and Kenwright is completely corner-shop so sharply observed; Arkwright and open all hours springs firmly into mind.

The situation at Everton continues to stagnate, with loyalty on behalf of the supporters continuing to keep the Club afloat. The past 20-odd years have almost nulified fans into accepting that we are no longer a big Club, a fallen giant and a Chairman in King Canute who ? through spin and PR, useless AGM's and ridiculous soundbites ? offers the illusion that we will again be great.

Without the wit, humour and comradeship of fellow blues and the prospect of a few post-match bevvies, I would have spewed this fiasco many moons ago.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (10/1/07)

There's a thought, Peter: perhaps we have provided a positive service to Evertonians who might otherwise have not had access to the articulate postings from our contributors, and who might have indeed spewed it. Meanwhile, we're still working out some bugs in the online booze feature... — Michael

Kevin Jordan's article

Put me in his camp. One of the most sensible articles I've seen written on this website.

I started suppporting Everton late into the Smith era (99-00) and have felt that things have improved since then under Moyes. I get a kick out of supporters who want a quick return to the "Glory Years" but don't want to acknowledge as Kevin did that the game has changed since then. I saw a lot of similarities between his Everton experience and mine.
Bill Hawker, Houston, TX, USA  (10/1/07)

David Moyes Ltd

In common with the majority of correspondents, I believe Moyes has signed some good players for Everton. Lescott, Arteta, Cahill and Johnson are all quality. What he has failed to do is bring the best out of them on a consistent basis. Twice he has signed big money strikers and failed totally to maximise their skills. It`s as though he expects it just to happen. His failure to mould his recruits into an effective unit tells me that he is a manager of limited talent ? not without ability, but limited. Perhaps the Curate`s Egg ? good in parts ? was the best analogy we have seen in these columns.

The current call is for a `midfield general` in the vain hope that this is the missing piece in the jigsaw. The truth is that the lack of a genuine tactician at the helm is the missing piece. Every successful team in history has had six or seven quality players and others who work their bollocks off to make it all tick. This is as true of the Big Four as it is at `our` level. Allardyce, Rednapp, Hughes and, maybe, Coppell seem adept at getting the absolute best out of less than stellar squads whilst Moyes falls well short.

Blue Bill and a great many Evertonians seem happy with the status quo, safe in the hope that things MAY one day improve. Many others, and I am among them, hold true to the motto and Sir John`s interpretation of it(see below). In short, we expect a lot more.
Harry Meek, Worcester  (10/1/07)

Well said, Harry. — Michael

Rocky?

Why on earth is the Everton website so overhyped about having Sylvester Stallone at an Everton match? Big deal! Celebrity faces turn up to all sorts of football grounds to support their team, and this is no different. Why don't the Board concentrate improving the team in the transfer window instead of booking Rocky Balboa a ticket next to BK and Wyness? A quick note to the Board: make the team more attractive to watch and more succesful and maybe a few more celebrities will come to Goodsion.
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (10/1/07)

Transfer targets

As I made my way home from work, I asked myself: "Who can Everton realistically get/afford in January?" So I devised a list of 'potential' targets:

Freddie Lungberg: Arsenal don't want and even at 29 he would be the right shot of guile (which Moyes loves) and skill we so crave for in midfield. I can't imagine £4M will be a problem to part with for him.

Andy Cole: This guy is a natural striker, unlike Beattie, and despite his age for a free transfer I think he will do a good job until the summer.

Lauren: We need a right-back, Arsenal want to sell so it's a no-brainer. He is experienced and will come as it's regular football. I can't imagine a fee over £1M for him.

Mido: Well why not? He has got to be better than McFadden and Beattie put together (Frankenstein!!!).
I think these are realistic/cheapish transfers that would strengthen greatly the side in its main weak points, and will save Kenwright his beloved dosh. Forget Reo-Coker and Barton, they are premium-rate players who will NEVER sign for Everton in their current top-eight-at-best state.

So, Moyes, will you play dice, or play safe and have us finish 12th this season? Just go for it, man ? you might even like being positive!
Luq Yussef, London  (10/1/07)

Moyes

Totally agree with Alecock and only sorry Michael you still have to fuel the anti-Moyes campaign. Perhaps the so-called Everton supporters who booed and verbally abused the players at the Blackburn match could, sad to say, learn how to support a team from the Reds across the park. Despite their team's woeful showing against Arsenal they sang and cheered. How good it would be to hear that when we are poor.

No doubt the excuse that you pay your money so you are entitled to vent your feelings will be trotted out. I do wonder whether the moaners and groaners on this site actually go to the matches or are their opinions formed from snippets on the TV. Anyway I have had my say and now await the scarcasm etc, over to you, Michael
George Carroll, Bramhall  (11/1/07)

If you are so interested in Liverpool and their supporters, here's a pretty good blog by Paul Doyle for you to read.

How Low can We Go?

How low can we go when, during a busy January transfer window, Everton are seemingly prepared to take players on loan such as Davids and Saltieri... players who cannot get into an average Spurs team? BK has Everton in his veins but if his blood really does run blue then its time to let go, Bill. The business of football has changed and unfortunately we need a money-man at the helm, even if it does bring a sack-full of other problems. We are all very frustrated at the current low-level performance of the team and maybe Moyes is not the right man but I still think he needs two more seasons... before he goes to Celtic.
Keith Knowles, Brentwood  (10/1/07)

Replying to Kevin Jordan's article

I understand exactly Kevin's point of view and whilst I am not as pessimisticas him i.e. I think there will be a time when we are back in the higher places in the table, I agree that the game has been spoilt by the 'moneymen'.

It has been Everton's misfortune to have one of the best teams in Europe (in the mid- to late-1980s) when the game in Britain was at a low ebb finacially. The European ban robbed us not only of the chance to compete in European Competitions, and I am sure we would have done well, it also robbed us of some of our best players. Would Gary Lineker have been so readily sold if we were competing in the European Cup? I am sure the answer is no.

Forgive the history lesson, but the break up of the team from the 'glory days' of the '80s set us back at least 20 years in my opinion. We have struggled to compete with the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and dare I say it Liverpool. Perhaps the solution is not to try, at least in the short term. Rather, we should look at how some of the 'smaller' clubs such as Bolton and Reading go about things. They can't match Chelsea and Man Utd in the transfer market ? so they don't try to.

Perhaps we should be looking for the 'next' Kevin Doyle rather than going for big name signings all the time. Maybe the key to this is to build up our scouting network. In this way, we can develop our own talent and spot the bargain buys in the lower divisions. Sorry for another historic reference but several members of the 80s squad were what you could call 'bargain signings' - the great Neville came from Bury, Trevor Steven from Burnley, Peter Reid from Bolton, Graeme Sharp from Dunbarton, and Kevin Sheedy from somebodies reserves.

It would be interseting to see the draft system that Kevin refers to in baseball being adopted in football. I think it would make for a less boring title race for a start! Unfortunately there are too many vested interests at work in the Premiership for such a draft system to be introduced. However, if we do develop our scouting network and look to build for the future in a long-term way, rather than look for quick fixes, I believe we can get back being a consistent challenger for trophies. And Kevin ? whether he is able to see the Blues in person or from over the sea ? will in the fure see a trophy winning Everton team.
Michael Brien, Lincoln  (10/01/07)

Hmm... I have a couple of questions: So we are not going to try to compete directly with the Big Four... but you see us consistently challenging for trophies? I must have missed something. And what makes you think Everton do not already have a really good scouting network? In which case, we're already there.

On a third somewhat historical point, Everton through all their history have never really managed to reatain a consistent trophy-winning team. Most of our successes have been one-off affairs - two or three years of dominance at best. But we were almost always up there ? one of the Big Five. Now, as you say, we are just one of the also-rans. ? Michael

New manager

Spudhead! I'd have Joe Royle back tomorrow, imagine what he could do this time around with a 'supportive' chairman. If anything, I don't remember his teams getting the occasional embarassing spankings we've endured.
James Newcombe, Oxford  (10/1/06)

Moyes's Poisoned Chalice

Moyes took a posioned chalice when the football gods gave him Everton. What do we really expect? To match Liverpool? Chelsea? Man Utd? What? Win something? They are well ahead in the money stakes, and they were when Moyes took over.

We are in a bracket with Villa, City, Newcastle, etc. Compared with these clubs the one thing we have had in the last 5 years is stability of manager ? can't be said of those and they are no further ahead. Newcastle have wasted millions on losers ? managers and players. We haven't got money like that to lose, that's why Moyes is careful ? it aint his dosh and there isn't much of it.

Not having the money isn't his fault. Which leads me to point out that without money you end up with either a large squad of mediocre players, or a small squad of decent players. We have the latter. Most people would agree that our best 11 are decent players and good signings. Trouble is we need about 8 more decent players to win anything. You only need two or 3 injuries/suspensions or loss of form and you can free fall. I think thats were we are now.

What Moyes has done with relatively little money is a minor miracle. You ask his Premiership colleagues: two Manager of the Year awards in 5 years proves they would all agree. (How far ahead in the table are Liverpool and how much money has Rafa Benitez spent?) What do the moaners want?

Sack him and get Martin O'Neill? That's worked for Villa hasn't it? Or what about Glen Roeder, Alan Pardew? We have to wake up and realise, unless the Board have an epiphany or win the euro lottery, we are a Uefa Cup-place chasing team forever. Accept it and get off the manager's back. The lads need cheering on not jeering off!
Neil Alecock, Huyton  (10/1/07)

I totally disagree with your conclusions. All this talk about money totally misses the point that Moyes has the players to make Everton a decent force here and now, in THIS Premiership. Moyes has built a good group of players but he has destroyed their ability to play decent football. That is where the problem lies. For me, it's not about changing managers, but having our manger do a better job. Personally, I'd love him to realise this and make some chandges in the way we play, and I live in hope that HE will have this epiphany, but deep deep down I know it ain't never gonna happen. That's what is really frustrating. — Michael

How Quick We Forget

Stop all this "Get rid of Moyes" talk, please. When he took the helm we were relegation fodder time and time again and now we're mid-table with an outside chance of Europe. In 5 years, that is progression. I'll be the first to agree I still don't know if he is a bright manager still learning his trade or if he is severely limited when it comes to big money transfers and some of the more seemingly obvious choices (the system doesn't suit Beattie etc) but we have progressed under him.

Yes mid-table isn't good enough for our club BUT too many people are living in the past. We're not a big club any more, we're a traditional club with potential that is being stifled by the original train-set owner (not Abramovich but Kenwright). Losing Gravesen wasn't the beginning of the end ? how quickly we forget the inconsistencies of him before his half a good season when Real bought the wrong player.

Let's have a bit of unbiased focus here on Moyes and the club.
Ben Houghton, Reading  (10/1/07)

Humility

To see our red friends get humbled by the mighty Arsenal reserves put a smile on all our faces, but at least Benitez had the humility and sense to apologise to the Koppites for the team's poor performance, unlike the bug-eyed one last Saturday. Strange game, my arse! it simply is not good enough. Moyes can now only be redeemed by finishing in the top six.
Brian Bakerfield, Northampton  (10/1/07)

Kevin Jordan's piece

Thanks, Kevin. Your common sense and realism belies your young years. Its nice to see people out there who are prepared to acknowledge what a fine job David Moyes has done with the (relatively speaking) meagre resources at his disposal. As Kevin says, what manager COULD deliver us (or any other club outside the 'rich 4') the Premiership?!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (10/1/07)

As I keep saying, that is not the issue. The issue is, given the resources Moyes has had, given the players he has purchased, given the team he has put together... why in the name of all that is holy do we continue to play absolutely shite football? — Michael

Great telly

I know this is a messageborad for Everton debate but I thought I would just like to ask wether anybody enjoyed last nights TV as much as me. Watching Liverpool get humped yet again truly cheered me up from Sunday and got me thinking positively again.
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (10/1/07)

Just so long as you can retain thse fond memories if Reading come and turn us over on Sunday...

Squad size

Quote from David Moyes: "We?re definitely down on numbers especially seeing as we lost Kevin Kilbane on transfer deadline day and that really put us just under regarding numbers".

Questions: Whose decision was it to sell Kilbane? Will the same thing happen during this transfer window?
Chris Owens, Cumbria  (10/1/07)

It so sad... the things he come out with these days just beggar belief. — Michael

A little comfort after our show

After our performance on Sunday and what happened at Anfield last night, it's a little comforting to know that we are not the only side who ignore warnings re Arsenal ? they must have the best youth policy in world soccer. Some seasons ago we faced this youth side in the Carling Cup as we did this season, and with virtually full squad, ended losing on both occasions, it was the turn of Liverpool last nightand, after being turned over by the Gunners first eleven on Saturday, they fell foul of the kids. If only our manager would think about blooding some of our kids when we are safe, points wise? Because if we have not got the money, then the young ones are our future.
Norman Merrill, Everton, Liverpool  (10/1/07)

Everton Collection

Tony Tighe has asked what Everton FC would do with the David France collection if the club were to buy it. Here's an idea: maybe the club could buy the collection, add it to the clubs own collection, find a building in the city centre and open a museum.

We could have all sorts of cabinets dedicated to our nine league titles, five FA Cups and European trophy. We could have famous player?s medals and international caps. We could have previous jerseys on display. We could have a display on the 1966 World Cup at Goodison. We could have all sorts of displays on our club's place in the history and development both the city of Liverpool and the game of football.

We could attach a club shop to the museum so that fans and tourists alike could buy the club merchandise in comfortable, convenient and well stocked outlet. Perhaps even a cafe as well? It would be a club museum unmatched by any other club, in the centre of the European capital of culture.

That's what the club could do. I think that part of the debate needed a little illumination. Getting the collection is paramount. If it has to be hidden in the Records Office then so be it. However, I can't help but think that more could be done.
Myles Sunley, London  (10/1/07)

Indeed. I have just received from Dr David France a most excellent book Everton Treasures, celebrating The David France Collection. It is really stunning. I'll find out the publication details but I see it is only a limited edition, and it is already an absolute treasure. — Michael

Paul Jewell

Tony Marsh mentions some possible alternatives to Moyes (9/1/07). I have to agree that Coppell does get his teams playing quality football; however, I thought I should bring this quote to the attention of Tony regarding Jewell. I know 'quotes' can often be misleading but I found this from Denny Landzaat quite amusing. How much truth there is in it is another matter!

The summer signing from AZ Alkmaar admits he has struggled to adapt to how Wigan play and he is hoping they can improve their tactics. "The football we play at Wigan is not something I'm used to," Landzaat is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

"In some matches the long ball is the only tactic we use. We take throw-ins from the halfway line and hurl the ball almost as far as the opposing keeper. We have quite a good squad but no thought goes into our play. It quickly turns into lottery football where we're hoping the ball will break kindly for us.

"I hope we will try to play more proper football from now on."
Food for thought. It might explain why Wigan struggle to half-fill their stadium against the likes of Arsenal! Anyone want to put a Jewell like that in our crown???
Allan Price, Shrops  (10/1/07)

I think that is, word for word, what Per Krøldrup had to say about his initiation into the Premiership at Everton! ? Michael

In reply to Tony Marsh

Hi Tony, I think I may not have got my point across. I wasn't saying there isn't anybody out there better than Moyes, I was trying to say, that, of the ones that we could possibly get, would we get an improvement? Yes, if we could get Curbishly or Hughes, for example, then we may see an improvement, but they ain't gonna come to Everton.

Also I think you are being a bit unfair when you say anybody is better than Moyes. Do you really mean that, or is it that you personally don't like him or his management style? In my own opinion, Moyes is a solid manager, but possibly lacks the flair to win anything. Maybe for Moyes, its just a matter of time and experience, but do we want to give him that time?

If you take other successful managers, past and present, like SAF or the first coming of Kendall, they both struggled to start with and almost got sacked, but then that's history. When Moyes took over, we needed exactly what he gave us: stability and safety in the Premiership. Maybe it is time for us to move on and find a more exciting manager, but you know and I know that it isn't going to happen, as long as BK and DM are having showers together.

We just need to hold our nerves, be patient, get behind the team, and hope there is going to be improvement. But don't hold your breath for any quick fixes, I have a feeling that any success will be a year or so down the road.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (10/1/07)

How many straws will it take?

"Oh it's only the FA Cup..." "We're only 6 pts of Europe..." I go into a game, sometimes expecting to win (getting rarer that feeling) but always hoping to win. What I have noticed over the years is that when 2 teams play each other 'almost' back to back, more often than not, the result is often reversed. Bearing that in mind and, if the FA Cup, and a 1-4 hammering don't mean much. It's often said that it has to get worse before it gets better; cue an 'almost back to back' Reading game could this be the final nail that breaks the camels back.

Tony Marsh: I will add one name to your list of 'NOTS': Alan Irvine!!
Derek Thomas, Auckland New Zealand  (10/1/07)

Kevin's on the money

Kevin Jordan's theme (There is No Way Out) is one I have written about before on this website. All the bleating in the world is not going to make a difference when the fundamentals of the game are set up as they are. When will the supporters of all the clubs not part of the 'big 4' rise up with one common goal to press for change? How does a modern country allow such a poorly conceived, morally bankrupt system to persisit when the massive majority are disadvantaged?

Like Kevin in North America, all national sports in Australia have regulation and are set up in such a way that the competition and its participants are all commercially viable. Self-interest should not be part of this debate but clearly there isn't an independent controlling body?
James Brien, Adelaide, Australia  (10/1/07)

Find a midfield general

Moyesey really let the side down when he blamed the players and even the ball (!) for Sunday's debacle. He takes the credit when the team plays well, so he should accept the blame when it doesn't. If he's not happy with the players, he should tell them off privately, not spout off to the media. Imagine what his comments might have done to Howard's confidence.

Moyesey should also have the courage to apologise to the Goodison faithful. Losing 4-1 at home to anyone was inconceivable when Everton were still a great club. Saying that they did not deserve to lose 4-1 is not the point. They did!

Everton won't become a great club again until it rediscovers its ambition. Avoiding relegation, which seems to be the extent of Moyesey's aspirations, won't do. Striving for a European place, and demanding a good Cup run every year, should be a must.

The Blues have lacked consistency since Tommy Gravesen joined the Galacticos. They still need a midfield general very badly. Moyesey should make finding one a top priority. But he won't attract a player of that calibre unless he can convince him that Everton want to do more than finish in the middle of the table.
Chris Hanrahan, Jakarta, Indonesia  (10/1/07)

Who would replace Moyes?

There seem to be a lot of names being bandied around as to who would replace Moyes IF he were to leave, each name followed by a brief CV extoling their virtues. However, many people would do well to remember our past experiences with managers who have done well with other clubs.

Mike Walker did miracles with Nowich, getting them 2nd or 3rd in the league, beating Bayern Munich etc all on a shoestring budget. The result ? Flop.

Walter Smith, he's just won loads of trophies at Rangers, so he will bring a winning mentality to the club. Result ? Flop.

Howard Kendall, our best manager ever, let's bring him back. Result: Flop... then flop again.

My basic point is, no matter what name you suggest or how impressive their CV has been, it is no guarentee that they are going to perform at the same level for Everton. You never know, they might just be worse than Moyes?
Alisdair Denny, Perth, Australia  (10/1/07)

Now there's a puzzler! Are your comments "positive" in that they suggest Moyes is the best we'll get? Or are they "negative" because of their successful debunking of the great optimism that inevitably meets any new manager appointment? Answers on a postcard...

As good as it gets

What`s happened over the road tonight perhaps puts our present position in a kindlier light. Just as Everton were, our local rivals get hammered by Arsenal Reserves. There may well be a `Big Four` but the `Big Three` are really out of sight in another league ? both in management term and the quality of their players and the football they dish up.

However much we rail against the concept, Everton 2007 are just one of the make-weights who make up the Prem. It matters not whether Kenwright, Wyness or Moyes are any good ? they are here to stay. Sensibly, in their eyes, they see their first priority is to stay in the top league. They have all agreed that the club can survive and the CEO and Manager make a very decent living as long as the team finishes about 10th in the table. They don`t budget for any success in the cups because it just never happens.

They know, as we do, that no sensible person or corporation wants to buy the basket-case the club has become so it`s heads below the parapet and just hope that we win more than we lose. We as fans can do nothing other than stay away and most of us won't do that because we just hope....

Good thing about it is that, however shit we feel after Sunday, we all know a lot of people who feel worse tonight. That`s about as good as it gets ? or is going to get. Enjoy!
Morton Fisher, Caldy  (9/1/07)

Gentle Reminder

Just so everyone is aware of the John Moores quote you referred to earlier in the day. It comes from his election address to the 1960 AGM:-

`Everton must have the best players, the best coaches, the best manager and the the best directors. If any of them fail, they must go.`
I took the liberty of including it in a missive I sent to Bill Kenwright a few days ago!
David Hall, Taunton  (9/1/07)

Spot on, as ever, David!

Re: Kevin Campbell

Pehaps I've been misinterperated. I did not say Kevin Campbell never did any good for us. I really appreciate what he did for us. He was great. In his last maybe 12 to 18 months he was of no use though.

He was being paid £40k a week, continually injured and not as effective as he used to be. The man's great, his contribution was awesome, but he had to go, because in the end he was rubbish, where did he go after Everton?

I was merely suggesting that Moyse knows when people need to be moved on. When the players are deadwood/rubbish, and that maybe Moyse is waiting for the right deal.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

Mediocrity continued

Enough is enough; for Gods sake, Moyes go ? and take your fellow 'nearly men' ? McFadden, Beattie, Davies, Osman, Valente, Weir, Hibbert, Johnson, Howard, Wright and Pistone ? with you! There is no flare, no passion, no football in your team; it is just not good enough. True Evertonians, and indeed all lovers of football, know "it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

We have become the 'fairly solid performer at home team'. The 'not very popular and little appreciated' away team. We are the football equivalent of John Prescott.
Alan Corken, Belfast  (9/1/07)

Blue Bill ? Go Easy on Him!

Despite everything, I think it's time to cut Blue Bill some slack, lads. He must be in a terrible state - I've just seen Judge John Deed giving his missus a good seeing to on the telly.
Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

Unbelievable

I know this is a pretty pointless debate as we are all fully aware that, while BK remains at the helm, Danger Moyes is going no where. I'd really like him to succeed, but my doubts that he can are growing. Sometimes clubs need to bring in a new face to take them to a new level as the incumbent manager has taken things as far as he can. Danger Moyes can't seem to get his team to perform with any consistency. One week we're great... the next a nightmare.

For once, I agree with Tony Marsh. We should pursue George Burley. I do give Danger Moyes credit for lifting us from the basement where we have spent most of our Premiership existence. That's progress by any measure but like many of us, I want more. I want some silverware. But we all know DM is going nowhere and perhaps that's what hurts the most. There's no prospect of things improving.

If the Chairman came out and stated that Saturday's miserable FA cup performance was well below the standard that this great club should have to endure, we'd probably be able to console ourselves with the thought that things MAY change if the same drivel gets served up again. Now there is no cup run to distract us this club should aim to finish in the Uefa Cup spots at least. Any lower and the season is wasted.
Paul Kish, Maylands, Australia  (9/1/07)

In Reply to Kevin Sparke

Welcome back Kevin.

For the record, I want a manager who can get the team playing good football, who'll give a young player a FAIR chance, who'll recognise what areas of the team needs strengthening, who has tactical awareness, who'll gain respect from his players so they will be up for each game, who will ensure that a hammering is a very rare occurrence and not a common one.

I actually wanted Moyes out last year so we could go for Martin O'Neill but was told he wasn't interested in management now, oh yeah. I still think someone like Dave Jones would do a much better job than Moyes. But please don't let the awful standards of the last 10 years make you think Moyes will do.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

Negativity

Tony Marsh and friends are called negative people, I am of the same ilk, but like to put another slant to it. My view is that I am being positive when I say, I want to see the back of Kenwright and have him replaced by someone with a bit of decency and humility running through his veins, someone who will tell the truth about the state the club is in, good or bad. Not to tell lies like there are all kinds of millionaires waiting to put money into the club, or telling the fans (who are the real owners of the club) that he is in talks with some fancy dan footballer who just can't wait to play for us.

I am being positive when I say I want Everton to WIN the Premiership not be a mediocre tenth or lower, I don't want an FA Cup run to the fourth round; I am being positive when I say I want to walk through the portals of Wembley Stadium to see Everton in the final.

I watched Everton go down to the old Second Division in 1950 and they played better football and with more heart than they do today, so I positively want to see the back of that clown Moyes ? he is definately the PITS!! In answer to Brian Baker "Who are going to get in?" I personally would dig up Spike Milligan. He certainly couldn't make a bigger joke of us than Moyes has. It's time for Useless Bloody Eustace to go!!! Thank you for your space Mr Editor.
Colin Potter, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

You're welcome, Colin. Sadly, i think your wishes won't be coming true any time soon... and yes, that's is very negative of me!

Mediocrity

After following our great club for over 45 years, I cannot believe how we have been allowed to become an also-ran. I remember feeling unhappy in the 70's but that looks like a golden era compared to now. Unless some multimillionaire invests in our club the mediocrity will continue and we will have only the likes of David Moyes and James Beattie at our club.

I look at Liverpool ? ok, they are not so good now ? and I think we should have achieved as much as they have. We have the same fanatical support and history and the same large crowds as they have but we have been left behind and we are now no better than Fulham, Middlesborough or any of the other teams in mid-table. I can't understand why no-one will buy our club. What a nightmare!
Andrew Clare, Italy  (9/1/07)

Andrew: no-one will buy our club because it is Not for Sale. End of.

Kevin Campbell

Just a point to Dan O'Brien, to label Kevin Campbell as rubbish is doing the man a great disservice. Remember if you will that Kevin virtually kept us up one year single handedly. Whatever club he has been with, he has been a true proffessional and given his all.

And welcome back Sparkey, just a point though, we qualified for the champions league qualifying stages not THE champions league. (Knew you wouldn't be away for long, you are far to intelligent for the other sites.)
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (9/1/07)

The Wake is Over

How sad that so many of your correspondents get so little pleasure from supporting our great club! Do they not realise that the main attraction of football is its ups and downs? The highs and lows they feel about Everton are replicated in the hearts and minds of the followers of every club in the land-including the infernal `top four`. Ours was not the only team to suffer the ignominy of early exit from the outdated FA Cup but the wake is over, it`s no longer important and our thoughts should now be on this weekend`s game. As someone posted yesterday, we are but six points off European contention ? it`s time to lighten up!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (9/1/07)

Critics often feel they are scoring points when they say we seem to enjoy Everton losing... And what is it exactly that you are advocating here, Richard? That we should derive some perverse pleasure from the lows!?! NURSE!!!!

New Manager

In Brian Baker's latest post he asks who could we get who would be better than Moyes. Brian, the question should be "Who could we get that could possibly be worse than Moyes?" I don't think it is possible.

Terry Graham mentions Steve Coppell and I think that's a great shout. He has worked miracles at Reading. Paul Jeweell is another young manager with Merseyside connections who has a better track record than Moyes. Won promotion to the PL with two different sides and got little Wigan to a cup final.

I watched Martin Allen's MK Dons last night and they play better stuff than us. He has completely transformed them since he left Brentford were he also did a fantastic job on limited resources. It won't be long before that lad gets a call from a PL chairman and does the buisness in the top flight. Don't forget, most good managers start a few levels down at first.

I think George Burley does a great job where ever he goes and his sides play nice football. He transformed Hearts in Scotland and is pushing Southhampton into a promotion spot in his first full season.

In fact I could go on all night about decent managers who are better than Deadly Dave. What you need to do Brian is take off the blinkers and have a good look around you. There are plenty of talented managers who would leave Moyes and his Sunday League tactics for dead.

If we are really honest, a big-name manager probably wont come to us in our present state so we will have to look in the lower leagues for a new man. Either that or at much smaller clubs' managers.

My list for a possible replacement for Moyes would read like this:

1) Anyone but Moyes.
How's that?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

It could have been worse!

Enough of the doom and gloom! Take heart from the one positive thing to come out of last week: we didn't sign Barry Ferguson. That's as good as a new signing isn't it?
Alan Rogers, Blackpool  (9/1/07)

Time to go?

Reading the mailbag, it appears that most people feel the same way about David Moyes as I do. However, I think it's important to give credit where it's due: Moyes has improved the club and we are definitely in a healthier position than when he took over. Unfortunately, it is now painfully clear that this is as far as he is capable of bringing us. While he may improve over the years and become the equal of Wenger and Ferguson, it seems highly unlikely.

The way I see it is we have two choices:

1. Give Moyes another five years to get us to where we should be

2. Accept his limitations and get rid
Now I'm aware that finding an availale replacement superior to Moyes may prove difficult but have we any other real option?

I'm hoping that by the end of the season Moyes will have made me look a fool and we will have strengthened our squad (unlikely) in the January transfer window, finish in the top 6 and be on the brink of something special but somehow I doubt it from a man still talking about avoiding relegation four-and-a-half years into his five-year plan.

Thanks for the memories, Dave, but it's time to shape up or ship out....
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (9/1/07)

The Insidious Culture of Mediocrity

With regard to Alan Burbridge's Feature Article, I'm not too sure what your point is to be honest ? you go as far as mentioning 'There seem to be too many people at the game for the 'Premiership experience' or something, who actually do think "it's just a game".

Urm... it is just a game, and if someone wanted the experience you bang on about then why go to a wooden ground with less boxes than Northampton? Perhaps each person entering should be quizzed on their motives for watching a game before being accepted into the ground. Maybe Mr Alan Burnham himself could honour us by selecting who can join his Nazi regime and help boo the team off the pitch.

Nice one Alan ? a really poor effort at a general slagging off of the fans, the manager and the players... you missed out the mascots ? lazy bastards!
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (9/1/07)

Uh? Well, I guess that just goes to encapsulate the huge spread of opinions that exists among Evertonians. For what its worth, I thought what Alan wrote was spot on in every respect, whereas your bizarre extrapolation of what he was saying seems rather ridiculous, to be honest. But there ya go. We obviously see all these things very differently.

Yes, at one level "It is just a game"... But at almost every other level, it ceased being "just a game" a long long time ago and really is a huge amount more than that, whether you care to recognize the fact or not. — Michael

Possible Managers

Why the clamour for who would "we" suggest as managers for Everton when the decision would be the trainset keeper's?

As another matter of interest I personally would be averse to an English manager if that meant another clone from the dreary school of Howard Wilkinson boring football.

Arsene Wenger came from the footballing majesty of the Japanese J league, admittedly a short successful spell prior to that at Monaco but neither the most illustrious leagues in the world.

Jose mourinho's management career began around 2000-01 in the Portugese league (without, may I add, a lot of cash to spend) with União de Leiria, who he took to fourth place; then on to Porto where he began his stringent training regimes and very entertaining brand of attacking football.

Truth be told there are plenty of prospective managers out there who are both capable and willing but without BS Bill's vote of approval it is not going to happen.

Welcome back too for Kevin Sparke; I personally enjoy your well thought-out and presented postings even if I don't always agree with them.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (9/1/07)

Piece I sent in earlier

I have just re-read the piece I sent in earlier and your response, Michael.

just to explain,I should have stated that it was any fan of any club, not just Everton, that will never have a perfect club to support. There will always be an aspect of a club that a fan will find fault with, regardless of how well that club is doing. That is what I meant.

I apologise for not being more clear the first time, had just finished an over night in work and the brain was a bit off. I would never critise Everton fans by the way. They still persevere in supporting the club, regardless of how it's doing. And I agree with you that we should never be accepting of any level of mediocrity. Apologies again for any offence.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (9/1/07)

No worries, Kieran. I am just interested to see that people who tend to be supportive of the rubbish that is being served up currently find the need to denigrate other Evertonians and the high standards they expect this club to exhibit. Where's my favourite quote from Sir John Moores when I need it... — Michael

Moyes

Aah the good old days seems to have gone by so quickly... the euphoria when Moyes signed, the days of the People's Club... European qualification; dodgy decisions; to be an Evertonian... won't change it for anything.

Firstly, which of the top managers, with the amounts of cash being spent, have not gone trough a tough patch? Mourinho and Wenger currently, SAF last year? Let's be realistic: the team is slowly taking shape.. they are getting younger and better.

Also ,questioning Moyes's dourness etc... Cahill, Arteta, Van der Meyde, Johnson, Valente, Yobo, Lescott ? all quality and all able to walk into any first team. Let's be patient. stability is there and the results will follow.
Damascene Taylor, Cape Town, South Africa  (9/1/07)

Are they good or bad results? ;-) ? Colm

Moyes's Predictable Play

I agree with Alan Clarke, Moyes is too predictable. I have supported David Moyes for the last 5 years but now I think his predictability has taken Everton as far as they can go. If I was the Board, I would now be considering our options on bringing in an affordable, more attack-minded manager such as Steve Coppell.

Steve Coppell was an exciting intelligent player who has learnt his trade in the lower reaches and has done a fantastic job at Reading. With his degree in economics (useful for helping him pursuade the board about good value players) and his North West roots, maybe he is the man to turn Everton's fortunes around and recreate the style of play famed as the "School of Science".

ps: Steve Coppell is only contracted at Reading until the end of this season.
Terry Graham, Birkenhead  (9/1/07)

He's a man I've half fancied for the job at some point in the future. He's a pretty decent record in management bar the one MAJOR blot on his CV (the brief tenure at Manchester City). In this era whereby we all bemoan the lack of finance in place to be in position to compete, he's spent not far beyond a grand total, I believe, of one solitary million pounds, to build the current squad he has at Reading. That, I believe, constitutes a marvellous job in this climate. One for the future perhaps? - Colm

Vive le Difference

Except for games shown on Satellite TV and rare mentions of our team in the local media, I rely on my computer to keep up to date on Everton affairs. My three adult sons are Toffees but they live hundreds of miles distant and in different directions. Starved of normal communication with fellow supporters, ToffeeWeb goes a long way to feeding my appetite.

I have scanned lots of football sites and TW stands alone for its level of debate. The standard set by most TW posters is a bit daunting for this ex-Malachys lad. My literary brilliance usually comes to the fore a split second after pressing the SUBMIT button.

The first thing I look for is Michaels match report followed by Ken Buckley?s ?From My Seat?. How I wish to be sitting next to him. Then I look at the letters and also wish for a bit more levity to counter-balance a growing tide of disparagement.

Dear old Dutch?s over the top enthusiasm brought some light relief but now we only have Doddy with his eternal, some might say infernal optimism. Debate without an alternative view ceases to be debate and turns into an uninteresting monologue. Despite our many differences of opinion we are all Evertonians with the club's best interest at heart. As my old dad would say, ?We may be on different trams but they are all going to the Pier Head.'

Having said that and before I press that SUBMIT button please accept in advance my apologies for any perceived insults, bad grammar, rambling rubbish or anything else that in any way causes offence.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (9/1/07)

You make us sound like some social service... or an updated version of The Flying Doctor! Get out there and shear some sheep, or shoot a dingo for breakfast. ;) — Michael

I Agree

I do agree with Alan Clake's article on Moyes's tactics. My main gripe with Moyes is, regardless of the scoreline, he never changes things up. We can be 3-0 down at HT and we start with the same starting players in the 2nd half. Also why are we the only team in the league that cannot hit a shot from more than 20 yards? We try to walk the ball in the net everytime, even when we are playing bad.

I think teams are starting to suss us out, Moyes needs a different approach to some of our games.
Billy Davis, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

Replacement

There is no point in calling for Moyes's head and trying to unsettle the club further, if you can't state who we can replace him with.

We need to play as if we are fighting for our status, all the fans should be loud every game. Being silent is as bad as booing. We should look at ourselves before we look at the players. The last few years we have peetered out in the stadium. We don't do it justice. We are not going to have Goodison much longer, Moyes is not going anywhere, so let's get behind them and see what happens.

When we get loud, you can see players in the opposition looking scared and that's why we don't lose much at home. We need to be consistantly loud. It makes it a better day out. If you want silence in the audience, go and watch ballet!
Dan OBrien, Liverpool  (9/1/07)

Nice one! - Colm

Intelligent observations from a wise manager

"As soon as me and Willie came in and watched the videos, we could tell Everton were light weight in midfield, they simply did not defend as a team"

One FA Cup, One European trip and another we should have got finishing sixth and all acheived in less time with less money than Moyes has had. Welcome back Kevin Sparke, your contributions are valued mate.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (9/1/07)

Shake it up

The Alan Clark and Alabn Burnham articles are both bang on the money. Since Moyes arrived, we have seen about half a dozen real quality performances from the team, if we are brutally honest. The jury has been out ever since he took up the position.

And yes he will go when it suits him ? probably to a higher paid job, which he doesn't deserve. The team playing here now are basically what he has assembled; although they're not great players, they aren't as bad as results show. It's clearly his negative and clueless tactics and obvious lack of man-management skills that are to blame.

If he isn't careful, we will lose Anichebe and Vaughan in the same way as Rooney, because he won't play them and give them the right experience. Rooney proved as an 18-year-old that all they want to do is play the game every week, not sit on the bench, stifling their passion and youthful exuberance, while over-paid, over-weight "superstars" are out on the pitch, sauntering through each game.

With nothing left to play for, Kenwright should be shaking up attitudes, employ a new tactician and give the lads a chance!!
Dave Miles, Hants  (9/1/07)

Better the devil you know...

I have listened to letter after letter from people, who are asking Moyes to leave. "Let's get rid of Moyes and get in a manager who knows what he is doing". I am not a sticking up for Moyes, I know he has his faults, but who would replace him? ...well?... I'm waiting for a suggestion.

Who out the known football manager community, is:

  1. Available?
  2. or willing to leave his existing club and come to Everton?
  3. Better than Moyes?
Is there nobody out there that fits this bill? I used to think that Martin O'Neill was the dogs dangles, when it comes to football management, but he is having a worse season than Moyes, with Villa as the league draw specialists.

How about Mark Hughes? Well we had him on our books as a player, and missed the chance to offer him a position to train as a coach. But would he leave Blackburn to manage Everton?

Why look any further than our own club? Couldn't Andy Irvine do a better job than Moyes? Who knows?

The point I am trying make is, that if we get rid of Moyes, who do we replace him with? Anybody we bring in from the lower leagues will carry an element of risk. Likewise any foriegn coach will also carry a risk. So we could end up with someone a lot worse than Moyes. Is Moyes really that awful? Will Moyes improve as he learns? I am hoping he will. SAF thinks he will.

The litmus test will be our league position and the quality of our squad come the summer. Will finshing 9th, coupled with a stronger squad, and having a place in the Inter scrotum cup be good enough and will it be seen as progress from last year?

Only time will tell, but to coin a well known proverb, "Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't".
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (9/1/07)

Could Andy Irvine do a better job than Moyes? Thought he was a folk singer! ;-) ? Colm

Perfect club

Have just read Art Greeth's article entitled 'If you know your history' on the home page. Well said, Art. Your article sums up perfectly all the pieces and arguments and complaints myself and others have posted over the last couple of months.

Unfortunately, to football fans, I don't think we will ever have a perfect club, regardless of who we support. Even Utd fans, at the height of the club's footballing and commercial success in the Ninties, probably complained about ticket prices and not being able to get into the ground as a local. (Fair enough point though, you should see all the package deals going over from the ferry port in Dublin to Old Trafford...)

Thing is though, I'd rather be picking holes in a club that's just retained the Championship than feeling miserable about what we have at the moment.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (9/1/07)

I can't agree. If I analyse that piece, it comes across mainly as a gripe against other Evertonaians for reacting aginst the shite served up, and almost blaming them for not protesting more at key points in the past (whose significance can only be asignined with hindsight). Oh and a "contrary" view that we need to moveto freahen things up. Did he actually say anything else?

And hen you say "the Championship", do you mean... Oh never mind. — Michael

Silverware

A strange bit of trivia I came to find this morning: the question was on a forum discussing the FA Cup and the apparent loss of magic. But it wasn't anything to do with the FA Cup and magic that I found both surprising and food for thought. One poster asked the question, "Who was the last team outside of the 'Big Four' to win the trophy?"

I pondered this one and in the end gave up, thankfully later on someone answered, and though I guess many of you know the answer straight away, for those like me who couldn't work it out off the top of our heads the answer is Everton in 1995... For me, this surprising little statistic tells the story of modern football, dominated by a small proportion of teams whose financial clout is far an away above those below.

So where does that leave us now, and indeed our underfire manager David Moyes? Is criticism of his lack of Silverware a tad harsh, or have we as Evertonian's suddenly found an interest in the "League Cup"? Which to be fair, if anyone ever brings up the fact we have never won one the usual response is a derogitory remark about its waste of time.

I think saying Moyes "should" have won a trophy by now is harsh, though I would agree that he "should" have at least given us the hope of winning one. I also believe a lot of the critism about him being a "disaster" and "worst thing to happen to the club" are off-base. His obvious limitations as a manager have brought us from the brink of extinction to where we are now, and to be fair, there are a number of other names to do a lot worse to our club in the last 17 years.

Like a lot of Evertonians, perhaps the majority, my mind on Moyes is not made up. I will give him my every support for the rest of the season, and see what happens there. My expectations are maybe less than a number of others, a good challenge on Europe and a top 8 finish my minimum for classing a good season. And my guess is if he achieves that, and the quality of football somehow improves, I will back him another season.

If and when Moyes does leave the club though, will his reign be remembered as "what might have been?" Yes, but I think the man will be able to walk away when he does, knowing he did achieve, to the best of his ability, and you cannot ask anymore of a manager than that. And I question, whether, Kendall 2 & 3, Walker, Smith could say the same.

Simple truth to those wanting him gone, unless Ranger's do a massive U-turn and offer something he can't refuse (1 in a million chance of that I guess), it isn't going to happen during this season. We are hitting another season of up's and down's, let's see what happens during the transfer window, and let's see what happens now in the league 'til the end of the season.
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (9/1/07)

Comparing apples and pears...

The failure of Moyes to win any silverware as yet is obviously a grave dissapointment. The failure of Moyes's teams to play attractive football is also very sad indeed!

However, to compare Moyes's tenure at Everton with that of Ferguson at Man Utd strikes me as incorrect: When Ferguson went to United they had plenty of transfer budget. The cost of players then was considerably less than now, as were players wages. However, United then had in reality (when considering the relative purchasing power of all the top-flight clubs) far more financial resources than Moyes did or does have. Accordingly, to compare the length of time for Moyes to win silverware with that of Ferguson seems plain wrong (given the relevance of resources to results in football these days - even more so than previously it seems).

By the time Moyes arrived, Everton had drifted a long way down from our historical mean, in terms of wealth, playing resources and league position. Therefore, to expect Moyes to turn things around quickly seems quite unrealistic, unfortunately! My recollections are that Ferguson spent a relative fortune on building a side when he first arrived, that was not up to the job... overspending on luxury players such as Danny Wallace etc if memory serves me correctly. Fortunately for him and Manc fans, he was allowed time to spend more funds to get it right.

Whether Moyes gets further considerable funding remains to be seen. As does whether he is able to mould a team that consistently plays good to watch football, rather than sporadic 'flashes in the pan', a la against Spurs and Liverpool this season. The glass certainly seems more like half-empty than half-full at the minute! Will we be able to stuff Reading on Sunday and go on a barnstorming run up the table???

Oh the joys of being an Evertonian... a state of perennial forlorn hope it seems just now. Please god, let there be light at the end of the tunnel!
Pete Moore, Singapore  (9/1/07)

Err... too much information! On that basis, we should give Moyes 25 years to get it right, FFS!

Brad, you're hilarious

Ok, I just read Brad Alton's funny post about Everton strikers. "flair" isn't a word I would ever have used to describe Ferguson. He was jailed for his pre-Everton actions not long after arriving and by the time Moyes showed up he had long since become a washed-up over-aggressive, injury-prone waste of space.

Radzinski? I always thought it was optimistic to expect a lot of goals in the EPL from someone who averaged about 14 in the modestly tough Beligian league and his form at Fulham has hardly been inspiring.

Marcus Bent? Come on, man ? are you serious? His best ever season was his first year at Everton under Moyes.

Beattie: another waste of space who Southampton somehow made seem good until they flogged him for a huge price-tag ? just as they did with Wayne Bridge, Peter Crouch, Danny Wallace, Theo Walcott, Colin Clarke, etc. It's a long-time con they have been running.

Then we come to Johnson and to my mind he is just about on track to score about as many goals as he did in his only previous Premiership season. Differance being that he took all the penalties at Palace and, prior to Sunday, he just earned them at Everton.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (9/1/07)

Hold the Faith

Still only half-a-dozen points off a European place, at least three first-choice players about to be back for selection, and the prospect of a couple of signings in the window. Not all bad, is it?

Despite the pisser on Sunday, Everton FC have been at a much lower ebb than this and I, for one, think that this will still be a season of success. For God`s sake, hold the faith!
Pete Radditch, Crosby  (9/1/07)

The curse of Moyes

Nobody could have been more excited than me over the signing of Andy Johnson. Then, when he made such a positive start, I was sure we had hit the jackpot. Fast-forward three months and my hero has been reduced to yet another very average, hard-running non-producer and my dreams lie in tatters.

What is it that Moyes and his staff do to every forward they have contact with? It`s as if the player`s natural flair gets gradually squeezed out of them in a requirement to run faster and defend deeper each game. Beattie, Bent, Radzinski ? even Ferguson ? all became less effective players under Moyes (McFadden never was any good!) and now the curse of ineffectiveness has struck Johnson.

It just CANNOT be co-incidence; Moyes & Co are destroyers of natural talent and flair ? how ludicrous it will be to give them more money to do likewise with. A change is the only answer.
Brad Alton, Mold  (9/1/07)

re Peter Snape

Peter, mate, It must be that time of year. Like yourself, I have tried to make my grandson a blue but his dad is a red (as is his brother). But just to give you hope, read this:

The son-in-law and his brother are professional comedians so, as his uncle was in the panto, my son-in-law took our Harry to see him. Part of the act was taking kids on stage, asking them where there from and who they support, as it's base is Manchester, all the kids parade on stage and on cue: "Where you live?" "Manchester." "Who do you support?" "United."

So, finally, our Harry is last, wearing a Liverpool shirt: "Where you live?", "Liverpool", "and who do you support?" Then, with a big grin on his face, my 5-year-old shouted loud and proud "EVERTON!" The place eurupted in laughter; his uncle, Chris, was gobsmacked, and our boy cheered off the stage. So keep the faith!
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (8/1/07)

Make your voices heard

There is only one way to make your voices heard... or not heard, to be precise. Boycot the games: don't pay your hard-earned cash to watch over-paid under-achieving players stroll round the hallowed turf of Goodison. We need new money, young adventurous money, behind whatever manager we have installed for next season. Hopefully it will be someone with drive and a knowledge of the transfer market in top-flight football.
Simon Rimmer, Wigan  (8/1/07)

It really is time to go Davey

Once again, Davey boy fails to motivate his players and we become a laughing stock. Never mind eh, the suckers will turn up on Sunday against Reading...

I certainly hope they don't; the only way to get Moyes out is to not attend ? it's as simple as that. Make a statement, just miss the one game, it's only Reading and it's on a Sunday, which we all hate!! But if you feel you must attend until the end of the season, remember the last game of the season at Goodison, boo the ginger one and guaranteed he'll disappear. In fact, go to the game on Sunday, and boo him then! ? maybe he'll leave earlier!!
Tommy Garibaldi, The deserted stand  (8/1/07)

Support

Most people tend to work harder if they feel comfortable in their surroundings. In contrast, if people get shouted at and abused they feel miserable, and merely turn up, rather than bust a gut for the cause. Maybe collectively we need to be more patient. Let's face it, everyone makes mistakes, Moyse is not stupid. He worked out Kilbane and Bent had served their purpose and moved them on; he worked out Krøldrup was a mistake.

He must know that Davies and Beattie, are not up for the challenge. I believe they will not be at Everton next season. We have to wait for the best deal. Look at all the rubbish he's got rid of: Blomqvist, Ginola, Gazza, even Big Dunc and Kevin Campbell.

I think Tim Cahill is our best player by a million miles, and that if he had been fit we would be in the top four or five now. If Liverpool did not have Carrager for 3 months they would struggle.

I lived in Cyprus for a few years. Before I went, we had the likes, of Scott Gemmill, and Mark Pembridge. I've been to Goodison 4 times this season and watched all the other games on Arab satellite TV, and I think we are much better to watch, so is Moyse actually that bad? On reflection, I think not.
Dan O'Brien, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

Booing Players

Chris Platt, I do agree with you about your right to boo players who don't try or who let the team down by getting themselves sent off unnecessarily (like our dear old Dunc used to). I would be the first to join that chorus.

I was responding to a previous article which included the description of a so-called supporter shouting "Arteta, you?re fucking crap, why don?t you just go and fuck off, you Spanish ?" That to me is not support. Neither is the shout that I heard at Blackburn earlier in the season "Kilbane, I hope your mother dies of the fuckin' clap". These are not isolated incidents involving Everton support, home or away.

My point was merely that overpaid footballers need a rocket up their arses when they're plainly not trying but need encouraging when they're plainly giving of their best. If their best is not good enough, that's the manager's problem!

Despite their fat salaries, most players in my opinion do give their best shot and abuse does not improve their game. Nor does it attract players to the club if they're considering a move.

I realise that I'm in the minority given some of the vitriol that regularly cascades down from where I sit in the Park End. It starts in the first minute some time!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (8/1/07)

Fergie's Three Years

Tony Wareing asked how long Ferguson had been in charge until United won their first trophy.

Well, Tony, I'm no expert on United's hsitory and stats but I know a few people who are and my sources tell me that Ferguson became manager of United on 6 November 1986 and the first trophy he won was the FA Cup when United beat Crystal Palace 1:0 in a replay on 17 May 1990, which was a period of 3 years and 192 days since his appointment.

Moyes, as of today (8 January) has spent 4 years 300 days in the Everton hot-seat.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

So I would take that as vindication fo the three-year bedding-in period meself.

Ged Dwyer, Tony Marsh and Co

Wrong Mr Dwyer, the reason I stopped contributing to Toffeeweb is because of people like you fella, people who seemingly cannot construct a coherent argument without bending the facts a little bit to suit your stance. If you?d taken the trouble to reason more and rant less, Sir, you might have realised that I?ve actually been a long-term critic of Mr Moyes. Just because my criticism does not encompass wild flights of fantasy and baseless conjecture and is centred upon facts and not prejudice doesn?t mean it has been formless. Just because I?ve praised his successes, credited him with the odd victory, dismissed stupid innuendo, doesn?t mean I?ve been unaware of his faults.

The abiding characteristic of David Moyes?s tenure as manager of Everton Football Club has been troughs and peaks. He?s bought some gems/he?s bought some shite; he?s beaten the best/he?s been beaten by the worst; he?s saved us money/he?s wasted money; we have defended like West Germany/we?ve defended like West Kirby (infants). We?ve qualified for the Champion?s League/we were dumped out at the first hurdle. We?ve scored some poor goals/we?ve scored some? erm?no we haven?t? I?ll give you that one.

You say you were shouting for his head two years ago, Ged ? well woopdee-fucking-doo! Your knowledge of football is obviously as boundless as the universe ? tell me have you thought about the England job perchance? Or perhaps you could head FIFA?? there?s a vacancy you know.

The thing about people like you, Ged, Mr Yussef and Mr Marsh; the ones who knew it all 2,3,4. years ago, who knew that Beattie was going to be a flop, who knew that Krøldrup was shit before he?d kicked a ball (or so you say), is you are always eventually right? seriously, I mean it. I?ll bet there is a Manchester United supporter at this very moment boring his mates shitless with the theory that ?Fergie is shite and ?we? need to move on? and no doubt they?ll have an armoury of half truths and rumours to cement their little theory? and when the wheels do drop off Sir Alex?s pram, they?ll be the first on the appropriate website to validate their uncanny foresight and first class knowledge of the game.

There is a saying in politics that all political careers end in disaster ? the same can be said for football managers if they stick around long enough (Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly apart) Look at the latter careers of Cloughie, Sir Matt, Don Revie as evidence.

There was once a time when I thought Moyes could take Everton back to the top and in the early days perhaps I grasped at evidence of his ?genius? perhaps a little bit too readily ? I admit it. I?ve never knocked the man for perceived and cleverly constructed wrongdoing the ?Dithering Davie? morons for example (I?ll bet it was a Kopite who thought that little mantra up that you boo boys are all so ready to chant). What player in their right mind would want to come to Everton if he can go to Liverpool, Arsenal or even Newcastle where wages are twice we can offer?

For my own part, I reckon the evidence strongly suggests that Moyes has outlived his time with us and perhaps he should consider his position, and I make this assessment on the basis of balance of results not on some half-arsed half-baked Mystic Meggary seemingly based upon voodoo, crystal bollocks and made up ?facts?.

I credit Mr Moyes for getting Everton Champions League football, for making the top half of the table seem more natural than the bottom half, for buying Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Lescott, Johnson (who is a fucking nervous wreck at the moment ? watch his game instead of screaming abuse at him hey lads)

I find it hard to forgive Moyes his negativity re tactics, his poor use of substitutes, his lack of attacking ideas and his ?bad luck? re dodgy penalty decisions.

But never ask me to jump on the "Moyes Out; any-piece-of-recycled shit, rumour or innuendo will do to get him out" bandwagon because I won't go there!

Jeez... I guess I?m back.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (8/1/07)

Well, that was entertaining, Kevin. And very well written in comparison to the work of your nemeses(!) if a bit long for my taste. My stuggle is differentiating your issues, which you say are based on your assessment of what Moyes has done, and the issues others have cited which, (you claim) are based on all sorts of other things (see above). So there are ways that Luq, Tony and other ranters chose to express themselves that get up your nose (mine too, if I'm being honest) but, at the end of the day they are baseing their opionons on the same thisngs as you are: What Moyes does, or doesn't do. Example: wasn't it an ex-player who effectively started the Dithering Dave thing? Confirmed by others who have worked closely with the man? I think we all tend to be selective of which information we absorb and which we reject. Your rant just came across a bit odd to me in that regard. — Michael

True cost!!

I have just written to our club and thought you all might like to read it! I think this is the truth about what is to come for EFC and maybe why only 24,000 fans turned up on Sunday?

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to let you know that thanks to the players of Everton FC, my two grandsons have decided to go and support the dark side of Merseyside. They came to my home this evening showing off their red shirts that their other granddad had just bought them!! Let me tell you that over the last few weeks me and my fellow granddad had taken the grandsons to two matches each, as they were unsure which team to support.

So they have been to two games that the dark half of Merseyside have played and I took them to see Manchester City v Everton and Everton v Blackburn, well you can se what happened and I don?t blame my grandsons one bit!!

I do not blame Mr Moyes in anyway, but I do blame the players as a collective!! As one of my grandsons said on Sunday ? they just run around doing nothing? and ? Why can?t they pass a ball? (meaning the Everton players). Well what could I say? I could have pleaded with them and told them that it was an off day, but off days happen every now and again, not nearly every game!!!

If I was to work like the players I have seen over the last few games, I would get the sack and would only have myself to blame, but these players are on more money each week than I am on for the whole year and lots more!! I think the players should return the monies to all the Everton fans that went to these to games especially and apologize to each and every fan!!

But that is not why I am writing to you, I am just letting you know that my two grandsons (10 and 11 years old) have chosen the red side and this is down to the players of Everton FC and nobody else. If they have no desire to play for Everton FC and wear the blue shirt that we all hold so dear to our hearts, then get rid of them and get people who hold our club in high esteem (like the fans do).

Sorry for going on, but I was looking forward to taking my grandsons to Goodison each week with me (like I have done for nearly 40 years).

A very disheartened granddad.

Peter.


Peter Snape, Bootle  (8/1/07)

re: Moyes' Further Five Years

I think Sebastian made a fair point in his post, Michael. A lot of people on this board seem to suffer from memory loss. Yes, Moyes has had five years; yes, he may have a further five years more. Yet you and many others seem to forget what exactly he has achieved in his time here with a real sense of under appreciation.

I have never experienced glory with Everton as a fan, yet even I can see the progress the club has made under his tenureship. It's a wonder other people can't. Can you believe we are actually talking about winning trophies, finishing in the European places? I don't remember any of this pre Moyes, Do you?
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Merseyside  (8/1/07)

Oh my God! Where do I begin. So it's you AND Moyes: you both think 4th place was the highest Everton have ever finished. And you have the audacity (of youth?) to talk of memory loss!?!?!?!?! If only you had even the faintest inkling of our history... Un-fucking-believeable! ? Michael

No news is bad news!

I'm checking my computer almost as often as I was when it was the Rooney stay/go period. I'm praying Moyes will go to Rangers or take the Scotland job, although I realise the chance of this joke leaving the easy money that always seems available at Everton is unlikely.

I hoped more realistic good news would be to see the back of Beattie, Davies, Wright etc but its all gone quiet on that front too. Nice to see Beattie has 'earned' some new wheels for himself, a speedy, agile and very attractive Lamborghini no less.... could a car be less like its owner... a broken-down transit van with a full load of manure is more in tune with the worst signing in the history of Everton Football Club.

Clearly Tony Marsh is bang on with his recent posting and lots more now see a little clearer. Lots of us recognised Moyes's limitations years ago, the signing of Beattie was my personal light-bulb moment. Trouble is, when is Kenwright and the Board going to have theirs? Sad as it is, the only thing that might prompt some movement is declining interest and attendances. This is what we are being reduced too!... hoping it actually gets worse because thats the only way, eventually, in the very long run, it might start to get better!
Mike Price, Vancouver, BC, Canada  (8/1/07)

Miss Footie Fanatics Competition

Calling all Toffees!!

In an attempt to stop page 3 wannabes using football as their route to fame, the esteemed Evertonian and utterly gorgeous Little MIss Bluenose has entered the online 'Miss Footie Fanatics' competition. Through to the final 20 contestants ? and up against representatives of Redshyte and Barcode persuasion among others - she needs a final avalanche of votes to make sure she walks away with the crown she deserves

Our Royal Blue beauty queen says: "I don't for a second think I can win it - there are girls on there posing in knickers and men are simple creatures ;o) but it would be great to finish in the top 3 and win some vouchers for sportswear". Please help prove her unnecessary modesty wrong and place a vote every day this week by visiting...

...and voting for picture 20.

She's a stunner and she's one of our own - so remember a Blue vote is never a wasted vote and, after Sunday's disaster show, this is if nothing else a chance for Everton to actually win this season!

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
James Yates, Hull  (8/1/07)

Come off it! That's a bit too much like our Davey thinking he's going to win the cup without bothering to actually try and play attacking footie. Get yer kit off, girl, and let's have a good look at ya!

How Much Time ?

Well how much time does DM need? Put it another way: How long was Ferguson at Old Trafford before he achieved anything?
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (8/1/07)

According to Davey, he needs another 5 years. God help us...

My view

Personally, I think this is without doubt the best squad of players Everton have had for years. Now, if only we could get a manager or coach who knows what he is doing to build them into a team we'd be on our way.
Terry Downes, Stoke  (8/1/07)

If only it were that easy...

Real responsibility

I have sat back for the last few days and just read the letters that have poured into the mailbag. Looking at the cross-section of mail that comes in, there are obviously those that like Moyes and those that don't. There are also those who don't have any real opinion on Moyes, who just support Everton and comment on our performances in each match.

Looking at Sunday's defeat against Blackburn, it was a huge disappointment and I can understand why people get angry when the team don't perform. For those who don't like Moyes and want him out of the club, they will use every defeat or mediocre performance to vindicate their own stance, that Moyes is rubbish, Moyes is sh!te and Moyes should leave Goodison Park in the next taxi.

But hang on... who is really responsible when things go 'pear shaped' on the pitch? Are there not 11 players on the pitch who really ought to shoulder some of the responsibility when things go wrong? After all, they are the ones meant to be out there giving their all, battling for their team, giving 100%, are they not?

So where does Moyes's responsibility stop? Admittedly he picks the team, tries to motivate them, chooses the tactics and makes the substitutions. But he them relinqueshes responsibility to the 11 players who have just gone onto the pitch, leaving his fate in thier hands.

How much responsibility for a lacklustre performance, like on Sunday, should the team captain bear? Is he also partially responsible for team spirit, giving guidance to his team mates, shouting at them when they need shouting at and reasuring them when they need reassurance?

For the anti-Moyes brigade, why stop at Moyes?Let's get rid of Bill Kenwright and Buster Wyness ? after all, they control the purse strings and often dictate who Moyes can buy and not buy.

When a team performs badly, the manager is always an easy target, but who really is responsible? Or should the responsibility be shared by the club as a whole? By the underperforming players?? the indifferent board??? the manager???? Yes, the manager, and the jeering unsupporting fans.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (8/1/07)

Overpaid Prima-donnas!

Don't just blame Moyes. It seemed to me that most of them couldn't be bothered 'til the game was lost. I wonder how many of these players actually care with a passion like us supporters? Do they go home with a sick feeling in the guts? I don't think so, or if they do they only have to look at the bank statements to cheer themselves up. Most of them players on the pitch yesterday earn more in a week than most of us do in 2/3 years!

I sat there yesterday (not for the first time) thinking 'who's the mug here?'. I pull my gonads off 50 hours a week to spend a big chunk of it paying these millionaires, some of whom don't even look like they care that much! I think the day is fast approaching when I've had enough and I'm sure I'm not the only one (at all clubs). Is the bubble about to burst?
Craig McManus, Mold, North Wales  (8/1/07)

Underserved Public Criticism

I feel that Moyes's public criticism of Tim Howard is unjust and undeserved. On a second look at the goals yesterday, it's quite hard to see how Howard could have saved three of them.

1st Goal - Deflection off Yobo, and with Howard already going 1 way it's very hard to readjust in time. Moyes condemned Howard for this.

2nd Goal - Was Howard's fault flat: he was flat footed and never moved his feet and Van der Meyde dilly-dalling on the ball caused the attack for Blackburn.

3rd Goal - Yobo's slack marking caused the goal and with the ball being so close to Howard's feet it's impossble realy to stop them sort of shots.

4th Goal - Pushing for an equaliser left us exposed at the back, Lescott at fault and simply a great goal by one-time target McCarthy.

I personally feel that we should return to 4-5-1 when Cahill returns, a midfield would consist of Van der Meyde, Arteta, Cahill, Carsley and Osman this midfield is proven quality and we played our best football whilst playing this formation.

Also heard a rumour that we will bid for Jerome Thomas for £750k as he has been told he can leave the Valley. Pacey, skillful and a good crosser, could he be the man needed for Beattie to thrive off?
Marcus Beeley, UK  (8/1/07)

Player unrest

When you're a fan of a particular club, you're in it for the long haul. You obviously invest an awful lot more of yourself into your club of choice than most modern day player.

Yesterday's result hurt a lot. Just reading the last two day's worth of posts on this website will tell you that. If you read any of the match result related posts over the last ten or twelve weeks, the current despondancy will come as even less of a surprise.

If you're a talented player in the squad, it mightn't be much better at the moment. While many players today don't give a crap about their club they must realise that they have a very short career. Most must want more than just the obscene amounts of wages as a reminder of that career when it's over.

For some of our journeymen professionals, to be able to say they made more than enough out of a modest talent by playing in the Premiership might be enough. If you're one of our better players though, you might just be starting to have words with your agent. David Moyes is never going to improve on how the squad is currenting performing. He is never going to get more out of the players than he already is. Arteta, Lescott et al know they have no prospect of playing in a stylish team under him, let alone a championship or cup-winning one. With the current Chairman and his relationship with Moyes, they must be thinking that there's even less prospect.

Right now, I would be less worried about players coming in and more worried about an exodus of players. It's a pity though because we do have the makings of a very good squad right now.
Kieran Ftzgerald, Dublin  (8/1/07)

It's always "the makings", though, and never reality. Some urgency, some ambition, some sign of leadership would be nice right about now...

Give and Take

I've noted a few comments moaning about the low attendance and the lack of support when we went 3-0 down. As I wasn't actually there myself, I suppose I'm in no position to comment but in my opinion you've got to accept that (thankfully) most Evertonians aren't stupid.

I'm not one of those people who admire the type of fan that watches say Newcastle or Portsmouth and are quite happy to keep singing/dancing/ wearing no top [delete as appropriate] even when their team is being hammered by one of the big four again. It's amusing I suppose but basically I think they are just stupid.

A Liverpool fan is slightly different. I hate them equally as much as Newcastle fans but the reason why they still support their team even when 2-0 down is because they have a recent history of making comebacks (I'm not even going to remind you of them as it hurts to think about it!).

You need a bit of give and take if you want the Everton fans behind you. We need a bit of inspiration, we need the odd glimpse of skill, we need a bit of hope that one day... one day Moyes might actually produce an attacking team that plays with a bit of self-beleif, one that doesn't walk out onto the pitch automatically thinking it's second best no matter who the opposition is.

Deep down, most of us know that's never going to happen with him in charge. If we can tell that the players can't be arsed to motivate themselves for an FA Cup match then why should we shout ourselves hoarse getting them to shift their collective arse?

I'm trying to think of the last time we made a storming comeback, we've done it (I think Osman did it against Bolton a few seasons back), but not very often. Good job it was only a cup tie eh... otherwise we would have defaulted on our monthly loan repayments.
Iain McWilliam, A Hospital  (8/1/07)

Give him time

Whilst to some it would obviously smack of mediocrity, to the vast number of Evertonians a top half finish this season would re-inforce the widely held view that we are at least moving in the right direction.

As I understand it, David Moyes has asked for, and been granted, a further five years to establish Everton in the top HALF DOZEN of the Premiership. Only at the end of that period will it be fair to judge him a success or failure.
Sebastian St Clare, Harrogate  (8/1/07)

Sez you. Three years is a reasonable period in which a new manager can establish himself, get in 'his' players, and show which direction he is going. Moyes gave us 4th place just at the right time, and sealed his future contract. Since then, .... er... not much to write home about. And you would have that state of affairs continue for another five years!?! I don't think so, Sebastian. — Michael

The Penny Drops, Finally

Finally, after all this time and all these wasted years, the doubters are starting to wake up to the fact that Moyes is a fraud. Even his most loyal of followers are now turning on him. The pathetic excuses being used as reason for our cup exit make me sick. I can't be bothered listening to this dud Moyes any more.

The reason we lost to Blackburn and never get any where in cup competetions is because of Deadly Dave ? full stop. Forget sweving balls and flu bugs. Forget referees fucking up. Forget the work rate we put in. It's almost 5 years since the arrival of Moyes and we still don't have a balanced squad. Example: we have got four left backs and one right back. What a joke. Six midfield players in the first team squad and none of them can play in the middle of the park. Farcical.

I hear this stupid excuse: "All managers make mistakes" from some of our fans. Taking a wrong turn down a one way street is a mistake; boiling an egg for 4 minutes instead of 3 is a mistake; getting lipstick on your collar down the pub is a mistake. Spending £6.5M on Beattie when everyone else knew he was finished and £3.5M on Davies when know one else wanted him, plus the Krøldrup fiasco... well, to me, they are not mistakes. Mismanagement and incompetence, yes. Gross negligence, yes. Very poor judgement, yes ? but not mistakes.

Playing hoofball in this day and age, yes that is a mistake I will give you that one. Not signing Darren Bent and Dean Ashton for the same price we paid for Beattie ? yes, you can have that one as well; big mistake. Let's just say that Deadly Dave's tenure at Everton has been one huge mistake and we should all move on. So should Moyes but he won't and thats going to be the biggest mistake of all.

Please, no more Five-Year Plans or "People's Club" ? just someone who knows what he is doing at a big club like ours. That will do for starters.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

Piss Poor Pies

I could have wept reading the Five Star Service article.

I am about to be a father in the summer, and though my child will be born with blue blood, I have very little to offer him except misery in becoming an Evertonian.

I'm so annoyed about the service and quality of food at Goodison Park, even more so since the new Caterers took over. Since they are paying us a retainer, it would not matter if we boycotted food in the ground, as Everton would still have to be paid by the caterers.

I therefore have set about starting a "bring your own pies" campaign to encourage fans to boycott buying at the ground. Money talks, so they're going to have to listen!

Watch this space...I'll keep you updated.
Dean Paton, Birkenhead  (8/1/07)

Booing of Players

Ray Robinson comments about players not responding well to being booed. Ray personally on that point I think your way off the mark. SOME players do not respond to booing, others do. I can't understand how you want us to support? By just sitting there cheering on every mistake a player makes? If a player is trying 100% and is crap I won't boo him. If a player is crap and ain't trying he bloody well ought to be booed and in effect woken up!

Look at Naysmith last night (I know its painful but do look), when he first came on he was making backwards passes and being lazy. The crowd turn on him, booing etc, and it wakes him up, from what I could see for the rest of the night he sure as hell would not turn back to Howard to pass the ball unless he was in his own half. Even though his passes usually were crap he sent everything forward. I'm just saying this because criticism of players does help a few. Yobo for instance needs to be shaken about a lot more, too laid back half the time.

I don't want to accept mediocre standards and I'm sure you think the same but more importantly I don't want us to play negative football in an FA Cup tie FFS!
Chris Platt, Crewe  (8/1/07)

Moyes out

David Moyes is a loser. Everton will never win anything with him in charge or even get close. Time for a change. No excuses about money, we've improved since he's been here blah, blah, blah. Our "football" stinks, our results stink and there's no light at the end of the tunnel. Top eight team? So what!
Paul Burns, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

Vote with your heart, not your feet!

Just had to write in after a degrading phone call with my uncle, who is unfortunately a kopite. He was very keen to tell me that ?KopTalk? (apparently one of the dark side?s sites) is gloating about the attendance figures yesterday with cracks such as ?People?s Club? etc? I?m furious but most of all let down. I agree with Michael that Evertonians have always been honest in their assessment of their team?s ability. However, by voting with our feet as one poster writes we are merely reducing the club?s expenditure and players/supporters morale. Who would want to join Everton, as a player, supporter or otherwise with those sort of attendance figures? If you love your club and want more for us please attend the games! ps: Great site, think it is fantastic.
Carolyn Hayre, Preston  (8/1/07)

Well, after all, "it was only a cup-tie".

Supporters?

I hate LFC and the badge-wearing, flag waving, protesting fans as much as the next Blue. I would never admit this to a red, however... yesterday as we sat and hoped for a comeback in a half-empty, silent stadium, I did for a moment imagine how Anfield might have responded to yesterday's game.

Imagine Liverpool being 3-0 down at half time to Blackburn, then coming out in the second half attacking the Kop, getting a penalty to pull one back and having 20 minutes to complete the comeback ? regardless of how shite the team had performed prior to this ? Anfield would be an extremely intimidating place. Blackburn players would be crapping themselves and inevitably would fall victim to another amazing Anfield comeback. Us bues on the other hand, with our anti-Moyes agendas, sat there in a miserable wet stadium and sulked. Abysmal support. Absolutely abysmal. I was as bad as everyone else of course. As a collective group we had a very bad day. The end.
Michael Halsall, Kirkby  (8/1/07)

Cup Run... No Chance!

Surprise, surprise: we're out the FA Cup at the first hurdle. Well, we never had a chance of winning it anyway. Not with a team that has no character, no midfield, and no decent manager.

I'll say it again: the midfield is shite. It doesn't matter if we play Blackburn Reserves or Macclesfield the opposition will always create too many chances against us as the midfield can't protect the defence and if those chances go in like yesterday, we're dead and buried because the midfield can't create enough either. When the luck is with us we get the odd Newcastle result and when its not we're beaten. Moyes has had 5 years to build a midfield and we have one decent player there. He is ruining our history, we will never have a cup run and we will keep getting humiliated by ordinary teams while he is in charge.

The only reason people like that Sparke fella have left ToffeeWeb is because they know they were wrong about Moyes and haven't got the balls to admit it. Two years ago, I was getting slagged off all the time for having a go at Moyes. But it didn't stop me from writing in because I care about the team and not a fool of a manager.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

This was almost our 'best' team

What else could Moyes have done on the day? He picked the best team available (not that there were many decisions to make). By half-time we were 3 down, with one enforced substitution already made. The team fought back determinedly enough in the 2nd half to suggest that more or earlier substitutions wouldn't have changed the outcome.

Some sloppy defending and poor performances by key players cost us dearly. And yes, I'm angry about that. It shouldn't need a top coach to motivate these ridiculously overpaid professionals to give of their best in one of the biggest games of the season.

Anyone who says the result isn't so important doesn't know what they're talking about. I feel crushed and dispirited. I dread to think how the players are feeling right now. Moyes's next test will be to pick them up off the floor and restore their self-belief. Anything less than a win against Reading will reinforce those gathering fears about where our season is headed.

My gut feeling is that we've got some class players who still have trust in Moyes, and that we can pick ourselves up from here. But this is a very dark moment and yesterday showed how many members of the team are liable to inconsistent performances.
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (8/1/07)

Yeah, but no, but yeah, but who.....?

The mailbag is interesting reading today. Quite a lot of previous pro-Moyesers (myself included) seem to have finally lost faith. I've always thought that one day DM would finally come good and gradually (let's be realistic) lead us back to our true home at the top of the table.

This weekend has shown David Moyes's managerial capability up in quite explicit fashion. A less experienced manager who has been at his club for less time and spent less money fielded his youth team and trounced us. I've been loyal to Moyes for a long time but its hard to defend him after that.

Sorry to put a pragmatic fly in everyone's ointment though but one question... Who are we going to replace him with? Who is (a) better than Moyes (b) available (c) willing to come to a club with no ambition at board level and zero transfer budget? Answers on a postcard to Mr William Kenwright please. Somehow I suspect DM will be around for quite a while yet...
Michael Johnson, London  (8/1/07)

Back to the Future

Trying to look for positives, a longtime hobby of the Evertonian, and all I can come up with is Howards' howler of a game would have certainly ended his Manc career had it been in a United shirt, so maybe now would be a good time to send a video of the game to the Mancs along with a "we'll take him off your hands, right now" note and get him signed up before the window is done. He had a bad match ? along with the rest of the back line ? but has been a good keeper over the first half of the season when that's what we needed.

Reading Moyes's assessment of the match, you've got to wonder what happened to the enthusiastic manager of a few years ago, whirling like a windmill on the pitch at ten-to-three, who promised exciting attack-minded football from his sides rather than stout hoof it 10 men defending we were enduring under Walter's reign?
Andy Mack, Oxford  (8/1/07)

3-0 down...

.. and Valente goes off injured. There are two strikers sitting on the bench which gives Moyes the perfect opportunity to show some ambition and attacking intent. Instead, he throws on a left back. What a fucking genius. What other manger in the world would bring on a defender when getting beat in a cup tie at home?
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

No more excuses!!

According to Shandy Andy on the official website, the reason why we lost to Blackburn yesterday in the FA Cup was because most of the lads were suffering from a flu bug the week before the game. I wonder how long it took them to think that one up!! Funny no one has mentioned this before, not even our illustrious Manager, in his after game comments.

Why is the FA Cup ball used different to that normally used for the league?

I celebrated when Liverpool got thumped by Arsenal on Saturday ? that's what you get for being mean-minded!! I agree with the former contributor who said that all the Everton fans do is boo ? they don't get behind the team as they should and support them. I never thought I would say it but, fair play to the Liverpool supporters, they were behind their team even when they were three goals down to Arsenal. Who would you say were the shite supporters!!
Freddy Froubar, Cardiff  (8/1/07)

Management

"We thought the balls were a little different, so we practised with them and encouraged the lads to try some shots from distance early on". This (paraphrased) quote comes from a Premiership manager, probably earning around £1M a year. Sadly, it's from our opponents manager, not our own. Mr Moyes said he thought the balls were a bit dodgy too, but couldn't find anyone at Bellefield to put a shot on target to give our keepers any practise.

Basic management, basic training. I bet even Tamworth were training using the FA cup balls, and we weren't. I wonder what the attendance will be if we get a home draw in the third round next year? I can't see it being enough to fill a shiny new 50,000 seater, that's for sure.
Adam Baig, Merseyside  (8/1/07)

Ah, a load of balls!!! Not to worry though, according to a comment from the CEO in one of the lounges after the debacle yesterday, it's "only a cup tie". Those that understand etc... etc... etc... Colm

No Excuse

There is no excuse for losing to the likes of the suntanned exotic place called Blackburn;, Sutton Town in Nottinghamshire could beat 'em. So come on, Everton pull your socks up and give us something to finally shout about.
Michael Knight, Mansfield, Notts  (8/1/07)

But... it was down to the usage of a different ball! Or something! ? Colm

Forced to write

Good morning lads.

I don't actually know what direction this letter is heading although after listening to yesterday's game I felt compelled to write to something, someone, somewhere...

For five years now I have been a so-called-Moyes-fan ? merely happy that he was better than Smith, Walker, Kendall III etc but still true to the values my Dad always taught me about the Blues ? quite simply nothing but the best is good enough! Maybe that's where me and a lot of other blues have gone wrong ? you see I can't take Everton getting knocked out in the 3rd round of the FA Cup; I can't take us being a mid-table to lower-half side; I can't take us signing absolute shite from other clubs ? WE ARE EVERTON FC FOR GODS SAKE!!!

We should be challenging for the top things ? beating arse-end teams like Blackburn out of sight! What's changed? Aside from money men taking the top 4 out of sight ? we haven't changed? Us fans still turn up averaging around 36-odd thousand per game ? so why with this revenue are we not still challenging? Or even trying?

My conclusion has boiled down to two things: a negative manager (toothless at times now) and a woefully inept Board! Moyes has turned potential great players into poor shambolic performers: Arteta, Lescott, Yobo, Beattie (to some extenct) I think would all be national top-class players under the leadership of someone with a bit of positivness about them ? a bit of belief, a bit of nouse! The Board for all their fumbling are simply not doing their job ? how many of us if we underperformed so badly would still be in our job!

I think Moyes seems to think he is doing us a favour by getting us into the top half. I am sure I read he once made a very silly comment like "This is the first time in Evertons history they finished 4th" or something like that. Maybe this idiot doesn't know who we are and what we stand for. Maybe it is simply time for a change of manager ? and Moyes opposite number yesterday would suit me down to the ground!
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (8/1/07)

The Moyes Mantra

Ah, the good old Moyes Mantra. "We were the better team, we deserved more than that". Give it a rest, Davey!

On a slightly different and sour grape-ish note, it was too much to hope that we could go at least one stage further than the Redshites. We even managed to lose by a bigger margin than them! Sad days.
Tom Edwards, York  (8/1/07)

As soon as the whistle blew on Saturday evening across at Anfield and a wry smile broke out on the faces of most Evertonians... you just *knew* we'd somehow go 'one better'... ? Colm

RE: Learn to Accept the Inevitable

Steve, I think those who are frustrated and calling for DM's head do not really expect us to win the FA Cup, but at least get to... quarter finals? At least not 1-4 against Blackburn Reserve? Learn to accept the inevitable, yes, but losing to Blackburn Reserve is not the inevitable.
Daniel Lim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  (8/1/07)

Shambolic performance

In all the years I've watched Everton, that performance left me speechless. And now, the morning after, while listening to the radio and writing this, I cannot believe some of the stupid comments by our manager: "The ball was at fault!", "We were the better team"!!!

It more than proves to me that this man does not watch the same game as the fans; he fantasizes in his reasons for our performance or should I say LACK of it. Mark Hughes showed his opinions of us by putting out an under-strength team that was more than capable of beating us, and its about time Kenwright took our manager to task and started asking questions re his mental state.
Norman Merrill, Liverpool  (8/1/07)

Nostradamus, eat your heart out

Who ever said, as a result of the poor performance at City, that he thought the gate would drop if the season ticket holders had to pay out cash, spot on... who do you fancy for the National?? If you can't say anything good about someone, well, don't say anything...
Derek Thomas, Auckland, New Zealand  (8/1/07)

Team Selection

The worst part of our exit today was the team that was selected. This was the best team Everton have to offer in my opinion. Maybe Hibbert in for Neville and McFadden/Vaughan for Osman to change things round, but besides that we don?t get any stronger in terms of personnel. The team has enough attacking intent with enough cover for defensive responsibilities. So we created enough chances but lost convincingly.

The variable in this scenario is the Manager. I shall be interested to see if he can persist with this particular team playing until the end of the season. If we are not successful in gaining a Uefa Cup place then Moyes has done all he can do for the club and he should move on. They?re mostly his signings playing to his tactics. This would only happen if common sense had any part to play in football.
Jerome Esterhazy, Australia  (8/1/07)

Er.. what about Cahill? I think he hails from your neck of the woods.

Blackburn

I am not making excuses for yesterday?s inept display but would just like to say that Blackburn are a decent team in Premiership terms. Mark Hughes is proving to be a better manager as time passes. Look at what he did for the Welsh side, how they missed out on qualifying after being 11 points ahead at one point.

I would argue that he has probably had less, maybe quite considerably less money than Moyes and has taken Blackburn from a struggling team a season or two back, into the Uefa Cup this season, which might also explain there very poor start this time round. They are starting to find their rhythm and although he played some of his youngsters today it seems he knows exactly what he is doing. An earlier poster mentioned him as a future Everton boss and I would certainly welcome him.

Enough of the Blackburn praise? just saying that Everton were undone by a shrewd operator and his team. As for Everton, I really find it hard to find words to describe our performances other than the inconsistency and seemingly complete lack of belief at times?
Gary Russell, Taiwan  (8/1/07)

Mark Hughes: striker in his day. Has his players practising long shots to unnerve the nervey Howard. After all, it is about scoring more goals than your opponent. And then we have Moyes, whose ethos is all about defending and work hard. Tough choice... — Michael

Occam's Razor

Savage, Essien, Parker, Sissoko. Moyes knows exactly the position that needs improving, but has been beaten to the signing or reluctant because of money/wages.

Quite simply (Occam's, remember) without 'that' midfielder we cant move forward. Currently we are toothless in midfield and the opposition are loading up on bruisers knowing they can kick us off the park.
Boris Berluskofski, Jersey  (8/1/07)

That's enough silly titles — Ed

The Day The Music Died

I believe that, during every managers reign at a club, there comes a defining moment. Remember the woeful first half performance at Boro in the FA Cup some years ago when Everton found themselves 3-0 down at half-time and Walter finally got the bullet a few days later? Strange then, that a similar half-time scoreline should herald the end of David Moyes reign at Goodison. The only difference being I believe he will walk of his own accord at the end of this season.

After five largely roller-coaster years in charge, he was tactically out-smarted by Mark Hughes who wasn't afraid to ring the changes and throw the kids into the Blackburn team on Sunday. Can you ever imagine Moyes doing the same?

So what happens next? The club suffered a massive drop in gate revenue on Sunday as fans clearly voted with their feet and, unless there is a remarkable turnaround in form, things will only get worse. The irony is, with the imminent return of Cahill for the remainder of the season, he will almost have a full strength squad to choose from, so no excuses that the season was ruined by injuries.

The big-money buys of the last three years (Johnson excluded) have simply not deivered in key areas of the team and have come back to haunt the manager bigtime. Now watch the Goodison spin-machine go into overdrive with a fantastic range of offers to entice us to the game! Anyone for a ¼-season ticket going cheap!
Steve Hogan, Chester  (8/1/07)

More than a question of balls!

Let`s recognise that just as Arsenal sent out a half-strength team against us in the Carling Cup, so Blackburn rested at least six regulars yesterday. Leaving aside the excuse of dodgy balls ? where does Moyes dig up these gems? ?Everton showed little appetite for the fray with every department of the team only half with it.

Much as I raved about Johnson and Howard in early season and Yobo and Lescott more recently, all four were culpable today and I do think the team has some fundamental flaws that extend beyond the obvious weakness in midfield.

Sad to say, I am beginning to fear that, however many decent players Moyes brings in, they all soon look crap and if I can see it, I`m sure players and agents do likewise. Hardly an incentive to come here, is it?
Ken Walters, Flint  (8/1/07)

A question of incentive

I can`t see that the early exit from the Cup is that important. As Richard Dodd mentioned, the competition is an outdated concept, mainly of interest to lower order clubs up to making a few bob. I read somewhere that the winners could expect to clear a million quid but that`s just a couple of slots in the Premiership table. No wonder Moyes sees this as his priority. Don`t forget 10th place means that Moyes, Wyness and other senior staff and players collect on their incentive package so the main effort will always be in the League and the players know this full well. Expect to see a very different Everton performance against Reading.
Bret Davies, Billinge  (8/1/07)

Out But Not Down

We are not Crewe, or Reading or Man City. We, like our neighbours, expect to make it past round 3 of the FA Cup. We expect to be in the top 6 in the league. So all you people who think that DM is magic, think again. True, today wasn't Tranmre or Port Vale. But this Everton side is full of really good players. So why didn't they perform until they were 3-0 down? Moyes, Moyes, Moyes ? that is my answer. Get rid of a man who doesn't understand the club or its supporters and never will. Today was the most humiliating cup exit of all time because Blackburn are a bunch of donkeys. Moyes, go to Rangers NOW!
John Mcfarlane, Lancs  (8/1/07)

Gloriuos mediocrity

After yet another humiliating defeat by a side below Everton in the Premiership, there are still people who think that, after five years of Moyes, things will improve. Be absolutely assured: they will not!

This manager is a complete disaster, I can't believe that he has not already been sacked! If he contiues next season, I predict that once again Everton will win nothing ? how long do you want this to continue!? The feeling that I get from perusing the mailbag is that most Evertonians think they are very happy struggling to stay in the top of the table with no silverware. What about the history of this club? I rememember the days when people used to talk about everton being a great FA Cup side!

Moyes completes 5 years soon; what has he actually won? Nothing! I now honestly believe that there are some fans who think that is okay, I don't! There is also the mistaken idea that Kenright and Moyes are joined at the hip, a few more defeats and I hope that we may get a new manager. Everton were once one of the greatest sides in the Premiership, remember your history-they can be again with the right manager!
Andrew Fairfoull, Warrington  (8/1/07)

Howard

I have crticised Tim Howard's goalkeeping ability before; in today's game against Blackburn, the first two goals were his fault. The man is like our manager, a joke. Thank god we only have him until the end of the season. Our best 'keeper is on loan at Crystal Palace; get turner back ? he can't do any worse than Howard. Then again, I don't think Wright could do any worse.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (8/1/07)

Same planet as Paul Carroll

I'm from the same planet as Paul Carroll, I'm afraid. I agree with everything he says.

I can't imagine how a player can ever play better when subject to abuse? Perhaps we Evertonians therefore get what we deserve ie, - under-confident, under-achieving players? Or players reluctant to join in the first instance because they know they'll be vilified at the first misplaced pass?

I thought the clue was in the word "supporter".
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (7/1/07)

Lee Carsley is the Curate's egg

My instinct told me to stay away from this Cup tie, like many others had the sense to do. What those unfortunate enough to attend witnessed is best described as total capitulation. Many factors will contribute to this recent anihilation ? most notably a paper-thin and piss-poor depth in terms of squad, a midfield (Arteta exempt) shorn of any muscle, power, creativity or guile, and a Manager almost bankrupt of ideas when we concede the first goal.

I wrote into Toffeeweb earlier this season about the virtues of Lee Carsley playing in the holding role, a position that he had almost stumbled upon, and in the 4-1-4-1 system as a poor man's Makele. With the injury to Cahill unwittingly created by the hapless Carsley, we have been forced to adopt a more conventional 4-4-2. But Carsley now sees far too much of the ball, is slow to close down, fails to tackle and offers absolutely zero in a creative capacity.

Andy Johnson has been starved of any service and his form has nose-dived and we look like a team on the backfoot when it comes to the opposition. I, like many, have constantly bemoaned the lack of bodies in midfield this season; we probably have one of the weakest in the Premiership. Without Cahill, reliance upon Carsley, the versatility of Neville and the mercurial Davies, Osman and Van der Meyde we are consistently out gunned in this department.

The problem with Moyes is that he continues to fiddle while Rome burns, his stubborn and pragmatic approach epitomised in his caution when it comes to recruiting midfield reinforcements from either these shores or abroad during this transfer window.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (7/1/07)

Inept and without ability - Mk2

Why can we not beat any Premiership side in a Cup competition? And why do we not look like ever having a cup run?

The answer to this runs to the core of the problems at Everton on the pitch. All our tactics and selections have been based, for the last 5 years, on not getting beat. Sending out a team to work hard, get behind the ball and look to snatch a goal from a set piece or similar. Teams are picked on this basis and it seems all the coaching that takes place on a daily basis has this as its mantra. I can picture coaching sessions that are dour, defensive and limited, with players 'working hard' to close the opposition down.

So what happens when the Cup turns up? Well as we know these are games you have to win ? no point looking to avoid defeat as it serves no purpose ? so suddenly we are faced with asking players to be positive and proactive, asking midfield players to create and asking the team as a whole to approach the game with a winning mentality, not a 'don't get beat' mentality. And the simple truth is they can't or don't know how to do it. They don't know how to press a team in their half, don't have the players in midfield (apart from Arteta), capable of keeping possession, capable of switching the point of attack or playing balls forward on the ground (not humping it forward). Our midfield is incapable of moving forward in a balanced way with depth and movement, hence we get caught out all forward or all back and we get picked off by the opposition when the play breaks down.

Our tactical approach under Moyes has not moved forward from the early days when we needed to avoid defeat to stay in the Premiership. What he did in the first 2 or 3 years was stabilise and make us difficult to beat. We needed it and for that Moyes needs to congratulated, but what on earth has happened in the last 18 months? I would suggest that absolutely nothing has changed on the training pitch, tactics are still the same and team selection is based on the same premise.

But the problems go much deeper than cup matches because they now affect our league form. We are no longer a 'relegation team' (I hope!!!), but now need to move to the next level, ie, not just avoid defeat. Now does anyone think that DM is capable of a positive and upbeat persona? Not just smiling but selecting attacking players, training to win matches, picking (buying) players with ability to win matches, but more importantly coaching the team to be forward thinking?

On the evidence of the last 18 months I think DM has failed miserably and sadly will continue to do so. He has reached his level and for our club to move forward his hand has to be moved from the tiller. But even more sadly do I think admiral Kenwright has the desire to do this? No, he will allow Cpt Moyes to steer the ship until it hits an iceberg and guess who will be in the first lifeboat blaming the Cpt!!!

Ineptitude ? it runs through the club like a disease. But, while BK holds the keys, nobody is allowed to question the ability of the manager, apart from a few souls like me who I think at present are pissing in the wind!!!
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (7/1/07)

Curate's Egg

Everton are the proverbial Curate's Egg, that's for sure!

Despite a year of inconsistency they actually gathered more points (61) during 2006 than any calendar year since 1988, with 1996 (finished sixth in Season 95-96 and ended the year 8th) coming in next. Perhaps this is proof that we are gradually, slowly admittedly, regaining our spot in the upper part of the Premiership. On the other hand we have begun the year with two inept displays and now the Reading game looks a bit tricky even though we beat them 2-0 on their own ground only 15 days ago!

That is it in a nutshell. We are so irritatingly inconsistent that you really don't know what to expect next. When we lose a couple, the likes of my old 'friend' Tom Collie like to call for Moyes to go and can't see any reason for optimism; when we win a couple in a row, we are all dreaming of the Top 4 and another crack at Europe.

I am still optimistic because I see an upward trend in results over a longer period. In Moyes's near 5 years we have improved, the improvement is ongoing, albeit slow and often spiked with disasters like today. The squad is stronger, younger and more valuable (you certainly didn't get the likes of Real Madrid sniffing round the likes of Steve Watson when Moyes arrived) and he has lost our best player to boot during that time. We seem to be a bit short in midfield right now, primarily of pace, but also of a driving force. Arteta is the closest to that, but a Nolan or a Barton may just provide that spark if we can ever obtain them.

Meanwhile, we must continue with what we have, but with Hibbo and Tiny due back soon I am expecting an upturn. We can still make the Top 6. We have nothing to distract from that now, so let's continue to support the team ? COYB!
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (7/1/07)

Curate's Egg on Wikipedia. Fascinating!

Get Rid of 'em All!!

Michael, you may have had tongue in cheek when you said in response earlier that we should ?get behind the team?. How many people that went today can say that they did that in any form today? A goal conceded after 5 minutes and from then on, in the Park End at least, vitriol rained on to the pitch from the stands.

Yes, we were poor in the first half but how often do you see a player improve their performance/have the confidence to take a shot from distance/make a brave but risky pass forwards when they can pass back or to the side and avoid jeers, just because the crowd has shouted constant abuse at them? Poor performance, yes, but lack of effort??

You shout for a player to shoot? he shoots? he misses? what do you do?

I could hardly believe it when I heard "I?m not leaving yet, I wanna stay and boo" and "Arteta, you?re fucking crap, why don?t you just go and fuck off, you Spanish ?"

Well, at least after today I know that because of one game, Yobo and Lescott may as well be sold for a fiver a piece, Arteta should be given away on a free as that?s all he?s worth, and Tim Howard should go back to Man Utd on the first Soccerbus available. Oh, and the rest of the team can fuck off as we can replace them with 16-year-olds from the youth team ? at least they could outfight Blackeye Bruisers right?

Hang on though, we?ll keep Van der Meyde as he can sink pints just like Duncan and plays as much too! What a hero!!!! Brilliant, who needs Moyes anyway when the fans have a plan???

Get a grip people! You call yourself supporters. Try supporting. I?m saddened to point out that when Liverpool where being beaten 3-1 by Arsenal, the Kopites reacted by singing. Can we only react by spitting hate at our own? COYB!
Paul Carroll, Stockport  (7/1/07)

I guess there are perhaps different genetic lines in the Evertonian make-up. For me, part of being an Evertonian has always been honest recognition of the way we play. If it's shite, we call it shite. If they fail to perform, we boo, not cheer (or sing, like fucking kopites). So I'm with the ones you lambast, I'm afraid.

For as long as I can rememeber, Everton fans have expressed their frustration in the ways you describe. Goodness ? what would you have said if you had wever witnessed the aerial barrage of blue cusions raining down from the old Main Stand!

But I guess, if you honestly think the players are waiting to hear "shoot" from the crowd before they pull the trigger... well, we're from different planets, you and me. — Michael

Yobbo

It's way past the time now that Joseph should be on the next level, but still he is the same player making mistakes, just heading the ball into mid-air instead of the direction of possesion. He was raw when he came and I'm afraid he's still raw now. We need to improve on our coaching.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (7/1/07)

Howard

Amit, it is true that Howard is about as popular as a wine bar in Mecca today but at least he has had some decent games this season and has been known to have played in sides that have kept clean sheets.

Richard Wright has been a pile of shit ever since that England game v Malta under Keegan and has never played well for us and pratically never kept a clean sheet. Howard at least is on loan so we can send him back where he came from when the season is done. We can't really get onto him though just because he has turned crap. Everyone else was crap to begin with so he is the least of our problems.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (7/1/07)

Awful Fucking Result

In a way it's too easy to blame this awful result on Moyes. I personally think the players deserve the abuse this time. Don't get me wrong: Moyes does deserve some critism but it's his normally reliable team which really failed today.

Everton had a fair amount of possession and some good chances but the players once again failed to convert that into goals. The players bottled it and I hope Moyes really tore them a strip off at the final whistle. I would love to have heard Moyes tear into those tossers. At least this result is an eye-opener for Moyes and will prove to him how important it is to strengthen the squad.

Andy van der Meyde is a waste of space; Lee Carsley has been great but needs replacing; and Victor Anichebe is clearly not good enough yet for first-team football. Shitty result and I hope the players feel as bad as we do.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (7/1/07)

"Moyes should strengthen the squad"... "Andy van der Meyde is a waste of space" ? surely even you can't miss the sad irony of that simple juxstaposition, Paul? Again, I ask, what guarantees are that any player Moyes brings in will actually change or improve anything? All the indications are that he has no interest in bringing anyone in. His heart is not in it. He HATES the January Window.

But I don't even dare to ask where that leaves us... plenty of time still for some late and ill-researched panic-buys from the bottom of the barrel? — Michael

From my seat

After last weeks poor performance at City we get on the end of a 4-1 reverse at home which can only count as a drubbing. Is this a blip? It could be argued that we we had most of the play but if you look at chances created then it didn't count for much except to clarify the obvious ? that we don't possess the craft, guile and muscle in midfield to produce the joined-up football that goes such a long way in the chance-creation department ,as well as preventing exposed back fours.

I can't argue with those that say this is the best squad we have had for twenty years but then I have to wonder why it's not the best football played for twenty years? If and when reinforcements arrive, will the football get to a standard in keeping with the best squad for twenty years? Will the addition of midfield players of the quality demanded by many fans put us in the Euro-qualifying league year on year? Is the present manager the man to oversee such things?

I can't answer these questions but I can live in hope that the Chairman and Board are looking on such matters and taking appropriate action to move things along for the good of our club and its fans. Still, nothing is forever, and who knows ? I may be cheering us to the rafters as we trounce Reading when Sunday comes. See you there --- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (7/1/07)

Apathy

The bloody FA Cup ? what an absolutely appropriate name! Since Joe Royle left, we have achieved sweet FA in it. Perhaps we should rename all the other competitions too ? we already have The FA Premiership but we could add the FA League Cup, the FA Uefa Cup and who could forget our performance in the FA Champions League?

For lowly football clubs I can see how the FA Cup is ?magic? ? for the big clubs it can be a huge embarrassment. The only slightly unusual thing about today?s FA Cup result is that I couldn?t see it coming ? now if we were playing Macclesfield I would have put 50 quid on us getting beaten by a result like that.

Back in the early 90s, we had a player called Matt Jackson who was apathy personified; in fact, a fellow pro once commented that he was so laid-back that he was horizontal. This always pissed me off, as in my opinion being laid back is far worse than having no talent. Unfortunately, Matt Jackson was both; laid back AND crap.

Joleon Lescott isn?t laid back; he?s unflappable. He exudes a quiet determination to get the job done. Joey Yobo is very laid back, a criminal offence ? the shoe-tying incident was a disgrace, and one of the biggest problems with being laid back is that it is contagious. There is the saying that "all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." All that is needed for Everton to slip back into the cesspit of annually fighting relegation is for our good players to do nothing. Edward Bottomley, Michigan, USA  (7/1/07)

FA Cup; Matt Jackson. I'll never forget this sequence:

"Matthew Jackson was up inside the penalty area, skimmed off the top of one of those heads, I think Jackson's claiming it! Everton are in the lead here at Elland Road!!!"
What was the score that very memorable day? 4-1... Thanks, Joe; you did us all so proud. ? Michael

I've asked before; now I'm begging...

Please, Please, Please, Mr Moyes: Save our club from the pits... Go Now!

I was totally and utterly embarrassed by our showing today. Don't get me wrong, Moysey: this isn't a spur-of-the-moment request and it's not just about today. I haven't seen decent football from your side for years. Everything revolves around defence. Your half-time team talks have adverse reactions, resulting in you consistently getting out-coached. I could go on and on about your ineptness, but the rest of the letters on here will, at some point, contain most of what I want to say.

Basically, I've had it up there... with the shite I watch every week, that you pick, manage, coach, etc. Please just go, and take Billy Liar Bollocks with you. Neither of you know what you're doing.
Dave Woods, Warrington  (7/1/07)

Time to go

Send Moyes to Rangers ? and McFadden. Bring in Mark Hughes.
William Harvey, UK  (7/1/07)

Speak with your voices and wallets!

The OVERWHELMING majority of e.mailers have confirmed what I thought all along: Moyes is a useless twat and the sooner he goes the better! But it is also obvious that the Board will not sack him.

So, do what I have done and boycott the ground! Do not line the pockets of the useless empire of Billy Bullshit and his stooge Moyes. And those who cannot tear themselves away from Goodison, scream your discontent at Moyes every game. Fan power does work, do not let the likes of Michael or Dodd tell you otherwise!

We are our only hope, we obviously can't rely on the board! SACK MOYES!!!!!!
Luq Yussef, London  (7/1/07)

Hmm... we shall see. Majority of e.mailers, perhaps; majority of Evertonians? I await the input of those who claim to be better barometers of that particluar storm than you, dear Luq. — Michael

Tim Howard & Co

We are starting to realise in earnest why Man Utd have decided to let Tim go. Once his nerves go... they go! Probably the best goalie in the Prem until mid-December but, since the 45-yd Matt Taylor special at Portsmouth, he's been beaten four times from greater than 25 yds and lost his head in the penalty incident at Man City.

Our only bloody strength all season has been the Yobo, Lescott and Howard barrier and its been broken big-time. Whilst the rest of the bad bunch have been struggling to get a goal a game (mostly from set-pieces - rarely from a decent move or shot) the three at the back have kept us in it. If the triumverate ain't fixed and quickly, never mind Europe (in our dreams only) ? it will be nightmares about that 18th spot.
Mike Oates, West Sussex  (7/1/07)

When is more less?

Hopeless, Useless, Hapless, Tactless, Clueless ? this more or less sums up today's performance. But I will not give up on the season just yet. Why? because I am an Evertonian, far from a Moyes lover as you are probably aware from my postings, but a dyed-in-the-wool Blue. As long as we have eleven men to trot out every week I will live in the forlorne hope that we will get a result.

This club is far bigger than Moyes and the un-ambitious Board that run it at present, and it is this thought process that is stopping me from losing my marbles at present. Roll on the next game (cue sobbing sounds coming from a grown man hunched over his keyboard).
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (7/1/07)

Well said, Dave, you poor bugger. You sound just like me! — Michael

Howard

I've read the post match interviews and Moyes has stated that Howard should have done better on the first two goals, whilst interestingly, Mark Hughes suggested that Blackburn had worked on long-distance shooting with the FA Cup balls during the week. After the recent efforts of Taylor, Drogba and Lampard, perhaps Hughes felt Tim Howard has a Seaman-esque weakness with long-range efforts and prepared his team accordingly?

Perhaps this notion is far-fetched, but nonetheless, Moyes's criticism of Howard is a boomerang which comes back to smack him on the face. If the players were well prepared, I doubt so many defensive errors would have been made. And if they made the errors despite being well prepared, then they were simply not good enough on the day (which, against Blackburn reserves at home, is a pretty damning statement).

Given that this is Moyes's team, I would suggest he is largely culpable for today's performance whichever way you cut it.
Amit Vithlani, London  (7/1/07)

Some more sensible thoughts there, Amit. I'm surprised so few have mentioned Howard's mistakes, preferring instead to lambast Moyes and Kenwright. Maybe that lad was right the other day saying Howard is somehow immune to cricism for mistakes that are as bad or worse than Richard Wrights. I owe him an apology! — Michael

Dont blame the forwards

Again today we just humped the ball upfield to our forwards. Gerd Muller or Gary Lineker wouldn't score in this Everton side. Questions have to be asked about the coaching staff. Anyone with a footballing brain knows, you keep posession of the ball then look for the front runners ie Johnson; he's got a better chance on the deck than challenging a six-footer in the air.

We need midfielders so why not give the young lad from Huyton (as mentioned by Tony Marsh and others) a chance? What have we got to lose? I would rather see young players comming through than trying for a European place, which we are not good enough to reach. Wonder what Colin Harvey does now? TOP COACH AND BETTER STILL A BLUE THROUGH AND THROUGH.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (7/1/07)

...but had his employment terminated by the new regime. (There's a story there that has not been told, eh, Colm?) Hmmm... makes you wonder, dunnit. Okay, he wasn't well fitted for the manager roll but a wonderful coach. He gets the credit in my eyes (if there is any due) for bring Rooney up through the ranks. — Michael

re Gavin Ramejkis Feature

I cannot disagree about us putting out a strong side. At the start of the match, I thought that barring Cahill we had a strong side out there; but it was the same inept attitude that was the first 80 minutes at Man City. It just looked like hearts were not in it. If the past two games don't tell Moyes he needs to strengthen the centre of midfield then I am afraid for the quality of football we produce ? sorry but Osman is just not strong enough or big enough for a central midfielder.

I've heard that fatigue could be to blame, playing 5 games in 2 weeks - that is probably to blame for it. Okay, so who sold Kilbane hours before the window closed in September?? Who says he does not need any other players??

Gavin is correct: if it continues like today, then the fans who pay will not bother therefore falling attendances, less income, bigger debt = higher season ticket prices and finally less season ticket holders; bad spiral.

Moyes and Kenwright have got to do something, as I am unprepared to watch this type of football. For the first time in my life I left the ground eary due to the dire quality of football. We need help, we need ideas, we need a plan ... any ideas?
Pat Ahern, Cheshire  (7/1/07)

Kirby and Empty Seats

If Bill Kenwright was shocked by the scoreline today then news of the attendance of today's match would have him reaching for the bog roll. Many reasons will be given for just 24k at the ground today but maybe some of that is due to fans plain staying away from the ground due to team performances.

How will we fill a 55k ground if the team on the pitch is sending everbody home in their hundreds at half time? Kirkby is dead and maybe it will be Bill to fall on the sword before Moyes.
Peter Moon, Wimslow  (7/1/07)

Wishful thinking... on both counts... methinks. — Michael

Cup run

After all the talk about a cup run from Moyes and Irvine there's nothing. No-one can tell me them players were up for it ? they looked as though they had just finished their Sunday