Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Everton: a special case

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Who's like us? At Everton, I reckon we have issues that make us unique. We are an impoverished club with a huge history. A "big club" in the minds of many Evertonians (me included). We've got a chairman with no money. Now, that doesn't make us unique but, shall we say, different from some. We've got a coach under no pressure. Alex Ferguson aside, I think we are alone in that. We've got a coach-chairman relationship that I believe is unique in the utter dependency of one to the other.

What we have that makes us special is the fact that we are the ultimate "middle club"; we have a coach who has never won anything, supported by a chairman with no money. Together, they keep us in the Premier League. Under them, we ? despite comments on other threads ? will not be relegated. Nor will we win anything.

We are a special case. We must not settle for poor football. We must not settle for 7th place. We must take a chance. I say better give it a go. This season, forget about respect for the opposition. Let's treat the newly promoted teams as six points off each of them. Let's treat Chelsea, United and Arsenal as teams in decline. Let's treat Liverpool and City with the utter contempt they deserve.

The Moyes-Kenwright double act is here to stay. So, let's have ? in the disgraceful absence of funding ? flair, nastiness, belief, arrogance, football and something that makes Goodison Park on a Saturday the best place to be on earth.

Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 06/07/2011 at 23:36:42

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Russell Buckley
1   Posted 07/07/2011 at 05:21:12

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It's that time of year... dare to dream.
Michael Kenrick
2   Posted 07/07/2011 at 05:42:58

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If only...
Steven Pendleton
3   Posted 07/07/2011 at 07:22:24

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Remove the word 'special' from your title and substitute in either of the words 'basket' or 'hopeless' and I think it better illustrates our club Andy.

I'm sick of seeing other clubs spend money and we have to get excited over getting a free transfer or a loan player.
Eugene Ruane
4   Posted 07/07/2011 at 08:05:37

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Agree completely Andy.

There are of course no guarantees that one style of football will be any more or less successful than another but...that's the point in a way.

Over the last few seasons, we have lost and drawn enough games against average sides by playing 'safe', to show it's not some magic formula for 'success'.

So why NOT play two strikers every game and send the side out with orders NOT to hoof it and to keep it on the deck and press?

On occasions, when we do play this way (for 20 mins or so before reverting back to the welly) I don't think anyone can say we have LESS success.

I remember us playing birmingham a couple of years back and we battered them for 25 mins, everything was going down the wings, there was clever, inventive inter-passing, intelligent movement and we were constantly applauding.

Then they got a goal back against the run of play.

1-1 and basically....end of game.

I mean we'd already shown in the first part of the game that we could batter them and had we continued the same way there's every chance we could have stuck 5 past them.

But we didn't and both sides stunk the gaff out for the rest of the game.

Of course we COULD have been beaten or drawn too, but (as results show) this happens regularly with the present 'style' of play.

Good (ie: attacking, inventive, piss-taking) football has always been appreciated at Goodison and as you suggest, a different attitude and approach could really get the place rocking.

Plus I think it makes life easier for the players, as supporters are much more likely to forgive a player attempting some daring, skillful attacking move that breaks down, than they are a ball that is lumped up the park right down the throat of the opposing lummox of a centre half.

Never going to happen though - Leopard, spots etc
Jason Lam
5   Posted 07/07/2011 at 09:14:16

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2011964/Phil-Neville-This-18th-pre-season-training--believe-doesnt-easier.html



"..as we take pride at Everton in the fact no team will ever out-run us during the season"

Everton: the Michael Chang of football. Out-chasing every fucking ball into the ground

FFS how about working on our possession play? Passing the ball to your own players instead chasing shadows against West Brom?
Anthony Hughes
6   Posted 07/07/2011 at 09:32:52

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It would be nice to see some gung ho, lets fucking have you style of football and not give anyone respect when we play them. However the evidence of the past few years is to constantly go with a cautious approach, Moyes' much loved one up front.
On another note, can we consider ourselves to be a "big club" anymore?
We've never got any money, we have an aging stadium with no chance of anything on the horizon and we're without a trophy in 16 years. I marvelled last season at the apparent decline of the redshite but they seem to risen from the fucking ashes and it makes me yearn for us to part of that select group again.
Chris Keightley
7   Posted 07/07/2011 at 10:06:47

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Anthony #6 ? we are not a big club anymore... in fact Huddersfield have a better stadium and are better run than us, even the might of Brighton beat us too (if you believe the hype one of our targets). Old stadium, poor commercially, badly run board, never transparent, opportunities missed time and again in the transfer market, and still they want us to part with our very hard earned money ? and we do!!
Mike Rourke
8   Posted 07/07/2011 at 10:31:39

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Anthony 6. "can we consider ourselves to be a "big club" anymore?"

Interesting point.

Perhaps we are a 'Big Club' in the same way the British Empire was a big empire.

Amazing in it's time but now largely irrelevant and unfortunately no amount of barking about historical significance, tradition or latin mottos is going to change that.
Craig Taylor
9   Posted 07/07/2011 at 10:49:35

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We are not a big club.
Anthony Jones
10   Posted 07/07/2011 at 11:11:19

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Sorry but I couldn't help it...

"Who's like us? In Iran, I reckon we have issues that make us unique. We are an impoverished country with a huge history. A "big country" in the minds of many. We've got a chancellor with no money. Now, that doesn't make us unique but, shall we say, different from some. We've got a president under no pressure. Kim Jong-il aside, I think we are alone in that. We've got a prime minister/president relationship that I believe is unique in the utter dependency of one to the other."
Eugene Ruane
11   Posted 07/07/2011 at 11:18:44

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Craig Taylor (8).

The problem with what a 'big' club is, is that everyone's definition will be different.

If tomorrow, Doncaster are taken over by Sheik An-Vahk and billions are invested, are THEY a big club?

Is it to do with trophies won or trophies won recently?

Are you a big club if you finish in the top four?

Are you a big club if/because you're wealthy?

Can you be a big club with crowds of 23,000?

I'm neither agreeing with you or disagreeing by the way, just suggesting that unless 'big' is defined, the only responses can "Yes we are" or "You're right, we're not"
Lee Courtliff
12   Posted 07/07/2011 at 11:49:07

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The definition is irrelevant. If you tried explaining to someone who is not an Evertonian and under the age 35 that we are a big club they would just laugh at you.

Trust me on this..............i have had this conversation many times. These days,people just don't take us seriously has a "force" in the game. And why should they? What have we won in the last 20 years?

We can't even sign anybody for a decent fee for Christ's sake!!
Mark Stone
13   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:17:58

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Laughable to think that Moyes is under no pressure. The minimum expectation on him is to finish 7th. That is what the board budget for (when he arrived they would budget for finishing 17th every year). Since Moyes arrived in 2003 Everton's average, annual net spend on transfers is 14th out of 20 premier league clubs (similar to West Ham and West Brom). Accordingly our league position should be similar - history does not give Everton a God given right to over achieve. If our league position was similar (ie we were relegated or just escaping every year), Moyes would be sacked. The reason he has not been sacked, and is not at risk of the sack at the moment, is that under his stewardship Everton continue to match the boards expectation, despite that expectation being financially unrealistic.
Anthony Jones
14   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:39:39

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#12:

Accordong to Deloitte, in 2009-2010:

"Everton?s wage bill increased 11% to £54.3m, which moved the club from 12th highest payers to eighth (in the PL)."

I don't know the most recent figures but if we are still around 8th, then surely we should be finishing around 8th in the league? To look at transfer fees in isolation is highly misleading, but then that salary expenditure make excuses for the board, and we can't have that, can we?

Danny Broderick
15   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:43:06

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Mark,

How do the board budget for finishing 7th? We're run on a Championship budget if anything!!
Also, I couldn't see Moyes being sacked even if he got us relegated. His £60,000 a week contract put paid to us ever having the money to pay him off.
The board are just happy to stay in the league. They are just spectators like the rest of us.
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:49:11

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Eugene, but for some piss poor defending rather than their attacking Blackpool served up the kind of football I personally crave, they weren't undone by attacking but by a back four that looked like they'd never met and seemed to be out of position more often than not.
Paul Johnson
17   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:42:06

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Eugene I remember the birmingham game well as I had just come home from Africa and it was a freezing cold day but more importantly it was the last time I set foot in goodison. I left with 20 mins to go (the first time i have ever left early in 40 years of going the game) and swore to my totally demoralised 11 year old son that I would never go and watch while Moyes is in charge.
The guy has stabilised our team (I will never forget the Wimbledon and Coventry games) but anyone who is happy for a home point at home to Birmingham should not be managing Everton football club. I know we are not a big club anymore (financially) but were does that mean that we should not be entertained every week.
Anyway now in Africa permanantley and still live and breathe the club but not unfortunately on saturdays at my favourite place in the world, I have David moyes to thank for that. I dont like Kenwright however he does not tell the team how to play.
Mark Stone
18   Posted 07/07/2011 at 12:44:41

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I couldn't agree more Anthony, and have consistently written comments on here discrediting other contributers who have described transfer fees as a marker of potential success, in isolation from salaries. Unfortunately in this instance I don't have access to all of the salary information for all of the clubs so it is difficult to make a judgement. However, that argument could actually work either way.

Look at Arsenal, for example, who have a lower net spend on transfers than Everton since 2003 (In fact, since Moyes arrived, Everton have spent nearly £26m more than Arsenal in the transfer market). So you might assume Everton should be, at a very minumum, closing the gap on Arsenal on the pitch - at least from a financial perspective? However, Everton's players salaries, as you state, in 2009/10 were £54.3m. A quick google search reveals that in the same year, Arsenal's annual salaries was approx £120m. So that £26m over 8 years difference in transfer fees is not only swallowed up in one years salary difference, but actually doubled. In just ONE year!!! So in actual fact, rather than closing the gap - it is actually getting greater. Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool etc were all spending more on salaries at the turn of the century than Everton are now.

Another point is that your comment states that in 2009/10 Everton moved up from 12th to 8th in transfer expenditure. Well, between 2003 and 2009 Everton's average league placing was between 5th - 6th. Despite being 12th in the salaries paid 'league table' and lower still in the 'transfer fees paid' league table! That is pretty good going by David Moyes.

Second point to refute your comment is this. In 2008/9, Newcastle and Pompey had greater annual player salaries than Everton (£30 and 10m a year greater respectively) but as they were both relegated Everton automatically jumped up two places. I don't know who the other two teams (although I am pretty sure that one was Villa - as the difference between Everton and Aston Villa's salaries is negligable) were that where paying more than we were at that time. However, since then, Newcastle have been re-promoted and have a greater annual salary than ourselves and I know that Sunderland's annual salary has increased dramatically. Whether we are still above or below Aston Villa is unclear. I assume Everton are anywhere between 9th and 11th with the difference btween the three teams in those places negligable). Now, with the 14th highest transfer fee bill, and the 9th-11th highest salaries, a yearly expectation to finish 7th is very, very challenging, and the manager is under immense pressure to achieve it. No pressure my arse.
Mark Stone
19   Posted 07/07/2011 at 13:37:43

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Danny Broderick, you misunderstand the point of a budget.

They don't spend the money needed to ensure that they finish 7th, as you seem to this this implies. Rather, when they estimate the annual income so that they can calculate money available for David Moyes budget for transfers/salaries, they assume that the incoming money equates to a 7th place league finish. Any leage placing under 7th would mean that Everton would come in under budget, in terms of prize money. As with any manager of any business, there is a lot of pressure to meet the budget. Got it?
Mark Stone
20   Posted 07/07/2011 at 13:44:32

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Oh the other club above us in 2009/10 were West Ham. They slashed their wage bill in 2010. Now they are relagted.
Tom Bowers
21   Posted 07/07/2011 at 14:08:17

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Whilst all us fans really don't know the state of the politics or finances at Goodison it is apparent that Kenright either wants to keep in control or cannot seriously find a suitable investor.
Consequently we have to accept an inferior squad that will struggle to reach the top 6 or seven each year.
We seem to have trouble even attracting other clubs to sign any of our players.
Has anyone even enquired for the likes of Bileyletnikov or Osman or Heitinga etc? Why is it we still have Yobo and Yak with no bids on the table?
Yes there have been rumours surrounding Rodwell and Jagielka but that's all. A sad state of affairs.
Maybe all is coming to fruition next season and Moyes has it all planned out.
I don't think so. He has young players that he may or not give a good chance to but in the past that has not been his style.
Money is the key and we have none to help us maintain a serious challenge.
James Marshall
22   Posted 07/07/2011 at 14:38:37

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Chelsea, United and Arsenal ? teams in decline? What on earth makes you think that? Arsenal may be about to sell their two best midfielders but a team in decline? I think not. As for the other two ? clearly not! They came 1st & 2nd last year as far as I recall, and are both making signings left, right & centre ? which incidentally are areas we could do with strengthening.
Shaun Sparke
23   Posted 07/07/2011 at 14:36:59

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Tom, Whilst I agree that money is important in ensuring that you attract the best players, you also have to have a manager who can get those players to perform. We do not have the strongest squad, but we do have 15 or so players that are talented and are more than capable of seeing us finsish in the top 4. We really do have to make an effort to stop using the lack of investment as a reason as to why we underperform in the league.
Anthony Jones
24   Posted 07/07/2011 at 14:41:16

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Fair play, Mark. You certainly have looked into this more than I have. It's not easy to gauge people's background knowledge when the posts are short and direct.
Gavin Ramejkis
25   Posted 07/07/2011 at 14:50:47

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Great point, Shaun, and the most infuriating part of being an Evertonian during the latter part of Moyes's reign. We will play great football against the likes of Chelsea and Man City and the odd good games against Man Utd for all their millions then play utter unforgiveable dross against the likes of Wolves, West Ham, Birmingham, Blackburn, Wigan, etc. The "one size fits all" game play isn't the answer and glimpses of what we can do when it's changed brings as much fury as joy.
Mark Stone
26   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:13:46

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Shaun Sparke, which of the current top four clubs ? scratch that... six clubs ? do Everton have a better 'best 15 players' than?
Brian Waring
27   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:31:33

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Shaun, whilst money plays a big part, the lack of investment is an easy out for the pro BK and Moyes brigrade.
Danny Broderick
28   Posted 07/07/2011 at 15:36:11

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Mark,

You are right, I don't understand talk of our board budgeting. To be honest mate, I think they are just plodding along hoping to keep things on a fairly even keel, and hoping for the best. I can't see any evidence that suggests they budget for us finishing 7th as opposed to 17th ? please enlighten me if you can show me?

The fact is, we have no money to invest. We have sold all of our assets so they don't have any more pennies they can find stuffed down the back of the sofa. We have one of the oldest stadiums in the league so can't generate any income that way. And no-one seems to want to buy any of the players we might be interested in letting go, at least not for a reasonable price.

The board's hands are tied ? they've run out of options. It's like white water rafting without any paddles. We are going to end up on the rocks one of these days ? with the current board, where are we going to find the money from to replace some of our ageing players ? Distin, Neville, Cahill etc?

Craig Taylor
29   Posted 07/07/2011 at 16:01:37

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Eugene 10)

I would agree that many factors (and all of yours) contribute to being a big club but if you look at it we still do not make it.

Personally I think whats happened in the past has happened, and you can only judge use recent history to help judge if we are big now.

Yes we were big once.

My Opinion is:-

Money ? (we have none)
Fanbase, worldwide in this day and age ? (average attendances, not a massive world following)

History < 10 years ? (we have not won anything, had some comendable league finishes, one in the top 4, one cup runners up).

History > 10 years ? (we have won things in the past, arguably could have had more of a European impact at the end of the 80s and then through to now but that's what could have been. Clubs worse off than us now have won more or better trophies in the past, look at Forest!)

Andy Crooks
30   Posted 07/07/2011 at 17:50:40

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Gavin, I hope that every Evertonian reads your post. With our back four what might Blackpool have done? I am tired of the fear of Everton without Moyes. Also, I am tired of the notion that to criticise Moyes is to somehow deflect from the failings of Kenwright. The problems at Everton are not just off the pitch.
Tom Bowers
31   Posted 07/07/2011 at 18:59:12

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You can make a silk purse from a sow's ear very rarely. Moyes has done that to a degree but without investment to help get a pick of the really choice players taht are out there you will always struggle. Class players perform with a greater consitancy which benefits a team.

Example; when Saha is fully fit he is as good as any striker in the Prem but alas he is rarely fit. Cahill was an asset until he got injured and played for Oz back in January and since then Everton suffered. Osman, despite a good finish to the season, spends too much time chasing shadows and underachieving although having extended runs in the team. Bily and Rodwell are not yet consistent performers. Beckford is a natural goalscorer with pace but is erratic.

The squad needs strengthening but not with similar players who cannot push the existing regulars. Investment will help attract those kind of players.

David Hallwood
32   Posted 07/07/2011 at 20:44:18

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Eugene #10 ? Most football fans have big club fantasies, take Newcastle & Sunderland for instance, go on to a fans website to confirm it. But do YOU think they're big clubs? Do up-and-coming footballers dream about playing for them or foreign footballers state their desire to play for such big clubs?

Sadly, the same applies to Everton. We think we're a big club because of the history etc, but we're in a minority of 1. To my mind, what makes a big club big is how it's perceived by outsiders, and on that measure we don't register on the Richter Scale.
Andy Crooks
33   Posted 07/07/2011 at 23:35:50

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David, we are a big club. History, tradition, fans, some of the greatest players ever to pull on football boots. We are a big club and every Evertonian should be proud of it and angry at the current custodians.
Mark Stone
34   Posted 08/07/2011 at 07:53:50

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Danny, Elstone and Kenwright are both on record as stating this. Back in Feb I think, at about the time the financial reports come out. Google search will bring you some quotes direct from the source. This has also been discussed at AGMs over the years.

NB your second and third paragraphs provide further support for my point that Moyes is under a lot of pressure!

Dennis Stevens
35   Posted 08/07/2011 at 16:17:00

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Andy, I'd be fairly made up if Moyes just took a chance in the manner you describe for cup matches only. Maybe he might surprise everybody if he showed a little of the boldness he displayed when first taking over as manager.
Eugene Ruane
36   Posted 08/07/2011 at 19:32:59

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David (31) - again I can't agree or disagree with what you say and though I don't think what you have to say is 'crap' or 'nonsense', we DO (it seems) have different definitions of 'big' (as I initially said, if big is NOT defined, everyone's interpretation is/will be different). You ask if I see Newcastle and Sunderland as big clubs? In short, yes. Why? Because my definition of big is different than yours. My definition has less to do with money and success this year than.... (see my first post).
Andy Crooks
37   Posted 08/07/2011 at 20:23:38

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I'd like to change "big club" to "great club". The great clubs, in my view, are Celtic, Rangers, Everton, Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal. Chelsea are a rich club and all they have won is tainted. Same goes for City. All the money in the world cannot buy class.

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