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The Coleman Gambit

By Keith Glazzard :  08/04/2010 :  Comments (42) :
Seamus Coleman is having a very successful loan out at Blackpool, possibly a lot better than that. And that's good management from Moyes. Off the bench, gaining valuable experience and enjoying his football.

But what happens next? He wants to stay to possibly put them into the PL. In which case, if permitted, he earns his spurs as a PL first team player — by right of conquest. He is then recalled to Goodison, to do what? Watch Phil Neville for a season or two?

This must be a serious moment for David Moyes to ponder. I reckon it's a very 'Where are we going?' moment.

Who said it got it exactly right — Neville's place is in the dugout next to the boss. Coleman's is on the field, rampaging down the right. That should keep The Jag where he should be, doing it better than almost any other — covering.

So how is David Moyes going to face what I would say is a challenge to his selection policy? No doubt Phil Neville is there even before Big Tim. Coleman's success at Blackpool has to make him think again — and Moyes is a thinker not a back four thug. It's a very hard call for him. A twist or stick moment.

I have read pro- and anti-Moyes posts on this site for many a year now, and mine have been in the 'I prefer a fight for Europe than against relegation' camp. But I think my favourite manager is in a chess game which is making him very uncomfortable. Given freedom, Coleman is forcing the issue. And I just have this feeling that the way Davey sorts this out is going to be very important for us.

Personally, I think these things are mulling over in his mind, and he will wait until 20 minutes to go to make any changes.

Reader Comments

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Mike McLean
1   Posted 09/04/2010 at 05:48:16

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Assuming both Nev and Coleman remain fit, a lot then depends on the quality of their pre-season.

There may be a similar quandary when it comes to Cahill and Bily.

These are the tough choices that a Manager is paid to make. One thing is certain, when Seamus has a couple of falls from grace, we can expect to read on here about how good Nev used to be etc.
Andy Peers
2   Posted 09/04/2010 at 05:57:59

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I have said it before on another link but next year our first 11 should be

Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jags, Baines, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Donovan, Yakubu, Saha.

The only doubt is Donavon because he is not ours yet , but I think that should become a priority

People may doubt the Yak but I feel he wil thrive on the skill of the midfield and Saha would probably be the same.

The funny thing is that the majority of the team that we have played throughout the first part of the season would be on the bench... now that is good Depth in a squad!!

I do think we need one more Quality Striker and I believe Darren Bent would be a perfect fit , also cover at left back. Why did we get rid of Nuno Valente Anyway?

Second 11: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Senderos, Distin (left back) Osman, Bily, Cahill, Neville, Anichebe, Vaughan .... This Team could probably beat the bottom 6 Teams in the Premier League.
Andy Peers
3   Posted 09/04/2010 at 06:19:34

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By the way, I forgot to say that we sold Rodwell and Gosling to raise funds to buy Donavon and Darren Bent.
Martin Mason
4   Posted 09/04/2010 at 08:28:53

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It's a good point but that is why Moyes gets the big bucks, he has to solve these things. I believe that Managers are overly conservative and stick to favourite players when they are long past their sell-by dates. Often it is an injury which forces their hands.
Dick Anderson
5   Posted 09/04/2010 at 08:40:26

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Seamus Coleman again? Seriously? We have nothing better to do then continusly debate the ability of a left back whose career so far consists of a few decent performances in the Championship.
Brian Noble
6   Posted 09/04/2010 at 08:54:38

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My bet is that Captain Pip will line up at right-back next season and that Coleman will again be shipped out on loan. Scottish leopards and all that...
Peter Wilson
7   Posted 09/04/2010 at 09:55:22

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Keith, I think you are right to highlight this as one of our key issues going in to next season.

For me, Neville has been terrible since he came back from injury earlier this season into the right back slot. He offers absolutely nothing in possession, gives the ball away more than anyone else in the team and as a result we rely far too heavily on our left hand side. It would be great to be able to attack teams down both flanks more often. However, it could also be argued with a decent right winger, or Donovan back, Neville may not look so limited.

I think DM's dilemma will be to decide whether the team can do well without Neville's leadership and all round influence on the pitch. Many people argued that it was him we missed most when we he was out for 3 months or so following that tackle at Fulham. We do look short of leaders on the pitch at times but we have Jags back and also maybe the likes of Heitinga can step up now he has established himself.

Obviously Moyes will watch Coleman carefully for the remainder of this season. I really hope he does start next season in the first team. However, we have all got to remember that he has only played about an hour's worth of football in the Premier League, he is bound to show some inexperience, suffer some dips in form, and it's how he deals with that which will tell us more. He is still only potential and nothing more.

The very least that should happen is that he should play more games — but I fear the reality is we will still have to put up with Neville for parts of next season.
Tony J Williams
8   Posted 09/04/2010 at 09:58:54

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To be fair though, Brian, our results since Neville has come back are not to be sniffed at (more than likely the coincidence of Pienaar coming back also).

Coleman is a young talent and looks to have potential but we have yet to see what he is like defensively and that's what he is initially there for. We don't get to see them in training and possibly he is inferior to Neville in that sense, obviously vastly superior in the going forward stakes.

I think that, as we are so desperate for success, we will grab onto any straw that presents itself but it will be business as usual on here if Moyes plays him and he starts to be the reason for conceded goals, the usual "We knew he was gash, why is Moyes playing him" gang will be out.
Dan McKie
9   Posted 09/04/2010 at 10:32:05

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Tomorrow will be a good test for Coleman. Blackpool go to Newcastle, who still have a lot of Premier League players, including an Argentine international left winger facing him. If he shines as much in that game as he has done in the others, then we might have something worth talking about.
David Thomas
10   Posted 09/04/2010 at 10:56:37

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It's a funny old game football. I remember a few years ago a young Everton player out on loan at Derby and loads of fans saying he should be in our first team he is running the show for Derby etc. That lad came back and for most of his time in the first team for us most fans have been saying he is not good enough, he can't take us to the next level etc. Step forward, Leon Osman.

Why don't we put a bit of trust in David Moyes and let him manage the lad the way he thinks is best, seeing as though none of us have really seen too much of the lad wheras David Moyes sees him in training on a daily basis.

Do you really think David Moyes would choose not to play him if he honestly thought at this point in his career and development that he would make the first team better?
Tony J Williams
11   Posted 09/04/2010 at 11:04:37

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Dan, the problem is that Newcastle are already promoted so they will be in party mode, possibly playing lesser players.

Could go one of two ways, not be arsed or play brilliantly because the pressure is off. It would have been more of a test if the game on Saturday would have been the one to secure promotion, that would have been interesting.
Eugene Ruane
12   Posted 09/04/2010 at 11:04:04

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Keith, you say the loan is/was "good management from Moyes"

Disagree.

I feel Coleman should have gone nowhere.

I think he should have been played in a few games for us before the season was over.

We weren't going to go down, we had as much chance of a European place with him as without him, in my view he should have been getting valuable PL experience.

To me the reason he's not playing for us right now all down to Moyes's..erm.. 'Presbyterian' outlook.

(Sometimes I picture DM standing naked in the Highlands, in freezing rain, reading the 'Guid Book' and muttering "excitement is the devil's work").

It's not often in the PL you get the chance to 'experiment' during the season, but I feel we DID have this opportunity but missed it.

When PL players and managers talk about players being 100%, you always hear them say "you've got to get games" and "I need a few more games".

They don't mean "He needs games for a lesser team in a lesser league"

I'm no Moyes hater, but this side of him twists my melon man.
Matthew Tait
13   Posted 09/04/2010 at 12:29:08

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I'm starting to wish we'd just sell him so I didn't have to read a post every day about how he's the saviour of our team...


Look, he's a promising full-back. That's it. Moyes will take a look at him in pre-season and if he's up to it at Premier League level, will keep working him into the team off the bench or starting cup games. I'd rather see him given a run at right midfield than at full-back anyway.

To expect Moyes to drop Neville for this kid is madness, and he'd be mad to do so. Neville is club captain, super-experienced and respected, and we play better when he's in the team. Sure, Coleman probably offers a bit more going forward. But that's only part of a full-back's job, and if he's going to even potentially cost us extra goals in defence, it's not a risk worth taking.
Peter Warren
14   Posted 09/04/2010 at 13:39:40

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If Coleman is better than Neville he should play, simples. I don't mind Neville at RB but would prefer him to have competition. Time will tell whether or not Coleman is good enough and I'm sure Moyes will give him a chance to show.
Eugene Ruane
15   Posted 09/04/2010 at 13:39:27

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'Madness'?

Sorry is there an upcoming Champions League final we're in?

One where we might need an old (slow?) head.

No.

Wolves, West Ham, Stoke etc etc.

He should be in OUR team now and getting PL experience for next year - especially while there is no real pressure.

Really, ask yourself - what are we actually gaining playing everything over-safe at this stage of this particular season?

My opinion is nothing.
Matthew Tait
16   Posted 09/04/2010 at 14:11:50

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We're currently engaged in a fight for a Europa place, which seems to be considered worth fighting for (argue amonst yourselves about that!). A month ago, there were people on here arguing we might make 4th. So, yes, there is and has been a need for an 'old head' in the team.

Coleman's loan currently finishes later this month I believe. If we drop more points over the next couple of games and are right out of the running for a Europa spot, then yes I could see a case for recalling Coleman and throwing him in. Otherwise, no.
Colin Potter
17   Posted 09/04/2010 at 14:28:21

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Eugene, You are so right. Coleman should be getting at least 30 mins of every remaining game of our season. We would then have a better idea of how we think he will turn out, unlike Dick Anderson who, it seems, just doesn't like him, so he comes out and tells us all he's a left back. Dick, he is a right back. If you don't like the man, or you think he's crap, just say so, don't come out with bloody stupid statements. We know he had a poor game against Benfica, but it was his first start for Everton, and he was playing out of position.
Eric Myles
18   Posted 09/04/2010 at 15:23:33

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Everyone seems to be forgetting that Hibbert is our first choice starting right back. Come next season, Hibbert will start with Neville in midfield and Coleman on the bench.
Matthew Tait
19   Posted 09/04/2010 at 15:34:58

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Ha, very funny Eric! (I hope??!)

It does raise the point though that it is really probably time for Hibbert to move on, for his own sake.

Even without Coleman coming through, we have cover for Neville through Heitinga. Plus Jagielka, Rodwell and even Yobo can play there (albeit badly) in emergencies. Add in Coleman, assuming he turns out to be both a good player and have his best position at full back, and Hibbert's opportunties look very limited. In any case we could almost certainly use Hibbert's wages better somewhere else.

It would be a shame in a way though. Hibbert is much maligned, but I've always thought he's an exceptionally solid defender, thorough professional and model club man. I'd be a bit sad to see him go, despite his limitations.
Matthew Tait
20   Posted 09/04/2010 at 15:41:46

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Sorry, not Rodwell! I meant Gosling of course (granted he's injured).

Though to be honest I would probably back Rodwell to play better at right back than Hibbert too!
James Stewart
21   Posted 09/04/2010 at 16:39:55

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Neville is finished as a starting 11 player. The sooner Moyes wakes up to the fact that our right side still needs addressing, the better. If our right side matched the left....
Keith Glazzard
22   Posted 09/04/2010 at 16:33:49

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Well spotted Eric. Hibbo, of course, is still in the frame. Which doubles up the 'stick or twist' nature of the moment. For well-brought up presbyterians like myself, I believe that this a reference to a game of cards in which you are invited to increase your points score — thereby taking a risk of failing to win anything, or remain with the points you already have, which might mean losing everything. Actually winning something? Nobody really knows.

If Hibbo is happy to be long-stop back-up, you couldn't ask much more of a squad player with our wage policy. Otherwise he might prefer a few good seasons at Oldham or similar.

Why Coleman again? Actually because the young man (21?) has forced his way into our — and let's hope, DM's — attention by wowing them at Blackpool, a decent team these days. I don't know the state of their finances, but I'll bet that they will offer something for him. And that's where the test for Moyes and the accountants will come.

Yes, there are many RB's to choose from — it's the easiest position on the field to fill in the sense that 80% of players are one footed and full back is easier than MF or winger. But an RB who can get behind their defence and pass/cross/hit target is a gem. A bit of a rough diamond still, but Moyes will know the potential, and I'm sure he'll keep him. And you may have spotted that it was Seamus and not Tony I was talking about.

But does that mean he'll have to play him? That's the question.

Peter - you provided the potential answer yourself. Johnny Heitinga is a natural wartime leader, a solid defender who is quick to attack. Bet you the other players love him.

So please Davey, keep Pip, and promote him from the bench to the technical area.

Future manager???
Eugene Ruane
23   Posted 09/04/2010 at 17:39:28

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Don't know if you're joking or not Eric but I think you're right - sadly.
Peter Wilson
24   Posted 09/04/2010 at 17:56:43

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Eugene, Colin... do you really think that 30 mins a week for us is better than playing 90 mins in full blooded, high pressure games for a team trying to get in to the play-offs... and who might even play at Wembley in the next few weeks? I think you have to trust DM on this one.
Gavin Ramejkis
25   Posted 09/04/2010 at 17:53:10

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I have a couple of personal observations on Coleman. A few posters on other threads slated his performance against Benfica, forgetting he was played out of position as a left back and not right back, surely a completely unnatural role for a right-footed player?

Very few mention his performance against Spurs where he was not playing against Championship players or has-beens and had a great game. A few posters mention his weakness as a defender; I note this myself but Baines in my mind is bloody awful defending too sometimes and much better going forward than back.

Gosling was bought whilst playing as a defender, yet never assumed that role here. Since Donovan's departure, we have had nothing on the right wing unless Pienaar switches side mid-game and he can't be on both sides of the field at the same time! Why not give a player we already own a chance in that role?

Whatever your view on Neville or Hibbert for that matter, you can't say they bring anything to the table going forward as a wing back and delivering a cross.

Dave Wilson
26   Posted 09/04/2010 at 20:20:37

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A few interesting facts about the much maligned Tony Hibbert,

2004-05: The Huyton boy was rated by Actim Index as the best English right back; Everton (with Tony) qualified for CL

2005-06: Tony suffered with a hernia and missed the second half of the season; Everton (without Tony) slumped to 11th and didn't get near Europe

2006-07: Tony was back... so were Everton

2007-08: Everton (once again with Tony right back) qualify for Europe

2008-09: Everton (with Hibbo at right back of course) qualify for Europe.

No Everton players has played more times in Europe and, although his critics will try to deny him this honour by desperately pointing to the league format of today's European competitions, they cant deny that no-one has qualified for Europe more times either, not in Everton's entire history.

I also know people will say it was in spite of Tony that we qualified for those competitions, but he has done it with different players every season, from Bent and Kilbane to Neville and Carsley, it doesnt seem to matter; when Hibbert has played Everton, have qualified,

After plugging holes right across the back four early in the season, Tony was halted by another injury, one that has seen him out for the entire second half of it (just like 2006). Surely history won't repeat itself... surely we won't fail to qualify again?

I don't think it can be argued any longer that Tony couldn't qualify for Europe without the other players, after all, he`s done it without virtually every one of them in one season or another.

My question is: can these players qualify for Europe without Tony? If so, how come they never managed it?

Just curious, like...
Sam Morrison
27   Posted 09/04/2010 at 21:28:57

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Dave, I respect your defence of Hibbo because I'm an admirer myself. I also would add that there seems to be a sliding scale where loyalty is concerned, depending on how much fans rate a player. If he's good, we expect him to be loyal, if he is (allegedly) shite, he can fuck off.

However, Dave, I don't agree you hang the league placing of one season — or several — on one player. It's commonly done on TW but it's over-simplifying results to say the least. He's a very good defender but I'm not sure he's the key to Europe.
David Thomas
28   Posted 09/04/2010 at 22:15:03

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Whilst not wanting to criticise Tony Hibbert because I respect him as he has never given less than 110% whilst wearing an Everton shirt, I think it was in fact the 2006-07 season were Tony was missing the most, wheras he played virtually the entire 2005-06 season.
Gavin Ramejkis
29   Posted 09/04/2010 at 22:34:16

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The trouble with Hibbert for me isn't his defending, as he was left open to attack too often by having a disappearing act or no right winger, so in effect covering the right side on his own, as typified in the FA Cup Final against Malouda, I even rate his defensive ability above Neville. Neither he nor Neville however are much good going forward as an attacking wing back, something the big boys do with aplomb.

There will be games where we need a Hibbert to snuff out attacks but in that scenario he needs a decent winger who will track back to help out and give him an option to pass up to, in the same way Baines and Pienaar do. There will be other games when we will need a pacy wing back to charge forward and beat men with pace and deliver decent crosses, which Hibbert and Neville can't but Coleman can.

An ideal scenario is having both types of player and, more importantly, knowing when to play them and switch the players round during a game if need be to bring the right type of player in needed to win a match.

Keith Glazzard
30   Posted 09/04/2010 at 23:09:55

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Tony Hibbert is as good as anyone — up to the half-way line. That's the problem.

Coleman's defensive credentials have yet to be established, but he is a winger of what seems to be genuine quality — taking it under control to the by-line will do that for me, and cutting into the box also helps.

Tony? Believe me, I love the guy. He's the very earth on which we tread. But he will never do that in his professional career.

Seamus can. Cap'n Pip can once a season. Or we buy a Brazilian. When we already have three and possibly more right-backs?
Dave Wilson
31   Posted 09/04/2010 at 23:10:49

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Sam, I wasn't hanging anything on anybody, mate. I merely present the record, people can draw whatever conclusions they want.

Hibbert's hernia op in 2005-06 ended his season, that's fact; he was also struck down with a virus for long periods for the next season, but fought his way back and was there for the final charge for Europe. We have tried 14 different people at right back in his absence over the years but always he has come back from injuries to win his place.

I just wonder how people who want to discuss Everton's right back situation chose to overlook a guy who has this incredible record — and that's what it is, absolutely incredible. Players with records like that this usually surrounded by team mates out of the very top draw.

I just don't get why / how people think the battle for the right back berth is between an ageing player having the worst season of his career and a kid who`s played an hour.

What do I know, I'm just the sucker who only ever posts to defend the local lads.

Keith Glazzard
32   Posted 10/04/2010 at 00:43:33

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Dave, you aren't.

The local lads — Hibbert, Osman (Wigan?) and Rodwell (does Southport count as local? you'll have to ask KEIOC about that) get loads of praise here — many times in defence of bad comments made by the disgruntled, it's true. But that's fair knockabout .

Point is, we know their heart is in the right place (above and beyond doing the job as a professional footballer). After that, perhaps 'foreigners' like Mikel, Big Dunc and I suspect, The Big Fella find their heart in the old lady.

Local is good — very good — but for a long time now we have been more than that.
Sam Morrison
33   Posted 10/04/2010 at 06:51:26

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Dave — fair enough. All I was saying was that in a team game it's misleading (I believe) to imply that results are down to a certain player, but I get what you're saying. As I said above, I'm a Hibbo admirer in the main anyway.
Eric Myles
34   Posted 10/04/2010 at 07:09:26

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Gavin, Keith,
I'd have Hibbert as a starting right back anytime for his defensive ability and get a right winger (Donovan) to do the going forward and put the crosses in.

And Oldham! Really, give him more credit than that, Hibbert could more than hold his own in another Premier League side whether it be a newly promoted side or a well-established side like Bolton, Blackburn, Birmingham etc.

Dave Wilson
35   Posted 10/04/2010 at 06:10:47

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Absolutely, Keith. In recent years, we've had the very good fortune of seeing players from The Americas, China, Russia, SA to name a few and I love it.

When making the (local) comment I was merely trying to pre-empt an accusation I knew certain people might level at me.

My all-time favourite Everton players is an Aussie — although I`m far from blinded to his shortcomings — but I'm proud of Liverpool in general and Merseyside as a whole; nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing a local boy "living the dream" and I despair when I hear people slag them off unfairly. You have inadvertantly taken it a step further Keith, you didn't slag the boy off in your post, you ignored him.

Anyway, let's hope Coleman becomes the player we all think he can be, but he has to do more than merely oust an ageing Neville. Over the years, a lot of very decent players have tried and failed to replace Hibbo.

Off home to catch a few hours before the race today, if you have the winner, put it up there...
Keith Glazzard
36   Posted 10/04/2010 at 13:04:29

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Dave - both hands up in the air time.

I think Tony played CB against BATE, and did an excellent job of it — captain for the night as I remember. We can guarantee that that particular armband wasn't discarded after the game. He is a superb defender, no question*, but as the Bard put it — there's the rub... (Eric, this for you too!)

Hibbo's problems begin at the halfway line, going forward. And Pip's not that much better. If either of them could pick out a Donovan or similar every time and stay back, it might not matter so much. But they can't, or can fairly easily be stopped from doing so.

If Mikel was always there, deep, roll the ball to him and off we go — that would be OK. But, as we know, we can't rely on that. The RB has to be a ball carrier, capable of attacking their left flank — theoretically their weakest — on his own if necessary, and get the cross in from the by-line. Which we know Seamus can do.

Which makes me think that Leighton attacks their strongest flank (most players being right-sided) — how does he do it?



* SAF and the 'typical Germans' nonsense. Do we remember Hibbo sprinting alongside Stevie GBH, the latter mysteriously to fall, get up and plead with Mr Clattenberg not to change the yellow to a red — or have my marbles gone entirely?
Dave Smith
37   Posted 10/04/2010 at 19:42:35

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Oh no. Blackpool have just lost.

I guess Coleman isn't the next Messi after all.
Keith Glazzard
38   Posted 10/04/2010 at 21:11:44

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Speaking of which, has anyone pointed out the similarity between Messi's third against Arsenal and Steven Pienaar's against the same team earlier this season? I've certainly not seen any media comment to that effect, but perhaps that's a good thing.
Brendan O'Doherty
39   Posted 11/04/2010 at 01:22:59

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In fairness Keith, Pienaar's just about trickled over the line while Messi's was never in any doubt. The lad is out of this world.

The Clattenberg derby — still a festering wound. Mr GBH got Hibbo sent off which is why he can never be regarded as being 'class'. (See thread on Europe.)

People shouldn't expect too much of Coleman. He may bring something to the side which has been lacking, but let's not overdo the expectation or we are going to be disappointed when he doesn't turn out to be a world beater.
Dave Wilson
40   Posted 11/04/2010 at 10:02:57

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Fair enough, Keith.

In answer to your question, I think Baines is just a more talented footballer, simple as that. If Coleman turns out as good as Baines, that would do me.
Keith Glazzard
41   Posted 11/04/2010 at 20:54:29

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Thanks Dave - totally agree.

Brendan - fair enough, the Pienaar comparison was a bit of an 'English shots from the half way line being invented by Beckham' rather than Ronnie Goodlass rankle.

But have you seen what Kevin Sheedy has to say about (not so) young Coleman? The link

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/sport/everton/778630/SEAMUS-COLEMANS-ALL-FIRED-UP.html

takes you to a lovely interview and I would recommend all to read it. I'm not sure what Sheed's role is at EFC now, but odd whispers like this that escape from the conclave must be seriously considered.

a ps on Messi, or 'Little Lionel' (pron Leo - nell) as I like to think of him - a fan myself (could anyone not be?) and the flurry this week took me to Wiki for the story I didn't know, about - his medical treatment paid for by Barcelona when he needed growth hormones as a teenager. Don't concern yourselves, a Leon Osman comparison isn't going to appear - but just to say that a little lad (getting littler it seems) was tracked by them and has become a world star under their wing. As its getting late into the evening we shouldn't get into theis 'size matters' area perhaps.

One last pps - The Castillan Spanish for Messiah is Mesias (my Eng - Catala dictionary is over there, but Catalan will be very similar). When I'm back I will look out for the sort of Moyesiah comments we sometimes get on here in the press - all this for the lad who used to play for Newell Old Boys. You couldn't make it up.
Paul Oakes
42   Posted 17/04/2010 at 20:33:21

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Eugene Ruane — I wasn't aware sitting on a bench gains you playing experience. Not as if he is going to replace the utterly crap Neville anytime soon either.

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