The Mail Bag

December 2008 Archive
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Three-Horse Race

Looking at the second half of the season, I think it's reasonable to see us as the outsiders in a three-horse race for that fourth Champions League place. This got me wondering, what sort of odds are on offer for a top 4 finish? It turns out that Skybet are giving the following:-

         Arsenal          4/5
         Aston Villa     Evens
         Everton          25/1
Now I know that we Blues are ignored by the media but I didn't realise that the bookies were equally dismissive of our recent efforts.

Arsenal seem to shoot themselves in the foot at every opportunity and Villa recently have been enjoying a degree of good fortune that would make even our beloved neighbours blush! Whichever way you look at it, 25/1 represents 'value' and I have duly made a modest investment. We'd better not sell Mikel to Arsenal, though!
Phil Guyers     Posted 31/12/08 at 13:29:34   Comments (13)

Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame

Interesting to read that this will be the last induction to Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame ? Dr David France's brilliant idea for buidling a lasting tribute to the greatest players and personalities that have graced Everton Football Club.

The idea is something I believe the good Doctor picked up while living in the United States, and I don't know how widely it has caught on with other clubs in England... Perhaps it is something that EFC will now pick up and run with... or is the whole concept protected by Patent Pending!?!?
Michael Kenrick     Posted 31/12/2008 at 09:41:21   Comments (5)

Moyes Knows

This is the only year since we had Rooney where other clubs are interested in making large bids for our players. I think this is a fantastic sign of Moyes's transfer dealings and how far we have come since he took over the club. The fact is that his entire transfer spend could be recouped by selling only one or 2 of the players HE has brought to our club for bargain prices.

Arteta was bought for 2.2 mllion. He has given us fantastic service and now looks a top midfielder in our new system. Bentley, Barry, Modric, and Diarra have all been priced at just under 20 million and, in my mind Arteta is at least their equal.

Lescott has been bought 'on the drip' for a fee rising to around 5.5 million. An England international and recognised as a top player in England. Alves has gone to Barca for 25M; Woodgate went for 9M... Lescott must be worth around 15M.

I wouldn't want either of these players to leave under any circumstances to either City or Arsenal, I don't imagine that anyone else would either. But what I would say is this: Arsene Wenger has consistently sold players such as Anelka, Petit, Overmars and re-invested into the team and acquiring top class young players from around Europe earning praise from Arsenal fans e.g. 'Arsene Knows'.

One thing is for sure, if both Arteta and Lescott were sold and Moyes given upwards of 35M to spend on transfers I would have no problem with that simply because;

1) Baines, Jagielka, Yobo and Neville cost a total of 18.5M.

2) Pienaar, Gosling, Fellaini and Cahill cost 21M.

3) When Moyes has been given money we have signed a much sought after player (Fellaini) and the prems top scorer (Yakubu)

4) Moyes has entirely rebuilt us from an old team under Walter Smith into a young top 6 side on peanuts.

I hope these two stay and we receive investment but one thing is for sure... Moyes knows.
Mark Cassin     Posted 31/12/2008 at 07:41:58   Comments (16)

Mikel Arteta? Piss Off!

The month of madness lifts its ugly head again. That time of year when the ?ifs,? ?buts,? and ?maybes? dominate an ever vigilant press. However, one story is gathering both pace and interest: ?Arsenal in for Mikel Arteta.? I know this thread stands as a hypothetical issue, but I just couldn?t help myself.

Buying and selling is an art and as we know both Wenger and Moyes have the more quintessential intellect amongst their peers. However, this time the Frenchman?s surrounded, ?the voyeur?s under attack.? Arsenal are wounded and they need our help to get them into a Champions League position. Cue the Spaniard!

Would Ferguson sell his best to Wenger? Er?Nope! So why should we? Whether there exists? any truth to the stories, one thing we know is certain, Arsene is no fool and at 12 million he?s aiming for the knees! But I say let the bastard sweat in his red and whites. We have ambition and if Moyes is ever going to reach the summit of his, he would need to measure his response coldly? ?Piss Off!?

Before some of you question the man, the Moyes, the Messiah, think about what you are selling. A foreign player, who is settled, has a healthy love and respect of the club, the fans, the players, and an ability to change a game with a single pass, shot or moment of pure genius. Yes, I know at times he can be as frustrating as a torn condom, but in his current position at 28 (barring serious injury), he has at least 6 years at the top. Finding someone with like-for-like ability will cost more than the 12 Million being touted. Finding someone with like-for-like temperament is priceless. Why sell?

Many have arrived and few have gone, but Mikel remains the lynchpin to our success. I for one would stand amidst a crowd of gay-bashing skinheads and declare "I love the little bastard, We don?t need to sell anyone.? Man, this must be a Christmas joke. Blue Bill has an opportunity to win back some integrity (and fans) by actually becoming a man of his word!

Go shopping wherever you want, Arsene, Harrods is closed! And anyway we like Manchester United more? they give us things (wink).
Jason Broome     Posted 31/12/2008 at 00:22:03   Comments (56)

Man City, who do they think they are?

I am a life long Everton fan and don't live in blighty anymore; so maybe a little out of it but, having just read a few articles that Mark Hughes has Arteta and Lescott on his list and is going to table a bid of 8 mil... so here are my points:

1. Lescott is easily worth 20 - 25 mil;
2. If Carrick was worth 20 mil 2 seasons ago, Arteta must be worth 30 - 40 mil;
3. And lastly, we are one of the few clubs in the Prem to post a profit, albeit small... but a profit.

Just because Man City are the richest club in the world, it doesn't mean they have the power or the right just to sign whoever they feel like. And personally I don't think we actually need to sell anyone, we are on the right track financially and on the field so Man City you are not welcome to come near our players... except AvdM!!!!! COYB
Doug Walters     Posted 30/12/2008 at 20:55:38   Comments (23)

New Heys School 1 - 0 Everton FC (Mid 70s)

Does anyone else recall the Everton first team visiting New Heys Comprehensive School and playing a friendly on the school pitch against the school First Eleven?

It happened in the mid-seventies, '76 or '77 I guess. I was in the first or second year and remember being awestruck seeing the players so close, walking across the school yard behind Bob Latchford and the rest of the Everton squad! Can you imagine that happening now!

The whole lower school gathered around the pitch to watch the kick around and the school team won one-nil ? the sixth former who scored lived in the same street as me, Moss Street in Garston, and I was mates with his brother ("Kidder"), can't remember the scorer's name though... Perhaps others can add any further detail to this as I haven't seen it recorded or mentioned in any books ? but I am sure it happened.
Steve Jones     Posted 30/12/2008 at 17:06:50   Comments (9)

Cahill or Fellaini (or both)

It got me thinking at the end of the Sunderland game that when we actually get round to playing a ?proper? centre forward we will probably have to drop either of Marouane Fellaini or Tim Cahill. As none of these two plays wide happily/effectively I think David Moyes will stick with the Phil Neville/Mikel Arteta axis in the middle of the park when everyone is fit and that will leave only one slot left in centre midfield. And I have been pretty impressed with Fellaini ever since the first few games when he was finding his feet in the Premier League.

It is a good dilemma for Moyes to have although he is going to struggle to leave either out as one has a 15m price tag over his head and the other seems to be our talisman on the pitch. Looking at the stats for a minute, in the last three seasons Cahill has played 49 Premier League games for us and in those we have Won 26, Drawn 15 and Lost 8. That equates to 93 points and an average of 1.90 points per game. Averaged out over 38 games that is 72 points ? and don?t forget Cahill has scored the small matter of 16 league goals in that period. Those figures would suggest that we would guarantee Champions League football every season if Tiny Tim stayed fit throughout a campaign.

But Fellaini seems to be becoming ever more influential for us and is proving a real handful at present; I just can't see Moyes letting a 15m signing twiddle his thumbs on the bench for a prolonged period. But then I suppose these are the decisions for which Everton pay Moyes?s wages. Although it could mean that 4-6-0 is here to stay?.
Ritchie Bann     Posted 30/12/2008 at 12:25:49   Comments (12)

Take a Bow

I stumbled across ToffeeWeb in 2008 by pure luck. Basically, the OS had fried my brain with its banality and I searched the web for something better. TW has satisfied my cravings for all things Everton for about 6 months now and Messrs Kenrick, LLoyd et al have much to be proud of.

The soul of the site I think lies in its contributors who provide a heady mix of passion, love for the club, intense visceral debate and, however bad things sometimes get, the inevitable humour.

So, as 2008 gradually draws to a close, maybe it would now be appropriate to pay tribute to those people whose contibutions on TW have stood out for you this year. Perhaps I should get the ball rolling by saying that I am often impressed by the comments of Christine Foster and Connor Rohrer. E J Ruane is a skilled wordsmith who is capable of great humour as he weaves words as a form of tapestry. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Evertonians everywhere.


Michael Evans     Posted 30/12/2008 at 09:52:37   Comments (21)

Pip Neville

This is a short one for once, but I just wanted to say how well Neville has done this season, and against Sunderland I thought he was brilliant! He could go onto pick up that most improved player of the season award. I know he's a Manc and you cant get worse than a Manc but he's even come out and said that he didn't think any other team could have a better team spirit than United .... but then he came to Everton! Anyways, I just wanted to hear all your views on Neville this season, and if you were happy with him in midfield yesterday with Arteta ? I think Arteta and Neville dominated the midfield most of the game.
Benji Learman     Posted 29/12/2008 at 17:04:36   Comments (32)

Hibbert haters, anyone?

Just a quick point after Sunday's match, where are all the Hibbert Haters now? Yeah sure we can all talk about Mikky's set piece deliveries and Pip's passing but surely Hibbo has now shown that he's a player who, in my opinion, given the fans' backup and encouragement, is a good everton player.

There's a guy in front of me who fuckin hates him, even if he scored 30 goals this season he'd still be shite.
Matt Kay     Posted 29/12/2008 at 14:14:15   Comments (45)

4-6-0 : genius or luck?

With our continueing success at playing a goal-scoring midfield player as a floating lone striker, will this start to be seen as an effective recognised tactic? Will Chelsea start to play Lampard or Joe Cole; or will Liverpool play Gerrard in a similar floating role?

Watching the last few games without a known striker on the pitch was interesting in seeing how the formation actually worked. Cahill floated between midfield and being upfront, with Fellaini and Pienaar also having runs up front, sharing with Cahill the job of being the striker. This tactic makes it very difficulty for the opposition defenders to pick which player to mark, especially if you have several players who can take up the forward role in the course of a game.

Does this new 4-6-0 formation work just by luck or is it the work of a tactical genius?
Brian Baker     Posted 29/12/2008 at 12:12:43   Comments (22)

The good guys

Was hounded by my little 9-year-old lad yesterday, because he wanted to go and see if he could get some of the players' autographs. So, after agreeing (thinking it would be a waste of time), we go round and wait with the other kids.

First out was Osman, who goes along the line, signing for some kids here and there... Castillo, who also took time out to sign for a few of the kids; Fellaini, who was being asked by some if they could touch his hair, and he was only too happy to let them.

Van der Meyde, who we all know is a waste of space, when asked by the kids, tried to make a joke of it, by hiding behind the security guard, but then continued to fuck off and ignore everyone.

A big suprise, was the sight of Anichebe skulking off to his sports car, trying to avoid the crowd. I know he might have had his reasons, but he needs to take a look in the mirror, because he is not as good as he may think he is.

I thought Baines was pulling a fast one when he shouts that he is just going to put his washbag in the car, but he then comes back. A group of the players then come out, Jags, Nash, Lescott, and a few of the younger lads, who all take the time out to do their bit. Lescott, who I thought had the reputation of being a bit of a jack the lad, went on to sign virtually every kid's book, and was more than happy to have his picture taken with the crowd.

Then, it was my little lads hero, and probalby every other kid's (and adult's), Cahill, who is a gentlerman and a half. He signed every single kids book, and even got back out of the car to sign another lad's, who was rushing over. He stopped and talked to the kids, photo's galore.

We got our little lad one of the dream hero books, that Cahill is part off, so he gives the book to Cahill to sign; obviously knowing the book, he looks through it for the name (of our little lad) and then turns to him and says to Ben (our lad) "Hi Ben, mate" and then continues to rub the top of his head, before shaking hands with him. The look on Ben's face, well, I couldn't describe it, it actually made me feel proud, that one of our players had put that smile on his face.

The funny thing was that Cahill genuinely looked like he was enjoying himself. These players didn't act like spoilt superstars (apart from one), didn't make you feel as though you were beneath them, it just felt like they were one of the lads.

In an era, when players seem not to give a fuck about the fans, all they are intrested in, is what new car they will be getting, or what bit of stuff is on their arm, it was refreshing to see players giving something back. My lad has still got that smile on his face this morning.
Brian  Waring     Posted 29/12/2008 at 09:58:15   Comments (35)

Tactics or just bad crosses?

In the last two games, Leighton Baines was at left-back; I like Baines and think he and Pienaar are a real threat to other teams on the left. But 9 out of 10 times his crosses are on the ground and against a defender, or out for a corner, which I suppose is good to keep the pressure on the other team.

So here is the question: Is this tactics to keep the ball on the ground and against a defender, which almost every time results in a corner for him, or is it just bad crossings from him?
Machiel Barnard     Posted 29/12/2008 at 03:43:45   Comments (11)

Arteta

Being a recent Arteta critic, I feel it only fair to acknowledge his upturn in form. Whilst I still have reservations, particularly over his effectiveness, I would recognise the improvement in his involvement in games, particularly today, due to his new-found confidence since being moved to the centre of the park.

Despite his poor free kick record (before anyone points to his superb first goal, please remember that his other two were as poor as usual, the second one being from a rebound caused by a weak initial effort), he was, as they say, everywhere today without ? despite being our "most creative player" (Moyes) ? actually creating anything of note. Not exclusively his problem but let's not go there.

Here's to continued improvement and living up to his reputation.
Andy Hegan     Posted 28/12/2008 at 21:53:06   Comments (23)

From my seat: Sunderland (H)

Only our second home win of the season and 3-0 sees us clear in 6th ? just goes to show what a crazy game we follow.

A great Christmas feeling pre-match, our local north Liverpool boozer was filled to overflowing with good banter and no-one gave a toss how the reds were doing on the tele in the corner. A walk up to the ground gave a sense of a full house as there was a queue 20 yds up the street for the delights from Blue Dragon chippy at 1:45pm.

The line-up showed one change from Boro: Ossie for Gosling as announced by a new voice on the tannoy, who didn't introduce us as 'The Mighty Blues' but just blandly read out the names.

We won the toss and elected to kick into the Street End as that was the end where the sun was deadly and would play a part. The game opened and for five minutes it was pretty much even-stevens but then we started to get the ball down, retain possession and push the visitors onto the backfoot, albeit after the booed Cisse had a shot at Howard with no great consequence.

Our pressure built and a foul by Richardson to halt Osman 25 yds out resulted in Arteta's dipping swerving free-kick into that sunblinding goal area found the net. One up in 10 mins... could it be another seven?

We continued to dominate and on the 25min mark Fellaini's hounding forced a farcial error between Collins and the keeper and as the ball ran loose the word 'goal' stuck in our throats as Fellaini was a little slow to capitalise and the ball was swept from his feet.

Disappointment then but just a minute later we gain another free kick when Malbranque pulled down Pienaar on the edge and was booked. Arteta conversed with Baines and both shaped to take it, Arteta struck it but at the wall; however, the ball rebounded to him and via a deflection the ball was in the net and to the absolute joy of all assembled it looked for all the world game over considering the gulf in class that had been evident to this point.

Such was our dominance last ditch tackles from the visitors were giving us free kicks in dangerous areas and from one of these a superbly flighted cross from Arteta found Cahill doing what he does best in being the first to react but on this occasion inexplicably headed just wide from a position that is normally meat and drink for him,that one goes down as a bad miss.

Near the end of the half, Fellaini took a knock to his arm and he never seemed the same force again. Half-time and all was well as no-one saw anything but a Blues victory. The visitors swapped Malbranque for Edwards and within minutes he had what proved to be their only wothwhile effort of the half has he had Howard on his toes to deal with his shot.

This half was tame compared with the first... with the Blues being content to keep possession and with Arteta pulling all the strings, we were merely keeping Sunderland at arm's length. Through this measured build-up a chance was created for Osman but not taken. Jags had to take a yellow to prevent a Cisse break after some sloppiness by Fellaini.

Fellaini seemed to be now out of sorts but it was Osman the first to give way as the manager introduced the promising Gosling, a good move considering Ossie's injury woes. Gosling made an instant impression with a surging run that was halted by a foul resulting in a booking.

We continued to dominate and press yet without a lot of urgency until a throw in on the left saw Lescott slide a beauty in and Gosling with great anticipation was Johnny on the spot to slide home. I was delighted for the lad after his misses at Boro and didn't all players and fans celebrate that one! Big Vic replaced the ailing Fellaini and promptly gave away a free kick.

Just a few minutes later and Neville is seen marauding on goal, 'Shoot' yelled the faithful and he unleashed an Exocet that just clipped the bar, what a goal that would have been. With five mins to go, the manager replaced the excellent Cahill, who received a great ovation, with Jutkiewicz and what an entry he made, receiving the ball near the right touchline, he looked up, shimmied a defender and despatched a glorious 70-yd pass out to Pienaar on the left. If that was Beckham or Zidane, it would have made Sky Sports!

Only two minutes put up on the board, which passed without incident, much like the bulk of the second half. Overall, I thought a regulation win at home at last and one that showed a gulf in class between the two teams. Hard luck on their new manager, I suppose, on being made permanent after a few good results to come up against a team such as the Blues in this form.

My Man of the Match without doubt was Arteta, who strode the stage and dictated as a colossus, now can he do it against sterner opposition? If the answer is "Yes", then a problem has been solved.

A holiday question for you, I have seen every game Fellaini has played and no doubt he is a threat in the air with his height but can anyone tell me why he doesn't jump!!?

FA Cup next and as I fancy the big screen at Goodison, the brother-in-law can have the ticket for Macclesfield.

Hope there are no slip ups in this one as I believe we need the cash from a good run. May I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year.

Off for a pint to celebrate. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley     Posted 28/12/2008 at 17:14:25   Comments (13)

Team spirit

As with everyone, I'm delighted with the upturn in form. We can all talk about formations and things happening out of circumstance rather than aforethought. Interestingly, however, I think a big factor is the team spirit. Moyes may have his detractors on some matters but even the most ardent critic could not deny acknowledgement of his ability to build a tight-knit group of players who really work hard for one another.

Case in point... just read on the BBC website that Dan Gosling received a standing ovation from all the players in the post-match dressing room.

Sure, we are skint... and yes, we are a team that looks back on now fading glories... but there remains just one club with a culture and class and more importantly sense of belonging that would engender such an event ? that is my/our Everton.

Well done, lads!
James McPherson     Posted 28/12/2008 at 14:58:41   Comments (26)

Today's Game!

Great opportunity for us today to show the Sky 4 that we are intent on chasing them. Arsenal are only a few points ahead of us and despite Aston Villa looking very consistent, we are showing that we can keep up with them even with our current injury crisis. Win today and the confidence spills over into the New Year.

Come on Everton!!!!!
Anthony  Jaras     Posted 28/12/2008 at 10:43:10   Comments (64)

Odemwingie

Just seen on Skysports.com that were in talks with Lokomotiv Moscow over a loan deal for 27 year old Peter Odemwingie. It says he's a winger/striker and a Nigerian international, I have seen him play a few times and I know hes quick and also technical on the ball.

He stands at 5' 11" and in my opinion he would be a quality addition to Everton. However I could be wrong and he could be another AVDM but maybe some of ye will know more?
Tom Campbell     Posted 27/12/2008 at 20:44:35   Comments (17)

The FA?

Hope everyone had a good Crimbo! I think I can say for everyone, beating Boro was the best present we could've got! COYB!

So to my point: I was in work yesterday and the United game was on the telly so I managed to get a glimpse of it now and again when I had a few minutes. So I was watching it, and I see Ronaldo being fouled... fair dos, I like to see that, but then I see him lash out with his leg! If making contact, it could've seriously injured the player. Ronaldo gets away with it. I'm thinking, if there really is an FA surely he will be banned and fined...

Nothing has been done or mentioned and it just really annoys me, the so called top 4 get so much special treatment! If Fellaini were to do that, it probably would be a red and a fine by the so-called FA!

It makes me think, if they really do exist, who are these people? They don't really like showing their faces do they, are they ashamed? BECAUSE THEY FUCKING SHOULD BE! The things they miss, the things they don't see whereas if we can see those things, why cant they?

I thought after the Chelsea game John Terry would wriggle his way out of the red card, but at least this card actually stuck! Anyway I just wanted to throw that in there see what everybody else thinks... I know it's nothing new ? special treatment for the top 4 has been going on a while now, but it really has taken its toll with me now!
Benji Learman     Posted 27/12/2008 at 16:50:52   Comments (6)

Musings From 'Boro Away

First off, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the gang. Let's hope it brings us..... something! Anyway, I don't do this often but here are some of my thoughts on yesterday's match.

Was it my imagination, or was the 'Best Little Spaniard......' leaping about like a man possessed yesterday, winning hundreds of headers? Think he must have got a new pair of of spring-heeled boots off Father Christmas.... or has he been concealing his aerial prowess from us all this time? Pretty startling.

And, I thought he was fucking brilliant yesterday, as was the entire midfield.... and defence.... and the Aussie lad 'up top' (about whom much has been written on another thread).

Mike Riley? Joke... Almost single-handedly waging a campaign to eliminate all contact from the game. I couldn't believe it when he didn't point to the spot when Johnson went down.

And just for once, we had a Blue in the commentary box. Instead of the boring no-mark miserable kopite Efan Ekoku, or the terminally dull Paul Walsh, we had Barry Horne! Which was nice.

Let's hope we can keep it going!

COYB
Dave Richman     Posted 27/12/2008 at 07:26:57   Comments (6)

Tim Cahill ? Mr Everton

Just got back from Boro and witnessed another gutsy Everton performance, albeit against a poor Boro side. Once again, our own Aussie dynamo gave an absolutely priceless performance as a makeshift centre-forward.

Looking at some of the prima donnas who strut around the Premier League, Cahill reminds me of a byegone age when players were happy to fill any roll in the team as long as they played. He took a real buffering today from the much more physical Boro centre-halves and gave as good as he got without complaint. Can you imagine Ronaldo reacting to a stamp on him from the Chelsea player Alex and getting straight up with a handshake? I think not.

Boro had a free-kick with seconds left today and piled men into the box, I feared the worst. Guess who outjumped everyone to head away? Yep, Mr Reliable. One of Moyes's best buys at 2M and a player who gives 100% to the cause each and every game, whether carrying an injury or not.

I hope when he eventually leaves the Blues, fans recognise the contribution this great club man made.
Steve Hogan     Posted 26/12/2008 at 18:08:23   Comments (27)

Strikers redundant!

Earlier today on another thread, I mentioned that Moyes was again looking a genius for inventing the 4-1-4-0 formation. I opined that it's advantage was that it necessitated us playing proper build-up football because the defenders now hve NO target man to hoof it to. Now quite a few of you may have thought I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek-and of course you would have been perfectly correct.

However, after our performance at Middlesbrough today, I now put forward the serious suggestion that Moyes abandons all thoughts of signing a so-called striker and puts all his faith in a tight defence and tencious midfield work conjuring that one goal a game that can win all the spoils.... And this time I'm not kidding!
Tony  Clemson     Posted 26/12/2008 at 14:49:57   Comments (19)

Gosling Starts

Tim Howard; Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Leighton Baines; Phil Neville (c); Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar, Dan Gosling, Tim Cahill

Subs: Carlo Nash, Jack Rodwell, Andy Van der Meyde, John Kissock, James Wallace, Victor Anichebe, Lucas Jutkiewicz

Anybody have a link for the Boro game...
Paul  Speakman     Posted 26/12/2008 at 11:48:03   Comments (102)

William Ralph Dean

It all started at the dinner table on Christmas Day. One of the grandchildren asked me about the responses from an earlier post I had mailed to ToffeeWeb. I told them I was overwhelmed (all present were Evertonians). She then chirped up with "Did you ever see Dixie Dean play, Grandad?"

"No, Darling, I'm not that old!"

My brother-in-law, and best mate since we were in our teens, said, "Yes you have, I was with you."

I cannot remember this, but do recall something of what he was going on about. He was quite emphatic about a game we went to at Holly Park, the old South Liverpool ground (Garston), organised by EFC and LFC, apparently it was to try out a new idea called floodlighting!

The game was ex-Everton vs ex-Liverpool, and he is certain Dixie made a few minutes' appearance, scored, then went off. It did not ring a bell with me, but there was silence as nobody challenges his wisdom when it comes to all things Blue.

Hopefully one of you WILL shed some light (pardon the pun) on this; if it is factual, I will die a happy man to have been there and seen HIM grace the pitch.
Teddy Draper     Posted 26/12/2008 at 07:27:19   Comments (18)

Queens Speech II

Following an outpouring of his admiration for David Moyes and his claiming "I'm only a fan like the rest of you" routine, Bill Kenwright in his alternative Christmas message on the official website said nothing new... or did he?

Towards the end of his message he says, "We do constantly strive to provide the manager with the funds that he needs to continue our progress on the field - without, of course, placing in jeopardy our progress away from it." ? Now hang on a minute, what has progress off the field got to do with anything? New ground, training facilities etc are not worth a carrot if the first team are either not good enough or not performing to their full potential.

What is the use of a wonderful modern theatre if the performance of the play is rubbish? Theatre-goers are hardly going to say that, although the performance was patchy, at least the ensemble tried their very best ? especially if they've shelled out good money to attend. It's all very well the director of said play working every hour of the day to improve things but, if his time is spent on futile hunts for world class acts at knock-down prices instead of improving the abilities of his current crop of stars, then his and the audience's time will have been wasted.

Football is theatre, albeit with a tangible result to detract or enhance the performance of the players. But all too often it is the result and the result alone that is used to berate those who dare to criticise the overall feelgood or feelbad factor. David Moyes to some has the touch of greatness if not genius; to others, he is that General Studies teacher who always gets the deputy head's job by being a safe pair of hands.

Martin O'Neill was asked recently, "How would Brian Clough have coped in this modern era?" Martin replied that BC would not have liked most aspects but, being a GREAT manager, he would have found a way to forge a successful team ? and he meant winning things not just the dizzying heights of fifth place. Whether it be the theatre or a sports ground, the most important thing is to understand your audience and their needs, unless of course you're just a 'get as many bums on seats' merchant. Then all you need to be is a damned good salesperson.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 26/12/2008 at 05:03:30   Comments (40)

ToffeeWeb's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop

Earlier today I was flicking through the channels and caught sight of everyone's favourite game show. Deal or No Deal. Randomly open a set number of boxes to reveal a cash sum you cannot win and then eventually once they've all revealed their values, you see what's in your own box and win that. What a great format! Entertainingly, they spread this thinly over 30 minutes, boosted by the ever likeable Noel Edmonds. Now that is TV!

I do remember when I was very small though, Noel's Saturday morning show of Noel Edmond's MultI-Coloured Swap Shop. I thought maybe we could have an Everton based version running on this thread. Surely there's some Everton tat that people have recieved today that they're eager to get rid of. I received a rather nice posh Everton scarff, but you can't have that, that's mine... unless you can convince me otherwise?!?!?!
Nick Entwistle     Posted 25/12/2008 at 17:39:29   Comments (3)

This week, I have been mostly feeling...

When I think back over my posts during the season so far, I'm starting to feel like that bloke on the Fast Show. Instead of a different food every week, it's emotion.

Here's what I mean. Last week, for example, I was thinking about how there was a lack of conviction in the squad and that this was the reason why we just weren't performing on the same consistent level as last season. Last season as a fan, I went into every game believing we would win. Even against the top four, I always thought we would get something out of the game. I thought that this was the fan's equivalent of a team feeling confident and believing that it was going to win every game.

This season I thought that as I did not have this conviction as a fan, given how the summer and the season so far had gone, the team by extension did not have it either.

Then came Monday night's performance and all of a sudden this week, I'm going into the Christmas run of games feeling great about our propects and expecting great things. I'm now fully convinced that the team is full of confidence and will put a great run together.

It's just been a weird season where I think most fans genuinely don't know whether they've been coming or going and it has been awful to endure. If we do get a run of good results over the next ten days, I think things may settle somewhat. Then again, the January transfer window will be open and I'll have something else to moan about!
Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 24/12/2008 at 14:46:18   Comments (7)

The Afro Affair!

First half, cross from the right. header from Fellaini plops into Cech's hands like a turd from a dog's arse ? more weight to the Dion Dublin argument? Is it time for a whipround to send the lanky one to the barbers? Or is it just a case of another big bloke (like Ferguson, Crouch) who wins lots of headers but can't actually head it very well?
Pete Carter     Posted 24/12/2008 at 09:31:33   Comments (25)

A Website to be PROUD of...

I am in my late seventies now and never thought in my wildest dreams I would be posting like this. My son bought me a computer about a year ago, it's opened up a whole new world to me.

In the last year, I have visited many sites of interest but NONE that has given me more pleasure than ToffeeWeb. Reading the posts has become a daily ritual for me; I chuckle at some of the mail, agree with a lot, disagree with some, but always entertained. Thanks to you all for contributing and giving an old fellow Evertonian pleasure in these dark times.

Mostly I would like to thank the guys who make it all happen, Michael, Lyndon and all the guys. I have visited all the Blue sites, not one to touch this. would dearly like to hear from anyone who remembers me from the old days on the Building, or indeed anyone who wants to chat, mainly about all things BLUE.

Once again thanks for the privilege of being associated with TRUE fellow BLUES, God Bless you all, and a very happy and peaceful new year.
Teddy Draper     Posted 24/12/2008 at 07:40:21   Comments (24)

Transfer wriggle room

I'm sure we are all expecting a couple of incoming bodies in January, even if only temporary help to get us through our current injury predicament.

However, I think I'm right in saying that you're only allowed a limited number of loan transfers per season ? and we already have castillo and nash (Jacobsen presumably is our own player on a short contract).

This might limit our ability to wriggle. Does anyone know the facts?
Jeremy Benson     Posted 24/12/2008 at 05:20:44   Comments (5)

A team to be proud of?

Just had a chance to watch the Chelsea game after being away for the weekend, several points made me think of the contrasting tactics of Premier League teams.

We don?t really have any divers or play actors. (I know Arteta goes down a bit easy some times but he?s not in the same league as the likes of Drogba or Ballack.) Our players don?t roll around like they have been shot or surround the ref every time a decision is given against us. And it makes me wonder if this to our credit of detriment?

Personally, I would like to think we play the game the right way and deserve every point we get but can?t help thinking that the most successful teams use any means necessary to gain an advantage. Do we need to be more ruthless to succeed?
Kevin Price     Posted 24/12/2008 at 23:10:26   Comments (21)

That Goal

I have just watched the Pienaar "goal" about a hundred times and it seems to me there's a dynamic nobody is accounting for. Pienaar did run into an offside position at one stage but was almost immediately played onside again. The goal might have been disallowed for the so-called challenge on Cech but as it was a Chelsea player who was involved in impeding him, there's no reason why that should result in a disallowed goal.

In all likelihood Dowd was simply evening up the score for sending off John Terry. Referees often send off a second, opposing, player when they can to keep things even. It makes them appear fair. When they can't do that, a disallowed goal is often the next best thing.

Frankly, after Terry went I was worried about Cahill and Fellaini staying on the field for the whole match. Referees are generally incompetent and some are corrupt and there are no two ways about that. In this case, Dowd had sent off Terry, booked Cole and Lampard and probably felt he better have something to tell the FA if Scolari complained about him.

Yes, I know the linesman made the call, but it was Dowd's decision. If this sounds paranoid, check how often refs send off a second player or disallow a goal after sending a player off.
Peter Fearon     Posted 23/12/2008 at 14:56:05   Comments (18)

ToffeeWeb Family!

I'm far away from the auspices of Everton Football Club in terms of geogaphical position as I live in India, but in spirit I feel like I'm at Goodison so often thanks to the columnists and contributors to ToffeeWeb.

The highs and lows that we share together help me reinforce the feeling that there is no better group of supporters. I have supported Everton for just over 20 years now and after finding ToffeeWeb last year, my experience has been enhanced greatly. From Lyndon and Michael, who are in charge, to columnists like Ken Buckley, Jim Hourigan and many others who contribute to TW in various ways... I am thankful to you all.

We have had a bad summer with none of our projected signings materialising and as a result we made a poor start to the season. We have had doubts over the tenure of David Moyes. We have battled over the stadium issue. At the end of the year when we saw City taken over by rich people and managers rotate clubs faster than a game of musical chairs, I appreciate what we have.

We have a strong foundation with a great manager and a nucleus of passionate players. We need quality badly in order to take the next step but, for now, we fight on with the resources we have. With the coverage of Premier League and FA Cup matches here in India, I am able to watch more of our games but I still don't get access to all of them and at those times I rely on my ToffeeWeb family for links to internet sites, score updates, comments, etc to keep me going. We don't always agree on issue and yet we are able to (at most times) accept others' views.

I would just like to wish all of the ToffeeWeb Family a Joyful and Peaceful Christmas from my family and myself... Cheers! !!!
Santosh Benjamin     Posted 23/12/2008 at 11:28:45   Comments (14)

Welcome back Mikel

Well lads a good point against the second best team in Europe last night and I would have taken it before the game. However, I want to comment on how great Arteta played in that deep lying playmaker role. He was superb, when Jagielka got ball he was running deep to get the ball and then giving good pass to the wingers and he also got stuck in when needed.

Moyes has to persist with Arteta in this position as he's made for it and he know his set plays need working on but honeslty Arteta showed great ability last night against a strong midfield. Hopefully in January we can sign a pacy winger (Obinna, Pennant) and a striker (Benjani, Bellamy, Jo) to help out the team. Keep it up Mikel , after all you are the best little Spanaird we know!
Tom Campbell     Posted 23/12/2008 at 10:42:33   Comments (21)

The chance that Leighton has been waiting for!

With Joseph Yobo likely to be out for 2 weeks, Leighton Baines will have at least 3 games to prove his worth. If he plays like he did when he came on last night then he surely be number 1 left back.

And Joleon, you want to play centre back, prove you are too good there to be moved back to the left.
Craig Taylor     Posted 23/12/2008 at 10:29:22   Comments (21)

Sky 4 (5) Tactics

I have been mulling this over for a while now. Why is it that no matter what Moyes never (ok hardly ever) seems to be able to turn over one of the top 4 (5 if you include Villa). Chelsea were down to 10 men for nearly an hour and we just couldn?t do it.

I also wished for once he would make changes to actually win a match, other than forced because of injuries. We never see changes made at half time.

My 3rd moan is our strikers, am I really on my own thinking we need a massive reshuffle and getting rid of Big Vic (never a Prem player) & Vaughan (possibilities but always injured)

The 4th moan, can Osman please just go, I remember he impressed whilst on loan at Carlise, that?s his level.

Macclesfield away anyone? Please Moyes not another Shrewsbury, Oldham? tumbleweed. Finally Merry Xmas to all the Toffeewebbers (inc Marsh n Dodd)
Joe McMahon     Posted 23/12/2008 at 09:49:12   Comments (27)

Respect

Copied from the BBC website:

However, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech refused to criticise Dowd's decision, saying: "It was hard for the ref to see what happened. He had a split second... he made a decision and we have to live with that. It happens, sometimes you play with 10 men."

Moyes also refused to argue against the officials' ruling that a Steven Pienaar "goal" late on was offside. "I have quickly had a look at the Pienaar 'goal' and I have to say, I think the linesman has got it right and he was offside," he said. "As well as that, it looks like Cech might have got both hands on the ball before Steven forced it in anyway.

"As managers it is important we come out and say what we see, that's how we will get respect, and I thought that was the right decision even though it didn't go our way."

Watching Setanta in the US ,Cech's comments were the first I heard on the dismissal. His comments were relayed immediately after the game finished. Scolari et al take note, he was open, honest and non-confrontational. He relayed it as he saw it. DM's comments, after reviewing a situation which would have seen us IMHO rightly win the match, reflect Cech's. They were honest and open.

Watch if you can Terry's response to the red card. I could see him mouth the word "Phil" after the card was produced on more than one occasion while passing the Captain's armband to Lampard. To me he was merely asking for further reasoning before leaving the field of play. Again he showed respect to the official. He also showed compassion IMHO by checking on the status of the EFC player involved, Leon Osman, before leaving the field of play.

Contrast this with the actions of the "surrogate" Chelsea captain Lampard. A free-kick awarded against Chelsea. Lampard collects a yellow card for arguing with Dowd. Instead of showing the same judgement and behaviour of Terry he stupidly gets a booking. This for a surrogate who should be setting an example. Then, low and behold, Ashley Cole receives a yellow card during the same incident.

Counter that with the reactions of our players faced with similar situations. One in particular was an infringement deemed to have been caused by "Jags". He stated his case, was rebuffed and what happened? We just got on with the game ? with no yellow or red cards.
Gary  Sedgwick     Posted 22/12/2008 at 21:53:24   Comments (30)

Link for the match?

Any one got a link for the match........cant justify Sky AND Setanta
Nick Owen     Posted 22/12/2008 at 16:58:08   Comments (73)

The “I”s have it!

Our long & miserable history of poor marketing & merchandising is the stuff of legend. One would think that, in 2008, we would have more of a clue. Hmm....

My cousin Steve made a trip to the megastore last week to buy 2 new kits for his nephews. Upon requesting the names of Jagielka and Arteta for the backs of the shirts he was asked would he mind if they missed the "I" off Jagielka. The reason is that Everton's megastore had earlier run out of "I"s.

Now is this nit-picking or just a further example of crass ineptitude? To run out of shirt letters 10 days before Christmas, by far the busiest buying time of the year, is mind-boggling. Worse still, "I"s will not be back in stock until after Christmas... You couldn't make it up.

Smelly Christmas to all, especially if your favourite player has an "I" in his name.
Alan Kirwin     Posted 22/12/2008 at 07:40:53   Comments (25)

Another Ground Move Factor

We've had all the debates about location, transport, how much it will really cost, and stadium design, but one aspect of the ground move, or even staying where we are, has not been aired. The feng shui aspect.

This Chinese belief concerns the orientation of buildings in their environment, and the dispostion of spaces and functions within buildings. Getting them right or wrong materially affects prosperity and success. Will the Kirkby proposal be better for EFC than the existing forces at work at Goodison, or would changing the orientation of the pitch at a redeveloped GP improve our home form?

And after you've stopped laughing hysterically, shaking your head in pity or banging it against the wall, this post is only partly an attempt to lighten us up a bit over Christmas...
Mike  Williams     Posted 21/12/2008 at 10:14:46   Comments (15)

Latest Prediction

I thought it would be useful to update the article I wrote back in late October (Unkind Fixtures), when I forecasted that Everton?s likely end of season points total would be about 55 points vs 65 points last season, this despite the fact that at the time of the article we were only 1 point different after the same number of games last season.

In that article, I said that my original forecast was 62 points, but due mainly to the poor start, and the fact that we had two groups of fixtures were we faced Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal (in October and January) in the space of 2 weeks, games in which traditionally we don?t get points. The closeness of these fixtures and the likely defeats also affected other games close to them. This caused a predicted new total of 55 points

How do we stand now? Well, the latest prediction is 56 points, mainly due to the good results at Spurs and Man City, but offset due to Aston Villa and Wigan. I believe this 56 points will get us 6th place on the basis that Hull won't keep going! And Portsmouth and Blackburn aren?t performing as well as last season. This 56 points is based on that we virtually win all future home games except those against Top 4.

Can we get 4 or 5th? I believe we need an extra 10 points to get us in that area of the table and frankly to do that we need to take some good points in the following fixtures:- Chelsea (H), Liverpool (A), Man Utd (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A), Aston Villa (A) and Chelsea (A), as at the moment the prediction is that we only take 2 points from the 21 available (Chelsea and Arsenal home; both draws).

I don?t believe we can find the extra 8 points in the fixtures (maybe Newcastle away, 3 points?). The only possible way to 5th could be that Villa get over committed with all their fixtures ? Europe, FA Cup? and Premier League and their season falls apart. I don?t see Arsenal and Villa both falling by the wayside...

My prediction for Everton is 6th place with about 55 ? 60 points.
Mike Oates     Posted 20/12/2008 at 13:25:16   Comments (26)

'Night Out In A Brewery'

We have all been there, by this I mean exasperation at our beloved club. If it's not crass defending, it's poor midfield play or ?how did he miss that??. For me, this exasperation invariably means the inherent bad management that runs through like a seam.

My first match was in August 1963 and the gate man couldn?t change a pound note! We had to go to a shop to buy some sweets and get some coins. This was the current League Champions and seemingly one of the most progressive teams in England. We all remember too the Uefa Cup ticketing fiascos of the last few years. The chip fryer fires that delay kick offs. The shoddy merchandise that featured on BBC consumer programmes in the 90s... We have all had experience of it.

How about player transfers? Alan Ball being off loaded to Arsenal. Colin Harvey shunted away to the old Second Division. Howard Kendall as a transfer make-weight, later as a manager being allowed to emigrate to Spain... Letting the 'old Lady' of Goodison get to such a state that we will have to leave.

The latest being letting Lee Carsley leave. Not so much not keeping him but not replacing him. It's not that they didn?t have enough notice. He is 34 and wanted to be nearer his handicapped daughter in Birmingham. Chelsea quite happily shipped Makele off, because they knew that Mickel had been groomed to take his place. So now we have the ludicrous sight of Mikel Artel passing as a holding midfielder. The correct analogy is buying a Rolls Royce and using it on a Car Rally.

Even during the Summer, the CEO walks and Moyes dithers over signing a new contract. The result: drift in the transfer market and a disjointed pre-season. This resulted in a bad start to the season, with currently one win at home by December, and a failure at the first hurdle in the Uefa Cup.

If anyone, in the current climate, is mad or rich enough to take this club on, they need to do a root and branch erasure of the culture within the club. Not so much to turn it into a candidate for ?Thatcher?s Business of The Year?, but something that is fit for purpose ? fill it with management, either financial or football that are PRO ACTIVE.

A question for Everton management. Re arrange this into a well known phrase or saying: 'Arrange can you night out a in a brewery?'
Mike Brerry     Posted 20/12/2008 at 08:21:49   Comments (25)

Everton in Liverpool 1

Okay... and about time ? Everton are signing a lease in Liverpool 1 for a decent shopping space. confirmed by a reliable source. The shop will open in July 2009.

It would appear that Mr Wyness was indeed a waste of space in relation to EFC City wide domination.
Sean Wren     Posted 19/12/2008 at 19:02:36   Comments (43)

Our best ever deals

Looking at who we might sign in January set me thinking on what are the best deals Everton have ever made. Of the current generation I'd say Lescott, Cahill, Howard, and Arteta in, plus McFadden out.

All represent good business. Andy Gray and Peter Reid stand out from the recent past. Going back further I'd have to mention the great Ray Wilson.

But for me it's a choice between two: Alan Ball and... Gary Lineker. For me, Lineker wins because he was the last signing we ever made when we were the only club to go to.
Andy  Crooks     Posted 19/12/2008 at 13:10:32   Comments (57)

Everton Xmas Party

I just thought i would like to write this article to give our club a bit of good press because there is so much negativity out there at the moment regarding Kirkby, money etc.

My eight-year-old son is an Evertonia Fan Club member and about two weeks ago recieved a invitation through the post to attend the Everton Christmas Party, to be held at the Alex Young Suite Yesterday (18th) 4-6pm. It mentioned the normal activities but also mentioned players would be attending. As you can imagine me son was over the moon and was really looking forward to it.

We arrived at the ground at 4pm and were taken through to the suite. The kids played musical statues etc and were then given food. Each child was put in to a group numbered 1 to 6. Each group of about 20 kids was then taken through to the changing rooms to meet all the players (except the Yak, Vaughan, Rodwell, Castillo) individually. The lady who accompanied the children took our cameras in and took pictures of the children whilst they got autographs.

My son was over the moon and said every player spoke to him except Fellaini, who can't speak English. He came away after meeting Everton Santa with a goody bag and a full autograph book along with pictures of him and every player.

Everton have made him very happy and he will remember this day for a very long time. I think 150 kids were selected at random from the Evertonia database out of about 3000.

Well done Everton. The only negative side of things was the parents couldn't meet the players! Never Mind.
Andy Ferguson     Posted 19/12/2008 at 08:28:18   Comments (17)

Vagner Love

Has anyone else seen that on BBC gossip column which states- "CSKA Moscow striker Vagner Love, who is rated at 12m, has revealed that Everton are leading the race to sign him - but insists that he still wants to join Real Madrid." Now i know its only 'gossip'; however, if its true, let him go to Real Madrid.

They are not the team they were a few years back and let's be honest who exactly knows a lot about this Vagner Love fella anyway? He's banged a lot of goals in a crap league where I'm sure Jo from City has done the same, and he hasn't exactly set the world alight... has he?
Paul Johnson     Posted 19/12/2008 at 07:22:34   Comments (25)

Perception v Reality

This is a brief point, the Sky know-alls have determined for the sake of trying to create the wonderful breakthrough of a team into the top four and Villa are the one to do it, now the press have followed and joined the bandwagon.

I don't know about any one else but currently the difference between Everton and Villa is the game at Goodison in which I believe we showed we are equal to if not better than they are. If we had won, as we deserved in my opinion to do, then it would be goal difference seperating us. Bearing in mind our poor start to the season and our lack of strikers throughout the campaign, then even goal differnce can be dramatically improved from here on in (ie, with January transfers).

The perception of everyone that Villa are the team is in our favour, the pressure is off. The reality is we are in a position to take fourth as much as any one else and with an improving team that has had its bad spell then I feel very positive about the potential of fourth. Villa will have a poor spell also and will also have the European distraction.

All-in-all, we should go into the Christmas period supportive and motivated by the possibility starting with beating Chelsea, which will certainly make a few people start taking notice that we are serious contenders, I actually think we will win.

The crowd, as stated in another post, can make a difference; Chelsea wont sell their allocation so more reason for supporters to be as intimidating as possible.
Paul Niklas     Posted 19/12/2008 at 07:04:24   Comments (10)

Poem for Rhys Jones

Heard this fantastic poem on the radio yesterday, written by Stephen Jones in dedication to his young son Rhys who was tragically shot dead. It really touched me, not just because I'm a blue, but for Stephen to write such a lovely poem with all the pain and anger he must be feeling.

Now God wanted a football match 
And to play it up in heaven
But first he needed players
And select his first eleven

Georgie Best, big Brian Labone
The legend Dixie Dean
Alan Ball and Bobby Moore
All made it in the team

He needed one more player
Someone who would be quick
From up above he looked down
And saw Rhys there in his kit

So Rhys was taken up above
God took him by the hand
To play the game he loved so much
Where sponsorship is banned

There is no cheating either as
God is the referee
There are no mega wages
And the transfers they are free

The games are live on telly
You don't have to subscribe
The players all stay on their feet
Cos no-one takes a dive

So Rhys plays now so happily
To the angels in the crowd
And every time he hits the net
They roar his name so loud

Have fun my little blue boy
You're safe and in God's care
'Til it's time for me to get my boots
And join with you up there
God bless Rhys
Rob Soare     Posted 18/12/2008 at 20:24:55   Comments (10)

The Big Sell?

I've just had a quick look at the Official Site and was quite relieved (at first) to see a headline that suggested Victor and Saha may be fit for Monday.

On reading the text however, it merely said that they may be pretty 'close'. At the end of the article it pointed out that there were still tickets available for the Chelsea game. Now I have no objection to Everton trying to sell tickets but if it turns out on Monday that neither of the lads are fit I will not only be disappointed but just a little bit suspicious as well!

Or am I getting cynical in my old age?
Dave Roberts     Posted 18/12/2008 at 10:53:11   Comments (32)

Kirkby: A lame argument?

With the club announcing a record turnover, with a 49% increase in revenue, resulting in a pre-tax profit of 6.8 million, is the financial argument for moving to a new stadium starting to sound a bit lame??

Now I am not just talking about Kirkby here, I am talking about any new stadium. 6.8 million profit while still a 'ramshackle, broken down' Goodison Park?... never! Have the Everton Board of Directors just shot themselves in the foot, when it comes to their argument for moving to Kirkby?

Success on the pitch is really the only thing that will make a club financially successful. After all it's the team that wins games ? not the stadium, isn't it? On that basis, is the only thing we really need a few more seats and a lick of paint for the time being?
Brian Baker     Posted 18/12/2008 at 05:51:43   Comments (13)

Buying Shares

This is kind of out of left field but if I wanted to buy a Share of Everton where would I go? Would I have to buy it from an existing Shareholder?
Justin  Holland     Posted 17/12/2008 at 17:57:31   Comments (8)

Increased Turnover

The official site has a new article stating that EFC turnover has increased by 47% and we have actually made a profit of approximately 7 million before player trading and amortification.

Could this mean there will be a bit of money to spend in the january sales?

I'm fairly certain Mr Kenrick wont partake but with that type of money I'd like to see either Charles N'zogbia or possibly Aaron Lennon. any others on your Xmas wishlist?

Before the doomongers post in, I know the finance dept. doesn't work like that.
Ste Kenny     Posted 17/12/2008 at 13:58:53   Comments (36)

Owen?

I know this has probably been mentioned before and given his injuries may not be the most viable option ? however..... The "England Legend" is out of contract at the Toon this coming summer: this means a free exit from the humbugs to a team of his choice.

Now obviously this means no transfer fee, which given his "rep" could still be quite high, I mean he still has the ability to score goals for fun. The down side is his wage... some estimate he is on between 70k to 80k per week!! This is of course a massive sum... BUT, with no transfer fee, we could in theory afford to get Mr Owen this summer, if we were to offer ? and this is purely for argument's sake ? 100k per week (this helps my calculations!!). Then, if we offered him a 3-year contract, we would only fork out a total of 14M ? this is 1M less than we paid just to sign "the mopheaded one".

I know we are skint and don't have two buttons to rub together, but if we did would he be a good option at this price? Granted we would need a signing on fee and bonuses for goals but a fit Owen is sure to bag a minimum of 15 to 20 a season ? how many extra points is that a season?? Yak, Saha, Owen, Vaughany & Big Vic ? not a shabby strike force (IF FIT!!).
Si Harwood     Posted 17/12/2008 at 09:23:36   Comments (52)

Stubbsy

Before Alan Stubbs joined our coaching staff at the end of September, we were played 6, goals against 13 in the league; since he?s been at Finch Farm, we're played 11, goals against 12.

When Stubbsy played for us, I always loved how extremely pissed off he got whenever we conceded ? usually utter anguish coupled with a downward fist-pump. It looks to me like he's communicated that passion to defend to the squad. Those stats can't be coincidence, and I just wanted to recognise his contribution.
Duncan Lennard     Posted 17/12/2008 at 06:56:10   Comments (16)

One City One Club!

According to the Daily Mail, BBC bosses were furious that the Sports Personality Awards (held in Liverpool) were disrupted by the absence of representatives from one of the City's football clubs... but no, it wasn't us this time; apparently it was our neighbours who didn't show much enthusiasm for the event, whilst a number of Blues including David Moyes were in attendance. Are we really going to leave them to be the sole representatives of the City? .
Anthony Dyer     Posted 16/12/2008 at 23:10:58   Comments (18)

Settling in

Following on from Vincent Kompany's comments that he believes Fellaini will become Everton's 'main man', I just wanted to give a mention to something.

If you catch Cahill's goal at Man City again on TV over the next few days, keep your eye on Fellaini as the celebrations move towards the corner flag. It was the first time I've noticed it, but it was nice to see how Fellaini celebrated with Tim & Joleon. He really looked like he's settling in now and enjoying it at Everton. It spoke volumes about the team spirit at the club, which you could argue has been lacking somewhat since the season we finished 4th (pre James Beattie).

I really value what Fellaini offers us to the team, his movement, passing... and I don't care what anyone says, but I believe also his tackling to be one of his best attributes. We finally have that intelligent presence in midfield that we've needed for some time, and the best part is, he is only going to get better and better. Couple this with the switch of Arteta recently into the centre of midfield, I feel all we are lacking (bar the unfortunate striker situation) is two pacy wingers.

Thank you Marouane for choosing to play for our great club. We are right behind you and we believe we have, potentially a world class player in you.
Steven Astley     Posted 16/12/2008 at 18:48:43   Comments (20)

A song for Gwladys

Merry Christmas, Blues!

I'm getting a bit a bored of blues slating and been abusive to one another in articles regarding Destination Kirkby... Can we have a bit more from blues who have a sense of humour, or who like me, favour a good banter about tactics? I love coming back to the city for that very reason, the good hearted crack.

I'm one for making up songs to sing in the Gwladys, I've got one on the go now, all contributions welcome to help me finish it off ? and go easy on the abuse. (I'm not bloody Elton John!)

It goes to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; I'll be singing at the Boro (if you can call it singing!!):

Now come ye blues of Everton, let us get on our way.
For Felliani our saviour is playing on Boxing Day.
He's 6 foot 4 and going to score, a hat-trick we do say.
Here's hoping for 7 points over Xmas (I'll be happy with that) ? the wife's getting fed up of my mood swings due to EFC... COYB!
Les Mallinson     Posted 16/12/2008 at 11:22:07   Comments (8)

Transfer Policy Ineptitude

Once again our transfer policy has been shown as totally incapable. This time last year we let McFadden go for just over 5m and in today's papers, Birmingham are saying they won't listen to bids under 18m.

We are obviously so desparate for money last year that we let an 18m striker go for about a quarter of his real value. When will we ever get it right?
Phil Roberts     Posted 16/12/2008 at 06:40:08   Comments (43)

Penalty decisions again

After the Aston Villa game, I was surprised that no one complained about the referee's decision not to give Victor Anichebe a penalty after he was clearly tripped up by James Milner and then mugged by Martin Laursen.

I watched the game live on Fox Soccer Channel in New York and did not know the names of the match commentators, but whoever they were, they shouted out straight away that Martin Atkinson had made the right decision. They did not change their opinions even after it was replayed several times on the TV, they actually said that he went down too easy and was looking for a penalty. I myself thought it was a penalty right away and the replays shows it was clearly a foul in the box.

This past weekend against Man City, it happened again; Michael Ball clearly fouled Ossie in the box ? not surprisingly, no penalty. There seems to be no consistency from game to game, week to week with match officiating.

The number of handballs last week by Villa players that went unpunished and again this week was astonishing. I remember seeing Robinho clearly and deliberately handle the ball and no yellow card. Ronaldo was sent off for a deliberate handball two weeks ago by Howard Webb against City and I remember Hull getting a penalty late in the game with the Boro when Geovanni was fouled, when I first saw it, I didn't think it was a foul and after watching the replays it clearly wasn't a penalty, the referee was Steve Tanner.

I've heard that Mark Halsey has given out the fewest cards of the season from the match commentators of our game against City and was a little bemused by that. Surely consistent fouling and bad tackles warrant bookings (yellow cards) does this mean that Mark Halsey only gets the matches where these events don't occur? I'm not mandating that every little thing should stop play but what happened to the rules of football? The referee is supposed to enforce the rules of football unbiased and not interfere with the outcome of the game. This clearly happened when the referee allowed extra time over the time already added on and Villa went on to score the winner.

Maybe this piece sounds like sour grapes from me, but it really isn't, I watch as many Everton matches I can and maybe I'm biased, but I see this in other non-Everton games also. I just pay more attention to our games and want us to get treated fairly, that's all.

Clearly something has to change; one referee cannot decide to play extra time, another not to book people, yet another let his linesmen make refereeing decisions and so on. The integrity of the game is being ruined. They say it is a difficult job but saying that is really a cop-out, they shouldn't be doing the job if they cannot be fair and decisive.

They seem to be getting support from Keith Hackett and the FA but to what end? I feel that if they are not going to suffer the consequences of their actions on matchday, why should they change or improve? In any walk of life, if there aren't any checks and balances the whole thing goes belly up.

I believe that there should be a referee review board and several matches each week (selected randomly like a drug test) should be examined each week by a committee of ex-footballers, managers, referees, regular people independent of the various leagues. Maybe even appoint a Commissioner to police these referees and various entities to keep to the rules and basic principles of the game of football and least of all, to keep them on their toes.
Matthew Hickey     Posted 15/12/2008 at 18:10:44   Comments (33)

Going Forward

With the likely absence of James Vaughan for the rest of the season and Yak's absence likewise together with Saha's consistent injury worries and Anichebe seemingly about to join the physio's club I wondered who the hell we could get on loan or otherwise in January:-

Michael Owen: Expensive,would need a fee,injury prone too.

Henrik Larson: Maybe just beyond the prem standards,does'nt seem that keen and apparently no contact has been made

Jo: I think we saw enough on Saturday.At best would need a long settling in period.

David Nugent: Apparently wants to stay at Pompey.

Marlon Harewood: A strong rumour that he's already been lined up.Athletic but questionable finishing.

Emile Heskey: Also athletic but questionable finishing and would cost a fee.

Didier Drogba: If only!!!!

Santi Ezquerro (Barcelona): Apparently good until he joined Barca but cant get a game now but is old? at 31.

Lukas Podolski and Wagner Love might as well be Drogba for the fee involved.

Marcus Bent: Only joking!!

So it looks like Marlon Harewood unless we can "Pull a rabbit out of the hat".

Watch this space...
Jay Harris     Posted 15/12/2008 at 13:39:15   Comments (36)

Steve McMahon

What a sad bitter tosser McMahon is, did anyone else hear his pre-match and half-time interview?

He never had a good word to say about Everton, even after our good first half. He said, "There's only one winner of this game and that's Man City, they've got more about them than Everton."

Every time I've seen him on TV or heard him on the radio, he always seems to put us down one way or another. Sad wanker.
Terry  Downes     Posted 15/12/2008 at 13:43:21   Comments (31)

Baines and the January window

According to some reports, Joe Kinnear has already made a bid for Bainsey for January. I really hope that Moysie doesn't get rid of Leighton as I think he is a really talented fullback who has a lot to offer Everton. I do however think that Leighton will want to move on; despite Lescott's form, I think he has been criminally undervalued here at everton for 18 months.

Question is, do other Evertonians think that he should be sacrificed to perhaps free funds for a striker in January? It could be argued that he is the only dispensible member of our small squad who would command anything close to a substantial transfer fee.
Robert Pierpoint     Posted 14/12/2008 at 15:41:55   Comments (57)

Surely one Neville is enough?

I read this morning that Everton are poised to offer Gary Neville a contract. Now don't mis-interpret the title of this post as, whilst Pip is not the most gifted of players, I have always defended him on these pages as he is honest, hard-working, a motivator and leader of men. I am also pleased to see him playing well AT RIGHT BACK this season. Gary Neville, on the other hand, is a tosser who also players RIGHT BACK, has been out of the game for almost a year and is 2 years (or so) older than Pip. WTF do we want or indeed need Gary Neville??

I am hoping it's pure Sunday paper bollocks.
Matt  Bone     Posted 14/12/2008 at 11:28:28   Comments (22)

Obstructed views at Kirkby?

Standing up in front of your seat in lower and single end tiers during anything that slightly resembles an exciting moment has been a common action since stadia first became all-seater. This action, which is perfectly within stadium rules, is one that will see fans purposely go (or not go) to a particular stand because they believe it improves the atmosphere.

Now considering the regular occurence of this practice I thought I'd see the impact that it would have on the design of the new stadium. It took only a matter of seconds to see a huge potential flaw in the design. If you look at this picture of the proposed new stadium you can actually see how fans standing up at the back of the lower tier will block the view of what I presume will be the corporate customers behind the glass.

Alt_Text

Is it really acceptable to say to the corporate clients that they have to stand up to see at the slightest chance of a break by a team they may not really care about? What about the fans who enjoy standing at moments of excitement? How would they feel standing up with their Managing Director at work directly behind them thus replicating the hierachical structure of society in the very place ordinary fans want to escape from on a Saturday afternoon? The potential for friction and alienation of a number of fans in what is already a sensitive move could well be the final straw for those who do give the new stadium a chance.

So what elso could be behind that glass if not executive boxes? Offices that will be unoccupied during a match? A place for ordinary fans to watch the match while going for a pie? Or will they be unoccupied while executive are in the normal seats in front, and then at half time they retreat to the boxes to watch the half time golden goal from?
Derek  Turnbull     Posted 14/12/2008 at 09:21:06   Comments (31)

David vs Goliath

I'm sure that David Moyes will be the first to admit that he's not the best manager in the world. Okay, his tactics sometimes leave a bit to be desired. However, look at yesterday's match on a grander scale.

On one side you have reportedly the richest club in the world. They have an unlimited amount of funds. They have just bought the most expensive and one of the most skilful players in the Premier League, paying him more than any other player in the history of the Premier League. Their other players consist of a 19m Brazilian striker, a winger that cost 21m in his time, two of the most promising keepers in the land, not to mention the abilities of Richards, Dunne, Kompany, Johnson, Ireland, Benjani and Sturridge amongst others. They have the history of a great academy and a fantastic new stadium. All of this and it's not just a recent thing. They have also had the money of their previous billionaire Thai owner and the expert managerial skills of Eriksson, a proven world class manager.

Compare this to our beloved humble club. Sure, we have the greater history and traditions. But over the history of the Premier League and more recently, the 6-year reign of Moyes. We have made a lot of necessary loan and free signings just to get numbers in. Ok, you can point to the record signings of Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu and Felliani, but have these not been purchased due to the remortgage of Goodison several times over? Our small squad is also highlighted more than ever at present.

Therefore, considering all of the above, surely it makes yesterday's result even better? Okay, it was only one game, 90 mins and eleven against eleven and so on. But look at the grander scale. Yesterday's result was not a one-off, we seem to consistently get results against the likes of Man City, Tottenham and Newcastle. Even Portsmouth, West Ham, Villa, Fulham and Sunderland seem to be on a level playing field if not pay more in transfer fees and wages than us.

We played yesterday with no strikers. Instead a 2m midfielder from Millwall played up front. Our two main creators cost 5m between them. In fact our whole team cost individually between 2m and 5m. Howard, Neville, Baines, Lescott, Yobo, Jagielka, Pienaar, Arteta and Cahill all fall in this bracket with an influx of players brought through the youth team, Vaughan, Anichebe, Osman Hibbert and Rodwell. Even the 15m signing of Felliani (another loan?) is one for the future. A 21-year-old all round box-to-box midfielder, if he stays here 15 years, that's only 1m a season. If Felliani leaves, it is surely going to be a big club for a profit.

Not only are we consistently beating teams that pay bigger transfer fees and wages, but we are consistently finishing higher than them over the course of a long season. This all means that we are punching above our weight, but it also means that Moyes has a record of getting the best out of the transfer market and the best out of his players. It seems that Moyes has finally admitted that this situation is not going to change in the short-term and he is now not getting above his station. Therefore, if our financial situation changes in the long term, surely we are going to do well with a manager who has a record of getting the best out of the club?
Matthew Lovekin     Posted 14/12/2008 at 06:11:09   Comments (21)

Get Down To Goodison!

Come on all you TW regulars, why not treat yourself and your loved ones to a pre Christmas present next Monday. I know the probability of beating Chelsea next week is slim, - but with the ongoing debate about Kirkby and given the fact that it will probably be given the go-ahead ? Goodison will not have many more opportunities to show what an amazing ground it can be.

Also, if there is a potential buyer out there, perhaps a full house and a victory over Chelsea might help persuade them to part with their cash. Everyone keeps harping on about not leaving the city, so show how important it is to so many and get down to Goodison and give it loads. [This was not a party political broadcast on behalf of any party!]
Anthony Dyer     Posted 13/12/2008 at 21:03:54   Comments (9)

MoTD Coverage

Just watched MoTD. Yes the 2 minutes we had.

What was more annoying was the coverage of the "trouble" at the City ground. I hate violence. However, I was at the Arsenal away game and the "trouble" that happened there was not shown on MoTD. Even though that went on for more than ten minutes during the game and then once the game was over!

Is this a North-South divide being exploited by MoTD. If North and North have a go at each other, let's report it. However, if it's the South against the North..... Oh well, That's Life. Or is that another programme!

No need for the trouble to be highlighted on TV ? I am sure both clubs will sort it out, and so they should.
Lynne Hill     Posted 13/12/2008 at 20:57:50   Comments (17)

Four of the best...

Firstly, I have to acknowledge a great victory today ? especially after last weekend's finale. In our last two games we have improved greatly performance-wise. Our good run after the Man Utd draw (bar Wigan), was more based on luck and sheer graft rather than good play. However, now we appear to be coming close to what our fans expect after our peak performances last season.

Overall, consistency of play has improved throughout the 90 mins in the last two games. Yes, this was quite noticeable even though we didn't get a result against Villa ? better passing, better link-up play, and less hoofball. Fellaini is central to this, as is putting Arteta back in central midfield, as well as the return of Pienaar.

As a goalkeeper, I have to acknowledge how good Tim Howard actually is and has been for us since he signed, his crucial saves often keeping us in games ? some fans easily forget! So I'll praise him while he is playing well, but I would never lose faith even with the odd rare blip (the nature of goalkeeping ? hero or zero!). And I thought I'd never say this, but Phil Neville has been very solid all season at RB, so credit where credit is due.

To conclude, if we maintain these levels of performance, we will be there or there abouts come the end of the season (ie 4th-6th place). Not good enough true, but good... considering....
Mick McManus     Posted 13/12/2008 at 14:23:18   Comments (17)

Where has Castillo been?

I've just watched the full 90 minutes of the City game on TV and I'm left wondering, where has Castillo been? He had a stormer. He played like Carsley at his best plus calm accurate passing. The rest of the lads played their best football of the season so far in my opinion but Castillo shone like a beacon.
Vincent Lysaght     Posted 13/12/2008 at 14:07:59   Comments (19)

Cahill Starts Up-Front

No room, of course for any of those young and unproven resereves strikers like Jutekiewicz, Spencer (what happened to him?) Agard...

And Castillo gets a start!!!! Match comments below....
Michael Kenrick     Posted 13/12/2008 at 11:57:11   Comments (89)

Give him a go

Am I alone in thinking Lescott has the attributes of a striker? He is tall, strong and a very good header. In possession of the ball he is confident and and displays a striker's instinct around the box.

Hibbert is back to fitness while Baines is chomping at the bit plus Valente in the background... we have good cover at fullback. It is up front where we are short and Joleon could be the answer...
Dick  Fearon     Posted 12/12/2008 at 07:45:03   Comments (32)

Feed the Yak

It is the silly season so I thought I would contribute my own little bit of silliness instead of the usual (but not always) doom and gloom on this site.

A mate of mine who I sit next to at work is a mad Man U supporter who is in love with Ronaldo. I said to her that the Yak is my man (not love-wise!). People around me, being Londoners, were a little bemused by who is this Yak character is so I jumped on the internet and discovered Yakubu's website. On there, there is a chant showing Everton supporters singing "Feed the Yak and He Will Score".

Something got in my head and a hymn that we used to sing in school called "Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer" (some 13 years ago) was the perfect basis for a song about the Yak. I'm sure some of you know this and I believe it is sung at some Welsh rugby games. So with a little bit of imagination, I created the below song, based on the lyrics of this hymn.

Guide Me Oh Thou Great Yakubu

Words by Scott Robinson

This hymn is suitable as the first hymn sung after the kick off, which usually speaks of the desire that God goes with the Yak into the future to help Everton win matches.

Guide me, O thou great Yakubu,
Pilgrim through the Premier League;
I am weak, but the Yak art mighty,
Amaze us with thy powerful boot;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed the Yak and he will score;
Feed the Yak and he will score.

Open now the football game
Whence the winning team doth flow;
Let the fire and powerful right foot
Put the Yak on goal scoring mode:
Strong finisher, strong finisher;
Be thou still our strength and shield;
Be thou still our strength and shield.

When the Yak treads the verge of Goodison,
Bid our anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and Liverpool's destruction
Land me safe on Everton's side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
The Yak ever give to thee;
The Yak ever give to thee.

I think it's a winner and could be a great song to sing at Goodison to welcome the Yak's return for 2009-10.

Merry Xmas everyone!
Scott Robinson     Posted 11/12/2008 at 14:12:06   Comments (24)

Attacking the Park End

Has anyone else noticed in the last three games we have attacked the Park End in the second half? We always attacked the Street End in the past but I dont know why it's changed. I know people might say that the sun will shine in the Gwladys Street goalmouth to distract the keeper but against Villa it was dark the whole game and we still attacked the Park End? Maybe Moyes wants a change in plan or maybe its just coincidence. Can anyone answer my question?
Tom Campbell     Posted 11/12/2008 at 13:26:00   Comments (33)

Affro affro man!!

I know this is a strange post, but during half time of the game against Villa, Dion Dublin said on Sky Sports that Fellaini's amazingly huge affro cushions the ball when he goes for a header, thus not as much as power when he heads a ball. He then goes on to say that he will not score as many goals, because of his huge affro, which I found absolutely ridiculous!

Anyone thinks that's a load of rubbish or does Dion have a point?
Ben Jones     Posted 10/12/2008 at 14:47:06   Comments (53)

Is It Just Me

Is it just me or did anyone else feel insulted when the club placed huge bowl-like stadiums on the Goodison footprint, as if to prove Goodison could not be redeveloped?

I know it's been a while but that EGM left me feeling angry. What made it worse was that people who I'd always respected, like Howard Kendall and Dave Prentice, came away from that EGM with a different view. I just felt it was a huge insult to my intelligence.

They attended the EGM where I merely read the transcript. Does anyone else feel the club continually insult our collective intelligence. Why do apparently intelligent men like Kendall and Prentice toe the club's line. Or is it just me that feels this way?
Dave Johnson     Posted 10/12/2008 at 00:48:32   Comments (46)

Everton's Forwards

Used to be that the revered Everton number 9 position had a skilful, great in the air, target man that could be counted on to strike fear in the hearts of opponents. The names used to roll off your tongue ? Dean, Lawton, Vernon, Royle, Latchford, Sharp, even Big Dunc to a degree.

So what happened? Since the days of Kevin Campbell who granted had one good season for us, we had had to endure a string of not good enough forwards - Beattie, Johnson, Vaughan, Yakubu, Saha and Anichebe who seem to either spend the match rolling around the ground trying to get a penalty or are injured.

For such "once great" team with history this truly is pathetic.
Ajay  Timothy     Posted 09/12/2008 at 11:38:28   Comments (50)

Proud to be a Toffee

We are all disappointed with the defeat to Villa but the performance was great, I am a lifelong toffee living in Dublin. I go to 5/6 games a season and love Goodison Park. Unfortunately I was not at the match on Sunday but I would like to praise & congratulate my fellow toffees who were at the match.

The reason I am doing this is because of the support that was shown to Phil Jagielka after his horrible mistake. On the TV I could hear the chant of "there's only one Phil Jagielka". Contrast that with the they way Arsenal fans treated Emmanuel Eboue at the weekend, they booed him off the pitch. Imagine that, booing yer own player so much that he was on the verge of tears.

It just goes to show the calibre and class of Everton fans and I would like to say a heartfelt thnaks to all those who supported Jags when he needed it during the match rather than turn on him like Arsenal fans did. Fellow toffees, you made me proud.... well done!!
Graham  Nolan     Posted 09/12/2008 at 08:54:15   Comments (13)

The Other Johnson?

Is it just me or does the news that Michael Johnson may very well be on the outer at Man City get other people's pulse racing? He's young, powerful and can score some cracking goals... Lordy knows Everton's midfield could use some more muscle to balance our current batch of skillful, but slight midfielders. And Screech might look big, but powerful he ain't...

And the murmurs that it is Johnson's attitude and work ethic causing problems further strengthens the argument for Everton to consider him. One of the hallmarks of Moyes is instilling a strong work ethic in his players and it seems Johnson may need just such a kick up the backside at this point in his career. Another potential star of the future for the England squad and I think he would be a great fit amongst the boys...

And YES! I know he has 4 years left on his contract, so he wouldn't come cheap and we apparently have no money to spend. And I also know we need strikers more than anything, but it's still nice to dream isn't it?
Gavin Spackman     Posted 09/12/2008 at 02:59:05   Comments (21)

The extra minute

If there is one thing that is getting on my fucking tits, concerning Saturday's game, is people crying about the extra minute the ref added on. Now lads, the 4th official indicates there will be a minimum of 3 mins, thats it, a MINIMUM of 3 mins, not 3 mins, and 3 mins only. The ref will have in his own mind how much extra he will be playing, but it won't be less than 3 mins. Maybe you lads moaning had a stop watch timing the 2nd half? Thought not.
Brian Waring     Posted 08/12/2008 at 17:36:38   Comments (22)

Get a Haircut!

Having been well and truly put through the wringer (yet again) by another Jekyll and Hyde performance, there are many points to reflect on, but only two to mention here.

The first was Phil Neville's ace tackle on the Villa poacher Young; like the Ronaldo tackle, it was fair but the lad was probably seeing stars for the next 10 minutes!

The second is a plea to Screech...... get a flippin' haircut!! I swear he would have scored with at least one of his two great efforts but for the cushioning effect of his ever growing mop of curls. I heard today that Dion Dublin made comment of the fact that it was for that exact reason that he keeps his head shaved and quite right too.

Other than that I think yer man is improving week by week; he still gets caught by the pace of the game sometimes but his passing and all round contribution is light years ahead of his first few games.
Steve Guy     Posted 08/12/2008 at 17:29:34   Comments (20)

Moyes Celebrations

Just wanted to comment on something that I may or may not have misinterpreted... Did anybody else see Moyes's celebrations following the 2nd equalising goal against Villa? He went nuts... throwing his arms around very aggresively before looking right at the Gwladys Street End in a very angry way and gesturing with his arms/hands, he then took his coat off and lashed it into the dugout.

Now... I may be wrong, but the impression I got was that he was gesturing towards the Street End in a sort of "fuck you" manner after the End criticised him (rightly so in my opinion) for substituting Anichebe for Baines with three mins left.

I hope my interpretation was wrong, but if I am right, Moyes can kiss my arse. The Street End fans are probably the most loyal to DM and praise and cheer him constantly (rightly so). The fans are entitled to voice their opinions, particularly at decisions they do not agree with and Moyes should remember who pays his undeserved 60k a week wages (astonishing amount for someone who has won absolutely bugger all and made only one cup semi in nearly seven years).

I thought the crowd was amazing yesterday, one of the best atmospheres this season and Moyes should have realised that the fans were trying hard to support a team that has frankly given them very little (if anything) to shout about since Feb this year. He should also note the way the fans brilliantly sung Jagielka's name loud and proud after his awful mistake, I was very proud of my fellow supporters at that moment and very few teams can claim that sort of support (i.e. Riise's famous OG for the Red Shite springs to mind when he got slated by the fans and practically forced out of the club shortly after, despite years of excellent service).

I am a Moyes fan, but if my interpretation was correct, he has lost some support from me now. He needs to learn to handle criticism from those who keep him in a job and he also needs to stop making excuses about referee's. Yes the ref was shit, yes we were unlucky, yes we have no strikers, yes the team played well, BUT, he still picks them team and that team conceded three goals at home for the third time this season because of defensive mistakes and an inability to retain possession, that is why we lost at home... AGAIN !
John McKie     Posted 08/12/2008 at 10:30:00   Comments (57)

Pass presents finished off by future !

I sit down to write this article with a really heavy heart. I have not seen play this well going forward in ages and yet I have also not seen us so poor at the back. The Villans scored one cracker (from a mistake) and then capitalised on 2 more mistakes to take all the points from us on a cold, cold evening.

We started with the 4-5-1 as expected and Arteta in the middle of the park again. No sooner had we kicked off than Arteta lost possession... Luke Young got the ball, passed it to Milner who passed it into the path of Sidwell who smashed the ball past Howard into the net with just over 30 seconds gone!!! We hadn't even started the match in our minds but we were a goal down.

Thankfully the heads didn't drop and we pressed forward with wave after wave of attack. Vic was having trouble holding the ball up but that also had something to do with Laursen and Curtis Davies climbing on his back everytime he got the ball. The Villans had a few chances of their own from corners and set pieces... Laursen coming close with a header from one of them.

A great chance for Cahill as Ossie played him through was sadly straight at Friedel. Fellaini made his presence felt with a header from a corner. I thought we had a couple of decent claims for penalties as Vic was once mounted by Laursen in the box and then Vic was bundled over by Milner with no intention of going for the ball... Ref (Tw)Atkinson said no to both. He also allowed Sidwell to kick our players at will and he didn't even get booked for all his fouls.

Cuellar then fouled Cahill. The resulting free-kick from Arteta found Lescott on the 6-yard line and he used his knee to guide it in... 1-1. We could've doubled the lead when Fellaini climbed high to head one past Friedel... only for Cuellar to clear it off the line! We went into the break level although we could've easily been up.

The second half started brightly for both teams. We had a great chance soon enough with a corner finding the head (of hair!) of Fellaini who looked certain to score from 4 yeards out but Friedel's trailing hand somehow tipped it onto the bar...

Within 10 mins of re-starting, we witnessed a terrible back pass from Jagielka which was promptly picked up by Young who slotted it past Howard to put the Villans ahead. Jags has been so solid at the back... he was probably due a mistake but sad that it was so costly. We continued to push forward and never looked like giving up. Threw on AvdM... yes AvdM and Baines for Vic and Phil Neville... and pushed Jags upfront to partner the Big Fella.

Just as injury time had started, there was a mad scramble inside the box which resulted in Cahill heading the ball goalwards and Lescott with a tremendous overhead kick scored to send me outta my seat and around the house screaming along with the missus...

I thought that they had indicated 3 mins of stoppage coz we were way past that... we lost possession in the middle of the park and again Young was there to punish us cruelly and win it for Villa. I fell to my knees and stared at the screen in horror as the game ended.

Player ratings:

Howard: Hardly did anything wrong but ended up picking the ball out of his net 3 times.

Neville: Had a fairly good game today.

Yobo: Was actually looking the less sure of the centre-backs today...

Jagielka: Solid before and after the horror back pass...still have a lot od confidence in him though.

Lescott: He is on his way back to his best ? better at the back and amazing upfront again... my MoM actually.

Osman: Knocked off the ball too easily as always but worked hard.

Pienaar: Looked lively as always and works well on the left.

Arteta: Gave the ball away twice in the middle of the park and both ended up as goals.. 1st and 3rd.... but was good going forward.

Cahill: Not nearly at his best these days but the 4-5-1 suits him better than 4-4-2

Fellaini: should've scored with the headers... would've been a different result then.

Anichebe: Was ok..but still needs to work on holding the ball up better.

AvDM....dunno who was more shocked that he played ..him or me!

Baines: Too little time to judge

I know that this may sound like sour grapes and stuff but i think the game was ruined by one Mr Atkinson and his assistants. Blatant fouls on us, handballs which could've been seen by a blind person were denied. And Fellaini gets booked for his 2nd or 3rd challenge... also where did the oodles of added time come from??? I know I may get stick for this but I curse him for this...

Tough to get up from a knock like this which takes Villa close to the Arse and us feel like the arse... a hard, hard result to digest.
Santosh Benjamin     Posted 07/12/2008 at 22:17:46   Comments (43)

The Midfield

In some ways we were very unlucky today; however, there's an intrinsic problem with the shape of the Everton midfield. The whole point of a 4-5-1 system is to have a holding midfielder a la Mikel, not to have 5 attacking midfielders. Why did we sign Castillo? An international and a central midfield player, surely he could do a job as a holding player?

Cahill and Osman are not traditional midfielders, Pienaar is neat, but can't tackle, shoot or pass beyond 20 yards and Arteta is a shadow of the player of two years ago. It is not a midfield. It does not really help the attack and certainly leaves the central defence exposed.

Anichebe is willing, but a Heskey manque, lacking an ability to threaten goal, and needs a support player alongside him.
Rick Tarleton     Posted 07/12/2008 at 16:19:40   Comments (53)

Van der Meyde on the Bench!

Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Jagielka, Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Anichebe.

Subs: Nash, Baines, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Kissock.

Match comments here... if you can do that and watch TV at the same time!
Michael Kenrick     Posted 07/12/2008 at 12:28:17   Comments (158)

Upbeat for the Villa Game

Good to see some hope. We are now back to our favoured 5 midfield due to circumstances. A lot of pressure seems to be building on Victor Anichebe but as someone pointed out he needs the midfield to get up there quickly to support him.

The concern now is that the middle 5 do not contain an anchor. They can play a bit and get goals but will have to defend well against the power of the villa midfield. This can be done but will need some work and thought. I am hoping for the best as the defenders are now doing their job.

If we start playing well again will DM ditch the 442. I think he sees this as the way to get into the top 4 eventually(i.e. more attacking) but has not trusted his defence or midfield to cope as yet. We are still looking for a younger more creative carsley.

We will have to see how the defending goes with a footballing midfield five. We were good at Spurs but they did not have any midfield heavies.

A further problem with the injuries is that he does not have any impact players from the bench. Hopefully he will give one of the young strikers a last 15 mins to give them a boost and even get a goal. New packages can spring a surprise against any defence.

So hopefully 10-nil for us...
David Leeson     Posted 06/12/2008 at 13:31:15   Comments (13)

Lets Get Behind Vic and the Boys

Make no mistake about it, tomorrow is a MASSIVE game. If we can get 3 points from it we will be right in the European hunt despite a very indifferent start to the season.

I went to White Hart Lane last weekend and, despite my major concerns, I thought we put in a very good, solid if not spectacular performance ? and I am hoping for much of the same tomorrow.

I can't make it to Goodison tomorrow but i just want to ask (and I know you will) for ALL Everton fans to give Big Vic 100% support. Yes, he would be very few of our, first-, second-... maybe even our third-choice striker but this is the time we need to back him to the fullest. If he can step up to the plate over the coming months, the loss of the Yak and Vaughany will be less felt.

Come on Vic and Everton ? do us proud!!
Chris  Webb     Posted 06/12/2008 at 08:05:56   Comments (8)

Striker light

David Moyes is quoted on the OS as saying that he is looking to strengthen the squad in January with such resources as at his disposal, but that in the meantime -

"There might be some games where we've got centre-halves and midfielders at centre forward".

I hope Vic just starts knocking them in, but if necessity is the mother of invention, who would Moyes put up front from the start — or move up if required? Lescott seems an obvious candidate to me, but 'midfielders'? Cahill perhaps, but is he thinking about Fellaini?
Keith Glazzard     Posted 05/12/2008 at 14:37:10   Comments (16)

Kirkby Debate Is “Staged Theatre”

For the life of me, I don't know why Toffeeweb Towers persist in bothering to keep us informed about the unfolding developments of the so-called Kirkby Inquiry. Quite simply, it's a foregone conclusion, and everyone knows it.

Everton Football Club are bluffing their supporters, and the world at large, by this pretense of a debate. We are moving to an unimaginative, uninspiring, generic and anonymous looking stadium, in an instantly forgettable backwater. Done deal.

The debate is a charade. What other multi-million pound business has no Plan B ? Or plans C D or E etc... The meetings are a case of going through the motions, to satisfy the lie being spread that they have considered all options. (Quote: "We tried our best, folks").

Day 11 is the latest in a long line of flannel, as the other so-called options, whilst out there in public view, serve deliberately as False Flag PR disinformation tools. That's it. At the highest level, there is only one choice: Kirkby —Tough shit.

They are insulting our intelligence with this facade, and ToffeeWeb should be able to separate the wood from the trees, rather than inadvertently helping them stage this preposterous theatre...

Nil Satis, My Arse
Kevin Hudson     Posted 05/12/2008 at 13:13:20   Comments (28)

A bit of Perspective?

With Roy Keane's resignation I just wanted to offer a bit of perspective on our current manager and financial situation. I didn't realise, but Keane spent 70M on players in just over two years as Sunderland boss. In that time, they have only ever struggled against relegation (are currently 3rd bottom). They have never challenged for a European place AND have never been noted for expansive attractive football. Yet Keane is regarded as one of the few top players to transition into a top manager. He is very highly respected as a coach.

Now we have Moyes who has spent less in 6 years than Keane did in 2 years. He has taken us into Europe 3 times and has got us into the top 6 on regular occasions. Ok, his teams don't often play attractive football but our finishing positions are often very strong. Yet numerous posters on this site regard him as not being up to the job.

I'm not going into a pro-Moyes rant but there has to be some perspective on what resources he has to work with. Likewise isn't it depressing that a club like Sunderland with half our tradition can outspend us so much? Everton can never be truly great again until we have the financial backing/ambition to allow our manager (whoever it is) to compete for quality players. With that in mind I feel Everton currently punches way above its collective weight.
Phil  Martin     Posted 04/12/2008 at 11:22:43   Comments (90)

How's the Public Inquiry going?

The counter arguments in today's Daily Post sum up for me the difficulty anyone has in grasping the elusive truth about Destination Kirkby. We have as the topic Everton's economic impact on the Walton area.

Elstone says, "I believe that the economic value provided to the local community is a real factor. We have 200 people going in and out of the stadium every day; shopping in the local area and buying food. The reality is that we contribute and help sustain the local community.?

Then we have Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle " ?Arguments of regeneration are misleading in relation to Everton?s place in my constituency. It?s presence has arguably been an inhibiting factor in attempts to regenerate the area.

"(Liverpool) councillors have said there would be a hole left in the local (Walton) economy if Everton?s 51m turnover was relocated to Kirkby. This is comic book economics. Everton?s turnover has virtually no impact on Walton.?

They can't both be right... can they?
Paul Hardcastle     Posted 04/12/2008 at 10:13:14   Comments (25)

Realistic Expectations

The disastrous pr-season, the endless contract saga, the multiple errors, the battered confidence, that shameful derby performance, etc etc...

We've hardly hit the ground running this season, the mood throughout Evertonia has reflected the shambles both on and off the park... but take a look at the league table? A win against Villa on Sunday will put us right into contention for a CL place.

I know it's barely a week since we stunk the JJB out, but since the Man Utd game we have taken 3 or 4 steps forward and only one back. Despite all the moaning, we were very good against the Mancs, half-decent against Boro, terrific for the last half hour at West Ham ? not just the 4 minutes the whiners would have you believe ? and we played a resurgent Spurs team off the park.

Everton are improving guys... keep those passports handy.
Dave Wilson     Posted 04/12/2008 at 03:41:33   Comments (26)

Player of the Season (So Far)

I'm not sure exactly how we are 7th in the table at present, because I can't think of many really good performances to shout about. But it did make me think about who our star performers are so far.

For what it's worth (and I'm sure I'll be slated for this), here's my top 3:

1. Jags - Prepared to step in front of anything for the cause.
2. Tim Howard - Awsome in the last few games.
3. Captain Pip - Has excelled at right back.

Bring on the abuse.
Liam Reilly     Posted 03/12/2008 at 09:30:20   Comments (46)

Podolski... don't think so.

Just an FYI to the Rumour Mill 'rubbish' - Lucas Podolski will most likely leave Bayern Munich in the Jan. window but a number of top clubs are and have been chasing him for ages.... He's way out of our price range... transfer price will rocket and his wages will be too high... forget it....

If we had only snapped up his predecessor Santa Cruz 2 years ago for a fraction.....

Keep the heads up & keep singing.
Kevin O' Regan     Posted 02/12/2008 at 13:07:51   Comments (31)

Ratty and the Jag

Kevin Ratcliffe is quite correctly one of our heroes. If we hadn't have won what we did win under his captaincy, he would still be one of the greats for his skill, leadership and phenomenal abilities. And I'm not going to compare Philip Jagielka to him ? not for a long while yet. But what I think is worth thinking about ? and particularly for those who have seen them both play at Goodison and elsewhere ? is whether there are any valid comparisons to be made between the two.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 01/12/2008 at 22:39:32   Comments (33)

Loan Player

A couple of weeks ago when Joe Hart (Manchester City) was injured, they were given the permission to sign a loan player if they wanted.

We have lost 3 of our strikers for the foreseeable future, will we be afforded the same opportunity as City or does it only cover Goalkeepers?
Eddy Grundy     Posted 01/12/2008 at 16:30:13   Comments (68)

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