I feel as if Everton, this squad of players, could be excellent. Visions of Top 4 have re-entered my cranium. Then I come back down to earth.
No money, crap summer, no investment, player sales to balance the books.
My heart sinks, the butterflies turn to sour meat in the belly...
I religiously download a podcast here in the States: Men in Blazers. The two hosts, Roger Bennett (a Blue) and Michael Davis (Chelsea supporter) are simply hilarious, witty, and know the game. Michael Davies, on last Wednesday's podcast, said something that shocked the Hell out of me, and got those proverbial butterflies churning away. He believes in our Club and where it stands, on the pitch, at the moment.
"I would say at this point Everton are playing better football than Liverpool.When I heard it, my jaw hit the floor. A pundit, as neutral as Switzerland, just said we should be a top 4 side if we can simply kick on just a bit and build on this current squad.
"Everton have been inconsistent this season, as have been a lot of other teams...
"They've looked really good and then suddenly looked absolutely awful...
"Everton can go on and beat Liverpool. And I would say more than that.
"Everton, despite the marches outside the stadium, people very unhappy with the owner and the management for not finding a buyer and not bringing in new players, however little they've spent on this squad... This squad has the building blocks to go and be a very, very good team. And I think Everton's ambitions, and the ambitions of the fans, have to be higher.
"This is a team that is good enough to finish, dare I say it, in the top 4 of English Football."
I so desperately want to believe him, and in my heart I do. I truly believe that since January we are a very, very good team.
Michael Davies is right.
So if that's the case why do those butterflies of hope and anticipation turn into a sour stomach ? have me reaching for my Tums?
Please Bill and Dave, realize we can and aim higher. And please all you supporters, demand they do.
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701 Posted 04/04/2012 at 05:28:18
I think we have a starting eleven which is well capable of beating anyone on the day, and if they could all stay fit, top 4 wouldn't be completely out of the question.
We have been pretty unlucky with injuries in the past and that will continue to be our achilles heel. As soon as a couple of key individuals are unavailable we can suddenly look very ordinary again.
Lose Baines at the back, Fellaini in Midfield, or Jelavic up front and we wouldn't look half the team we do with them playing, because we lack strength in depth.
Jelavic has been key to our improvement in style. Lose him and where's the quality up front? Then look at the bench of clubs above us. Tevez, Berbatov, Defoe, Drogba to name just a few, all waiting in the wings.
We are currently doing very well with what we've got, and I hope that some of the younger ones coming through can start to offer us greater squad depth. However, I fear that unless we find significant investment, we will always struggle to maintain a level of performance required throughout an entire season to be genuine top four contenders.
Keep everyone fit until the end of this season though, and maybe all our stars may align at the right time for the Cup? Now that thought does give me butterflies!
711 Posted 04/04/2012 at 08:21:57
724 Posted 04/04/2012 at 09:31:37
725 Posted 04/04/2012 at 09:24:57
Our best 11 - picked from best 14 - is better than performances this season suggest.
In Moyes defence we have looked better since the arrival of Jelavic, a proper mobile striker who can find the net, which was the main failing of the team up until january.
On the other hand the sale of Beckford didnt make sense at all at that time!
733 Posted 04/04/2012 at 10:38:02
736 Posted 04/04/2012 at 10:58:58
739 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:34:25
I think Matt Jarvis at Wolves will be on the move in the summer and I reckon Moyes might try and get him. He's a pretty good right sided midfielder. Not a world beater but he's made one appearance for England, and he might be able to push on.
740 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:36:59
744 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:42:30
745 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:45:24
Just to get a perspective, a couple of injuries and we have kids on the bench.
Iam sorry but money talks and bs walks, and the only way to climb table. Sad but true.
746 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:40:08
747 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:49:22
749 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:44:48
Top 4 = a Bigger squad = more money. Nothing else will get us there. Even if a few on the fringes develop they will need to be paid or they will leave.
Forthcoming changes to spending rules may change things a little, but not in our favour.
More money needs new stadium (¬£250 million?) and then an aggressive policy to use it to raise more cash. ¬£50 million a season puts us on a par with 4th, Champions league comes AFTER that figure is reached not before, CL is a bonus on top.
Are Everton fundamentally capable of raising that cash from its current supporter base?
752 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:53:51
Now I agree our squad is good enough for a 6th place finish I think but to suggest we can break the top 4 again a step too far. We need a quality RM such as Donovan or equivalent and have done for years and we need some pace and depth. Then perhaps we could compete. But we all know the funds are not there for that so we will continue to tread water.
756 Posted 04/04/2012 at 12:06:42
We are nowhere near consistent enough and our squad will probably reduce in size this summer, not increase
758 Posted 04/04/2012 at 12:06:05
760 Posted 04/04/2012 at 11:48:31
Seems to play mainly on the left when ive seen him?
He can cross well with either foot and go either side which full backs hate. For example, Hibbert generally has wide men who like to go to the dead ball line in his pocket, but Ashley Young, who can go either side, used to give him terrible trouble.
One problem though. We already need to get Piennar back in so theres ¬£3mil gone, plus he's English, capped and therefore the fee would be ridiculous, they would probably ask for approaching double figures. So basically, we can forget it!
768 Posted 04/04/2012 at 12:34:38
I'd say when you take the squad into account we fall below the shite and 8th is a fair position with these players. Only the piss poor form has me thinking what if?
A better RB and Drenthe playing regualrly on the right along with Pienaar playing would change my mind and put us above Newcastle. That means signings we may not be able to afford.
In the past Moyes had shown he could make a team better than the sum of it's parts. He's still got his eye for a player but the money in the game means he will never build a side to get into the top four bar maybe a crazy fluke.
771 Posted 04/04/2012 at 12:50:06
But my point was we dont have a squad for a top6, there are players on wolves that would be in our starting XI ffs.
773 Posted 04/04/2012 at 13:01:29
Evra would probably keep him out but thats it.
776 Posted 04/04/2012 at 13:14:26
Iam glad however city bought Kolarov for 17mil, they prolly would get Baines cheaper.
777 Posted 04/04/2012 at 13:20:49
780 Posted 04/04/2012 at 13:26:44
786 Posted 04/04/2012 at 13:33:01
If we're not in Europe, and the manager, be it Moyes or whoever the fuck, just says, "Right, the cups can go and get rooted, we're focusing on the league." and looks to hit the ground running, rather than take 4 months to settle into a competent side, these players could do it.
As I said, we've done it before, and Moyes pre-2008 could have done it again. Just not so sure he's got the stones anymore.
794 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:04:09
We have one of the top defences in the league (all top quality apart from RB), however our midfield and attack is nowhere near top 5 standard, let alone top 4. We desperately lack creativity and pace in the midfield and the likes of Pienaar and Gibson would struggle to get into the starting 11 of any of the current top 5 teams (nevermind top 4). Fellaini is not even guaranteed to get into the starting 11 of any of the top sides and he's supposedly our best midfielfder.
Always amazes me how short peoples memories are after a few decent results. Just a couple of months ago we lost miserably at home to Bolton and struggled to beat Tamworth. People also seem to have forgotten about playing 2 games back to back without a single shot on target.
Granted we look a more balanced side with the current squad but 3 of them don't even belong to us. Take Pienaar and Drenthe out and we have the wing play of a championship side. Jelavic looks a decent player but he's hardly one of the best strikers in the premiership - and we only have one decent striker at that.
On the whole; Baines, Howard, Heitinga, Jags, Fellaini, Jelavic - 6 very decent players that we have (that belong to us). The rest are very very average, over the hill or yet to prove themselves.
Top 4? - 'aving a laugh son.
796 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:38:14
We don't only need a bigger squad, we actually need better players in the starting XI, so we need investments.
798 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:50:57
Let's try to keep our feet on the ground after victories against the mighty Swansea and Sunderland etc...
799 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:52:00
Except Jelavic, hes without a doubt better then the rest but that dont say alot. I thought he would be used to knockles coming from scottish farm football, but I feel hes overacting and complains way more than he should.
800 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:55:58
801 Posted 04/04/2012 at 14:49:25
I don't buy into what the original post says about top 4, but I believe we could get closer; as I said earlier, we would need to sign up the loan players (well, Pienaar and Drenthe anyway), then add another 4 or 5 players to give us a real chance, but that wont happen. Even so-called 'free' signings cost a fortune these days. Your origanal point though was about Baines bench warming for all top 5 teams, which he wouldn't, and neither would Fellaini, but sadly, that is probably it.
805 Posted 04/04/2012 at 15:57:24
Its a moot point anyway what does it matter if they would or they wouldn't? Long as they are part of a good collective team here. Give me that anyday over watching the likes of Balotelli argue with his own team over who takes a free kick. Embarrassing and pleasing to see them fall behind one of the worst Utd teams for awhile.
810 Posted 04/04/2012 at 16:25:16
Your probably one of a small minority on this site who want Moyes out more than me.
But reading your post #786 makes me think you want it for all the wrong reasons.
If you honestly believe what you have written then you are way out of touch with the realities of the game and the need for a squad of players.
I expect and demand a better standard of football, better performance in the cups and a more positive attitude about the club but I don't expect us to get in amongst clubs who all pay at least double what we pay, spend up to a billion quid on the worlds best and have boards, and in some cases sovereign states, who have got billions and are willing to spend it.
817 Posted 04/04/2012 at 17:01:30
Defense aside, we are very poor going forward and if the league was done on goals scored, we would lie.........17th! (Only Stoke, Villa and Wigan have scored less league goals...). Inability to score goals is not the mark of a top side, need sound defence and attack.
Although saying that, I dont think we need a big wad of cash to change things. Players like Rodallega, Junior Hoillet and Sinclaire (i think) are out of contract end of the season - why are we not trying to sign some of them?
We may strugle to beat off competition from the top teams for someone like Hoillet but transfers fees will not be the reason why we cannot sign them. Get rid of the likes of Straq, Macfadden, Neville and even Cahill to make room in the wage bill to freshen up the squad with some decent 'free' transfers. My thoughts anyway.
835 Posted 04/04/2012 at 19:41:11
If Moyes would take a page from Sir Alex and actually PLAY the youngsters here and there to give them experience they might actually be READY when called upon due to injury / rotation because of fixture congestion.
I think a "bare bones" 4-4-1 system would need 3 strikers, 2 CAM, 4 CM, 5 wingers, 2 LBs, 2RBs, 3 CBs, and 2 goalies.
Bear with me... and imagine if we actually played the young guys every now and again, assuming we hold on to our loans. A big ask I know but the original point Michael Davies made was we have the building blocks for a good team and must demand just that little extra investment.
Jelly, Straq, Vellios
Felli, Gibbo, Osman, XX
Drenthe, Gueye, Pienaar, XX
Jags, Distin, Heitinga, Duffy
That covers the positions. We have one surplu CB and need another CM, winger, and a LB
Sell Jags, reinvest in dependable back-ups and we have enough depth and sufficient talent to at least dream of 4th??
Or is that just entirely too poly-annish???
Sour stomach - can't sign the loanees, can't sell Jags for enough to bring in 3, crap summer, no money, slow start to 2012-2013...
We're so close IMO. Frustrating.
836 Posted 04/04/2012 at 20:01:16
837 Posted 04/04/2012 at 20:02:09
841 Posted 04/04/2012 at 20:56:17
If Barkley turns out as good as we hope and BOTH Pienaar and Drenthe(or a fast winger equivalent) are signed and you throw in a good right back then maybe just maybe.
847 Posted 04/04/2012 at 21:18:36
I agree 100% with him. Unless we start producing a crop of youngsters who can step up to the plate as we certaintly won't buy any players ready to push us on. Infact we'll probably step back or if we are lucky stand still.
849 Posted 04/04/2012 at 21:35:21
861 Posted 04/04/2012 at 22:01:42
We finished the season with (if my memory serves me well) 61pts when we finished 4th. Both Chelsea and Newcastle will clear that easily this year.
The year we qualified for the CL was the lowest points total for a long time and, I think represented how bad 'the rest' were.
Now we have 5 teams aiming to win the league every year. Until we start the season with the aim of winning the league, we can forget 4th.
I'm sorry, I'm usually as optimistic as the next blue but our squad and their squads.. Pfft.. Forget it
867 Posted 04/04/2012 at 23:09:24
950 Posted 05/04/2012 at 14:42:08
996 Posted 05/04/2012 at 18:58:20
No I agree with all you say there Denis and those would be the kind of signings we should be looking at. I was merely making the point that a lot of our squad would make the squads of teams above us so its not like we have total dross. Yes it needs improvement but we have a spine.
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