The Mail Bag

November 2008 Archive
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Deflections and Reflections!

With this being Moyes' 300th game in charge, it was a landmark of sorts. He has now had a considerable time in charge which has seen us become fairly regular in the top 6 of the league. When I reflect on the time we have been under him, my overall thought is one of pride.

I have to say, I was not very confident going into the away game at Spurs though, after what I saw against Wigan on Monday night. The return of Pienaar instilled a bit of confidence though. Moyes reverted back to his tried and trusted 4-5-1 with Cahill playing in the hole behind the Yak. Arteta for once played in the middle of the park.

The game started at a good tempo and it was plain to see why there has been a Spurs resurgence... they have a great midfield with Lennon in particular looking good. Very soon after the start, the Yak stayed down after an aerial challenge and surprisingly hobbled off and never came back on. Saha replaced him and the Spurs continued to use Lennon to good effect on the right.

Thankfully for us, Bent and Pavluchenko were not playing as well as their midfield team-mates. When we attacked, we seemed to lack a presence upfront with Saha not holding the ball up too well. Shots from Fellaini and Osman summed our contributions of the half.

The 2nd half started in comical fashion as Pienaar came out wearing Ossie's shirt and was promptly sent back by the ref to get his own shirt. (Imagine having 2 Ossies in the midfield!!!). We started much the better and were looking composed on the ball. From a free kick... Arteta played the ball through to Pienaar who shaped and cracked one at Gomes but it got a wicked deflection and nestled in the back of the net... prompting Pienaar to take his shirt off..revealing a "God is Great" slogan... promptly got booked for that though.

The game then came to life with both sides making changes but ours was not tactical but because Saha got injured (again). came Vic and we played on. Spurs had some great chances and when the ref indicated 6 mins of added time, I feared the worst. We could have added to our lead at the end with a few breaks but we held on well for a well deserved win.

Player ratings:
Howard: Brilliant... especially in comaprsion to Gomes at the other end, turning into a legend for us.
Neville: Solid game
Jags: Player of the season so far for us
Yobo: Few nervy moments but got away with it.
Lescott: Looked vulnerable at times but got away with it.
Fellaini: Needs to increase his speed but his overall impact on the game was good.
Arteta: Much better game today and would love him in the same role in the future.
Ossie: Did well today and realised that he had a huge fan within his own team who even wears his shirt to the games!
Pienaar: Welcome return..looked good and made the difference today.
Cahill: Looked more comfortable in his usual role.
Yak: That's that for the season then... poor chap

Subs:
Saha: Should have buried the goal from the Cahill cross... injured again, for how long?
Vic: Will be a good back up but will not be able to start game in and out for us up front.
Baines: Would love to see him on the left side of a midfield.

All in all a great result but a heavy price with subsequent news of a ruptured Achilles Tendon for the Yak... we need to get someone on loan and maybe sign another cheap striker in Jan..also need some midfield cover too in case we get more injuries. Villa next and that too at home for us, where we have been woeful this year, will be a real test of our character...COYB


Santosh Benjamin     Posted 30/11/2008 at 22:27:21   Comments (19)

Mikel in the middle

Anybody noticed how much better Arteta played today? That's because Moyes realised, from the ideas of many people from ToffeeWeb, to play Arteta in the centre of midfield. He was more involved, and certainally played much better than he has done. Not an amazing Mikel performance, but encouraging due to him playing in the middle. Please Moyes keep playing him there!

And also, well done Blues, Jagielka immense again, a much needed Pienaar back and a bonus for scoring, just shame on the Yak and Saha. COYB!
Ben Jones     Posted 30/11/2008 at 18:43:04   Comments (16)

COYB

There seem to be a lot of depressed blues on the site right now. While some are worried that we will become a fallen 'big name' let's have some balance. We are where we are due to a number of reasons ? most of which have been discussed on the site over the years. Let us not become a Sunderland where a few years ago some decent results led them to think they were a big club (I know EFC are an actual big club).

Moyes is no God of a manager but neither is he the worst. A couple of years ago, we could see he had a lot to learn in the 1st Euro campaign; he learnt some lessons there... We have no money. Say what you will about BK and the Kirkby move, we do neeed some cash in. The team is full of good to very good footballers. They are not doing as well at present as they have recently but consistency is the name of the game; we had a hard start with effectively no side and have had to catch up and educate players along the way.

On another note, my pet hate is the lack of business nouse. Sponsored by a brewery and not having any beer or being able to get at it when we do have some is laughable. If Mr Chang came to Goodision and saw 35,000 thirsty scousers, would he not wonder why he is only selling 12 cans a week???

When we do have a new stadium (wherever), can someone please do something about merchandising? We should make a million every home game. Where are the EFC outlets, etc? That's my personal rant ? there will be more to come on that subject whenever I queue all half-time and have the door shut in my face with no beer. A good ground would be keeping fans in place after the match, selling them food and drink while they look at the full-time scores or the late kick-off.
David Leeson     Posted 30/11/2008 at 15:30:15   Comments (3)

What will we do without The Yak?

A great win at Spurs today was sadly undermined by Yakubu's serious injury ruling him out. I'm sure I'm not the only one fretting at the thought of a strikeforce consisting of an already-injured Saha and Vaughan, and the inconsistent (and not exactly prolific) Anichebe.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about how we're going to get around this situation. I know there's Lukas, Agard and Baxter - among others - in reserve, but will that be enough? With already limited Christmas spending money the most we can hope for is either a dodgy loan or two, or selling-to-buy; both far from ideal routes. Maybe Cahill could move further up field and get a goal or two.

Whatever the solution, its not the best situation going into a busy December, but at least we're still hot on the heels of Hull =D
Adam McCulloch     Posted 30/11/2008 at 15:05:06   Comments (53)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Everton

I can't work Everton out at the minute. Absolutely dire, without fight or bottle against Wigan, then up for it and looking like we would go hours without conceeding against Spurs. It seems emblematic of the entire league at the moment that we cannot string a consistent run, beat some average teams, lose to other average teams (are we just another average team? I hope not).

I don't think it is the quality of the league, the likes of Spurs, Newcastle and Arsenal are at their weakest in years. It makes it all the more annoying when we lose to the likes of Blackburn and Wigan, as we are capable of matching Arsenal, for a results at least. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that ourselves, Villa etc could make it into the Champions league. What chance us being bought by a billionaire then?!

I know today we had Pienaar back to his best today, buzzing about the pitch, and Arteta and Screech played much better, but we arguably had a stronger team out against Wigan a few days ago, yet still lost. Perhaps it is the fact that we are at our best when we are defending leads, playing with five in the middle and counter attacking. Moyes hasn't seemed to have found a plan B, despite hitting 300 games! I also wonder whether after 300 games Moyes finds it hard to muster new ways to motivate his players on a regular basis.

I was furious after Wigan, it was as bad as I have seen us in years...today I am hopeful of fifth or sixth...back on the emotional rollercoaster it is! It's like having a demanding mistress, and we all just keep coming back, hoping she will have changed for good, become conisistent and reliable, and treat us like adoring lovers!

All is well again, until next week I suppose!
Alex Quigley     Posted 30/11/2008 at 13:57:59   Comments (23)

Everton V Spurs Live Stream

Anybody know if there is any live streams for today's game??
Scott  Jenner     Posted 30/11/2008 at 11:57:38   Comments (69)

Santa Shocker?

Regulars may have noted that I haven't posted since the Wigan game and I have to confess that the performance left me with no heart to do so.

It was my birthday last weekend and the old man, who doesn't get to many games these days, treated our whole family to a "Latics Night Out" package, which included a pre-match meal and drinks with all the trimmings. The downside was the game itself which, by any standard, was appalling. I just felt sorry for the old fella blowing his pension on that garbage on my account. Because, as he said on the way home, "the charlotte russe moved about more than some of our lads!"

Out and about in Formby at lunchtime today I bumped into someone who knows a thing or two about what goes on at Everton and he told me he had never seen Our Davey more depressed. Apparently, with no money for Christmas we can expect some major wheeler-dealings and at least one departure will come as a shock.

Could our man be about to cash in on Arteta or the Yak? Is Lescott set for a move to the smoke? Could Fellaini be about to return whence he came? "Rule nothing out," I was told ? so who is it to be? Answers in a posting, please!
Richard Dodd     Posted 29/11/2008 at 14:30:14   Comments (24)

In Defence Of The Yak

So the Yak has become the new whipping boy. Well, listen up lads. He has, if youv'e not forgotten, one of the best scoring records in the Prem. Moyes is doing to him what he did to AJ. Turning him into another headless chicken channel runner.

His game is not tracking back or running into channels and to expect him to do so is bollocks. He is a goal hanger supreme and, if given the right service, will score for fun.

The useless twat that is Moyes has a habit of ruining good players. He is doing it with Lescott, tried it by playing Neville in the middle, and cannot fathom out Arteta's best position when we all know it's in the middle.

Don't blame Yak. Blame that useless bastard Moyes and his inept management.
Dave  Lynch     Posted 29/11/2008 at 12:21:44   Comments (22)

An Evertonian Inspiration at last

After enduring a dreadful Monday night at the JJB, my mood was desolate and I looked forward to the coming week with all the enthusiasm of a visit to the dentist for some root canal work.

Part of my current job involves helping organise educational conferences. At least fifteen months ago I came across a speaker on a site called TED talks that was both inspirational and entertaining (and yes he was talking about education!!). The guy concerned is called Sir Ken Robinson and works for the Getty Foundation in the US advising on the Arts and Education. As a result of hearing him, the organisation I work for decided to book him for our national conference this week.

He gave a keynote speech to around 2300 delegates that was simultaneously thought-provoking and hilarious. During the speech, he revealed that he originally came from Liverpool. The next day I was his host for a smaller presentation. As I escorted him to the conference room I asked what part of Merseyside he was from and he told me that he had spent the first fourteen years of his life on Spellow Lane. I suppose my next question was inevitable was he Blue or Red? To my relief he told me was a Blue. I told him of my life long support for the Blues and his next line totally surprised me:

?My brother used to play for Everton you know?

I took one look at him and realised his brother was Neil Robinson, the Everton full back of the mid- to late-1970s. I had a great conversation with him that was very much ?off message? as he talked about his brother, Gordon Lee and Bill Shankly and all things Evertonian. I was impressed with him before I met him after but after declaring his allegiance to the Blues and his family links to the clubs I was awestruck.

When I introduced him to an audience of the great and good I just could not help myself and called him a superstar of education but more importantly an Evertonian. I am not sure the CEO of the organisation appreciated it but it had to be done. ToffeeWeb ? get him on the list of celebrity Blues if he is not already on it!

After the debacle on Monday I suggest that anyone needing a good laugh access the TED talks site and listen to his speech on creativity. In fact, Moyes and Round should go and listen to inspire our laboured pedestrian football.
Ed Fitzgerald     Posted 29/11/2008 at 09:01:19   Comments (9)

The Team and the Manager

There are glaring faults within the team ? both players and management... the main ones being the Manager doesn't seem to be able to manage and the team doesn't play football.

There are a lot of unhappy players at the club, get shut of them now. Arteta wants to go to Madrid; let him go. He has contributed nothing to the side since the Fiorentina match last season. Yak has done his season and a half... fuck the lazy twat of to Spurs.

Lescott has been tapped up by Arsenal who allegedly offered £12m for him in the summer; sell as he is back to his old ways and allegedly mixing in the wrong circles again.

With the money from this, Kenwright can fuck off Moyes and Round and start again; sooner or later he will have to. Moyes is like a bottle of milk left out too long ? only fit for throwing down the drain. He is tactically impaired and as for his choice of assistant, McClaren and the Batcodes are hardly great references.

I am waiting for our annual humiliation at Spurs where once again we play them on a Sunday... no Keane but I bet Bent scores. Last season we were lucky, the football was still dreadful but the defence was solid; not so this year and our luck is quickly running out.

It is not pleasant being a blue and is getting worse by the week.
Paul Goodison     Posted 29/11/2008 at 07:31:14   Comments (13)

Who will go down?

It won't be Hull, Spurs. Newcastle, Wigan, Fulham, Sunderland and probably not Blackburn or Stoke. I'm worried. I feel this brand of football, tactical ineptness and players in with low quality such as Hibbert, Osman, given that our apparently better players are currently appalling too, the future is very bleak.

Arteta I cannot stand, I?ve put up with his dreadful set-pieces for way too long, why doesn?t Moyes change it. The man (Moyes) has not learnt a thing in 7 bloody years. Also what does Cahill offer if he doesn?t score?

We are in a bad bad bad situation in a dated, wooden stadium with restricted views. I really fear for this season, the luck has worn out, and thanks to Kenwright for offering this amazing contract for a guy that hasn?t won anything as a football manager, we are in for some hard times. It saddens me after supporting Everton since 1977, but I can see us becoming another Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, or Coventry City.....
Joe McMahon     Posted 28/11/2008 at 12:28:27   Comments (26)

The leaving of?

A few days notice was all we got and without so much of a by your leave Toffeeweb up stakes and shoot off to another platform.

No canvassing of the supporter base, no vote, no nothing. Here today, gone tomorrow... and we can either like it or lump it.

Has bitterness resulting from another Everton related vote put the kybosh anything democratic ever happening again? Nonetheless it behoves me, on behalf of TW's regulars to ask these pertinent few questions.

Is this new platform inside or outside the city?
If it is outside the city boundary how far outside is it?
Will it attract more or less visitors?
Can it handle any hoped for increase in internet traffic?
Will mailbag views be restricted? ie: Tony in full flow?
Is it a state-of-the-art platform or merely the best we can afford?
Was consideration given to alternative sites?
Was it not a feasible to rebuild the current platform?
What about our ?istry??

We can only trust that Michael and Lyndon really know what they are doing. By the way, is it too late for a KTWIOC campaign?
Dick Fearon     Posted 28/11/2008 at 06:03:46   Comments (5)

Outplayed I can Handle, Outfought is Criminal

I have read a lot of articles lately which state that David Moyes is to blame for the recent shortcomings of Everton.

Whilst I don't doubt that Moyes has made mistakes over the last few months, I simply can't believe that the performance on Monday night had anything to do with these mistakes.

We weren't out-played, we were out-fought. We have far, far too many egos within our squad. Mikel Arteta in my opinion must go. His attitude is one of the worst I have ever seen in a blue shirt. The frustrating thing is he has the ability but he doesn't use it.

Another culprit of this is Mr Lescott. He thinks he is far better than he is because of a few England call-ups. Let me remind him that they won't continue if he is repeatedly seen as an embarrassment for this club.

The third and potentially the worst in terms of effort is Yakubu. I don't want a goal machine that gives away as many as he scores because he simply can't be arsed.

Give me 11 Nevilles, Jagielkas, Howards and Vaughans any day if it means that I never have to witness anything like the 3rd division standard rubbish that I saw the other night,

Moyes has to make some big decisions in terms of who he plays because some players are massively getting above their station!
Chris Smith     Posted 27/11/2008 at 17:35:25   Comments (13)

Maybe she's right

So I took the girlfriend to the Ireland v Argentina rugby game over the weekend. She was happy enough. You know how girls are with rugby ? not a notion what's going on but transfixed by the tight tops and the like. Anyway, it was shocking stuff; a terrible game of ping pong. I apologised to her. She was upbeat because, well, you know how girls are with rugby?

So yesterday at lunch she suggests the cinema. ?Hmmm? I say, ?but the Toffees on the TV tonight?. Slightly miffed but eager to show she's a cool girlfriend she agrees to tag along. So I meet her in the local at five to eight. I order a pint and settle down. A few of the other guys giving me mental high fives (you know, ?how did you convince her that this was a good idea? ? you da man? ... that sort of thing)

The game kicks off. Saha is played in by Yak. Fine save by Kirkland. "Ohhhhhh!" she screeches, "good save!? "Er, no hun, Everton are in yellow tonight" I explain...

The game continues. I remain relatively upbeat. I explain that Wigan are a rubbish rubbish side and that Everton should really do the business, it just takes them a little time to settle sometimes. Then after about half an hour of utter dross, she opines, from nowhere: "They're terrible at kicking aren't they, Everton?"

?Huh??

?I mean every time they kick it they do it wrong??

And then it hit me. She was 100% spot on. I mean she hadn?t a clue what she was talking about really, but on another level it was the most concise piece of expert summary I had ever heard?

She soon followed this little gem up with "that guy on the right, the blonde one, why does he keep giving it to Wigan?" I began to lose heart at this point. Half way through the second half she piped up "My he's good looking?" "Yeah? I explain, ?that's Arteta - he's Spanish.." "Why does he kick the ball straight to the goalkeeper so often?"

Frankly her line of questioning had completely rattled me. As the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion and she became more and more engrossed in her text messages I finally snapped. "Right we're off ? I?ve had enough!? As I walked by the other lads watching the game I had to apologise, "I'm sorry hun, that'll never happen again..." They looked at me knowingly...

Thanks to that shower of good-for-nothing wasters who last night disgraced the same Everton shirt that my childhood heroes Ratters, Reidy and Sharpey wore with such pride I will now be going to Colin Firth's latest offering next Monday night. And you know what; it'll probably be more entertaining...
Jer Sweetnam     Posted 25/11/2008 at 10:26:30   Comments (6)

One-dimensional

After another dismal performance last night which exposed what has been seen for most of the season its time Davey was brave and tried something different.

Clearly at the moment he's trying to accomodate as many of our big players as possible although at the moment this is leading to a complete lack of blend within the team. We currently have no power in the middle and have no width and its no wonder the forwards are looking a little lost and the defence are lumping things forward.

It seems teams have worked us out now with our one dimensional play and were finding it increasingly difficult to break teams down. Surely its time we worked out who is the best pairing in the middle and then played some proper width. Is there nothing in the reserves as playing Cahil / Osman / Arteta wide is making us narrow, congested and easily defended
Mat Asbo     Posted 25/11/2008 at 10:34:48   Comments (7)

David Moyes; read this

Yes, I know that he probably doesn't come on here but writing this will make me feel better.

To start with some basics. How is it possible that Moyes doesn't realise that the 4-4-2 of last night doesn't work? All 4 last night were shite. Cahill only works in a 4-5-1. He used to at least score goals , now all he does is contrive to miss simple chances.

Arteta seemed to play for about 10 minutes last night. The rest of the time you wouldn't have even noticed that he was on the pitch.

We had no width. This is a basic for football teams.

They used to say feed the yak and he will score. I prefer, don't bother feeding the yak because the bastard cannot be arsed and is playing for a transfer. Yak and Saha doesn't work.

How many times is Lescott going to get caught out at left back? Better to maybe play him as a left sided midfielder, he cannot be any worse than the current shite.

Substitutions. Moyes doesn't seem to understand that you can utilise 3 of them and that you don't have to wait till the 85th minute. Someone should buy him an alarm clock that rings on 50 , 60 and 70 minutes , you get the principle.

Oh and , whilst I am ranting , it's called football, not fucking hoofball. How many times did we hope and hoof last night?

Our results have papered over the cracks but last night was dire.

Finally, Felatio. Is Moyes stark raving bonkers? How can he have cost £15m? I see better players in the Blue Square Premier.
Jonathan Tasker     Posted 25/11/2008 at 08:36:33   Comments (13)

Everton tonight

Am divorced not living with my boys but took the chance to take them to see the lads at an away game. We are season ticket holders and I thought it would be a treat. We agreed that the line up is our best possible 11 and having braved the weather and enjoyed a beer followed by cold chips we took our place in the North stand which could have doubled as the North Pole. Cold.

The football was garbage, both teams rubbish and we have a few contenders for "get me out of here". I posted on here after the England game last week and how those I noted would have been a welcome addition. Both full backs were poor, "the best little ..." well god help Spain, "Feed the..." well he looks like and acts like he has been well fed. Victor is not a right winger, Leon needs to get off the floor, and Wigan were not that good.... Where does Tiny fit in?

As for tactics, they were well moved during the game, but surely, Wigan? Not Chelsea/Arsenal, no apparent plan no width, and free kicks and corners WTF? Think a bit if time in a cold dark room is needed as on tonight's showing we have a few issues.

Last year, the team confounded my usual view that they lose because they are lazy bastards, but tonight they did not look like a team or individuals who gave a fuck. There are exceptions, of course, and others will view it a different way.

Tiny Tim looked gutted at the end, Tim in goal was really good, but we are along way from going forward and having bought tickets at £60 plus for the boys and me, having travelled, had the obligatory beer and chips, adding in the programme, it was a big effort for me (and a packed stand of loyal committed Evertonians) and i wonder about the same effort on the pitch...
Ian Smitham     Posted 25/11/2008 at 01:18:30   Comments (34)

The Dark Days of David Moyes

Tonights defeat by Wigan is not as bad as it appears. They are not the worst side in the league. Defeat by Portsmouth and Blackburn... well we weren't really prepared after a tough summer. A few lucky wins, well we were due a bit of luck. Let's face it, we are shite.

The apologists for David Moyes ask if we would like to go back to the dark days of Walter Smith. Yes, I would, and here's why: Walter Smith kept this club in the Premier League with absolutely no money. Unlike David Moyes he is a proven winner. Now I know there wiil be those who say he won a two horse race.

Let me dispel that myth once and for all. Having lived in Glasgow, I can say that managing Rangers or Celtic is one of the toughest jobs in football. Look at Paul le Guen, Alex Mcleish, Tommy Burns, John Barnes, Kenny Dalgleish, Liam Brady, Lou Macari; all struggled in Glasgow and all with better pedigrees in football than David Moyes. Moyes is judged in comparison with a manager who relatively had nothing to spend.

At the moment we are paying superstar wages to a coach who has won nothing and who will never win anything. If your club is in trouble, send for David Moyes. If you ever aspire to good football or success then forget him.

In the last six years we had a chance to, financially, really create a decent side. We got close but Moyes and Bill Kenwright were not the men to take us there. I believe that David Moyes is an obscenely overpaid coach who is no longer fit to manage our club.
Andy Crooks     Posted 24/11/2008 at 23:05:36   Comments (37)

Same old same old

Apart from a succesion of corners at the start of the 1st half and the Saha chance on the break (which he should have done better with), we did absolutely nothing in tonight's game, the players looked devoid of any ideas, only Howard comes out the game with any credit.

What bugs me is why was Cahill playing on the wing? What does Baines have to do to get a start ahead of Lescott? Where was Vaughan?(he needs to start ahead of Yakubu cos he's just not producing the goods). Arteta is contributing nothing to the team ? either drop him or switch him to the middle so he can get more into the game!!! And what was the point of taking Neville off and switching Jags to right back and sticking with 4-4-2 when were chasing the game, would have made more sense to have gone 3 at the back and putting Baines on the left wing and switching Arteta to the middle and Osman out to the right wing or if Moyes had any balls brought Lukas on and gone 3-4-3!!!

But we all know come the Spurs game on Sunday nothing will change it'll be SAME OLD SAME OLD!!!
Yusuf Bobat     Posted 24/11/2008 at 22:47:19   Comments (12)

Not Everton

For all of you that have just witnessed that performance at Wigan, I have no answer. I, just like you, am sitting here absolutely bemused by what I have just seen. I have no idea why we played like a second division team.

WHY are all these great players we have playing this way?? Did Chris Kirkland have a save to make?? I stayed up all night to watch THAT!! I have made all and sundry here in the Maldives support EVERTON, after that I'm embarrassed... What the fuck went on there??

Sometimes I really think Marshy's right: every time we think we have proved him wrong, we go and throw in a performance like that. What is going on??
George  Brooks     Posted 24/11/2008 at 21:56:07   Comments (24)

Wigan Game

Live match comments...
Michael Kenrick     Posted 24/11/2008 at 20:06:44   Comments (163)

Change Of Kit Makers For The Blues??

Heard a whisper a while back from a friend who works in the ticket office that we changing kit manufacturer. I was told it might be Nike. Upon reading this link, it looks as though we have signed a deal with Le Coq Sportif!! It kind of all makes sense seeing as though we are getting shut of all 3 first-team shirts at knock down prices.
Andy Ferguson     Posted 24/11/2008 at 13:56:54   Comments (14)

Everton's last home postphoned game?

Can anyone settle an argument as to when the last postphoned 1st team home fixture at Goodison Park was?

I think it may have been in the 2000-01 season against Leeds around Christmas time. My mate thinks it was against Liverpool more recently.
Jim Clarke     Posted 24/11/2008 at 11:22:15   Comments (5)

Goal at Goodison....

With all the despondency and negativity I've felt this season, I have lost some of my passion and interest in the club. I don't know if this has happened to a lot of fans or if it's just me. Match days just don't mean as much as they used to. Yet somehow, I have spent the weekend really looking forward to sitting down tonight with a cuppa to watch the game. It's weird because I haven't felt like this since the opening day of the season. I'm not complaining though, it's really nice to feel this way in the run-up to a game.

It got me thinking... and the one thing that has stuck with me all season is that little buzz of anticipation I get when I hear a commentator say the phrase "Goal at Goodison". That couple of seconds of a wait while you get transferred over to the reporter at the ground, trying to gauge if that's the home support or away support that's cheering before he speaks, that elation you feel when he says that it's the home team that's scored. I know, I know... I'm 34 years old, not six, but in a way it's comforting to know that I haven't become that cynical about things just yet.
Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 24/11/2008 at 10:31:15   Comments (7)

A more realistic assessment

I thought some of the comments from Moyes today were pretty accurate. (See the lead story on the homepage, that contains some meaty quotes from the Moyesiah).

Seems he was allowing himself to be a lot more realistic about the team and their limited achievements so far this season, which certainly gives me hope that he does have both higher standards and higher expectations than we have heard up until now from him, or from his more protective apologists on here.

Gone the excuses (well, almost: "I think people realise we work from a slightly different position to other sides"... Uh?) and there is more of a positive focus on what the players should be achieving under his expert guidance.

And the comments from everyone and their mothers about the Prem being predictable... is it just me or were the results this afternoon something of a surprise? Liverpool unable to beat Fulham? Chelsea unable to beat The Toon?? Man City 3-0 over Arsenal??? And Boro getting walloped at home by the mighty Bolton?

If only it was enough to excite me once again....
Paul Hardcastle     Posted 22/11/2008 at 17:34:54   Comments (26)

Merchandise Price Crash!

Just in case anyone hadn't noticed, the prices of all Everton merchandise have been slashed. Official kits are on £14.99 for adults!!! Whilst I am really happy that I can get the away top so cheap and also other items, I am really annoyed that I paid £45 for the 3rd top Just 7 days ago and as I wore it on the weeekend it is to late to take it back. I assume the tops are just not selling as no other club has reduced their top prices.

I hope I have helped many Evertonians have a very Merry Christmas by pointing out this great saving opportunity.
Scott Jenner     Posted 21/11/2008 at 20:01:09   Comments (25)

What happens to out of city stadiums

Interesting story on the BBC website about Juventus's plans to move from a 'souless out of city stadium' built in 1990 back to a smaller stadium built on the grounds of their old home...
Ray  Said     Posted 20/11/2008 at 19:38:10   Comments (71)

Born a Blue

The Club were sent a song called "Born a Blue" by a group of local musicians and have made a clip available on the Official site to gauge the fans' reaction.

Take a listen to this MP3 and then post any comments you have about the song below.
ToffeeWeb Team     Posted 20/11/2008 at 18:01:29   Comments (33)

In Profit

We sold Johnson and McFadden for £18 Million nearly and bought Fellaini and Pienaar for £17 Million.

Then the Sky money: £40 Million, finishing 5th: £12 million and Carling Cup and Uefa Cup runs about £2.5 million ? plus all the other add-ons like sponsorships, early season ticket sales and shirts... Were is all the money???

Can anyone tell me?
Gary Davis     Posted 20/11/2008 at 10:40:22   Comments (40)

England tonight

I was not really bothered about the game tonight, booking the tickets for Wigan was a miles higher priority, and excellent service from the club on that account.

But I could not help but notice a few players aside from the "gallacticos" who may well add to our team/squad and wondered what others felt about them. Downing gave left-hand width, Johnson at right back looked solid and very fast and, Upson looked strong and confident at Centre back. These seem to me to be areas we have to address quickly and, without being FM, they would all be making a career move upwards, so, what do you think?

Of course, finance is an issue but we have players who could be given up to facilitate any moves and, again I wonder how people feel in this respect.
Ian Smitham     Posted 19/11/2008 at 23:13:37   Comments (15)

Cahill CLEARLY not fit

Just watched Cahill play ¾ of the game for Australia's World Cup Qualifier. Similar to his recent games for the Toffees, he just can't seem to get into the game. Reports have suggested he's struggling with injuries to his foot, it's painfully obviously SOMETHING is not right.

What I don't understand, is why doesn't he just take the break he needs? Sure, he's been out a while, but SURELY we're better off having him playing in less games, and scoring goals, than we are more games as a passenger??? Fellaini can play his role quite well in his absence, and might force us to bring on and develop Rodwell/Castillo which could be a good thing.

Can anyone understand Moyes's thinking in playing him when he's clearly not up to it at the mo?? Wouldn't have thought it was from lack of options....
Dennis Karanikolopoulos     Posted 19/11/2008 at 22:05:57   Comments (12)

Save Our Liver Birds

Liverpool FC have caused a storm by applying to register their city's iconic Liver bird as a trademark. (The Guardian)

Wasn't the Liver Birds first used as an emblem by Everton on commemorative medals? And isn't it used by the City Council on their letterheads? And made famous nationwide by Nerys Hughes and Polly James? How then can they even contemplate granting a trademark for the red Shite?
Eric Myles     Posted 19/11/2008 at 08:30:00   Comments (30)

Kirkby or Bust!

Mr Elstone has painted a stark picture on the future of Everton Football Club. Our future now lies not in the hands of David Moyes or his players but firmly in the hands of Government officials.

Regardless of whether Kirkby is a good or bad move for the supporters, it appears that the club is in such financial straits that a failure to move will condemn the club to playing second or even third fiddle to our traditional rivals. Now of course Mr Elstone could in many ways be over-egging the pudding and the Kirkby question may not be as central as he makes out; however, his utterances are not helping potential investors to be persuaded of Everton Football Club?s value.

In an environment where even the most ardent supporters of the club are struggling to sustain their passion for the club and its team, it is worrying that Mr Elstone is the latest member of the club's leadership to wave the white flag, an act that is hardly conducive to improving the feeling of despair that many supporters and perhaps some of the staff feel at the moment.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 18/11/2008 at 22:56:30   Comments (49)

Moyes Fined

I See David Moyes has been fined £5000 for his outburst against Stoke, how dare he have the nerve to question a wrong decision! Seems to me the FA have done this to save face... after all, imagine the scandal if they let him of! I thought he was justified and kept within the boundries of acceptability when he spoke to the fourth official. Wonder what Fergie would have got away with.......?
David  Denby     Posted 18/11/2008 at 15:00:59   Comments (21)

Everton ? The Slow Pass Masters

It has been said enough times now about how our beloved Everton are a team no neutral fan would want to watch. We don't pass too well most of the time, the exaustive "hoof ball" comments etc. The fact is we are a very slow moving team. I am not talking about pace, but about movement and passing. This too has been mentioned many times, but the one thing that winds me up about our boys more than most is a common reason for the slow passing. Actually you can split it into two reasons:

1) Every time the defence and most of midfield receive the ball, they feel the need to take a touch before laying off an easy pass elsewhere. It frustrates the hell out of me. They can't be so uncomfortable with the ball that under no pressure they need to stop the ball rolling before they can move it on. You watch next time, it happens constantly throughout a game.

2) Switching play: Believe it or not, we do actually switch play from one wing to another. The difference between us and other teams is that we will always take about 5 minutes to do it. There are no 30- or 40-yard one-pass switches to a man on the other wing, no not us. We will pass short between 3 or 4 players to get to the same spot, at which point the player "in loads of space" now has very little space... I guess this is the point where a "hoof" is the only option.

Fantasic stuff. Sky don't need to replay our swithces from wing to wing in slow motion because they already are: Short pass... trap ball... short pass... trap ball... short pass... trap ball (nearly there now)... short pass... trap ball (Oh no, someone's marking him now, best get rid of it).... HOOF!!!!

Tell me, am I wrong?
Gareth  Mercer     Posted 18/11/2008 at 08:57:03   Comments (28)

Everton vs West Ham

Someone please send this link to our board and ask them how can it cost the Hammers 50 million IN LONDON to expand their ground from 34,000 capacity to 50,000 and increase revenue by 12 million and our lot say doing the same at GP will cost more than Desperation Kirkby!
Eric Myles     Posted 18/11/2008 at 08:40:22   Comments (9)

Playing through the pain

Do players ever play well when they are injured? Cahill has apparently been troubled with a heel complaint in recent weeks, which help to explain his poor form.

Moyes says "He had injections before the game and he was desperate to play, that?s what we like about him." (!!!) Don't worry about the damage, eh Davey? ?It?s not directly related to his foot problems in the past, but it?s maybe been a result of the way he has had to be rehabilitated and change things around a bit.? So he may need an operation but that has not stopped him flying out to Bahrain for Australia?s World Cup qualifier. Am I the only one to find this astounding considering his recent history?
Paul Hardcastle     Posted 18/11/2008 at 07:05:11   Comments (11)

Show me the way to?

I've said it before and the Boro game reinforced my opinion that the attacking third is a foreign country to our lot and we do not speak its language. In my opinion, the problem and the answer can be found on the training ground and with the ingrained philosophy of our coaches.

The playing careers of our entire coaching staff was based on their ability in breaking up and not creating attacks. We need to appoint someone to counter balance ex-defenders Moyes, Round, Holden and Stubbs ? someone experienced in cracking open defences.

Who can the likes of James Vaughan ask for advice when none of his advisors have ever played in his position?
Dick Fearon     Posted 17/11/2008 at 21:22:09   Comments (19)

Destination Kirby Car Parking

Yes I know this is another post about DK and I'm sure people will moan, but I got told something this Sunday while I was parking the car to attend the match that astounded me and made me angry....

I was talking to the guy who runs the Stanley Park Car Park, and he told me, last year Tesco wanted to charge Everton £16 per car park space used on a match day by supporters.... and that doesn't take into account the car park being managed by someone, so people could be looking at around £20-£25 per game just to park!!

Just like most of us thought, Tesco are just in this to make as much money out of us supporters as they can, they just want to fleece the supporters out of as much money as they can.

To put that into perspective, at £16 per space and say 400 spaces are taken, which would possibly be a conservative estimate, that's £6,400 profit for Tesco per game just on a car parking spaces, that's around £120,000 a year just from Premier League games, that doesnt take into account cup games, Europe etc....
Ashley Woodstock     Posted 17/11/2008 at 19:06:33   Comments (21)

An aerial perspective

On the subject of tactics & formations, does anyone have any thoughts on the position managers take up during a match. Let me expand: I sit in the upper Gwaladys Street and therefore view the game from an aerial perspective; as such, you tend to see how games are panning out ? opposition formations, weaknesses, strengths etc etc. The point I?m coming to is that, all too often, the fans see (more than the managers) how games are panning out. This I believe is due to the fact that most managers sit on level with players and basically all they see is bodies moving.

Might sound bollocks really but what's your thoughts?
Garry Martin     Posted 17/11/2008 at 14:06:20   Comments (23)

Arteta

To all the Arteta fans, can you not see the amount of times he gives the ball away, holds on too long, misses an opportunity for a pass or shot, runs into trouble, fails to send in a decent cross from a dead ball, takes a poor free kick, or passes to other players who are marked? What ever excuses you may have for this passenger (I happen to think it's a question of ability) the fact remains that he shouldn't be on the pitch.

We can't afford to carry players who are not only not contributing but are a liability. If Moyes had any bottle he would drop him (sell him altogether would be nice), but we all know he won't. Leighton Baines could fill the void as someone who can cross a ball as well as defend, tackle and get down the flank. Alas, if he can't get in the team now, he never will.
Andy  Hegan     Posted 16/11/2008 at 20:39:31   Comments (74)

Chris Woods

I know he is the keeping coach and way back when he was a damn good keeper BUT who exactly does he talk to on his mobile phone?? Every time the camera went to the bench he was sat there talking away with his hand placed so you couldn't see what he was saying.

WHO THE HELL IS HE TALKING TOO???

Maybe it's a players wife??? ? just a guess... Please people, tell me what the hell he does that for???
John  Audsley     Posted 16/11/2008 at 18:46:08   Comments (10)

2 points lost or 1 gained?

Just over 31,000 braved the winter sunshine to watch the game at Goodison today.

It was one of them strange performances (again) where it was 2 points lost or 1 gained depending how you viewed the performance.

The first half was disjointed but we could have been well ahead or indeed behind by more than the single goal. Second half saw an improvement but nowhere near the dizzy heights of last season. Make no mistake, this time last year Boro would have got a good hiding.

There is something not quite right about the players this time around, attitude, body language determination especially at Goodison.

In turn, the crowd seems completely apathetic apart from sporadic moments. It has nothing to do with Carsley not being here, I think there is a deeper malaise, which Moyes alluded to a few weeks ago... Namely, January sales are likely to see more players leaving than arriving.

One of the most partisan crowds in the country have been all but silenced, but why?

Perhaps the summer of discontent has carried over and the fans are saying ?you can?t be arsed? so neither can we.
Whatever the reason it needs addressing and soon.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 16/11/2008 at 17:05:54   Comments (43)

Wrong team?

Ok, the game hasn't started yet but Moyes looks to have picked the wrong team to me. Cahill and Screech in the centre of a 4 man midfield? They are way too similar and no one will protect the back 4. Also no Pienaar and Yakubu back in alongside Saha who looks far better on his own up front. Moyes clearly has his untouchables (hello Tim, hello Yak). Let's hope my fears are totally misplaced.
Gareth Hughes     Posted 16/11/2008 at 12:53:18   Comments (40)

No headless chicken

Having watched Match of the Day tonight, I regret even more the sale of Andy Johnson. At the time of his sale, I posted the comment that he was the only real pace we had. Some supporters commented that he ran around like a headless chicken.

Sometimes, that looked the case but I believe that was entirely due to the tactics we played... and still play. A back-pass to Howard, an aimles punt up the field, and the hapless Johnston chasing the ball to the touchline. 4-5-1 only suits when Cahill is fit and playing well. In Cahill's absence, AJ had a thankless task which he stuck to admirably.

I accept that money had to be raised and we have bought Fellaini who I think will prove to be an excellent signing. I feel, however, that a proper summer strategy would have allowed us to keep AJ. Money was raised by the sale of James McFadden and surely we could have developed the side without selling a player with undoubted pace and commitment.

AJ was judged at a time when he was not fully fit and I am pleased that this player who give his all for Everton is showing that, in a team who play to his strengths, he is no headless chicken.
Andy  Crooks     Posted 16/11/2008 at 00:29:50   Comments (30)

The Inextricable Link

Everton and Liverpool. Everton vs Liverpool. Two clubs, one city. In England no other city can boast two clubs with such success or auspicious history. Everton?s nine league titles and five FA Cups is enough to be getting on with, let alone what Liverpool have achieved in the last forty years. But them sharing a ground?

Not wanting to give a history lesson to all you well schooled fellow Blues, but we are inextricably linked to Liverpool like a flat mate you loathe but can never evict. I believe they were the first two club city rivals to fight it out in an FA Cup final. When Liverpool fans got English clubs kicked out of Europe, Everton were the biggest losers. When Liverpool fans were tragically killed at Hillsborough, who did they have to play in the cup final?

Going back further, Everton once inhabited Anfield and their fans would have stood where the precious Kop does now. Then in modern times, wasn?t it ironic that we should deprive them of fourth place in 2005 and that their last minute goal against Standard Liege should ultimately condemn the latter to having to sell Fellaini to us and, much worse, putting the Belgian outfit in a tie to eliminate us?

Some of our best players in the last thirty years donned red; Beardsley, Watson, Sheedy and eh?Abblett. Amusingly, going the other way doesn?t seem to be so fruitful; Barmby, Xavier (I won?t count Steve McMahon as he went to Villa in between) And that?s not to mention all the Reds who were Blues as kids; Rush, Fowler, Owen, Gerard.

It does rather smart when Liverpool fans make out that the only derby they care about is the one against Man Utd. This is Liverpool trying to pretend they?ve outgrown their old foe. And this is the problem and one of many things that suggest a ground share won?t happen.

Since the nineties, Liverpool have started looking down on Everton. For a few years in the eighties they couldn?t do this but their role as the last of the ?big four? means they see Everton as a poor relation. Their arrogance is quite breathtaking. They are critical of Everton?s players and style yet, in the last four years, have thrice been within three places of them in the Premiership despite Liverpool having spent more than thrice as much on players.

But can you imagine Everton fans going up to a ground every other week where there?s a statue of Shankly outside? Or Liverpool fans doing the same with William Ralph Dean staring back at them? Who would inhabit the new Kop end on derby days? Plus both sides will have to play on a ground that could be reduced to a local park pitch if they are in Europe on a regular basis. They?d be playing four games a week on it at some points of the season.

However, all that said, if Everton do move outside the city boundary then it?s us who moved out of the flat, thus leaving our annoying co-inhabitant to play ?Gerry and the Pacemakers? as loud as he wants, paint all the walls red and have Mark Clattenberg around for Paella whenever he wants.

It might be better the Devil you know. It might be time to move in properly with our cocky and annoying younger sibling and remind them who their real rivals are.
Andrew James     Posted 15/11/2008 at 19:46:31   Comments (23)

Should we gloat or should we worry?

Listening to Geoff Snelling on Sky today he made a throw away comment about 'maybe Liverpool will have a fire sale at Christmas?'. He was referring to comments about their financial position and the massive debt they had. Obviously big nose doubted it would be needed but tellingly said that, at worst, it would only affect the fringe players.

What both men know, but can't disclose publicly, is that Liverpool are in serious deep financial trouble. The following is not pub gossip, or from the postman who knows somebody's cat, but from secure reliable, in-the-know, financial sources.

The LFC debt is increasing beyond their control; they are in a worse position now with an interest increase of £40M alone on the loan made by the yanks. This is without any inroads into the £100M+ debt that still stands separate from the yanks' loan. Add to that the secure info that the banks will not extend the yanks' credit and that they must find a 3rd party to take on their debt.

People are desperately trying to keep the information out of the public domain for fear of a second Leeds United and a 'run' on the club. If they don't qualify for the next phase of the CL, then it will all come out and the proverbial will hit the fan.

So... should we gloat or not? The heart says yes but the head's not too sure. If Liverpool go pear-shaped then we will probably be tarred with the same brush in terms of 'the financial position in Liverpool', and where will that leave us in our desperate need for a new stadium? (Please don't suggest staying at GP; it's completely unrealistic and unacceptable to many, myself included).

Equally, as the shared stadium continues to raise its head, if it happened, would they agree to a 50/50 split? I personally doubt it and whilst they might be financially up the creek, in their position the argument will be that they are the greater attraction in terms of investment. They have the greater track record and the higher profile and ? as much as it pains me to admit it ? it's true.

All this leads to problems of raising finance ourselves when a club of their stature is in such deep trouble. So... should we gloat? Well, whisper it quietly but I'm secretly ecstatic!!!
Jim Hourigan     Posted 15/11/2008 at 15:40:19   Comments (24)

In the Pink...

A number of things stand out in this bizarre piece of propaganda from the PR man Ian Ross on the Official Everton website.

First, these hugely inflated prices can be found in the Megastore at £44.99, ouch!

Second, the ones found on ebay have already been purchased via the club so the charities are not losing out at all.

Third, what he says regarding the ebay entrepreneurs' character is libel.

Fourth, "They are greedy, self-serving and callous individuals who will be rightly condemned by every decent, right-thinking supporter of Everton Football Club." ? Oh right, cheers, you may as well have put 'End of' at the end of that sentence. Sorry that I may have had a differing opinion.

Fifth, Any purchase from ebay is a contract between two willing individuals.

I just don't like being told what to think about what goes on in the world, let alone by the club, by the PR machine. We don't live in a free society and my many European friends here in London, especially the Dutch, are amazed that we think we do. We're all being pushed one way or the other to think the same.

Given the press on Drogba midweek, I'd have thought he stabbed someone! Oh, right, a coin was it... when I finish the read I'll do as I'm told and PANIC and be ashamed of him, and this must never happen again!

Maybe Ross is annoyed because they don't want Evertonians thinking you can purchase something expensive and sell on for a profit... that would never do.
Nick Entwistle     Posted 15/11/2008 at 11:11:07   Comments (68)

Moyes busy playing computer games!

Everton?s video game manager

Anyone got any ideas of how this is going to work? We have signed a deal that allows us to use Football Manager to scout players. Does this mean we can talk to their scouts or we are the only football team that is allowed to play the game?

I'm not sure what I think of this, I know when I was playing it in about 2000 there was a quality young player by the name of Berbatov that I always used to buy and he smashed it up big time. Wonder how his career has gone?
Craig Taylor     Posted 14/11/2008 at 11:45:56   Comments (43)

Results or Performance

Well there has been plenty said on here in the last few weeks about how poorly we have played, how inept David Moyes maybe tactically and with substitutions and how we shouldn't let good results "paper over the cracks".

So, regardless of your expectation level for the club, ignoring if you will any off-field shenanigans just for a few moments what would you rather — results or performance?

My personal opinion is that the two are not mutually exclusive — we should play better than this season's games suggest we can. However, I will merrily go all season WITHOUT any sort of performance, as long as the results stay as they have been for the last 4 weeks.

Do you agree?
Lee Hind     Posted 14/11/2008 at 09:44:58   Comments (7)

The Share Option?

It keeps popping up... and it keeps getting knocked down. The idea of sharing a stadium is not something that appeals to either set of fans but the recent cataclysmic changes in the financial world have possibly created a new environment for the "economically sensible" solution to both clubs' stadium problems. Keith Harris thinks it is worth exploring: "Why not? Technology today can turn a stadium from blue to red in the flick of a switch." ? but is this ever going to be a realistic proposition?

No matter how bad the financial situation gets, the bad blood between the fans would seem to be the insurmountable hurdle... We've had the debate a number of times before, I know, so perhaps this time we could focus on the element that has changed this time around ? the new financial situation that is fraught with huge uncertainties. Does it actually change things... or not?
Michael Kenrick     Posted 14/11/2008 at 05:21:24   Comments (79)

Peter Eastoe - LOL!

Peter Eastoe (no I don?t think it was THAT Peter Eastoe) recently commented on this website for the first time in a very long while. I immediately recognised the name not only because he shares it with an ex-player but also because he was one of the posters to this site that really made me laugh out loud. I have included a link to his submission and for those of you who might not know or remember the maligned David Jones, he was a real ?anti-Moyes, Mr. Angry? back then. BTW Is David still contributing?

It just got me thinking what ?one-liners? on ToffeeWeb have made anyone else laugh out loud?
Brendan McLaughlin     Posted 13/11/2008 at 23:13:40   Comments (15)

Up And Coming Talent!

Just seen an article in the Guardian which lists the top 20 young English players aged 18 and under. I was very pleased to see Rodwell and Baxter listed and rated quite highly in the article.

What was most pleasing and not that surprising is that Liverpool dont have any listed at all. Which makes me wonder would I be be happy to go down the route of paying money for young foreign players who may make it (fabregas etc) or to stick with our policy of producing the next Rooney,Vaughan,Anichebe etc.

Having thought about it I am happy with our policy and proud of how we do things.
Andy Ferguson     Posted 13/11/2008 at 15:26:06   Comments (29)

Happy Al's

I just want to mention the disgraceful behaviour of some of our fans observed while travelling to away matches on Happy Al's coaches.

First of all, there is the stealing from service stations. I saw one lad steal a remote control car (at least it was blue!). Also, while at services there is the abusing of staff and god help if there are any other football fans around. Well, ANY kopites you see deserve it, of course. But this stealing, perpetuates what everyone outside this city seems to believe ? that scousers are all thieves ? as well as not looking too good on our club.

Secondly, and more importantly, the racist songs and abuse that takes place on the coaches. Going to places such as London and Birmingham, where there is a higher ethnicity rate, the coaches become extremely racist and include songs about Adebayor. Apparently "his dad washes elephants and his mum's a black whore" ? their words, not mine. Then they sing racist songs, followed by songs about our black players such as the Yak or Yobo.

I was just wondering if anyone else has had the pleasure of travelling with Happy Als!?
James Wright     Posted 12/11/2008 at 11:22:25   Comments (80)

Everton Supporters Club Malaysia

To those who don't know, ESCM is an active group of die hard EFC supporters out here in Malaysia. ESCM have in the past donated to various causes in Malaysia with the collaboration of EFC.

We also have our own football academy (non-profitable) which trains young budding players on Saturday mornings. We've had coaches from EFC who came over sometime ago to impart their knowledge of training methods to our coaches and players. We have a lot of good souls who run this academy for free and sponsors like This is Planet Football who donate gear and apparel for the players. Yesterday, ESCM Football Academy U17 team beat the Indian U17 national team 4-0 in a friendly match.

I'm not the voice of ESCM nor am I an active member of their operations and activities but I am an Evertonian and I always will be. I just would like to state how proud I am of these selfless people who give so much of their own time and money for the love of a club far far away. The famous saying that Evertonions are born not manufactured comes to my mind. To Roshan, Slick, Shah, Bing, Amir, Ivan, Prav and all of you at ESCM, I salute you! COYB!!
Karl Saegaran     Posted 12/11/2008 at 07:36:56   Comments (5)

David Moyes & Segundo Castillo

I'm on here to defend David Moyes. I accept he has his weaknesses, ie insisting on bringing James Vaughan on for 7 mins at home to Fulham and drawing nil-nil. However, I still feel he is in the top 5 managers in this league and our loss would most certainly be someone else's gain.

People criticise his tactics for being too negative; however, last year we were best of the rest in the Premier League despite our limited spending. This is due to Moyes's tactics. People have a go at our formation but this formation suits our personnel and we never look as good when we try and play a different formation.

And I would also like to mention Castillo. Many Everton fans have been calling for his return to the starting line up. Having seen him play on several occasions, I would rather Rodwell continued to get the nod before him. He is quicker, his positioning is better and he will develop into an even better player in the future. Apart from his goal against Liege, Castillo has looked an average player, who offers extremely limited cover to our defence. COYB
Chris Horsfall     Posted 11/11/2008 at 23:16:21   Comments (47)

No Sale!

According to the BBC website Keith Harris says the sale of Everton is 'unlikely' in the current economic climate and that the "The demographics of Liverpool as an area are not hugely compelling."

So not only do we have our beloved manager for the next 5 years, it looks like it will be some considerable time before Bill Kenwright can let go of the reins.

Ah well... there's always the beautiful football to keep us happy.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 11/11/2008 at 20:09:46   Comments (66)

Get Real!

Do all those people here on Toffeeweb who constantly show hatred towards David Moyes because of his style of play really believe that if he sent his team out playing neat and tidy, short passing football we would get the results we need? You only have to look at our opponents on Saturday to realise that we wouldn't because we are simply not good enough. There are only 3 teams in this league who can play attractive football and get results and unfortunately Everton aren't one of them. The rest have to do it the best way we can.

Admittedly, the quality of football at the minute is crap and I'm not for one minute saying we should accept this level of football all the time, but for some of you to claim it has always been like this is a bare faced lie. I do believe Moyes will get us playing an acceptable style of football (like he has done in the past) very soon but for Everton to play a decent style of football and get results we need to be playing with confidence.

Unfortunately we have not started the season with confidence so Moyes is trying to get this back by winning games whatever way he can. There is no doubt Moyes is one of the best managers at getting the results needed to finish in or close to the European places (4th, 5th, 6th and 7th in six years prove this) and I hate to say it but unless we receive some serious money, this is all we can seriosly hope for.

Now before some of you start saying, "why are you accepting second best" the answer to that is ? I'm not, I'm just being realistic. It hurts me as much as anyone to know my team can't realistically finish no higher than 5th but it's the same for every team except the top four and without the big money it's not going to change.

At the end of the day I will accept the hard fought, ugly wins and some decent football along the way if it means finishing 5th. Rather than play neat and tidy fancy football and get beat 4-3 and end up finishing 5th from bottom.
Lewis Austin     Posted 11/11/2008 at 15:45:50   Comments (53)

An apology

Dear fellow Evertonians

I feel I must apologise for ruining your Saturday afternoons, sunday evenings, whatever. The reason for this apology comes from when I realised this weekend, that I am a jinx on Everton.

For many years I've watched Everton lose and play badly either at Goodison, various away grounds or on tv, but never before has my jinx been so profound as our last 2 games.

Living in the Netherlands, I get every single Everton game live on tv and I've watched all our games thus far this season and we've been terrible. Against Man U, I was so demoralised, I turned it off just before we scored.

I turned it back on 10 minutes later to find out we had scored and were all over them. Then, slowly, passes went astray and it was back to the usual hoofball.

I turned off after three-quarters of the match against West Ham in absolute disgust and rage. Turns out that immediately after I had turned off, we scored, and again, and again. I found out the final score on this site afterwards.

So here it is... can I never watch Everton ever again? Do I have to take one for the team? I'm not going to watch our next game as an experiment, it's a stupid suggestion I know, but so is Phil Neville in midfield.
Dean Johnson     Posted 10/11/2008 at 18:03:46   Comments (30)

Showboating

As a keen reader of the output from ToffeeWeb Towers I have recently noted the discussions regarding the hoof ball played by Everton at times this season.

Now I can't confess to being an avid watcher of Soccer am, however, I have noticed this season that making a very regular appearance in their 'Showboating' section is Mr Pienaar and Mr Arteta and this weekend they were both in it, the only other player making such a regular appearance is some kid called Ronaldo.

So the touches must be there?

More of the same, please, gentlemen.
Paul Fuller     Posted 10/11/2008 at 17:19:25   Comments (43)

The Entertainment Industry

Tony Harsh's latest hit piece on David Moyes, entiltled The Peoples Snub, makes the dubious claim that football is part of the entertainment business. It's a statement he made following two successfully drab 1-0 wins on the bounce. Whilst his articles are always a must-read, and I for one find them entertaining, on this he is totally missing the point. That football is a tough, physical athletic challenge, which just happens to be entertaining to those who choose to watch it.

So bad was it that he considered spending his money elsewhere, rather that being bored at Goodison. Now, at the risk of stating the obvious, our football over recent weeks hasn't been pretty but, in terms of the contests, it has been effective. When a team is struggling, and confidence is low, other qualities are required; concentration, tenacity, bottle and fight. In short: pragmatism.

Sitting, as we were, in and around the relegation zone prior to the Bolton match, how Marsh can expect School Of Science wonderment is beyond me. There is no law that requires football to be entertaining.

Confidence leads to flair play, and you can't expect that until the side starts a useful winning streak, which has to be ground out in what were stressful circumstances. Maybe against Boro' at the weekend, an early goal might reinforce belief, and the confident swagger will return.
Kevin Hudson     Posted 10/11/2008 at 12:28:44   Comments (32)

The “Handcuffs” Celebration

I was interested today to see in the news another professional football player displaying the "handcuffs" celebration we all seen done by Tim Cahill last season in support for his brother while he was in prison.

This recent celebration was done by Ipswich midfielder David Norris in support of his goalkeeping friend Luke McCormick who was jailed for 7 years for causing the deaths of two kids last year when he was driving under the influence of alcohol

At the time of Cahill's celebration I could sort of understand his situation and he rightly defended his choice of celebration in a statement but also apologized to the family of his brothers victim.

This latest celebration by David Norris I found very disappointing giving the situation and once again demonstrates how some footballers are quite clearly "brainless" when observed in public.

I just wonder if this incident will come back to haunt Cahill; I am also interested in the actual celebration itself. Has the "handcuffs" celebration been done before Cahill done it or was he the first?
James Byrne     Posted 10/11/2008 at 12:05:39   Comments (23)

The season so far?!

No one can debate the fact we have been below par, but if you look at the table today, and add in the two more wins, we would have expected at home against Pompey and Blackburn, we would be fourth! To me this shows how weak the league is out side the sky 4, even if you include the likes of Villa Spurs and City, who have spent big!

It says, if we had got the right people in, or the right people at the right time (we will find out), during the summer, then we could have made a real challenge for fourth this year! But I feel we have dropped a bollock big time. Hope Moyes can move on and prove us wrong!
Chris Riley     Posted 09/11/2008 at 19:13:34   Comments (37)

Middle East Connections

There has been recent speculation that Everton Football Club are up for sale to any bidder meeting Bill Kenright's fairly exacting sale terms and codicils... ie. that any new owner respect EFC's History and traditions.

It was with some interest I noted in The Mail on Sunday of a dinner at Scott's restaurant attended by Sir Phillip Green, Amanda Stavely and Simon Cowell. It is common knowledge that Sir Phillip Green is a trusted confidante and allegedly a financial adviser to Bill but has no further interest in EFC. It is also a fact that Amanda Staveley has recently brokered the sale of Manchester City to a Middle Eastern oil magnate. Does this intimate dinner constitute enough evidence to further fuel the rumour that EFC will be sold to a middle Eastern client of Staveley in the immediate future? And what is Cowell's connection to Bill? I consider this remotely interesting and worthy of debate.

By the way what is David's secret in keeping Louis fit when MUFC with all their resources couldn't get him fit for consecutive games?
Francis Munoz     Posted 09/11/2008 at 18:26:23   Comments (6)

Tim Howard. One of the Best

I've just seen an article on the official site regarding Tim Howard. Apparently his record is less than one goal a game based on these stats:

			Games	Goals Conceded 
Tim Howard		100  	99 
Neville Southall	100	102 
George Wood		100	108 
Gordon West		100	113 
He is currently in better form than even the great Nev Southall. He has his detractors, but I think this stat shows we have a great keeper between the sticks. Keep it going, Tim!!!
Steve Guy     Posted 09/11/2008 at 15:13:23   Comments (28)

?Daylight robbery at Upton Park?

Why the embarrassed headline? You wouldn?t use this title on a Sky4 club website. They expect to find goals however poor their performance. How often have we had a ?good? 75 minutes against these teams only to be taken apart by their strikers? Message ? get yourself some quality strikers if you want to get anywhere. Then look in the goals for and against column.

What?s the difference between Nasri?s ?great? deflected strike (according to Sky) and Saha?s winner? Nothing. So why is our goal ?lucky? while Arsenal scored a great goal? West Ham missed their few (very few in the second half) good chances and when they did strike well met a keeper on top form. That also is allowed in a good team. We hung in, didn?t concede a second goal ? and didn?t look like conceding one in my view, despite the headline ? and were always in the game as a team that can usually find a goal. And we did. Plus a winner. Plus a superb bonus goal.

So let?s have a more balanced headline, such as ?Everton quality in front of goal turns game in last quarter?.
Peter Hall     Posted 09/11/2008 at 09:44:07   Comments (52)

Live footy is killing me

Wow! That was some finish to a game...

Unfortunatley, I was by that point totally brain-dead, after having suffered through another 80 minutes of pure Premier League shite. It comes to something when watching three fantastic late goals totally steal a lost cause does not even excite me any more. I think the only solution is to stop watching the games live, to await the result, and then relish the rare moments of glory that constitute the match highlites.

Sod the other 89 minutes!
Paul Hardcastle     Posted 08/11/2008 at 17:21:03   Comments (68)

Team for West Ham

I was just hearing that Cahill and Arteta are doubtful for West Ham due to injury. Together with Fellaini, that puts a big hole in our midfield... However, I do believe it may give an opportunity for Rodwell, Castillo and Baines to figure.

I have been puzzled by Baines's exclusion ? particularly with Lescott's indifferent form. Having said that, I have advocated for some time that Baines may be more suitable as a wing back to give us more width with Pienaar on the right flank.

In a 4-5-1 formation, which I think we should go for, that would leave Osman, Castillo and Rodwell in the centre. If Arteta or Cahill are fit then I might put them in ahead of Rodwell but feel that Osman and Castillo should play anyway as it won't do any harm for Mikky or Tim to be "rested".
Jay Harris     Posted 07/11/2008 at 18:09:47   Comments (205)

Football! It's a funny old game!

OK, how am I thinking about Evertons season so far ?

The answer is I really don't know!

On one side, I really think that, despite the fact we have been poor, we could have easily got more from every game that we hadn't won! For example, Blackburn on the opening day, Portsmouth, Hull, Arsenal and Man Utd!! Let's say an extra 6 pts and in 4th place ahead of a big 4 team and Villa with a great owner, manager and start to the season who have had a great start!! We are also only 1 point behind where we were at this time last season.

Happy days? Could have been... but I'm only papering cracks!

I went to Cuba for the summer and as sad as I am I checked the internet every day (still on dial up in Cuba so it took ages). Every day thinking "We'll get Moutinho tomorrow" became "We'll get Arshavin tomorrow" became "We'll get someone tomorrow" became "We got Carlo Nash yesterday"!! WTF!! Moutinho to Nash in 3 moves!

We have all been moaning about how we have been playing, we had the lowest attendance for 7 years last Saturday ? it even felt empty!! Anyhow, we have won 7 pts out of 9 and things are looking healthier in the league than they were a fortnight ago. We beat Bolton in injury time after a terrible game and beat Fulham at home (after moyes got the tactics horribly wrong again) only in the 87th minute.

If those game had finished a few moments earlier or we hadn't got lucky we would now be on 11 pts, -6 goal difference and on the cusp of the relegation zone with Spurs and Newcastle improving.

Let's not pretend. We ought not be happy being safe from relegation so don't let your mindsets slip to that level. It is awful to know that I watch MotD knowing full well that I will see Wigan, Hull and Stoke playing better football than us but at least we know were in safe hands???
James  Cadwaladr     Posted 07/11/2008 at 01:15:37   Comments (18)

Yes, but who've they played?

In this mailbag I read arguements everyday..."Everton are hopeless" versus "but we are doing OK". I see both sides of these arguements. On the one hand we are not playing well. There is not much good football to be seen. But on the other hand we are 7th and 5 points off Villa and Hull.

If what we are saying is that the football can only get better, I just hope that means we keep climbing the table as well.

If you look at arguably 4 of our biggest rivals and who they have actually played, it might put things into perspective. Below are our rivals and ourselves, and how many of the current top ten they/we have played:

  • Arsenal - 2 teams from top ten (none of the "Sky 4")
  • Aston Villa - 4 teams from top ten (2 of the "Sky 4")
  • Man City - 5 teams from top ten (2 of the "Sky 4")
  • Spurs - 6 teams from the top ten (3 of the "Sky 4")
  • Everton - 5 teams from the top ten (3 of the "Sky 4")
Whilst Hull are up there and have to be classed our rivals, I can't bring myself to inlcude them in this exercise, although they do count as a top ten team played.

The point I am making is that Arsenal may be top of this pile but who have they played? Ourselves and Hull!! I believe this makes them vulnerable in the lead up to Christmas. Look at Tottenham! They may be six points behind us but they have already played 6 teams currently in the top ten including three of the big ones. Don't be surprised by their rise into contention.

Let's focus on us though. As I said, I see the point about our poor displays. But I also see that we have played almost half our games against teams who occupy the top ten. There are others around us who have the more difficult games coming up. So with a bit of improvement in our play, solid displays at the back, and a bit of luck, we could be right up there by Christmas, and it wouldn't surprise me one little bit.
Gareth Mercer     Posted 06/11/2008 at 11:12:23   Comments (14)

Good players bad coach?

Look outside the top four and see how our squad compares to the rest of the Premier League. We have some players who, at their best, are pretty decent players...

  • The Yak is a proven goalscorer with crap teams. At a decent side he'd be a great player, at least the equal of Anelka.
  • Arteta is a class midfielder, playing, in my view, out of position.
  • Lescott is an England centre-back totally devoid of confidence and playing out of position.
  • Yobo is an international centre back who would fit into most teams in the Premier League.
  • Baines is an attacking left back, comfortable on the ball,and a good crosser.
  • I've seen Dan Gosling play and believe me he looked a future international.
  • AvdM, Vaughan, Anichebe, Baxter, Turner, Rodwell could all fit into many Premier League teams.
So why are our good players devoid of confidence and playing second-rate football? Well, it must be the coach. Since Irvine went, I believe Moyes has been exposed as the very limited coach he is. He earns an obscene salary for what he has achieved. This is not envy but realism.

Our squad are being wasted. Hoofball must surely be the fault of the manager. This season will be the tightest relegation battle ever. We will be in it. Bad players or bad coach? You decide...
Andy Crooks     Posted 05/11/2008 at 15:25:13   Comments (60)

Segundo Castillo?

This was taken from the official site:

Moyes is backing Segundo Castillo to make an impact with the Blues. The Ecuadorian, who joined on loan from Red Star Belgrade in the summer, has found first-team opportunities hard to come by in recent weeks. But following his run-out for Andy Holden's reserves on Monday, Moyes assured Castillo he is very much in his plans. ?He is fine now,? said Moyes. ?Segundo did okay in the games he played, it?s just I have been looking for something different recently.?
Perhaps he was injured? Nobody really knows or I wonder does Moyes not rate him when he says he wants someting different. I hope he plays against West Ham as Fellaini can't play.
Tom Campbell     Posted 05/11/2008 at 14:31:04   Comments (24)

James Vaughan and Cardiff

Cardiff have just had two of their outstanding strikers; Jay Bothroyd and Ross McCormack injured, and their chairman said specifically they want to loan a Premiership striker.

Anyone agree that striker should be James Vaughan? Should give him a lot of match practice in a decent level of the game, with Cardiff also going very well in the Championship.
Ben Jones     Posted 05/11/2008 at 12:08:10   Comments (21)

Premier League Survey

The premier league are doing a survey of fans (or are we customers? Stakeholders? Informal shareholders? Exploited idiots?) The link is on the Everton FC website I think.

It is a chance to express opinion of the modern game but the questions leave only small space to comment on the petulant cheating babies who now play the game, the crazy set-ups that lead to predictable outcomes every year, the ticket prices that exclude most people, the constant feeding of crap to the media for them to add more crap to it and....etc etc

Jesus, I forgot how much the modern game gets up my nose these days. My moods and opinions swing every week and I get immersed in some pointless and meaningless issue like whether Tony Marsh was fair in his latest post. But then this survey comes along and I realise that on the whole, I hate the modern game with a passion and am still a Blue in the same way as I become a catholic if someone asks me my religion before an operation.
Ged Simpson     Posted 05/11/2008 at 08:22:23   Comments (3)

Moyes & his super subs

Well another match passes, we get another 3 points, allways nice, but how many are happy with the drivel that we are constantly being fed?

Our motto of nil satis nisi optimum should be hidden off our crest at the moment, as what we are being subjected to is nothing more than a disgrace. WE DESERVE BETTER, a better run club, a better new stadium within the city boundaries, better management & better performances from a load of overpaid prima donnas.

For too long now, we have sat back & watched Moyes make mistake after mistake, be it team formations, team selections, but to watch the match on saturday v Fulham & see the pitiful way our subs pan out (Saha excluded, he should of been on from the start), how in the world can you take off Pienaar, a wide midfield player & replace him with a centre forward who in my opinion is nothing more than a poor-man's Heskey is beyond me.

I don't know what Baines has done to upset the Moyesiah, but wouldn't it have made more sense to swap Arteta to the right as he was totally ineffective on the left & to play Baines as an out-and-out left winger. But surely this is too simple, surely the groans of 31,000 when the change was made should have told Moyes that he hasn't got a clue what's going on.

Now I know there's going to be fellow blues who will read this & will state that 2 clean sheets & 6 points is all that matters, but translate our motto ? "nothing but the best will suffice" ? seems a long long way away from recent performances. As I've already stated, WE DESERVE A LOT MORE THAN THE DRIVEL THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY BEING SERVED UNDER MOYES!
Gary Lawler     Posted 04/11/2008 at 23:17:21   Comments (36)

Hoofball

To stop the hoofball tactics, isn't this a common sense way to deal with it: the way I see it is there are never options from midfield for the centre-backs to pass to, so instead they hoof the ball up. Now, I suggest to have one holding midfield player staying back ALL THE TIME, always looking for the ball when the centre backs have it.

I mean, you can see it with other teams, Chelsea had Makelele now Mikel, Arsenal have Fabregas (even though not his effective position) and Man Utd have Scholes. These players always drop back to pick up the ball.

At this moment in time, I think Castillo is the answer. He is a decent passer on the ball, is always looking for the ball, and doesn't go forward too often. But why isn't he playing? He did play for the reserves though.

I know people may be thinking that Moyes should see that, but it keeps on happening, and as a huge Evertonian watching all these games, there is just absolutely nobody free for the centre backs to pass to.
Ben Jones     Posted 04/11/2008 at 18:10:26   Comments (19)

Lescott / Yak - Frustrations!

As a season ticket holder, I try to be as positive as possible about our players, and certainly don't jump on their backs unless really necessary. Out of our whole squad there are two of our highly rated players that are relly not cutting it.

Firstly Lescott; the man has an incredible amount of ability, but has individually been at fault for several goals that we have conceded this season. My biggest problem wth him is that when playing full back he stands off and waits for the player to make the move, instead of getting his foot in like any good defender would, which has ended up on numerous occasions with quality ball into the box, and a goal.

He also appears to lack concentration, and a genuine desire to play his heart out. Take Jagielka for instance, the man fights for every ball, tackles hard and could never be accused of lacking enthusiasm. My views are, if someone where to bid in the region of £10 million for Lescott, then I think we could buy a decent young left back and a cover centre back, and have someone who is willing to fight for the shirt.

Now to my second gripe. Yakubu. The man undoubtedly is an excellent goalscorer, and did have me believing last year that his overall play and work rate was to be applauded. This year every time he gets the ball, within a few seconds, he is throwing himself to the floor like a he's been snipered to try and get a free kick!!!! What's even worse is the refs sometimes give it! There is no need what so ever for what he does, and I should certainly hope that Moyes does not encourage this.

I'm all in favour of getting your team an advantage when ever you can, but the Yak does this when he is one on one, or as he has a decent run on goal ? the fact he is built like a brick shithouse must surely mean he should use his strength and stands a great chance of actually making something of these opportunities. It really, really pisses me off when I have to watch him fall over like a tart week in week out. Surely I must not be the only one who sees this as a problem!!!
Chris  Dwyer     Posted 04/11/2008 at 15:31:19   Comments (11)

Exiled and happy to be so

I am a self-exiled person in Southampton, I choose to live here despite being an massive Everton supporter. In my younger days I had season ticket in the Gwladys Street for about 15 years and I missed it like mad. So, as part of my 40th, I thought I would take my partner and my two girls to watch Everton against Fulham. I was quite convinced that she would be impressed as she is a Southampton supporter and has made me watch that shite on a number of occasions.

So looking forward to the match that we left Southampton on Friday moring and drove to my parents home, where we would spend the evening and leave early on Saturday am without the kids to watch the "sure fire winner" and sink a few beers in town before staying overnight in Liverpool... fucking cracking day I thought!

How wrong can somebody be!?! I mean, Phil Neville wrote an article saying we had turned the corner and our season started now!!! I seriously hope not! The game was dire, with the exception of Peanuts, Yobo and Osman; we were a side that looked worse than the teams Smith assembled! Yakubu cannot get off the ground, Cahill looked lost, Arteta... well he was his usual piss-poor self, Screech looked poor, Roger was shit scared of getting the ball, Neville just hoofed it.

Half-time I thought it could not get any worse, she was taking the piss and she supports Southampton!! Second half: worse, yes worse! Who holds the button with self destruct? They were clearly pressing it on a number of occasions. Eventually, with 5 mins left, we score... fantastic! We win and I have watched what can only be described as "drivel" ? and we have 5 more years of this crap.

For once, and for the moment, I am glad I am exiled in Southampton and I will certainly not be rushing to watch another game. Hopefully we will get better but, with that lot, I seriously doubt it.
Chris Perry     Posted 04/11/2008 at 13:05:17   Comments (27)

4,000 goals at Goodison Park

According to Ian Doyle's report in this morning's Daily Post: "The French striker stepped off the bench to net in the 87th minute to secure a narrow 1-0 triumph over Fulham.

It was Everton?s 4,000th top-flight goal at Goodison and opened Saha?s account for the club following his summer move from Manchester United."

Can any of the numerous stattos confirm this as the case?

My grandad put a bet on in 1928 that we would score 4000 at Goodison before Christmas this year!

Only joking! I was just interested.
Anthony Dyer     Posted 03/11/2008 at 21:37:47   Comments (18)

The curse of the number 9 shirt

I think that I have this stat correct but the last time that an Everton number 9 scored a goal from open play in the premiership, was on April 20th, 2005 when a certain Duncan Ferguson netted against Manchester Utd at Goodison. Since then James Beattie, Duncan Ferguson and until the Fulham game, Louis Saha, for 3½ years no-one scored in a number 9 shirt.
Ajay Timothy     Posted 03/11/2008 at 20:17:14   Comments (19)

Everton to finish sixth

I?ll come back to the prediction in a minute. I just want to suggest that the main features of this season are fairly clear already.

The Premie League consists of the Sky 4, then a group fighting for Uefa Cup places, then a group of Middlesbrough-like teams... and lastly relegation fighters. The second group has been more open than the Sky 4, but involved three of the last four years have been Everton, Blackburn, Bolton, Spurs and Villa (?the five?), with Portsmouth and Man City getting two mentions (ok West Ham at a stretch). Nobody gets four mentions ? all have had one bad season.

Spurs apart, the five have had settled managers who have found a way to play and stuck with it. Bolton and Blackburn don?t have this any more and won?t challenge; Everton and Villa remain; Spurs have had a very bad start. Of the pretenders, Portsmouth won?t sustain their position post-Redknapp, Man City applied their new-found wealth too late for an impact this season, and we can forget West Ham. And Hull.

Unless Redknapp can remake Spurs immediately as Uefa Cup contenders, Villa and Everton will occupy the positions immediately behind the Sky 4. We will be in a two-horse race with Villa for fifth which we will probably lose due to Villa?s better start. We're very likely to finish with 55-59 points. Seventh position will be some way below in the low 50s. There?ll be ups and downs on the way, but that?s how it will finish. Everton are now one of the predictable consistent clubs in the league.

Well, we can re-open the question in May. Meanwhile I?m going to offer this contribution to the Newcastle United website in their 'big club' section.
Peter Hall     Posted 02/11/2008 at 22:36:10   Comments (34)

Que Saha Saha...!

The lack of goals for a large part of the game against Fulham left me stating this line in disgust. The game itself came at a good time for us with Cahill back and the team playing with a reasonable level of confidence after a good week.

The team sheet though was a surprise with 4-4-2 quickly dropped in favour of the old 4-5-1. AJ was back at Goodison for the 1st time after his summer move and rightly was given a good reception. We started the brighter of the two teams and seemed to settle down to a good tempo of passing the ball on the deck. Arteta started on the left with Pienaar on the right but they switched flanks from time to time during the game. Fellaini who seems to be coming into his own was looking composed on the ball unlike when we first saw him. Cahill was looking a little out of touch and his usual brand of accuracy was missing. The back four were making some last ditch clearances when needed and it seemed that it would be just a matter of time before we went ahead....but that just never came in the 1st half.

Pienaar's passing was sloppy compared to his usual self but even at that low level, he was valuable to us. Play in the final third of the pitch left a lot wanting with move after move coming to nothing on the edge of the Fulham box. For Fulham, Bullard was showing how he keeps the Fulham midfield ticking with some good passes into AJ and Zamora. Fellaini hit the post with our best effort of the half but we really should have been ahead by a couple of goals at the break.

The early second half was actually controlled by Fulham and we were indeed fortunate to not pay dearly for our 1st half shyness in front of goal. Zoltan Gera( who was on his way to Goodison in the summer!) hit the post when he could have only scored and then later on Zamora hit the post from a rebound. Howard did well to deal with some sustained Fulham pressure. Saha came on for Fellaini surprisingly as Moyes looked for a goal. Anichebe came on for a tiring Pienaar later on and finally Vaughan came on for the Yak.The match seemed to be heading for a frustrating draw and more cursing from the fans when a cross from Osman on the right found Saha who steered the ball into the net... Goodison heaves a sigh of relief

Positives: Another clean sheet, another 3 points, momentum, confidence

Negatives: Failure to put away teams when we dominate them, Cahill's inaccuracy with headers today

We travel to Upton Park next weekend without the services of the Big Fella(ini)... really hope we can go back to 4-4-2...we really need to get Castillo back on the field, unless he is injured. He actually looked better than the Big Fella in the game they both played together and look how well the Big Fella is doing now. I could go with 1-0 wins till the end of the season but someone may have to take care of my stomach ulcer from the nervous endings!

Onwards and upwards.COYB


Santosh  Benjamin     Posted 02/11/2008 at 15:51:14   Comments (16)

3-5-2?

Shocking to see so many people still bemoaning the blues despite a draw with the European Champions followed by two victories (performance counts for nothing if the points aren't on the board, ask Wenger after the Stoke game).

A lot is being made of the Carsley dilemma but an idea I've been throwing around is perhaps switching to a 3-5-2 formation? This allows Yobo, Jags and Lescott to all play 'centre back'. Neville right mid/def, Baines left mid/def. Arteta plays the 'holding' role as he did at Rangers. And no, before that gets shot down, holding doesn't mean get it and hoof. He could easily pick up the loose balls and start spraying them around. He's got a good enough work rate to cover a lot of the field so he doesn't need to sit in our half either. That would allow Cahill and Felly to get forward knowing they're covered. Both will have superior goal tallies to Arteta and yesterday showed by taking Felly off he doesn't trust both of them in centre midfield to be disciplined enough not to leave space if we need a goal.

We then have Yak up front with Saha or perhaps stick Pienaar in mid and Yak alone up front etc. It would give us options. Oh, and what does Vaughan have to do to get on the pitch?!
Ben Houghton     Posted 02/11/2008 at 10:12:15   Comments (24)

Remember Cahill's Header ? Portsmouth (H) last season?

2 wins in a row. 2 clean sheets. No midfielder with any chance of being taken off, no matter how poor they play. Moyes would rather bring on a striker for a midfielder than risk playing any of; Castillo Van der Meyde Gosling Kissock Wallace & Rodwell...

I'm shaking my head wondering can I really blame him? Our first team midfielders are in poor form. The second half of the MU game was an exception to the rule. Our strikers are not even missing any chances ? they're barely getting any!

We've got little option but to sit through matches like the last two, watching few chances and being left to hope for moments of quality like Osman's assist to Saha. So here's to hoping for more flashes of execution & brilliance because i certainly am not expecting it.

About the title - I can't fucking wait until Tim Cahill scores at Goodison again!
Jerome  Esterhazy     Posted 02/11/2008 at 09:27:00   Comments (11)

Carsley

Any chance we could get Carsley back on loan until the end of the season?

Three points at the end of any game is all you can ask for and yesterday we got all three. However, I think our defence is seriously missing the cover Carsley provided.

It's affecting our strikers too, who now appear nervous going forward because Carsley isn't there to cover them if they do make a mistake or the play gets broken down.

I am hoping that Castillo can come in and take up that mantle as it appears that the rest of the squad is struggling to adapt to life without a true defensive midfielder.

If Castillo or Rodwell aren't upto the task then I wonder if we can send out an SOS to Carsley to help us out until the end of the season?
Mike Ferguson     Posted 02/11/2008 at 02:35:26   Comments (15)

Snatch Harry`s hand off

I heard on the radio that Harry Redknap is poised to make an 18 million bid to bring the Yak to White Hart Lane. If there's any truth in the report, should such a bid be resisted?

Throughout his career, Yakubu has been a prolific scorer in the months leading to Christmas, but he invariably vanishes round about January. This season he's been shocking, his admirers will blame the system, but whether we've gone with 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 he's regularly missed the sort of chances a top striker would bury. He's made some crucial errors which have lead directly to the opposition scoring, in fact he's actually cost us more points than he has gained for us. Remember, this is BEFORE his customary New Year dip in form.

I believe the Yak will score a few before this season's over, but I also believe than when the goals are tallied up, even the much maligned AJ will have scored more, despite missing most of the season so far AND playing for a supposedly inferior side.
Dave  Wilson     Posted 01/11/2008 at 20:14:56   Comments (46)

Who will replace Arsenal?

Listening to the national call-ins tonight, everyone — including Gooners — seems to feel that the mighty Arsenal are a spent force.

Now being the ultimate optimist, I would like to think that the run we`re on will be the launchpad towards re-gaining that fourth spot. However, I am enough of a realist to know that we have given ourselves an awful lot to do. So who is it going to be ?

Are WE really good enough to make it?
Richard Dodd     Posted 01/11/2008 at 20:46:56   Comments (3)

Today's attendance

Just back from today's match, which I was grateful to win despite another dire performance. I was wondering why 4,500 fans made it to the Reebok on an arctic night in midweek but only 31,000 turn up for today's home match.

Now I know it was a 12:00 kick off and live on Sky, i know it's only Fulham and there's a bit of a recession brewing, but why such a poor attendance when the away following is holding up so well? Does it really have anything to do with the style of play ? in which case why do so many continue to travel away?

I'm genuinely perplexed and believe that this trend seriously undermines the case for a new stadium.
Ray Robinson     Posted 01/11/2008 at 17:18:52   Comments (57)

Osman

Well, after watching today's match I conclude that Hodgson has done just as much with his team in 9 months as Moyes has done in 6 years in terms of the shape of the team and its style of play.

On the plus side, I thought we tried to play the ball on the ground and we retained possesion for longer and that, despite all the criticism he gets, is down to playing Osman in the middle. Osman proves you don't need to be a dirty bastard to play the holding role... you just need to use your brain, keep your positional sense and pass accurately and quickly to feet (gives the opposition less time to knock him off the ball as well!)

The defenders also know they can pass the ball to someone in front of them that should be able to control the ball instead of hoofing it up to the strikers

Crap match though.
Iain McWilliam     Posted 01/11/2008 at 15:39:36   Comments (36)

So we are back to 4-5-1

Just seen the team news and we have reverted back to a 4-5-1 formation with Cahill replacing Saha the only difference from the midweek game. Is this really the best way especially when we are at home and against Fulham who have the worst away record in the Premier League at the moment!!?? Why not give Vaughan or anichibe a start??
Danny Lizars     Posted 01/11/2008 at 13:15:50   Comments (60)

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