The Mail Bag

February 2009 Archive
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Season Tickets

Glad to hear there as been a decrease in prices but there is one thing that i would of liked to have seen added: some kind of concessionary rate for disabled supporters not in wheelchairs. There isn't any concession for disabled supporters that don't use a chair.
Simon Rimmer     Posted 28/02/2009 at 18:29:34   Comments (13)

Thoughts on the game:

So, just got back from watching in the pub. It wasn?t the most entertaining of games. The back four looked week without Lescott, but considering he?s on 4 yellows and we didn?t concede, the gamble paid off (this time).

My biggest thought is that the team is looking ragged. Osman, Fellaini, Peanuts, Saha, Castilo, Yobo and Jo all blatantly not at the fitness level they need to be. Couple this with new injuries to Rodwell and Hibbo plus the inexperience of Gosling, and we have a big problem for the next few games. Lets hope they all came through today without any problems and can work on getting fitter for Wednesday. That is our only option, we have no one else to draw on.

Saying that, we still won, and I can forgive the team for a bit of un-entertaining football for the sake of 3 points won. I am realistic, with all of the injuries we have, can us supporters really expect much more than the team ?getting the job done? as it were. I think not, and I just hope (and believe) that as the fitness picks up, so does the football.
Peter Dancer     Posted 28/02/2009 at 12:08:55   Comments (52)

Pienaar In, Lescott On Bench

The first full match after the loss of our mercurial spaniard...Can the change help us out in the final hurdle? Stay tuned...

Match Lineups: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Jagielka, Baines, P.Neville, Pienaar, Gosling, Fellaini, Cahill, Jo.

Subs will feature Lescott, Osman, Saha, Advm but no place for Rodwell who has not trained all week.

It's showtime! COYB!!!!!
Vinod Kumar     Posted 28/02/2009 at 09:40:27   Comments (50)

Don't look now... We've got a squad

It has happened very quietly. Some of us have noticed and some of us haven't.

Some are still talking about our "wafer thin squad" problem but is this really a thing of the past?

Sure, we are short of players at the moment but this is due to a stonking injury list, rivalled only by Arsenal, not a lack of decent players in the squad.

Assume all players are fit, then write down your first team and then list the best players who aren't in it. There are some quality players in the reserves now. Players who can cover the first team. Players who can come on and change a game. Players who can be brought on to allow different tactics.

My 1st team: Howard, Baines, Lescott, Jagielka, Neville, Pienaar, Arteta, Rodwell, Osman, Cahill, Yakubu.

My reserves (not a reserve team): Nash, Valente, Yobo, Hibbert, Jacobsen, Castillo, Fellaini, Gosling, Saha, Jo, Vaughan.

Don't even make it into my list of best reserves: VDM, JPK, Anichebe, Jutkiewicz, Baxter.

My only question mark over our squad is the back-up keeper, but only because I dont remember ever seeing Nash play for anyone.

In my Arteta-depression, it is raising my spirits to think we have something to celebrate with Moyes perhaps having solved our long standing thin-squad problem with the players who have come in and the players coming through from the youth system.
Tom Brown     Posted 28/02/2009 at 06:54:01   Comments (8)

Too Nice for Our Own Good

I am proud that we have a manager who does not continuously moan or gets on referees backs at the slightest opportunity. And treats referees and opposing coaches and players with respect (unlike the Unmentionable Man with the Goatee Beard across the park). But I do think that the horrendous injuries that we suffered last week definitely merits a higher decibel protest from Moyes.

3 players out from 1 game - Arteta, Anichebe, and now possibly, Rodwell. If this had happened to any of the Sky 4 or even Villa, we wouldn't have heard the end of it. Nobody will dare play dirty against ManU, for fear of coming up against SAF.

I think sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by being too nice - "I don't think Kevin Nolan is that kind of player" . FFS, we are in up to our neck in the dirty stuff because of injuries and we still don't think it necessary to lash out at Newcastle ! The referee and the 4th official should have got a bollocking as soon as Ryan Taylor made that horrendous tackle on Rodwell (Our Captain Pip also has a role to play in this). That might have forced the ref to call their captain and have a word. Instead, Newcastle continued to play dirty and look what that has got us into.

It is still not too late for Moyes to lash out at Newcastle and the officials of the game. At least, it will be at the back of the mind of the refs and opposing coaches. Otherwise, Everton could be easy kicking targets for the rest of the season.

Come on Moyes, don't be the nice guy anymore. We need to have the attitude of a big team.
Ajay  Gopal     Posted 28/02/2009 at 03:16:09   Comments (4)

What on earth is the point of Saha?

I have just heard that Saha "may be fit enough to make the bench" on Saturday! Obviously the "5 minutes" he managed against Newcastle has proved again too much for him and now he has another "tweak/strain".

In all the many years of watching Everton (55) I have never come across a so-called athlete who seems so totally incapable of getting himself fit and staying so for more than a few minutes. This man seems a complete and utter waste of time and effort on the part of those at the club who are responsible for getting these players fit and able to play. No wonder Mr Ferguson grew completely and utterly exasperated with him and offloaded him as soon as he could.

What a pity it is that such is the current state of Everton that we were reduced to having to "take a chance on him". Understandable in the circumstances of course but one does wonder if it is as much a character issue as it is a "physical" one. Perhaps it is unfortunate that another of his so called thigh/calf "tweaks" etc comes at a time when the team needs all hands to the pump what with the genuinely serious injuries suffered by Arteta, Vaughan, Yakubu etc.

While acknowledging that the man has abilities as a footballer, the pathetic catalogue of injuries/unavailability etc associated with him in my humble opinion means that I for one can do without the added frustrations of reading about his yet again "unavailability". And in spite of Leon Osman's quotes about how pleased they all at at Saha's "return to fitness" I find it hard to believe that being forever on the treatment table actually endears one to one's teamates.

He may well come off the bench and score six against WBA but something in me yearns for Mr Moyes to move this guy on at the earliest opportunity if the current saga continues and simply take a chance on a youngster if needs be, after all Rodwell seems to be repaying the faith in him ? at least until his injury!
Anthony Lamb     Posted 27/02/2009 at 19:14:35   Comments (9)

Is Moyes finally looking up?

"Nothing's won and nothing's lost so we need to hang in there and try and get into the top four."

On the official site this afternoon, David Moyes (talking of THAT injury) is quoted saying the above. I know we're nearer Arsenal than we are Wigan, points-wise, but this statement is as positive as I've ever heard from our manager.

It always used to be "... let's get to 40 points first and anything on top of that is a bonus..." if Moyes is finally looking up — and publicly stating he wants to break into the Champions League places seems to suggest this — I see this as a bit of a first for him and would welcome this type of positivity more often.
Andy Whittingham     Posted 27/02/2009 at 14:52:07   Comments (9)

Trust in the Collection

I recently read the Last Domingan article on ToffeeWeb, and was interested in others' comments about the night, and especially the Trust and it?s lack of ?apparent? progress. I am not trying to rock the boat or cause divisions in the Everton fans, but below were my initial reactions that were re-ignited by the recent ?fence-offs? in the article?s Comments section.

I also appreciate Ian?s time and thoughtfulness in providing the write-ups, and understand it is difficult to be 100% precise. I am not a ?regular? at these events and I do not know a lot of the people involved; however, as this was my first visit to one of these meetings, I was struck by two things:

1. The Records Office ? Max seemed VERY keen to point out that Everton DONATED a great deal of material to the collection (he had some slides showing what looked like some ceramic/porcelain lady figures and a Bell) to demonstrate this.

When asked after his presentation, he stated that whilst initially they thought the Collection was 80:20 in David France?s favour, it was actually 60:40!! This is curious as I have been a visitor to the ?bunker? on more than one occasion and it didn?t look like it held that much, and I would be amazed if the QUALITY came anywhere near matching what Dr France had amassed!!!

2. When Max opened the floor for questions, Steve (Williams?) from the Trust answered some questions, and one of the questions that was put to him and Max, was what happens when the Lottery Funding runs out after 3 years (remember 14 plus months have already gone). I hope that the majority of the existing Collection can make it to the website, as l would be unhappy if the ledger pages and one or two other bits and pieces appeared ?pending new funds or backing?!!!!

The Trust representative was also asked if the Trust had minutes of their quarterly meetings ? apparently they do for their auditors, and when asked if they could make these minutes available (Ian seems to muddle this question and response in his write-up, but I know the guy with the tape recording can confirm), the Trust member stated that the Trust would not make them available because they contain ?sensitive? information???

When the Trust asked why the Trust minutes should be available, it led to people suggesting ideas and ways to help the Trust raise funds ? THIS WAS EXACTLY WHY THE QUESTION WAS ASKED - MORE HEADS HAVE MORE IDEAS!!

He did apologise for the lack of openness on progress and promised to get the PR working better. However, I don?t recall him actually confirming he would make ANY minutes available (Ian?s write-up again seems to muddle this response).

I got the impression that the Trust seemed a bit of a quiet set-up and not very visible. I am not saying the Trust want to take the glory for the Collection, but I began to wonder what, and who, they were actually composed of.

I acknowledge what Steve has said on this site, that there probably ARE very good Blues on the Trust, and let's be honest it GOT THE COLLECTION SECURED SO WELL DONE TO IT. However, I would like to know if a member of the Shareholders Association or another body such as the Everton Heritage Society attends the Trust meetings? ? and then at least the minutes could be available to a wider Everton audience with similar EFC commitment and an interest in the future direction the collection takes.

It was evident from the night that the Everton Family audience had good ideas ? Fund raising matches, Personal Loans of memorabilia, the publication of a Trust newsletter or regular updates in the Programme, etc... time will tell if the Trust were listening. Or maybe it is just too early in the project?

One thing I would like to see is a list of all the Trust members, with text pen pics detailing their roles on the Trust and who they are, what they do, why they do it, their ideas, contact details....... and who they support ;-). I really enjoyed the evening, and look forward to more, I thought all of the speakers were excellent.

HOW ABOUT THE NEXT FORUM BELONGING TO THE TRUST MEMBERS TO PRESENT THEMSELVES AND A FULL UPDATE ON THEIR ACTIVITIES AND FUTURE WORK ?

Appetite Whetted!!!!
David Starsky     Posted 27/02/2009 at 12:40:04   Comments (3)

Every secret thing

As supporters, we all have our views on the way forward for Everton. Unfortunately, we are totally in the dark.

  1. How much do we have to spend this summer?
  2. What is our debt?
  3. What happened over DM'S contract last autumn?
  4. What is the current situation on BK's 24/7 search for a new buyer?
  5. What is the board's current view on Kirkby?
Is it not time for supporters who spend hard earned cash following our club to be treated with a little respect? On the field things look good; off the field, is it not time for Bill Kenwright to tell the truth?

What is the state of Everton Football Club? How much better it would be to know.
Andy Crooks     Posted 26/02/2009 at 20:56:32   Comments (11)

Where's the enjoyment now?

Regardless of how well we fare over the rest of the season without Arteta, I'm sure that we are going to be a lot less enjoyable to watch.

Since the start of the year, we have mixed the right amount of work ethic, solid play and flair to give supporters a really enjoyable 90 minutes (barring Man Utd away). But without Arteta we are going to have to find our way again and this will mean games where we struggle to play fluid football.

With 6th position almost assured and a cup run set to come across another top 4 team, I feel that upcoming games will resemble those fortuitous wins over Bolton away and Fulham late last year. Games where we failed to put anything together but were solid the back. I hope I?m wrong but I was really looking forward to each game we played recently just to watch those blue shirts knocking the ball around (Bolton @ home).

When we win it?s fantastic but when we win playing well that?s what it?s really about. I don't expect it to happen.
Jerome Esterhazy     Posted 26/02/2009 at 20:18:01   Comments (15)

Not a one trick donkey

Arteta's loss is a massive blow ? no two ways about it. Gutted is the only word I could use when I saw him go off. But the blow was last week, there is nothing that can be done... we have a lot to play for and there is no reason we can not contuine are fine form. We are not a one-man team.

I fully agree, Arteta is instrumental in much of the good stuff this season, but this does not mean we will fall apart without him. The reason we are where we are is the team ethic that has been instilled, everyone works for each other.

Injuries have been a major issue this season; I don't know of any other club who could have achieved what we have with the injuries we have suffered, yet we are in the last 8 of the FA cup, and 6th in the leauge... not too shabby in my book.

All this after games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea & Villa ? we can look at the fixture list and be very optimistic of a good run of results.

The players available for Saturday's game with West Brom is good enough to win, and not just win, but out-play them. Osman, who has not hit form yet this season, is back... as is Pienaar, who on his day can be a real threat. Fellaini has talent, Rodwell has been a revelation, as has young Gosling. With Saha back, a solid back four, and players such as Jo, Neville and even Van der Meyde there, I am very positive of a good run-in to the end of the season!!

COYB!!
Si Harwood     Posted 26/02/2009 at 09:59:36   Comments (22)

Eura Load of Crap

After seeing the squad Martin O?Neill has selected to take over to Russia with him for tonight?s Uefa Cup match, it got me thinking again about the benefits of the Uefa Cup.

O?Neill has left all his star players back home and stated that finishing 4th is ?everything? to his club. If he thinks leaving players back home rather than flying out to Russia is going to benefit his side?s push for a top 4 finish (and hitting the jackpot of income the Champions League offers) then I think he has a strong argument.

This is why I can?t stand the perception that finishing 6th/5th is good because it offers a place in next season?s Europa League (Don?t names with bad connotations often get changed?). I think Europe's second-class football tournament is on par with the domestic League Cup; if we are to take part in it next season, it should be treated as an opportunity to rest players, blood new ones and get some player back fit again.

Otherwise, I fear it may distract from our main priority ? a top 4 finish.
Robbie Muldoon     Posted 26/02/2009 at 09:17:28   Comments (76)

Is it worse than I thought?

Now, I'm probably one of those glass-half-empty guys if the truth be known but I do try to feel as positive and optimistic as I can. It was a bit of a jolt to my efforts in that regard today, however, when I read first on Goal.com and then on the Official site that Mick Rathbone thinks Yakubu will not be back inside 9 months!

Does that mean 9 months from the date of the injury or literally 9 months from now, the date of his statement? Is there's anybody out there who knows more about these things than me who can help me feel a little more like my glass is half-full?

If it''s 9 months from now, it will be Christmas before we see Yakubu back in full swing. I'd assumed he would be raring to go at the start of the season.
Dave Roberts     Posted 25/02/2009 at 08:32:59   Comments (32)

Our time has come

No doubt the loss of Mikel Arteta is a serious blow. However,, no matter what happens this season, and I'm still optimistic, next season will be our year. Let's have a look at our team. Tim Howard still has his detractors but I believe he is improving and can be our goalkeeper for the next ten years. Tony Hibbert is playing better than ever and could yet be an England full back.

Baines has been a revelation now that he's getting a run in the side. We have three quality centre backs who I believe are just behind Ferdinand as the best in the league. In midfield, Mikel will return, hopefully as good as ever. Phil Neville was never my idea as a holding midfielder but, like the great Mike Brierly, his captaincy makes up for many short-comings. Fellaini has been, overall, disappointing but, with a pre-season behind him, will be a different player next season.

Cahill needs no comment. Rodwell and Gosling can only get even better. Osman is a good squad player and will, in my view, have to take on Arteta's role for the rest of the season. (We've little choice other than to take a chance on AVDM). Pienaar has a bit of quality about him and Baxter has still time to come good.

Up front the Yak will be back with something to prove. Jo, after a few more games, might just be a revelation. James Vaughan surely deserves a change of luck as does Saha. Vic, whom I have been critical of, was beginning to show that he might just have what it takes when he was a victim of an assault by Nolan. He'll be back... Add Moutinho to the squad and I think we are just about there. Ok maybe a pacy wide player.

How about our coach? Well,in the autumn I'd gladly have seen him go. In fact, and this is pretty embarrassing, I suggested Keegan, or, my God, Hoddle, as an alternative (I was anxious). But I think he's now overtaken even Wenger as one of the most secure managers in the Premier League.

So, on the pitch I feel that we are in the best position for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, I am a half empty glass sort of guy and I fear that it is off the pitch where the danger lies. Yes... Kirkby.
Andy Crooks     Posted 24/02/2009 at 21:24:16   Comments (28)

My team for Saturday

Not a very original title for an article but I feel from hereon, choosing the team is not going to be straightforward. The absence of Mikel Arteta will be difficult to overcome. No one player in the squad can replicate his particular talents.

The back five pick themselves. Whilst Yobo played quite satisfactorily on Sunday, we will I'm sure revert to the tried and tested Howard, with Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott and Baines.

The midfield will present the big problem. It is my feeling that, at this moment in time, if all are fit as we are led to believe they will be, Arteta's place will be most adequately filled by Leon Osman. A prerequisite of this choice is that, as with Arteta, his defensive duties are covered by Captain Phil Neville.

Now, whether to play four or five in midfield will initially be a decision that will have to be made. It is my opinion, that to commence the game we employ just four. The remaining two being, on the right hand side, Gosling and on the left, Pienaar. The forwards will be Cahill and Jo.

Depending on how the match progresses, we may find the chosen eleven not that good at scoring goals and West Brom should not present us with huge problems. Assuming all are injury free, I suggest that, from half-time onwards, Saha be called upon to keep Jo company up front and Cahill be drawn back slightly to play right midfield.

Left midfield, I would replace Pienaar with Fellaini, the latter is more of a goalscorer and we might need his head. In fact, the team is bristling with good headers of the football. Tim Cahill, Lescott, Saha, Fellaini are proven recently at the art and Jo, I feel will enjoy the odd good cross.

That leads us to one other problem. Who have we to supply those good crosses? Baines is a useful man on the left hand side of the field but, on the right? Let's face it, we are neglecting Andy van der Meyde. We all know why... but can we afford to do so???

People say he wouldn't last 20 minutes. What little I've seen of him lately suggests that that is not so and he can cross superbly. The problem would then be that we would have to either replace Tim with VdM or to bring off Saha or Jo,

I do feel we should play VdM for at least a part of the second half, a goodly part as well. Give the lad a chance to show us what we've been missing. It's going to be interesting to see how David Moyes deals with the team selection...
Tim Lloyd     Posted 24/02/2009 at 05:11:54   Comments (46)

10 reasons to believe

I spent the whole of yesterday lamenting Mikky's injurying and posting doom and gloom all over ToffeeWeb, expressing how gutted I was etc...

But even I now realize that it's time to get a grip and move on. Here are 10 reasons to rally and keep the faith and realize that it COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE:

  1. The next stretch is against mediocre teams and these games are winnable without Mikky.
  2. Had we lost Mikky during the Liverpool and Villa matches, we would have been in a much tighter spot. Injuries never come at a good time, but better now than the Liverpool games.
  3. There were many games this season when we were too often frustrated with Mikky's delivery (corners and free-kicks not clearing the first man/wall). We still won many of those games even when he was piss-poor and even looked disinterested. We still coped.
  4. This is a chance for others to step up. Of course none in the squad are as skilled as Arteta, but Cahill, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar, Osman and even Shandy will be able to show a more creative side. Somebody will stand up and be counted.
  5. When we lost the Yak, it was all doom and gloom. But we were so wrong and Everton scored shitloads of goals since.
  6. We have a team-spirit second to none. FACT!
  7. We have Moysey and in Moysey we trust.
  8. The only player that we cannot replaced is Howard (no offense to Carlo Nash). Howard out would truely be the end of our hopes and dreams.
  9. We only have 12 games left and the FA Cup. That is not much and we'll take it game by game. The finish line is close.
  10. We are EVERTON!

    Get well soon, Mikky! Come on lads, stay positive, keep fighting and keep believing. COYB!!!
    Matthew Salem     Posted 23/02/2009 at 21:41:17   Comments (26)

We can win it

Most of us remember the glory days of the 80's when the likes of Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy and Graeme Sharp lead us to 2 championships in 3 years. With our (on paper) 2 best players (Yakubu and Arteta) out for the season most folks have written off our chances of any silverware this year. However if you actually think back to the 1987 title winning team our success had very little to do with the household names we all remember because they were all injured.

The 1987 team won the title thanks in large part to contributions of little known youngsters and journeymen like Warren Aspinall, Kevin Langley, Stuart Rimmer, Bobby Mimms and Paul Power. I still have an old poster from shoot which shows our team with their medals and all of the recognizeable faces were on crutches. I know it won't be easy but I really think our makeshift team could have success again this year in the cup. When we win trophies it is often thanks to contributions from unlikely heroes like Amokachi and Matt Jackson for example.

My only concern this year is that we may resort to hoofball now that Arteta's gone and that may damage the confidence of young players like Rodwell and Gosling who have much more composure than older pro's like Hibbert and Osman. If however we retain our same game plan albeit it with bigger contributions from guys like Pienaar and Saha then I think we can go on to win.

Let's not forget that when Fergie finally won the cup at Utd it was thanks to Lee Martin of all people and not one of his expensively bought stars. It is a funny old game and I think this might be our year to be the upset kings.
Kieran Kinsella     Posted 23/02/2009 at 19:56:36   Comments (14)

What's the Difference

OK here's the scenario. You're in town and some bloke without reason comes and jumps two footed on your shin area causing excruciating pain. Now this happen in front of fifty people with 3 coppers close by and is captured on CCTV. The lad says, "Sorry, I didn't mean it." What do you think would happen.

A) Sorry you can't play football for 3 weeks?

Or

B) Handcuffed and marched to the local nick where their charged with intend to cause GBH, bailed and told to appear in court at a later date?

Answer B

Now Kevin Nolan's ... most call it a 'tackle' ? I'd call it an assault on Victor Anichebe was in front of over 40,000 people with at least 100 coppers and captured live on British Television for the World to see. What do you think will happen

A) Sorry you can't play football for 3 weeks?

Or

B) Handcuffed and marched to the local nick where he's charged with intend to cause GBH, bailed and told to appear in court at a later date?

Answer A.

Now what's the difference? You're on a football pitch so you can do what ever you like? Bollocks. It's about time we put a stop to these tackles by making an example of someone. Let's start with Nolan. If I hear one more talking head coming out with "he's not that sort of player" I'll put my foot through the telly. He is that sort of player, he proved it yesterday. Imagine if he'd done that to Ronaldo or Gerrard. There'd be questions in the House of Commons by now.

What do we do with him / them who commit this type of foul? Personally, I think over the top tackles of this nature should carry a mandatory 9-game ban, with severe cases, leg breaks etc longer. Also a minimum fine of a months wages. I honestly believe it's the only way to stop these cowardly and disgraceful tackles. Would I be typing this if Victor would have done it to Nolan, you bet your life I would.
Kevin Jones     Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:04:18   Comments (66)

Optimism?

Unfortunately the prognosis we all feared has now been made official. I'm sure I wasn't alone in clinging to the unlikely hope that by some minor miracle we would be seeing Mikel Arteta play some part towards the end of the season. Realistically, we all knew there was no chance. But I'm an Evertonian and over the last 20 years have had only my unfaultering optimism to act as a crutch through some extremely dissapointing times.

Now a pessimist may say that as we saw our talisman carried off yesterday any hope that we had of some long overdue silverware disappeared on that stretcher along with our only creative outlet. But im no pessimist. A pessimist may have been of the opinion that our FA cup hopes were over as soon as the draw was made and it became clear that the likely semi final lineup would involve Man utd, Arsenal, and Chelsea ( Conspiracy theorists may even want to link this with Twattenburg, Collina and the top seeded P L side being drawn against the C L potentials/ Belgian champions. If the draw wasn't live in front of TV cameras that is.) A pessimist may also say that this 'generous' run in of potentially winnable games suddenly looks a great deal more daunting, and European qualification may not be as nailed on as predicted. Not me, for Im no pessimist.I am an Evertonian.And only my optimistic, maybe even masochistic nature kept me from shedding a tear yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday Everton looked pretty much how The Shite did after, soon to be prison bike, Gerrard was replaced a couple of weeks ago. There was no plan b. Creativity was replaced with... Well Im not exactly sure what Castillo has to offer but between now and the end of the season I hope we find out. Even if we have a to wait longer for a trophy,the return of some midfield creativity (However lightweight it may be), a rock solid defence and an actual striker for Cahill to play off should ensure that "the best little Spaniard we know" will be returning to UEFA cup (Can't bring myself to say Europa league yet) football next year.

I never thought the phrase would ever be uttered by me, as we all knew that The Shite would fuck it up eventually, but come on Man Utd. Lets have an extra UEFA cup spot. Chin up everyone, especially you Mikky lad. All the best. Get well soon. Come on boys. Do us all proud.
Fran Wycherley     Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:06:46   Comments (24)

Be proud to be a Blue

Newcastle and before... and why you should be proud to be a Blue.

It?s the sign of the times when after just one game some of us are critical of David Moyes after getting a point in Newcastle's back yard.

After all that has happened I'm really surprised why people are critical but then our expectations are high these days...

For Newcastle we had 6 first teamers out: Timmy, Peanuts, Yak, Hibby, Osman... and I'll put our Spanish wizard in that list as well as he only played 3 minutes... That?s the whole midfield.

Now with others only just coming back from Injury on the bench which includes Fellaini, Saha and Jo (playing his second game since joining) and our youngsters being forced to be thrown in at the deep end. We've not had fit strikers for most of the season.

You can start to see what problems we've had on Saturday and for most of the season.... remember we've only lost once since Aston Villa robbed us in the last 20 seconds of injury time. I think that's one lost in 14 games and that?s to a 1 - 0 penalty lost to the European Champions and the current and most probably Title holders for this season.

Let?s get real guys and look at the bigger picture. If we make Europe after all that?s happened I'll be a proud happy Evertonian. Look at all the teams below, the millions they have spent, they'd love to have team spirit like ours, what teams could manage where we are with the problems we?ve had. Congratulate our achievement against all the odds we?ve had and get behind the TEAM and the MANAGER because NOW more than ever they need our SUPPORT!

Be proud to be a Blue!
Shaun Kinnair     Posted 23/02/2009 at 09:27:07   Comments (14)

Arteta-less!

Ok Arteta has ligament damage gone for the season.

1. grr
2. What does this mean for other squad members?

Castillo more game time? or when Pienaar and Osman come back Gosling just fills the void?

Personally I'm worried about the mental effects his injury could have on the squad Let's hope our boys rally and just play fantastic football. Like recent weeks. when Cahill got injured a couple of years back we played great and still made Europe, let's hope we do the same! FA Cup is a real possibility.
Jack Daou     Posted 23/02/2009 at 07:28:02   Comments (22)

Where is the logic?

I've defended David Moyes on here on numerous occasions and still believe he is the right man for the job.

However, I have to query the logic in today's starting 11 and subsequent substitutions.

Why split Jags Lescott and Baines up to accomodate Yobo? We know that Jags is a centre half and thats all he is.He cannot play full back.If we were going to tinker it would have been more logical to play Baines LM and push Lescott out LB where we know he can play.

Then we could have put Neville RB where we know(and some of us say its his best position or only position in the absense of Arteta) he can play.

Alternatively, play Gosling or Lars at right which is their natural position.

I know some fans can't stomach Andy van der Meyde but today against 10 men we cried out for somebody to run at them and open them up.

I would also question why Fellaini was put on (and kept on) despite being clearly unfit. It was like playing 10 against 10 except he got in the way most of the time so make that 9 1/2 for us.

I know we dominated the possession and we were missing a number of injured/ineligible players but against 10 men and as poor a team as I've seen all season the 3 points were ours for the taking.

I thought we looked totally unbalanced and lacking any idea once Arteta went off and we didnt seem to have any game plan for playing against 10 men in the second half.

Let's just hope emergency ward 10 isn't too full over the next few weeks.
jay harris     Posted 22/02/2009 at 21:56:08   Comments (56)

Yellow Peril

I notice that we still have a couple of players still on 4 yellows for the season so far.

I heard that next Saturday is the last date before the amnesty. But that players on 4 yellows playing on Sunday (1st March) will not be walking the disciplinarty tightrope. Hardly seems fair to me as there are 4 games scheduled for Sunday, but rules is rules.

If Neville or Lescott do fall foul of the referee against WBA which game do they miss Blackburn on March 4th or the FA Cup?

If it's the cup-tie maybe DM should rest either or both of these players.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 22/02/2009 at 19:59:39   Comments (8)

Big, Big Game...

Given Villa's result today, as well as Arsenal's draw at home, the Newcastle game tomorrow has turned into a game just a little bigger than it already was.

There is an opportunity here to make up some ground on both of them and, while we have some very important players missing, most notably Cahill, we do have Jo available.

Are Everton good enough to take advantage of the bad results of those immediately above us and make the top four more of a possibility? I think so, but it will be a nevous day tomorrow!

Come on Blues... make them all sit up and take note of a side most definitely on the up!

COME ON YOU BLUE BOYS!!
Dave Roberts     Posted 21/02/2009 at 17:55:17   Comments (123)

Why defence not midfield maestro

I wonder if fellow toffees were feeeling a tad underwhelmed following David Moyes comments regarding Jack Rodwell in the press of late. What I am referring to was the statement that the player had the potential to develop into a 'world class' centre half.

Now I have absolutely no doubt that most would find no fault with that prediction, but I'm sure I am not alone in thinking that it would seem a real waste of the player's ball-playing abilities. Albeit the lad started his Goodison career in defence, but all of his first team appearances have been at the very heart of our midfield, where it would appear he is to the manor born.

Don't get me wrong, the comparisons with the likes of Ferdinand et al are very flattering but Rodwell has two great feet, an eye for a pass and a good shot on him. Plus he has that aura of time, where his first touch allows him the vision to seemingly always find a blue shirt. Yes, David, he is tall and leggy and good in the air but I would like to think that three years from now you are making comparisons with Roy Keane (not least Micheal Carrick) rather than readying the lad for blunting opposition attacks in the back four.

No child footballer dreams of being a defender i'm sure. The lad has already stated his preference, most cultured defenders are midfield wannabee's who didn't have the vision. Teach Rodwell to be a buccaneer under the wing of Mikel, Ossie and Tim and a wall like Roger. Please don't crush the lad's/our dreams by stunting his already obvious abilities in the centre of the park, where surely greatness awaits alongside Felliani as Everton's future.
Ian Trickett     Posted 20/02/2009 at 18:26:57   Comments (23)

The Wreckers of Goodison Park

Amidst the joy that the teams good run in the league and cup has engendered, the Ground move debate is never far away. The inquiry is over and I would be more than happy to be saying nothing until the secretary of state makes their decision. If only Robert Elstone would do the same.

In the past week he has used two platforms to run down Goodison Park (the club website and Radio Merseyside). The culmination of it all was the CEO promoting a stadium move that has been kicked from pillar to post by all and sundry calling our home ?one of the worst stadiums in the country?. This is on top of the dubious claim of 23,000 obstructed views when the true figure is 3,500.

Elstone can?t promote the move in a positive fashion as can be seen in his blog on the club website; which is nothing more than a crude attack on opponents of his boss? pet project. The transport plan is still in his words ?a work in progress? despite three years of work.

That Goodison Park is in its current state is the responsibility of the board. They have invested a total of 13 million in GP while other premier league clubs have spent a total of 1.8 billion over a fourteen-year period. That?s 13 million pound spent on a stadium with 23,000 obstructed views.

Remember that when you are considering renewing your season ticket. Robert Elstone has just had his Gerald Ratner moment.

Running down Goodison to promote Kirkby is no way to sell the move, but when all else fails?what else is there?
David O'Keefe     Posted 20/02/2009 at 14:06:51   Comments (66)

Vote For Arteta

Evertonians you are needed to vote for Mikel Arteta as the player of the 5th round of FA Cup. Some French journeyman playing in West London is winning at the moment:

http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/EONPOTR_5P_09.htm
Peter  Davies     Posted 20/02/2009 at 11:02:33   Comments (21)

New-toon blues

Newcastle away, normally a tricky fixture, both on and off the pitch... yes YOU stewards! However, the Geordie republic/ Skunks/ Scots with no brains will be highly fearful of a resurgent blue tidalwave about to engulf them. Silence the crowd, keep the pace high and the better ability of the blue matadors will shine thru.

I don't know why it is, but I can't wait to beat the likes of Newcastle who were armed with an open cheque book look to re-write the history of football and write off clubs like ours since the start of the Premier League. Let's also not forget, they ain't won "fuck all".
Charlie  Wills     Posted 20/02/2009 at 08:30:07   Comments (20)

Clobber

As in apparel for the discerning Evertonian. I see a report that JJB is closing down a few thousand stores because of the recession. Does this mean it'll be even more difficult to get Everton-wear ? Seems to me like we need a new distributor. Maybe Keith Wyness could do something about it?!
Tony  Waring     Posted 20/02/2009 at 06:31:58   Comments (10)

Good future prediction?

I had a dream last night.... and just realised it could come true.

Go forward a year to the World Cup, where England will not qualify again and Wales will win the whole thing... well of course not that, but I was thinking what a certain Croatian said.

When do people think Sir Alex Ferguson will retire? And is Moyes the natural successor? This article doesn't make any sense so far... I know.. but now you may see what I'm getting at.

This dream... I saw Sir Alex retire after the 2009-10 season where United have won the title again and have bought Jack Rodwell for 25 million... and Moyes for that matter.

But this Croatian I'm thinking of is, of course, Slaven Bilic... who said he would leave Croatia after the 2010 World Cup. He becomes Everton manager to replace Moyes and continues the stable Everton legacy.

Now is this really that farfetched? I gotta admit.. if Moyes ever left, Bilic would be my first choice; he's a great guy, a brilliant tactician and plays great football, and of course is an ex-Evertonian. I can see Sir Alex retiring soon... and Moyes going there... and Bilic would be a natural successor.
Medwyn Pedronk     Posted 19/02/2009 at 20:31:01   Comments (34)

Newcastle line up

Just pondering the selection headache that Moyes has ahead of him for the game against Newcastle. With Hibbert suspended will he move Neville to right back? Hopefully not because Capn Pip has been doing a great job in midfield. Will he hand Lars Jacobsen his league debut? A risk considering he has no match fitness. Or perhaps Dan Gosling will be given a start in his preferred position???
Graham Nolan     Posted 19/02/2009 at 19:43:24   Comments (10)

Dream FA Cup Final

Chatting with United Fans... My dream senario is that we get to the FA Cup Final at Wembley, and are against United ... And there we publicly demolish them completely in front of a WORLD WIDE audience so everyone sees the Blues are the BEST - and in doing so break up the so-called big four stranglehold for GOOD!! .... We've already done Liverpool.
David Kenrick     Posted 19/02/2009 at 16:43:07   Comments (15)

Life on Mars

Did anyone else pick up on the announcement of the attendance against Villa on Sunday? The club put an official statement out that the attendance on Sunday was 32,979 and not 35,979 as was showing on Sky text among other places.

When I saw that I felt like that copper in Life on Mars when he woke up in the 70s. For the younger among you, Everton attendances in the 70s were a long standing joke... absolutely chocker in all parts of the ground (standing) and then we'd see in the Pink Echo that the attendance was 32,000 when capacity was over 50,000 in those distant days.

On Sunday, given that the attendance was officially 32,979, then that means that there were 1,000 more empty seats in the ground than the Park End holds in total. Now as usual for a live TV game, some were not tempted to part with 30+ for a seat behind one of Goodison's many pillars and we could all see that plus the 2,000 tickets Villa sent back... but over 7,000 empty seats? Nah, I'm not buying that. It must be the first "Directors gate" for some time though... or maybe it was for Rodders' signing on prezzie!
Pete Sully     Posted 19/02/2009 at 14:13:08   Comments (26)

Welcome Back Mr Clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg has won his appeal against being sacked by the PGMO. He will be able to ref in the PL from April 6th having served an eight month suspension for "issues relating to his private business affairs". Will any PL manager ? El Gordo excepted perhaps ? want him to referee their games again?

The football world would be amazed to see him sent to Goodison, but we have away games against Villa, Chelsea, Sunderland and Fulham to the end of this season in which he could officiate. On the bright side, he owes us several penalties and red cards ? and these things are supposed to even themselves out!
Keith Glazzard     Posted 18/02/2009 at 17:33:54   Comments (34)

Everton to visit Oz

Apparently there is some truth to the earlier rumour that Everton may visit OZ (Perth in particular) as part of preseason. They just need to set up a second game. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=620121&sec=global&cc=3436
Ciaran Duff     Posted 18/02/2009 at 17:15:46   Comments (28)

Aston Villa

What is it with journalists and ex pros? All day long, day-in and day-out, all I hear is at last someone is challenging the top 4... it feels like Everton's challenge never existed and the fact that we did break the top four is completely ignored?

On Talksport today Jason Cundy said Villa are the only realistic challengers now and in the forseable future; Spurs got close but couldn't quite manage it ? but no mention of us.

Talk about wasted effort, wouldn't it be great if we caught Villa this year? Doubtful I know.
Terry Downes     Posted 18/02/2009 at 13:35:42   Comments (40)

Kopites throwing things at players

Did anyone hear or does anyone know if any action was taken againt the Kopites for throwing things at the players and on to the pitch at the Goodison FA Cup Replay?

I cant stand the way they can do no wrong in the eyes of our media. It was blatently on TV for everyone to see yet we hear nothing of it the next day.

I remember Martin Samuel writing after one of the first Anfield games condemning us for singing about Gerard going down. Yet they seem to forget the horrible shit that comes out of their mouths (i.e. Carsley and Lescott).

Maybe the noise get muffled from the minging scarves, caps and badges they have? I know its sticks and stones but it really annoys me.
Jonathan Field     Posted 18/02/2009 at 10:17:22   Comments (48)

The Media, Moyes and Everton

Having read the article by James Lawton in the Independent, through the link on the Toffeeweb homepage, I was initially pleased that our team, club and manager were getting the praise they deserve for their recent fine run of form. It is, afterall, not everyday that our beloved blues are given such long and flowing coverage in the national media.

However, having had some time to reflect on the article I feel that perhaps my initial pleasure was misplaced. The article firmly focuses on David Moyes and his abilities and progress as a manager. The Everton board are described as limpets clinging on to the valuable commodity that is the manager. The intonation here is surely that Moyes is bigger, or at least has the potential to be bigger, than Everton Football Club.

Limpets and barnacles are the unwanted, yet difficult to dispatch, creatures that slow down great sailing ships and reduce their capabilities. I am sure the analogy is not lost on a national journalist. Indeed, how often in recent times have we heard after the 2 minute highlights of our matches the pundits say something along the lines of ?it?s amazing what David Moyes has done with/at Everton?.

The club itself is seen as lacking in pedigree, so devoid of all positive virtues that it needs a ?Moyesiah? to save it. Perhaps it is merely a symptom of our times that the individual is seen as having the ultimate responsibility for success or failure. The systems that the club operates are relegated to secondary importance. We only need to look as far as last Saturday to find in the Guardian the recent stereotype of ?plucky little Everton? being perpetuated.

I am not writing to criticise Moyes but rather to see if fellow Everton fans fear that our club and its reputation are being sidelined as Moyes?s is enhanced in the anticipation that he will move on to Manchester United.
Ben Jones     Posted 18/02/2009 at 08:29:38   Comments (50)

Come back Manuel Fernandes

Just wondered if anyone else feels the same way as me about the following story - http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2009/02/18/manuel-fernandes-keen-on-summer-move-to-portsmouth-115875-21132711/

That simple feeling is; I don't want to see him playing for another Premier League team (especially at 6m!). I was gutted we couldn't get him in after the first loan spell and surprised we didn't get him permanently after the second loan. (Incidentally, I'd see him as an immediate replacement for Osman).
Andy Whittingham     Posted 18/02/2009 at 08:42:48   Comments (27)

Limavady United v Everton

I am on the board at the above club which is 125 years old this year. We were the first overseas club to play Everton at Anfield Road on 02/01/1886, and won 1-0. We've done damn all since, and so I would be grateful for any information on the match that anyone may have.
David Brewster     Posted 18/02/2009 at 07:13:52   Comments (9)

Rearranged Stoke City Match

I contacted Club Website to find out the unspecified "operational requirements" that Merseyside Police were using as a reason for putting back the Stoke City fixture 24 hours to Sunday 15th March.

The reply: "Merseyside Police have switched the game to a Sunday due to an event happening in Liverpool City Centre on Saturday 14th March".

I still haven't been able to discover the identity of this mysterious event, but this certainly serves as an illustration of the contemptuous attitude of the Police towards a mere 35,000 football supporters inconvenienced by this fixture change.
Ian Pilkington     Posted 17/02/2009 at 20:44:11   Comments (25)

“Toffees blow stuck in my throat” ? Savage

Robbie Savage is gutted he never signed for us! ahaha...

Robbie Savage admits the biggest regret of his controversial career was not joining Everton.

"I could have signed for Everton on two separate occasions,"

The first time didn't happen because the price went from 3m to 4m and we pulled out, the second time he was being loyal to Mark Hughes.

The article suggests he will never play for a 'Big Club' now! Now, I know it's only Savage but I think it's great press for club, as we would have been the highlite of the former Welsh International's career!

Let this be a message to the promising talent coming through our ranks...

Link: http://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=soccer/09/02/17/SOCCER_Savage_Everton.html
Brett Bradshaw     Posted 17/02/2009 at 09:11:37   Comments (30)

Selection problems v Newcastle

With our suspension and injury problems, it seems that Mr Moyes has some real conundrums to contend with for the St James Park encounter on Sunday.

Will Yobo return to back four and,if so, can Jag or Lescott play right back? Or if Neville takes Hibbett's place what will midfield look like? If we don't have Fellaini, Cahill, or Pienaar(?), can we play Gosling and Rodwell alongside Arteta? Then who is the fourth in midfield? Finally, can Moyes play Anichebe in tandem with Jo?

After our triumphs against Liverpool & Villa, the Newcastle game could cement our 6th place and even put pressure on those ahead of us in league. Many questions in selection... how is Mr Moyes going to react?
Ian Jones     Posted 17/02/2009 at 08:25:57   Comments (33)

New Brighton Tower FC

I have just listened to a radio programme about a short lived Merseyside football club in New Brighton. They built an 80,000 capacity ground and invested in an impressive range of players. However, the club never really attracted large crowds (averaging a 1000) and they didn't manage to achieve much on the field either. The club eventually disbanded in 1901, as the owners couldn't afford to fund the club.

The programme is really interesting and features a short interview with Robert Elstone. My main concern is that a Merseyside club built a large stadium outside Liverpool and they were unable to fill it due to poor displays on the field. I love Everton and I'm ecstatic about our recent success, but we don't always win and what if that effects gate receipts at Kirkby?

Here are the links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Brighton_Tower_F.C.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/longview/index.shtml
Peter Getkahn     Posted 17/02/2009 at 06:46:59   Comments (21)

Spirit of 69-70 today

Broadcast on Sky Sports last night was 'Times of Our Lives' which featured the Everton side from 69-70.

I sat and watched this last night, and although the program contained no footy action it was thoroughly absorbing. It was basically an old boys chat with Jeff Stelling. Colin Harvey, Howard Kendall and Joe Royle talked about their playing days and the part they played in Everton's 69-70 championship winning side.

Among things they talked about was their relationships with Harry Catterick and other players, such as Alan Ball, Johnny Morrissey, Brian Labone and Gordon West.

Joe Royle told us about the occasion that he got his first team call-up. He was cleaning the first team's boots at the time and the assistant trainer told him that the gaffer wants to talk to him in his office. Well, Joe thought he was in trouble and couldn't think of anything he had done wrong. Harry Catterick told Joe that Alex Young couldn't play on Saturday and that he would like him to play centre-forward. At the time, Joe's preferred position was Right Half (right midfield), but becuase he was tall and gangly, Harry asked him to play center forward. The rest is history.

An interesting point that came out of the this discussion that was very relevent to today's Everton side, and that was the camaraderie and team spirit they had then. The team battled for each other, which seems to be exactly what is happening in today's side. A common factor in today's side with the the side then, was the ratio of Scousers in the side. This helped to contribute to the humour, attitudes and friendships that were fostered then.

Are we seeing the same thing happening in today's side?
Brian Baker     Posted 17/02/2009 at 05:01:49   Comments (13)

Where are we?

It's fair to say the fixtures of the last Month or so have been a challenge. Bearing in mind how we on here expected it to go and now the out-turn, I wonder what the judgement is.

From my view (not as detailed as Ken's, sadly) we have done well. Since the Villa loss, we have conceded very few goals; despite no or few strikers we have scored, and mainly against the top teams.

Young players are playing, probably out of necessity, as due to finances we have a small and at this time stretched squad, but it is really good to see them.

The squad seems to be really close and working together, logic says that if we are missing players now, that they will be fit at the "business end" of the season.

We are progressing at this time, a mix of top guys and young players comming through. Blimey, a loan deal or two, Jo, a bit of a cup run, change of Assistant Manager, and the omens are there.

Top balcony was cold then back in the early 80's and it still is now, but it is getting warmer.
Ian  Smitham     Posted 16/02/2009 at 20:48:32   Comments (2)

Laws of the Game, Part 1. Petrov: red card or not?

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people who earn their living from football (managers, players, journalists and pundits) know so little of the Laws of the Game. You?d think they would make a bit of an effort, but they don?t. They seem to rely on what they think the Laws ought to be, not what they actually are. And when it comes down to it, football is a pretty simple game.

In the wake of our victory over Villa there has been little agreement in interviews, media reports and so on, as to whether Petrov should have been sent off or not. The truth is the referee got it spot on. A whole 45 seconds research produced the following from Fifa?s ?Laws of the Game 2008/2009?:

If the referee applies advantage during an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and a goal is scored directly, despite the opponent?s handling the ball or fouling an opponent, the player cannot be sent off but he may still be cautioned.

And yes, I am a geek with no discernible personality. But I would urge my fellow Blues to have the occasional check on the Laws. That way we can add technical superiority to the moral superiority that we already have in being Evertonians.
Ben  Dyson     Posted 16/02/2009 at 16:47:12   Comments (35)

Nearly there...

There are four unsackable managers in the premier league: Ferguson, O'Neill, Wenger and Moyes. At the end of September, David Moyes would have been on my list as one of the most sackable. His recent performances have, in my view, made his early petulance forgiveable and forgetable. I'm happy to be wrong.

So, what about this close season? I believe that the "big four" is breaking up and our time is nigh. We've got good young players who will be better next season. We've got Fellaini, who will be much better next season and we've got a solid defence. How do we move up without huge investment? It can be done.

In a dream world, J would produce the goods and we'd get him on loan for another season. Unlikely, though, so we buy him at a knock down price.

We win the FA Cup, or at least reach the semi final and make a few quid. We somehow continue the policy of spending a reasonable amount on one quality player, and buy another creative midfielder (Moutinho?). We buy Chris Eagles to give us affordable width and pace. We bring in a utility defender on loan.

Then, next season we qualify for the Champions League and begin the gradual re-development of Goodison Park. It's quite simple really...
Andy Crooks     Posted 16/02/2009 at 16:37:54   Comments (9)

Great Expectations

While contributing to another thread, I had reason to mention Phil Neville and the way he captained the defence against Villa when we were under the cosh a bit in the second half.

It got me thinking about Pip's contribution of late and how his overall play has improved. I am sure the lad himself would agree that he is not the greatest footballer in the world but he does understand the game and that is the area where his contribution is most effective.

It must have been difficult for him when he came to Everton because even though he hadn't been a regular at Old Trafford for a while, while there he was accustomed to playing in a passing side with world class players around him doing all the fancy stuff like winning games and where the expectations upon him as an individual were not too great. When he arrived at Goodison we were purely a hoofball team and it must have been a culture shock for him.

As we have improved, however, he has obviously become more comfortable overall and more confident in the players around him. I thought he played very well on Sunday just as he has for a few big games recently. His passing accuracy has improved no-end and his authority on the pitch is self-evident. I think the crowd sense this too as the groans and moans (which were usually justified!) every time he got the ball have disappeared and we no longer hear the verbal abuse questioning his ability!

I say well done Pip, and while I have no doubt that when he finally retires he will take his spectator's seat at Old Trafford, his attitude, commitment and now his performances on the pitch in the Everton cause will ensure that he will be remembered at least as a gutsy, knowledgeable player who gave his all, late in his playing life, for his second team. Above all that, he is a bloody good captain who was not averse to a word or two in Arteta's ear on Sunday for a bit of wayward defending!

And then there was always that tackle on Ronaldo and the way he poo-poohed the protestations of his former team mates! (Was it one or two fingers?) An Honorary Evertonian at least!
Dave  Roberts     Posted 16/02/2009 at 15:03:44   Comments (17)

Great news on Rodwell

From the Everton officiala Website:

Teenage midfielder Jack Rodwell has agreed a new five-year deal with Everton and is likely to sign his contract by the weekend. The 17-year-old scored his first goal for the Toffees in Sunday's 3-1 FA Cup victory at home to Aston Villa.

Rodwell, who made his debut aged 16 in the UEFA Cup in December 2007, has made 13 first-team appearances this season, seven of which were from the start.

"Just to play for Everton is an honour, but to get the goal, I am made up," the academy product told EvertonTV after Sunday's strike.

"I'm glad it's out of the way, hopefully there's more to come.

"My ambitions are just to keep working hard and when I do get on to make an impression."

Fantastic!
Ian Butler     Posted 16/02/2009 at 15:26:54   Comments (6)

Neville-Arteta-Rodwell-Cahill axis

I was thinking today about whether Fellaini, when fit, would oust Rodwell from the first team. I think Rodwell will be the primary casualty because with J likely to start with Cahill in support, Fellaini will no longer be needed as an auxiliary striker. With Arteta and Neville, justifiably, certain to start in the centre and Fellaini highly unlikely to play wide, Rodwell looks to be the most obvious player to make way, with Osman and Pienaar right and left midfield.

I like Fellaini but I'm not sure I can wholly trust the reasons I like and support him. I'm not sure I like him because I felt sorry for him when he first came here, looking totally out of place and unable to communicate with his teammates. Maybe it's because he is our record signing and I feel obligated to be impressed by him and look for excuses whenever he gives the ball away.

It could be because he supposedly ran rings around Gerrard in the CL qualifier. Perhaps it's his 3-4 goals which have won us vital points and games. It may even be his hair...

My point is, no matter how much I keep telling myself I think he's class, I'm not really convincing myself 100%. However, when I see Rodwell play, he puts me at ease totally. Rarely losing the ball, quick, assured and unbelievably comfortable in possession for one so unexperienced at this level... I'm beginning to think Moyes should promote the Arteta-Neville-Rodwell-Cahill axis.

Some might argue it's not the right time to experiment but I don't think it's a gamble. Neville, Arteta and Rodwell have looked great when on the field together and with Cahill supporting J upfront our defence are more likely to pass through midfield with both Rodwell and Arteta in the middle.

Rodwell looks ready to me. We should use him and not worry about the 'burnout' consequences. Fact is, I regret to say, if Rodwell is going to be a truly world class player, we're going to lose him anyway. Might as well get the most out of him while we can. I hated seeing Rooney play every game after he joined United when we would've still wrapping him up in cotton wool.

It's good that we have options finally and with a few reinforcements in the summer, the next few seasons really could be great. If so, our prize asset may not leave for Man Utd.
Tom Winek     Posted 16/02/2009 at 14:14:52   Comments (25)

Crucial times

Well, here we go again... as in the last season, injuries and suspensions are taking their toll. For the game with Newcastle we will be without 8 players: Saha, Yakubu, Vaughan, Pienaar, Fellaini, Osman, Cahill and Hibbert. I can imagine getting through Newcastle but in terms of pushing for CL spots our lack of depth will prove crucial. Not only is Cahill suspended but from what I have seen on the post match interview he is carrying some kind of injury as his right shoulder was bandaged.

It will be interesting to see how the team and Moyes will cope with the situation. I am pretty sure we can overcome the loss of Hibbert, Osman, Yakubu, Saha and to some extent of Pienaar but losing Fellaini and Cahill will be one obstacle too much. If they can manage to finish within the places giving CL qualification, given this injury list and the disastrous start of the season, this should be classified as the best achievement for the last 15 years.
Stefan Tosev     Posted 16/02/2009 at 12:04:04   Comments (24)

Strikers On The Right Wing

Is anyone with better tactical knowledge able to provide insights into Moyes's habit of playing our strikers on the right wing? McFadden, AJ and now Anichibe.

Or is it his way of telling them you're on your way out - McFadden, AJ and maybe Anichibe?
Jason Heng     Posted 16/02/2009 at 11:44:39   Comments (17)

Afraid of us

I managed to catch the Everton ? Villa match on cable television here in Malaysia. Absolutely delighted that we got the win, an pretty convincingly too I must say. My observations from the match:

Arteta definitely is the heart beat of our team. He just knows what to do with the ball, when to switch play, when to run, or when to play it safe with a back pass. And he can tackle too! Superb...

Anichebe just doesn't have enough as a striker. Yes, he's strong and is reasonably quick ? the way he won the penalty by bulldozing his way through the Villa defence is evidence of that. Yet, there were too many times for my liking when he lost the ball easily or shot inaccurately. But then, he was involved in the third goal as well, which was crucial to us. So what are we to make of him? A liability in the long run? Only able to produce something once in a while? He seems to have that important foundation of strength and some pace... but mentally I think he's still Reserves quality...

Gosling to me is still learning. The positives for me are his willingness and bravery in getting shots on goal. He was played on left-wing during the Villa match, but I really don't think that is his position. He doesn't have the pace or build to be able to get past the defender. There were probably 2-3 times when he tried to push the ball past the defender, who just got in the way slightly and the ball was lost. I see him as being a replacement for Cahill as a goal-getting midfielder, even though their abilities are quite different. Could this be a sign of Moyes's intentions in changing the team's playing style in the future?

Rodwell. If this guy was was playing for any of the Sky4, his face would be plastered all over the media by now. He is frighteningly good! Cool temperament, accurate passing, skillful with the ball at his feet... this boy is going to be a star! It's hard to believe he's only 17!!!

As a team, I also believe that we've developed a crucial element that is needed to compete. That is: OTHER TEAMS REALLY DO FEAR US! From what I see and read about Villa, I expected them to do better on Sunday. In Ashley Young and Agbonlahor, they have two really fast and good forwards. And when they got the equalizing penalty using that pace, I thought they had the upper hand mentally and would go on to press us with their pace. But that didn't happen.

Even in the second half when we relaxed a little, I didn't see too much threat in their much-feared and talked-about pace. For example, there were times when Young had the ball on the wing and I was always expecting him to try and take it past Hibbert, but instead he always chose to cross it from deep, which doesn't seem to be his natural play.

And Petrov seemed to pass the ball backwards more often rather than take the ball forward or try to shoot. To be honest, while I have no doubt we played well, I think the other crucial factor was that Villa were afraid of us and didn't play to their own game.

It's clear that many other teams and managers are envious of us for the way we've come so far on so a limited budget, but looking at our recent match with Villa, I do believe that adding to this acknowledgement of us as a good team is the growing mentality that Everton are indeed a team that others are afraid to play....

Well done, boys!!!
Marcus Choo     Posted 16/02/2009 at 11:38:36   Comments (9)

Augustus Gloop

After the great victory today, I visited the BBC website to see their ?impartial? view on how the game seemed for a neutral. My eyes were drawn to the 606 feature and I started reading banter, argument and counter-argument between fans of Everton, Villa and Arsenal. One comment popped up which hit a nerve on something that has been itching me a while now. It came from a Manchester City fan praising David Moyes and then stating along the lines of: ?.... he should be given a bigger club, and I would love to see him in Manchester?.

Obviously it was slammed down by the Evertonians on the forum but it showed me further that modern football fans of certain clubs are like Augustus Gloop of Willy Wonka fame. Fat greedy stupid spoiled kids.

Manchester City, Spurs, Chelsea, Newcastle and obviously more seem to have this inflated sense of who their team actually is. The media?s love of Spurs, Sky raving about the ?toon? and Man City?s new wealth seem to give their fans a brainwash that whoever they want they can have, and then disregard them when finished. To then move onto the new flavour of the month to start the process again.

These idiots do not see that Moyes has had both positive and negative periods as Everton?s manager and spells where their trigger happy chairmen would be forced to relieve him of his duties. The reason Everton are in the position they are in, is stability and slow progress.

I remember Newcastle fans booing Bobby Robson, effectively getting him sacked, and turning on Allardyce because they never fancied him and then expect a top manager to go there?!

Spurs at Goodison three years ago turned Everton over and finished 5th, with a big strong, athletic side until Jol. Their head was turned by a ?name? of Ramos and look at them now!

Modern football is ridiculous and Everton like any club have fans whose views are wide of the mark to say the least. But listening on phone-ins and reading on the internet some of the nonsense that comes out of these spoiled fat kids mouths makes me proud we?ve stuck by our manager through good and bad. And proud we never fell for the multi-million pound foreign coach idea which seems crazier and crazier by the passing day.
Ged Jennings     Posted 15/02/2009 at 20:55:59   Comments (17)

Contributions towards season ticket welcome

Cards on the table, I don't get to go very often. But I have only ever been at Goodison once for a loss. Spurs, the "3 right backs" game. And I don't count that one 'cos we went on such a good run after that game. My first game was the '84 cup final. I didn't get to go to '85 as me dad only managed one ticket and I still blame him for the fact we didn't do the treble. Two games this season. One-nil against the Shite in the replay. 3-1 against a really ordinary Villa side today. I don't ever (bar the terrible Spurs game) see anything but a Blue win. Contributions for Quarter, Semi, and Final tickets welcome. Silverware guarenteed or your money back!

O'Neill is smoking something if he thinks his side were unlucky today. The Blues were quicker, stronger, and more honest than any of his whinging, diving, one-dimensional prima donnas. We are coming to get you, Martin, you twitching bespectacled idiot, and there's nothing you can do about it! Your team where outplayed and outclassed by a young side with good players waiting to return. And all you rely on is some big chinned bloke who wants to play for the Shite. And they are out the cup too. Bring on The Chavs or the Smoggies. I might make that game too...
Stu Gore     Posted 15/02/2009 at 20:27:08   Comments (3)

Lerner's Villa teach Everton vital lesson

I'd be interested to see what people's opinion on the following article published by the Guardian online:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/feb/15/fa-cup-everton-aston-villa-david-moyes

Is this a fair and true reflection in reality?
Ted  Marshall     Posted 15/02/2009 at 20:25:47   Comments (13)

Andy Dunn in the NotW

Did anyone read this prat's column in the News of the World today?

He condemned teams who uses the loan market saying that the whole system is a shambles and should be abolished. He also said that every goal that J will score for Everton against a bottom-half team this season will be a goal for Manchester City and that teams shouldn't be borrowing players from other teams cos their current ones aren't good enough.

I'm not one to really pay much attention to these columnists but this has really got me going.

What are teams like Everton meant to do during the transfer window? Teams that haven't got money to burn on players and cannot afford to purchase a multi-million pound flop? Teams who are short of numbers and have succumb to injuries to their already small squads?

Maybe Mr Dunn thinks we should just get by and watch all these teams fall to more of a disadvantage to the sky 4.
Tony Hale     Posted 15/02/2009 at 19:03:32   Comments (12)

Are we still getting paid?

I was wondering if any fellow Evertonians could help me out with a question that I have?! It is simply this: Are we still getting money from Man Utd every time they win a trophy?

I think I read that, for the first five years of Rooney's Utd career, we get money if they are successful. I know we got paid last year for their exploits and wondered if we will get more money out of them if they win anything this season? Hopefully someone might know more than I do with regards to this subject!
Alex Dixon     Posted 15/02/2009 at 18:20:01   Comments (17)

Great Day At The Office

Revenge is sweet, a great result, although I found myself wishing for another goal just to shut those people up who go on about how good Villa are and what a great manager O'Neill is, whilst ignoring what Everton have done without the benifit of a rich foreign benefactor.

A result i never doubted, but what was the icing on the cake was Big Vic's contribution, a real old fashioned kick up the arse still works, not to mention Rodwell's goal and he and Gosling looking the part. Excellent... then the draw, Excellent again. All in all, a good day at the office.
Iain  Love     Posted 15/02/2009 at 17:14:42   Comments (25)

Rodwell

I dont think I can recall a 17-year-old who reads the game with such maturity, he was outstanding today. There have been plenty at that age who have looked as promising, Wayne Rooney for one, but for very different reasons; Rooney was physically older than his actual age. As well as having the required physical attributes, Rodwell's got it upstairs too.

I had to keep reminding myself how old Rodwell is, his positioning and covering play were absolutely top drawer. You can just tell he is already a very intelligent footballer, get this lad a long term deal because he could end up saving us millions.
Ian Kearney     Posted 15/02/2009 at 16:49:10   Comments (23)

5th Round here we come!

Liverpool in the 4th, Villa in the 5th round... I want Arsenal for the QFs and for Chelsea to draw Man Utd, haha. Repeat of the ?95 final will do me!

Balls, for the draw:

1 Sheffield United or Hull City
2 Chelsea
3 West Ham United or Middlesbrough
4 Blackburn Rovers or Coventry City
5 Derby County or Manchester United
6 Swansea City or Fulham
7 Everton
8 Cardiff City or Arsenal or Burnley.
Brett Bradshaw     Posted 15/02/2009 at 15:08:58   Comments (31)

Andy in, Ossie out

I am Hearing reports on the internet that Leon Osman is out for six weeks with an unidentified injury. If this is true, than Andy van de Meyde will almost certainly start as well as Louis Saha. I am worried about their ability to complete the 90 minutes, especially Saha and we may even see Baines move to Left Midfield and a return For Yobo. Maybe even Mikky will move back to wide midfield and Rodwell play holding Midfield?

Regardless, we have a huge game and as long as we are behind the team, I don't see them letting us down. COYB
Ian Tod     Posted 15/02/2009 at 10:52:17   Comments (106)

We would be their prize asset

This is the website for all things in Knowsley: www.knowsley.gov.uk... Look at the "Latest news" section. A service interruption notice and an article about a woman failing to comply with a planning notification is all there is.

Look to the left a little, the "latest events" notice. It boasts "Knowsley village dance session" and even "cheerleading classes". Yeah, you got it, there is nothing going on in the borough of Knowsley. Look further down on the website page, where it says, "spotlight on..." well I am sure you have guessed exactly where the spotlight is on.... Destination Kirby!

They don't even know if it is going to be built, but already it is the main thing about Knowsley. The fact is, Liverpool council seem to think they can "bully" us around, and as soon as we say, "Fine, we know when were not wanted", and move to Kirby, suddenly they want a government inquiry. Well, guess what: the British government are not biased little pigs like Liverpool City Council, and they know that they're going to need big stadiums if they want the 2018 World Cup here. Not Knowsley, because we're going to be their prize asset. We are going to be the biggest thing in Knowsley?s history. When we want our update, going from 50,000 to 60,000, they will be looking for ways to fund us, and not blocking our finance by turning down plans to sell our land (unlike some!).

Obviously Kirby is not perfect. Ideally we would have wanted something closer, and maybe a better stadium. But after a mixture of 20 years of mismanagement, lack of finance, and a council that?s office Christmas parties are spent celebrating when Everton lose, there really is no other option.

Personally I love the idea (of moving to Kirby). I have heard it is modelled on FC Koln?s stadium, which I think looks impressive: www.blick-auf-koeln.de/e1526... Not just that, having a council that would bend their backsides just to help us would be a nice change from the shambles that is the Liverpool City Council.

Hopefully the new stadium will be perfectly timed, with Everton finally having fully cracked the top four, and hosting teams like Barcelona and AC Milan. Knowing us, it won't happen so sweetly, but that is the joy of football, anything can happen.
Robbie Carew     Posted 14/02/2009 at 15:26:45   Comments (11)

Holby General

After just having a quick squizz on the internet, I have found that Sunday's opponents Villa have a large number of injury problems going into this game.

At the back they are missing Bouma long term, Carlos Cuellar is out, also Luke Young pulled out of the England squad this week and so is also rated doubtful. But best of all, their best defender, Martin Laursen is also out. If you remember the last time we met Laursen was man of the match.

In the middle they have Reo-Coker out injured and in more good news Gareth Barry is suspended. Finally, the big galloot Carew has been out for a while and only expected to make the bench.

In contrast, all of our defenders are fit and in form. In the middle, Pienaar is injured, but also suspended; however, I think we all agree that Gosling is doing a good job in his absence. Hopefully Fellaini will be fighting fit for this game too. Our only injuries are with the Yak and Vaughan. There's a chance Saha could make the bench so that only leaves Vic as the remaining absentee.

All in all, I would say we are looking the best bet for this game and really need to finish the job at Goodison.

I also read the other day that Luke Young, the Villa right back, stated that the Villans were glad that we beat the Shite in the cup as they feel they have the beating of us. Hopefully come Sunday, we can ram the words back down his throat!
Franny Porter     Posted 13/02/2009 at 10:56:30   Comments (46)

Why Mikky wasn't called up

Watching the Spain - England match on TVE (Spanish state broadcaster) last night, the subject of Mikky's continued absence from the Spanish national side came up (this is a subject that has been getting an increasing amount of press recently, as well as a lot of chat on football forums here).

According to the commentary team, who said that it came from none other than Vicente del Bosque himself (and I have no reason not to believe them), the reason is that he did not want to consider Mikky for only one game. The reason for this being that when Fabregas returns he will go straight back into the squad in Mikky's place. Therefore why bother calling up Mikky?

Conclusion, Mikky's got no chance of being called up unless someone dies. Go figure.
Paul Whelan     Posted 12/02/2009 at 11:53:27   Comments (44)

Striking Memories

I've just been watching The Big Match Revisited on ITV4. They featured a game between Everton and Bristol City from 1979 at Goodison. The game was played on an awful frozen pitch and there was little to admire from either side but we ran out as eventual 4-1 winners.

The highlight of the game was undoubtably a brilliant man-of-the-match performance and wonderful hat-trick from Andy King and this led me to draw comparisons to our present fortunes. After the game Gordon Lee spoke about how King had been converted to striker from midfield and how his best asset was his goalscoring, reading of defenders and uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time ? sound like anyone we know?!!

An interview with Andy also demonstrated his cheeky personality and I couldn't help but draw comparisons to our Timmy. My questions are, how good was Andy King, how does he compare to Timmy, and how do you get the best out of a player with their rare skills ? use them in midfield or play them as a striker?
Ben Howard     Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:24:24   Comments (17)

Aussie Bush Fire Appeal

I just wanted to say thanks to ToffeeWeb for putting up the story about the bush fires over here, and the link to the bush fire appeal. It has been a tough week for the people of Victoria, and I don't think I am overstating it when I say that most people in the state are feeling shocked and horrified by what has happened, not least because it appears the worst of the fires was probably started deliberately.

I work in the media and over the last 7 days I have heard so many stories that just break your heart. It is good to know that people on the other side of the world are prepared to try and help. It also says something about how highly regarded Tim Cahill is in Australia and in England. Most Evertonians may not know that prior to the World Cup game against Japan, Tim recorded a message of condolence that was broadcast on all Australian TV channels on behalf of the Socceroos.

Tim is very much the face of football over here now, and he continues to carry out the role of ambassador with great dignity. He is a credit to himself, to the Socceroos and to Everton. I would urge all Evertonians to make even a small donation to the bush fire fund as a gesture of solidarity to one of our finest players. Thanks again for your support.
Richard Ewart     Posted 12/02/2009 at 05:54:18   Comments (3)

Elstone's Webchat

Did anyone see the webchat that our CEO had with the registered fans? Link-http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/elstone-webchat-success.html

I was impressed by this as it shows he is using a different approach than Wyness as he wants to be on the fans' side. Interesting to note that he more or less said Umbro and JJB will be out the door next year. He also answered a lot of interesting questions about the Kirkby Stadium and about the Everton Megastore.

I must say I'm impressed by Elstone, he seems to enjoy his job and wants the best for Everton!
Tom Campbell     Posted 11/02/2009 at 19:14:40   Comments (48)

Jagielka starts

Jagielka starts for England tonight;

England team to face Spain: David James, Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, John Terry, Michael Carrick, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Gareth Barry, Emile Heskey, Stewart Downing, Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Richard Porter     Posted 11/02/2009 at 17:15:14   Comments (26)

Ken-right?

Interesting to see an article on the BBC about the Leeds-style plight of Portsmouth. Given our league position and solid, gradual growth, perhaps our dynamic duo of Moyes and Kenwright is something to be thankful for?

It's funny. Given the economy, I think it would be dangerous to change anything right now.
Dan Parker     Posted 11/02/2009 at 13:33:42   Comments (65)

Mr Reliable

The only player to have played in that first game under David Moyes against Fulham when David Unsworth scored that 27 second screamer and who is still in the team now, Tony Hibbert is the longest serving Everton player in the current squad.

Let's start off with the good stuff, the lad is bloody quick, I don?t know any defenders in the whole time he?s played for us that have been able to skin him for pace, not one. And timing of tackles ? he?s old school, and generally times it very well with his sliding tackles especially.

Now with the bad ? He hasn?t been able to pass more than 5 or 10 yards without losing possession. Generally going forward he?s been pretty useless, preferring to stay back and look to go sideways at best, or back to the keeper. Often if he?s trying to play it over the top it goes out. All his great work in defence is worthless at times.

I often thought he had England potential and had hope for the lad and wanted to dismiss the boo boys but his distribution was chronic.

However, since he has come back from his long term injury this year, is it just me or is Tony Hibbert playing some of the best football he?s played? I know our back four is (all round) playing fantastic football, but I just want to discuss Hibbert in this post. He?s been getting forward a lot more, especially recently with Gosling. He?s been putting in a lot more crosses. Playing against Liverpool and Utd he did very well, especially again Ronaldo. I?ve noticed in the ground all the criticism of him has disappeared. Is it just me?

And finally on a tangent a bit ? Is Glen Johnson really that much better than Hibbo?
Stuart Downey     Posted 11/02/2009 at 10:18:45   Comments (35)

Tiny in Japan

Japan Vs Australia WC qualifyer kicks off 30 mins from now at Yokohama in front of 74000 fanatical Japanese. Tiny is supposed to be the middle of three strikers but there is no doubt that Pim Verbeek the Oz coach is going for the draw that would put Australia into the WC finals. Having named two other midfielders to play alongside Tim it seems the line up will be 4-3-3-0. The Jap central defenders are noted hard men so it's fingers crossed that our boy comes through uninjured.
Dick Fearon     Posted 11/02/2009 at 07:01:59   Comments (13)

Stoke on a Sunday

Can anyone explain why we have to play Stoke on a Sunday when it's not on TV? Police say it's for operational reasons ? like more ovies?

We know have hardly any games at 3pm on a Saturday, call me old fashioned but isn't that when games are supposed to take place? Jumpers for goal posts.....

Still we should spank them whatever time we have to kick off.
Ian Stewart     Posted 10/02/2009 at 22:38:12   Comments (8)

Kieran Agard

Does anyone know if he's injured as he hasn't been getting a game for the Reserves recently & I thought that he might have made the bench last week against Liverpool when we had no forwards.
David Merriles     Posted 10/02/2009 at 17:37:18   Comments (2)

Poor misunderstood Victor

So Anichebe says it was all a misunderstanding (Radio Merseyside & Guardian .co.uk/sport). He never swore at Moyes or even spoke to Round etc etc. and it is now all settled? So the silence of Moyes at Friday's press conference was all for nothing & poor young Vic was not a naughty boy after all...

Will he be in Sunday's squad?? I doubt it. Many reports have said that he is big-headed & arrogant & his recent performances & body language on the pitch point only one way. End of season... OUT ASAP!
Jimmy Royston     Posted 10/02/2009 at 17:10:49   Comments (31)

Jo verse Ju

What's with the spelling of Jo as Ju? When everyone, including the player himself uses Jo, the reason has to be pedantic even if it is correct in Portuguese.
John Boyd     Posted 10/02/2009 at 08:51:46   Comments (20)

Historical Query

I was wondering if anyone (perhaps even ToffeeWeb's own statistical oracle Steve Flanagan) might have access to records of Everton Reserve Team player appearances from around the 1920s.

I ask because I have recently discovered that a great great uncle of mine, one Archibald "Archie" Stewart was signed by Everton as a goalkeeper in (my uncle Dave believes) around 1928. Apparently there is a photograph of him in his goalkeeping jersey floating about somewhere in Dave's loft, I'll send a copy in if it turns up!

I am fairly certain that Archie never made the Everton first team, but would be thrilled if I could unearth any mention of him maybe appearing in the EFC second string or elsewhere.

Any news on when the Everton Collection will be accessible at Liverpool Records Office? Perhaps the famous Everton Ledgers will include some of the information I'm looking for!!
Jamie Yates     Posted 10/02/2009 at 07:10:13   Comments (5)

That defining moment

Every great side in the making has its defining moment. A moment or turning point that sets everything that is good about a football team in motion and leaves all that is bad in the past.

Has Everton had one of those defining moments or a turning of the tide? I think it has. But what moment in this season has been that moment?

As Lawro suggests, was it Phil Neville's crunching tackle on Ronaldo against Manchester United or Felliani's unlikely equalising goal in the same game? Or as David Moyes thinks, was it losing at home to Aston Villa that gave us our wake-up call, or kick up the proverbial ass? Everybody will have a different opinion on which was the most important and defining moment of the season.

Coming out on top in the 3 merseyside derbies could also be the springboard to inspire the team to greater heights. It broke Moyes's Liverpool hoodoo, that's for sure, as well as giving us our first win over the Sky 4 for some time.

My own defining moment was when young Dan Gosling scored his wonder goal against Liverpool. That for me put all the doubts we had about ourselves well and truely to bed. Nothing is impossible now, we just may need at bit more time for that league title. But this year a top 4 spot is definitely on the cards, especially with the departure of Scolari and Arsenal's lack of form.
Brian Baker     Posted 10/02/2009 at 06:02:11   Comments (30)

Which way Abramovich?

Now that Scolari has been sacked the media have begun their guessing games as to who will be approached by Chelsea to take over.

The media theory is that Abramovic will go for somebody 'international' (whatever that means!) but it seems to me that if that means a proven international manager he has just tried that and sacked him.

I do wonder therefore which way Chelsea will jump on this one. It seems the big-spender days are over down there and Grant and Scolari (the more so the latter) have had to make do on limited resources and have failed.

Now, who would you (if you were Abramovic) consider if you wanted a manager who has been tested over a period of time and found to be eminently capable of punching above his weight and making the most of very little?

What are the odds on Chelsea making an approach for Davey during the summer (once Wilkins has been sacked too as he undoubtedly will be!) and (more pertinently) would he go if he was asked?

Or is Davey more likely to wait for the Man Utd job he is bound to be offered when Fergie finally pops his clogs?
Dave Roberts     Posted 09/02/2009 at 16:50:26   Comments (46)

Strikers

As we have just signed our 5th first team striker with the loan signing of Jo, I was just wondering who everyone thinks our best striker is?

I did a similar article when we still had Andy Johnson, and I concluded that James Vaughan was our best striker (yeah... I know... very bad decision). I think all our 5 strikers are good, and think that if we had all them fit, we would be a hell of a striking force to be reckoned with in the Premier League. If I had to rank our 5 strikers in order from best to worst:

1. Yakubu
2. Saha
3. Jo
4. Vaughan
5. Anichebe
Now, I'm sure people will post different positions and opinions on this (just as long Anichebe isn't posted no1!!). I think the top 3 were difficult, but I think Yakubu just tops it because he has the class to score in the Premier League.

A fully fit Saha is fantastic, but when are we ever going to see a fully fit Saha?

Jo looked very promising in his debut, so could potentially be No 1 in that list quite easily, but still questionable over his time in Man City if he can cut it in England... I think he can.

Vaughan again has potential, but injury-prone, so not really sure how good he could turn out to be...

Anichebe, well, his attitude disappoints me, he could maybe do well playing first team in low-level Premier League clubs or Championship clubs? I think he's good for a squad player, but not first-teamer.
Ben Jones     Posted 09/02/2009 at 16:13:57   Comments (33)

Tokyo J

Something good stood out in Saturday's dazzling performance and that was the team's formation. Having two good forwards up front puts a lot more pressure on the opposition. It helps keep them in their half of the field and gives the rest of the team more options to get forward.

We really looked balanced and strong in most departments but I would like to highlight the contribution of an athletic out-and-out forward. Having a spearhead such as Tokyo J, looking hungry for the ball even though you could tell that he isn't full of confidence yet... his movement was quick, his positional sense was good, he was strong and held it up well, laying it off more often than not maintaining possession, looks like it can head it too! This lad is a good player and looks like the others like him and fits in with the rest of the family. He might just turn out to be a 'Lineker' type that we have been yearning for. Does anyone know if we might have a chance of keeping him and if any agreement on a fee?

Also, Arteta's looking in his element, conducting matters in midfield with Peanuts and Screech to return. The youngsters Rodwell and Gosling are beginning to find their feet and young Vaughany to return ? exciting stuff.

Defence looking rock solid ? how Lescott has missed out on England spot is beyond me... Bainsey has been a revelation and if only we can fit a rocket to Hibbo to do same overlapping on right hand side, but at least the lad is playing well at the moment. There is a feeling of '84' about this side, maybe an excursion to Wembly this year might be a distinct possibility. POSITIVE STUFF FOR A CHANGE. Makes you believe the Blue tide is rising ? COYB
Alan  Thompson     Posted 09/02/2009 at 14:58:30   Comments (12)

Revenge for 77

13 April 1977, a week before my 13th birthday. John Nelson, one of me dad's mates from across the road, had got me a ticket for the second League Cup Final replay at Old Trafford. He'd taken me to a few Goodison games in the past and knew I'd love this. Gordon West was the goalie for the first game I saw with John. He called him Dracula coz he was afraid of crosses. Always made me laugh, that one.

Anyhoo, off we drove down the East Lancs. I was so full of excitement, this was gonna be the best birthday present ever. I remember being really impressed with Old Trafford but my mind was totally focused on the blues. Big Mick Lyons and Superlatch scored but in the dying seconds Brian Little broke my heart. I couldn't believe it, it was my birthday next week but the Villa had robbed me blind of any joy. How dare they! They did it again, the other month, stealing the gurgles of celebration before they were even out of my throat.

So, me fleet footed warriors, for me and John, who's sadly no longer with us, and every other bluenose past, present and future, please stuff 'em next week and end 30-odd years of me belly-aching. Good luck lads, you've been bringing me tears of joy with your recent play.
Peter Webster     Posted 09/02/2009 at 13:23:59   Comments (4)

1 England player at a time

I have been festering on this point since saturday night and its niggled away at me like a bottle of vodka does to AVDM. Why oh why do we only ever have one player called up to the England squad? When Lescott is called up, Jagielka isn't, and vice versa.

I see West Ham have 3 players called up and lucky Villa have 6 albeit they our in the top three and have been playing lucky football all season so Capello must think one of the Villa players will score the winner off their backsides, but for both teams call ups I dont feel it's justified. Jagielka well and truly deserves this call up, he's had Tosser sorry I mean Torres in his back pocket for a couple of hours at least over the last two weeks, but Lescott has been playing just as well and surely Capello and his Italian posse must have seen this.

I know I'm biased and therefore love to see our players in the England team but what has Cole or Bridge done recently compared to Baines, what for that matter has Upson, Luke Young or Glen Johnson done to deserve a place in front of Hibbert or Lescott? It does frustrate me to see this as Capello must have seen these players perform consistently against the sky four and succeed where Villa and West Ham wouldn't.

Yes I am a Toffee even more so than I am English in footballing terms of course so therefore would love to see more blue in that England squad to try and dye the overpowering claret which seems to be infesting this average England team. After all it would have been great to have 3 or 4 blues playing when England take on Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Andrew Fair     Posted 09/02/2009 at 10:41:53   Comments (28)

Attacking the Gwladys street first half

Why is it that almost every home game now we are attacking the Gwladys Street End in the first half?!

I might just not be paying enough attention at the toss up, so I suppose every other team could be winning the toss and forcing us to change around, but surely this isn't happening every time?

From memory, out of our home games this season we have attacked the Gwladys in the first half against: Liverpool (league), Fulham, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Hull, Arsenal, Liverpool (cup), and Bolton

That's 8 out of 15 in all competitions, i.e. more than half and all of the last 5 home games! Please don't tell me this is something that's going to continue ? I sit in the Lower Gwladys for two reasons: 1) the atmosphere and 2) because the blues attack us second half! Just like Liverpool at the Kop and United at the Stretford End we have ALWAYS attacked the Gwladys Street second half.

Like I say, I might just be missing the fact that teams are turning us around, but each of the last five times? Surely not!
Tim Wardrop     Posted 09/02/2009 at 06:48:48   Comments (22)

Weakened Villa...

Great to see that Gareth Barry has picked up a one match ban and misses the game on Sunday. Fingers crossed for lots of Villa players playing 90 mins for England and picking up niggling injuries. Also hope Jags has a nice comfy seat to watch the game but comes on with a minute to go to pick up his cap!
Damian Kelly     Posted 09/02/2009 at 06:29:46   Comments (16)

We don?t need another Gary Lineker situation

I grew up watching the blues and Gary Lineker was one of my fav players, albeit the short spell he had with us. The blues machine of the 80s was perfectly tuned in all departments, the players had skill, the team played with speed mixing short and long passes, and the midfield would scythe through whatever showed up on the opposing team. Neville Southall was the best goalkeeper in the world. They were men amongst men. And then we signed an up-and-coming striker in Lineker. It seemed like the perfect marriage and consolidates our dominance.

I had a soft spot for Lineker, as I grew up playing striker in my youth. Playing for Everton must?ve been a dream. The blue machine providing chance upon chance as he notched up 40 goals during the season. There wasn?t a need to track back as in modern football too.

Needless to mention, we ended the season empty handed. It was fun whilst it lasted but there was a flaw in the Everton machine ? our over reliance on Gary Lineker. The team was basically modded around him, even though we had Sharpy and Health in the squad. And when Lineker lost his boots (so he claims) so were our silverware chances. Of course the best goalie in the world being injured didn?t help. He was irreplaceable anyway.

Fast forward 20 odd years and here we have an Everton that plays the 4-5-1 formation. The modern lexicon is the ?lone striker?. Whether by choice or forced due to circumstances such as improved defenses and tactics, players that can run a marathon each game, midget gems and no pot to piss in, we will be stuck with 4-5-1 for some time. Or 4-4-1-1, 4-1-4-1 whatever rings your bell. It?s lone striker up front.

I wrote an article last season feebly providing insight as to why we play 4-5-1, maybe to compensate for Cars lack of pace, and [insert midfield player of choice] lack of size and skill. So we could pit ourselves against Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal?s first choice 4 midfielders. To be fair, we?re doing quite alright. Except when it counts.

Marcus Bent, Beattie, AJ, Yakubu. They?ve all come in, and with some exception to the Yak, all failed miserably as the lone striker. Not entirely their fault, as they are no Gary Lineker. Who had a much better Everton side behind him. Moyes has had to call in a midfielder in Cahill to help solve this puzzle during the recent striker injury crisis.

If we are to compensate for us playing 5 across the middle then we need a World Class striker who can play on his own up front against a top4 defense. And World Class means big bucks. But to be safe, we need two of them, who we can rotate by providing equal playing time on the pitch. The current midfield will sort themselves out. We play 5 of them, and there?s much hope in Rodwell and Fellaini. Arteta and Cahill will be our future senior midfielders in the mentor role as Giggs and Scholes at Man Utd.

We don?t need another Gary Lineker situation, where our hopes and aspiration disappear when we hinge all our striking aspirations on one personnel. Kudos to Cahill, but he is not our long-term striking solution. Whether it was by sheer luck, Howard removed Lineker from the team, and our over-reliance on him. And when you win the Championship before and after Lineker, it can?t be down to sheer luck.
Jason Lam     Posted 09/02/2009 at 00:53:02   Comments (18)

Unbiased refs?

I have just read the 'Steve Bennett scandal' in News of the World. Big deal. The thing that I find scandalous is the comment: "Just metres away, colleagues Howard Webb and Mike Dean were singing Liverpool anthem You?ll Never Walk Alone, unaware Bennett was letting slip the shameful secrets that will rock football."

How can either of these two ever be allowed to referee an Everton or Liverpool game again?
John McAllister     Posted 08/02/2009 at 13:23:53   Comments (35)

Captain's Awareness

Phil Neville isn't the gung-ho and obvious kind of captain, but I'm increasingly impressed by the way he leads the team.

One particular incident yesterday highlighted how aware he is of the team as a whole, and how small decisions can make a big difference. When the second penalty was awarded, Gosling clearly wanted to take it. Neville was quite clear with him that Jo should take it instead. Gosling had had his glory this week, it almost couldn't get better. Jo had had a great debut, was quickly rebuilding confidence after a hard time at City, and a second goal and a bunch of press attention could do wonders. To be aware of that in the dying seconds of a game already won, and to make the captain's decision, showed a great deal of maturity and a focus on the long term.

Neville's made an excellent contribution as a player so far this season, but because he's a "quiet man" I think his leadership qualities both on and off the pitch can be overlooked.
Robin Cannon     Posted 08/02/2009 at 11:18:13   Comments (29)

Kapo?

I was just looking on Skysports.com and seen that Moyes almost signed Kapo on loan from Wigan on deadline day. The deal was almost done only for Everton to pull out as Moyes felt his attitude would ruin the team spirit. It just shows that Moyes only buys the right player with good attitude!
Tom  Campbell     Posted 08/02/2009 at 09:11:17   Comments (5)

Blues down under

It was reported in the local media (West Australian) that Everton will be coming to Perth for a pre-season tour and will play the local A-league team Perth Glory. The paper said it all depends on them getting another game in Oz which you would've thought wouldn't be a problem, so if this comes off I will be the over the moon.

I remember when Timmy was here for a friendly with indonesia and the reception he got from Everton fans who had turned out in force to see him and show their support which proved to him and me (although I never thought anything else) that Everton fans are like no other. The best in the world.

To all blues fans everywhere be safe, be lucky, and keep preaching the good news about the best club in the world. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!
Mick Owens     Posted 08/02/2009 at 01:18:45   Comments (9)

So that's 40 points then...

With the way the points are being shared out below, we'll probably need a few more points to ensure safety but with a fairly easy run in it looks like Premier League status is assured for another year... *Rejoice*

When I look at the table, I still see Villa as being the team to overtake into 5th spot. Between now and when we play Villa in the league on 11 April, they play Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool & Man U as well as a few Uefa Cup games. Are those games enough to make up the 11-point deficit? Or at least to make that game a 6-pointer? After playing us, Villa have a string of very winnable games so that game could be key.

That said, with our run-in, I honestly believe we'll either match or catch everyone above us, someone's bound to drop points and Arsenal are looking ripe for the pickin.

When Everton have climbed the table under Moyes, they've beaten the teams they should beat, which seemed to relate to not performing against the Sky 4 (until lately) but now it appears it was just one of DM's traits. Consistency is his key, once the players have showed him a performance, he's demanded the level be maintained... which has meant we've ground out results while not playing so well.

We're an injury-kind & uninterrupted-by-late-transfer-dealings season away from having a fantastic season in my opinion, a few of the boys are 26, 27 this year and Cahill's approaching 30, with the healthy spattering of kids, maybe the time's right for a tilt at the title...

The ever optimistic...
Simon Walker     Posted 07/02/2009 at 20:11:05   Comments (23)

Little England

Congratulations to Philip Jagielka: his England call-up is totally deserved as he is a credit to the game and the art of the centre back.

But where is Joleon Lescott's name on the list? Capello must think he's very well off for class defenders (does that include Upson?) to leave him out. Personally I hope that Phil the Jag gets a good rest during his international tour of duty, and I'm sure that the Everton squad will be very well looked after this week.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 07/02/2009 at 19:00:17   Comments (8)

J & Gosling Start!

J and Gosling starting, in for Fellaini and Pienaar.

Any one got any decent links for the match?
Nick Owens     Posted 07/02/2009 at 11:27:42   Comments (151)

Seamus Coleman

The transfer window came and went and it was widely reported the only piece of business that Everton completed was the loan signing of Jo.

Strange then, this morning whist watching the clip of our Davie on Setanta calmly walking out of the press conference I should notice the headline "Toffees finally snap up Coleman". So curious I then checked out the OS for any news of the transfer and found no headline news but lo and behold listed in the players section amongst our defenders Seamus Coleman appears without a squad number.

It appears not only Arsenal managed to extend the transfer deadline. I think this is good news and hopefully another young gem will emerge in the coming seasons. I just wonder why it wasn't more widely reported.


Andrew Herbert     Posted 07/02/2009 at 07:49:26   Comments (9)

In Defence of Leon Osman

There's always one Everton player, and I'm sure this happens at every club who at some point is made a scapegoat by large sections of the fans for the teams shortcomings. Kilbane, Hibbert, Neville and Beattie have all to a certain degree suffered this fate in recent seasons. I've noticed that of late, a certain Leon Osman has come in for more than his fair share of critisism. Personally I find this ludicrous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Ossie is a world beater by any stretch of the imagination. His lack of size and subsequent lack of physicality are there for all to see. As is a lack of any real pace. These are the weaker apects of his game but overall I think Leon is a smashing player.

Firstly his hard work, bravery and commitment are never questioned. So much so that when many football 'experts' describe him it's condescending to say the least. 'Workmanlike', 'Industrious' & 'Reliable' are just two of the adjectives use to describe Osman and the casual footballing observer might think that he is all graft and no craft. Once again I think this view is far removed from the truth.

He has an excellent first touch, he can dribble, beat a man and he always looks like he's got a goal in him. Think back to that wonderful team goal last year against Larissa and how beautifully he finished that off with the outside of his right foot and his mazy run and finish during the stuffing of Sunderland. These are moments of genuine quality.

Like I said at the beginning, he's far from perfect and I think if Moysie can make a couple of quality midfield addtions in the summer he may struggle to get in a first choice Everton midfield but until then he'll do for me.

Some joker posted recently on here somthing along the lines of 'If there's a more ineffective player in the Premier League than Osman I've yet to see him'. Well I'd take Leons 10 stone quality over a numbty 13 stone Rory Delaps long throws anyday. I'd love to see him finish his career with us.

So please cut Ossie some slack, he's a true miget gem.
David Nicholls     Posted 06/02/2009 at 17:35:20   Comments (46)

Prolonging The Agony

At last the Public Inquiry into Kirkby has ended and we wait for the outcome with baited breath. It is believed that the report won't be ready until June. How the hell can a report take as long if not longer to produce than the actual inquiry itself? As per usual Evertonians have to have the patience of several saints.

On another subject Moyes apparently walked out of his press conference following a question about Victor Anichebe. I can understand Victor not making the squad for tomorrow, but I hope the lad is not totally alienated for the rest of the season as we cannot afford to have players sitting on their backsides on full pay!
Anthony Dyer     Posted 06/02/2009 at 14:58:11   Comments (20)

Gosling chant

Just a bit of fun.. jus thought of this chant for our hero Dan Gosling

NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA GOSLING GOSLING!!
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA GOSLING GOSLING!!
He's the boy from Plymouth way!
He scored the goal on Derby day!
Daaan GOSLING! EVERTON'S 32

Just a thread of your opinions and of course more suggestions of chants!
Ben Jones     Posted 06/02/2009 at 14:36:47   Comments (10)

Moysey's Cracking Up?

Just watched this video of Moyes storming out of Interview after being asked a simple question about Anichibe. Its painful to watch. Am suprised but it is obviously a sore subject!
Andy Ferguson     Posted 06/02/2009 at 13:22:04   Comments (69)

Wednesday was great, but there must be more

While Wednesday night was a truly great result, I hope that this doesn't end up as the only highlight of the season.

Stating the obvious I know, but we only won the right to play in the next round of the cup. Yes, it was against Liverpool and the manner in which we won was a joy to watch, but let's not get carried away ? if anything it gives them too much credit! We should be thinking 'Yeah, we beat you, we deserved it, but we've got other things to worry about now, off you go and try and salvage your season'.

A red colleague of mine sulkily pointed out to me how amusing/pathetic he found our reaction, as if we'd won the cup, league and CL all in one. As typically churlish a kopite response as you're ever likely to hear after getting beat, but a tiny bit of it did nag me. He's right, in a strange way ? even though he'll never understand what we feel about the game and the club.

We had our moment on Wednesday, we lifted the Goodison roof off, we greeted a new hero, but let's now move on to the next moment, and let's not give them the satisfaction of thinking that beating them is the only thing that we care about. It's about beating Villa and trying to win the cup, and before that getting three points against Bolton, and the next three after that.

As good as this week has been, I want more, and I don't want this to to be 'it' for this season ? so let's make sure this is only one of many good things to look back on.

COYB
Chris Bailey     Posted 06/02/2009 at 12:15:35   Comments (21)

Arteta misses out again

I've just seen that Mikel has been overlooked yet again by the Spanish for their friendly against England next week. Having had the pleasure to see him play over the past few months it seems more astounding than ever for him to be to be omitted.

Again on Wednesday night he proved that he can run a game in the middle of the park, out-shining king of the cards, Alonso and even played off Tim for the final 30 mins. We've been hurt in the past for bigging up our players (Barmby, Gravesen) but this comes at a time where Mikel seems more settled than ever in our side and looks committed to remaining a blue for the foreseeable future, especially now playing in his favoured position.

Yes Spain have a fantastic squad, yes they have some fantastic players but when a guy is bang in form, playing against the top sides for the last month, in the so-called strongest league in the world, then what else does he need to do to get a chance?

I think it's a disgrace and it must be heart breaking for the lad. People have suggested he declare for England but that will never happen, he is too proud of his Spanish/Basque roots to entertain the thought. It makes it more galling when I see plenty of players in the England squad taking it for granted and assuming they've made it, egos like Big Vic in fact, strutting about as if they are the answer to football's problems.

Mikel is a class act, on and off the pitch so I suppose as long as he is overlooked by Spain, the longer he will play with a point to prove.
Niall Clinton     Posted 06/02/2009 at 11:24:35   Comments (20)

Things you can't say to a fellow Evertonian

I was made up with the result the other night. But this game still showed up the problem with the team. A poor midfield. The lack of creativity is obvious.

Osman is just not good enough and Fellaini is nowhere near a 15m player. No pace, no engine, no decent tackle, no shot, can't beat a man. All he has to his game is nuisance value in the air and a decent pass when given a bit of room. There's been 4 or 5 midfield players on the market during and since the summer who would have done a really good job for us for a third of Fellaini's price tag. And with Neville's limitations in midfield it all adds up to a poor midfield. Say this to a fellow Evertonian though and you get blasted.

We have been 2 players away from having a well-balanced team for the last 5 years and we are still 2 players away, although surely Gosling deserves a place in the side now. And Arteta has shown in the last few weeks how foolish it was to keep using him as a wide man.

No doubt I'll get blasted for this article, especially after Wednesday, but it's true. That's why we always come unstuck. Beating Liverpool was great but I want us to do more than that.
Ged Dwyer     Posted 06/02/2009 at 09:04:58   Comments (37)

Sock-robbers from Kirkby

Not sure if anyone really cares but found this article about the socks being throw on the pitch by the Liverpool scum:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/everton/4524379/Liverpool-fans-mock-Evertons-sock-robbers.html
Lee Howard     Posted 06/02/2009 at 08:08:47   Comments (3)

Pip

After that superb night on Wednesday, it was great to see the club as one; no slating, just a club wrapped together ? players, manager and fans behaving as a club should. No bottle throwing, no moaning about decisions ? just being a credit to the name despite the fact we got limited credit for it. All in a game that Talk Sport southern idiots focused on two bad teams, not a team crippled with injuries and full of British players. The Daily Star seeing fit to have Derby's victory over Forest as their back page headlines just summed it all up for me.

Gosling and Rodwell in particular were superb and deserve all the plaudits but how about a big hand for our captain? The man has been knocked from pillar to post on this site and whilst some stick was justified a lot of it was not.

I have always had him down as a good full back and garbage in the middle, but how strange since he has been paired with a technically gifted partner that he is having IMHO his best spell in a blue shirt. His distribution has improved, he is breaking attacks up and is not giving a toss what big name player he is kicking into the stand. The man's attitude is first class, he has been spat at and punched by the "world's best fans", and has never moaned once. Just a nice rub of the badge in front of the horrible bastards was enough for him and in keeping with all things blue was a nice little touch of class ? something them across the park are seriously short of.
Paul  Gladwell     Posted 06/02/2009 at 05:14:12   Comments (11)

Shandy vs Pepe

After reading every available match report this morning in work, I stumbled across one report which mentioned a fight between Shandy and Reina?

According to the article the fight between these two ended up in, I quote, "an ugly free-for-all". Now Reina is ugly, granted, but I never saw any of this or read about it anywhere else.

Can anyone shed any light on this or what caused it?

If it is true, AVDM's only two contributions to his Everton career are setting up the winner in a derby and lamping a kopite. Not a bad legacy, ha ha!
Franny Porter     Posted 05/02/2009 at 16:12:58   Comments (31)

Best match I never saw!

What a night. Natalia and I watched the first half of the derby in the Marquis of Granby on Cambridge Circus in central London, surrounded by the usual glory-hunters ? don?t they spout a load of clueless, blinkered shite, cockney reds? They remind me of Newcastle fans, so unused to being actually challenged about anything that the most absurd pronouncements are taken on face value as gospel. There was one genuine red in there too who I had a quick exchange of banter with. He mused that it must be awful being so bitter and I replied that it could be worse; it could be arrogance.

At half time we headed off to see the Airborne Toxic Event at the 100 Club on Oxford Street. We had mixed feelings about leaving the pub to miss the rest of the match, of course, but I?d been a fan of this LA band for over two years now (they?re going to be huge, by the way) and had struck up a friendship with them in the process so we were on the guest list and I just couldn?t let them down. My mate, Banksy, was actually at the game and was duly instructed to keep me posted on scores via text.

If I?m honest, my fatalism and our lack of craft in the first half had gone some way to convincing me that we would lose anyway. On our way out I said my goodbyes to the scouse kopite, explaining that we had to go to a gig and he said it was probably best we left now anyway. ?There?s that arrogance again?, I replied and headed out into the night full of expectancy and angst.

The gig itself was so tremendous that I was actually able to take my mind off the game for moments and we both had a fantastic time until, for the final song, there was a stage invasion and I found myself dancing on the stage with my arm around the bassist, Noah, proudly showing my amber EFC shirt to the rest of the crowd, whilst Mikel, the lead singer, jumped into the crowd and sang the song directly to my girl, Natalia. Could life get any better than this, I wondered. Yes, it could.

At that very moment, I spotted a bloke holding an Everton hat in the air to catch my attention. Turns out there were several ESCLA members in the crowd last night and they?d spotted me and decided to pass on some wonderful news. As I bounced up and down on stage the guy held his fingers up to indicate ?One, nil? and mouthed ?We won!?

You could have killed me right then if you?d wanted to and I really wouldn?t have minded.

What a night, indeed.
Andy Griff     Posted 05/02/2009 at 14:09:28   Comments (14)

Suspensions

So Stevie Pienaar is out for the Villa game; this is a blow in my opinion, we were poor without him at the start of the season. I honestly thought Cahill's yellow was his fifth last night I must've been wrong, is he now on 4?

How many and which players do we have on 3 or 4 yellows as suspensions on our main players could kill us? What rotations, formations and swaps would fellow blues do as are season reaches the autumn stage to ensure freshness, quality and cover for inevitable suspensions/injuries.

ps: Will Ashley Young still be suspended for the cup game or have those jammy Villains got him back for it?
Mike Jennings     Posted 05/02/2009 at 10:51:10   Comments (10)

Derby joy

I Just wanted to say a few things regarding the game last night and events leading up....

1. I'm so happy for Dan Gosling! I was thinking all through extra time it would be great if either he or Jack Rodwell got the winner. Made up for them both, it should give them confidence to flourish.

2. I wanted to commend Tony Hibbert on his recent performances. Well done Tony. You are one who gets more than your fair share of criticism, but recently you have done the royal blue shirt proud. Along with Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines you know what it means to us fans and all your performances of late have really warmed our blue hearts.

3. Victor Anichebe says he is embarrassed. He should be, rocking the boat before the derby. Regardess of how guilty he is, any sort of 'bust-up', swearing or not, is something to be ashamed of. Look at the lads mentioned above for inspiration!

4. I wanted to raise the issue of the Liverpool fans throwing socks, coins etc. No doubt the media will shy away from this as it is their darlings that are guilty, but we should really kick up a stink about this. It was disgusting. You could clearly see players being in the line of fire on ITV (even if we did miss the goal!). More should be made of this, our reputation is dragged through the dirt at any opportunity.

5. Its to be expected from the fat waiter, but disputing the sending off of Lucas?! Rafa really is cracking up. Just give us our dues Rafa, we beat you fair and square.

Well done Moyes and the boys. Keep up the effort though, we've won nothing yet. There is a great opportunity of silverware now though, grab the chance with both hands!
Gareth Cooper     Posted 05/02/2009 at 08:51:11   Comments (45)

A happy man, although ITV did not help

Whilst it was hardly a riveting game, much less one of quality football, it was not lacking in taliking points. Injuries, red cards and big scoring youth players aside, I can't help but feel somewhat cheated by ITV's 'technical difficulties'. The victory is one which I will enjoy for a while yet, but what of the winning goal?

It's one thing to bang in a last minnute winner and watch Goodison erupt, A very different thing to miss the whole thing and see the screen flicker back on whilst Torres takes a kick off.

Anyway, I don't want to complain; nothing like watching 'Stevie Me' wander off so early. Bloody good stuff tonite, I do worry for Bolton on Saturday tho (anyone remember Sunderland last season?)
Rob Skeldon     Posted 04/02/2009 at 23:56:38   Comments (59)

Everton Youth and British players

Just wanted to make mention of the fact that the shite ended the match with just one person from the home countries, whereas we ended with not only 7 players from the home countries, but also 6 of those came through our youth system: Baines, Jagielka, Hibbert, Osman, Rodwell, and Gosling

It is testimony to our commitment in young players that not only did we beat Liverpool but we did it with players that are not mercenaries... and No ladyboys!

That is why when the banks come knocking on their door for their money back this summer and they go bankrupt and have to sell their players, all they will be left with is rubbish and no youth.

Ps Hope Moysie rests Timmy & Fellaini for Gosling & J ? they looked tired and injured. NSNO
Doug Walters     Posted 04/02/2009 at 23:44:26   Comments (21)

Tomorrow is for the young

I've got a red neighbour here in West Yorkshire who has been to Anfield exactly 8 times less than I have. I've got a local pub packed with full-kit togged up reds who, without irony, openly come out with anti-scouse jokes. I've had to shout at the telly for my fun (tonight's ITV commentator describing Gwladys St as "our equivalent to the Spion Kop" FFS!)

In other words, I've no pinkies with any credentials to enjoy 'discussing' tonight's result.

So it is to the young that I turn. I dedicate tonight's win to the school-going Evertonians out there, many for whom tomorrow will be their first day of their lives that they can walk through the gates after the right derby result. To these I say saviour every precious moment and teach those graceless glory-hunters what dignity in victory is like.
John Pendleton     Posted 04/02/2009 at 20:51:56   Comments (22)

The Bold David Moyes

I posted a letter a couple of days ago entitled "Not good enough". In it I said that the being bold never entered the mind of David Moyes.

I take that back. Tonight he was bold. Maybe he had no choice but I prefer to think that this was a change in thinking. Gosling and Rodwell were superb substitutions and did us proud. When AVDM came on I honestly thought, "His time has come". I've defended him in the past and have regretted it but his cross for the winner will at least leave one good memory of his time at GP. What a wonderful night.
Andy Crooks     Posted 04/02/2009 at 19:58:57   Comments (79)

Fiorentina anyone?

Tonight's game is probably the biggest and most important game of our season so far as we realistically cannot win any other silverware. I personally think that we have to go for this game and try to win at all costs within normal time. 6th place in the league is not necessarily going to lead to Uefa Cup football unless there are 'favours' from the teams above us (notably Man Utd in the League Cup).

The point of the post is to compare this game to the Fiorentina Uefa Cup clash and see if anyone is as scared as I am of a repeat of losing on penalties and the psychological effect it could have on our season to the players and management?

I personally see penalties as a realistic outcome for tonight's game given the fact that we have been equally matched with the shite in the last 2 games.

The similarity between this game and the Fiorentina game (ie. nothing else to play for if we are beaten) is evident for all to see. After we lost that game we went on a shocking run of results and performances which would not have been out of place amongst the relegation candidates. Please make sure that this does not happen again lads, stuff those cheating Spanish loving tossers and all will be forgiven...
Andrew Laird     Posted 04/02/2009 at 14:03:25   Comments (124)

Little frustrations

This article is in relation to Moyes and his decisions. I think Moyes is a fantastic manager and obviously there is debate about his capabilities throughout all of us Evertonians.

But Moyes sometimes annoys the hell out of me, because of little things and for some reason, people always seem to be remember these things much more often and that is why, in my opinion, the majority of the people who do not rate Moyes don't like him. These things are like substitutions, transfers, squad decisions etc, like these:

1. This is the most obvious one at the moment, Gosling for Osman. As much as I love Osman, he's clearly tired, and therefore not playing as well, Gosling look promising in his appearances for us, why not give him a go?!

2. Transfer window. Though Moyes normally makes good signings, why always leave it so late? For some reason, Evertonians always suffer in the transfer window.

3. A winger! Our only natural wingers are Gosling and Van der Meyde, surely it's common sense that we must buy one. I still can't believe we haven't bought one yet.

4. Substitutions. Moyes only makes substitutions when we are losing or defending a lead. He is very predictable at times, and sometimes there has been the situation where substitutions have to be made, and typical Moyes does not make them!

5. Build up the squad. I know Moyes likes a small squad, but we clearly need a bigger one. Fatigue in the squad is the reason for our drop of form last year, and I'm afraid it's gonna happen again this season.

6. Anichebe. Firstly, I don't think he is playing well, and his attitude stinks. But it doesn't help when he is played right wing... I mean, our only fit striker playing right wing does sound ridiculous.

This is not slagging Moyes off at all (I know it sound likes it!), but it is just things that frustrate me at times. I know all of you readers will agree and disagree with some of the article, and I may be too harsh at times. Though, saying that, Moyes has started to get better, Baines is having a run in the team, and Arteta is playing in his best position.
Ben Jones     Posted 04/02/2009 at 08:14:14   Comments (17)

Spitting the dummy

Just read the link to The Sun to see that big ponce Anichebe had a training ground bust up with Moyes. Now in every match I've seen him play, the lad has shown nothing apart from the art of sitting on his lazy fat arse as he throws himself to the ground.

in this article it state's that he's upset about not leading the front line, as he's the only fit striker we've had, but if this lazy bastard showed the type of commitment as Timmy does week-in, week-out he would have a fair case, but the fact is he doesn't, the fact that he's worn the famous blue shirt is to me a disgrace.

Now that we've signed J from City, I'd drop him altogether, as his opinion of his own skill level is vastly different to everyone concerned with EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB! In short, fuck him off as he's not worth it!
Gary Lawler     Posted 03/02/2009 at 23:27:57   Comments (97)

Refs, Reds and Cards

David Moyes was quite right to make his views about refereeing known today.

There can hardly be an Evertonian who didn't see the incidents he referred to as he did, but very importantly, the English football audience saw what happened to Chelsea last Sunday. No need to go into details, but a visiting player was sent off for a foul committed by a home player. Another home player escaped any caution for a studs-up challenge minutes before.

Significantly, that red card was rescinded today. Referees know that their favour of the dark side is under national scrutiny.

Fellaini will no doubt get booked for a non-professional hair style, but otherwise let us hope that the officials will be on their best behaviour. Moyes's comments might help.
Keith Glazzard     Posted 03/02/2009 at 19:48:21   Comments (31)

Not sold out yet!

Please explain to me why tomorrow night's match still hasn't sold out. The hard core away following seems to increase in size each year and yet, seemingly, we can't sell out an FA Cup replay at home against Liverpool! What's going on? 50,000 at Kirkby seems more and more like an impossible dream.
Ray  Robinson     Posted 03/02/2009 at 17:54:49   Comments (25)

Same old kick-off

I wonder if anybody has noticed the lack of invention and originality when we take kick-offs! It really frustrates me to see the ball played back to either Neville or Hibbert who then just whack the ball to nobody upfront. This is not very constructive play to give the ball away in the first minute.

Keep the ball, play it around, give Howard a touch, frustrate the opposition. Sometimes I wonder about Moyes and his tactics and style of play. I am not criticising him. He has done wonders for the club. But please try something different at kick-offs.
Mark McDonald     Posted 03/02/2009 at 16:41:53   Comments (28)

14 games to go

With 14 games of our Premiership season left (and hopefully a few more FA Cup ties thrown in) and the transfer window finally closing and putting us out of our misery, I sit here on my second day off because of the snow (always a good time to be a teacher!) wondering what may lie in wating for us in the months to come.

Sigining Jo is a no-lose situation and there are reports today that we were in for Kevin Kuranyi until the very last minute they (Schalke) pulled the plug according to agent Barry Silkman.

It just reaffirms that Moyes is such a shrewd operator that this news wasn't in the public domain at all and that as we know, we should never read too much into the usual whisperings and murmurs we hear during the windows. We have a pretty nice run of games coming up in comparison to what we've just been through and of our boys can summon the energy to keep up our current level of performance then I see no reason why we can't just hang on to the current top 5 and maybe sneak up a couple of places.

I'm one of these people that annoyingly looks back at results and thinks "if we'd done this or won there or drawn here" and it just seems that until we have an added 3-4 quality players in our squad, we're never going to be able to have that season where we don't go 6-7 games without a win like we did and the end of last season and the start of this. The last few months have been fantastic but it's put in perspective when we see that West Ham are on;ly 4 pts off us having been in crisis themsleves, it's just we had our crisis before they did!

Jo will be given a chance and if he scores then great, how is it a risk to take a $20 million player for nothing for a few months. The real question is what we'll be able to so in the summer. Moyes has been clear in stating that in this window we've only been loking for loans, does that mean that come the summer that we might have a money to spend? The Moutinho link hasn't gone away and at the risk of wishful thinking, a summer of Moutinho, Kuranyi plus a few younger signings, Eagles or whoever then maybe come next August we could be ready for a real assault on the top 4.

Money talks, do we have any, will we have any? But I'm sure that with 14 games to go our boys will give it everything to ensure that our club becomes an attractive proposition for players and investors.
Niall Clinton     Posted 03/02/2009 at 09:48:52   Comments (19)

Mikky called up at last?

OK, so this is only a rumor, but...

Yesterday on Radio Marca they were talking about Mikel Arteta being called up by Spanish national coach Vicente del Bosque for the upcoming friendly against England. Obviously they couldn't say 100% but they sounded pretty upbeat about it.

Will he finally get the recognition he deserves? I guess we'll find out on Friday.
Paul Whelan     Posted 03/02/2009 at 06:12:27   Comments (19)

Olivier Dacourt

Let's face it, during the transfer window just gone we were only ever going to be able to manage loan signings. I'd come to accept this way before the transfer window even opened.

Apart from the glaringly obvious striker shortage (Hat's off Davey for bringing in Jo) and the lack of a direct pacey wideman (Not exactly ten a penny) I still feel we have not sufficiently replaced Lee Carsley. Castillo is IMHO not good enough to play for Everton and holding our midfield is too much responsibility for someone as young as Rodwell, promising though he is.

Seeing that Fulham have agreed to bring Olivier Dacourt in on loan for the rest of the season got me thinking.

Rewind ten years and a young Oliver Dacourt was impressing at the heart of Smiths Everton midfield. Tigerish in the challenge and composed in possesion he quickly became my favourite player at the time. I was gutted when he left after one season. I never did work out why he left. maybe it was the lure of Champions League football at big spending Leeds, maybe he was shit scared of Archie Knox who knows?

I can't help thinking that if he's 80% of the player we saw all them years ago we've missed out on what would have been a superb loan opportunity, admittedley I haven't seen him play in ages but he's been playing at a high standard in Seria A and he's younger than Carsley.

He would have been a great foil for Mikey, Pip could have been re-instated at right back and Hibbo who I must say is playing well at the minute still doesn't have enough quality when he gets into crossing positions for me and for that reason would be relegated to the status of reliable benchwarmer.

All hypothetical I know but I had to get this off my chest. I'd be interested to know what my fellow blues memories of Dacourt are.

COYB!
David Nicholls     Posted 03/02/2009 at 05:02:31   Comments (14)

Transfers Anyone?

Well this last month has almost killed me! Waiting to hear the news, to see a new name across the back of the blue jersey? to see a world-class player enter the blue side of Liverpool. As I have and most other toffee supporters knew it would be a last minute ordeal. Though this time around it wasn?t as mouth watering as previous windows. Moyes made it clear it was to be loan spells, aiming for a striker preferably one that specialised as a lone striker. The other a speedy winger to add to our attack and hoping to give our wings more spice (my thoughts on the right). Waiting for the deadline, was for me disappointing. JO our one signing an unproven, seen to be an overrated striker who fired in Russia, but not in the Premier League. Has scored only 3 goals out of 12 appearances in the EPL and has struggled to make first team Man City who have been relegation strugglers at times. Though this is a bonus for the team and squad, and filling in our striker role (that Cahill has done an unbelievable job and for my mind is just as much a striker as midfielder), I thought a team sitting at 6th place in the league would have more power in bringing in premium players even on loan! Here are some examples:

  • Mido on loan to Wigan a proven premier league striker!
  • Darren Bent or Campbell from Tottenham who have just signed two more strikers?
  • Matt Derbyshire who has taken off to Greece on loan would have made an impact off the bench?.
  • Emile Heskey, one of the top strikers in the league at the present.
  • James Beattie has bolstered scoring 2 in 3 for Stoke against impressive opponents both who signed for 3.5 million.
Surely that fee is available as that?s spare change in the premier league, especially since we announced the profit we had last season.

As for the wing no signing? yet Jermaine Pennant and Ricardo Quaresma have both signed on loan for their teams both being quality wings, Pennant to Portsmouth?? And the thought of Quaresma in a Tottenham uniform unbearable? though ended with Chelsea.

I do have faith in Moyes and the boys in blue, but I can I only hope we can keep our performances as impressive as recent with this limited squad, keep climbing that ladder and smash that rubbish were against on Wednesday (Thursday my time) and hope we have some extension deals!
Jonathan Williams     Posted 03/02/2009 at 03:16:39   Comments (8)

Saturday

Just a thought for Saturday: we should rest Timmy and start Jo as Timmy has just been named in the Australian squad and he will have to fly to Japan... it will mean when we get him back he will have played 1 match less and might not be as knackered if he had played on Saturday.

I am not saying this because I am a proud Aussie and all we need is 1 point next week to become the 1st team to qualify for the World Cup.
Doug Walters     Posted 02/02/2009 at 23:11:49   Comments (28)

Jo or no?

The prospect of Jo coming to Everton for four months is compelling. Amazing in Russia and average in Manchester, I think perspective is required. He scored in every other game in a league that is not up to the standard of the Prem, La Liga or Serie A BUT he got capped by Brazil. I think how he did at City is not a yardstick.

1) He was targeted by one manager and owner only for both to be replaced by the September.

2) His thunder as the main man was completely stolen by Robinho.

3) The 18 million price tag was clearly over the top. CSKA and the third party ownership meant that there were lots of additional costs with Thaskin's City happy to pay them. This weighed heavily on his shoulders and he was written off very quickly whilst Robinho put him in the shade.

4) He has been playing in a shambolic team who are the amalgamation of three manager's and two board's purchasing strategies. There has been a complete lack of cohesion in their recruitment policy until this transfer window. Jo, who is 6 foot 3, was brought into a side without crossing wingers. Both Robinho and SWP love to come inside and string the passes together or go for goal themselves. Hopefully Jo might benefit from Arteta's delivery and more quality from Baines or Pienaar.

So to sum up, hopefully he can provide a useful outlet, hold the ball up and nick some goals.

I am fascinated as DM's loans have ranged from the sublime (Arteta, Pienaar, McBride, Fernandes) to the awful (Jeffers, Gardner) so which one will this be?
Andrew David James     Posted 02/02/2009 at 16:31:48   Comments (84)

Bent, Jo or Asamoah?

Right, last day of the transfer window today and the press are linking us with Darren Bent, Jo and Asamoah. Which of these (if any) strikers would you prefer to see Moyes secure for the run in?

Bent it seems is surpluss to requirements at Spurs. Never a 16m player but is he worth a punt? Loan with a view to buy perhaps? Low on confidence.

Jo... never really seen him play but again 18m seems excessive. Young players often do take time adjusting to a new league, especially the Premier League. Again maybe worth taking on loan

Asamoah. Showed a lot of promise a couple of years ago and was linked with bigger clubs. Maybe lost his way a tad of late. Bit of an unknow quantity.

I would go with Asamoah then Bent as he knows the league but would be reluctant to rely on Jo to see us through the run final stages of the season.

Oh, and I see another link to Moutinho. Seems people forget we are skint.
Matt  Bone     Posted 02/02/2009 at 05:49:48   Comments (61)

21 or Bust!

For all the deserved praise Everton and David Moyes have recieved in the past month or so, the fact remains that we still have not a lot to show for all our efforts against the Sky 4. It is hard to believe that nearly 2 years have passed since Andrew Johnson's late winner againt Arsenal in March 2007. Since that game we have played 20 games against the Sky 4 and have won not one.

7 draws and 13 defeats with only 13 goals scored and 30 conceded is not the record of a team with aspirations of breaking into the cartel. So for me personally and for Everton in particular Wednesday night's game is a MUST win. I don't care how we do it, whether it is deserved or not but we must win.

Also seeing how Refs continue to be hypnotised by the red shirts, maybe it would be better to leave the Big Fella on the bench. Because the number of big games our neighbours win against teams who are down to 10 men is becoming boring and monotonours as is their penchant for grabbing late winners in front of the cameras in important matches.

COYB every ounce of energy , willpower and determination is required on Wednesday from evrey Blue in the stadium.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 01/02/2009 at 15:42:02   Comments (4)

Not good enough

So a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford was ok... After all, we have a depleted squad. The lads gave 100% and we were playing a top class side. No shame in that.

Well, I disagree. We were comprehensively outplayed by a side who never needed to move up a gear. Plan A failed and the response of our coach was to try Plan A again.

Perhaps it really is money that prevents us from taking the next step. Maybe our players just aren't good enough. Today, however, we don't know because I have a horrible feeling that our coach was happy with the result.

We went to Old Trafford with the usual inferiority complex. Get behind the ball and see what happens, let's try and sneak a goal. Quite honestly, it was embarassing. Is there any Evertonian out there who really believes that with a full squad our tactics would have been different?

David Moyes has steadied Everton but he is never the man to take us any further. The word "bold" never enters his head. We have a decent but threadbare squad. We are paying 3.5 million a year for mediocrity. We went to Old Trafford like a Conference team in the FA Cup. We deserve better.
Andy Crooks     Posted 01/02/2009 at 15:12:44   Comments (45)

Tesco Kirkby Clanger

Here is a comment from the KEIOC website, great news to all of us opposed to the move to Kirkby. Go on to the website and look at how the ground will impact on these homes. It would be like living in Gladwys St only in a 200k house. Mr Kenwright and Tesco have not done their homework!

The Grange is a private housing estate (in Kirkby) south-east to the stadium proposal. It turns out that prior to the public inquiry, the owners of the houses were totally ignored by Tesco ? no 'impact study' of the proposed development (to be built, including the stadium, within yards of the homes) on this private estate was including in the Environmental Assessment (a huge document) of the Tesco planning application.

Obviously, the owners of the houses, who were unsurprisingly horrified to learn of the proposals in the first place, made it clear to the inspector through written/photographic evidence of their view that the Tesco proposals would have a clear negative impact on their homes, both towards amenity and value of their property.
Gerry Dignam     Posted 01/02/2009 at 10:45:59   Comments (78)

Jo to do a Job for us?

Sky Sports News has announced that Everton are in talks with City to sign Brazilian Striker Jo on loan. Ok he's not everyone's favourite but it's better then nobody, I hope we get him. COYB!
Tom  Campbell     Posted 01/02/2009 at 09:20:27   Comments (57)

Going well

At the end of the day, for all their stars, they did us on a penalty. No shame in being beaten by them at Old Trafford and I bet the ref had a sleepless night wondering if he should have given us one back (ok, probably not!!).

I cannot believe that, of all the clubs around, we could not get one striker for a loan deal??? Surely there was one. I know there is no money and the way these banks are collapsing it is only a matter of time before some of the clubs start also and I fear we will be one. Why can no rich guy see the potential here with the young guys we have?

When you think of it, if a very wealthy guy came in here, there would need to be 3 good signings and then 3 more good quality fringe players to rotate things a bit and give our young lads a run; we are not at all a bad team.

Whatever happens this year, Moyes really needs to blood all the young guys; to be perfectly honest, I would even sacrifice 6th place for this to happen. They will have to be used next year as we will have no money in the summer either and what is the point in blooding them in the new season (I still think we will get 6th even if he does this, just stating if we don't then it will serve a purpose).

Big Vic must go and sadly Osman with him. We need a striker. When is Saha returning??? Can anyone imagine how fat the Yak will be after months of no training, it will take him the whole of next season to get fit!! The lads must be wrecked after the effort of the last few weeks but they have been great to support lately.
John Wells     Posted 01/02/2009 at 00:25:33   Comments (21)

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