The Mail Bag

March 2009 Archive
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Semi Final : Manc's Due A Defeat ?

I was looking up on our recent FA Cup Semi-Finals record and thought. "Oh no, we're due a defeat, we have not lost one since 1980 (1-2 to West Ham at Elland Road) and have won the last 5 in a row:

1984 won 1-0 v Southampton
1985 won 2-1 v Luton Town
1986 won 2-1 v Sheff Wed
1989 won 1-0 v Norwich City
1995 won 4-1 v Tottenham
Now I know most of you are aware of Alex Ferguson's unbeaten record in domestic cup semi-finals, but thought I would dig a bit deeper, and the results are quite remarkable. Man Utd have not lost an FA Cup semi-final for 39 years since they lost to Leeds Utd 0-1 in a 2nd replay in 1970. In total, they have played 13 semi-final ties since, and are unbeaten in a staggering 19 matches which includes 6 replays:
1976 won 1-0 v Derby County
1977 won 2-1 v Leeds Utd
1979 won 2-1 v Liverpool (rep)
1983 won 2-1 v Arsenal 
1985 won 2-1 v Liverpool (rep)
1990 won 2-1 v Oldham (rep)
1994 won 4-1 v Oldham ( rep)
1995 won 2-0 v Crystal Pal (rep)
1996 won 2-1 v Chelsea
1999 won 2-1 v Arsenal (rep)
2004 won 1-0 v Arsenal
2005 won 4-1 v Newcastle Utd
2007 won 4-1 v Watford
I Hope these stats don't worry you fellow blues too much. Look on the bright side... I think it's the Mancs who are due ? or should I say overdue a defeat in a FA Cup Semi Final, and not us!

See you at Wembley.
David Lawless     Posted 31/03/2009 at 21:54:38   Comments (11)

Running On Empty

League table (From Daily Mail Website)

1. Liverpool (62)
2. Arsenal (61)
3. Man Utd (53)
=4. Chelsea (48)
=4. Sunderland (48)
=6. Aston Villa (44)
=6. Blackburn (44)
=6. Spurs (44)
9. Newcastle (42)
10. West Ham (39)
=11. Fulham (38)
=11. Portsmouth (38)
=11. Hull City (38)
14. Stoke City (34)
=15. West Brom (33)
=15. Everton (33)
=15. Man City (33)
18. Middlesbrough (32)
19. Wigan (29)
20. Bolton (27)
Panic yee not ? this is not the final league table... this is the number of professional players that each Premier League Club has in its squad. Considering we have Arteta, Yak, Vaughan, Anichebe, et al out injured, you can see why we are stretched.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 31/03/2009 at 19:20:01   Comments (11)

Famous in our own Backyard

I visited the fantastic new Liverpool 1 last week. The first time I've been down for a proper look round. The only drawback of that place is that there is a huge dirty great big LFC store with all sorts of shite for sale. Walking past (on my way to HMV) it was clear to see it was quite busy and they must have been doing a good trade.

I get to HMV and notice they sell boxes and boxes of Torres ladyboy and other Liverpool related posters. Even worse they sell these on every floor. Strategically placed by every escalator. I was browsing through the DVD section and noticed a large selection of LFC DVDs ? ones about Gerrard's best 100 penalty shouts etc, etc... Then in one tiny section there is a single collection (literally about 10 copies) of Everton DVDs. I curiously looked to see if there was any of interest, but to no avail. They were all the same ? entitled "Everton get off to a flyer 2006". It was amateurishly styled and looked very unprofessionally published.

This was too much. FFS ? are we serious? "Everton get off to a flyer 2006" what a load of bullshit. Would that even interest an Evertonian? Is that our total contribution? I went to get a coffee shortly after and almost every other table appeared to have at least one LFC Liverpool 1 store carrier bag under it. It seemed almost everyone was buying from that fucking shop.

My general experience of Liverpool 1 was good, but I thought that a visitor to the city would only think there was only one team. We seriously have a marketing problem. I know it?s been said lots before ? but we really aren?t even famous in our own backyard. We have the commercial presence of Tranmere Rovers in our own city. That isn?t an exaggeration either. I was totally disgusted.

Why don?t we publish some DVDs about Tim Cahill, Dixie Dean, Alan Ball, or Graeme Sharpe? Surely we have interesting and entertaining content that would sell. "Everton get off to a flyer 2006" is almost comical. It reads like we only covered the first part of the season ?cos we were shite the rest of the it.

I really hope when the pathetic (Wyness driven) JJB tie-in deal closes we get a store in Liverpool 1. I hope we get some imagination and thoughts behind our merchandise and we push it ? in our own stores and in others. We need to give people a choice: Liverpool or Everton. At this moment in time there is no alternative to Liverpool as we are so poorly marketed.

I am thinking of sending a complaint to EFC asking why we are so poorly represented. But what?s the point they won?t give my thoughts/opinions two seconds. After all, I?m just a loyal prick who buys tickets, shirts and other crap because I was brought up to support EFC. They know they?ve got me anyway...


Phil Martin     Posted 30/03/2009 at 08:25:02   Comments (61)

Fellaini and the future

Fellaini seems to be a great divider of Evertonian opinion at the moment, with some singing his praises and other questioning his ability. One thing that seems certain is that expectation is raised due to the price tag. Everton and Liege are the only ones responsible for the price that was paid for him and Fellaini would still be the same player whether we paid 15 million euros or 15 quid for him.

This piece isn't just about Fellaini, however; I think the bigger picture is being missed by a lot of fans, this is about Moyes's transfer policy. For the record my opinion is that Fellaini, right now, has not provided great value for ?15M, but is a very good player. And it's his future that will decide whether he's good value or not ? not this season and maybe not next season ? but hopefully the one after that and the one after, for some time to come.

I think we can more or less categorise the current 1st team squad into 4 rough groups:

  1. We have the backbone of a decent, young-ish first team, players who should be big players in Everton's push for Champs League football in the form of Howard, Jags, Lescott, Baines, Fellaini, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar and Yakubu.
  2. We have a couple of older, ex-top level players in Saha and Neville.
  3. We then have the players who make up the numbers like Ossie, Hibbert, Anichebe and I'm also going to lump Yobo into this category after the emergence of Jags & Lescott as a top pairing.
  4. Last we have the youngsters who we hope will be part of a bright blue future, like Rodwell, Gosling, Vaughan and possibly Kissock, Irving, Baxter et al.
Now we all know the giant leap Everton need to take in order to establish themselves in the top 4. Without 100M of ready-made talent we know that it's not going to happen in the next few years. As far as I can see, that only leaves one way which is to buy young players who, in 3 or 4 years time, will grow to be the next Giggs, Berbatov, Lampard, Terry or Fabregas.

I think Fellaini is a risk, as he's not the finished article, but how else can we hope to EVER compete without following this policy? Fellaini, at 21 years old, already possesses the ability to be a good Premier League player and with 2, 3, 4 more years under his belt he could be a top Premier League player. I feel that the Fellaini 'model' should be our transfer policy for the next 2 or 3 years, unless circumstances change.

I am excited at the prospect of Moyes bringing in top, young, talented players to supplement the backbone of our squad, who can grow together, improve together and become the team of 2012 or 2013 which challenges for honours. If a bit of patience ? with Fellaini and hopefully another couple of signings in the same mould this summer and the one after that ? is what it takes, then I am happy with that.

At the end of the day, the challenge is to take a top-6 squad and turn it into a top-2 squad, without top-2 levels of investment, and I would love to hear if anyone has a better idea of how to achieve it.
Richard Parker     Posted 30/03/2009 at 06:14:00   Comments (26)

Tranmere Team for Monday?

I'm going the Tranmere game tomorrow night, does anyone know what team Moyes is taking?
Rich Grisdale     Posted 29/03/2009 at 17:29:00   Comments (4)

What a brilliant result, girls

I know that some of our fans are pretty abusive and/or non-plus when it comes to comments regarding the Everton Ladies, but I'd still like to add my congratulations to them on a brilliant achievement today......

The longest unbeaten run in the history of the Women's Premier League was ended as Everton won 3-0 at Arsenal today. The Gunners, champions for the last five seasons, had not lost in the league in a 108-game sequence that stretched back to October 2003.

Everton are six points behind leaders Arsenal with three games in hand. Well done girls - you have done the Everton name proud.
Gerry Quinn     Posted 29/03/2009 at 16:09:01   Comments (13)

Web presence

I'm one of the many unemployed journalists in the US and I was looking at an industry job website and on it there was a listing for a job with the Arsenal USA website. I'm wondering why Everton can't do something similiar. It often seems EFC doesn't stay abreast of trends. Am I wrong?
Paul Conatzer     Posted 29/03/2009 at 02:09:53   Comments (10)

It's an England friendly, I'm bored... again

It's an England friendly, and Matthew Upson (that average defender for West Ham, who will be over 30 at the next World Cup and thus offers no real alternative once Terry and Rio are too old as he will also be too old, along with Woodgate) starts whilst the most consistent English partnership sits on the bench. All interest has been lost 'til at least half-time and an Everton player joins the action.

Anyway, whilst I'm bored, how about a pointless discussion on next season? Unless we reach the CL (which is unlikely due to our lack of players and Arsenal's gain of Cesc and Arshavin) we will finish 5th and, with or without an FA Cup win, will have the same budget as the reward for winning the FA Cup is prestige ? not money.

What can we expect next season? We will have Mikey and the Yak back, Fellaini will be better, Baines will play for a whole season. Rodwell will be 1 year older and more experienced... as will Gosling. Vaughan will get injured again and Anichebe will sign for Preston.

We won't have Jo or any other pointless signings from the summer.

With our first team, the only real thing we lack that separates us from the other top 4 teams is pace, a quick winger who turns defence into attack with one run. However, I envisage a similar summer to the last... so what do we do?

All the eggs in one basket for a quality winger, along with a bunch of average loans and frees to bulk up the squad?

Or 3 or 4 low-price signings from relegated and Championship teams or unknown foreigners at say 2-6 million a go?

With Moyes's record, you could imagine him getting at least one gem from that, but would it be a gem that can take you into the top 4 or a gem that keeps you where you are (eg, Pienaar was a gem for 2M, but would never get into the starting 11 for Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool)?

All this has been said before, will be said again... but i'm bored.
Fran Mitchell     Posted 28/03/2009 at 15:30:03   Comments (24)

Evertonians ? born to win?

Some time back I wrote an article that included the arguement that a football club is here to win games first and foremost. All other business is secondary to that aim ? winning.

I recall it being stated by someone that that was the attitude of a Liverpool supporter ? win at all costs ? something that took me aback somewhat.

This reaches far into the core of what Everton are required to achieve, and how they achieve it. Are Everton 'allowed' (by their supporters) to underachieve most of the time as long as they win something now and then? Is the 1985-87 team all the more renowned for being a short-lived team of misfits that magically came together and worked so well?

Would we actually want an extended period of domination that would expand the fanbase enormously or are we happy with Everton being 'our' team with relatively little overseas support?

Perhaps we are supporting the glorious amateur ideal versus the remorseless professional approach of the teams who occupy the league positions above us at the moment?

I would love Everton to become a global 'superpower' in football but it occurs to me not everyone else seems to want the same.

For a football team, what is more important than winning?
Graham  Atherton     Posted 28/03/2009 at 08:53:09   Comments (12)

Michael Owen

As everyone is aware, Michael Owen is on a Bosman at the end of the season. He will definitely be leaving Newcastle and word on the street is that he is desperate to return to the North West. If this is true then that would leave Everton in pole position for his signature.

Would this be a shrewd piece of business by David Moyes? There is no doubt that Owen is one of the most natural goalscoarers to have graced the Premier League. However, he is injury prone and would demand huge wages.

Can he still consistently perform week-in, week-out in the Premier League? Would he fit into our 4-5-1 system? Should Moyes be doing everything he can to secure Michael's signature or should he leave well alone?
David OConnor     Posted 28/03/2009 at 08:20:27   Comments (35)

If only...

Here's a an Everton XI (based on last 20 years or so) of players who either never fulfilled their potential because of injury, gave us fleeting glimpses of brilliance then disappeared to build a career elsewhere, or those who arrived but never quite lived up to their reputation.

My 'if only XI':

Richard Wright;
Ian Snodin, Slaven Bilic, Marco Materazzi, Michael Ball;
Andrei Kanchelskis, Joe Parkinson, Olivier Dacourt, Gary Speed;
Duncan Ferguson, James Beattie

Just a starter for ten while we sit through a non-blue weekend...
Chris  Jones     Posted 27/03/2009 at 22:38:28   Comments (20)

The Rat!

Last night I went to a wine bar/restaurant in Greasby on the Wirral called "Ellies". I paid 15 for a ticket to see and listen to no less a person than Kevin Ratcliffe.

It was just an honour to be in the same room as the skipper of our most successful side, let alone listen to him, but that aside Kevin's a great after-dinner speaker (for want of a better title) and it was great to go down memory lane and hear about things that are still dear to me to this day, from a player's perspective.

He told us about Sheedy's freekick that the ref made him take twice; yeh, the one where he scored in the top left corner and then rescored in the top right when the ref said, "Take it again I wasn't ready."

He reminisced about the great characters he played with, about some of the things they got up to and about some of the things they said... like Andy Gray nutting a centre-half in the back of the head in the box because... "Well, I knew I couldn't get to it so I nutted him so it would come off his head and at least get us a corner!" ......

They were obviously very different days then in football, probably in every walk if life, but it seemed, listening to him, that they were much better days too, and not just because we won things. The only sad thing about the night (in my eyes anyway) was that Kevin has no "real" contact with the club, doesn't represent them anywhere, isn't on the books in any way shape or form, and I just think that that's a real waste. In Everton's history, his name must be up there with the biggest, if only for being the captain during those halcyon days of the eighties.

I had a great night and so did everybody else there. "I lived the dream" was how Kevin described his footballing life, and for a couple of hours last night I lived it too.

Thanks, Kev... for everything!
Brian Williams     Posted 27/03/2009 at 16:10:51   Comments (8)

Paddy Power has the power

There's an article on the Official Website stating we have an opportunity to win two Wembley tickets, all we have to do is open an account with Paddy Power!

I'm one of the lucky ones who has a ticket but think it a disgrace that Everton are giving tickets to Paddy Power as a cash generator. I know some supporters are desperate for tickets and will have to do anything for them but I would urge them to think before they sign up for an account. You will have more chance of getting a ticket at face value on e-bay than winning these tickets and are just lining the pockets of an already very rich company.

Whilst I am not naive enough to presume clubs watch what we are all doing with our tickets, I'm pretty sure there are rulings on their disposal? Once we get to the final, will they have another set of tickets to encourage yet more desperate fans to open accounts?

Fucking immoral, me thinks!!!
Ralph Basnett     Posted 27/03/2009 at 10:49:53   Comments (21)

Born... not Manufactured

It was interesting to read David Moyes's comments recently that he had given his plan to the board for next season and if cash was as scarce as this season then we would be lucky to stay in the top ten.

We have all gone on in varying degrees of positiveness about the "Everton Way" and "Youth development" as the way forward in the absence of funds and I have to say it's been a pleasure to see Rodwell, Anichebe and Gosling develop this season. However, I don't think any among us has the confidence that we have another "Rooney" on our hands at any stage of development on our books at the moment. Kissock is a great talent but looks to be another Ossie ie, too lightweight for the Premier League.

And that for me is the rub. The best players are born not manufactured. You can develop kids so far but the difference in a top class player is usually natural ability within themselves. Ferguson, although I hate saying it, was amongst the first to identify this and sent people around the country poaching all the top class kids when he first came to United.

So how do we find these players?

I thought the "Everton way" was a step in the right direction but that required players to come to the club's camp for trials amongst thousands of others, thereby diluting the chance of finding raw natural talent.

The one area I question with EFC is our scouting network. Steve Bruce at Wigan has unearthed some South American gems from setting up a scouting network there. I also believe with our South African connections there must be opportunity there and not forgetting Russia where there is definitely lots of talent.

Based on the opportunities for first team action, EFC has to be an attractive proposition for a kid but we need to be out there spreading the Everton gospel and scouting network which I don't believe we are.
Jay Harris     Posted 26/03/2009 at 17:50:47   Comments (38)

Brian Clough: Legend

Having watched the programme tonight on ITV, 'Clough', I couldn't help but feel a sense of pity at the way the game has changed over the last decade.

Whilst only being 22, I have seen a massive change in football since the moment I sat at Wembley in '95, to the present day.

This programme tonight made me wonder how a legend like Brian Clough is badly needed in football today. Imagine Ronaldo and his antics with the great man!

I was so impressed with the programme tonight that I felt I ought to add a post to discuss views on Clough, and the ways in which management has changed over the years?
Sean McNally     Posted 25/03/2009 at 22:14:05   Comments (25)

Recognition for Jags

There is a report over on Football 365 that Jags has recieved a lot of support from his fellow professionals and could be in the running for Player of the Year.

http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_5097988,00.html

This is great news. Jags has been tremendous again for us this season and it's nice to see it hasn't gone unnoticed.
Dean Williamson     Posted 25/03/2009 at 08:25:09   Comments (28)

Where are you Shandy...???

All season, we have had players playing out of their natural position, sometimes with great success (Tiny Tim) and sometimes not (right back Jags)... But only now, when we have two proven centre-forwards (fuck what Man City says, he will do for me). we have no-one to provide the service...

Wrong, we have Shandy Andy!

What have we got to lose? 6th place is almost ours so if we really want 4th this is the man to provide it. Osman is no winger ? we all know this ? so before we ALL question this boys ability,even though he is blue through and through, take him out of teh side, Davey, and give us what we all want...

Andy van der Meyde.

COYB
Steven Duffin     Posted 24/03/2009 at 16:12:24   Comments (37)

Semi Final Tickets

As a London blue I dont get up to Goodison nearly as much as I would like, and also dont hold a season ticket for that exact reason.

Now I understand that season ticket holders should rightly get priority on tickets for the semi final, but how are the rest of us going to obtain tickets?

They only came out yesterday and from the OS it appears that the process for selling them is being very tightly managed so that they don't end up in the wrong hands (touts), but where does that leave the rest of us? I've been a blue since I was about 7 years old and was lucky enough to be at the old Wembley when we lost to the RS in 89, and also there when we beat Utd in 95 but I'm beginning to think I'm likely to miss out this time round unless I wait it out and hope to bag one from Ebay for a small fortune.

I feel that as a loyal supporter who goes to lots of away games (especially London), and as many home games as is humanly possible I deserve to go to Wembley again but in a way I'm penalised for living this far away, having a job, child etc to contend with and thats hard to take. I dont blame the club in any way, nor the FA, in fact I dont really feel the need to blame anyone for the situation, its just hard to take knowing that I might not get a ticket.

If anyone knows of a way of getting hold of one, I'd be forever in your debt, plus a few pints on match day would also be more than forthcoming to help things along!

Any suggestions greatly recieved; they'd go a long way toward settling my growing anxiety at not being there to see us make the final........which presumably I'll have the same problem getting a ticket for!
James Marshall     Posted 24/03/2009 at 11:17:41   Comments (40)

So much for RESPECT!!!

The BBC website have just announced that the ?ex-wunderkind? Rooney will only be suspended for the next Premier League game against Aston Villa and will be available for selection against the Blues in the FA Cup semi-final. I thought I understood the 2 yellows = 1 red card policy but obviously I don?t.

Nor do I understand the FA?s well publicised ?Respect? program as I didn?t see anything in what happened at Craven Cottage on Saturday from Manure that had anything to do with respect. Now if acting like a spoiled brat, throwing his ball out of the pram and trying to do a ?Tiny Tim? impression to the corner flag does not show disrespect to anyone who has their eyes open, the obviously anything goes. Oh now I understand he didn?t swear at Mark Halsey? silly me for not realising that!!!!

Far be it for me to suggest that Red Baron Ferguson managed to influence the FA. Or that Sky wanted the ?ex-wunderkind v former club that gave him his chance? story line to be available for promoting the Wembley extravaganza. Oh well I?m sure we would feel cheated if we beat the Devilled Reds without our ?favourite son?!!!!! COYBs
David Cooper     Posted 23/03/2009 at 20:58:27   Comments (12)

Z Cars and Victor Meldrew

Now I don't want to come across as a grumpy old man (which I probably am), but anyone else think that the effect of the Z-Cars theme has become blunted by overuse? While queueing for my semi-final tickets on the phone earlier today, I was subjected to at least 6 blasts of our famous old tune ? thank God I didn't have to wait long! Add to that fellow Blues' mobile phones constantly going off with the Z-Cars tune, I was beginning to wonder if I'm the only one who would prefer to hear it solely on match days as the teams come out?

And come to think of it, not forgetting our tradition, which is hugely important to us, I would like to hear some different stirring music to wake me up in the minutes prior to the match. "Something good is going to happen" by Utah Saints is a excellent curtain raiser, for instance.

I'm afraid constant use of the Z-Cars theme is having the same effect on me as "the People's Club" catchphrase! ? It grates.

I suppose this is akin to blasphemy in some people's minds!
Ray Robinson     Posted 23/03/2009 at 17:52:26   Comments (35)

Capello has been to specsavers.

This is just a short letter, where i am glad to say 3 Everton players are in the England national side. I was starting to wonder if Capello's glasses were on the blink.

Much deserverd and a big well done to the phenomenal Baines, awesome Jags, and the always reliable Lescott. And chin up Everton fans, we've had one bad result, nothing else... hopefully the international break will give some of our other players time to recharge the batteries and get back on another great run to the finish line.
Paul  Lynch     Posted 23/03/2009 at 07:40:37   Comments (17)

How great a tactician is Moyes?

Our best run in the league this season came when Moyes had no options available to him ? he had to play 4-6-0. Moyes has always done best when he's stuck to playing 4-5-1 and we've always struggled when he's switched to 4-4-2.

I know there were a few reasons why we started off badly this season but one of the problems was Moyes going against his tried and tested 4-5-1 formation and playing 4-4-2, putting Yak and Saha in the same team. If you look back, when have we played well this season with the 4-4-2 formation?

Against Stoke in the second half, we went to pot after Moyes replaced Cahill with Saha. We only looked steady again when he took Jo off for Rodwell and reverted back to 4-5-1 and hence we scored the 3rd. Yesterday we looked clueless again playing the 4-4-2 formation and Moyes wasn't willing to change anything until 5 minutes from the end. It's always been the same with Moyes ? as soon as we're a man short in midfield we look crap.

I don't want to be too critical of Moyes because he has worked wonders this season but I just wish he'd stick to playing the system he knows best.
Alan Clarke     Posted 22/03/2009 at 11:48:37   Comments (28)

Thuggery or the Everton way?

I watced the Wales - Ireland game last night and, though I'm not a rugby fan, as an Irishman it was a pretty exciting sporting evening. Later on I watched Match of the Day. What struck me most was the difference in attitudes of the players of the two different codes, particularily towards the referee and towards getting hurt...

Having said that, there is plenty of thuggery in rugby and I happen to believe that the majority of professional footballers are decent enough blokes with a bit of respect for authority. Unfortunately the Sky Four, especially Man Utd, have less than their share.

Yesterday we saw two of their child-men, Rooney and Ronaldo, disgrace their profession once more. Both are talented footballers, both are apologies for men. The hatred and contempt on Rooney's face was a sight to behold. Thank God he will never wear an Everton shirt again.

Alex Ferguson is a very fine manager but he has nurtured a culture of bullying and contempt at Old Trafford. Go there, lie down and accept defeat and you will be praised and maybe get to share a drink with the great man. Go there without respect get stuck in, stand up to them and you will be vilified. Yesterday Phil Dowd stood up to them with a fearless strong performance. His villification has already begun.

Then there is the Everton way. We don't have a player in our squad who behaves like Rooney or Ronaldo. There are no child men at Goodison Park. Nor do we have a player who would attempt to end the career of a fellow pro. Our manager wouldn't permit it and neither would our captain.

DM's response to Nolans assault on Vic was dignified and strong. Imagine the response of Ferguson or Benitez... It is not the Everton way to cheat or bully officials.

Phil Neville said that in the semi-final we must stand up like men to win. We will win and it will be a victory for football over thuggery.
Andy Crooks     Posted 22/03/2009 at 09:41:27   Comments (16)

The Fellaini Dilemma

Is it just me or am I totally wrong in thinking our record signing is not enjoying life on Merseyside or in particular playing for Everton? His body language at the moment is one of utter frustration with his lot, and recent injuries and suspensions have not helped.

If we go back to his signing on Deadline Day I'm absolutely convinced this was not Moyes's first choice signing of the summer, and the manner of the transfer, which was completed with half-an-hour to go before the window closed, reeks of desperation.

Is he worth 15 million? Not on the overall performances so far, and the early suggestions that he was a 'box-to-box' player are wide of the mark. While other foreign players seem to settle at a new club fairly quickly, Fellaini is clearly struggling with the language and English referees!

I also believe he has been targeted by managers of other clubs as 'the player' to wind up as much as possible on the playing field in an effort to get him sent off. Look at the treatment handed out by messrs Huth and Herreidson at dead ball situations in recent games if you want proof.

The fact that he has already sought 'talks' with Moyes recently about his general form and place at the club probably confirms my thoughts. His overall form of late has been quite poor and his display at Portsmouth was largely anonymous.

The question I suppose will be whether he matures into the player we have seen brief glimpses of, or will Moyes cut his losses and offload him back to (possibly) Belgium. I hope it works out for him, but he does seem a 'troubled' soul.
Steve Hogan     Posted 22/03/2009 at 09:17:08   Comments (28)

Frustration at Fratton Park

Still cannot believe how Saturday ended up. Living down here in Hampshire meant that I could make the short trip to Fratton Park to watch the boys. So sure I was that we would get the result we needed, I persuaded three friends, none of whom support Everton, to come and watch them.

Before that match a few beers in the Sheppard's Crook increased the expectation as did the opening few minutes. But what a farce getting in to the ground and what more of a farce to find out that the ticket I had was a duplicate!

Anyway, what a better start to score after 4 mins; after that we created nothing. Jo was like bambi on ice and showed no real commitment, FFS do not buy this joke, and how could Moyes have been interested before Man City bought him?

Fellaini looked very poor and not up for it, are we really sure he cost 15 million!!! Must have been 1.5 million! Anyway Osman was quite simply crap, but then again I blame Moyes, I mean look at the physical presence Pompey had compared to our midgets.

We need some ball winner in midfield, we also need some pace. With the exception of one or two bursts from Baines, it was "walking", whereas they had Johnson playing in the wing role and he had real pace, as did Krancjar (not sure on his spelling ). Neville looked lost in midfield and Saha lacked match fitness and sharpness. As for that Danish injury-prone right back, we need shagger Stevens back!!

Overall, a real disappointment. The following need a kick up the arse: Fellaini, Saha... the following need to be got rid off as soon as possible: Jacobsen, Osman, Neville and Jo, maybe even Peanuts who runs around a lot but does not offer the "killer ball ".
Chris Perry     Posted 22/03/2009 at 07:40:42   Comments (0)

Our Last 8 games

4 at home, 4 away; 6th and 7th places in the league will qualify for the Uefa Cup.

Despite being so many points ahead, we actually have a pretty tough run-in and 7 of our games involve teams that are all going for Europe (Sunderland the exception). Now this can been seen as good or bad as we really only need 4 wins based in this as in effect they are 6-pointers in the best possible way

I do fear though that, with our squad as it is, we aren't going to finish so strong and players will have their minds set on the Semi-Final...

At least we have the points on the board.
Adi Wait     Posted 21/03/2009 at 20:17:24   Comments (10)

Pienaar in the #10 role?

Should Pienaar be given the role he played at Ajax, the #10 role?Attached is a link on what South African think where Pienaar should be played.

http://www.kickoff.com/static/poll/results.php

I think DM needs to give Pienaar a creative role in the middle of the park. Keep in mind this is the position he commanded in Holland and Germany. Rodwell needs to come in, Osman dropped with only Saha upfront, with Pienaar linking up with him and Cahill.

Time to give the guy a shot, DM!
Ricardo Humphries     Posted 21/03/2009 at 16:17:28   Comments (30)

Quality?

The paucity of the squad is beginning to show as well as the lack of quality in certain positions. We are also showing tiredness in too many positions and this is down to such a small squad and that's the responsibility of the manager.

Osman was a complete nonentity yet again - how many times does he have to perform so badly and still keep his place? I've asked this question dozens of times, will those who think he deserves a place in the squad tell me his last good game? Gosling is far from the finished article but surely he offers more? In fact as long as he does one good thing it will be more than Osman!!

I thought Howard looks more and more nervous and is a real liability on crosses. He doesn't command the box and whilst he's not poor you don't feel that comfortable when we are put under pressure. However, the real problem is in midfield, the lack of an ability to keep possession and pass the ball is striking. Blaming Jo or Saha is wrong, the problems lie in midfield.

When was the last pass of quality to a forward?
When did the midfield actually create a goal?
And just what is Moyes' game plan with Fellaini?
Is he a third forward?
Is he a midfield player and if so, what's his role?

Neville seems to be the only one who has a role and sticks to it. Pienaar puts a lot of effort in but his end product is poor.

We have scored more goals than anyone from headers and that tells you one obvious thing ? set pieces, long balls and general hoofs are what we look for. Our game plan does not involve playing the ball to feet or trying to create space its far more one dimensional ? get the ball in the box to the 'big un' whether that?s Fellaini or Cahill when fit, it's our only game plan.

Today might only be the second defeat in a long time and this doesn't mean the comments are some form of panic, it's more a case of a sad reflection that at the business end of the season, when quality is needed to overcome teams who will scrap and battle more than they have ever done, we don?t have the quality that will set us apart. These teams are now scrapping as hard as us so our early ?team spirit? advantage is now cancelled out. Yes, Moyes has few options, but who?s fault is that? 1 quality footballer (Arteta) in the squad is indicative of the style of play that he wants.
Jim Hourigan     Posted 21/03/2009 at 13:22:26   Comments (48)

Cahill Out; Jacobsen debuts

The team is:

Howard
Jacobson, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines
Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar
Jo, Saha

Format 4-4-2
SUBS not announced on website

COYB
Nev and fellani to score 2-0 win
David Moore     Posted 21/03/2009 at 10:16:27   Comments (72)

How can they get away with this?

Like many non-season ticket blues I'm desperate to get tickets for the semis. I've had a route around on the web to see what might be available from a non-club source and look what I found:

http://www.1st4footballtickets.com/tickets/SelectEvent.asp?EventId=6042

Unbelievable! I expected prices of 100 plus but this is ridiculous. No wonder the FA limit the number of tickets they sell to clubs, so they can sell to these sharks.
Chris Jones     Posted 21/03/2009 at 06:35:41   Comments (3)

Hall Of Fame

Went the hall of fame do last night in the adelphi hotel. It was the best night ever. Big Dunc was there and gave a speech about the club and the fans. See link below to see the Big Man speak:


Andy Ferguson     Posted 20/03/2009 at 20:00:36   Comments (10)

Everton's Massive Squad

When I read that Yobo was now included in our growing injury list, my head fell into my hands in despair so I listed down our options for tomorrow's crucial game at Pompey and was pleasantly surprised with the options still available to us:

  1. Howard (most improved goalkeeper this season).
  2. Neville (most inspirational leader and captain this season).
  3. Baines (most improved player of the season).
  4. Jagielka (best player of the season).
  5. Lescott (best player of last two seasons).
  6. Rodwell (best young player of the season).
  7. Cahill (most feared goalscoring midfielder of the season).
  8. Osman (best player at nicking the ball off the oppositions toes!).
  9. Jo (best loan signing of the season).
  10. Fellaini (daftest haircut of the season!).
  11. Pienaar (hardest working player and most improved player of the last couple of games).
This still leaves Jacobsen as cover at right back, Gosling and AvDM as midfield cover, Saha as a second half replacement up front if goals are still needed. Rodwell to centre half, Lescott to left back Neville to centre midfield all provide flexibility with any of the above substitutions. Add to all the above one of the most respected Managers in the business and we have every reason to be confident.

Isn't it time we stopped depressng ourselves that we have a small squad and long term injuries to Yakubu, Arteta Anichebe, Valente and Vaughan, and recent additions of Hibbert and Yobo, could halt our pursuit of a 4th place finish and FA Cup glory and start believing that Villa and Arsenal are more worried about us than we need be about them? How many other Premier Leagur teams could cope with our injury list and still be in our position?

Three points tomorrow and the rest of the league will start to believe as well!
Gary Joyce     Posted 20/03/2009 at 10:56:30   Comments (31)

A Bigger Result Than You Realise

With Everton's good run of form since the Villa game in December, many people have been quoting the stand-out statistics from the run, such as 1 defeat in 18 games, only 7 goals conceded in those 18 games etc.

Of course, these are superb stats (although Yobo's return has unsettled the centre of defence recently), but there are a few less palatable ones that need addressing and make the match at Portsmouth tomorrow even more important than some may realise.

Our run of 6 home wins on the bounce and 7 wins and 2 draws from 9 games since the Villa defeat have masked our dip in away form:

  • We have only 1 win in last 6 away games.
  • We have not won an away League game for 12 weeks since Boro on Boxing Day.
  • We have only scored 1 away League goal in the last 4 matches.
  • We have scored only 3 goals in the last 6 league and cup games ? and one of those was at Macclesfield.
  • We have only picked up 3 points from the last 12 available away from home.
Now, it is also worth mentioning that visits to Anfield and Old Trafford are in that tally,and that we have only played 4 away league games since Boxing day, but if you consider that we had scored 12 of our 16 away League goals by November 8 you start to realise the trend is not so good.

With vital away games coming up at Villa and Chelsea, not to mention a neutral venue Cup tie where we'll be out-numbered by glory-hunting Man Utd fans, this Saturday represents the perfect opportunity to get that vital thing called MOMENTUM going again in our performances away from Goodison. The performances at Newcastle and Blackburn were uninspiring despite mitigating circumstances. Another winless visit to a team in the bottom 6 and even this usually optimistic Toffee cannot see us making the Top 4.

A must-win game.
Karl  Masters     Posted 20/03/2009 at 07:48:28   Comments (31)

OCD: Flowers, Abs and Chest

Unable to get to the FA Cup 4th Round Replay against Liverpool, I watched the match in my local pub in Edinburgh. My other half wasn't too happy as it meant she'd be watching it too...

Before the match, I turned to her and said, "If Everton win tonight I'm going to do 200 press-ups, 200 sit-ups everyday and it'll only end when Everton loose and for every match until then I'll buy you a bunch of flowers!"

I didn?t think it would last this long and my other half never was interested in football but now she's becoming a big bluenose, she has the Everton fixture list on the kitchen door, listens to match day radio and my flat now is starting to look like a florist as the fixtures come thick and fast. The only other time I did this was in '95 when we won the FA Cup, when I went to church the day before an FA Cup match and prayed for a win. When we did go to the final, I took a Bible to London with me and prayed in a London Church.... it sounds stupid as I'm not religious and the only other time I do go to Church is for weddings & funerals. Anyway I thought I'd let you all in on my superstition at the moment.

I guess at the moment my superstition is a little like an obsessive-compulsive disorder but I know I?ll finish it as soon as the blues loose, which I hope they don't.

By the way my arms/chest have increased by 2 inches and even though I don?t have a six-pack at the moment, if we don?t loose the next 4 games I'll be taking a six-pack (not of beer) to Wembley with me... COYB!!!!!
Shaun Kinnair     Posted 19/03/2009 at 11:42:58   Comments (10)

Lewis Holtby

Anyone know this guy, is he any good? It's great to be an Evertonian when you come across statements like this in amongst the normal Sky4 crap.....

Alemannia Aachen midfielder Lewis Holtby has welcomed interest from Manchester United and Arsenal. But the USA U19 international favours a move to Everton.

?If it?s true then of course it?s a great honour for me,? said Holtby, referring to the link to United and Arsenal. My father was born in England and was an Everton fan since the age of five. He immediately infected me with the Everton virus! Since then I have been Everton fan and have always followed their games.?
Gerry Quinn     Posted 19/03/2009 at 10:45:06   Comments (27)

The Cautionary Tale

I've just finished reading this piece in today's guardian, highlighting the plight of Charlton Athletic who, barring a miracle, are League One bound. Not so long ago they were poster boys for clubs of limited means (like ourselves).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/mar/18/charlton-athletic-relegation-championship-football

For me, it's a salient reminder that ambition must be tempered by extreme care and caution. Some people have accused Moyes of lacking the former at times, be thankful then that he has made judicious use of the latter.
Aidan Wade     Posted 19/03/2009 at 02:13:19   Comments (13)

More of Jo?

Just saw this article on the Echo site about the big Brazillian, sneaked in alongside a Cahill injury update...

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/everton-fc/everton-fc-news/2009/03/18/fitness-boost-for-everton-over-tim-cahill-100252-23173030/2/

What's most interesting is the suggestion that we have a clause to make the move permanent in the summer. After going the game myself last Saturday, and the jury still out on him, I wonder whether we could go as far to getting him tied down here, particularly when the price tag has got to be at least 10mil.

At least if he does find some consistency before the loan is up we might be onto something. Though you never know...
Adam McCulloch     Posted 18/03/2009 at 09:12:14   Comments (24)

Fellaini's aerial threat

Pat Nevin makes an interesting point on the OS: http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/nevin-fellaini-is-best-in-world.html

With Fellaini's height and ability to win headers, if he can learn Cahill's trick of arriving late in the box in the right area, he could bag hatfuls of goals each season.

The only doubt I have is whether someone as noticeable as the Big Fella can arrive unnoticed like Tiny Tim. But we can always hope, after all he's got the right person to learn from!
Richard Parker     Posted 18/03/2009 at 06:36:59   Comments (18)

Small Club Tag Sticking To Toffees

Here follows an extract from Martin Samuel's column in today's Daily Mail; I must admit I don't have a lot of time for him or his newspaper, but this is how we are percieved by many in the media:

'In recent weeks, there has been much talk of Ferguson's successor at Manchester United, sparked by Rio Ferdinand's endorsement of Jose Mourinho. The reaction to that has been the championing of a domestic candidate, most popularly the impressive David Moyes, manager of Everton. Therein the conundrum: how can the career of a manager punching above his weight at a small club prepare him for the Premier League's upper echelons?'

We may not have the money of the super-rich, but this description of us as a small club is beginning to grate. The only way to put an end to this state of affairs is to get that last CL place and WIN the FA Cup. Let's show them exactly how small we are when we parade the Cup in the most successful football city in the country by a mile.

If David Moyes has any sense he will realise tha,t if we was offered the job at United or any other BIG club, he would be setting himself up for a fall. Stay where you are, David, and make Everton the force we know that we can be. Bill Kenwright and the marketing department please take note ? we will not enhance our new found reputation by moving to a small town!
Anthony Dyer     Posted 17/03/2009 at 23:00:24   Comments (38)

Yet again Everton's organisation comes into question

I have just seen the announcement for distribution of tickets for the Semi. I am glad to see that the most loyal of fans get priority of purchase of tickets ? the way it should be. However what does worry me is the amount of time that season ticket holders who have not attended any away games have to buy their ticket.

Let's face it, the majority of season ticket holders will not have been to an away game. Let's assume 50% have on the basis Everton's season ticket base is 25,000. So, on this assumption, 12,500 that have been to an away game get 13 days from 23/3 until 4/4 to get their tickets. I am OK with this...

Then the remainder, 12,500 from my assumptive figures have, ONE day on 5/4, which coincidentially is a home game with Wigan, to get their tickets. I can see a scrum of massive proportions happening, reminiscent of the scenes in 95 when many queued overnight for Cup Final tickets and being squashed in Bullens Road in the meantime.

Everton would be better announcing that the remainder of season ticket holders had, say, 7 further days to get their tickets.. spreading the load and the panic. I appreciate that they have provision of buying on the phone... but let's face it, the most robust of telephone systems will not cope with what is likely to happen to it on that Sunday! Season ticket holders going to the game in any case will panic and want to queue.

I don't want to be a whinger but simple organisation is lacking in the organisation of tickets.

Where are the online sales?? We are the forefront of technology and surely the technology they have can tell EXACTLY how many fans have gone to 13 away games, 12 away game, 10, 9 , 8 etc... to be able to organise something more effective.

I have e.mailed the customer service people but, going on past submissions from friends, they rarely get a response.... they just know we will come back for more no matter how poor the service!
Paul Kellett     Posted 17/03/2009 at 16:46:51   Comments (28)

Tesco Ground deal approved

Don't panic !!!

I spotted this topical item on the NE Wales news. Tesco have received the all clear to build a new superstore at Rhosymedre near Wrexham which will include a new stadium for League of Wales side Cefn Druids.

Despite objections, the scheme received the go-ahead from Wrexham planners who are mindful of the jobs that will be created in an area of high unemployment: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7942019.stm
Peter Eastoe     Posted 16/03/2009 at 16:35:46   Comments (30)

King Pip the magnificent

We are seeing the best ever form of Philip Neville in his career, with Arteta or not. I feel we are where we are at this moment in time due to the passion, commitment, hard work, grit, determination and no little talent of this much undersung player. I feel that even Sir Alex would have kept hold of a Pip playing consistently well at this level. Those of us who have consistently slated Pip as being a talentless donkey must surely eat their words now.

After the Stoke game, Moyes recognized Neville's contribution to the team and he is the person who works with him on a daily basis. We also should acknowledge the wonderful signing that Moyes made in one Philip Neville. It's fitting that this super player shall lead out his men against his former team at Wembley and one thing is for sure, you could no longer criticize him for being a Manc.
Ron Martin     Posted 16/03/2009 at 04:14:11   Comments (41)

Stand up to Bullies!!!

Now I seem to remember my mum telling me to stand up to bullies at school. Easy to say but a lot harder to do!!!!

Is it my imagination or my biased view on teams that have played the Blues in past 3 matches that they have all tried to bully us around the park? Blackburn, Middlesborough and most recently Stoke all seem to have had a selection policy that before you can play against the Blues you have to be a minimum of 6 feet tall.

Now admittedly we have not played anywhere near our true potential in these matches but we have stood up to the very vigorous and often illegal play of the opposition. Middlesborough had Huth, Wheater and Pogatetz(?); Blackburn had Samba and Nelsen; Stoke came with Shawcross, Higginbotham and Beattie; all attempted to beat us with a very physical approach.

It is to our credit and development that we can stand up to these tactics, even with Osman, Pienaar and Baines in the team. It speaks volumes to the efforts Cahill, Lescott, Jagielka, Neville and Yobo and when required Fellaini and Rodwell that they have made us the most physically resilient team in the Premier division.

It may also explain Moyes?s continued selection of Yobo though why at centre back and not right back baffles me. It may well be a relief to play Aston Villa, Chelsea and Man Utd in the coming weeks!!!! COYBs
David Cooper     Posted 15/03/2009 at 21:59:16   Comments (13)

The Grand Old Lady

I am not an economics expert by a long shot, but having read most of the posts (with great interest) about the move to you know where, it makes me wonder why, as soon as its mentioned to redevelop Goodison, the general consensus of opinion is a very resounding NO! Surely in this age of credit crunch etc,etc,etc, builders are crying out for work. They (the construction industry) probably would do the job cut price, just to secure a contract.

All the letters explaining the whys and wherefores do not mean a thing to me, in the past we have been given a load of numbers that mean nothing to the followers of this GREAT Club.

I really do not see why the ground cannot be redeveloped. Please guys, do not come back at me with fantasy numbers, Let's have something concrete (pardon the pun) to actually SAY why we cannot redress the OLD LADY.
Teddy Draper     Posted 15/03/2009 at 10:34:58   Comments (61)

Sad, but nice to see Sandy

When the usual halftime presentation of players from the past was announced, it was nice to see two faces we have not seen for some time, one from fairly recent times, the great Nigel Martin, who served our club with great distinction.

The other was the man who had the heart of lion, when he wore the famous blue shirt, but due to illness has been left in a wheelchair. Sandy Brown reminded me very much of our present defensive king pin Phil Jagielka.

The big heart, and a great clubman, come hand in hand. The one pity is he is remembered for an own goal. Nice to see you Sandy, back where you belong, among all the true blues.
Norman Merrill     Posted 15/03/2009 at 08:41:39   Comments (16)

If it ain't broke don't mess with it

I just hope that DM's dalliance with Jags at RB ends real soon... like before the Villa & Chelsea games. I'm sure it hasn't gone unnoticed elsewhere that we have started conceding goals & looking less magnificent in the centre.

I am quite astonished that, two weeks after labeling Jags & Lescott world class, he splits them up to get round the loss of Hibbert. One has to then ask, what is the point of Lars Jacobsen?

I applaud the decision not to move Pip back to RB as, after losing Mikel, we really would be lightweight in midfield. But I have never bought into this square-peg/round-hole philosophy. Far better to have as many players as one can doing what they are best at (and especially if they are in important roles like central defence).

And even if I thought some compromise was necessary, the last thing I would do is split up what is (after today's result at Old Trafford) arguably THE best defensive partnership in the league. As Yobo actually played RB on several occasions for Nigeria, and was looking for a way back into the team, the solution to me is obvious.

I've never seen Lars Jacobsen train, or really play for that matter. So to simply say he HAS to play there is somewhat vacuous. But the team is currently both unbalanced and vulnerable. That cannot be allowed to continue. So I would look for a specialist RB first, before resorting to Yobo. If Jacobsen can't get a game as things stand then I wouldn't blame him one iota for doing a bunk.

My concern is the harder games coming up. It's slightly surreal to be waiting on Tony Hibbert to return for my peace of mind. But that's exactly where I am. Thing is, the manager is surely building a problem for himself by sticking with Yobo until that time. Great Evertonian that he is, and I have so much time for Yobo, but Jagielka & Lescott is the best defense I have seen here since the days of Labone (even our '80s teams let in quite a few 3s & 4s).
Alan Kirwin     Posted 14/03/2009 at 18:10:28   Comments (37)

Investment on its way?

After an incredible season and David Moyes and his team pulling off the impossible surely, somebody's got to be waiting in the wings with stack loads of cash... what's it gonna take for somebody to invest in the mighty blues?
Ryan Sloan     Posted 14/03/2009 at 15:41:04   Comments (24)

Morning result is good for us.

I was pleased with this morning's result (Man Utd 1- 4 Liverpool), not because I want the dark side to get a win, but because it will keep both of them interested in the league.

The teams we do care about ? Villa and Arsenal ? both have to vist Anfield and Old Trafford. I was worried that the league will be over by then so they might get an easy ride, but for the moment that danger has gone. Hopefully Villa and Arsenal will come away with nothing from these games, which will make our 4-point deficit not so hard to make up - COYB
Peter  Hall     Posted 14/03/2009 at 15:11:17   Comments (25)

Matchday Thread

Let's have a good win today...
Michael Kenrick     Posted 14/03/2009 at 13:02:35   Comments (66)

3 teams in the Semi!

Ticket allocation for the semi-final has been released on both ours and Man Utd?s OS. The allocation is as follows:

Capacity: 90,000
Everton: 31,825 (35%)
Man Utd: 32,041 (36%)
Remaining: 26,134 (29%)

We have 6% more tickets than the mystery 3rd side in the semi! 26 thousand tickets that The FA presumably will be selling off as corporate? Can that be right? If not corporate then what? Will we (and Man U) be able to request additional allocation when we sell out what we have been given? Anyone able to enlighten please? I?d have hoped for 40,000 each at least. I wonder how many of those 26 thousand tickets will end up on ebay and the like. The FA of the fans for the fans!
Joeynkoo  Ludden     Posted 14/03/2009 at 10:45:49   Comments (13)

Keep the faith ? Davie Moyes for president

To quote a poster to TW on 10/10/2008 ? ?In all honesty, this Everton side is performing as bad as any I have ever seen ? including the Mike Walker and Walter Smith sides ? so going down is not as far-fetched as some of our lot think. We are a one-dimensional side with a negative manager and on current form deserve to be relegated. I mean when was the last time you seen a David Moyes side do something different out on the pitch? A new move at a corner or free kick for example. A set play from the training ground perhaps. There's nothing there at all is there? What can Moyes possibly teach the players he has under him??

If we had pursued our constant negative peer?s wishes then we would probably be stuck with a different manager and more akin to Blackburn or Newcastle struggling in the depths of the Premier League rather than our current position of challenging for a top 4 spot and in semi-final of FA Cup.

What has David Moyes done for the club,

- Turned the club into a regular top 6 team, with expectations of regular European football and wishes that this be Champion?s League
- Bought in players and managed to get the best out of them, which have significantly increased their valuation and team performances, e.g. Cahill, Arteta, Lescott, Jagielka,
- Coached, coerced and sometimes dragged great performances out of average or underperforming players, e.g. Osman, Hibbert
- Seen the need for stalwarts to steady the ship and provide leadership, Carsley, Neville
- Bought big when required, to increase profile, firepower and strength of team e.g. Johnson, Yakubu
- Increased the perception of Everton, moved them into a 21st century club with latest training facilities, methods and approaches
- Built a support team to ensure that all aspects of players coaching, fitness, health, training fits into the ethos of a winning mentality.
A sign of how good a manager we have is the fact his peers have awarded him Manager of the Year twice in the last 4 years.

My point is this, even when things sometimes don?t start of as planned, have faith that we have the correct people and the support to ensure we are successful. For the most part, Everton Supporters are the most intelligent, vociferous, vocal and, when I manage to get to games, vibrant supporters in England. Now if only we could get a ground to match our ambition, and I personally wish it was Goodison Park.
John Callan     Posted 13/03/2009 at 12:09:14   Comments (20)

Rodwell - maturity or hastiness?

Local newspapers in Malaysia published an article about young Jack Rodwell breaking up with his girlfriend because she was pictured in ?racy? clothes as part of her modelling work. The article seemed to present Rodwell as being determined to do well in his football career; hence his decision to end the relationship with his girlfriend because he didn't want any distractions.

If the article was true, Rodwell's determination to focus on his football is commendable... yet, I don't know if he might have been ill-advised on breaking up with the girl. Newspaper link
Marcus Choo     Posted 13/03/2009 at 12:02:09   Comments (5)

New Hairstyle.

I have checked and its not the first of April. So I am confident my source of information is spot on: Felliani has had a new hairdo. It's been cut and braided. Look forward to seeing the new barnet tomorrow versus Stoke...
Norman Merrill     Posted 13/03/2009 at 09:41:02   Comments (6)

Goodison

Amidst this piece on Moyes on the BBC website he says that as well as investment the club needs a "new, or redeveloped stadium".

I don't want to start a conspiracy theory or anything, but from this you'd assume Moyes sees redeveloping Goodison as a possibility. Maybe he'll mention it to Bill...
Sam Morrison     Posted 13/03/2009 at 09:05:33   Comments (5)

Cahill going... nowhere?

I have been thinking of late why Cahill is still at Everton, allegiances and love of the club aside. He is clearly one of the better players in the PL and with his makeshift appearances up front for the Blues together with his now regular decisive goals for us, why he hasn't been poached or at least why an offer hasn't been made by one of the Sky 4.

Thinking about this, where would our Timmy fit in elsewhere? He probably wouldn't even get a start at United or Chelsea (or would even fit in with their over-rated ego inflated stars), he certainly doesn't fit Wenger's clinical style of play and he's too much of a blue to go across the park. Which leaves me with the only other clubs worthy of contention being Villa and Spurs, and why would he want to go there considering where the Club is right now.

Continental teams aside, which I feel is unlikely, I think we will have our Timmy on our books till the time he decides to make his way back to Oz and "retire" to play in the A-League. An Everton legend assured.
Scott Robinson     Posted 13/03/2009 at 08:24:22   Comments (7)

United are just where we want them

As bizarre as it sounds, United could be just where we want them. They are being hyped by the media and the players might be starting to believe their own bullshit ? always a danger sign for soccer teams.

Everton on the other hand rediscovered their self-belief in the second half of the Middlesbrough game. Yes we can play with passion and invention without Arteta, although it takes passion and commitment.

Strange things happen in soccer. I think the game could be a lot closer than some think.
Andrew Gaule     Posted 12/03/2009 at 23:20:06   Comments (24)

Anichebe the robber

It's hard to believe this type of thing still happens. It is so laughable that it reminded me of a Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch where the PC had been arresting people for walking on the cracks in the pavement, possession of black curly hair and thick lips ("These wouldn't have been black people by any chance?" asked the Sargeant).

I'm glad to see that Vic has come out strongly and given that it's on the OS I'm guessing it's with club backing. Probably won't do himself any favours with some people or the old Bill for mentioning the race issue but good on him I say for speaking out against this ridiculous behaviour.
Ciaran Duff     Posted 12/03/2009 at 18:28:51   Comments (65)

Jo or Saha?

Who do we start with up front against Stoke? Bring back Jo, stick in Saha or use Cahill and Fellaini?

Me personally, I would be bold and have Jo and Saha start together with a midfield four of Pienaar, Neville, Cahill and Osman. Back four picks itself, although once Hibbert is fit, stick him back in with Yobo missing out.
Fergal O' Regan     Posted 12/03/2009 at 17:01:36   Comments (2)

Wembley Idiocy

So the've decided the Everton vs Man Utd game will take place on the Sunday rather than the Saturday... Which idiot thought that would be a good idea?

Living in London, this won't particularly affect me. It will, however, affect thousands of Everton (and Man Utd) fans who plan to travel down from the northwest for the game. They'll be stuck on the horribly slow Sunday trains and they'll have to rush back for work the next day.

It is almost unbelievable that nobody considered the possibility of hosting Chelsea vs Arsenal (two London teams) on the Sunday. After all, there should be none of the usual Sunday inconveniences for fans who mostly live within miles of Wembley.
Brian Richardson     Posted 11/03/2009 at 11:47:24   Comments (48)

Why do we love Everton?

This i am proud to say is my very 1st article on this website. For me Evertonians are unique. It cant really be explained to non Everton fans. Being from down the south, the locals don't understand what it's all about. They understand my reasons for supporting this football club ? scouse connections and so on. But they don't understand why it really matters so much.

Early in the season, when we were doing so bad and it seemed all doom and gloom, I'd be writing letters on here and people in my form at college found it funny that I'd do that. I'm too young to remember our Cup win of '95 so I haven't really got a lot to shout about.

Being at Goodison for Villa match was a buzz that you just can't explain. Z-Cars is my ringtone; Grand Old Team my message tone. I used to thrive on reading my Everton books and watching DVDs and videos which at times could be quite compelling. Is this the reason that we love Everton? I wonder...

Evertonians are certainly proud of our history but are yearning for more. There is so much to be proud of and it sure would be interesting to see what people think it really is that makes being an Evertonian is special.
James Boden     Posted 10/03/2009 at 21:25:11   Comments (32)

Rodwell

Talking of things no one seems to have picked up on, has anyone spared a thought for Jack Rodwell? He was replaced by King Louis but the first half preformance wasn't his fault. The guy hasn't put a foot wrong since he's been used latterly but he must have felt terrible about the change in fortunes in the second half.

I hope a senior pro (Neville) or a member of the coaching have staff put an arm around his shoulder & explained things. Without Arteta the team just might need someone on other occasions this season to put their foot on the ball in midfield. Hope his confidence has not been affected. COYB
Phil Rowe     Posted 10/03/2009 at 14:24:47   Comments (22)

Cahill's corner flag 'foul'?

Just a quick point, sort of following on from the 'Huth on Fellaini' article.

In the last minutes of time added on, Gosling won a corner and played it to Cahill who attempted to waste time by keeping the ball in the corner, that goofy fat baldy twat Halsey gave a foul for Boro??? I have watched literally thousands of football matches & have never, ever seen that given as an infringment!!

That for me summed up Mark Halsey's performance, just wanted to see if the rest of ya seen it & what your thoughts were now these incidents have been brought to light.

Should Moyes continue this policy of not generally speaking about it or should he make these points publically, a la Fergie, Wenger, Mourinho, Allardyce, and most other managers??
John Lloyd     Posted 10/03/2009 at 02:01:07   Comments (28)

Operation Goodison?

This is a bit of a whinge about the PA system at Goodison Park.

Every game that is televised seems to be interupted by a woman with a very annoying voice making statements, such as "Operation Goodison Exercise" and could the away end please sit down.

It all appears quite amateurish and I can't remember ever watching another top-flight team or European team that has a system like it.

Either the woman behind the PA just wants to be on Tele or the speaker is right behind the commentary stand either way it seems embarrassing and unprofessional.

Could anyone tell me what OPERATION GOODISON EXERCISE is about anyway?
Adam Harris     Posted 09/03/2009 at 18:10:32   Comments (49)

Just Deserts

After reading about the financial difficulty currently being endured by Valencia, I wonder how much Manny Fernandes regrets his decision to head to Spain instead of signing for Everton?

Considering he is not being paid currently and the dire state of Valencia's finances, we might get him for a fiver in the summer!!
Graham  Nolan     Posted 09/03/2009 at 16:13:17   Comments (34)

Huth on Fellaini

Didn't pick up on this so much watching the game from the Upper Gwladys St but, having caught the highlights on ITV last night, I was astounded by Huth's treatment of Fellaini when lining up for set pieces and also the officials' failure to spot it.

On a number of occasions Huth actually had Fellaini in a headlock FFS! Holding is too tame a word to describe Huth's tactics in the game and in light of recent attempts by certain managers to draw attention to (for "draw attention to" read target) particular Everton players I find this frustrating to say the least. If I were Fellaini, I'd have offered him my shirt at half time as he was obviously desperate to get it off him. Huth clearly paid no attention to the ball and just did everything in his power to stop the big man from moving or competing for the ball.

Main reason I've posted this (mailbag virgin alert) is because nobody else mentioned it! None of the pundits mentioned it on TV, none of the match reports in the papers touched on it, but to me it seemed like blatant gamesmanship and it occurred almost every time we won a corner.

Fellaini is no tackler and probably deserves most of the yellows he gets, but I wouldn't class him as a dirty player and I think he was given a bit of a raw deal yesterday.
Neil McKinney     Posted 09/03/2009 at 15:58:21   Comments (27)

Killer Stat

Now this is what I call a killer stat from today's Times.........

"Moyes would have hoped to avoid Sir Alex Ferguson?s team, who are on course for an unprecedented quadruple, but he may be comforted by the knowledge that on the five previous occasions Everton have won the FA Cup - in 1906, 1933, 1966, 1984 and 1995 - the West Indies cricket team have toured England. West Indies are due to play two Test matches in May".

What!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike Iddon     Posted 09/03/2009 at 11:50:38   Comments (12)

Rodrigo

Whilst wandering the BBC website, I found this information that might interest anyone wondering whatever happened to our ill-fated Brazilian. The reply is from Tim Vickery:

Being an Everton fan, I remember a Brazilian midfielder we had on loan from Botafogo several years back by the name of Rodrigo. Unfortunately his time with us was plagued by injury and I believe he only played a handful of games. I was wondering what ever became of him. Did he move elsewhere in Europe, what is he up to now and was he ever any good? Any information you may have would be great ? my searches have not yielded much. ? John Horne.

It's a real shame he suffered that injury. He was a good player and a bright bloke who was loving his time at Everton and with more luck might have made an impression playing as a kind of left-footed version of David Beckham. The injury effectively ended his top class career ? he went back to Brazilian football and bounced around from club to club, attracting comparisons with Beckham more for his looks than his football.

He never really regained fitness, looked well overweight and was unable to reach anything like the standard he set at Botafogo. I think he lost motivation ? he's from a wealthy background, and didn't need to make money from the game, and there was also a problem with his wife's health. I last remember him a year ago playing for a minor Rio team called Boavista.
John Holmes     Posted 09/03/2009 at 11:49:45   Comments (5)

Beating a really big team

Did anyone else pick up this classic comment by Moyes after yesterday's win: "Middlesbrough played well, but we have earned the right to go to a final having beaten Liverpool and Aston Villa so far. Now we have to beat a really good side to get to the final".

And to think that there are countless Liverpool fans who thought thay had a good chance of winning the League this year!
Michael Kidd     Posted 09/03/2009 at 08:44:39   Comments (4)

Biased Media Thread Starts Here!

From the Metro:

FINAL SHOWDOWN ? United and Chelsea on course for Wembley clash.

They've wet their pants coming up with another 'dream final' just like 1995. Hopefully we can shove it to the media like we did back then... Jurgan's Dream, good grief...

'Nether side will take an appearance in the final for granted, though, with Ferguson well aware of Everton's capabilities in the cup' Glad someone isn't hey?

Also, why the hell would this be a dream final? They both stank Wembley out on its big day two years ago with an banal 1-0 to Chelsea.

How annoying that on a day when Arsenal and Everton progress, the back page is all about the draw of what is going to happen... how is 4 balls drawn at random more important???
Nick Entwistle     Posted 09/03/2009 at 08:22:28   Comments (14)

Leaked 2009/10 home kit?

Lordy, let's hope this is a wind-up or, if not, has been leaked early enough that fan reaction can make the club see sense and change course before it's too late!

Yikes!

David Freel     Posted 08/03/2009 at 21:57:02   Comments (31)

Life after Arteta

I think by the time the Man United game comes around we will be attacking two fronts. We have Stoke and Wigan at home with Portsmouth away in the next three. It's not a stretch to think we can win them all. If we do, we will go into the Villa game no more than a few points behind them and probably level with Arsenal. Villa have Spurs at home, Man U and Liverpool away in the same time. They won't get more than 3 points from all of them.

The great thing about today is that, after 3 games, the players realised that they can play well with out Arteta. If everyone stays fit, Tiny must now drop into the centre with Neville. He can't give us Mikel's artistry but, for the first time since Villa, we were competitive in the middle.

For those of you who have critisised our record signing, were you glad to have him today? I am thinking in particular about the fella wrote the article 'Felliani, the Odd one Out'. It just shows how fickle and impatient some fans can get. He will be vital from now until the end of season and, despite Boro's unpunished assaults, they couldn't live with him today.

Our other main hope is Saha. It's quite simple: if he stays fit until May he can turn out to be Moyes best signing. Both him and Cahill have have skill and confidence to take chances. It sounds simple but many a talented player freezes in front of goal. To have 2 players who are clinical without fear in front of goal means you don't have to win the midfield battle to win a match.

It would be great to have him but we still have a winning combination of brilliant defenders, quality players and finishers so there has to be life without Mikel, for now!
Paul  Connell     Posted 08/03/2009 at 18:54:27   Comments (19)

Steven Pienaar

Fantastic result today after a much improved second half performance but I would just like to give special mention to Steven Pienaar. I thought Pienaar was phenomenal today and by far and away our best player.

What impresses me most about him though is his work rate. Anybody who was at the game today would have seen he gave literally everything he had today and was exhausted by the time he came off. His work often does not get the credit it richly deserves, so this one is for you Steven!

Goodison was rocking second half today and it was great to be there, bring on United!!!
Paul  Maghee     Posted 08/03/2009 at 18:33:35   Comments (13)

The hard way, again?

Congratulations to Moyes and our threadbare squad on reaching the semis. Given last year's semis included Barnsley, Cardiff, West Brom and Portsmouth, isn't it typical we'd make the semis against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd?

If we are to go all the way, the route would be via a string of impressive wins over strong Premier League opponents. But we have done it before; in 1995 we had to get past Derby, Norwich, Newcastle, Spurs and Man Utd to lift the trophy. Fingers crossed for the same result!
John Pendleton     Posted 08/03/2009 at 16:25:48   Comments (30)

Today's game

So far so bad. A scrappy game with a lot of poor passing (maybe the swirling wind). They always looked like scoring first. Everton are a very predictable team at the moment.

Referee and linesmen have no guts. The clutching and grabbing on Cahill and Fellaini is so obvious but goes unpunished. When are we going to see some brave referees? Osman and Pienaar and Rodwell need to get involved more.
Tom Bowers     Posted 08/03/2009 at 14:58:05   Comments (40)

Marouane Fellaini I Am Not...

Just a bit of useless weekend fun... has anyone noticed Robert Plant sings something which sounds a lot like 'Marouane Fellaini we are not' in Stairway to Heaven? It's about 6:55 in, the lyrics say that it's 'There walks a lady we all know' but it doesn't sound anything like it to me, honestly, it's uncanny.

So there you are, a message from Rock & Roll Royalty to the big lump with the doo ahead of our FA Cup QF, let's hope we can Rock Boro' to their foundations and Roll them over today... *groan*
Simon Walker     Posted 08/03/2009 at 09:21:31   Comments (109)

Everton are magic

The FA Cup: Wembley Way; Des Lynam/Dickie Davies/Saint and Greavsie from 8 in the morning; celebrity fans; cameras live outside the team hotels as the players board the coach. Happy days indeed.

A cup competition that has been as cruel to us as it has been kind, but a competition that has always felt right. The FA Cup suits Everton Football Club. It has traditon, it has majesty and it has integrity.

The FA Cup signalled a period of greatness for us in 84 and should have done the same in 95.

Fourteen years on, it's our time again. We're on the march... EVERTON ARE MAGIC
Richard Hutchings     Posted 07/03/2009 at 09:36:38   Comments (39)

Barclay's Kiss of Death

I have just seen that both David Moyes and Phil Jagielka have been awarded Barclay's Manager and Player of the Month. I seem to remember when we have won such awards they have been the "kiss of death" to our results and progress.

Are Sky Sports and Barclay's working together to make sure we don't make the CL? COYBs ? let's stick it to both of them!
Dave  Cooper     Posted 06/03/2009 at 15:30:39   Comments (18)

Sam Chedgzoy and Son

Whilst trawling the net, I stumbled on a website that covered the family tree of the Chedzoy family. Most of us will know of Sam Chedzoy (he of the corner kick rule change) but the website mentioned that his son Sidney (born 1910) also turned out for the Blues. Does anyone have any more information on Chedzoy Junior?
Rob  Sawyer     Posted 06/03/2009 at 10:59:00   Comments (7)

Over Confidence

I am really hoping that Everton don't take Middlesboro too lightly this weekend just because it is at Goodison. I only remember too well the shameful home FA Cup defeats against Tranmere, Blackburn and Oldham last year. Moyes should play back those matches as a reminder of how it can go horribly wrong.

Having said that, I hope a similar performance like the one against Villa takes place. One can only hope!
Ajay Timothy     Posted 06/03/2009 at 09:40:50   Comments (13)

Alan Wiley

Am I correct in thinking that Alan Wiley was the referee in last seasons' Blackburn/Everton fixture? Yes... the one where Johnson was nearly chopped in two by Khasavelli in the box and had a perfect goal disallowed in the last minute!

I'm surprised that David Moyes has not seen fit to comment on the outrageous decision where Samba flattened Cahill only to see Wiley rule against Cahill.... possibly the worst decision I've ever seen! This man make Clattenburg seem half competent ... what an ass.

I would think that, if the club did create a stink about Wiley then the FA would have no choice but not to appoint him for any other Everton games as they try to avoid controversy at all costs.
Peter Eastoe     Posted 06/03/2009 at 06:02:08   Comments (18)

Letter to Premier league

I have sent the following letter to the Premier league and the referees association:

I was angered to read Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce falsely accusing Everton player Tim Cahill of ?getting away with murder? ahead of their Premier League meeting. Is it too much to expect a professional referee to ignore comments such as this and referee a game based only on events as they happen and without prejudice and pre-conceived ideas? Unfortunately we have at least two examples which prove that Mr Wiley doesn?t have a mind of his own.

The first one I noticed was when Everton had a corner and Mr Wiley seemed to be warning Cahill about something when he was waiting, unmarked for the ball to come in. The second was in the second half when an extremely hefty challenge from behind by Samba on Cahill resulted in a Blackburn free kick.

The TV showed that Allardyce found this highly amusing and if you look at the clip I am referring to you would know that he and those around him were laughing that the mind games had worked.

I find this behaviour from certain managers disappointing to say the least but when our referees fall for these tactics, it makes me despair, especially when there is a so called ?respect? campaign. Fans want referees to be someone that they can respect but Alan Wiley's behaviour means that goal is even further away.
Andy Hegan     Posted 05/03/2009 at 11:09:52   Comments (24)

Time for other players to stand up and be counted.

I am in agreement with nearly everyone that Moyes has made a mistake in moving Jags from centre back where he has been quality, to right back. We have lacked a real threat from there. However, I think our biggest problem is that some of the midfielders are not standing up and taking responsibility. Arteta is gone for this season, GET OVER IT. But someone should have the balls to say "fuck it, I will become the Everton special one".

Cahill has been scoring, Pienaar has been decent, Neville has been solid. Gosling and Rodwell are young and it's a lot to ask of them; are they ready? Harsh to expect them to be.

Osman, Fellaini (granted he is playing with a broken rib), your time has come. Certainly on ToffeeWeb you have been much criticised. This is your time to make a big difference.

My suggested team for Sunday:

Howard;
Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines;
Osman, Rodwell, Pienaar, Gosling;
Cahill, Saha or Fellaini (depending who is fittest).

Pienaar for me is the most likely person to create something, move him inside so he has more of an outlet. Rodwell can take the defensive midfield duty with Neville going to right back and Gosling and Osman can play wide.

VDM for me could be the answer in terms of potential, but to be fair to DM the bloke has been given plenty of chances, and I think it is a big risk giving him another.

Come on you Toffees!
Craig Taylor     Posted 05/03/2009 at 10:13:33   Comments (19)

Another one ruled out for the season!

After suffering several injury blows this season with the likes of Pienaar and Cahill injured for the start of the season and most notably Yakubu and Arteta out for the rest of the season, it is disappointing that Victor Anichebe will also join the pair on the sidelines until next term. Obviously Anichebe is not so massive a loss compared to Yakubu and Arteta, but the squad is yet again getting thinner and thinner at this crucial stage of the season, raising obvious questions as to whether David Moyes should have brought in a few more numbers rather than blowing his transfer budget on one player, Mauroanne Fellaini.

However, regarding Anichebe, I am appauled that the FA have taken no further action against Kevin Nolan. It was his disgusting challenge and the worst challenge I have seen in years, let alone this season, that has ended Anichebe's season. Maybe someone should write a letter to the FA to vent our major disappointment at this, because I can't help but feel that, if this had happened to a higher profiled player, then further action would have been taken and the offender in question would have been slated over and over again.

I know he does have a lot of critics, but there is no place in the game for challenges like Nolan's. Get well soon Vic!
Anthony Millington     Posted 05/03/2009 at 07:26:57   Comments (14)

Going all FM on us

No not me... but some other posters out there that are dreaming of the big summer signings and trotting out names of superstars that they would like to see come in the summer.

Now I would also like to see some quality big names come to our great club but (as I?ve posted a couple of times) I think we?ll be struggling to just keep the same numbers that we have now and will be spending anything BK can scrape together just to keep our head above water at the same level as now, as follows:

Goalies

Carlo Nash ? OK he?s signed up to June 2010 but has anyone any confidence that he can fill Howard?s boots if he gets injured? And what of Turner and Ruddy? The ideal sort of replacement for Howard would be a young up and coming keeper like one of these 2 but DM obviously doesn?t think they?ve made the grade yet.

Defenders

Lars Jacobsen ? a defender signed up to June 2009. Who? you might ask. Has anyone seen him play? He?s been injured since he signed and now he?s getting arsey about getting into the team that boasts the best back 6 defenders in the country.

Nuno Valente ? Contract expires June 2009. While he?s been a good servant to the Club and a quality player he?s been suffering from injury lately. Could become the new Alessandro Pistone?

Jack Rodwell ? a teenager that?s been playing in midfield and doing a bloody good job. But Moyes has indicated that he will use him sparingly.

Midfielders

Segundo Castillo ? a midfielder that?s signed up to June 2009. Hands up anyone that thinks he?s the quality we need to move forward and we should be keeping him on for another season? Thought not.

Andy van der Meyde ? Contract expires June 2009. Need I say more?

Dan Gosling ? see Jack Rodwell above

Forwards

J ? On loan until June 2009. Besides 2 goals in his first game, he has done nothing. Could become the new AJ / James Beattie if signed up permanently.

Louis Saha ? Definitely a player of the class we need but cannot be relied on to play week in week out. Supersub status awaits Louis I?m afraid.

James Vaughan ? A teenager that has shown he could have what it takes but is more often injured than not.

Victor Anichebe ? A teenager who?s ability has been questioned this season and now his attitude may be questionable also.

The only players we have besides these that are tried and tested in the Premier League are 1 keeper, 5 defenders, 6 midfielders and 1 forward so the team picks itself from those.

So in my view we need another 5 players in the side just to replace the 5 whose contracts are up this season and one of them needs to be a quality forward to work with the Yak and one needs to be a quality midfielder to compliment and take over from Arteta when he?s injured.

And then we're still in no better a position than when we started this season.

So BK needs to be pulling a Harvey size rabbit out of his arse to be able to fund at least 2 quality replacements (but preferably 5 quality ones) AND another 5 or so journeyman squad fillers or expect DM to be able to perform miracles for yet another season.

So how much do you expect BK can conjure up? Judging on past seasons, maybe a maximum of 15 million? Realistically 10 million? Is that going to be enough to get 2 quality players and 5+ squadies?

I for one don?t think so.
Eric Myles     Posted 04/03/2009 at 23:13:36   Comments (24)

Hoofball is alive and kicking

With Villa in freefall, I am so fucking angry at the negative, narrow, one-paced, predictable tactics employed once more by Moyes at Newcastle and Blackburn; two dire teams who were there for the taking. He is literally throwing away a fantastic opportunity to qualify for the Champions League.

Loyal and determined he may be but he is ultra-cautious and tactically inept. Don't blame the loss of Arteta on these recent abysmal performances as he was anonymous for the first half of this season and most of last year. Furthermore, the main reason we aren't conceding goals at present is because we normally have 9 men behind the ball for much of the game.

If he really wanted a top 4 place badly enough he should have thrown down the gauntlet against these poor teams and taken the initiative but as ever with Moyes, caution prevails and who said hoofball was a thing of the past? Totally pissed off.
Steve Ryan     Posted 04/03/2009 at 19:24:10   Comments (77)

Baxter and Rodwell contracts

So what do we read into Baxter signing a 2-year pro deal compared to Rodwell's 5-year deal? I presume it means that management view Rodwell as a sure thing and Baxter is still somewhat of a gamble. Although I hope Baxter becomes the star he is forecast to be, I also hope we do not see him leave for nothing in 30 months.
Richard Williams     Posted 04/03/2009 at 15:40:21   Comments (4)

Right back ideas anyone?

Just reading the media reports about our line up for tonight's game.

Does anyone else think it might be an error in DM's judgement to put Jags at right back instead of playing Lars? Just a quick post but anyone out there share the same ideas as me?

Jags is better at centre half and I reckon playing someone who sounds like he's ready for first team action might be a better option.
Matt  Kay     Posted 04/03/2009 at 11:17:01   Comments (100)

Cahill next?

Just read the gossip column on BBC sports page which says old baloon head Allardyce has asked refs to "keep an eye" on Cahill for cheating in the box to gain advantage without giving away a free kick. FFS, his sides have been dirty filthy pub teams for years... Cheeky bastard wants to look closer to home before he starts another anti-Everton player witchhunt with the FA.
Gavin Ramejkis     Posted 04/03/2009 at 08:57:23   Comments (45)

Trusting the Players

Just read an article in the Independent in which DM says that he trusts his players to such an extent that he doesn't have to be present in order for the team to get a good result. He feels that all of them know what he wants and he trusts them to perform to his required standard. This is surely what he has been striving towards in the last few years ? a group of players who he can rely on.

Only time will tell if they can produce the required results but you certainly cannot fault the players for effort and bravery in such testing conditions. It is now time for the Goodison faithful to support the team in the last six home games of the season and get right behind the boys in blue.

Obviously many will believe that it is just good psychology by DM in a time of great need, but I'd rather have that than the negative utterances of one Sam Allardyce, who is already putting pressure on tomorrow night's ref by singling out Tim Cahill. Big Sam believes that Tim very often fouls his opponents when going for headers, so watch out for a couple of disallowed efforts and a yellow card for Tim.

COYB ? we're due a good result at Ewood.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 03/03/2009 at 22:25:28   Comments (14)

The Laws of The Game Part 2: Jagielka's Back Pass

There have been a few comments here and in the media about Jagielka?s wonderful goal line clearance against West Brom along the lines of ?it didn?t go backwards therefore it wasn?t a back pass to the goalkeeper?.

However, ?backwards? doesn?t come into it. The Law is:

"An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area? touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate."

But then I?m sure you all knew that anyway.

In Jagielka?s case, I guess the referee didn?t think he had the necessary skill to contrive such a beautiful little chip to Howard!

Yours anally,
Ben Dyson     Posted 03/03/2009 at 18:20:52   Comments (24)

Manager & Player of the Month

I see that Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard are both in the running for Premier League player of the month award. Get in there and cast your vote: http://www.premiership.co.uk/

Has anyone seen any reference to the Manager of Month award? I should have thought that DM was more than a possibility after February's heroic efforts.
Tony  Waring     Posted 03/03/2009 at 13:32:09   Comments (6)

Neville without Arteta?

In the past there was a "strong consensus" (diplomatic wording), with which I agreed, that our captain was a capable RB but should NEVER wear a blue shirt in midfield again.

However, a major, if not the major, turning point this season was Arteta being moved to centre-mid with PN alongside. The view is that this works as PN has no pressure to be creative and can concentrate on organisational/motivational skills (in which he is excellent) and he can just play it simple.

Now that Mikel is injured, what are people's thoughts on whether PN can be effective in midfield now that that we don't have a creative force alongside him?
Damian Kelly     Posted 03/03/2009 at 10:04:29   Comments (28)

Thomas H Mcintosh

As usual, I was spending my time reading about all things BLUE, when I came across a name I was not familiar with. Thomas H McIntosh, manager of Everton from 1919-1935, winning the old First Division twice, FA Cup, and two Charity Shields. He must be up there with the best if you think Howard Kendall won the ECWC, Two Div 1 titles, FA Cup and 3 Charity Shields (obviously our best Manager).

Dear old Harry Catterick won Div 1 twice the FA Cup once, not sure how many Shields he won. This remarkable man Mr McIntosh should be up there in our folklore. Has anybody else heard of somebody who has done great things for the BLUES and is virtually unknown? It did not say but I think he must have won Div 2 for us because we were relegated in the 30s. COYB
Teddy  Draper     Posted 03/03/2009 at 09:37:24   Comments (4)

Jacobsen interview

Having read the report, does anyone else think this smacks of him spitting the dummy?

It's like, "Yes I've had a bad injury which has meant I haven't been able to play. Yes I've very recently returned to full fitness and yes, my main rivals for the position are playing well at the moment. However, I want a go - and soon - or else I'm going home"

Really? On yer bike son, if you're going to be like that! That's not the attitude I want to hear from a blue, especially one who hasn't done anything for the club yet!

...or is that just me being overly sensitive??
Chris Gallagher     Posted 02/03/2009 at 18:58:18   Comments (23)

We shall not be moved

Boro on Sunday is a massive game for us and if we beat them we're going to Wembley...

Evertonians have a great affection with Wembley and, as we all know, one of our cup songs is We Shall Not Be Moved... I'm slightly distressed that the younger generation who sing this never include the start of it, so I just thought I'd post the official words and see if we can belt it out on Sunday, and then hopefully in the pubs and bars of London town...

Onwards Evertonians,
Onwards For To See,
To See The Old Twin Towers And Sing For Wembley,
See The Royal Blue Jerseys,
As Graceful As Can Be,
Forging Onto Victory, And Fighting Constantly.

Onwards Evertonians,
Don't Let Your Pride Be Moved........
Remember Our Song For Wembley is:
We Shall Not Be Moved!!!!
Steve Murray     Posted 02/03/2009 at 14:40:28   Comments (26)

Player of the season so far

After reading Andy Crooks's third mailbag entry in like a week, and craving some originality in the mailbag threads, I was just wondering who everyone thinks the Player of the Season is so far, with just under a third of the season to go?

There are plenty of candidates: Howard, Lescott, Neville, Arteta and Cahill are up there, but I'd go for Jagielka. He has been immense this season, and I love how he defends, what an asset to have!
Ben  Jones     Posted 02/03/2009 at 13:36:34   Comments (40)

The future is blue

It has been reported that Femi Orenuga, a 15-year-old winger (who has already turned out as a substitute for Southend in the cup last November) signed on scholarship terms for Everton yesterday.

What is so warming for me is the fact that he opted to join Everton despite a whole host of clubs offering him a place, quote "when I went to Everton, I saw how many youth players had gone on into the first team and I think I will have a better chance with them than some of the other sides who were interested"

Femi lad, keep your boots close by you ? going on current injury rates, you may find yourself in the team a lot quicker than you think!

Welcome to the blue family....
Gerry Quinn     Posted 02/03/2009 at 09:08:43   Comments (30)

Can David Moyes be great?

I read a report in the paper today suggesting that David Moyes could manage Manchester United. It stated that he had never proved himself with money to spend.

I think it is a fair comment. At the moment, I wouldn't swop him for any manager in the league. He is magnificent at patching up; when backs are against the wall, he is the man for the job.

But what if we had money? Can he produce flair football? Right now he has a ready made excuse. No money and appalling injuries. If we were to get huge investment who thinks that Moyes is the man for the job? I don't know.
Andy Crooks     Posted 01/03/2009 at 20:52:39   Comments (10)

Heading for Europa?

Whilst there'll no doubt be a fair few twists and turns over the remaining 11 games, we must now surely feel pretty confident of a place in the inaugural Europa League next season...whether we want it or not. Our feeder club up the road have done us a favour by ensuring that 6th spot now comes with a European slot.

Even in our depleted state we'd have to hope to come up with the 4/5 wins needed to keep our 8/9 pt cushion over the Hammers/Wigan suitably inflated to achieve that.

I'd love to think it could be even better still of course. With Villa's luck running out and confidence frayed the next couple of matches against Man City and Spurs sides desperate for points and wanting to get out of relegation trouble could easily see another 2-3 points slip away. Even if they manage to recover some form you'd have to expect another 3 points at least to be shipped away at Anfield and Old Trafford meaning that if we could do the business in a potentially easier run against Blackburn (a), Stoke (h), Pompey (a) and Wigan (h) we'd be going into the head to head within striking distance (i.e. 2/3 points). Add to the equation an Arsenal team who can't buy a goal at the moment and the champions league shout is looking well and truly alive...

...if that is you can ignore the fact that our most creative player and most natural proven goalscorer are both on the treatment table, that a host of other key players are carrying injuries, that we (rightly) have one eye on the FA Cup still, and that our already thin midfield is looking increasingly fragile and was outplayed for large periods by the bottom club at the weekend.

Sadly, even as a glass half full type of fan, I can't quite mange to ignore all of the above, so my main ambition is to do enough to hold onto Europa slot and focus our efforts on having a proper go at the Cup but I do so so want to believe we could get 4th as well though...Blackburn next COYB
Chris James     Posted 01/03/2009 at 20:23:20   Comments (17)

Will the Big Fella ever make it?

I just saw a picture of the moment Tim Cahill headed the ball towards goal on BBC's website. The ball was travelling towards goal and his eyes were fixed on it and body fully extended.

A couple of feet behind, the Wig has his face towards the ground, is completely bent over, and even if he tried to glance up at the ball, there is no way he can see it!! It is funny only because we scored and won the game but I won't be laughing if Fellaini had missed the chance and we lose the game.

It is a clear illustration of one of the many technical skills that Fellaini doesn't have (like tackling, passing, shielding, positioning, shooting, dribbling...etc) and it does make me wonder if he will ever make it. Many have commented about who to sell to raise additional cash this summer... for me, there is only one choice.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45521000/jpg/_45521625_cahillgol_getty.jpg
Gary  Tan     Posted 01/03/2009 at 09:37:38   Comments (70)

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