Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Does ToffeeWeb Matter? (part 2)

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The first item I ever posted on ToffeeWeb, and it was quite a number of years ago, was titled "Does ToffeeWeb Matter?" At the time I was younger and, frankly, still a bit optimistic. To my mind the site was a little bit negative. If I recall properly I asked what on earth would the players feel like if they read some of the criticism they were getting. I believed it could do no good.

I wasn't always a miserable git, you see... and even today I try to avoid attacking individual players. I would never do it at a match because it simply does no good. I was reminded of this when reading Mick Rathbone's excellent autobiography, "The Smell of Football".

In his view, an essential requirement to play at the top level is is the ability to perform to one's best in front of a big crowd. In fact, his own career was blighted by nerves. Astonishingly, this never occurred to me. I've often thought along the lines of "Fuck me, if he's not up for it in the Cup Final when will he ever be?"

Anyway, the point of this ramble is to ask: Does anyone know of any players ever reading this site? Should they? Would you if you were a player? Or do they not care enough? If you are a supporter who has a go at individuals, do you think it helps? ? by the way, that's not a criticism; I think it might help me if I was a player.

Finally, if ToffeeWeb matters, I hope Bill Kenwright is reading it today.

Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 19/08/2011 at 15:53:33

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Lyndon Lloyd
1   Posted 19/08/2011 at 07:09:22

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Not sure I'm seeing the connection between your title and the gist of your argument here, Andy.

TW is and always has been a resource for EFC fans. It's a forum for supporters to discuss all aspects of the club, including of course their views on the players.

In that context, whether the players read the site — and some of them must, certainly a number of past players do — is by the by, really, for whether ToffeeWeb "matters". It's unquestionable, though, that the general sway of opinion on fan websites does filter through to the playing and managerial staff.
Matt Traynor
2   Posted 19/08/2011 at 08:53:39

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Well if players do read the site, it goes a long way to explaining the solidarity in the dressing room! We know from previous articles that some journalists, including one who is well-respected, read the site.
Trevor Mackie
3   Posted 19/08/2011 at 09:11:56

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In terms of world peace probably not important, as a vent for frustration and concern about the club and a source of decent information both historically and contemporary it is without peer.

Additionally it is the only "serious" football site I've seen anywhere.

If you want to be educated about football and the Everton family and have the correct blood pressure tablets - it has to be TW.
Andy Crooks
4   Posted 19/08/2011 at 09:40:20

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I meant, shouting abuse from the stands might help me as a supporter, certainly not as a player.
Michael Brien
5   Posted 19/08/2011 at 09:45:18

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It depends on whether or not a balanced view is promoted or encouraged. I am neither for or against Kenwright - but it seems to me that if you are against Kenwright you can get away with being as abusive as you want. Is it the same for the alternate view ? Just an unbiased thought.
Dave Wilson
6   Posted 19/08/2011 at 08:17:25

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A good point Andy

There are undoubtedly many negative posters on this site, but the perception that the site is negative is an illogical one. It appears to me that as long as the poster stays within the specified conditions, his views are published no matter what they are.

I have long suspected that people at the club not only read TW but are actually influencd by it. My believe was strengthened last season when the popularity of a certain player hit rock bottom - he was being absolutely slaughtered on here.

Injuries meant this guy HAD to play.and when the Manager, his Assistant an several senior players all came out telling us how impressive the player was in training and how good he REALLY is. I believe it was a clear response, a definite excercise to rebuild the popularity and confidence of the guy.

I believe this site provides a fairly accurate reflection of the way your average Evertonians are thinking, if this house is divided, you can be certain the alehouses and work places are too

Eric Myles
7   Posted 19/08/2011 at 09:51:04

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Michael #5 "but it seems to me that if you are against Kenwright you can get away with being as abusive as you want. Is it the same for the alternate view ?"

Yes it certainly is, if you make a post in favour of Kenwright you will get all the abuse you deserve.
Steve Smith
8   Posted 19/08/2011 at 10:09:53

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I think most players in the Prem are mercenaries with skins as thick as a rhino and probably couldn't give a flying fuck about our opinion, but yes Toffeeweb does matter.
Brian Waring
9   Posted 19/08/2011 at 10:19:56

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Toffeeweb hugely matters, because Both sides of the argument can be heard, no holds barred.

If you want to play nice, and be told everything is rosey in the garden, then there is another website out there that is so gushing,it make me want to puke.
Keith Edmunds
10   Posted 19/08/2011 at 10:45:32

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Toffeeweb matters a lot to me, but I doubt it means anything to the club.

As far as the players are concerned, I would be amazed if they didn't read this site and every other one. its human nature. it's like googling yourself!
Brendan McLaughlin
11   Posted 19/08/2011 at 10:14:18

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Dave #6
I'd disagree.

OK I accept the point that saying the site is negative is illogical but given Michael K's "negative" (for want of a better word) outlook I'd argue the site is perceived perhaps not as a "cold house" for optimists but certainly a least a cooler one. Its a bit like your choice of daily newspaper...many people simply make a decision based on the editorial stance. I actually think Michael K regognised this and made subtle changes some time back.

I don't think anyone at the club reads the site at least not in the way you suggest and I actually think the players would be discouraged from visiting it. I'm sure someone at the club looks at it regularly as one of several meaures to try and gauge fans opinion but "influenced" by it? I suspect people who make as much money out of football as David Moyes and the Everton players wouldn't be influenced at least to any significant extent by what people who have to pay to go to a game would say. I remember Moyes comments after the oft mentioned Spurs match when a section of the crowd got on his back....something along the lines of some fans needing to be educated.
Stephen Kenny
12   Posted 19/08/2011 at 12:39:26

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I think the right word for this site is demanding.

As for if TW matters then I would say in some cases it does, especially in educating and immersing new Evertonians into our culture. In other ways it may be a point towards apathy.

For instance I'm sure the majority of us on here who are not supporters iof Bill Kenwright have had a few rants on here, some well into thier thousands.

Imagine that platform didn't exist and the only place to expel these frustrations was at the match?

I imagine that eventually most Evertonians will turn against Bill Kenwright. Simply because most Evertonians only support Everton. When it happens it will be a spontaneous eruption that shocks a lot of people in it's ferocity IMO.

I think if we hadn't had the opportunity to sound off on here and release the valve so to speak we may have already seen this?

On the flip side we may not have nearly as many facts to hand to make a decision.
Noel Lynam
13   Posted 19/08/2011 at 13:05:48

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Agree with Michael Brien (5) and that's a question I have often wondered. Just look at the recent examples where people who posted 'positive' messages about Kenwright were accused of being Richard Dodd in disguise.

My view is that like most things in life, people are more likely to take the time out to write a letter of complaint (which is basically what a 'negative' post is) if they feel aggrieved. For those that don't feel they have anything to complain about, they are less likely to.

Which is why, for example, you will probably see more negative reviews of hotels on TripAdvisor relative to the number of positive experiences visitors to those hotels may have had.

I'm sure at least some players must visit the site. Let's face it, if Coleman and Neville have enough time on their hands to slag each other off on Twatter then they probably look at fan sites too.
Anthony Doran
14   Posted 19/08/2011 at 13:39:19

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This site is defo for Everton fans. sad as it is to say the club and players alike probably dont read or pay much credence to what goes on here, I suggest that as probualy 90% of persons that 'work' for Everton FC are just interested in their wage packet and dont have the passion associated to EFC like the way us fans do.

As far as I can see on the interweb, Toffeeweb is quite a unique site run by and supported by the best footy fans on this planet! COYB!
Ian Tunstead
15   Posted 19/08/2011 at 13:30:47

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I believe if i was a footballer and had all the free time they have after training that if i wasn't tweeting i would be searching all the websites Everton related and more specifically looking out for my name.

Even if the players don't look at the sites the opinions on these sites will find there way into the newspapers which i have noticed in the Liverpool ECHO from time to time, perhaps when collumists are looking for ideas on what to write about that the readers will find interesting.

I believe toffeeweb and sites like toffeeweb have a huge influnce on what goes on at a football club. They allow positive/negative views of a player/manager/owner to develop and spread which can then transmit its self to the pubs and eventually to the match goers at the stadium.

I have no doubt that they were a major influnce on what seemed to be almost instant disliking of Roy Hodgson at Liverpool which lead to his sacking and now the goings on with Blue Union and Bill Kenwright.

I think we should all be very carefull when contributing to these type of sites and not underestimate their influence on the game.
Tony Hibbert
16   Posted 19/08/2011 at 14:26:50

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I actually do read the site from time to time. But not too often as it makes me really sad.

Hmmmm, nice try ? TW mod

Norman Merrill
17   Posted 19/08/2011 at 15:04:00

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What I know of players, they don't do newspapers, and I would not think they would go onto fans websites, for obvious reasons.

But of course, you will get the odd one, who would venture onto sites.
That's why they prefer the twitter thing, they can communicate without regret.

Andy Callan
18   Posted 19/08/2011 at 15:20:11

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Would you read all this is you were a player....?!?!?!?! No chance.

Hibbert would have fuckin' murdered himself by now...!!!!!!!!

It's a good place to get shit off your chest and argue with people who think we'll get back to the glory days by the end of the season etc etc etc....

Noone of us can essentially affect anything at the club, so forums like this help us feel like we've got a voice - when we haven't.

The best way we could drive a point home would be is everyone stopped fuckin' goin' the game. But that'll not happen......
Eugene Ruane
19   Posted 19/08/2011 at 20:46:55

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If I'm absolutely honest, Andy Callan (18) has probably got it absolutely spot on.

He makes five points and I can't really argue with four of them (third one I could give it a go).
Matt Traynor
20   Posted 20/08/2011 at 10:30:04

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I actually think that players not only read the site, but post using pseudonyms. If you look at past posts, it's fairly obvious...

Andy Crooks is actually Seamus Coleman.... Job done, you're in the side on merit.

Dick Anderson is Jonny Heitinga - his hatred of him on here is merely further pushing for a move away.

Dave Wilson is either Hibbo or Ossie - or possibly both (shades of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street).

So given that we have BK himself on here (Doddy), does anyone want to "out" anyone else?

Roll on 3pm...
Brendan McLaughlin
21   Posted 21/08/2011 at 22:48:02

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Yeah Matt
I'm Mikel Arteta and I'm just waiting for that ex-Miss Spain to stroll into my bedroom anytime soon!!!!!

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