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Is this as good as it gets?

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As of this morning, Everton could claim to be `the Best of the Rest`, sitting in seventh position in the Premier League. But, closer examination would show that TEN points separates us from the lowest team with realistic European aspirations ? Chelsea in sixth ? and no less than THIRTY THREE separate us from the leaders, Manchester United!

Now I know there are those among us whose mathematical gymnastics show that a whole range of possibilities could conspire to grant us a Europa passport but I continue to think that's just clutching at straws and a very poor consolation prize anyway. So, leaving aside our hopes in respect of the FA Cup, is this as good as we can hope for in terms of Premier League expectations?

Discounting the joy of being above THEM (it's not much to boast about, is it?), I continue to believe it`s only the magic of David Moyes that sees us where we are and I have an uncomfortable feeling we'd better make the most of it whilst it lasts!

Exactly a year ago, I wrote that `Eighth is Great`and with our club's limited resources, that may still be true. However, pointswise, the gap between the `Big Boys` and the BotR is widening and like other `big` clubs such as the Villa, we risk becoming distinctly `second division`.

Perhaps it`s because I`ve become too addicted to the gloom and doom of these columns ? I`ve already lost all the faith I had in Bill Kenwright ? but I really would like to get a bit nearer to the Mancs than THIRTY THREE bloody points!!!

Can that ever happen? I guess all we can do is hope so, but then....... we`ve been doing that for 20 years!

Richard Dodd, Freshfield     Posted 07/04/2012 at 13:36:09

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Nick Entwistle
239   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:04:03

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I think Newcastle claim the best of the rest, even if they do finish above Chelsea or Spurs.

The way I see next season going is that possibly 3rd and downwards is up for grabs between Arse, Spurs, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool and us.

This was covered in another post recently anyway but we'll need Pienaar signed, hopefully Drenthe should that situation reveal itself to be satisfactory, and a holding on of all others and a couple of good signings. Over to Bill.
Roman Sidey
243   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:12:00

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I agree with you Nick, although, as good as he's been in a relief role, I really don't think that signing Pienaar is the way forward.
Nick Entwistle
245   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:17:29

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Yeah, but it stops us from going backwards.
Dean Adams
251   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:17:07

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Richard, it seems that your effervescent and enthusiastic persona has been hi-jacked. You may be right with your observations, but I preffer the world in which you are the extreme optimist and see the best of everything about us. This current state of mind you are in is frankly worrying. If you can't see any positives, I wonder if there are any for the future.

You must keep the faith Doddy!!!
Phil Walling
253   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:17:31

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I admire your optimism,Nick-are you to be the new Doddy? Truth is ,though,that after 31 games there was no less than 15 points between Everton and third place Arsenal.
Are you really suggesting that the signing of the dubiously behaved Drenthe would do much to close that gap?
After all,he`s been here all this season and,as Moyes rightly says` has had some impact in a few games`only.
And then there`s the problem of the Father Christmas who is our manager!
Mark Stone
254   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:13:46

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Interesting thing in the mirror today (might be the first time I've ever said that!) - how the premier league would look if games were 80 mins long. Everton are about 5th from bottom - making us top of the 'points earns in the last 10 mins' league. Don't know what that says really - good use of substitutions? Good fitness? Never say due attitude? Or is the question what is going wrong in the first 80 mins?!
Dean Adams
256   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:28:17

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So often Mark, we just start the game too slowly being ultra cautious. We only open up after the hour point. You know, the keep it tight and pinch one mantra.
Nick Entwistle
260   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:28:56

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Or what's great with the last 80 Mark?

Phil, we'll need to hit the ground running and have some signings to add rather than replace the squad but Newcastle and Spurs are showing the fallibility of Arsenal and Chelsea and Everton 'can' be a force next season.

We'll need Europe as a launch pad too. Will help with signings and get players thinking big time.

We need a strong finish to the season, luck in the cup and Bill to sort out a healthy summer. All ifs and buts I know. We've been closer than this in the past to challenging the top 4 so maybe Bill has learned a bit or will ultimately disappoint. But if we didn't have hope we'd have... erm, nothing.
Richard Dodd
261   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:13:48

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Dean,perhaps as I near my 37th birthday,the facts are getting in the way of my optimism!
I`m absolutely delighted that we are as high as seventh-and always believed we would get there-but ,unlike in previous seasons,the ceiling has been reached and that points difference feels like being two thirds from the top of a skyscraper with the elevator only programmed to go down.
(Haven`t been to the Freshy for a week so that might have something to do with it!)
Dean Adams
265   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:37:02

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Richard - keep the faith. When you see a striker like Jelly banging them in, surely you can see we have a better side now than the start of the season.

If Moyes uses his head this summer, we could be a big suprise next season. (I have been saying that for the last five years mind). I just have to believe that we can take the next step, otherwise I feel that there is little or no point continuing the way we are. Might as well sell the best players, pay off the debts and shut the shop. That is just too stark a future for me.
Mick Wrende
269   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:54:55

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'Over to Bill' 'We need Bill to sort out a healthy summer'
What fucking planet are you guys on! Since when is that ever going to happen with that tosser.
Phil Walling
279   Posted 07/04/2012 at 17:25:37

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`David knows,don`t you David,that I do everything I can to support him every window`-Moyes nods head.
So what are you worrying about-you`ve got it on video!
Tom Owen
280   Posted 07/04/2012 at 18:38:05

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Yes, 7th is as good as it gets for us, unless we get took over in the summer and we splash out a £100 million. We need serious investment if we are going to break into the Champions League. It's horrible to say this but Europa League football is an achievement for us.
Richard Dodd
299   Posted 07/04/2012 at 19:12:03

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Yes,Wally,and I`m sure Bill is telling the truth.The trouble is that once the extorionate salaries and ` other operating costs`have been met there`s FA left for signings.
That`s why I think we`ve hit the ceiling!
Mark Stone
302   Posted 07/04/2012 at 19:41:19

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Tom, it cost Man City half a billion. I don't think think £100m is enough anymore. In which case I ask ... If the cost is greater than the prize, is it worth it?
Gavin Ramejkis
324   Posted 07/04/2012 at 21:14:32

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Doddy BK doesn't even know what the quarter of the club's income goes on with the other operating costs unless its those blasted solid platinum and diamond crusted tractors at Finch Farm.

Just dress up as a blue santa for next August and see if we get Moyes and the players bothering there arse before January
Ben Jones
347   Posted 07/04/2012 at 23:18:06

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If we're consistent and play as well to all our parts of the season, instead of the last half, then we have a good chance.

Moyes needs to sort out pre season though.
Eric Myles
374   Posted 08/04/2012 at 04:34:46

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I suspect this pre-season tour is down under in Australia as the squad (those not playing in the Euros anyway) are in Thailand in July.
Ernie Baywood
497   Posted 09/04/2012 at 04:51:59

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We could have a great keeper, top defence, and a cracking midfield and I wouldn't feel as optimistic as I do with a natural goalscorer.

If Jelly is the real deal then he changes everything.
Dan Brierley
500   Posted 09/04/2012 at 07:30:50

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I agree with Ernie. Jelly is the game changer and the basis of hope for next season. Hopefully this will be coupled with Barkley reaching maturity and able to perform at the top level. Guyue will continue his development meaning Pienaar will not be required unless willing to take a pay cut. I also expect Rodwell to be fully fit and delivering on his potential next season. I expect Heitinga to move on, making way for Duffy to step up to the plate as Distin's long term replacement. The Heitinga cash should go on a wide right player with a decent attitude (I.e. Not Drenthe).
Kieran Fitzgerald
512   Posted 09/04/2012 at 08:41:40

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Half the world has expressed amazement at what the Man Utd squad has been able to achieve this season in the league. Nobody gave them a chance, worst Utd squad in years. Yet when it has come to the business end of the season they are now eight points clear and looking strong favourites. The reason for this has now been put down to experience within the squad and the management.

If you look at this current Everton squad and management, there is a lot of experience in there and a large part of the squad and the management have been together for quite some time. I think that this might be the difference for us next season. Other clubs such as City, Spurs and Chelsea might have more cash to throw about, might have better squads and may well finish above us. But, we do have it in us to compete with the likes of Newcastle and Liverpool. Villa have fallen away badly and I do think we will be more than able to stay ahead of the mid table teams like Fulham, Swansea and Norwich. I think a top seven or top eight finish next season is a definite. If we get a better start to the season then we could and should go a lot higher.

Momentum and confidence count for a lot as a season goes on. With the experience that the current set up has, and I would include whaty would appear to be superior fitness levels and some good younger players getting ready to step up, I can see us having a very good season next year. Consistancy will be the key though. A good start would make the world of difference to out season.
Nick Waters
514   Posted 09/04/2012 at 09:14:12

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7th is BETTER than it should get when you consider where we usually are in December, but that's the problem. If we were 7th in December then we could aspire to finish 5th or higher - as Newcastle have done. We may not get there but we would have prospects at least. When you're constantly 11th to 15th at the mid point of the season then realistically 7th is the ceiling.
I don't know why it has to be this way most seasons. I do think Moyes is far more cautious in the first 6 or 7 games than he needs be, and then when results are disappointing (as they have been -no arguments) we lose momentum and confidence, and, the odd result apart, slide down the table.
I do agree with the optimism in most of the posts above about next season, but unless Moyes shows more attacking intent, and the players do too (I do sometimes think they can undermine the manager) from the outset we could still be looking at rescuing the season again come winter. I do wish also that there could be more attack-minded coaches in the setup to vary the pedestrian play that we witness again and again in matches - no quick throw ins spring to mind.
AND Neville Cahill and Hibbert have to go if we are to look higher than 7th next season.
Sam Hoare
515   Posted 09/04/2012 at 09:32:32

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Kieran, i take your point but i don't think people are that suprised to see Man U at the top. They would always have been there or thereabouts with players like Rooney, Young, Nani, Vidic, Evra, Valenica, Ferdinand etc and also having splashed some cash this summer.

For me the real success story this season is between Newcastle and Swansea but i'll probably go newcastle as they actually have a chance of gatecrashing the top 4 which is amazing when you think they sold their best (?!) player and spent relatively little on the likes on ben arfa, tiote, cabaye. They have played good, entertaining football and built a talented team on the proceeds from one player sale.
Eric Myles
519   Posted 09/04/2012 at 10:13:47

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Sam, I don't think they spent any of the Carroll cash on new players, very little anyway so their success is not down to money.
Roman Sidey
520   Posted 09/04/2012 at 10:08:58

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Agreed, Sam. If Newcastle made fourth this season, it would be very similar (nearly identical to us in 04/05.

Kieran, I think Utd winning the league this year (can we say that yet?) just shows that the rest of the league has either been really shite, or just really even. League champions or no, this year's Utd side has been a lot wore than in past seasons. Their once miserly defence has been rocked by Vidic's absence, Ferdinand's deterioration, and Evra having a very sub par season.

That City spent so much money on the side they have now can mean one of two things. a) Mancini and co. didn't buy very well, or b) the best players don't aren't buying into this City bank roll shit, thus pushing up the price of 4star players - which is basically what the majority of City's team is.
Kieran Fitzgerald
541   Posted 09/04/2012 at 13:06:09

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I do agree with you Sam, it is no surprise that they are up there. I suppose that it is their experience that has kept them there. I agree with Roman that perhaps the league just has been that poor this year. It is strange that teams like Arsenal and Chelsea have been poor for large of the season at the one time. Spurs have showen that they don't quite have the experience to stay the course for a full season. City have imploded in a big way since Christmas. I think that Utd have taken advantage in a big way and I suppose It shows where consistancy can get you.
John Ford
546   Posted 09/04/2012 at 13:43:13

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Money talks in a way it never has before.

I think its the case that we are the only non money team to quality for the CL in the past ten years, and Newcastle should be the second.

We're consistently best of the rest though this year, oddly we may jump above the RS but trail Newcastle. Lets see if toon can be as consistent as we have been over the years.

Its a depresssing thought knowing that we can never win the league , not until or unless someone invests big time.

Money buys trophies. Without it we cant really expect any more than Moyes has done, which lets be honest is more than any other manager without the luxury of substantial funds. The FA Cup would be sweet, really sweet. Noone deserves it more than the blues , us, and our manager.
Dennis Stevens
547   Posted 09/04/2012 at 13:51:21

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That's the galling thing, when you consider our terrible first half of the season, again, & yet we now sit in 7th place - it makes you realise that a bit more consistency over the season would see us regularly challenging for CL & rarely failing to qualify for Europe.
Jason Lam
160   Posted 11/04/2012 at 02:42:48

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Man City need to invest in refs not just players. Like fucking manure.

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