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ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — July 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from June 2006

ToffeeWeb Letters from August 2006


Surely this season we can put together at least a good cup run. What a day out it would be at the new Wembley stadium, not to mention European qualification. Our cup record under Moyes really stinks. I would rate this season a success if we finished in the top six and played well, not finishing with a negative goal difference. If we play anything like last season, taxi for the manager.
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (31/7/06)

That's it in a nutshell, Kevin. Spot on. — Michael

Colon Kavanagh

Let's face it, that's what the Irish newspaper seller should be called because that's what he talks out of 99% of the time.

Now Rooney has said how much he hates David Moyes and that's why he wanted to get away, what does Colon do? Why the usual — waffle away with all kinds of unsubstantiated garbage about how Rooney was 'forced out' by Colon's arch enemy (where would dear Colon be without him to hate?) William Kenwright Esq. I reckon you're full of lying shit, Colon. Maybe that's why your last piece on more hysterical lines got pulled after an hour or two on ToffeeWeb. Maybe poor old Micky and Lyndy realised at last you are just a raving Guinness drinking lunatic after all. It's something everybody else has known for ages.

Here's the deal Colon: Put up or shut up. You either KNOW something or you don't. If you don't then like I said you're full of shit. If you do then you won't be scared to post it because the truth will stand up.

If you can't answer this simple request then please stick to selling newspapers. Let me assure you, you aren't good enough to write even for MerseyMart. People like you damage Everton Football Club because it gives you some sense of weird 'accomplishment' and nothing more.
Phil Edwards, Liverpool  (31/7/06)

Phil, I think it's a little bit more complicated than "put up or shut up". Of course you're not going to buy that because for you it is an open and shut case of Rooney wanting out, submitting his transfer request, and getting his dream move to Man Utd. Many fans believe that because that's how it was spun for them.

But for those who question the events that went on much, much earlier than those final death throes, there is a helluvalot more to the Rooney transfer and all the surrounding shenanigans. If you are interested, go back and read Colm's previous articles with more of an open mind, and try to reconstruct the timeline, starting with the moment when Stretford 'poached' Rooney.

But of course, I know you are not really interested unless you have proof, and of course there is no real proof. It would be an incredible story if someone would write it, but nobody is going to. It will remain a web of conjecture and intrigue because there are very powerful people involved, and there was a lot of money involved, and some pretty nasty characters. And that's why the full story will probably never come out. — Michael

Who's in a Ste?

Ste Boileau, read this before you babble on like a John Lennon wannabe, looking at this club in rose tints! Firstly, I do not post things to wind people up — that's Dutch Schaeffer's job. Secondly my argument for Buckley getting a contract is based upon his desire to play well and impress, which he has done. Something which Beattie and Garfunkle, sorry Davies, haven't done.

Difference? Buckley is aparently free and those two came for big money and with big expectations, yet haven't delivered. So it's every Evertonain's right to question their worth as they (Beattie and Davies) combined cost around £10M! Ten million which doesn't grow on trees, unless they're coca bushes! If Buckley doesn't live up to expections then boot him out! No fee, no fuss! But signing him should give Everton more flair and greater squad depth.

And in Davies's case, if Moyes played him where he has played his whole career (right wing), he may get better out of him! And if Moyes actually cared about playing football which would benefit our strikers, then it may get the best out of Beattie!

So, Ste, I agree that supporters should be united. But unity comes when things are well, and things haven't been well at Goodison for a very long time now!

Lastly, Michael! I almost wet myself laughing when reading your response to my last posting. Even through we differ on a few things, I got to say I respect you as an editor and that agreeing with me from time to time won't send me mad mate (promise)!
Luq Yus, London  (31/7/06)

Garfunkel??? Gafaawww!!! I might have to archive that one in his player profile! What we need now is a good head shot... — Michael

Is he Greggarious?

Michael, I'm not one to disagree with you normally, as I couldn't face your acerbic wit and survive. But (Deep Breath) I have to respond to your comments at Steve Guy's letter.

IMHO, Gregg saw us as a potential cash cow. The Kings Dock was all about secondary revenue, and like most of us, I was gutted when it went tits up. So was Mr Gregg. To give him some credit, his bitching about Billy is good corporate governance... well, the best we'll get.

I know people say that Billy is a Blue, and has mortgaged himself to the hilt, and fair play, I can respect that. But to say (and Michael this is not aimed at you, rather a general point) that he's ok because he rescued us from Agent Johnson is naive in the extreme.

We're fucked as far as the Board goes, IMHO. Gregg's not a fan, and since the KD went tits up he would love to get out. But he's just trying to protect his investment. I think we all know there are investors out there who would love to piss millions of their hard-earned into us (spot the sarcasm), but they won't because Billy won't give it up.

Rant over. Thanks for listening.
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (31/7/06)

To add my two cents, I think the whole Gregg vs Kenwright argument is pointless. 90% of fans only care about results on the pitch. The club seems to be moving in the right direction and if we can push for Europe this season, which would have been a massive achievement for us just five years ago, then we're moving in the right direction, so why rock the boat? - Garry

The fact is that there is a reported schism at Board level. Garry is right that most fans don't give a monkey's... However, for those who do, there is a rationale for continuing discussion and debate. My belaboured point about Gregg is that he invested in the club, yet people label him as a pariah; BK invested (less money) in the club, and yet they regard him as a Blue saint. The double standard simply ain't right, IMHO.

When Matt says, "We're fucked as far as the Board goes", I think he is reflecting your 90% comment, or expressing a continuing frustration with what it is they should or shouln't be doing to move us forward. But the average Everton Director and the average Everton fan are world's apart in their perception of the Club and what it means.... Yet, looking at the last two years, their report card is not really all that bad (Rooney decision notwithstanding)... is it? (But I'm sure Colm would strongly disagree...) — Michael

Everton Teamcard

Sorry lads for bothering you again and sounding a bit dumb but what's this thing about the new Everton Club Card? Is it the season ticket or something but as a card instead?
Stewart Ince, Bootle  (31/7/06)

I believe it is. An electronic swipe card / smartcard that you uses instead of a wad of tickets and vouchers in the traditional Season Ticket booklet. New technology, eh.... gotta luv it. The club moving forward into the 21st Century. Next, it'll be biometric imaging and retinal scans... — Michael

Let's get behind the team

Right, firstly, I'm absolutely convinced that Luq Yus is just posting here to wind everybody up. How on earth can you slate players like Lescott, Beattie, Davies etc and then sing the praises of Buckley who, thus far, whilst playing OK in the short time he gets on the pitch is hardly Kanchelskis? It truly baffles me.

And Mike on the oil rig, I don't think any of the players you mention are on crippling wages so let's get realistic. As for Arsenal Reserves, Theo Walcott can't get in that side and he went to the World Cup but the less said about that the better.

Back to things Blue, let's stop being so negative, the football in pre-season is ok, not perfect but ok... Let's get behind the team this year and stop making up nonsense about wages, old signings, etc etc. Bring on Watford and let's start talking about football.
Ste Boileau, Walton  (31/7/06)

No apologies for a cup half full

Tempted as I was, I am afraid I couldn’t let Tony Marsh’s comments in response to my most recent mail go by. The patronising tone and pseudo-intellectual sarcasm which dripped from his response needed a reply, as I don’t like bullies, verbal or otherwise.

At no point did I write that I was happy with Everton underperforming, or that I was happy with Premiership survival as the objective for the Club. Quite the opposite. However, if we can’t be optimistic at the beginning of the season and look to positive moves in the transfer market (and off the field) as presenting signs of the Club finally moving forward, when can we do it?

I also got slagged off (by the editors too it would appear) for suggesting that Bill Kenwright is a better bet than Gregg. For Mr Marsh to suggest that the former is a ‘leech’ is both disrespectful to a man who is undoubtedly a fellow Evertonian and ridiculously over the top. The only leech was the man he replaced (Agent Johnson in case you’d forgotten). When no-one else was putting up the dosh to get rid of spud man, and Everton was going down the pan big style, Kenwright mortgaged himself to the hilt to get control away from a man who had only his own interests at heart. I have no doubt (and nor should you) that we would be in the lower leagues now (at the very least) if that hadn’t happened. That’s not to portray BK as some white knight, but simply to get some perspective on a conveniently forgotten era of financial mismanagement, that puts anything Kenwright has been allegedly up to, in the shade by some margin.

Gregg came on board at that time, but no one should get revisionist on me and claim he put his money up to help Everton out (as seemed to be implied by Editors’ comments). He wanted in on King’s Dock and since the collapse of that project he has been trying to bail out of Goodison ASAP. Kenwright is probably past his sell-by date and fresh impetus is required, but not from Gregg and his backers. Gregg gets his money back and we get unspecified Russian laundry to clean. It’s a scenario which could have us all seeing Kenwright’s reign as a “golden era”! (Look what's haapened at Hearts).

On the subject of backing the players. Sorry, I thought that’s what supporters did? The season has yet to start and already dark mutterings surround Johnson (and Lescott). When I challenged the proposition that we had bought him (AJ) when it was ‘too late’, what I was trying to suggest was that, in football terms, it can’t ever be too late to sign the player you were after. I was as gutted as everyone when we were let down so badly at the beginning of last season. However, I struggle with people being dismissive of the potential future contribution of a new player before a ball has been kicked in anger.

I also hate the way certain players are consistently picked out for ‘special’ treatment. In the not too distant past it was Unsworth and others; more recently it’s Davies and Beattie. If these players aren’t playing well, fine have ago from the stands. But the on-going slagging of Beattie smacks of playground bullying to me and I’ll have no part of it. I don’t see why I should be vilified for holding an opinion; which in this case is that Beattie’s performances improved significantly last season and his overall contribution to the team was excellent for the majority of the time. If Beattie isn’t fully match fit yet, so what? The whole purpose of pre-season is to get to that point with the season proper still three weeks away. If this isn’t the case, then I would hope the management will take the appropriate measures to sort it out — starting by dropping him.

Finally, the manager. Moyes bashing in the TW Mailbag is second only to Beattie baiting. Moyes isn’t perfect by any means (I despair of his substitution strategies), but he has stabilised the club on and off the field and, operating within a tight budget, generally improved the squad. In criticising Moyes, I personally always look at the alternatives and try to get some perspective. We are not going to have Wenger knocking our door down any time soon and, outside the ‘Big Four’, the rest of the Premiership managers impress me far less than Moyes (Martin Jol apart). Take a foreign coach? Sure, but those new backers had better have plenty of Euros to play with, because European coaches of any repute don’t seem to do well on a restricted budget.

Tony, you claim that Everton always let you down. Any team will if your expectations are too high. I want us to win the Premiership, but it’s not going to happen just yet. That doesn’t mean that I want to settle for less. I will be disappointed if we don’t make a real play for 4th again this year and unhappy with anything other than a UEFA spot. Sorry if trying to be positive winds you up, but I’d rather have my view, than one where the bile is at the back of my throat all the time, as your’s seems to be.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (31/7/06)

Since you seem to be the revisionist, just help me with this one thing: Kings Dock appeared in December 2001. Paul Gregg paid out £7M for his shares in TBH in December of 1999. The prospect of a stadium development may have been part of the attraction, but that still does not detract from the fact that Paul Gregg invested just as much (his family actually twice as much) as Bill Knewright to wrest control from "Agent Johnson. Why don't you acknowledge that? — Michael

Optimistic Dick again

In a odd way are we not all optimists, or, as Michael says,'Idiots'. There are those like me, who without high expectations still hope for the best. Then there are others also without high expectations who wish for wholesale change. Match results will validate one or the other camps. Hey Michael, give that your best shot.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (31/7/06)

Well, there are "optimists"... and then there are "blind optimists". Which one do you feel more comfortable with? It sounds to me like you might have already downgraded your optimism, Dick! (BTW, I think only one of the two are idiots, if that helps.) — Michael


I find it hard to understand the rubbish directed at Tony Marsh. Maybe it's the rhetoric he uses that winds up so many of you, but can't you honestly see that he talks sense and is repeatedly proved right?

Like all clubs, we have a majority of lemming like supporters, who think it disloyal to state the obvious about the incompetence that runs throughout our club, from administration to management to players. The fact that Moyes has finally bought one player with pace, after years of clearly needing more than one, and being maneouvred into paying way too much for him, even though he's decent, really just shows what a complete wanker Moyes is.

For the money that fool has wasted, we should have dangerous, pacy players throughout the side. We are limited from back to front: Richard Wright should not be a professional footballer... he's a gormless PE teacher who'd get the piss ripped out of him from Grade 5 up.

  • Naysmith, Weir, Kilbane, Carsley, Davies, McFadden, Beattie.... you could barely give this crap away to a Premiership side, yet they're all on wages that are crippling us. They probably couldn't get 30 percent of what they're on anywhere else. All thanks to our Moyestro....can you even see them getting a game for Arsenal reserves? They would all be so out of their depth, against players on a fraction of the money, it would be laughable.

    The football we play, the rubbish we sign and the spoilt weekends we all endure are largely down to the clueless imposter in charge. I used to admire supporters who were always looking on the bright side and managed to extract slivers of the positive from piles of crap... now I think we have too many blinkered, naive fools who accept mediocrity.

    You people are part of the cycle, you perpetuate the dross we have to endure with your misplaced loyalty, and it pisses me off that I'm going to have to suffer this rubbish for longer partly because of you!
    Mike Prendegast, Oil rig, Malasia  (7/31/06)

  • Hey, big spender...

    Did you know that we were the third biggest spender last season. And we are currently third, behind Spurs and Chelsea for this season. Who says we are skint?
    Joey  Mctyre, Liverpool  (31/7/06)

    Just Give Me Football!

    I’ve been reading the mailbag with interest (and despair!) over the last few days, and have been shocked by some of the pessimism and sniping that I’ve observed. The one thing that is good about the mailbag, is the passion of supporters clearly shines. We may not agree with each other all the time, but that’s part of what makes it interesting.

    For those of you on the ragged edge, a couple of points:

    • Pre-season friendlies are just exercises. I was unfortunate enough to be in Bangkok for our games last season…
    Contributors like Tony Marsh, Mike Price and Harry (not so) Meek have a valid point, although sometimes some of them don’t articulate it very well — our style of football isn’t attractive at the moment. I’m an Everton fan because my old man made me one, and I didn’t have a choice — and I’m grateful to him for that. But even he has stopped going, and he’s not the only one. It’s not because they can’t afford the season tickets (pensioner prices are still reasonable there!), it’s because they are hugely fucked off with what they are seeing. That’s the real point. The Moyes apologists are missing that. I know he’s got qualifications coming out of his arse, but you know what? Getting a team to play isn’t that hard.

    I’ll get slated for this, but anyways, I ran a team in London when I worked there. They were shite when I took over, perennial basement dwellers, but I knew they had a couple of good players. I persuaded two of them to not retire, brought in some talented youngsters, and got the team playing football — the way that Everton showed in 1985. I was in charge for two seasons. We won the league both times. In the end I stepped down as it was taking too much of my time, and they regressed to the bad old ways, and finished bottom again.

    Michael and the rest of the editorial team is correct in saying we should wait until 19 August. But please forgive me if I’m not salivating at the prospect…

    ps: On the stadium debate, I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again – I predict we’ll be in a new home before they are…
    Matt Traynor, Singapore  (31/7/06)

    Hot stuff

    Moyes directed his players to keep the ball due to the warm conditions in Dallas on Saturday. This global warming ain't all bad then.
    Ronan Hanly, Boston, MA, USA  (31/7/06)

    How unfortunate he doesn't realise that keeping the ball even in cold conditions enhances your chance of winning matches :p

    Shut your pie holes!

    We've not kicked a single ball of the new season, and people are moaning already. Shut your faces and wait until after at least the Watford game to have a moan.
    Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (31/7/06)


    I have just been watching the so-called Super Soccer Masters on Sky... And, my god, Brett Angel really is as bad as I remember him — even my eight-year-old son commented, "Flipping heck, dad, he's even worserer than Peter Crouch!" I didn't have the heart to tell him we actually paid good money for him and told him we got him on a free cos we felt sorry for him. By the way, I see I can now watch the Blues in high definition on Sky, therefore enhancing the experience of us getting beat at the usual away grounds. Spurs, Arsenal, United, etc...
    Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (30/7/06)

    In reply to Joey Mctyre — Club América

    I'd just like to pick up on the below comment from Joey Mctyre:

    'We played some attractive football against Club América. Although it was only against a lowly-opponent, it certainly gave some bright hope for the future.'

    In fact, Club América are hardly a lowly opponent. They are the most popular team in Mexico with approximately 16% of football fans in that country supporting them and, as this page shows, are the most succesful team in Mexican league history with 10 titles, having most recently won the 'Clausura' Championship in 2005 and Central America's version of the Champions League in 2006.

    As such I believe that we should give our players a little more credit for their efforts as Club América seemed very lucky to get their last minute win.
    Glen Anderson, Huyton  (30/7/06)

    Zzzz Zzzz

    Woke this morning, having had a terrible dream about this coming season: We drew at home to Watford, lost to Blackburn and of course Spurs. Then we got a hiding at home to Liverpool. After four games, we only had a point. Thank fuck it was only a dream!
    Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (30/7/06)

    Lay off the cheese, lad!

    League title

    Buy an animal for the middle, a good ball winner who can pass, and, my friends ,then we can and would win the league... honest!
    Rob Madigan, Essex  (30/7/06)

    What's that stupid saying? "We're two players away from greatness"? Anything is possible... but some things are less likely than others. — Michael

    Luq Yus

    Luq Yus has a pop at Beattie and AJ because they haven't scored any pre-season goals and then he goes on to suggest Buckley is a player of immense flair and demands he be given a contract. How many goals has Buckley scored pre-season?

    I agree that Beattie in particular has looked like he relaxed a little too much this summer but both him and AJ are class strikers who will soon find their scoring boots. Both players are capable of scoring 15+ Premiership goals a season.

    Let's not panic before the season has even begun.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (30/7/06)

    Who are these 'supporters'?

    In the main I read, only rarely do I write. However, I find myself completely mystified by the observations of some contributors, who seem to glory in their predictions of doom and disaster for the club I have learned to love over so many years.

    At this stage of affairs, it is difficult to say with any accuracy how the team will perform over the 38 matches of Season 2006-07. I have a feeling we will do well in certain areas but perhaps less well in areas where recent purchases would suggest the contrary.

    I would suggest to the doom-&-gloom merchants, button your lips 'til the forthcoming season is well under way. Only then will we be able to judge with any accuracy how well Moyes's recent purchases are performing.
    Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (30/7/06)

    I don't think that's quite fair. If you can look at Simon Davies and say he has played well in one or two pre-season games, then why can't we look at the newcomers or the poor performers by the same measure? And for each game as the season progresses?

    Let's face it: no-one can actually predict anything with any degree of certainty or reliability, so it's all just opinions anyway. And at the end of the day, they don't matter, but the results of those 38 games do, and how we play in them. That's why we take them, one game at a time, and make a rolling assessment of how things are developing and where we are heading. — Michael

    Tony Marsh

    Dear Tony,

    Why do you continue to write such melancholic shite? Everyone here in the Everton community has been geniunely excited about next season and yet you continue to write your usual average negative tripe before the season has begun.

    Pease show us your evidence other than ancedontal crap that proved that we had first dibs on Darren Bent? Why wouldn't we want to strengthen our core defence? We have an ageing defence - it makes sense, doesn't it? Yes, midfield is an area of potential improvement, but do you think Moyes doesn't know that already?

    Please Tony. Show us the money next time before you choose to throw your pitiful two pence into the ring.
    Scott Robinson, London  (30/7/06)

    Simon Davies

    Does anyone here believe Davies is about to make a radical change in our system of play? He has impressed me both in the right-wing position as well as the attacking midfielder role. He is exactly the player we need to complement playmaker Arteta in a four-man midfield.

    I wonder if Davies and Cahill can play together? Cahill with all his energy could play the defensive role and save his areial threat for set-pieces, while Davies, Arteta and VDM/Osman can provide the ammunition for our expensive £15M strike partnership.

    The season is bright!
    James Brown, Liverpool  (30/7/06)


    A message to all optimists: be prepared for a very average season. Yes, Moyes has signed a few decent players but again has fallen short by not streghnthening the middle of the park. We again are going to witness the long ball Moyes so loves to play, with only Arteta trying to play any passing football alongside his ageing overated team mates that make up our midfield.

    A reality check on AJ: Palace went down with him and couldn't come up with him so as far as being a saviour goes... Get real!
    Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (30/7/06)

    Reply to Tony Marsh

    Every signing is a gamble. You win some, you lose some. Charlton were lucky with Bent, we were lucky with Arteta.

    Excuse me, we aren't going anywhere? Under Moyes over the last 4 years, we have an average 9th place finish, which is certainly an improvement from the Smith era.

    We are among 5 clubs that have finished 4th, and in the top 7 twice in the last 4 years. Not even big spenders like Spurs, Newcastle or Middlesboro betters both records.

    Instead of players like Linderoth, Alexandersson, and Ginola, we now have fit, young and quality players like Arteta, Johnson, and Yobo who are hungry for success.

    McFadden scored 6 goals from 16 starts last season, certainly a good record for a third-choice striker, not forgetting some crackers too.

    Anichebe will get games this season, I can assure you that. He has, in fact made his debut last season and scored (if you remember).

    I'm not sure why you don't rate Beattie. He was only our highest goalscorer last season and probably in the last 5 years. With 11 goals, he is only a 2 or 3 goals behind Rooney, Bellamy and Keane.

    Johnson has never played seriously for us yet, but he will, won't he? Mind you, this lad has managed 35 goals over the past 2 season from only 75 apps. Thats almost a goal in 2 games!

    We played some attractive football against Club America. Althought it was only agaisnt a lowly-opponent, it certainly gave some bright hope for the future.

    Joey Mctyre, Liverpool  (30/7/06)

    Some fresh thoughts there, Joey; thanks for them.

    Just for the record, Beattie scoring 11 was not the most in the last five years, as this page shows, with Cahill (12) and Campbell (13). — Michael

    You can't ignore the facts!

    I'm with Tony Marsh when it comes to Everton and expectations. I thought the "AJ was 12 months too late" quote was utter tosh but everything holds up. I did not know that Everton had first rights on Darren Bent, and considering Moyes brought the inferior Marcus Bent from the lower leagues, makes that transfer miss inexplicable! Typical Moyes though!

    Anyway, facts do not lie!

    • Johnson - 4 games, no goals.
    • Beattie - 4 games, no goals.
    • Lescott - 3 games, no clean sheets and some very dodgy displays (and hair cuts).
    • Arteta - 5 games, 2 goals, a class act!
    • Anichebe - 4 games, 4 goals but he will not play often in the first team as Moyes has said!
    • Davies - oh why bother, he's too shite to even go there!
    Pre-season are often signs of things to come, people. We are in MASSIVE trouble this season, and there is nobody to blame expect the one who certain fans swear he is the second coming! His tactics, transfer dealings (especially dumping Ferrari for that Lescott shite, and Krøldrup for that matter), and his stubborness in sticking with his favourites and disliking for flair players (and please you Moyes fanatics do not say 'Oh Arteta', as Moyes only got him as cover for Gravesen, then realised 'hey, he ain't bad'). This all leads to Everton being a bottom 12 side! As he can not get the best out of a clearly talented side.

    And just watch as he doesn't give Buckley a contract, who has been a great flair player thus far for us, as he plays Anichebe for the last ten minutes of a game, as he uses 4-5-1, and as he buys a few more defenders to play in Midfield (Pip, for example). Argue this, you Moyes fanatics!!!
    Luq Yus, London  (30/7/06)

    Jesus Christ! It must be my fault for giving encouragement by agreeing with you the other day. Now you've gone off the deep end! — Michael

    Diary of a 'blue' Blue*

    12 May 2006

    So, another season of disappointment ends; We’re going nowhere, Moyes is out of his depth. We won’t sign anyone; Moyes will dither. We desperately need a striker and our aging central defence needs bolstering up with new blood. A blind man on a galloping horse can see this, but Moyes and Kenwright can’t. Let’s face it, we’re doomed.

    Kenwright won’t give Moyes any money and if he does sign anyone, it will be on the last day of the window and the players will not have time to adjust to their new team mates. Our youth policy is crap and there is nobody knocking on the door of the first team. Yobo, Cahill and Arteta are on their way, an insider at the club told me so. The other lot will be moving to a new stadium soon and we’re still no further forward in our plans to leave Goodison. We’re going nowhere, we’re doomed… doomed… doomed.

    12 June 2006

    Moyes has bought two players: a striker and a central defender. I can’t believe this stupidity, signing a striker who has a record of scoring goals in the Premier League for a very poor team. We all know that he is quick and has an eye for goal, but he’s not an Everton-type player. We lost a brilliant striker in Forsell because of Moyes’s dithering last season, the excuse was that he had bad knees… I don’t believe it… This is madness, we’re doomed…

    Moyes has also bought a central defender who has been voted his team’s player of the season. He’s supposed to be an excellent header of the ball and quick. I can’t believe the stupidity, we’ve already got enough cover in defence.

    Yobo, Arteta and Cahill are still on their way (an insider at the club told me).

    Where did the Chairman get this money from? We are spending the family silver… let’s face it, we’re doomed… doomed… doomed.

    12 July 2006

    Troops are massing on the Lebanon/Israel border; John Prescott is running the country, Zidane has been sent off for head-butting an opponent. I can’t help feeling that Moyes and Kenwright are behind all this. Our pre-season tour is about to start, We’ll not win a game, we’ll probably not score, the dog has got the shits...

    Moyes, leave now… Let’s face it, we’re doomed… doomed… doomed.

    12 July 2007

    The missus has left me… she tells me I’m a miserable fucker; it’s all Moyes’s fault and that tight twat Kenwright.

    We’ve finished 5th in the league, won the FA cup and qualified for Europe. We are going to be embarrassed by teams of postmen and sheet metal workers from places like twatsville Latvia. The new 55,000 seater stadium is going to be built in Kirkby and it looks like ours will be built before Liverpool’s. This is a fucking joke, we should be spending money on players not building… investing in the team, not concrete… Moyes and Kenwright are bastards for letting this happen.

    Yobo, Arteta, and Cahill are going to Man U… an insider at the club told me. Let’s face it lads… we’re doomed… doomed… doomed! I’ve renewed my season ticket… well, it’s the only pleasure I get.

    *Any resemblance to any person living or dead from the neck up is purely coincidental.
    Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (30/7/06)

    Reply To Steve Guy

    AJ is a good signing but it was 12 months too late: "What does it mean?" you ask. Well, Steve, it means that, 12 months ago, when we had a chance to qualify for the Champions League and we were crying out for a striker, your beloved Moyes signed... erm, no-one. You say he tried to sign AJ back then but he never so why didn't he try to sign someone else?

    Wigan, West Ham, Charlton, Spurs, Newcastle — they all managed it; so why not us? We even had first refusal on Darren Bent but Moyes didn't fancy him at £2.7M. The lad's only worth about £12M now. What's Beatie worth? Two bob.

    It is too late, Steve, don't you get it? This season will be all about survival, and nothing more, Whereas last season could have amounted to something if Davey Boy hadn't sponked all the dough on a load of crap. We needed a striker back then, Steve, when it really mattered. Now, who gives a fuck who we sign? — we ain't going nowhere.

    Fans like you and Managers like Moyes are the real problem at Everton. Get your head out of your arse and look at the shambles the team is in. Then look how much money Moyes has spent assembling it. Six forwards don't make me piss my kecks, lad. McFadden is a waste of a shirt; Vaughn is a long-term injury; Anichebe won't get a game [Moyes said so]; Beattie... oh please! And AJ has never played for us yet. I only wish I could be as enthusiastic as you, mate, but I am sorry, I can't.

    This club always let's you down and when you need them most and it's been going on for years. And the more we put up with it, the longer it will go on. Wish we could all be like you, Steve, and never have to worry about how shit we really are —just as long as we stay up, hey, mate?
    Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (30/7/06)

    Howard Interview

    This is just a quick one to say that I stumbled across this readable Tim Howard interview when researching the Club América game today.
    Glen Anderson, Huyton  (30/7/06)

    Then and Now

    "It's hard to find flaws in this Everton side, and when there is one, Southall is there to pick it up" - John Motson 18th June 1985.

    If only people were talking like that now...
    Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (29/7/06)


    I must confess I get a little annoyed by Michael's impatient dismissal when anybody mentions Liverpool. To most Everton fans – and certainly those born and bred in the city – Liverpool are far from being 'just another club'. If we are crap, then it is doubly important to us that our loveable neighbours don't get to win the Premiership. Thank God for Chelsea, I say.
    Brian  Denton, Liverpool  (29/7/06)

    I just don't think it's healthy for Evertonians to be so preoccupied with Liverpool. That's all. — Michael

    Having opinions

    In a response to both Tony Marsh and Steve Guy, I have to say most of what Tony had to say I agree with, with slightly less doom and gloom choice of grammar but nowhere near the myopia of Dutch Shafter or Ken Dodd's Formby-based nephew.

    Steve asked why Tony thinks AJ was 12 months too late. Erm, Steve, what do you think Everton needed most before entering the Champions League qualifiers? In fact, what were they calling out for some six months before: a goalscorer. Even given that Villarreal progressed very far in the competition, without a proven goalscorer and playing attacking football, the biggest opportunity Everton had for years to turn a tasty profit was pissed away, so guess that's what '12 months too late' means. An extremely lucky season will be needed before even getting there again.

    Have to agree with Steve on the Arteta statement on flair players but he is on his own in that department amongst all of Moyes's signings, and, yes, managers do cock up but to keep calling Simon Davies and James McFadden anything but mediocre is criminal.

    Squad heavy with defenders brings mixed feelings. Yes, it's good to have squad depth but having shit-loads of defenders to call upon with very few backup strikers leaves football match outcomes as draws at best and who wants to watch another boring draw or more often a defeat having gone a goal down with no response?

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Tony on a one-diemsional midfield with no true holding player in the mould of a Graveson or Carrick - before anyone yells "We could never afford Carrick," think how much Tottenham bought him for and that I said 'type of player' — not that specific player. Simon Davies is not the answer, neither is Phil Neville and, as hard as Leon Osman tries (and he can play well at times), he is not a world-beater in every game.

    Like or loathe Beattie, you must admit that on many more occasions than not he has appeared unfit and lethargic and appears uninterested during too many games be they friendlies or not. One thought for anyone, if friendlies are meaningless why not make them free or pay a pittance to attend, the players are still getting paid and returned from holidays so they should act and play like professionals.

    Beattie bashing is often down to observations of his laziness and lack of fitness. So he scored 11 goals last season, just think for similar or less money Darren Bent scored 22, Ayegbeni Yakubu scored 19, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored 16, Robbie Keane scored 16, Mark Viduka scored 14 and even Collins John at a very crap Fulham scored 12. I think those figures alone show what cash-paying supporters expect their hard-earned to be giving them back in terms of entertainment and payback.

    One final choker from Steve was to accuse Gregg of money grabbing and place a halo on one of the biggest leeches Everton has seen in years in Wyness. The guy is an absolute self-pocket-lining "fuck the fans" slimeball who has continually stuck up two fingers at the fanbase over countless issues only to occasionally appear with well-chosen lip-service on how hard he is working and how wealthy the club is. All I can see is Gregg make moves to takeover the club and Bullshit Billy comes up with a new fairytale, neither materialise and both look like fools.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (29/7/06)

    Reading the signs

    As with every season, too many people read too much into pre-season matches. It's about getting match fit and you cannot read anything at all into how either the team or individuals play. The fun starts on 19th and it's how they play and perform against Watford that I will be most interested in.

    However, the likes of Tony Marsh seem to need to take it a step further. The latter led from the front during last season with his Moyes-bashing and seems to have built up a head of steam already in preparation for the up coming one.

    Tony, I don't get it. 'AJ is a good signing but is 12 months too late'. What does that mean? Moyes tried to sign him a year ago but Palace said "No". Moyes has kept after a man that a great number of Evertonians thought would improve our side, so why is it now too late?

    We also get comments about Moyes's apparent dislike of 'flair' players. What's Arteta then? If we can get another Arty, fantastic, because the latter is prepared to play in a team. Too many of these so-called 'flair' players cannot play in a team (Ronaldo, anyone?) and unlike Chelski we cannot afford that luxury.

    Next one Tony... we are 'top heavy' with defenders. Have you ever heard of cover? Moyes is gradually lowering the average age of the side, but is mitigating risk by making sure the likes of Lescott can bed in with older hands around for support. We now have five or six forwards... is that top heavy too? Just as an added point here, to answer back on the anti-Beattie mail — the bloke covered every square inch of grass last season, including goal-line clearances. He still managed to get into double figures despite playing up-front on his own most of the time.

    I've also noticed the Kenwight Bashers out in force again. Why? BK has found £14M this season and £20M last. We have bought a couple of dubious signings but a) shit happens and b) that doesn't detract from the fact that BK has supported the manager as well as overseeing progress off the field with the Academy and the plans for the new stadium. What more do you want from a Chairman? I for one would rather we had people like BK at the helm, who have the best interests of the Club at heart, than place my trust in Gregg and his Russian pals. We should all be praying that the Gregg story is just that — a story. The bloke has done nothing for this Club and never will, other than line his own pockets.

    I've said previously that I am at my most optimistic for a good while. The squad is far stronger than for a good many seasons. Moyes, BK and Wyness have a clearly emerging strategy to take the Club forward and I for one would like to see it through.
    Steve Guy, Harrogate  (29/7/06)

    BK didn't "find" £14M, although I wish he had. That money probably came from the Sky TV money which is our biggest source of annual revenue. The £20M he "found" the year before came from the sale of Master Rooney and there are no more of him lying around Netherton – Lyndon

    And I'd like to pick you up on one point: "Paul Gregg has done nothing for this Club and never will, other than line his own pockets."

    Now I understand that taking sides in the Boardroom battle means believing the other bloke to be evil personified, but I think a short time-out is due here. Paul Gregg forked out £7M of his own money to fund True Blue Holdings and thus enable his then-friend Bill Kenwright to buy the Club from Peter Johnson. Hardly lining his pockets...

    To do that, he would have to sell his shares at a substantial profit, and the only way that is going to happen is if the perceived value of the club has increased substantially since 1999. Something that would mean the club has progressed, with Gregg as a major shareholder. Or would all the credit for that reside with Kenwright? On what basis? -- Beacse he is the Chairman? But he could not have done it without Gregg.

    Gregg and Kenwright are both primarily investors in Everton, and would I'm sure both hope to get a decent RoI. To claim that one of them has done nothing for the Club and never will, other than line his own pockets, is very wrong. — Michael

    More Of The Same

    Three weeks to go until the start of the new season and already I am starting to not look forward to it. Mike Price is absolutley spot on with his summing up of all things Moyes. Moyes is out of his depth and most of us already knew it last year.

    There will always be the Richard Dodds of this world who are happy with any old shite but some of us are a little more demanding. You can see from pre-season games that our style of play and the way we approach games is not going to change from last season so we will definetly struggle again.

    The signing of AJ was in my opinion a good thing but it has happened 12 months to late to have any real impact. I am afraid that AJ's pace will allow Moyes to completley by-pass the midfield and any thought of build-up play will go out the window. Instead, we will get ball after ball played over the top with AJ expected to run after them while Barndoor Beattie will battle for knock downs.

    The only reason Moyes isn't intrested in buying a footballing midfielder is that in his head he doesnt need one. Who needs skill and pace in the middle when you are going Route One anyway?

    With a squad already top heavy with defenders, did we really need Lescott from Wolves? Hughes looks a far better player from what I have seen so far but we all know Davey hates the kids so I suppose we had to bring in a Championship crock that no one else wanted. Typical Moyes(remember Davies last year).

    All-in-all, things look very bleak to me as we haven't adressed any of the problems of last season regarding the midfield which is the reason we are so one-dimensional. One thing I have noticed from this time last year is the lack of postings coming out in support of Moyes. Maybe the word is out and fans are waking up to this guy? Let's hope so because it makes my blood boil every time I read one of Davey's articles in the press bigging up one of his shit signings. If they are all that good, Davey, why are we so SHITE???

    I rest my case.
    Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/7/06)

    Oh Dear! That's blown the pre-season feelgpood factor right out of the window! But it just might be all so different come 19 August, Tony. — Michael


    Lyndon, God bless ya and your slightly more optimistic view of Moyes and rose-coloured view of that 6 million pound sack of...w aste of space. So he scored one good goal, a chip over the goalie... big deal, anyone who plays at a decent standard occasionally notches a one-off or a screamer.

    I honestly can't think of a more ineffective, unscary striker. Premiership defenders must love playing against him, he is total crap, a makeweight in a Kevin Davies transfer, that's his level; but we've paid a joke fee with ridiculous life-changing wages for a joke player. Of course he'll score a few goals a season but the sooner he's out of Everton the sooner we can move forward.

    The inevitable reality of the incompetence of Beattie, and much more worryingly of Moyes, will eventually descend like a sledgehammer... limited or no progress... jobs for the boys... we are an easy touch for non-entity mercenaries.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic/realistic, but with these idiots in critical positions at OUR club we are destined to endure horrible, boring, unsuccessful football.

    We need an intelligent, forward-thinking manager who recognises the importance of pace, power and skill. We are fast becoming a dinosaur of the Premiership, left behind and guided there by our very own Moyesiah!

    I know theres loads of you out there who want to give the 'ginger one' another season.... I really hope you're right but I think, deep down, we all know he is completely out of his depth. Just wait and see!
    Mike Price, Songkhla,Thailand  (29/7/06)

    Wait and see we'll have to, Mike. And we can only hope you're wrong :) – Lyndon

    Blind optimism...

    ...may only be the stuff of dreams and, as Michael says, of idiots, but that is what brings us by the thousand at home and around the globe to cherish our club and proclaim in a proud loud voice that we are EVERTON!

    Without the support of thousands of like-minded fans, EVERTON would long ago have gone down the gurgler. That we optimists, in times of our darkest hour, amidst boardroom shenanigans and other perfidy, dare to dream, is what alone has kept our club in the world's toughest and most cut-throat football league.

    Some, like me, occasionally — especially when we face the other lot — beg the Almighty’s intervention. OK, so that doesn’t always work but at least we try and it is no more or less useless than whinging on about things over which we have no influence.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/7/06)

    Not me, mate. You and I, as Evertonians are poles apart. I don't support or cherish Everton FC out of blind optimism: absolutely not. We as fans are anything but "like-minded". There are a myriad of different opinions about anything and everything to do with Everton, as this website and all other diverse Everton ones on the web demonstrate in microcosm. We lapse into dreaming and "what if", of course, but that is NOT what has kept us in the increasingly mundane Premiership (what did you call it???).

    As for the other lot, I couldn't give a shit about them. They mean nothing: they are just another Premiership club. And the Almighty has demonstrated time and again he ain't listening to us, so we are really and truly on our own, and have to succeed by our own merits — nothing else. The realization that we have no influence over anything should be Lesson 101 for each Evertonian. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Stop by again sometime and we'll tell you some more about the Real World. ;-) — Michael


    Moyes is clearly a stubborn type of person. He appears to stick with things far longer than it appears sensible, especially when it's his idea. The horrible defensive, high-efficiency dross that he regularly serves up does seem to just keep us out of relegation trouble, but we are painful to watch and will never get a sniff of winning anything with his "insightful" tactics.

    The clearest example of his stupidity/stubborness is his persistence with Beattie. The fact he bought him was a sackable offence in itself, the £6M fee just added massive insult to injury. He then disrupted a winning team, pissing off the impressive, at the time, Marcus Bent. He did nothing and nearly cost us 4th place. His first full season we all expected a lean, sharp striker... he was and is, a fat waste of space... no skill, no pace, no aggression; but Moyes bought him and allows him to lumber his fat frame into the hallowed Number 9 shirt of Everton FC. He's a disgrace, his attitude is a disgrace and the way our 'out of his depth' manager handles the situation is an even bigger disgrace.

    With these clowns at the club, expect a handful, at best, of decent home performances, regular capitulations away from home, and progressively uglier perfomances as the season unfolds into mid-table obscurity.
    Mike Price, Songhkla,Thailand  (28/7/06)

    You're not the only one who has misgivings about Moyes and while I don't share the depth of your pessimism about the coming season, I do think that this season will be an important one in how we judge the manager's ability to take us forward.

    I disagree about Beattie, though. His workrate was as good as anyone for much of last season and if that sublime chipped goal from the edge of the box wasn't skill, I don't know what is. Give him the right service and he'll score goals — Lyndon


    I've just come back off holiday to read about the Everton takeover on the ToffeeWeb front page. Can anybody clarify whether there is any truth in the rumour?
    Stewart Ince, Bootle  (28/7/06)

    Unfortunately, no. The club denies it, Gregg's not said anything, and the rest is all pure conjecture. Best to assume it's paper talk until anything more concrete comes to light, if it ever does – Lyndon

    Bit of patience, lads

    We are all getting a bit jittery, no new signings... fuck me, they're all in bar a good creative midfielder. The lads are there to work out, no more no less. We can beat a team 7-0 in America but it means nothing.

    The passing looks better and there is less Route 1, so I'll judge Moyes on this season. We'll know at the end of this year, I think, as things are starting to stabiliise.

    As much as I despise the press, can I just say well done, Mr Prentice, for your clarification.
    Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (28/7/06)

    Of course, it would be nice if we actually did beat someone 7-0 this pre-season, if only to give some hint that we'll be firing on a few cylinders come 19th August. But, I agree, it does mean nothing until Watford at home – Lyndon

    The Merry'Go'Round goes on

    Take-over bids with big money on offer for players, a move to a new stadium by 2009 in the press, Gregg against Kenwright still in the Boardroom. Moyes in, Moyes out arguements, Beattie rants and disagreements over our great pre-season form. Somethings never seem to change these days, and I am one Evertonian who is getting quite apathetic about our off the field concerns.

    The real games can't come quick enough to me so we can get back to the important business of seeing how we get on this season. Take-overs: I will believe when I see them signed sealed and delivered; manager changes: I will come to if Moyes resigns as I cannot see BK sacking him. And Beattie's weight problems and lack of interest I will critise when he manages to pull it off against Watford in a few weeks. Even the stadium question I will believe when it stages its first game and isn't built of pieces of paper and planning applications.

    A few weeks ago, I was full on anticipation (as usual) for the new season. Now I just want it to turn up in hope that it may promote some unity. I believe those thinking the latest rumours over take-overs are true are getting over-excited far too quickly. And those who are preparing themselves for a tough season of struggle are again going a bit over-board.

    The one thing you can guarantee is this season will not work out as we expect. It never does for us, with both good and bad results. But I do believe that by the time the season starts we should let the manager, and players prove to us they are right for the club. I am a Moyes supporter but that doesn't mean I don't believe he has a lot to prove and this is the season to show it.

    The last time I felt this way, a certain young lad transferred to Man Utd. See if at the end of the season whether I feel the same as I did a few years ago. Let's see what happens, eh?
    Dave Turner, Alsager, Cheshire  (28/7/06)

    We've been covering the on- and off-field stuff here for over 10 years now, and in some ways there is a familiarity to the cycles involved. I hear what you are saying about the distraction of off-field stuff, and my primary focus has always been our on-field performance for that very reason. At the end of the day, it's the games that matter, and how the players actually perform — although that, as we can see from the mailbag and the local media, is apparently a matter of individual perceptions rather than definitive fact. 19 August still seems some way off but we only have three pre-season friendlies left already... — Michael

    Tomorrow Never Scores...

    In response to this optimistic concept that Beattie will start playing brilliantly when he finally gets fit, here's just a thought.

    Training in a disciplined way every day without injury and with a healthy diet, it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to reach peak physical fitness. Here I'm diferentiating between pure physical condition and not 'form' which is more subjective. We should be well beyond blaming his inability to remember where the goal is on fitness, suspensions, pressure, new faces, different tea bags, itchy shorts and all the other the-dog-ate-my-homework excuses. He has never achieved anything like the sharpness of form that would justify his price tag.

    I don't know anyone, other than Beattie himself, who suggested an England call-up with a straight face, although ironically those who were called up did perform at his level. I hope he does hit a rich vein of form and knocks in 20 goals. But right now Beattie is already hiding from the ball and the season hasn't even begun.

    It is entirely justified to make judgements based on current performances. That's the only guide anyone has, including David Moyes. He has too much of his own reputation invested in Beattie to admit his error and move him on. Color me worried.
    Steven Hero, Liverpool  (28/7/06)

    Well put, Steven. Some mild concern is justified and you have hit a few good nails there... — Michael


    Give the fat lad a break, will ya. I mean the guy was a joke when he signed and his first season (headbutt apart) was completely forgetable. But to start writing him off in pre-season and questioning his desire in pre-season is just a bit unfair. If Johnson doesn't score in our first 4 games are we going to start slating him and calling him a useless baldy Championship player!?

    Beattie showed us that he can finish and work his socks off for the team last season so if he starts the season like that I'd doubt that anyone will be complaining. Come on people, optimism is much more fun than negativity. We just might do OK this season, how terrible!?

    ps: Davies is poo. Buckley for England.
    Niall Clinton, London  (28/7/06)

    I think when you compare the body language and style of two of the players coming on at half-time in Columbus, and one (Arteta) shows every bit of skill and enthusisam we've grown to know and love, while the other (Beattie) woobles around aimlessly with a clear lack of committment, you can't help making some judgement. But Davie tells us Simon is all set for a fantastic season this time around, so I for one am really looking forward to that. But Delron, I think, may be genetically pre-disposed to playing for some country other than England. — Michael


    Why are we all slagging Beattie? He looked one of our sharpest players against Celtic.. granted he should've buried that header gainst the Crew.

    If I'm not mistaken, he got 11 goals last season... when is the last time an everton striker did that? Don't knock the guy as his effort is first class. Give it time and he and AJ will be running crazy wild!

    Think we should also start playing down the Big Vic hype although it's hard not too... hope Vaughany comes back soon.
    Joe King, Chester  (28/7/06)

    All My Dreams Come true

    ToffeWeb: can you run a poll with this question:

    Would you be happy to see the back of Kenwright, if we had a new very rich Russian investor.

    That's a "Yes" for me and I will call a taxi for Billy Liar.
    John Cribb, Liverpool  (28/7/06)

    I'll get Lyndon on task right away...

    From Russia With Love

    Pleaaassssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee come and take over our club from the phantom of the Boardroom named Bullshite Bill! Whether it's a un-named Russian or the American Lerner, whoever is ready to wipe out the £40M debt and stump up £50M for players is OK in my book! Considering the stories are true of course!

    The question is will Kenwright give up his stake for the good of the club, or hold on (like he did with the Fortress Sorts Fund) and continue to suck the life out of Everton, like the vampire he is, while professing his love for it! Lovely acting, Bill; pity this ISN'T broadway!!!

    Only time will tell...
    Luq Yus, London  (28/7/06)

    Mindless Upbeat Nonsense

    Michael, I wasn't asking for any more 'mindless upbeat nonsense' It was, and still is, an open invitation to the 'Moyes is a genius because he is' brigade to help us be more upbeat by putting some beef behind their increasingly vacant claims on our manager's behalf.

    Nothing to do with the pre-season games. All to do with long-term strategy.

    I'm all ears, folks...
    Paul Tran, Kendal  (28/7/06)

    Soory, Paul, I clearly missed the subtlety of your cunningly worded dig at the 'Moyes brigade'. I think we have had a good share of those stating their faith in the upward curve this season, but neither the optimists nor the pessimists really have that much to go on. New names in the squad; fine words in the media; mediocre performances in pre-season. The jury is still out! — Michael

    Panto season in summer?

    The latest journo shite as linked to from the homepage has brought another cynical smile. Apart from the obvious "heard it all before" I've spotted one obvious mistake with the story straight away: that of £40M of debt. Last I heard, it was closer to high twenties and that is a long-term secured debt that closing quickly would incur penalties.

    So I'm one that thinks this is all bullshit again to sell tomorrow's chip papers and even if there was a shred of truth in it we all know Bullshit Billy doesn't know how to give up the trainset, he wants people stupid enough to give him fat wads of cash with no return. It simply isn't going to happen.

    Altogether now "It's a takeover"....."Oh no it isn't" repeat ad infinitum.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (28/6/06)

    I wonder if the £40M number is made up of £27M to Bear Stearns, plue ~£13M owed to Phillip Green? — Michael

    Soap Opera

    The latest rumour eminating of a possible takeover from an unamed Russian tycoon once again throws the spotlight onto the ever increasingly farcical relationship between Messrs Kenwright and Gregg. The bun-fight looks likely to continue following last season's impasse and the failure of Gregg's last Russian investor to materialise, this is being counternanced by the 'silent' partner that Bill Kenwright obviously relies upon in Philip Green.

    The Fortress Sports Fund fiasco was obviously a smokescreen by Kenwright in true pantomine style to deflect the possibility of Gregg launching a hostile takeover and boardroom coup and there remains the issue of Anita Gregg's holding on the Club. For all these shenanigans it is however evident that we are probably in the best state financially in terms of manageable debt for the past 20 years and are becoming an attractive proposition for possible investors.

    Buster Wyness has gone on record stating these facts and when you consider that we have probably half the debt of Liverpool, have the real issue of the ground move on the horizon, and a fanbase to draw on in excess of 50,000 should we be successful, then it is evident that our attraction will grow.

    There was, after the dismal spell of the 90s, only two ways Everton could go: either continue downwards on a spiral of decline or address the issues and strive towards stability. Smokescreens and mirrors will probably continue as the battle between Gregg and Kenwright hots up, a fans share rights issue was never going to happen in the murky waters that is ownership of a Premiership football club so lets hope that this will be concluded and not continue to be the long-running soap opera that both are starring in...
    Peter Laing, Liverpool  (28/7/06)

    Good synopsis there, Peter. As the Boardroom Turns.... — Michael

    Takeover News

    It's the summer and yet again a supposed takeover revolving around Paul Gregg is in the air. Based on his track record so far, watch this space for the announcement by Bill Kenwright of news of additional funding.

    Think about it — a couple of years ago there were rumours of a Lord Grantchester/Paul Gregg takeover which were immediately countered by Billy's announcement of the Fortress Sports Fund. Last year, Gregg and the Chester City owner (Vaughan) were supposedly considering a buy-out. This was immediately met with Kenwright's news of a group of London based businessmen willing to inject funds into EFC.

    So — and remember, you heard it here first — don't be surprised when Kenwright comes along with his version of this year's latest offer. It goes without saying that none of this money — from either side — has yet materialised. Just how long are we supposed to put up with this sort of behaviour from these total incompetents?
    Rob Williamson, Sheffield  (28/7/06)

    Welcome Comrads

    Hurrah! A Russian wants to launder his money through Everton FC. "Bring it on!" is what I say... how many Chelsea fans were complaining about Abramovich when they lifted the league trophy this year?

    Kenwright is a total wanker, with the only thing going for him being that he is an Evertonian. If Gregg really has found a big investor, let's see if "Blue Bill" sticks to his promise and relinquishes control of the club.
    Jez North, HM Prison, Walton  (28/7/06)

    Beattie bashing

    I see that the Beattie bashing has resumed in the mailbag largely on the basis of a few lacklustre performances in pre-season friendlies.

    You may recall that last pre-season he was similarly uninspired and netted a sole penalty against Manchester City. By March many Evertonians were suggesting an England call up!

    Gordon Strachan stated when we signed Beattie that we would only get the best out of him when he is fully match fit. He of course being the manager in charge of Beattie when he produced the best form of his career thus far.

    Pre-season is all about building fitness for when the real business starts and he should therefore be judged when the season begins.
    Dave Jeanrenaud, liverpool  (28/7/06)

    Cast your mind back

    Tonight, 10pm on Sky-3: The Football Years 1983/4.

    The programme info. tells us that that year Liverpool dominated Europe (yawn!), Kevin Keegan retired (if only) and Watford made it to Wembley for the first time.

    Now that last one is interesting. Watford at Wembley! I wonder how they got on?
    Tony Horne, Kettering  (28/7/06)

    Sorry, Elton - I guess that's why they call us the Blues! - Colm

    Enough already

    For lord's sake, give all this negativity a miss. If there was one thing we Evertonians used to have in buckets it was sheer blind optimism. Lately that ingredient seems in short supply or could it be that ToffeeWeb has cornered the doomsayers market.

    After years of disappointment, many of us have grown an impenetrable shell that deflects the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, opposition barbs and the moans of less optimistic fellow travellers. We have developed a siege mentality, ‘Once more unto the breach. We will fight them on the beaches, we will never surrender.’ We are EVERTON and we know in our hearts that despite all their trophies we are better than them and deep deep down in their hearts they also know it.

    The game is afoot, the enemy is in sight... unleash the dogs of war.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/7/06)

    A view from the Outback? Blind optimism equals idiocy. Evertonians are not idiots. They know the score. They know you don't get anything unless you play some decent football. Moyes still ain't giving us that. No sign of it yet. Nada. That's not doomsaying because it's talking about what we've seen so far, what is now past. There is always the (increasingly forlorn) hope that one day... one day it is going to change. That's true optimism — not telling yourself hreatwarming positives that aren't really true or don't really matter. — Michael

    Come in Number Nine...Your Time Is Up!

    I must agree with some of the remarks made about Mr Beattie, and I was surprised that he got the No 9 jersey ahead of Andy Johnson (an out-and-out goalscorer?), but then again since the days of Sharpy, nobody has really managed to add lustre to that particular shirt.

    I have no axe to grind with Mr Moyes, but I suspect that his close working relationship with Mr Kenwright will sooner or later lead to Moyes's demise, as Bill seems to have a penchant for turning silk purses into sows ears.

    Reading the article in the Telegraph, it suggested that the war in the boardroom continues unabated and this can hardly be good for the club as a whole. This situation has got to be sorted out as quickly as possible as it undermines whatever the players say about good team spirit.

    This oft-lauded team spirit is unusual in a team that doesn't even flatter to decieve: they look one-paced and shot-shy... and indeed they are one-paced and shot-shy.

    I know it is easy to be critical but the longer an Evertonian supports Everton the easier it becomes to lose any hope that they will ever regain their once lofty place in English football. Ah well! only 19 more Premiership home games to go.
    John McFarlane, Lancs  (27/7/06)

    Difference in class

    Watched the Celtic v Man Utd game last night and saw an inexperienced, youthful United take Celtic apart with some lovely fast-moving classy football. A vast difference from our long-ball tactics against the Hoops last Sunday. I begin to wonder if Beattie is ever going to serve up the goals we expected and my dad, who is a Wolves fan, reckons Lescott will never hack it in the Premiership.
    Leigh Sadler, Essex  (27/7/06)

    As he proved last season, Beattie will score goals if he's given the right service. Whether he gets that service remains to be seen. Obviously, the fare served up in the pre-season friendlies seems to be rapidly eroding the optimism that was pervasive following the signings of Johnson and Lescott but we'll have to wait and see — Lyndon

    Fitness or fatness levels?

    Not sure if this was answered way back but I remember when Moyes first took over at Everton and specifically employed "top fitness specialists and regime" which quickly reduced the sicknote list and the players fitness levels rose to those not seen since the 80s hungry days.

    Can anyone tell me what has happened since then? Players with what I'd term crap injuries (eg Beattie and that Dutch waster) don't even appear to do basic fitness. For example, as I mentioned a long time ago, Bacon Butty Beattie didn't even go swimming to maintain stamina levels, a regime even given to people with greater disabilities. Watching Beattie in both the Preston and Celtic games, he looks as unfit as he ever has in the past and half-arsed in his attempt to play.

    My personal view on Victor having an injury is the age-old stubborn Ginger Misery giving excuses before playing his "chosen ones" in Beattie and AJ when the season starts. Having seen Victor in two of the friendlies, I'd rather he paired AJ hands down, his hunger and fitness are miles ahead of Beattie.

    And as far as bigging players up, that's even more annoying than the players spouting shit in the Echo themselves; Beattie for Engerland, Davies is a footballer, etc etc.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (27/6/06)

    You'll be delighted to know that Beattie played like an octogenarian against Columbus as well — Lyndon

    Told Yer

    I see Moyes is already playing down Anichebe's chances this season. Bad back is it now, or is it that Moyes has to face up to the fact that he now has a real problem with the AJ/BT partnership?

    Anichebe will go the way of the others who have flair and pottential to challange the first-team status quo. Don't forget lads, it's all about work ethic!
    John Cribb, Liverpool  (27/7/06)

    What can you say? The kid could very well have a bad back...

    Who dares wins

    Ok everyone what would be everybody's ideal starting line up next season? The big debate is the two centre halves. I'd go with Lescott and Yobo mainly for pace reasons but as yet i aint seen much pace from lescott..

    My pick for Watford:

    Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott;
    Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Kilbane/McFadden;
    Beattie, Johnson

    I know it not going to be everyone's cup of tea but let us know... think we should sign Buckley though and would anyone gamble on Dave Thompson should we get rid off Carsley?
    Ian Robb, Sheffield  (27/7/06)

    Arrgh! Today's winner of the Football Manager Dorkus Award by a country mile!!!

    Firstly, how many players are there in a team? How many in the back line (normally)? Or is this your contribution to our radical future: a three-man defence???

    Then, if you are going to indulge in this childishness, the whole point surely is you actually have to pick who you will play!!! "Kilbane/McFadden" just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. No hedging allowed.

    And finally, where are your subs? The Manager has to name is subs as well or the whole exercise lacks credibility. Actually, if you think about it just for one nanosecond, the entire exercise is pretty pointless anyway. The whole incredible world of Fantasy Football was created just for you. — Michael

    Disappearing Acts

    There were many good things to take away from the Columbus Crew game — I thought Kilbane played a very positive energized focused game for example — but two things depressed me.

    • One was that Beattie looked as unfit and overweight and slow-witted and uncommitted and lazy as ever he has and of course missed the now standard open goal before disappearing completely from the action.
    • The other was Simon Davies, who — despite all the media hype about having a better season — looked and played exactly as he did in every appearance last season. He came on, had one run with the ball, blew the last pass then joined Beattie in the Phantom Zone.
    Can someone tell me what function these two wastrels perform for Everton? I can see Davies as a supernumerary but Beattie? Get him scoring or get him out. Once Anichebe went off, there was no bite up front of any kind.
    Peter Fearon, New York  (27/7/06)

    I don't often get this negative (ha!) but Beattie was a disgrace to his Everton shirt. All I can say is thank god I didn't waste any money travelling thousands of miles to watch that performance. And your characterization of Davies was spot on as well. — Michael

    Here we go again

    Like most Blues, I was looking forward to the new season kick off with guarded optimism. (Well, we know our history, don't we?) Last season we couldn't have scored on Love Island with a winning lottery ticket in our pocket and so the signing of AJ was a positive sign of intent. Also, Vic Anchovey might even prove to save us a few million in the transfer market and stake a claim to a starting role himself.

    Then today I read on the official websight that DM says that Vic "has got a back problem at the moment which means we are limiting his playing and his training."

    Limiting his playing? He did that with Rooney when he was fit and clearly the only player - even at 17 - who could do something special and help us get something out of a game. I thought DM only signed players who weren't fully fit anyway.

    Still, as last year's Big Brother winner, Anthony, said, — two words: whatever.
    Dean Peamum, Athens, Georgia, USA  (27/7/06)

    Anchovey? That's a bit fishy init?

    Good, not bad and damn right ugly!

    Anichebe is fast developing into a class act in the future — I'm so glad he scored. Buckley is a good assest and I think he is deserving of a contract. But the rest of them were turgid at best! And the style of play is geared up for hitting long balls to Johnson. Beattie, by the way, is a pathetic joke!

    I am seriously worried about the forth-coming season as other teams have put in good performances, dispelling the 'it's only pre-season' bull! But we have looked clueless and only Arteta (again) has any creative spark about him! Him and now Buckley! Why is Moyes so clueless with tactics? Is Plan Z to play good football, and probably even that is unless absolutely nessecary!
    Luq Yus, London  (26/7/06)

    I wholeheartedly agree with every word, for once, Luq. Nail on head. And I was very unimpressed with what I saw of Lescott. Did Lescott's brutes try to scalp him as well? What's with that hairline...??? — Michael

    Man Utd 5-0

    In reply to Brain Denton: The goals from the 5-0 game are on the BBC video 'Official history of Everton' produced in the late 80's. I reckon you could find one on Amazon or eBay.
    Steve Connor, Liverpool  (27/7/06)

    Easy Targets and Real Issues

    After hearing that we shouldn't 'live in the past', it's surprising that there's so much unnecessary bile being hurled at one of our ex-players. Why don't we just stick to the positive outcomes of this sorry affair? His departure, depending on your point of view:

    • Got the team motivated enough to finish 4th.
    • Provided us with the necessary money to stay out of administration and then become the '18th richest club in Europe'.
    • Enabled our manager to break the club transfer record twice and build the 'best squad we've ever had' since Sky invented football.
    What a great boost all this is to the people running our club and managing our team. The supporters get sidetracked with this nonsense, ignoring the real issues such as:
    • What will happen if Arteta gets injured?
    • Who will provide service for our strikers?
    • Who will boss the midfield?
    • Will Moyes do something about our lack of discipline, especially Neville and Cahill?
    • Will we be able to pass the ball this season?
    • Will our 'genuis manager' and 'super fit Premiership athletes' remember that fitness alone is useless without good technique and positional sense?
    • Is our board of directors genuinely looking for the extra funding we need?
    Of course, it's a lot easier to throw abuse at ex-players and whinge about Liverpool players playing for Engaland. Just a shame that when some of us dare to ask questions of the players and management — the people who can actually make a difference to this club — we get criticised for it. It's quite sad that, despite being told we have a great squad and our manager is a genius, there's so much negative stuff about irrelevent issues and so little positive stuff about what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. Or have I just hit the nail on the head....?
    Paul  Tran, Kendal  (27/7/06)

    You were doing very well until your last sentence. What you seem to be asking for there is the kind of mindless upbeat nonsense you can read every day in the Liverpool Echo. No thank you! Let's stick to the facts... and the facts are that we haven't got much to go on really other than a few meaningless public workouts they call friendlies. — Michael

    Carsley, rumours and gossip

    Lee Carsley was out in a Newcastle pub with Steve Watson last night. Maybe he's gonna sign for his old teammate Niall???
    Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (27/7/06)

    Got lucky

    I intended to go see the Blues today playing Columbus Crew. It was unfortunate, I thought, as today if I went I would miss a three month old appointment to see my eye doctor. No way was I unfortunate. Fancy driving more than 1000 miles and then not seeing the top players.

    As I said, luckily I atended my doctor's office appointment.
    Eric Owen, Toronto, Canada  (26/7/06)

    Speed rubbish

    I can't believe the rubbish printed about Speed not wanting to leave Everton. I had a long conversation with one of the Everton directors during the transfer deal (at a friend's party). He stated that Newcastle had offered Speed a hell of a lot of money and unfortunately that was the way football was going. Speed's move was motivated by his own greed and also a greedy agent. I know we were justified to chant "Gary Shithouse Speed."

    The reason Speed has kept quiet is not dignity but guilt. I suppose it's up to the individual who reads the two sides of this argument to believe what they want but I have not made any of this up.
    Alan Clarke, Manchester  (26/7/06)

    Given my experience with Everton directors, particularly those under the Johnson regime, I would wager they would tell you whatever they wanted you to believe. After all, it's much easier to blame an out-going player who has just signed a confidentiality clause — Lyndon

    Long Shot

    Last night I dusted off my video of the BBC programme about eighties football presented by Danny Baker, Season 1984-85 to be precise. To quote the poet, ''Bliss it was that dawn to be alive'', but it reminded me — and I wrote to BBC about it at the time — that Everton were not featured at home on Match of the Day until spring (the Sunderland game) despite having topped the league for much of the season.

    I digress, but I'm getting to the point, honest — which is, does anyone know of, or have, video of the Man Utd 5-0 goals? Although not featured on MotD, I know it was shown on the Sports Section on BBC2 News that night and therefore should survive in some form or other, as the BBC has supposedly kept all its archive since about 1978 (most of the sixties stuff has been destroyed - ever wonder why you never see any of the Match of the Day from the 1960s?)

    Sorry, youngsters, if all this is so much old fart blathering... I just hope one day you get to have your own 1984-85. I just thank God I had mine!
    Brian Denton, Liverpool  (26/7/06)

    Pennant for Engalnd

    I know we shouldn’t bleat about what goes on over at the Dark Side, but couldn’t resist this little prediction:

    Jermaine Pennant to make the England squad for the friendly against Greece — a la Peter Crouch, both nowhere near the England set-up with their previous clubs.

    My theory? You ain't gotta be any good to play for England — just play for the right club side!

    Anyone seen Emile Heskey?
    Dave Randles, The Royal Port of Ellesmere  (26/7/06)


    Have just heard that that slimy Stretford has won his case against Rooney's former agent. It would seem the authorities have no interest in keeping any honest dealings in sport.
    Ian Anderson, New Brighton  (26/7/06)


    Nick Armitage reckons Evertonians know why Speed left and that his subsequent silence does him great credit.

    Can someone please tell me why Speed left then, as I don't know and Nic is suitably dark / veiled in his comments and never goes into specifics. I would like to decide for myself whether I would put him in the same bracket as the sad creature known as Rooney, or otherwise.
    Steve Guy, Harrogate  (26/7/06)

    As I suggest in a brief addendum to Nick's article, if the information Nick has about Speed's departure is correct, it would not be sensitive of us to reveal the details. Also, as already noted by other readers, Speed's confidentiality agreement precluded him from revealing his reasons for leaving — Lyndon


    I think we have to be realistic about our midfield. Let's be honest we would've lost the plot if Moyesy had spent £8.6M on a midfielder instead of a proven goalscorer, no matter how good he was.

    We can't afford both and AJ is a cracking signing so let's be a little more patient and hope that Beattie/Johnson hit it off and we can splash out on a quality, athletic, strong midfield passer next summer. Davies, Arteta, Neville, and one from Buckley/Osman/McFadden will do ok for us and get enough ball to the top 2. Top 6 here we come...
    Niall Clinton, London  (26/7/06)

    Not forgetting Tim Cahill and Andy van der Meyde, of course. - Garry

    John Davids

    Re the ‘saw your arm off with a fish’ comment. Very commendable, I’m sure JD.

    However, the life of a pro-footballer is measured by the next career-ending tackle. As a pro, the only real loyalty you owe is to your self and immediate family and that loyalty comprises of maximising your earnings potential until — Whack! — The dream ends.

    Sure, Rooney was a greedy little bastard for taking the Manc dough, and his behaviour towards Everton since the move has betrayed him for the mercenary, unstable, little fuck he is. But never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Because then you're a mile away — and you've got his shoes! - Ed.

    Would you really swap a possible £50k per week at an unfashionable club, who are, in reality, desperate to offload you; for £100k at the self-proclaimed ‘biggest club in the world’? Think about it for a moment — worldwide advertising exposure, more product endorsement deals than you could shake a pike at, a stepping stone to Real Madrid or Barca… future England captain… media darling… Celebrity Love Island (well, perhaps not).

    Whilst all the time you’re not maximising your earnings potential you’re listening to that little voice in the back of your head suggesting that it could all end tomorrow if you get onto the wrong end of a Stephen Gerrard two-footer; and an even louder voice from your money-grabbing shark of an agent fermenting discontent and telling you you’re daft for putting up with this shit.

    You’d take the money, JD if you didn’t you’d be a fool… And if you don’t think that the majority of professionals think the same way, wake up and smell the pound signs mate; they’re what it’s all about.

    Loyalty is for supporters, … and spaniels, JD
    Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (26/07/06)

    Myopic Moyes

    I see that Lee Carsley has been left behind to settle the detail of his impending move to Wolves. This means that Moyes sees Phil Neville as the ideal defensive midfielder although most of us feel his best use is as as a full-back. In my view, we still require a physically strong play-maker although, apparently, Moyes now sees Davies in this role and is talking him up big in advance of the season.

    The reality, I fear, is that we shall suffer yet another season of `midfield by-pass` as defenders are encouraged to find the fleet-footed Johnson with hefty balls out of defence. Is it too much to hope that Moyes will adress a weakness which has been glaringly obvious ever since Gravesen`s departure?
    Martin  Horton, Little Stanney  (26/7/06)

    Yeah but no but......

    The ghost-written ramblings of the inane Wayne Rooney provide much insight into his flawed character and adds further fuel to the fire of his damaged reputation. Following his goal against Arsenal, the irritating Clive Tyldesley remarked 'Wayne Rooney, remember the name' and this moment of genius had in a milli-second announced to the world his intention to become a footballing superstar and legend.

    The cat was out of the bag as Evertonians knew of his presence and potential from around the age of 15 and his performance against Turkey for England at the Stadium of Light and the following Euro 2004 meant that he would never again play for Everton due to the media circus and PR machine that was leeching from him.

    All of this is academic but a couple of open questions for Wayne :

    • It was your ambition to captain Everton, when did that happen and did you ever score the winner for Everton against Liverpool ?
    • Do you remember Colin Harvey and those who nurtured you?
    • When will we see you sitting in the Gladwys Street End for a derby?
    • Do you still have those old Everton penants — the ones that you displayed in your bedroom window?
    • Whatever did happen to that t shirt with the hand written slogan - 'once a blue always a blue'
    • Who will you show your medals to if you ever win any ?
    • Does Gary Neville still hate scousers and how does he feel about your brother's internet rendition ?
    • Do the Stretford end still sing "Build a Bonfire"?
    • Do you buy the Sun newspaper and why didn't you serialise your autobiography in it?
    • Do you see yourself as a son of Liverpool and have pride in your heritage?
    • Do you still have Z-Cars as a ringtone on your mobile ?

    I don't expect any answers but your pain and bitterness are obvious.
    Peter Laing, Liverpool  (26/7/06)

    As is your own bitterness, Peter! — Colm

    Good riddance, Rooney

    Where does Rooney get off? Not content to abandoned the team he said he'd never leave, he takes the Manc dollar and then blames Moyes. Maybe Moyes was the only one to stand up to the arrogant teen 'sensation' and he didn't like it.

    When abandoning people, Wayne, have the balls to take it on yourself not blame those left behind. I wasn't pleased to see him injured for the World Cup, but I also wasn't surprised to see him ruin rather then make England's slim hopes.
    Dave Boardman, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire  (26/07/06)

    Rooney ruined England's somewhat slimmer than slim hopes of World Cup glory??? Oh dear! — Colm

    Good Thinking

    Rooney: "I would have gone almost anywhere just to get away from David Moyes. [He] appeared overbearing; just wanting to control people." So he went to play for Alex Ferguson. The boy's a genius.
    Richard Pike, Birmingham  (26/7/06)

    Okay, now we're starting to get the same stuff repeated. Can we draw a line under this one? We're playing a game today... in America! — Michael

    Advice for Wayne!

    It's an old saying, but very true, that you should watch how you treat people on the way up because you may meet them on the way down, and a footballers' career is only short! There are people who think that David Moyes could end up as the successor to Sir Alex, now wouldn't that be an interesting team talk, Wayne!!!
    Gary Bates, Brighton Le Sands  (26/7/06)


    When is the odious Stretford having his case heard by the FA who are seemingly out to nail him?
    Chris Williams, Little Neston  (26/7/06)

    I'm sure Colm knows the answer...

    Rooney et al

    One thing clearly evident is that much as we have our disagreements over club affairs, when an outsider dares vent his spleen on anything Everton we are rock solid in the club's defence. Great stuff lads, now we can only hope our backline shows the same attitude. And how about our dodgy midfield... and the new stadium debate? Or for the time being we should leave that stuff while we revel in our new-found camaraderie.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/7/06)

    Well rid

    I can`t believe the furore over the latest Rooney `diclosures`. Players have been falling out with managers for ever although such incidents usually remain behind closed doors. Only the requirement to earn the huge down payment on his book deal has necessitated the Moyes spat getting into the public domain. Wayne, of course, is an innocent victim — footballers always are!

    But in all honesty, do many Evertonians really believe that, if by some miracle, Rooney had stayed at Goodison, all would have been sweetness and light? Of course not! Given his background and temprament, Rooney will be in trouble on and off the pitch throughout his career.

    We did well to get rid — and the £20 million certainly softened the blow. His departure was more important for dressing room harmony than the occasional match winning performance by a very flawed super-star. Man Utd are welcome to him — and all the grief he will bring them — you just see!
    Clem Duffey, Cronton  (26/7/06)

    Kevin Sparke

    Sparky, you wrote ' all honesty who amongst us would have not filled our pockets with Man United gold if we’d been in a similar position? '

    Just you and George Carrol, I think — I would rather saw my arms off with a fish!

    I hope this story about Rooney has shown the fans who said 'it wasn't his fault — he had to leave' what a little prick he really is. April 28th really seems such a long way off. COYB!
    John Davids, Liverpool  (26/7/06)

    Who cares?

    • Rooney is stupid enough to bang prostitutes.
    • Rooney is stupid enough to join Man Utd thinking he can win something there.
    • Rooney is stupid enough to run up huge gambling debuts.
    • Rooney is stupid enough to get sent off in important World Cup games.
    So exactly why do we care about anything he says? The guy's a twat.
    Paul Atress, Liverpool  (26/7/06)


    I hear Wolves want to sign Everton midfielder Lee Carsley.
    Andrew  M, Hoppers Crossing  (26/07/06)

    Great Players

    I've supported Everton all my life. Over the years, I've seen many great players, from Alex Young through to today's players. Rooney had (and does have) talent, but he's not a truly great player. He lacks the other important qualities that make up a truly great player. His ghost-written and meaningless ramblings, serialised in a right-wing Tory rag, will be the chip wrappings of tomorrow. His book will soon be reduced for a quick sale.

    Everton Football Club, founded in 1878 with a proud history and a successful one, is bigger and more important than any one individual will ever be. Rooney is a sad case, and as time goes on, he will become an even sadder one. Our attention should be on the new season, and the new signings we've made and the squad.

    Everton is our club and always will be. With Rooney it was a one night stand, he was too young and stupid to understand, that had he listened to David Moyes, and stayed with the club, he may of become worthy of the title 'a great player.'
    John Clarke, Brisbane, Australia  (26/7/06)

    Wayne’s World

    Coming so soon after his childish tantrums and inglorious exit from the World Cup, one would expect Rooney, if not to walk around with a paper bag over his head, to at least show a little humility. Instead, we are treated to peurile immature drivel about hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and a kick in the guts to one who nurtured his blooming talent.

    Having lost credibility as a true sportsman, Rooney’s literary outburst against Moyes shows that he also is an arrogant snot. Unless Wayne curbs his nasty streak, we will (as we did with George Best) only dream of what might have been. I hasten to add that Best’s weaknesses only involved non-playing misdemeanours while Rooney is well on the way to cover the whole gamut.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/7/06)

    What a waste!

    Gideon Haigh's article in the Guardian really said it all about Wayne Rooney and succinctly explained the reason why someone blessed with such wonderful skill ALWAYS takes the wrong option.

    "He's as dumb as a box of spanners," explains Haigh and,of course, he's right. No amount of money, no clever-arse agent and certainly no celebrity ghost-writer can overcome that sort of handicap. Sad to say, Mr Rooney is set to have a very troubled life — on and off the field.

    What a waste!
    Alwin Bird, Colwyn Bay  (25/7/06)


    Why do we still give this tit time of day?
    Mike Mulhall, Portsmouth  (25/7/06)

    Err... oh, never mind.

    Rooney Nonsense

    Surely the truth about Rooney's book and its serialisation in the Mail is that he had to say something to grab the headlines. There wasn't much else that he could (or at least would want to) talk about. As a result, Davey takes the fall.

    Rooney's escapades with prostitutes and his gambling are not, after all, the stuff of which heroic sportsmen are made. Come to that, being an a spoilt brat is not too heroic either.

    It is ludicrous to suggest that David Moyes was jealous of Rooney. There is nothing to support such an allegation and everything that Moyes has said about Rooney has been positive. I feel sorry that this has been published now as I was just coming round to forgiving Rooney for leaving Everton. Unfortunately, he has shown his true colours; and they are not blue.
    Gary Leonard, Southampton  (25/7/06)


    Rooney is fast becoming the Alex Higgins of football: blessed with phenomenal talent and natural ability — but the man has no class.

    I fear that this lack of self-control on the field will always be a factor limiting Rooney’s game. His obvious lack of respect for the club and manager who nurtured his precocious flair and protected his still developing body, through using him sparingly in his first season of professional football, deserve so much better from his pen (or his ghost-author’s pen).

    As soon as this biography was mooted, Everton and Moyes were on a hiding to nothing. Controversy sells books; it’s as simple as that. He couldn’t be controversial about United; they are paying his wages. He couldn’t knock the England set-up — he hopes to win the next World Cup with England and perhaps be captain one day. Who could he knock and not suffer any consequences? The answer is the club he supported as a boy. (Why anybody would buy a ghost written biography of a 20-year-old is beyond me… ditto why anybody would read the Daily Mail!).

    However, don’t believe for a second that these carefully devised quotes were anything other than calculating. Moyes will not always be manger of Everton and when Rooney the Biography 2010 comes out to coincide with the next World Cup (KaChing!)… expect him to say some nice things about us.

    I’ve never booed Rooney at Everton: I found this to be a futile exercise and in all honesty who amongst us would have not filled our pockets with Man United gold if we’d been in a similar position?

    I’ll still never boo Rooney, but I’ve no respect for him as a person nor, increasingly so, as a footballer.

    Alex Higgins, former World Snooker Champion, was the most exciting thing to happen to snooker in a generation but poor judgment, the inability to curb his personal demons and poor management prematurely ended his career and he now lives in isolation, shunned by the Snooker establishment.

    I fear that young Wayne is plotting the same route to ruin; by nature I’m not usually a vindictive person – but I bloody well hope so!
    Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (25/7/06)

    Insane in the membrane

    Just who actually advises Rooney on his professional and personal matters? Presumably they are paid a nice wedge for the privilege of doing so yet the advice offered to him would appear to come straight from the Gazza school of how to fuck things up.

    Over the last couple of years, this knob has been involved in shagging prostitutes, running up huge gambling debts and attacking numerous youths. My advice would be keep yer head down, don't get in the papers and concentrate on the footy. But no, young Wayne and his advisors decide that raking up a two-year-old story for the sake of deflecting attention from his further misdemeanours during the World Cup.

    Just what purpose lame-brain and his agents think this is going to serve is beyond me. I would have said it was a pathetic attempt to relieve himself of blame for his Everton departure but I don't believe he gives a fuck about the club or its supporters enough to try and do so.

    The points made about Moyes controlling him are laughable. Any manager who doesn't try and control a 16-year-old boy bent on self-destruction should be sacked anyway. That Rooney decided to leave after an argument over a CD player shows him up for the stupid, deluded prick he is.

    As for the prostitutes, I am sure Moyes did not drive him down there and make him shag dirty old hags behind his girlfriend's back any more than Alex Ferguson encouraged him to gamble huge amounts of money behind his girlfriend's back (and then refuse to pay it back!).

    All of this could and should have been avoided if Rooney and his advisors had any shred of dignity. Of course his actions to date show this to be sadly lacking.

    Finally, where does it leave us, the supporters, the ones who shed tears on his departure? The more I see and hear of this little toerag, the more I am convinced we are better off without him. He is a digraceful advert for this city and the less he is associated with us the better.
    Steve Connor, Liverpool  (25/7/06)


    Like most of my fellow Blues, I'm saddened by the "revelations" appearing in today's papers regarding our former player. Whilst Rooney may feel he is justified in accusing Moyes of being controlling and jealous of his fame, I must admit my surprise therefore that Wayne jumped at the chance of working with shy and retiring (soon I hope) Lord Ferg of OT.

    Anyway, the point of this letter is to point out the highly readable article appearing in todays (25/07/06) Guardian by Gideon Haigh. It says it all really.
    Liam Taubman, Onchan, Isle of Man  (25/7/06)


    One quick question for Wayne Rooney. If it was David Moyes who leaked the story about his brothel exploits to the Liverpool Echo, how come the Sunday Mirror had CCTV photos of Rooney in that very same brothel the day before the Echo published the story?

    I smell a big fat stinking rat. And a reptilian lying agent.
    Nick Armitage, Liverpool  (25/7/06)

    Not sure anyone really cares any more, but it was Rooney's reaction to the stories that were already being published which he confided in Moyes and then claimed was leaked to the local press — not the original grannie-whore story. Hope this helps...

    Rooney's Hate for Moyes

    I can't believe how much this supposed Evertonian continues to disrespect our great club. Rooney is just looking for excuses as to why he left the club he swore he loved! Moyes is a good manager who gave Rooney a chance, so Rooney should be thanking him!

    The fat lad is just a cocky piece of shit and I for one who once adored him. I hope he fails in football and doesn't win trophies as he doesn't deserve to.

    As for David Moyes, I think Evertonians should give him a great reception at the Watford game to show him that fat boy's comments haven't damaged our opinions of Moyesy! And if the little cock had an ounce of respect for the Blues he wouldn't have considered moving to fucking Newcastle United!
    Rhys Parker, Burnely  (25/7/06)

    About time this story was told

    A couple of years back, I had split up with my ex of 3 years and was on a downer. To cheer me up, my two mates took me on a bender into town, which ended up drunk as hell in a taxi asking the way to the nearest brothel. We ended up in Aigburth Rd. We all paid a tenner just to get in (one mate wasn't up for it, so paid a tenner for a warm can of Carling and watched a black and white film on BBC3!)

    Me and my other mate were pissed, but still up for it. There was only one "girl working" called Gina who was pleasant enough, but not much to look at.

    I went first, and fumbled through for ten minutes. She actually uttered the funniest words I think I've ever heard: "Do us from behind lad, coz me back's bad!" She asked my name at the end, and in a stupid panic, I said "errr...I'm not allowed to say." and left.

    My mate went next, who was not as pissed as me, but couldn't get it up, so ended up talking to her. She told him how much she earns, etc and then she asked who I was.

    To this day, we can't fathom why my mate said this, but he answered "He's the Prince of Leichtenstien" and she actually believed him. She then went on to tell my mate that she'd shagged Wayne Rooney a week before... no-one believed him until the story came out not soon after.

    My reason for telling you all this is 1) I think it's something to tell my grandchildren and rather amusing; 2) Clearly the story was leaked to the paper by her or her paymasters, not by Moyesie! Wayne, you need to grow up. If you're famous and play with fire, you're even more likely to get burnt.

    And for the record, I did do her from behind and recommended her afterwards to a good chiropractor. She recommended me to a penis enlargement surgeon.
    Yusuf Islam, Wirral  (25/7/06)

    Hmmm... your memoires might actually be more interesting...


    What exactly does Rooney hope to achieve my dishing the dirt on Davie Moyes/Everton?

    - More money?
    - Ruin the image of Moyes (and in turn Everton) in revenge for leaving?
    - Re-gain the support of Everton fans?
    - Take the focus away from his World Cup disgrace?

    I think its all about the $$.
    Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (25/7/06)

    Well, if he's publishing his "autobiography" (does it count as one if it's being ghost-written as so many are these days?) at the age of 20, it is all about the money. Money for him, his agent, his publicist (one in the same?) and sod the consequences for the club and his former boss.

    It's sad, really. He comes across as a bitter, cocky teenage upstart which is exactly what he was. We ignored it while he was with us because of his sheer talent and his Evertonian credentials.

    The story was going to get told from his perspective at some point but you kind of wish the lad had gone about it with a bit more class... — Lyndon


    '[Moyes was] just wanting to control people' — how incredulous of a manager to want to control his biggest asset. The nerve of the man. I mean, he was faced with a 16-year-old hell-bent on shagging as many whores, gambling as much as possible, getting in as many fights and eating as much beans and sausages as possible, and he tried to control him? Unbelievable.
    Richard Bussy, London  (25/7/06)

    Well, quite.

    Please, please, pleeeeeeese....,

    I know your normal (and admirable) policy is to publsih most of what you receive, but please spare us the the revival of the Rooney kerfuffle which his latest ghosted out-pourings will prompt.

    It really does make us look like a bunch of bitter small-timers.
    Steve Mink, London  (25/7/06)

    Unfortunately, Steve, it's the topic du jour and people want to read and write about it. You might want to look away for the next few days! — Lyndon

    The Truth?

    So at last we have the truth why Wayne left the Club he swore he loved, or have we? I hold no brief one way or the other for David Moyes but I think it fair to read the words of Rooney again. First of all he, Rooney, accuses Moyes of wanting the limelight which was of course shining on Wayne. Does Moyes court the Press? I thought he was rather terse and not very cooperative with them. When he did speak he was always fulsome in his praise of Rooney and is so today when asked about him.

    Now Rooney says Moyes blew the lid on poor old Waynes dalliance with the Grannie in PVC. The stories had already appeared and if Moyes was asked how it was affecting Wayne wouldn't any one with an ounce of compassion for the lad say it was getting him down. I am sure Coleen felt for the poor lad, pity she wasnt into rubber and grey hair it would have saved the lad a lot of trouble. Perhaps Wayne said "I am a fucking joke".

    As for his "young and confident and playing for England" it translates as big-headed and know-all.

    So what do we make of the whole sorry saga? Well my reading is that Wayne wanted a big payday, his Agent wanted a big payday and really didn't have a plausible reason to put forward so Moyes became the fall guy. Our leader, Panto Bill and his Merry Men, saw it as a good excuse to get the bank off their backs and gladly accepted relations had broken down between player and Manager.

    So, Wayne, just set the record right: you were a greedy so-and-so who saw his chance to make money — and wouldn't we all?
    George Carroll, Bramhall  (25/7/06)

    James Milner

    I cannot understand why David Moyes does not look at James Milner. He is a young lad, can play on either flank and even upfront. According to most papers, we would be able to get him at around £3 million.

    As for Wayne Rooney, all I can say is he is a shitbag. He claims that he didn't mind upsetting Moyes as he was young, confidemt and playing for England. But what he needs to remember is he wouldn't have been playing for England if Moyes hadn't have given him the chance at Everton.
    Michael Tomlinson, Liverpool  (25/7/06)


    I cannot believe some of the mails in here and some of the responses too. The facts are that Wayne Rooney was a 17/18-year-old teenager with a known temperamental streak.

    If anybody here has been a parent or a manager to similar aged individuals, particularly ones as bullish as young Wayne, then it comes as no surprise whatsoever that he threw a tantrum and wanted to 'get away' from his boss. How we can give creedence to an individual so blindly led by the fame game and all the related celeb baggage staggers me.

    Moyes has acted with dignity whenever asked about Rooney, the lad as we know has shown an incredible lack of respct towards all sections of the club ever since. He has neither progressed as much as we thought as a player nor has his behaviour markedly improved on the pitch.

    Let's defend our manager for once; I'm disappointed by the ToffeeWeb team's responses on this. Show some maturity please.

    And while we're at it — maybe we don't have a team capable of finishing in the top 4 but let's get behind the club and not start the criticism after a friendly or two. We are a great club when we are together; that's where our strength lies so time to recognise it.
    Mark Manns, London  (25/7/06)

    Strange comments there. Mark. Most of the people who have written in totally reject what has been spouted from Rooney's book. Moyes cannot possibly be to blame. Colm has pointed consistently to the role of Paul Stretford, which shows far more maturity than the knee-jerk teenager-bashing we Evertonians seem so capable of. Given the inspid shallowness of his Story so Far, I think you can be sure the real reasons reamin well buried beneath the peurile dross that papers like the Mail have always peddled. — Michael


    What a little shit this horrible thing continues to be? Blaming Moyes for leaving Everton. What a load of bollocks! He left because he is a selfish, greedy, spiteful, snidy little beaut. One of the main reasons he left was money. His arl fella sold his image rights for £50k at age 16 to Paul Stretford almost straight away reducing his and his dad's earning potential.

    To even suggest that Moyes was the reason he wanted to leave is total shit and a further example of him making excuses and disrespecting Evertonians. His comments show what we knew at the time, he was a spoilt little brat who got too big for his boots. Does he think Alex Ferguson isn't controlling? Tosser.

    Furthermore, England or not, I was made up to see him getting deservedly sent off in the World Cup. What goes around comes around.
    Brian Lawler, Liverpool  (25/7/06)

    Grave situation

    I have it on very good authority, that Tommy Gravesen is desperate to come back to Everton. Unfortunately due to a certain Mr Wyness, we probably won't get to see him in Royal Blue again (this point upsets me a little because I think he's doing a good job at stabilising the club!).

    Apparently Man City have offered him a contract worth £45/wk and Celtic have offered £40/wk, both on two year deals. Mr Wyness, in all his 'ahem' infinite knowledge, has offered him a one-year deal on £17½/wk. Is this the ethos that this 'forward thinking club' should be adopting?

    It's believed that Gravesen is holding out for the Blues but knows Wyness won't budge, he said that he can't take that sort of a pay cut but would drop his demands significantly if Everton at least showed to themselves willing to meet him half way. I truly think that we should push the boat out for him, as players who genuinely want to play for the club are thin on the ground. COYB — DON'T LET US DOWN!!
    Luke Berry, Liverpool  (25/07/2006)

    That's a tough one. I expected his wages would be the sticking point but paying him £40/wk would be just ridiculous. — Michael

    Rooney Story

    I see that Wayne Rooney is blaming David Moyes for leaving Everton. Trying to tell us that Moyes was the only person who knew about his liking for whores and leaked it to the press doesn’t wash with me, as I’m certain Mr Stretford knew about it as well.

    Telling us that Moyes was trying to control him doesn’t wash with me, as that just makes him sound like an arrogant young prick who wouldn’t do as he was told. If Rooney wants to know the reason why he left the club he loved he only needs to look at his corrupt, fraudulent, lying under oath agent — after all, he was the main one to benefit from Rooney leaving, to the tune of £1½ million straight into his hands.

    As for the timing of the story being released by the Mail, on the day David Moyes is out of the country, is just another example of the disgusting attitude Lee Clayton has towards our club and anything written in the Mail about us while he is there should be ignored.
    Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (25/7/06)

    No harm done

    I don't think we should worry too much about Mr Rooney slating Moyesy. Anything to sell a book, hey! I think at the time, Moyesy was being protective over him and he was a bit of an idiot to work under, if you believe the tales at the time that's why we apparently didn't sign Bellamy because he said, via his agent, that moyes was full of himself... believe what you may!!

    I think Moyes looked at himself after the Rooney fiasco and shed some of the dictatorship... Let's not forget where we finished when shrek left.

    As Colm said, its all Stretford's doing but he's welcome to him and the circus that follows... let's hope Wayne is given another Goodison welcome again this season (if ya get me!).

    Also, if Moyesy is such a bad manager, why have so many players re-signed for him and joined us... Leave it out Wayne and worry about your own club... or should I say "brand"!!!
    Ian Robb, Sheffield  (25/7/06)

    Rooney Rant

    No Blue worth his salt believes Moyes is responsible for driving Wayne Rooney out of Everton. Davie takes no shit for sure but for Rooney to claim he is to blame is laughable. The deal with Man Utd was rumoured to be done about a year before it happened so I would suggest Wayne look at his agent for the real reasons he left the club.

    Someone whispering shit in your ear for months on end is bound to turn your head eventually. If Manchester United have another poor season I can see the same thing happening all over again, Moyes won't be to blame then. I can see it all now, in his 5th biography in 2009 Rooney states, "I would have gone almost anywhere just to get away from Alex Ferguson".
    Stephen Burton, Belfast  (25/7/06)

    When Wayne Rooney (and Tony Hibbert) were presented to the media, upon signing their contracts at Everton... who was seated at the top table? Paul Stretford. THAT further shows the extent of his control over all things Wayne Rooney related: his cash cow. And in case it needs repeating for the umpteenth time now, Wayne Rooney signed for Paul Stretford and ProActive whilst still contracted to another agent — all of this with the blessing of Everton FC. Paul Stretford, after all, has a good working relationship with our glorious tell-no-lies chairman. — Colm

    Who is right?

    Oh dear! Today's Mirror revelations from Rooney's forthcoming book, clearly stated that Moyes was to blame for Rooney exit. Now I will resist the urge to slaughter Moyes, as it seems a little too far from the truth.

    Ok, Moyes is a knob-head manager, who does seem like 'the domineering type'. And I can believe Moyes tried to bully Rooney, to fuel his own ego, to protect him for the media and maybe from Rooney himself! But Rooney's claims are a mere smoke-screen to deflect blame from his traitorous self, to Moyes concerning his exit!

    But as the native indians say 'There is no smoke without fire'? Moyes has issues like stubborness which will only hurt Everton FC. An example is playing his favourites over better players and playing players in stupid positions. As well as AvdM who is pissing me off big time, on his own private treatment table! The latter out and Moyes? Let's see how the season goes...
    Luq Yus, London  (25/7/06)

    Spot on with the reference to no smoke without fire. Personally, I find this latest "revelation" (not!) will suit all parties... David Moyes and Everton included. Smoke and mirrors from all sides, sad to say... — Colm

    Kenwright no `Deadly`

    I had to smile at the London lad who said Kenwright was as stubborn as Doug Ellis! Every Villa fan will tell you NOBODY is as stubborn as `Deadly`, particularly when it comes to giving up control of HIS trainset.

    But when it comes to sacking piss poor managers, that`s another matter. Methinks that was Ellis, by any chance, our chairman, Moyes would not have lasted this long...but we would have a wonderful ground and be free of debt!
    Harry Meek, Worcester  (25/7/06)

    Wayne vs Moyes

    So poor little Wayne Rooney hated David Moyes so much he had to leave. He joined Man Utd where big-softie Sir Alex didn't mind if he ran up huge gambling debts and got away with poor discipline.

    I actually love the fact that we have a manager who is without question the boss. Moyes is currently in the USA, it's no coincedence Wayne waited until he was out of the country before coming out with all this.

    Are you scared Wayne? Bless.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (25/7/06)

    Delusion reigns in sunny London! - Colm

    Moyes - I don't want to set myself targets !

    Sorry, Toffeeweb, but fuck me, is this Moyes quoted again saying, "I don't want to set any targets because I don't want to set myself up." I am sick to the back teeth with his attitude, he seems to think of his own backside before us, the fans. Never mind your targets Davey, what about the team goals and what we as fans expect this season?

    Other EPL team chairman and managers have quantified their goals in public before the season starts. Everton fans have a chairman and a manager who have never once stated there quantifiable goals before for the season starts to the fans. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact the manager is struggling in the team dressing room. Let's face it, some would say that it was the players who had driven the team to lofty hights and not Moyes in the last few seasons.

    Everton's ambition goes as far as taking out personal loans for £15 million from luvies in London, this coming after the fans were baying for management blood from last season. It fucking stinks, the lot of it — and we the fans are being short changed every season. Future proof the fella is on his way out of the club, at the end of the season.

    Angry Blue.
    John Cribb, Liverpool  (25/7/06)

    Oi! You're not allowed voice concerns via the Mailbag in pre-season!!! ;-) - Colm

    Looney Rooney

    I notice the Daily Mail waited until Davey Moyes was out of the country before running their piece on his alleged treatment of Wayne Rooney. Every Evertonian recognises that whatever Moyes did — or didn`t do — was done in the very best interests of the player and, more importantly, Everton FC.

    Rooney has hardly covered himself with glory since he moved to be under the tutiledge of that other Scottish manager, has he?
    Richard Dodd, Formby  (26/7/06)

    "Done in the best interests of the player and Everton FC"? Hmmmmmmm..... - Colm

    The truth is out!

    So the truth is out, Moyes couldn`t wait to get rid of Rooney because the kid was stealing all his thunder! Moyes will never attract top players to Everton because he is perceived as spiteful and one dimensional.

    ....But he did get us to fourth in the season following Rooney`s move so he must be a genius!
    Will Pennington, Formby  (25/7/06)

    Don't believe all you read printed in a newspaper... - Colm

    paper talk

    Big Dunc Stokey, Stoke  (25/7/06)

    Not so sure "everyone" are Daily Mail readers! - Colm

    The daggers are appearing already

    Get off Cahill's back, he's goals (which the club don't have much to brag of), has made a huge contribution saving this club in the past two years. This midfielder puts in, goes in hard, and shows guts more than I can say about his teamates, and scores for those present overated and past strikers like the erratic Duncan.

    This man you want out, swapped his World Cup shirt for a Everton shirt in the crowd after the game, to show his love for the club. He had one good year and one okay year; give the man a chance and why worry over ratings, that's one's opinion — not yours or mine. Funny how those that bag him today will praise him tomorrow.
    Robert Channon, melbourne  (25/7/06)

    No make or break for Moyes

    Had a lengthy chat with Talk Sport`s Mike Parry at a London Supporters do last week and he picked me up on a point I made about this being a `make or break` season for Moyes. Parry, who claims to be very close to Kenwright (he told me three times!) said that the Chairman will stick with Moyes even if the `unthinkable` happenned! He said Kenwright is every bit as stubborn as Doug Ellis and appreciates the re-structuring Moyes has had to do. So, regardless of what kind of season we have, it looks like Davey`s here to stay!
    Alan Smith, St John`s Wood  (24/7/06)

    I would imagine that, if this season does not go really well for Everton, it would be Moyes who left us, with Kenwright grovelling and pleading for him to reconsider, if and when a suitable opportunity arises. Can you really see him doing the roller-coaster yo-yo thing for the next five or ten years? I can't.... — Michael

    Maximising value

    Leaving aside the Celtic game, which really meant nothing, Everton have, at best, five players — Neville, Nuno Valente, Arteta, Cahill and Beattie — who would get a regular game at most Premier clubs. I leave aside Howard, Lescott and Johnson as unknown quantities, although on past experience at least one of them will turn out to be `a turkey`.

    Moyes knows all this too well and is therefore forced to concentrate his tactics on maximising the value of each and every goal we score — as well as keeping a clean slate if at all possible. Whether as manager he should still be in this position as he goes into his fifth season in charge is debatable but it`s the reality so you either like it or, as with our defence, lump it!
    Richard Jeynes, Walton  (24/7/06)

    Bring back Gravesen

    I think some of the negative responses on our pre-season friendlies have been very disappointing.

    Personally, I think this squad is the best we've had for ten years. All in all, I thought it was pretty decent performance against Celtic. From what I saw of Johnson when he played against Bury and Celtic yesterday, he was excellent. His movement and pace helped him create a number of opportunities and I'd back him to score at least 15 next season.

    I do have one or two concerns. Naysmith should be sold as I can think of four better left backs in the team than him. Van der Meyde is also looking increasingly like a waste of time and money.

    The big concern, however, is the lack of creativity in midfield. Arteta apart, who will line up the bullets for Johnson and Co?

    If we can (and I don't see why we can't) we must go back in for Gravesen. Someone with ability and strength and a touch of vision. I really think that could make a difference and help us finish in the European places at the end of the season — which must surely be our target.
    Robert Pullan, Manchester  (24/7/06)

    He just doesn't seem to be part of the Moyes plan. And imagine what wage he would demand now that he's waggled his todger at the rich and famous down Madrid way. (Oops.. there I fgo agaoin, being peurile!) — Michael

    Let's go hang ourselves

    Peter Moon: you're right, the match on Sunday was a disgrace, fancy not playing your first team in what was obviously such an important win-at-all-costs match. Let's face it, Yobo wasn't risked, Hibbert wasn't playing and Valente is still not back, so that 3 out of our 4 first-choice defenders not playing. Cahill is still to come back into midfield, and maybe with VdM back on the left and Arteta on the right we will have a more creative midfield with Neville, Carsley or Davies playing the holding role.

    AJ showed pace and skill and got past their defence a couple of times. Beattie wasn't at his best but still had a couple of decent chances that normally he would put away. Until the subs we were the better side — 0let's not go over the top on the misery, it was only a friendly.

    Also what's the score on Boyle, I thought he was a young lad from our youth set up, but Celtic TV (Channel 5) commentators said he'd come from Livingston. Is this right?
    Chris Wright, Chester  (24/7/06)

    Yes; check out his ToffeeWeb Profile and you'll see that David Moyes picked him up from Livingston for a song a few years back. He's a cannie lad and no mistake! — Michael

    Simon Davies

    I felt Luq Yus was a little hard on Simon Davis in his player ratings. Davies had a very avearge first half admittedly but he was our best player during the second half. In fact, I would say he was behind only Arteta for Everton's man of the match. Hopefully Davies has settled now and this season will see an improvement.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (24/7/06)

    It's funny how Moyes spent every opportunity last season telling us what a wonderful player Davies was and what great stuff he brought to the team. And what does he finally say today: "He's trying to put last season behind him and he is playing as well as anyone" ... errr.. ??? So perhaps he wasn't quite as goos as you kept telling us, eh, Davey? — Michael

    Squad Thoughts

    Not going to say that much about the Celtic game other than them passing a ball along the ground cut our midfield to pieces and graced Celtic a goal — shows what not humping and hoping does! Beattie looked out of breath very early on, don't give me shit about hot weather as ALL the players were in the same boat.

    Seb from Harrogate: I personally find nothing to sing and dance about extending McFadden, Weir or Naysmith at Everton. McFadden is a mediocre squad player at best; Weir is the slowest thing in the Premiership and playing him will force the misery that is 4-5-1 negative football; and Naysmith is terrible. In the two friendlies I have seen so far (Preston and Celtic), he has twice been outshone by his replacement — young Patrick Boyle, who can win a tackle and take the ball forward.

    Can somebody please tell me where they sell the pills that makes people think Simon Davies is anything other than shite and doesn't go missing far too often in a game? I'm not sounding doom and gloom but I'm nowhere near satisfied that this is a top-six side...
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (24/7/06)

    The Great Wayne Robbery

    The theft of Wayne Rooney's beloved Manchester United shirts and his England shirt (the one he disgraced in Germany) has to have been perpetrated by kopites. No Evertonian I know would touch anything that belongs to Wayne Rooney. Ironic that in times of crisis, Rooney turns to "The Boys in Blue" to help find his stuff. However, in the spirit of helping fight crime, I did notice an ad for a stack of Wayne Rooney memorabilia on eBay with the e-mail address: "" Could this be a clue?
    Peter Fearon, New York  (24/7/06)

    Celtic Nightmare

    There were a number of things that grabbed me out of the Celtic game, this weekend.

    1. There was no evidence of any link play between our midfield and the forwards. This resulted in Everton having to hit long searching balls out to the right wing for AJ.
    2. BT and AJ never seemed to have any understanding in terms of their positional play and found themselves isolated from each other, usally in no man's land, out on the wings. I don't remember a single interchange of passing between AJ/JB in and around the penality box.

    I don't think Moyes knows his starting formation for the team and the forthcoming season, which is less than a month away. What was Moyes doing playing Carsley? — another indication that Stubbs and Weir are to slow, so protect them at all costs.

    I find it crazy and a cop-out from Moyes that he has now put all of his hopes on the back of Arteta.... what the fuck is that about.

    This season has all the makings of another rollercoaster season for me and gnashing of teeth.
    Peter Moon, Liverpool  (24/7/06)

    I'm not sure what else Moyes can do as Arteta is our only creative player, and we tend to play better with Carsley in the team. Long hoofs forward are endemic, yet they just cut out the midfield, and deny Arteta the opportunities he needs, so they don't make any sense either. As a defender himself, Moyes knows the absolute worst thing you can do is get caught in possession, so our use of the ball out of defence has always left a lot to be desired. "Get rid" is probably the main instruction during training... — Michael

    Competent Evertonians

    I did not say that you wrote the player ratings Michael.

    The thing which most infuriated me was the description of Cahill's performance, 'The more of him I see, the more of him I want him gone!' One of our best players and goal scorers, who played 15 minutes of a friendly and had only been in training for two days after a World Cup? What did he expect to see from Cahill? Two goals to drag us to victory against Nakamura? This exemplifies everything frustrating about this time of year and the fickle, fickle nature of the idle chatter.

    It also annoys because some will read this and actually believe it. Davies deserved a better rating, and Arteta was not as wonderful as Luq Yus says. But at least there are some, like Ste here, who can see sense.
    Daniel Greenwood, London  (24/7/06)

    Hopefully most people read this mailbag, and even the player ratings, knowing they are opinions — not facts. (What's that stupid and really annoying Greaves quote again?) I know exactly what Luq Yus means when he talks of Cahill because I feel the same way every time I see him play, because he always plays the same way, no matter how much training or rest he has had. His goals are his only redeeming feature... but he doesn't score enough of them. I'll leave it to you to figure out whether that's a fact or just my opinion. ;-) — Michael

    All bases covered

    My lunchtime trawl of the `nationals` in search of all things Everton comes up with two excellent items of news. First, James McFadden has at last agreed to sign his new £16k-per-week contract and David Moyes has totally rebuffed Celtic`s approach for Gary Naysmith. What a marvellous summer it has been for the manager with three new signings and his success in persuading Yobo, Weir, McFadden and Naysmith that their futures lie with Everton. `All the money`s spent now,` says Moyes but who cares when we now have all bases covered a month before the action commences. IMWT!
    Sebastion St Clare, Harrogate  (24/7/06)

    Reality Please please please

    Daniel, you stole the words right out of my mouth here. Firstly the Celtic game was a friendly and was all about fitness. Results DO NOT MATTER until Watford.

    In all honestly I don't think we played that badly. The ratings from Luq are disgraceful and do not reflect the game I watched (Yes, I was there and didn't click on Channel 5 which im assuming Luq did as he clearly never watched the game I did). The football at times was good and was on the deck. Arteta, Osman, and even Davies put some neat touches together. AJ ran the channels and Beattie actually looked quite fit and able.

    Let's not be so bloody negative all the time. Personally, I think things are looking good for the season. Let's look forward eh, chaps?
    Ste Boileau, Walton  (24/7/06)

    Bring it on!

    All fears allayed

    With the manager's assurance that Johnson is 'striking the right note' (no goals in 3 games so far!) and that Davies is 'fantastic', all the worries I had accumulated have dissipated.

    I am now totally confident that we shall accumulate the 40 or so goals necessary to maintain a healthy mid-table position.

    ps: Anybody want two together in Gwladys Street?
    Alwin Price, Childwall  (24/7/06)

    Don't throw the towel in already

    To date there has not been a ball kicked in anger and a couple of World Cup players are yet to appear. After last year's horrendous start, we barely missed out on Europe. The question for the coming season is, do we have a better squad than last year? Will a Lescott / Yobo pairing be an improvement? Will AJ be more effective than Faddy or Howard than Wright? Will Osman show more than just potential? Could Davies do better than what we have seen to date? Our upcoming kids are gaining in experience and confidence.

    How much improvement is needed to better last season's results? Questions, questions... yet I believe the signs are good.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (24/7/06)

    Fickle Evertonians

    This is a pre-season friendly where we have been the better team despite being behind in games and fitness. Conceding a goal when the team was utterly unfamiliar and uncohesive. My jaw drops reading some of these responses to the game, it's a pre-season friendly not the FA Cup Semi-Final!!!

    Use your time to think about the situation and use some perspective, which is painfully lacking here. Michael, you again are running the show with your peurile responses to anyone who disagrees with you. I was impressed with many of Everton's passages of play, and expect us to wholly improve. I can't imagine what our first defeat of the season will mean for the ToffeeWeb mailbag.

    May I also add that your player ratings were a poor representation of the game and once again underlining into the hysterical-ethic of your mailbag correspondence.
    Daniel Greenwood, London  (24/7/06)

    The player ratings weren't mine, they were from Luq Yus... who admittedly can muster a more negative persona than I on occasions. They were the only ones offered, and were gratefully received. As for those mails I may disagree with, most go through without comment. I thought today I'd actually commented more on mails I agreed with. But peurile it is, if you say so...

    Hang on a minute. You start off bemoaning the opinions of your fellow Evertonians... and then wail on me as if I orchestrate these e.mails. Get your head out of your arse (there's peurile for you). I don't make us play like we do, I don't make up the results, and I don't canvas for e.mails. Now grow up and put today's date on your submissions — we do not need to know you're not even 21 yet. — Michael

    Deja Vu

    Apparently a University somewhere in the world has been investigating and experimenting with Deja Vu. May I suggest that they are welcome to attend Goodison Park during the coming season and witness this phenonemon first hand. Watching today's game, I just couldn't believe the lack of ambition, skill and method against what is surely one of the weakest Celtic teams of recent years.

    I have yet again purchased my season ticket (against my better judgement) and this season I believe will be as bad as those that have gone before. I know we finished 4th two season ago , but was it good football? I don't think so — especially from February onwards. In fact the last 18 months have seen us slump back into the lowest levels of Walter Smith's reign. We have seen no improvement on set-piecies, no innovations and worse still, Arteta apart, no development of good technique and control of the football. Can we honesltly say that any player who has come to Goodison in the past 10 years has improved their technique or ball skills? I would like to see us play with a little more freedom , but I'm afraid like Smith, Moyes will not allow his players to perform to their full potential and demands they are good runners and athletes above all else.

    I may be proved wrong (I honestly hope I am) but I can see a long hard season ahead, with the same reason as last season: a complete lack of threat to the opposition goal. By October, we may well be in the same boat as last season, because the Manager does not understand that to win football matches on a regular basis you must score as well as not concede and if you concede a goal you must have the firepower and will to score two.

    Apparently, a University.....
    John McFarlane, Lancs  (23/7/06)


    Why did Moyes take off AJ today? You would have thought he would want to play AJ and Beattie togethor as much as he could. Or is it Moyes has no intention of starting them both together when the season starts?
    Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (23/7/06)

    Good grief... it was pre-season friendly! It means nothing. It's more about getting the squad (yes, the squad) fit than building goal-scoring partnerships. — Michael

    Out of his depth

    On the strength of three friendlies seen so far I firmly believe that we have some excellent players but the manager`s tactics totally negate their individual skill levels. It`s clear that Johnson has been signed to maximise the `smash and grab` approach so loved by Moyes and one which he will have been all too familar with as a player in the lower leagues. He will have been heartened today by Howard`s ability to reach the Celtic penalty area and the effectiveness of his other defenders to clear their lines `with no messing`.

    What we are seeing, I`m afraid, is further evidence of a manager out of his depth. Class players being asked to play alehouse football.
    Roger  Lisle, Birkenhead  (23/7/06)

    Many will be up in arms over such heresy, Roger, but for my money, you have it dead right. Everton will never progress playing this kind of rubbish, and until Moyes realizes that (if such a thing is even possible), he will be leading us nowhere. — Michael

    Celtic 1 - 0 Everton

    For the first couple of friendlies the players were understandibly rusty and out of practice —maybe that's why they managed to score 5 goals against Bury and Port Vale.

    The last couple of games against Preston and Celtic, the players have shown signs of fitness returning and getting their form back. Watching them play an entire game with absolutely no chance of scoring a goal reassures me that some things never change.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (23/7/06)

    ... Moyes is still wonderful and is futher honing his high goal-efficiency football to a new variant we shall call "no-goal high-efficiency football". Yes, nothing really changes, does it? — Michael

    New Season Prediction — Close your Eyes now!

    Right, Toffeeweb: I am putting my balls on the block, so here goes my prediction for Everton this season:

    • Everton to finish outside of the Uefa Cup places (8th/9th) in the EPL. No Cup runs of note.
    • Moyes gone at the conclusion of the season.

    John Cribb, Liverpool  (23/7/06)

    Come May, you may well be one of the few with your gonads intact! — Michael

    The generation game

    Well done, Tony Marsh: your comments re old v young were spot on. (Never thought you had it in you, mate!) Whilst we are on the subject of youth, on the strength of his pre-season performances and what I saw of him last season, Victor Anichebe looks a very promising prospect. I also liked the look of Lescott today.

    My prediction for the season based on intuition more than anything else: Top half... top 8 if we can secure the services of a Gravesen-esque battler in the middle. (But don't bet your mortgage on this — it's only a bit of fun!)
    Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (23/7/06)

    Bit of fun? It's a bit more seriosu than that, I fear! — Michael

    Still drooling

    I see I`m getting some stick already and the season hasn`t even started! But however cynical some of your posters are, there was surely no one who didn`t take heart from this afternoon`s performance at Celtic. With only a couple of weeks` training behind them, the lads took on the best in Scotland and only lost a goal when the manager began to ring the changes.

    I thought Howard was sheer class and kicks his clearances the full length of the field. Johnson had two magic runs and will frighten the life out of most defences whilst Lescott looked like he had played alongside Stubbsy for ever. Say what you will, I bet I`m not the only one drooling tonight!
    Richard Dodd, Formby  (23/7/06)

    Err... so far, you are the only one drooling tonight! — Michael

    A long way to go!

    Not much to take out of today`s half-pace work-out at Celtic. With four weeks to go before the real thing kicks off, I thought we looked well undercooked but would be more worried if supporting the home team. Not sure about our new goalkeeper, he had one `Dickie` moment and his positioning for their goal was suspect.

    Having seen three of the four pre-season friendlies, I`m still asking where our goals will come from? To me, Anichebe seems the likeliest to score whilst Beattie is as wooden as ever and Johnson fast but profligate. Early days, but so far unimpressed.
    Alan Wooding, Bootle  (23/7/06)

    The sands of time

    Irrespective of whatever point Alan Mayes was stumbling towards in his last post, his take on termporality is quite bizarre. You beg people to judge Moyes on what happens from August 19th this year because 'the past is just that' — Why? By this logic, it would be impossible to recognise any achievements made by anybody, as we would have to keep wiping the slate clean and starting all over again.

    Although I feel I use the phrase 'wiping the slate clean' a little too naively, as in your case, the slate is far from clean. It's tainted with your unshakeable assurance that Moyes is the wrong man for the job. So when you ask people to judge Moyes by what he does from August 19th, why don't you do the same? You've clearly made your mind up that he isn't the right fella and I get the impression that nothing could possibly change that.

    Moyes needs a big season, there's no doubt about it, but I for one (whilst inexplicably looking back in time here) have seen enough evidence to believe he is more than capable of delivering. COYB
    Paul Foster, London  (23/7/06)

    He is more than capable of delivering. Sadly, he is also equally more than capable of NOT delivering. And from that perspective, I think I agree with the both of you: he needs a big season; that season starts on 19 August. As far as the coming season is concerned, his past achievements (both good and bad) matter not a lot. It's what he and his team do from 19 August onwards that matters now — and that may dictate how we all look upon Moyes in the fullness of time... — Michael

    Doddy`s First

    It`s a first! A `Dotty Doddy` posting that didn`t refer to Moyes getting Everton to fourth position — the season before last!

    To Ridiculous Richard, Soppy Seb from Harrogate and that other sycophantic twat with the made up name, can I beg that we start judging the Moyestro on what happens from the 19th August THIS YEAR. As so many have said recently, the past is just that, so remember that when you make comment and judgement on `our Greatest Premier Manager` (since Mike Walker, anyway!) PLEASE!
    Alan Mayes, New Brighton  (23/7/06)

    Genius? Bah!

    Like most Evertonians, I can never quite decide whether Richard Dodd is naive, stupid or the biggest wind-up merchant on the net. But how a grown man can confess to drooling over Moyes`s latest `scoops` before they even kick a ball in anger is beyond me!

    Does he seriously believe that Ferguson would be off-loading Howard if he hadn`t decided that his twitches extended to more than his highbrows?Does he not realise that the only reason we got Lescott for a knock-down price is that the EVERTON doctors picked up on his dodgy knees? Or that Johnson has a hell of a lot to prove at this level before being hailed as the next Bob Latchford as one scribe described him recently?

    And as for Moyes being a genius in the transfer market, don`t make me laugh! Is Dodd referring to the genius who paid a fortune for a centre-half who he now admits was not suited to the Premier? Or the genius who signed Van der Malingerer when even the kids from Fyffe`s Bananas were writing in to Mailbag to tell us he hadn`t done his homework?

    Genius? — don`t make me laugh! Everton will win nothing with this bugger and he will go down in history as the Manager who blew £50 million on shite. But I guess he will ride off into the sunset with a big fat wedge safe in the knowledge that our prat of a chairman — and Daft Dickie Dodd — were in love with him. Genius? Bah!
    Harry Meek, Worcester  (23/7/06)

    Boring Old Farts And Young Bucks

    All this Gobshite talk about the young v old on this site is starting to get on my fucking nerves. Let the old remeniss about the olden days and let the young dream about the future. There's no harm in that is there.

    Most of Everton's hard core travelling support are well in to there forties and beyond and have been at it for years. There are lads out there who travel home and away every week and also do the Euro thing when we get a chance and they are all pushing 60.

    There are thousands of younger lads who make just the same sacrifice every week as the older fans and that's what it is a sacrifice.

    Put it to bed as it's becoming emmbarrasing to listen to. Leave being gobshites to them pricks accross the park and put this nonsense to bed. Don't we have enough shite to contend with without this kind of bitch slapping going on?

    Remember, if you're lucky enough you will end up an old fart yourself one day. As far as I am concerned, be as old as you like... but be an Evertonian.
    Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (23/7/06)

    In the real world!

    As a general rule in life I have optimism in my own affairs and pessimism with Everton FC. But the pessimistic crap coming out of the fans before a ball has been kicked in the season is unbelievable! Ok I was and still am sceptical about some signings and the fortunes ahead, but I at least have some hope about doing well in the Premiership. But with other events in the world, like Israel unjustly blowing the crap out of Lebanon, football is something that unites people and gives them hope. So roll on tomorrow and a national beating on Channel Five! Forever Blue!!!
    Luq Yus, London  (23/7/06)

    Yobo Signs

    Glad to see that Yobo has finally put pen to paper and signed a four-year contract. You'd have to conclude that this has been a good close season transfer-wise. I know there will always be other players that supporters would like to have seen signed and there are still problem areas in the team; however, Moyes deserves credit for his transfer dealings.

    Imagine where we would be now had Yobo and Weir decided to go elsewhere, and the three new signings (Johnson, Lescott, Howard) not happened. Now, if Moyes can acquire a ball-winner in midfield who can pass (no offence, Neville) and a creative playmaker, I'll really be looking foward to swiping my new Season Ticket card thingy (mine still hasn't arrived?!) through the Bullens Road turnstiles.
    Andrew Wilson, Chester  (23/7/06)

    For Matt...

    Here is a quote from Cal's letter: "No, Johnson is no wonder player but again like Beattie, capable of the occasional wonder goal. Until and unless Moyes recognises the frailty of his midfield, I fear Everton will go nowhere." Maybe you should read again as it clearly says that the midfield is frail.

    You say that we are only better than the bottom half - well that's a better position than 4 years ago — or do you long for the return of Gemmill, Alexandersson, Pembridge and Unsworth in midfield???

    Thanks for not renewing your Season Ticket — you would probably only moan when Johnson doesn't score on his debut and say we spent too much!!!
    Steven Mills, Liverpool  (22/7/06)

    New Season

    When one travels the world as I do, I work for First Choice holidays — I´m currently in Brasil. I see a lot of local football, these Brasilians are not bad, but one thing follows me everywhere I go: Everton FC. Love 'em, breath 'em, got the Everton car scarf on my back window of my car, everybody I come into contact with now knows all about Everton FC.

    I´m 42, and I still get butterflies when a new season approaches, half of Salvador da Bahia is also waiting with baited breath to see how The Toffees get on. I have no Sky TV, so I have to depend on the internet, so good luck to all you lucky people who get the pleasure of watching and sitting in Goodison Park. I,like you, am confident that this will be a good one.

    You don´t choose Everton, Everton chooses YOU!
    George Brooks, Salvador, Brasil  (22/7/06)

    Awww... that's lovely, George. We can't wait for the next Samba to begin... — Michael

    Let`s all sing together!

    Having recently passed my 30th birthday, I`m not sure whether I quite qualify as a `modern` but I do know that the younger Evertonians appear to be a lot more positive than the older brigade. That is probably because they recognise that the club is in good hands both on the pitch and off it and that we now have a massive wealth of talent to drool over.

    The early close-season signings have been little short of sensational and all the doubters must now accept that Moyes is a genius in the transfer market. A modest man, he will have learned much from last season`s early misfortunes and will, I have no doubt, have the team fast out of the traps come August.

    So come on Evertonians of all ages,let`s get behind our best ever Premier mananager and team and sing them onto to a victorious season.
    Richard Dodd, Formby  (22/7/06)

    I think I had a cardiac arrest when reading you claim the club was in good hands off the field!!! Hope your pre-season optimism is justified over the months ahead! — Colm

    Everton for Today

    Great idea from Ricky Bolland! We could go further and bring back the Boys' Pen, or introduce an Old Persons' Area (what's the cut-off age?). How about segregating local/non-local supporters — may be confusing for us exiles? Or maybe obstructed view seats for those who are critical of the current regime?

    To be blunt, I don't give a shit how old anyone is, I don't give a shit what the league is called, or whether it's 'the best in the world'. I just want to see Everton higher up it, playing good football. Do you really think that has anything to do with age?

    Why don't we just have one website where all Blues can freely express and exchange their views about current Everton issues without being labelled 'old', 'ancient', 'young' or 'disloyal'? You never know, we might share some interesting debate about the club we all love. Or is it just a lot easier to ignore what people are actually saying, avoid debating the issues and stick to the name-calling? You might just find that we all want the same thing, we just have different ideas on how to get there!
    Paul Tran, Kendal  (21/7/06)

    Shut up y'arl fart! ;-) Can we now draw a line in this nonsensical debate about the merits of being an Evertonian, aged or otherwise!!! — Colm

    FAO Steven Mills

    Thanks for that, Steven. I haven’t renewed this season, so I won’t be attending on the 19th anyway.

    As far as Moyes needing to ‘recognise the frailty of his midfield’, I have no idea what that means, and there are no references to it in either recent posts from Cal or myself. You might have to define that a little clearer.

    With regard to our midfield being ‘better than at least half of the Premiership teams’. That underlines my point. We are better than half of the Premiership teams….. the bottom half.

    The Mailbag is all about opinions and you need to accept that.
    Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (22/7/06)

    Better (or should that be Bitter?) Evertonians

    Can someone show me the piece on this website where 'older' (whatever that means) Evertonians stated they were 'better'? No, neither can I.

    What's more, after being criticised for disloyalty, it's a bit much to find out that our failures are due to Evertonians in the 90s 'accepting all kinds of rubbish' What were we meant to do — go on the pitch and play?

    Steve McBride made a good point about self-pity. For too long, Heysel was the knee-jerk excuse for our failures. It affected all clubs and some of them dealt with it better than we did. We spent lots of money on decent players without gelling them together. We recruited managers and kept them in the job too long before getting rid of them. That's why I've been critical of Moyes — I don't want this to happen again, although after four more barren years it feels like it is!

    Some context is needed here. For the past year when contributing to this website, Blues who criticise Moyes have been told they are disloyal and should 'trust' the manager. My reaction is still 'Why?' after four seasons of dull, no-sniff-of-a-trophy football. At the end of the 80s, we'd come off a period where we had just won two Championships, an FA Cup and Cup Winners Cup and an annual decent FA Cup run was taken for granted. Looking at that context, even if you think in those days all you needed to do was put down your pint, walk on the pitch and win trophies, we could be forgiven for giving the management a bit of rope!

    Yes, through the nineties we threw good money after bad, yet I can't remember the appointments of managers being criticised. I can remember Blues venting their fury on them as their teams floundered and they were all, with the exception of Royle, rightly chucked out.

    Which brings us back to the here and now. I think Evertonians have a choice. Are we the big club with the big history, the one that's waiting for the spark that takes us to the higher levels where we belong? Or are we the shitty, mid-table team that prides itself on its 'battling' football and 'can't' win anything or have genuine ambition because there are other teams who are 'richer' and 'luckier' than us?

    The only thing supporters can do is buy tickets and merchandise, cheer on the players and show their feelings at what they see. Steve, I'd love you to tell us what we should have done in the 90s. Whatever it is, maybe we should all start doing it now!
    Paul Tran, Kendal  (21/7/06)

    Quality post there Paul — well said. — Colm

    Dean and Chapter

    Long weekend in Glasgow ahead of the game tomorrow. Thought we might as well get our money`s worth by using the hotel's 'free' internet service to get team news but nothing posted so far.

    Discussion on the way up focussed on the endless debate between the 'ancients' and 'moderns'. As somebody already pointed out - and to extend his Shakespearian quote... "Crabbed age and youth cannot live together, youth is full of sport whilst age's breath is short!" (Not if you are an aged bore, it ain't!)

    We hit upon the idea of having a special 'All our yesterday's Mailbag for the old farts like Tarleton, Hall and Meek for whom the greatest league in the world has no appeal. You could call it 'Dean and Chapter' and they could reminisce to their hearts content thus leaving the main Mailbag to the 'Everton is Today' majority. How about it? COYB!
    Ricky Bollond, Glasgow/Bootle  (22/7/06)

    While not being an old fart myself, I probably fall into the same bracket you've placed those Blues. I believe younger Blues who see and read older Evertonians posting in a less positive fashion than their younger counterparts about the current health (or otherwise) of Everton Football Club are guilty themselves of somehow believing that those "old farts" don't care as much as you do about the Everton of today. If so, you are very wrong! The Everton FC of today falls a long way short of the position we all would like to believe it should be in — challenging, competing for the top honours the domestic game can offer.

    We can all point fingers at Abramovich's many millions but the fact remains that a club the size of Everton Football Club has been grossly mismanaged by successive Boards over the past 20 years or more. The problems therein lead inevitably to the team falling well short out there on the pitch — but Blues of all ages will forever view matters differently, and from various angles! Enjoy Glasgow! — Colm

    YOOF of today

    I find the attitude expressed in TW's mailbag (which looks at Everton's history thru the Orwellian spectacles that Sky's coverage represents) as pathetic. I had tried in a recent submission to take on the 'Yoof' perspective but some of the nutters who have written in take your breath away.

    Boys (cos that's what you are), cherish what we have over 125 / 60 / 30 / 11 years cos it's much more than most teams will EVER have — especially two thirds of the current Premiership. If you can't accept this for what it is (CLASS) then go support someone else, cos you clearly don't have any perspective on our Club or football in general.

    Whilst I am on one, I find myself gobsmacked that 'fans' are already on AJ's case. Two effing friendlies and we are Championship class? Pathetic! Look at the scrabbling for second rate World Cup players that others are in to. Moyes moved quickly for players of real potential. Support them and get over yourselves. The squad is the best we have had in years and my money is on a Uefa finish minimum.
    Steve Guy, Harrogate  (22./7/06)

    Okay, I can tolerate this 'discussion' up to a point, and that point is when Evertonians start telling each other to go support someone else. Enough already. — Michael

    Old Farts — Steve McBride

    I think you are missing the point, we old farts who still support our club - by the way - are fed up to the back teeth with the way our club is being run and the utter shite that we have to watch week in week out. Yes, we can remember when we played good attractive football and would like to see that again. We did moan when Gordon Lee produced a team of robots - even though we finished in the top 4 and should have won the league.

    You memtion the 90s and pissing money away... well, young man, a certain lady banned all English teams from playing in Europe because some fucking scumbags who folllow a shite team murdered 39 Italians. Did EFC complain? Did they go to the courts? No! — we just accepted it and watched our manager and best players fuck off to Scotland or Spain.

    Liverpool go on about their European heritage but up to I think 1972 we would have qualified for Europe every year but couldn't due to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup rules which stated one club only from one city. Given that now, I bet you all would be begging EFC to move to KirKby!

    So Steve don't slag us off cos we remember what it was like to watch good football. Just be proud of Everton and remember we have a betterg history than anyone.
    Steve Sweeney, Prescot  (22/7/06)

    Cal & Matt

    Note to Cal and Matt - if you are going to be negative before a ball is kicked, please do not attend Goodison on August 19th!!!

    So Moyes needs to recognise the frailty of his midfield does he? How many other Premiership clubs would like Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Van der Meyde (if he got fit) Neville and Carsley as holding players? This is surely better than at least half of the Premiership teams have to offer isn't it? Or should we table a £10 million offer for the likes of Lee Hendrie?

    So Johnson scored a dozen penalties which shouldn't count apparently? If that was the case our neighbours would end up fighting relegation. Johnson won most of the penalties himself through creating a nuisance of himself. To compare him with Radzinski or Bent ain't too bad as far as I'm concerned! The two seasons we actually performed under Moyes we had Radzinski and Bent as the focal point of our attacking play — I certainly wouldn't mind being in the Top 5 most of the season as we were when Rad and Bent were up there!

    Maybe we should have stuck with McFadden running into players and making no attempt to win the ball back!!!
    Steven Mills, Merseyside  (22/7/06)

    Fear not: I'm sure we'll still be seeing plenty of that from McFadden... — Michael


    I know ToffeeWeb doesn't like comments on other teams but here we go. Basically Aston Villa are going through the sort of terrible summer we had when we lost Rooney. Their players are now stating that they are out to prove everyone wrong next season.

    It will be interesting to see how they do and whether the amazing season we had following Rooney's departure was down to Moyes's motivational techniques or simply down to player togetherness.
    Daniel Parker, New York, NY, USA  (22/7/06)

    Its football not Kickball!

    Like some of the recent mailbag posters, I fear for the coming season. I think Moyes has a very limited vision of football and that vision is a betrayal of the club's traditions.

    When I watch Everton, I want football — not kickball! I want to see the ball passed from the goalie to the defenders then into midfield and then to see someone create something for the strikers not just an aimless ball in the general direction of the box. I want to see wide men who can run, dribble and cross. This game is called football — not kickball!

    Passing and movement, dribbling, crosses and shots on goal. Is that too much to ask for? What the fuck do they do in training! Can someone tell them that the ball doesnt have a virus and you don't need to kick it away as soon as it comes to you.

    Sometimes last season the ball needed to be carried off on a stretcher!! Seems like all Moyes wants his players to do is kick it long and hope it sometimes hits one of ours. When our goalie has the ball in his hands its 100% possession to us, all he has to do is pass it on to the nearest blue shirt rather than hoof the thing and swap 100% possesion for a 20% chance it will drop for us. Seems like that calculation is too hard for soft lad to work out.

    I burn with anger when I watch Stubbs and Weir launch 60- to 70-yard 'passes' straight into the opposition keeper's hands. Even kids in school know when you have the ball you get it to your best players, you don't let the donkeys dictate the play.

    Is this really the vision of football that Moyes has for the team? Is it even football? Is he Graham Taylor in disguise? Support the club and demand better than this.
    Ray Said, Liverpool  (22/7/06)

    Smoking Ban

    At last! The best bit of news to come out of Goodison in decades... a smoking ban. While my visits to Goodison will be restricted this year, at least I can now attend without the stench of Cannabis. There are plenty who will say they need it to watch Everton... TRY A PINT INSTEAD.
    Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (21/7/06)


    Going nowhere fast

    I hope I am wrong, but I agree totally with Cal from Crosby. I don't think we have a good side and I certainly don't think that AJ/ JB are the answer to our goal-scoring problems. Moyes has had enough time/ money to get a good team together, and quite honestly I'm shitting myself at the prospect of the forthcoming season. I look at our first team, and apart from a FEW execptions, I see a good First Division side. Perhaps that will be enough for 'the most exciting league in the world', but I seriously doubt it.

    I will be over the moon if they achieve a top 8 finish, however my prediction for this season is: 14th place and Moyes sacked before Christmas. Over & out.
    Matt Geraghty, Warrington  (21/7/06)

    Brave man! Your soothsaying is hereby recorded for posterity!

    Better late than never

    Anderson da Silva has finally received the papers that will enable him to play for Everton. According to Italian football website Tutto mercato web,these details have been released by the "English Federation" yet no other news sources have picked up the story as of yet.
    Robert Channon, Melbourne, Australia  (21/7/06)


    I don't beeleeeve it!

    It has been officially announced by Everton FC that one of its players gets injured by kicking a ball!!! Of all the excuses made on behalf of a professional footballer that would have to take the cake. The mind boggles at possible excuses why a player can't run, head or tackle.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (21/7/06)

    Expecting too much

    Sean Digby's comments on the friendlies at Bury and Preston are not far off the mark. Whilst it's obviously early doors, Johnson's style reminded me very much of Radzinski (and Marcus Bent) all speed and no end result! I do think we may be expecting a little too much from a player who, like Beattie, has been a very average performer for most of his career. At Birmingham - and playing in the Championship - he certainly suffered from 'barn-door syndrome' with half a dozen goals in about 70 games whilst his one 'magic' season with Palace was boosted by converting a dozen penalties.

    No, Johnson is no wonder player but again like Beattie, capable of the occasional wonder goal. Until and unless Moyes recognises the frailty of his midfield, I fear Everton will go nowhere.
    Cal Brown, Crosby  (21/7/06)

    Summer Transfers: Not Enough !

    I may be on my own on this one but I can't quite seem to shake that feeling that we are going to struggle this season. It's a big season for Moyes; I for one hope that he has got it right for all our sakes. However, I am not convinced by the AJ/BT partnership and the middle looks too soft and uncreative. Can we swop that perfect triangle of buys for a dodecahedron plan !

    I am worried...
    John Cribb, Liverpool  (21/7/06)

    Look on the bright side, John... we've still got 38 games left to secure safety! — Colm

    And the band played on

    Well done, James Howell from Caldy. It's about time the condescending patronizing old farts that frequent this message board had a bit of a wake-up call. Sure, they witnessed the glory days under Kendall and Catterick, but does that make them better Evertonians than the young lads who have remained loyal despite witnessing nothing but the utter garbage dished out at Goodison for the past 20years?

    When the shit hit the fan and the club's fortunes went down the pan, what did the older generation do? I'll tell you what they did: they wallowed in self pity, accepted all kinds of rubbish from the club's hierarchy and watched the good ship Everton disappear beneath the waves, whilst comforting themselves with golden reminiscences. "An if ya know yer 'istory!" indeed.

    The fans are the club. We're responsible for its safekeeping. The older generation had it so good and yet they watched it all get pissed up against the wall during the nineties. So can you blame the younger generation for asking you to stop living in the past or move aside?
    Steve McBride, London  (21/7/06)

    Speechless! ;-) - Colm

    Present history

    I wonder whether (Caldy) James's comments about Everton's history were made out of pure frustration at the lack of success we now enjoy? It must be very frustrating listening to everyone talk about our great times in the past. I think his points were made with a slight amount of envy because the younger generation don't know what it feels like to watch their team lift a trophy.

    I am fortunate enough to just about remember the 80's success and as a 15-year-old I went to the FA Cup Final in 1995. Had I not, I could understand totally the frustration of younger fans.

    They have to take the stick from their peers who ask "Everton? What have they ever won?" Sometimes the history seems too far in the past for the younger fans and answering with "we last won a trophy in 1995" doesn't mean much if you weren't old enough to remember it and the person you're telling it to is also brainwashed by Sky.

    James seems to have received a very good history lesson on here and I understand why he made his comments because I'm completely frustrated by Everton's lack of recent success too. But when I'm watching us get thrashed by West Brom/Bolton/Liverpool/Villa, I can reflect back and know what it was like to watch Watson lift the cup and how good that felt. James cannot do that so give the lad a break.
    Peter Pumpkinhead, Warrington  (21/7/06)

    I wouldn't say it's a case of older fans giving younger Blues "stick" for not seeing any Everton side laden with trophies (where's the logic?!) but it rightly irks older Blues to hear and read younger Blues dissing what is rightly a proud history we possess. - Colm

    Bury and Preston

    Not to piss on anyone's negative parade but when have warm-up games where mass substitutions were used a reliable indicator of what lies ahead?

    Against Bury we did not have a full-team and against Preston we were changing people every ten minutes in the second half. The Preston match was so serious Richard Wright spent nearly the entire first half trying to kick an inflatable ball into the stands.

    On another note, I thought Simon Davies played okay. He made a couple of runs that nearly ended in goals but spent a lot of the time passing sideways. I like Davies and I think he can be an important player for us next season. But he has to start performing from the off otherwise I fear he will never make it.
    Ben Greenwood, Chester  (21/7/06)

    Smoking Ban!

    Great to hear that Goodison has completely banned smoking. Apparently they wanted to ban alcohol as well but Andy van der Meyde won't let them.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (21/7/06)


    I sometimes feel that Harry Meek, David Hall and I are the only members of the generation that remembers the wonders of the early sixties. But to be honest that isn't the point. What James Howell took from my letter was what he wanted to take, that I was banging on about the past.

    The point of my letter was that I felt exactly as he did about 45 years ago. I've written an article about visiting Dean's pub with my dad, a friend of the great man, pointing out that I was bored at the time. I've written about Catterick, a great manager, but a man manque when it comes to relating to his players or the fans.

    James Flanagan is so right when he quotes Orwell's dictum about the way the powers that be control and therefore re-write history. According to Sky, since they took over the bible of football, The Rothmans Annual, they refuse to acknowledge that the Champions of the top division (pre-Sky) were the champions of the Top League. They call Everton's nine championships as winning Division One which is equated in their fact file with winning Division 2 or 3.

    In the days when the Divisions of the Football League were sensibly called 1, 2, 3, & 4 and before the Marketing that required that there had to be the non-sequitur of something better than ONE, so the Premiership was invented. Yet Sky see the winning of the top Division prior to 1992 as the equivalent of winning the second tier or for the last year or so the third tier.

    Stalin and Hitler couldn't have done it better, yet there are obviously a lot of people out there who accept this twisted version of history as the truth. No wonder Stain could purge 40 million and Hitler could talk of the Master Race. You can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time...

    History allows those who take the trouble to read it to know the truth. James, don't believe the Sky propagandists; believe in our past, it will allow you to believe in our resurrection.
    Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (20/7/06)

    Silly boy

    Oh dear. James Howell's ridiculous diatribe against Everton's history of (under-)achievement at least reminds me that being a spotty teenager prone to tantrums are not actually the best years of anyone's life.

    James, Everton are the fourth most successful football club in this country. You can guess the three above us and, were it not for the fact that one of them is our very near nieghbours, Everton's achievements would be more widely recognised. None of this happened by accident but was built up over 125 years. To dismiss it is to your shame.

    As other contibutors have suggested, buy a few DVDs and books, try learning something about the club, and come back when you can compare Everton v Bayern Munich to Wigan v Reading on Sky, real football according to you. I would hope you might see the difference and stop throwing your dummy out of the pram.

    For what it's worth, as a schoolteacher, I have seen this sort of violent rejection of the more knowledgable, more considered and more experinced viewpoint — ie, mine, many times. I think the boy just needs get himself a girlfriend and a copy of 'If ya know yer history...' and he should be ok.
    Steve Connor, Liverpool  (20/7/06)

    AJ and the fans

    Just catching up on the last few days' articles and was pleased to hear AJ's reation to the fans after the game at the weekend. It may have only been a pre-season friendly and you could comment about fans coming onto the pitch at full time, but to me it was a good advert for Everton FC and her fans.

    Maybe it will give our record buy that little bit more incentive to put one past the boys over the park at Goodison come derby day. Then he'll see what the fans are like...
    Adam Carey, Berkshire  (20/7/06)

    Preston Game

    Just a few personal perspectives on the Preston game last night. I am not the greatest fan of either Naysmith or Davies and my opinions of both of them were not altered during last night's game. Other than running around like a headless chicken, I honestly can't see anything (other than chasing lost causes or passing the ball backwards) that Simon Davies actually does. Similarly, Gary Naysmith was fleeced several times last night and looked ill at ease in trying to tackle.

    The second half of the game only really came to life with the introduction of Leon Osman who immediately showed great hunger in taking the game to Preston and trying to go around his marker on several occasions. Young Anichebe had barely stepped onto the park before winning a free kick in a dangerous place but unfortunately the chance was not converted. Boyle and Buckley looked lively, Boyle a big improvement on Naysmith and Buckley looking more likely to run at players and not sit keeping Baz Rathbone in a job like Van der Melingerer. Just wish the vocal fans who came to life in the last few minutes had given that response with more like 15 mins to go as the Preston squad started to look flustered when they did.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (20/7/06)

    Oh dear... another thess-than-inspiring report. Never mind. It was just a training game that meant nothing... — Michael

    Not Impressed

    Can`t say I`ve been desperately impressed with what I`ve seen in the friendlies at Bury and Preston. Against very limited opposition, Andy Johnson looked no more than average and from the same mould as Thomas `Barn Door` Radzinski. Most of our lot felt it was last season all over again with the Van man off sick and the expensive new centre-half out with a mystery disability. Until Moyes recognises our need is for a really creative playmaker, this lot will always struggle.
    Sean Digby, Speke  (20/7/06)

    Ouch! You just took a great big hatpin and jabbed it right into our highly over-inflated Expectations ballon, did you not! — Michael


    Gary Breen gone on a free transfer to Wolves after his contract expired. Remember when we were interested in buying him and due to greed, he wanted a ridiculous amount to play for a club such as Everton. Enjoy the rest of your career you cock!
    Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (20/7/06)

    Response to the Caldy Loon!!!

    The main reason I come on to Toffeeweb is to look at the mailbag, keep up with what's happening back home (been living away for 5 years, although still get to many games) and the fact Evertonians normally, as a rule, speak sense, or as close to it as possible whilst being a little biased.

    Reading a letter by some bloke from Caldy, forget the name as was utterly amazed by the utter crap spouted that I began to respond straight away. I have been an Everton fan for 24 years (all my life) and have followed Everton to Iceland, Scotland, Thailand and to the crap places like Pompey, Chester, Leicester etc but have never come across a fan with such contempt for our genuine trophy-laden history.

    You see not everyone can call themselves an Evertonian — it's a birthright, a blessing, something passed to you with an honour that makes you say "I'm an Everton fan, an proud of our history". To listen to this tripe from a lad about my age, stating that our history should be forgotten about makes my blue blood boil. Does this mean Mr Caldy man thinks that we ignore our Grandfathers/Mothers as surely what they have to say is all history and must be placed in the one massive wheely bin you must have marked "yesterdays"?

    My 2-month-old son, who gets a nightly rendition of "And if you know your history" and many more, I'm sure will eventually grow up to understand that, yes, maybe Everton don't win every week, maybe we don't have the best players but we are Everton — a team that only the best people support, a team rich in tradition, a team with past players so great we would literally have been Kings of the world but for other events, and hopefully a team with fans who truly know where they came from.
    Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (20/7/06)

    Scrimshanker Year Two

    Some people never change and I see that Andy van der Scrimshanker has once more avoided being over worked by reporting unfit for the Preston game.

    I can`t imagine he was terribly impressed by having to play a whole 90 minutes on Saturday so probably felt entitled to a few days recuperation. The sooner Moyes gets this waster out of the Club the better!
    Howard Gillies, Freshfield  (20/7/06)

    I'll drink to that! ;-) - Colm

    Crabbed age and youth

    Oh dear, oh dear, I do seem to have caused a furore with a few off the cuff comments about a time when I was a bit more tuned into the daily happenings at Goodison than I am today. My postings were very relevant to the thread of debate in the Mail Bag and were, I thought, mere statements of fact rather than any attempt to make comparison between the past and present.

    Without in any way wishing to patronise younger Evertonians — they are, after all, the lifeblood of the Club — I feel a deep regret that so many seem disinterested in what went before. After all, those of us who started our active support in the 60`s had the same difficulty in relating to things pre-war but never tired of hearing stories of William Ralph, Tommy Lawton and their ilk.

    How sad that a whole generation could grow up in ignorance that Everton was once recognised as a truly great club throughout the world and not be interested in the personalities who made it so.
    David Hall, Taunton  (20/7/06)

    Absolutely 100% spot on David! — Colm

    Good thinking by Moyes?

    If the proposed deal of Naysmith going to Celtic falls through, I'll be really delighted.

    We already have Valente, one of the best leftbacks in the premiership. There's also Pistone (who was part of the magnificent back four that finshed 4th) and Neville, who both can play anywhere across the backline.

    Moyes only gave him a contract, so he can make a 1 million profit a year later. Way to go Moyesie!!!
    Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (20/7/06)

    You've confused me there! - Colm

    Bosnar Bungle

    Just a quick response to Gavin Ramejkis's letter questioning Everton's scouting network, or lack thereof. I agree for the most part — until he mentions Eddie Bosnar. Bosnar was never expected to play for the first team and was brought in on a free purely as defensive cover in case of an injury.

    He was told as much by Moyes when he signed on for a one season deal and regular first team football was the reason he departed. So I think it's a bit harsh to label Bosnar as a flop. Everton knew what they were getting and he did his job well enough in the reserves that they made him captain for a few matches from memory.
    Paul Kish, Maylands, Australia  (20/7/06)

    Oh No Tommy, Tommy

    Astonishingly, Real Madrid has revealed an unknown and somewhat alarming fact about Oh Tommy, Tommy. Here, the “Curious Facts” section of this link revealingly states that Gravesen is actually, in fact, a Naturist!.

    Well, there you go! No wonder he went to Madrid — clearly this was not about money or a pure football decision. It was simply that he sought much sunnier climes to continue his practice in this somewhat dodgy pursuit of getting his Danish Pork Sausage out in public without freezing his bollocks off or risk of arrest on the Ainsdale Dunes. Ahh, my mind is now at rest; Thomas did love us after all but succumbed to his uncontrollable addiction.

    Maybe we should put £2M bid in with the promise of a lifetime supply of Willy Warmers to help the folically challenged one back to the club where he truly made his mark on the world stage... I for one would welcome him back with open arms... err.. well, maybe not with open arms considering his questionable habits but you know what I mean….. Each to his own I say….

    Thankfully, Thomas shares this philosophy I am glad to hear and he is not interested in anyone else’s….. thank fuck for that… revelations of Naturism is one thing but a shit stabber as well? No, that would be too much and I would not be able to handle that… I mean take that… oo er missus there I go again… EEEEE! would not touch it, honest… I am happily married… I can prove it… not interested in naturism or anything like that and never willy, I mean will be… Oh fuck off… I’m off… to bed… with the MISSUS.
    Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (19/7/06)

    Bit of a crisis there, Steve?


    There's no secrets about our history.

    Interesting... a few pieces that are even-handed enough to point out that it wasn't all trophies and quality football in the past and the spite still continues.

    For the umpteenth time, I don't know a single Evertonian who wants to live in the past. That's an argument invented by some to justify their blind support for the current set-up. I know there's plenty of Blues out there who can see how taking a few lessons from our better teams could help the current one bring us the success we all want.

    If my memory is correct, this debate kicked off when the more hysterical element of the 'Moyes is a genius' lobby seemed to take offence at some of us comparing the odd season of trophies with the recent drudgery we've had to watch.

    Why is there so much spite and bitterness about our successes? Why all the divisiveness between 'young' and 'old'? I thought we were all Evertonians? Or are some people unable to have a civilised debate with fellow Blues?
    Paul Tran, Kendal  (19/7/06)

    Phil Silvers comedy

    James Howell's letter is a perfect example of how Sky have brain-washed the younger generation of football fans. To quote George Orwell, "He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls the present, controls the past." — sounds like George knew what Sky were going to do!

    The club's history has more relevance than you can imagine, James. Just ask yourself, who would we be supporting today if Reverand Chambers had not formed his Sunday School side? The history of this great club has ultimately shaped where we are today, by events on and off the pitch over the past 128 years.

    You try telling Alex Young, or Peter Reid, or Neville Southall (pre-Sky) that football wasn't serious until Sky came along!

    Another quote, from Marcu Tullius Cicero (a Roman statesman), "To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child."

    So it seems that you, James, want to remain an Everton child.

    Finally, an anonymous quote: "History is the chronological account of Man" — in other words, the history of our club is the chronological account of Everton FC. It is a story, it is a roller coaster ride of emotions, it is Everton FC. and we must never ever forget that — no matter what Sky want us to believe.
    Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (19/7/06)

    The Boy's Pen

    Whilst I applaud youthful exuberance in those still wet behind the ears and can forgive the odd silly comment from lads whose experience can be measured in amount of shaves instead of amount of seasons, I feel as I would be failing in my profession as an educator if I didn’t address one comment young James Howell made in his response to Rick Tarlton.

    “Football got serious with the introduction of the Premier League”

    Well, in a way ‘Sonny Jim’ you’re quite correct… Football got seriously commercial and — some would argue — seriously corrupt with the introduction of the Premier League.

    Young man, may I suggest you take the opportunity to arm your spurious arguments with a little bit of background knowledge. Have a read of David Conn’s excellent book ‘The Football Business’ and learn something. Pay particular attention to Chapter One ‘When Sky Fell In’ and Chapter Five ‘Blue and White and Red All Over'

    Now EITHER write 100 times ‘Sky Sports did not invent football’ OR a 1500-word essay titled ‘How Peter Johnson almost killed Everton FC’ (what a pity they did away with corporeal punishment).

    Finally, I’ve about 25 years before I retire to my rocking chair (stool in the Local alehouse more like). When I do and I close my eyes and reminisce about ‘the old days’, my mind will be cast back to a balmy night in Rotterdam; Graeme Sharpe at Anfield; Kevin Sheedy, Tony Cottee, Trevor Steven, Kevin Ratters, Big Nev…. And even in my very distant past Bob Latchford, Dave Thomas and Mick Lyons...

    All you will have, kid, is Duncan Ferguson getting sent off and that other whelp Rooney blowing you kisses goodbye. Let’s hope you’ve more great memories to come eh?… for both our sakes.
    Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (19/7/06)

    Secret is out!

    So the secret is out. It wasn`t all perfect being an Evertonian in the old days! Just back from holiday and catching up with recent postings, a couple from David Hall stood out for me. The first seemed to indicate that Catterick wasn`t the perfect manager he has been made out to be, particularly as far as some of his signings were concerned, whilst the `dream` Board headed by the late John Moores have proven to be stingey and short-sighted as far as their re-building of the Goodison Stand was concerned. Personally, I have always thought that the older generation over-egged the pudding as far as Catterick was concerned and the `Moores Millions` was no more than consciense money from a family who gained immense wealth via the gambling weakness of the working class and the ability to put the same unfortunates into debt via their catalogue operation.

    However much the older generation harps on, football — and Everton in particular — had just as many ups and downs in those days as those we suffer today.
    Tim Davies, Maghull  (19/7/06)

    If it makes you feel better to re-write history, go wright ahead. Of course everything wasn't perfect, and Moores was not Abramovich, but Everton were one of the top five clubs in England for a sustained period from the 1960s through to the 1980s. That doesn't even compare to what we have been through in the past 10 years.

    If ya know yer 'istory indeed! — Michael

    My main concern...

    ...about Everton’s squad is the inconsistent form of Osman and McFadden. Each put in the occasional blinder but usually against lower order sides. Against top sides for the most part they went missing.

    They can no longer claim the tag of having great potential or having great technique. Most clubs have a list ‘potentials’ yet to see their first game in the Premiership while technique is not the same thing as skill. This coming season, a lack of experience on their part is not an acceptable excuse, nor is their lack of size. Many giants of the game were/are of diminutive size.

    When their opportunity arises, Osman and McFadden must deliver the goods. Hopefully Moyes is in a position where he has no need for passengers.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (19/7/06)

    Just like Phil Silvers

    What Rick Tarleton fails to understand is that, for the vast majority of `under 25s` like myself, the `old days` have absolutely no relevance or interest. What happened before football got serious with the introduction of the Premier League is to us like grandad going on endlessly about the war or old gunslingers harking back to the Wild West.

    Yes, there was an Everton, but it wasn`t ours and, in the main, it wasn`t terribly successful. Apart from short periods under Catterick and Kendall, attendances in the 25 years up to the Sky revolution were appalling which seems to indicate that the football on offer was appalling also.

    So if all you can treasure is the `old days`,go get yourself a copy of `The Golden Vision` (and how corny was that?) and, like Phil Silvers and his Bilko films, play it endlessly till death comes as a blessed relief!
    James Howell, Caldy  (19/7/06)

    Oh dear. To so casually dismiss this club's history — a history that few clubs can match — just because it occurred before you were born or became interested in football amazes me. Over 125 years of achievement and leadership — yes, there is more to success than trophies won — and an honour roll of truly magnificent players are all woven into the tapestry that makes up the club that you support today; its traditions, its fans and its aspirations are all coloured by the history you so easily ignore.

    Perhaps you are the one who should grab a copy of 'The Golden Vision' or 'The Holy Trinity' and learn something. — Lyndon


    WTF is happening? Yobo told us he is signing on the 1st, and now it is the 19th, there's still no news...

    Please, everton. don't fuck this up...
    Adam Light, Liverpool  (19/7/06)

    Why I get upset - Garry

    Garry, in your response to why am I bothered on Da Silva, as you quote, it's either red tape or he isn't any good. My two causes for concern are. if he is shite, just let him go and say so; if a third-rate Spanish team think he is shite then a much harder league in the Premiership would have shown him up even more.

    The second reason and perhaps the most pertinent and yes not given in the original post is: Who scouted him? Why recommend a player if they are shite? My gut feeling is it was price over seeing him play that got him onboard. Any crackpot agent is surely going to spout utter bollocks about their clients in order to earn themselves another bag of thirty silver pieces. For Christs sake in the last few years we have had these type of players aplenty eg, Plessis and Bosnar just to name two that didn't even grace the pitch in a first-team game.

    Scout quality — not unseen deals that more often than not turn out to be lemons. So Garry, that's why I get upset.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (18/7/06)

    Re. Gareth Hughes

    "...if Andy Johnson stays fit."

    Far be it from me to piss on everyone's pre-season optimism, but, for some reason, contemplating the above statement made my blood run cold.

    I await the ToffeeWeb mailbag circa October with baited breath....
    Andrew Conroy, Stoke-on-Trent  (18/7/06)

    Jo Lescott

    Good luck, Jo; you deserve your move to the big time, and I will be following the Toffees next season and look forward to seeing you on MotD. Also Jo has the pace to keep up with any one except Hhenry and Walcott but anyone would not keep up with them. Champs league for you boys next season.
    Stuart Owen — Wolves season ticket holder, Wolverhampton  (18/7/06)

    Tickets Please!!

    Further to a letter I've just read here, I'm an avid Everton fan who has, for various reasons through my life, never seen Everton in the flesh (condemn me if you wish). Then it was announced that they were playing Aberdeen, 50 miles from me. At last, I thought, I'll get to see my boys in action.

    It looks as though it is not to be though, as the box office system is ''down'' and has been every day since the day they released the tickets... meaning I can't get any. Is this a regular occurrence? Do I need to become accustomed to such problems, as the introduction of a new flight from Aberdeen to Liverpool will mean more opportunities for me to get to the hallowed place that is Goodison?

    My other option is not so nice... a Welshman in an Everton shirt sat with the Aberdeen fans — Aberdeen FC can sell me a ticket!! Any advice appreciated. But maybe somebody good on computers and a supporter of Everton could get round to Goodison and do some fixing so I can phone and order my tickets!!!!
    Darren Watts, Lossiemouth, NE Scotland  (19/7/06)


    I note that Yobo still hasn't put pen to paper and Arsenal still haven't replaced Campbell... is there a connection? I hope not and Joe finally commits to the Blues. Interesting too that no-one has been in for Gravesen as yet. Moyes should be trying to bring him back. Anyway, let's hope we have a good season. COYB!!!
    George Carroll, Bramhall  (18/7/06)

    Sign him!!!

    Just did a little research on Everton's trailist Delron Buckley and the signs are he looks very good! 15 goals at his old club Arminia Bielefeld at an advnaced left wing position in 2004/05 season, then impressing again at Dortmund before a tactical change saw him 'benched' off. He is quick, direct and can cross a ball (are you listening Kilbane and Davies). For a small fee and the fact that he has a German passport, Moyes should snap him up instantly! And looks like there will be no 'Silva' lining at Goodison after all? Hehe
    Luq Yus, London  (18/7/06)

    The Italian Market

    I wonder whether we will take advantage of the Italian fiasco by buying Krøldrup back? Fiorentina will be desperate to sell so I reckon a bid of £6 million will secure his services.
    Mike Pullen, Bath  (18/7/06)

    How ironic

    Haha, so after all that effort we put into sliding Krøldrup out the backdoor without supposedly losing any money, we will STILL end up with diddly squat.

    I think deals such as Krøldrup, Ball and Simonsen show that its pretty pointless trying to do other people favours (writing off their debts) as no one else returns the favours... even Utd have deliberately failed to win trophies so they dont have to pay us any more bonuses ;o)
    Iain McWilliam, UK  (18/7/06)


    I've deliberately stopped myself from writing to the site over the summer. However one theme of the summer's correspondence has saddened me: it is the glaring gap between the younger supporters (Premiership onwards) and the older supporters.

    In football terms, History is the period from when you started being involved with your team. To younger supporters, those who bang on about the glories of "The School of Science" and Kendall's marvellous team are too old to matter and living in a past of which they have no concept and believe that it is not our tradition or our birthright to be a great and successful club. I can understand that. When, in my early teens, Everton, having just beem promoted, were uninspiring, old and anything but successful.(They were better than Liverpool who were in the old Second Division — the stupidly named 'Championship' to younger fans) and I resented the constant harking back to talk of Dean, Lawton and TG Jones.

    Can I say that I understand this attitude, but it is essentially misplaced. Perhaps Everton will never return to being one of the big five or the G14 or whatever. But unless we Evertonians understand and appreciate our past, we do not have the touchstones with which to judge our present and our future.

    Incidentally, apart from his hardness to Phil Neville whom I consider a good defensive mid-fielder, I thought that Tony Marsh's analysis of the present squad was fair and perceptive.

    I'm hopeful that we can challenge for a European place. I hope Lescott, Johnson etc are the missing links that transform us into a reasonable side. I think Yobo and Arteta are marvellous and the rest look up to standard. I just hope Moyes is less fearful in his approach, though to be fair, nearly every coach in the World Cup was equally fearful and the result was a plethora of tight games with the emphasis on the defensive qualities of the mid-field rather than their attacking qualities. The coach's negativity stopped the one potentially great team, Argentina, fulfilling their destiny.

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
    Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (18/7/06)

    People's Club? Not for tickets!

    Once again, EFC have shocked me with their inept ability to sort out tickets (remember the Euro fiasco last season?). The pre-season friendly against Celtic has been generously allocated 2600 seats. The only place we can buy them, however, is box office at Goodison.

    What about those of us who work and don't live near? What is the point of upgrading the website to sell etc? 1000 tickets were sold yesterday - looks like we will miss out on another game. Everton: The LOCAL People's Club!
    Amanda Huddleston, Liverpool  (18/7/06)

    In reposnse to Will Mitchell

    Whilst I agree with your feelings on coporate hospitality, the money is just silly. My company have recently bought 4 'Platinum' tickets to the Emirates Stadium for Client Entertainment. Arsenal will make more from the Corporates than the entire season ticket money, bearing in my mind it's a 60,000 seater. Love it or hate it, we have to accept the corporate side of things if we are to survive let alone compete in the Premiership. And I would imagine more corporate tickets would be bought in a brand spanking new stadium as well.
    Dennis Marshall, London  (18/7/06)

    It really is the one area where a new stadium would make the biggest difference to Everton's finances. If we as fans want to see a team of stars competing for top honours, it's one of the revenue streams we should be welcoming with open arms, not slagging off at every turn. — Michael

    Strip off

    This has been building up inside of me for a while now, but after seeing the next new kit on show at the weekend I have to say something. What the hell are we doing and how many more times are we going to change strip?

    We've had on my counting, and forgive me if I'm wrong, 21 different strips in the last 7 or 8 seasons. And certainly new ones every year for the last 6. My point being that we don't need a third kit, we proved this last year by not wearing it once and why on earth do we need to change home and away kits every year?

    We are being ripped off big time! I remember Man Utd being slated big time for this a few years ago and that was just for changing away kit. I haven't bought a top now for two years and won't buy another that's for sure, but if others do they'll keep changing it.

    I think it's a disgrace to take advantage of your fans like this and we deserve an explanation.
    Scott Graham, Carlisle  (18/7/06)

    Echo a lot of your concerns there Scott - BUT..... the choice, and that's what it is, remains with the punter/fan/consumer/mug (whatever you want to label us!). Personally I think a lot of the recent second and third kits have been pretty tatty and totally lacking in any style whatsoever. That hideous shocking yellow from last season was a new low. However, the choice remains with you whether or not to purchase this tat. Mr Wyness will no doubt appreciate you "supporting your club" by buying more and more of this garish crap... might help the club avoid a situation in time to come whereby they're forced, again, to flog off the unsold tat! — Colm

    Ripped up

    Some blues might be interested to know that today I was walking past Melwood (Liverpool's training ground) and Bellamy was in his car signing autographs. Despite signing for his "beloved" Liverpol he still seemed an arrogant fucker so I asked for his autograph and he signed my piece of paper and I ripped it up in front of him and said "As if, you little wanker!" His face dropped an he was gutted!Picture was priceless.
    Danny Magee, Liverpool  (18/7/06)

    What a pity he didn't lamp you one. Now that would have been a story... — Michael

    Full up

    Finally, we have enough depth in the squad to cope with silly injuries. I feel we are full up in every position now and it is pointless buying another striker because, if we do so, Victor and Vaughan will never get their chance. As Irvine says in the Echo tonight, Victor is capable of playing a more vital role within the first-team squad next season so let him and I am sure Vaughan will get the chance as well. We have about 10 midfielders and not even half of them have quality so, in my opinion, we should try and ship the deadwood before we bring anyone else in because we are currently full up!
    Ryan Barton, Liverpool  (18/7/06)

    So, if that's the case, we won't be hearing any of that "one or two players away from greatness" nonsense, shall we? — Michael

    Better times ahead

    Ok, ok, I know that at this time of year everybody is optimistic about the season ahead, normally feeling utterly despondent by mid-September. But you know what, I really feel good about Everton's chances this season.

    We've made three excellent signings, and if Andy Johnson stays fit he will prove a great success. We have other players with undoubted ability like Beattie, Van der Meyde, Cahill and Davies who could make a huge difference if they find just a 30% improvement from last season.

    There is a concern about a lack of quality cover up-front but I have a gut feeling that Anichebe will do well, and certainly jump ahead of McFadden in the pecking order. My one real frustration is that, with just one more quality creative midfielder in the team, our chances of a top-six finish would be greatly enhanced. Someone like Malbranque, definitely available at Fulham, would take some of the pressure off the wonderful Arteta to provide the inspiration. A midfield quartet of Arteta, Neville, Cahill and Malbranque would be Everton's best for 20years. Would it really bankrupt us to find the £5 million to sign someone like him?

    Whatever happens, with a little luck a top-six finish is a real possibility, especially with the likes of Blackburn and Bolton showing no signs if improving their squads. Bring it on....
    Gareth Hughes, Liverpool  (18/7/06)

    Da Silva clarification

    The official website does very little to clarify anything beyond this chap not getting a work permit. You either qualify for a work permit or you don't. The fans were led to believe that was the whole point of him going to Malaga for a season in order to earn a work permit through some European loophole. It sounds more like smoke and mirrors translating to he is actually shite and we hope you forget about him so we can hopefully extend his loan to a permanent move elsewhere.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (17/6/06)

    What's smoke and mirrors about it? Da Silva's 'signing' last year was hardly given the fanfare and red carpet treatment so I don't see why Evertonians regard anything to do with him as a big deal. The bottom line is that we either don't want him because he's not good enough, in which case I'm glad we're not getting him; or there's red tape involved which can hardly be blamed on Everton. I doubt there's much, if any, money involved so why get worked up about it? - Garry

    Errrrrrrr... Sorry guys

    Ok I feel I should apologise for calling Hibbo a knobhead. He's not a knobhead he's a good lad and I for one would also love to see some more Evertonians/scousers in the side. It's just my opinion that he lacks Premiership class and is in no way the 'England International' some Evertonians think he is.
    Mark Hansen, Kirkby  (17/7/06)

    Right back dilemma.

    I don't think Tony Hibbert's a knobhead but I don't think he's good enough any more for Everton. I don't think he gets up to support the attack, gets caught out at the back, and is a weak link in the air which has been exploited by the cleverer sides.

    His distribution is appalling and it's heartbreaking that he hasn't improved from when he broke into the side initially and did well because we all want to see Evertonians and scousers getting into the team and doing well. Maybe some competition for his place will see an improvement or surely the coaching staff can work with him because he seems like a decent lad and proper fans don't get on anyone's back for the sake of it.
    Paul Burns, Liverpool  (17/7/06)

    All fairness to Phil

    With regards Phil Neville's persistant talking of his involvement with England, there is a new dawn sweeping through Soho Square, McClaren is in, Venables is now in as well, so hopefully the days of club favouritism are now gone.

    If you recall, Phil worked with McClaren at Man Utd, and if I recall correctly, McClaren tried to sign him for Boro. When all is said and done, Phil couldn't put worse displays in than a certain Mr (nutmegged twice a game) Carragher, a player that looked over-weight and out of shape from Day One.
    Bingo Bongo, in the Congo  (15/7/06)

    You're not really in the Congo, are you? It's dangerous there... — Michael

    Exciting Anichebe

    Out on day-leave, I decided to pop down to Gigg Lane to welcome Andy Johnson. The star of the show, however, was young Victor Anichebe. Super-strong on the ball, a real threat in the air and great at holding up the ball. Two well-taken goals too. I'm hoping he's going to be the main competition for JB and AJ this season.

    Young Scott Phelan looked a good little ball player too, if somewhat lightweight. In fact, all our youngsters look like they could do with a pan of scouse down them (Anichebe being the exception). Mark Hughes looked solid at the back.

    As for AJ, the threat was there for all to see. He didn't score, and missed a great chance, but his pace and clever running was getting him into positions that the strikers we've had over the last 10 years haven't.

    Roll on this season!
    Jez North, HM Prison Walton  (15/7/06)

    Great stuff, Jez. Now get back in yer cell and eat yer porridge. — Michael

    Two new faces?

    It has been widely quoted that Davie Moyes is still looking to add two new faces to the squad before the end of the transfer window. I've heard a rumour from a good friend of mine who has connections at Goodison: We could be bringing in Paul Scholes, probably on loan and Danny Murphy is the other being monitered. Both would bolster our midfield options greatly.
    Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (15/7/06)

    Oh great: another Man Utd reject and a burnt-out kopite. Forgive me if I hold the somersaults... — Michael

    Hibbs lacks quality

    In my view, Hibbo will have to huff and puff his way through another season. He lacks real quality and has done for a while. Still, I expect him to play in that position for another season, until we can buy...
    John Cribb, Liverpool  (15/7/06)

    Oh dear, Mr Hanson

    Errrr... your views on Hibbo are way wide of the mark, but I understand where you are coming from. His use of the ball is poor and his positional play leaves a lot to be desired. But his committment and ability to defend are his strong qualities, and he should really be England right back in Euro 2008!

    But I categorically agree that Neville is a useless midfielder! His effect in midfield is the same as pissing in the wind! Can anyone tell us what does he do in that position? What Moyes sees in Neville, the supposed midfield general, I will never know!!!
    Luq Yus, London  (15/7/06)

    And now Neville is bleatting on once again about playing for England!!! Give it a rest, Pip. Let it happen and tell us eveything about it by all means when it does — but not until. — Michael

    Hibbo's no Knobhead

    Has Mark Hansen been watching a different Hibbert to me? I don't think Hibbert is top-class but to be that scathing of him is wrong. His tackling is excellent and the lad's not that bad for pace. He gets forward very well to join up with the attack. He is still young and if he works on his delivery, which I thought improved last term, he will be a real asset. I thought we missed him at the end of last season.

    I think the real issue is whether Neville is good enough to play in midfield. For all his so called "leadership qualities", I think he's the worst passer of the ball in the side and I certainly don't think he's better than Hibbert at full back.
    Alan Clarke, Manchester  (15/7/06)

    Short-sighted or what?

    Will Mitchell seems to be pressing one or two of my buttons recently and I had to chuckle when I saw him lauding the architectural brilliance of Goodison Park. To my mind, the pressing need to move from the site is a direct result of the Board`s failure to recognise the value of the cantilever principle when the Main Stand was re-built in 1970.

    As one of the few privileged to be invited to make comment at the time, I urged the design team to embrace the ideas then being piloted at Leeds United. Having studied the `revolutionary` Elland Road design, they informed the Board that to `go cantilever` would add at least £250,000 to the £850,000 budget for the build and, at best, would provide only a few hundred extra seats with non-obstructed views. Now, my own —admittidly amateur — research had come up with a figure of over 3,000 obstructed or partially obstructed `views` but this arguement held no sway with Board and the result is history!

    I have always felt that had they opted for the cantilever design then, it would have been relatively easy to re-develop 'The Old Lady' over the 10-20 years following and thus avoid the need to move the Club from its spiritual home in these frighteningly expensive times...
    David Hall, Taunton  (15/7/06)

    Hibbo the knobhead

    Final piece of the jigsaw would have to be a centre midfielder. This would allow Moyes to play Neville at right back and finally drop the incredibly limited Tony Hibbert.

    Hibbert's obviously a great lad and he performs admirably week-in, week-out but let's be honest — he's a First Division footballer. His distribution is shocking, has no pace and piss-poor technique. The only reason he's been in the side for the last few years is because his work rate and commitment is first class.

    What bugs me even more about Hibbo is when I see him running around in the winter with his hands in his sleeves. Man or a mouse lad?

    Neville is basically a full back and nothing else and would give us a decent looking back four with Valente, Lescott and Yobo.

    A raving lunatic of a midfielder with balls of steel would be good as they always seem to get the crowd going!

    Mark Hansen, Kirkby  (15/7/06)

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Suppose those of us who rate Hibbo somewhat more than you obviously do should be thankful he doesn't wear Joseph Yobo's gloves over the winter months! — Colm


    Interesting to see Mr White Shorts Sheedy coming back to coach the youth. Oh to have someone like him in the current squad to shore up the left side of midfield. Mind you, I couldn't see him getting a run out with Moyes in charge — his workrate was always a little suspect and there were always those prestine clean shorts at the end of the game. In the teams he played in, though, there were always plenty of others to pick up the slack.
    Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (14/7/06)

    Sefton Council

    To Sefton Councillors. We'll build where we like. Just like Liverpool at Stanley Park. If we offer free seats and prawn sandwiches, that should please you and help move it forward.

    Don't worry — it's only for a few hours...
    Dave  Charles, Liverpool  (14/7/06)

    ...and then the world will end?

    Oh, to have cash

    Ultimate Championship Manager post but, oh, to have a few bob tonight and be circling the dodgy Italians for some bargains. I don't think the majority are that good but certainly a few big names won't stay where they are. Wouldn't be surprised if a few end up in the Premiership next season...
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (14/7/06)

    Obsessed? Much....

    RE: Jon Wobbly.

    The Vidarsson inclusion is an update. After the launch of the new style site, he was nowhere to be found on the OS, in neither the Senior or Academy squad lists, and was only refferenced on the site by articles which told of his inclusion in in Reserve/Academy games last year. Shortly after an e.mail I sent to 'Asksharpy' had been posted here in the Toffeeweb mailbag, complete with response of course, Bjarni appeared, as if by magic, on to the 1st team squad list, listed first as well, I might add (can't be listed alphabeticaly either, not with both Andy Van der Meyde, and Mikel Arteta)

    He was then included in the squad list for the game at Bury.

    Perhaps the OS does take note of comments made elsewhere... But then, still no Johann Davidsen... It's like our own little Twin Peaks Mystery. !!EMOC NO UOY SEULB
    Kevin Kendall, Bootle  (14/7/06)

    Objects in the rear-view mirror...?

    Sheedy Returns

    Great to hear the return of one of my teenage heroes in Kevin Sheedy, some awesome memories of that left foot. I'm sure he will be able to pass on invaluable coaching lessons to the youngsters and wish him all the best.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (14/7/06)

    Goodison for Everton (2)

    In response to some of the comments in your mailbag regarding my previous mail about the possible ground move:

    Facilities — Goodison's unique atmosphere is far more important than the availability of pies at half time.

    Corporate Sponsorship — The obvious irony of opening a corporate hospitality area and calling it 'the People's Club' aside, I think the potential of corporate hospitality is overestimated. Witness the new corporate section at Goodison with seating in the far right corner of the main stand; empty almost without exception last season. Have Everton conducted a feasibility study or are we just assuming that 21st entury 'football' is essentially corporate so screw the 'tribal' supporters?

    One of the disappointments of the World Cup in Germany was that far too many tickets were allocated to corporate hospitality at the expense of fans. Such are the prevailing conditions of the modern game: the concentration of wealth, and consequently quality players, amongst few clubs; unsustainable as the wealth/quality gap widens, destroying the link between the top clubs and the 'grass roots' clubs and supporters.

    I think many people are disillusioned with the state of football now and Everton could set an example by rejecting corporate excess in football. It's not hopefully idealistic to reject the modern game in its current form, as there are so many who wish to see football played by footballers in football stadia, rather than 'football' played by overpaid primadonas in retail parks. Is it worth jumping onto the moneyed-up Premiership bandwagon if it compromises all the principles of the football club?

    Architecture / Site — It's my opinion that most new stadia are lacking in atmosphere and character. At Old Trafford, you might as well view the match from a helicopter rather than sit in any of the upper tiers. Not to mention that to get there you have to climb flight after flight of stairs whereas at Goodison we've had escalators since the 1970s. Very few of the grounds built in the last decade are up to the same architecturally-revolutionary standards Goodison was when it was built. A concrete block integrated with a supermarket on the Kirkby wastelands is to be feared, not welcomed.
    Will Mitchell, London  (14/7/06)

    Small town minds

    Tim Cahill, Nuno Valente and even Materazzi did more to publicise Everton's name to the rest of the world than the rest of em' put together. Like him or not, here in Oceania, Tim is a living legend and a damn good ambassador for our club. There are those who would deny him the opportunity of playing for his country.

    They may as well put up a sign outside Goodison that says 'If you want to be an international footballer, please go away'. Those small minded individuals would no doubt find another stupidity to aim at.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (14/7/06)

    Hehehe... My point was, why load up the club with Internationals from a country that creates club-v-country battles? The same logic applies to the African Nations malarkey. Losing players for up to six weeks in the middle of the season doesn't make much sense... although it actually did us some real good last season! — Michael

    Away kit

    Why is the collar Sky Blue? Since when did we have Sky Blue as part of our colour? Which ever person at the club and at umbro approved this should be sacked. We are not Coventry. It should be ROYAL BLUE!!!
    Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (14/7/06)

    Thousands will still buy the tat, thousands will remain unsold. And it will be worn on no more than a few occasions. However, the choice remains with the consumer / fan /customer — if you want it, buy it; if not, don't! — Colm

    The Rod that broke the Catt`s back

    Couldn`t agree more with Tom Edwards over Rodney Belfitt. There was little to choose between he and Bernie Wright! But if Catterick was able to blame Eggleston for the latter`s signing, there was no way he could deflect reponsibility over Belfitt.

    Somehow, Harry saw in him the quality to replace the injured Joe Royle and was persuaded to do a straight swap with Ipswich which saw our `jewel`, David Johnson, go to Portman Road. Within a year, Johnson was an England striker(and was later to return to Merseyside with Liverpool) whilst Belfitt was virtually given away to Sunderland. I was pretty close to the action at the time and have always thought that the Belfitt/Johnson deal was the sign that conviced `Mr John` that Catterick was losing the plot.

    For the record, Belfitt netted 3 goals in his 19 appearances for Everton — not quite up to Joe Royle standards!
    David Hall, Taunton  (14/7/06)

    Re: Rod Belfitt

    Spot on, Tom Edwards. I shuddered when I read your post. Rod the Mod! To my Blue buddies, all a certain age, Rod Belfitt remains the most woeful Everton player we have seen. Even now, any pub discussion on the demerits of players is cut short by "Ah, yes, but remember Rod Belfitt?"

    The dredged-up memories of his ineptitude are made worse by the fact he partnered two other Everton greats, Joe Harper and Bernie the Bolt. We swapped debut king David Johnson for him, and 50 grand went one way or the other as well. Even if WE got the 50 grand, it is still second only to the sale of Alan Ball as the worst deal in our history.

    After we sold him to Sunderland, the Everton Board and Club Secretary received numerous death threats from Wearside.
    Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (14/7/06)

    Split teams

    Regarding the two fixtures on Saturday, I understand why they're splitting the squad for a mixture of youth and experience but surely these games are ideal for the likes of Yobo/Lescott and Beattie/Johnson to form partnerships and get used to each other's play before the real stuff gets under way.
    Rob Porter, Wolverhampton  (14/7/06)

    Given that these are the first pre-season games, the emphasis will be more on honing individual fitness levels than building fantastic partnerships. You know what: David Moyes is in charge, and he is not going to pay one iota of attention to anything you or I suggest, so I guess we should just let him get on with it. Especially as this particular decision has already been made. — Michael

    Wilkshire Facts

    Regarding the current gossip linking Everton with Luke Wilkshire. He was not "released" by Bristol City. His contract expired on July 1st and he has been advised by no less a person than Guus Hiddink not to negotiate new terms but to seek a bigger club. He is a free agent of his choosing, not Bristol City's.

    He was a surprise first-eleven choice for Australia v Japan in the eyes of most of the media over here, but played extremely well then and again against Italy. He would be free, not overly expensive in terms of wages and a useful asset to the Everton squad I would suggest. I seem to recall no-one knew too much about another Aussie when Everton signed him - Tim who? Oh, yeah that bloke that scored for Millwall in the FA Cup semi-final - and look what happened to him.

    Everton might also do well to keep an eye on two other young Aussies: Kristian Sarkies and Adrian Leijer. Both spent two weeks training with the Blues a year or so ago and Sarkies made his international debut for Australia in a pre-World Cup friendly, all be it against mighty Lichtenstein. Big things are expected of them in the new A-League season with Melbourne Victory. One is a very talented midfielder with great passing and crossing skills, the other is an excellent defender who plays on the left.

    Oh and by the way, should Harry Kewell be let go by the lovable Reds, I'd snap him up too if the price is right. Yes he has a lousy injury record but back in the glory days of the 1980s I seem to remember the same thing was said about Peter Reid and Andy Gray!

    Here's to a cracking 2006-07 season!
    Richard Ewart, Melbourne, Australia  (14/7/06)

    Hopefully some good solid info there, Richard, to counteract soem lazy journalism. But I would respectfully suggest, given the propensity for Aussie stars to play for their beloved country on (or near) awkward non-Fifa-approved International days, that the fewer we have of them, the better. — Michael

    Well Done Moyes?

    Just a reply to Luq's letter praising David Moyes for not signing Robert Huth. I'm just curious as to how Moyes would have known that Huth had a degenerative ankle injury without Everton giving him a medical? Perhaps Moyes has x-ray vision that's why he didn't sign him?

    Moyes didn't make a serious play for Huth because he didn't rate him, or was too expensive or couldn't afford his wages. It's got nothing to do with his ankle. I'm all for apportioning credit where credit is due... but in this case it's (bad) luck not sound judgement that's seen us not sign him.
    Paul Kish, Maylands, Australia  (14/7/06)

    Huth Error

    Sorry to piss on your chips, Luq but I believe Moyes steered clear of Huth before his World Cup campaign due to price and wages; Huth's injury came during the World Cup. I know you're not of the rose-tinted Moyessiah lot but even you would have to stretch a bit to think Moyes can see into the future and know he would be crocked after he decided against pursuing him.

    I still think Huth is a quality player and at his age will be snapped up by someone when he is fit again.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (13/7/06)

    Awww.. now I'll have to retract everything nice I said about Luq!

    Bad Players

    I didn't include Danny Williamson because I seem to remember him being a pretty good player until he got injured. In the short time Williamson played for Everton, I remember being impressed by his passing ability and I'm sure I remember him being talked about for an England call up. I also have a friend who supports West Ham and he remembers Williamson as an exciting prospect.

    Its a shame injury robbed him and us of the Everton career he could have had. Over the past decade, medical advances have been made and you have to wonder if Williamson and Parkinson would still have been forced into retirement?
    Dutch Schaefer, London  (13/7/06)

    Is that what kept Dunc going so long after his sell-by date?

    Transfer news?

    Just spotted this article in tonight's Liverpool Echo, referring to FORMER Everton star Alan Stubbs. Have I missed something??
    Rob Lloyd, Aughton  (13/7/06)

    Now I really did see his name in the Bury squad...

    The Italian Job

    Istanbul, May 2005: the AC Milan players are in the dressing room at half-time and have been told that Liverpool are now 100-1 to lift the Champions League Trophy. They each bet 10,000 euros and pick up 1 million euros each.... not bad for 45 minutes work, ½-hour of extra time and a few penalties... this is bound to be revealed when the Italian match fixing allegations are confirmed.

    And then there's Collina.......
    Frankie Boy, Bury  (13/7/06)

    Er... does this have anything to do with Everton?

    Another bad one

    Crap players: Rod Belfitt, anyone? Those of us who saw him will understand....!!
    Tom Edwards, York  (13/7/06)

    Stand Up and be counted

    I fully appreciate the concerns that David Moyes's comments on diving may indeed focus attention on our forward line, and thus become detrimental to EFC. However, what is wrong with a manager stating that he wants his own players to adhere to the rules of the game?

    We live in cynical times and doubtless a win at all costs culture has been with us for some considerable time. But that doesn't mean we should all just sit back and accept it; sport is supposed to be a diversion from the worries of the world — a place where we can dream and ignore our everyday problesms. Anything or anyone who speaks out and (more importantly) actively attempts to increase the sportsmanlike attitude is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

    So David Moyes should be applauded for making a positive statement on what is after all cheating!
    John McFarlane, Lancs  (13/7/06)


    Squad list from the official site link you posted, it quite clearly has Vidarsson in the squad to face Bury. You activly encourage the conspiracy theorists.

    Everton squad to face Bury: Iain Turner, John Ruddy, Mark Hughes, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs, Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville, Bjarni Vidarsson, Andy Johnson, Victor Anichebe, Patrick Boyle, Stephen Connor, Alan Kearney, Scott Phelan, Darren Dennehy, Scott Spencer.
    Jon Wobbly, London  (13/7/06)

    Either The Editor is losing his eyesight in his old age or the club are using ToffeeWeb as their proof-readers :)

    More Moyes wisdom

    Although it pains me, the decision not to pursue the signing of Huth might have been a good one. With him failing a medical of Middlesbrough, it seems like Moyes has jugded another transfer well! Well done Moyes!
    Luq Yus, London  (13/7/06)

    I take back everything I said about you, Luq! — Michael

    Last Man Standing

    I would just like to comment on the 'Last Man Standing' article by Steve Guy and in particular this statement:

    'This is the second time Davie has gone out on a limb. The first time was over the matter of agent’s fees. Refusing to pay the latter has cost Everton a few high profile signings and probably others we don’t know about.'

    To my mind, this is speculation and not the 'fact' as he seems to imply because the reason we got Tim Cahill and Palace didn't was because the maniac that is Simon Jordan refused to pay the agents and we did pay them. I'm sure that's what I read with Jordan saying something along the lines of "if they are happy to pay him thats his affair."
    Gaz Carter, Portsmouth  (13/7/06)

    A couple more

    Kenny Sansom anyone??? — scored on his debut against Spurs — I think! and Danny Williamson... did he ever play?
    Kunal Desai, London  (13/7/06)

    Danny Williamson played 17 games for Everton in the first half of the 1997-98 season. He was actually a half-decent player, as I remember, but the saga of his lengthy and ultimately career-ending injury problems seems to have made him a bit of a laughing stock such that he now gets grouped with the flops, his contribution completely forgotten. Nice. — Michael

    ....and then there was Bernie

    Surely no list of all-time bad buys can be complete without mention of Bernie `The Bolt` Wright. Bernie was signed by stand-in manager, Tommy Eggleston whilst Harry Catterick was recouperating from a heart attack. He had supposedly impressed for Walsall in an FA Cup tie against us in 1972 and Tommy snapped him up.

    Totally without co-ordination, Bernie was a nutter who turned up for his first day at Bellefield with string holding his trousers together. When Catterick got back to work and saw him in training, the story goes that he gave him one of his infamous roustings and Bernie ran from the training ground. After a chase through the streets of West Derby, two of the lads managed to persuade him to return — but only after emergency repairs had been effected to his jeans!

    Wright somehow managed to chalk up about a dozen first-team appearances and even scored a couple of tap-ins but it was no surprise when he was returned to the lower leages in quick time. Many years later I saw him still `plying his trade`for Lower Gornal in the Midland Combination.

    For me he represents the `all-time turkey`!
    David Hall, Taunton  (13/7/06)

    That's a great story, David. You should be writting a book, metinks. — Michael

    Luke Wilkshire

    Before the cynics have a go at the prospect of Everton signing him, it is worth noting that, in the World Cup against tougher opponents, Luke did a far better job than Lampard and Gerrard. OK, I agree it may have been a flash in the pan yet sometimes such flashes turn out to be pure gold.
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (13/7/06)

    And Bristol City will be kicking themselves... — Michael

    Bad Players

    Just wanted to thank Dutch for his list of poor players. Being reminded of all those awful players has made me grateful for the current squad, which when you consider it is pretty darn good.
    Vulva Man, UK  (12/7/06)

    Please use your real name, Mr Man.


    I may be in the minority but I was disappointed when we sold Marco back. He was a young centre back learning his trade and I thought he had a bit of skill in bringing the ball out of defence.

    I remember talking to him together with the other post-match autograph hunters and he was always good to the fans but did moan that Walter didn't understand him.

    Yes he made mistakes, but isn't this Everton we're talking about? Name me a favourite of ours who hasn't! In some ways a bit like Joey [Yobo] in that respect; great one minute useless the next. Apart from all that, my daughter thought he was gorgeous! Can't understand why!
    Les Golding, Evesham  (12/7/06)

    I was always under the impression that he and Olivier Dacourt wanted to leave, rather than were pushed out. — Garry

    Rubbish Players!

    Was Carl Tiler really that bad? I don't remember him being particulary bad. In fact I always remember him being pretty decent. If you want to talk about bad players, you have to include:-

    Brett Angell — (maybe the worst striker ever at Goodison).
    Vinny Samways — (cost a lot; contributed little. Went on to become a mass-murderer in Spain).
    Terry Phelan — (injured all the bloody time).
    Claus Thomsen — (Oh dear, Joe Royle what were you thinking?).
    Slaven Bilic — (quality but injured and not really interested).
    Marc Hottiger — (??????????????)
    Mitch Ward — (who I think is currently banged up in jail). That's Mark Ward - Ed
    John O'Kane — (Man Utd misfit).
    John Spencer — (£1.5M for 9 appearances and 0 goals).
    Alex Cleland — (even his old Rangers boss Wally Smith didn't rate him).
    Peter Beagrie — (good player first time around but Kendall was desperate when he brought him back on-loan aged 62).
    Steve Simonsen — (most expensive goalie in the country, you're havin a laugh).
    Ibrahima Bakayoko — (nobody was ever sure on his age but there was doubting his quality or lack of).
    Tony Thomas — (Everton had a run of bad right-backs until Hibbert appeared).
    Gareth Farrelly — (could argue his goal made him a worthy signing but that's all you can say about him).
    Stephen Hughes — (some say we paid £3 million for his 'services').
    Alex Nyarko — (the new Viera except he was rubbish and lacked heart).
    Paul Gascoigne — (didn't he have one good game against Bolton?).
    Niclas Alexandersson — (Pre-season 00-01 he looked fantastic, then disappeared for the rest of his Everton career).
    Idan Tal — (had to work hard to get him a permit, shouldn't have bothered).
    Mark Hughes — (was like 58 when we signed him).
    Tobias Linderoth — (never lived up to his reputation).
    David Ginola — (Wally Smith panic buy, player flopped; Smith was sacked).
    Espen Baardsen — (Moyes on-loan idea, what were you thinking?).
    Juliano Rodrigo — (injury robbed us of any chance of seeing his silky Brazilian skills).
    Per Krøldrup — (couldn't head a ball).

    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (12/7/06)

    You really have no life, do you? — Garry

    Learning curve for Lescott

    I don`t think that Moyes will start the season with Lescott. He`s far too fond of Stubbs and Weir and will let them take turns to parner Yobo whilst he works on the new man`s kicking range — just as he did with Krøldrup!

    Howard`s a shoe-in in goal and Johnson will chase the long balls out of defence all day, making the midfield redundant. Don`t expect the football to be any prettier although we should see further improvement to finish 11th.
    Neil Wantage, Bootle  (12/7/06)

    The matter in hand

    Your correspondent, Will Mitchell, seems to suggest that being `a corporate` necessarilly qualifies one to be `a wanker`. As a lifelong Evertonian, I would back my knowledge of our great club against anyone. The fact that I have been in a position to spend tens of thousands of my company`s budget in support of that club has, I suggest, been of immeasurable benefit to the`ordinary`supporter.

    In no way does it qualify me as a wanker!
    Tarquine Moody, Wirral  (12/7/06)

    It is sad, Tarquine, that the tribal thing seems to involve despising corporate sponsors. The main reason the club wants to move rather than redevelop Goodison is the opportunity to vastly increase the facilities targetted at corporate sponsors. Buster Wyness has done the numbers and he knows this is one area where he can make a substantial increase in revenues.... Which should translate to better players. Isn't that something members of the tribe would want? But logic is not a strong point, I fear... — Michael

    Everton Flops

    I have just read that article on Materazzi. Carl Tiler, in my opinion, was up there with Claus Thomsen as utter garbage. I was truly embarrassed at the sight of him.

    I did like Materazzi as a player at Everton and was disappointed to see him go. I'm sure though, that playing alongside Inter's defenders benfitted him more than playing alongside Watson and Gough.
    Alan Clarke, Manchester  (12/7/06)

    Pet Hate

    The release of the squad numbers has reminded me of one of the more irritating things about the system. Last season, James Beattie was Number 8, and presumably a significant number of people bought 'Beattie 8' shirts. Similarly with other players in the squad whose number has now changed.

    There's no particular reason for changing squad numbers. Making Hibbert Number 2 is not going to make him a better or worse player. And I don't imagine it makes any significant difference to merchandising revenue.

    So all the moving of squad numbers appears to do is devalue shirts that people have bought, and have no other effect. Not that it'll change, but it's one of life's annoyances, and I don't see why a player can't just keep the same number throughout his career at any particular club.
    Robin Cannon, London  (12/7/06)

    I think you're right on most counts but I'm sure the players all like to push for a top-11 shirt, perhaps top-16 and change when one becomes available. — Garry

    I think to be fair to the club, the number of changes have been minimal and the two you mention make perfect sense. I thought people who buy replica shirts feel obligated to update them to the current one each saeson anyway, so what does it matter? — Michael

    Da Silva

    In reply to Glen Anderson's last posting regarding the Da Silva situation — you seem to be having a go at the Brazilian Kid even before you have seen him play. Just because you read on some Spanish web site he was crap. If you cast your mind back a couple of years, you will remember another player we signed from Spain who was also labeled a flop and could not get a place in the side. You know, that shit player we call Mikel Arteta.

    See, mate, it's very easy knocking players before you give them a chance to prove their worth. For all you know, the Spanish game might not suit his playing style and if he comes here he could provide a little extra something that we have lacked for years.

    I think most Evertonians would be more than happy to see Da Silva in a blue shirt playing football the Brazilian way. It's not often you see a Brazilian footballer you can call crap so get off the lad's back and give him a chance. Can you really see him being worse than the likes of Davies, Kilbane or AdvM... because I can't.

    If he does come here and starts playing well, you will be one of the first down to JJB for your Brazil kit so stop the whining and get behind the lad.
    Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/7/06)

    Spoken to a couple of Malaga fans during the past week and few of them rate our would-be Brazilian footballing genius. Time will tell, I suppose. As for all Brazilian players being top quality... ask Celtic fans what they thought of John Barnes's signing of Brazilian quality whilst managing Celtic! Loada Shite!!! — Colm

    New, not better

    Am I alone in not being terribly enthused by the signings of Howard and Lescott? The former is as prone to errors as the much maligned Wright and none of my Manc mates have a good word to say about him.

    Lescott is an unknown quantity but got a number of slatings in print from Hoddle before the Wolves board told him to talk him up for sale purposes.

    I shall be much happier if Moyes starts with Dickie in goal and either Weir or Stubbs alongside Yobo. Just remember, new doesn`t always mean better!
    Ken Ormerod, Warrington  (12/7/06)

    Nolan would be perfect for us...

    Spurs are now said to be chasing Boltons's star Nolan. It's a shame we aren't in the running too, cos he would have completed the puzzle to a bid for a top 6 finish.

    Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; VDM Cahill, Nolan, Arteta; Johnson, Beattie.

    What A team!! Of course it's only on paper, but it still gives me high hope and optimism. COYB!!!
    Low Castle, Liverpool  (12/7/06)

    What a team? I'm not so sure the G14's finest will be losing any sleep over our best eleven! — Colm

    In Marco's Defence

    As a former Sunday morning centre-half, I have a keen interest in Everton's defence and central defenders in particular. I only saw Marco play one game for the Toffees in the flesh (an away win against Blackburn) but in my opinion he produced the most assured and accomplished defensive performance I ever saw in my life.

    His ability shone out to such a degree he appeared to float elegantly across the pitch despite carrying costly target men Ashley Ward and £7M Kevin Davies in his pockets for 90 minutes. Fierce and fearless in the tackle, majestic in the air, he played that match with the ease one does when playing against children on the park. If only Walter & Archie could have nurtured and encouraged that performance into every match but that wasn't exactly their style, was it?

    I have always championed Materazzi despite some shocking challenges over his career and will continue to do so in the belief that with the right guidance he could have developed into a Goodison legend. If Everton had looked after him emotionally as well as physically, maybe his desire to leave the country would have subsided. Thanks again Messrs Smith & Knox.
    Damian Waite, Blackpool  (12/7/06)

    Goodison for Everton

    It seems to me the arguments for leaving Goodison are flawed.

    1. Facilities are poor. Are they? Since when did you not have to queue at any ground for a piss and a hot dog at half-time? And don't tell me food standards are higher at newer grounds. What this really means is that we need more space to serve prawn sandwiches to corporate wankers.

    2. Revenue Generation / Size: Goodison was full on a handful of occasions last season so why do we need more space? Even if we do, why not double the size of the Park End (ample space in the car park) and give Goodison a 45,000 capacity? Also, with the kopites building a new ground and the construction of Liverpool Arena, the likelihood of supplementary income from concerts etc is decreased. Nevermind, we could build the Everton Boutique Hotel and Wellbeing Spa to make up for it.

    3. Accessibility: Of course. All the great stadia are surrounded by car parks and warehouse retail outlets.
    Will Mitchell, London  (12/7/06)

    1. I don't know which ground you're going to, but if you leave your seat for a hot dog after the half-time whistle has blown you'll miss the first few minutes of the second half. And I've lost count of the number of times the stalls have run out of pies before I've gotten to the front.

    2. Perhaps the reason Goodison was half-full on only a few occassions last year was due to the fact that the only unobstructed views in the ground are in the Paddock, Family Enclosure and Park End, where's it nigh-on impossible to get a ticket.

    I get the impression you don't visit other grounds too often. Visit Old Trafford or even the JJB Stadium — you'll soon see the advantages of having a new stadium. — Garry

    Squad Numbers — Moyes getting me nervous

    Right, I just got around to looking at next season's squad numbers and found myself wondering what the fuck Moyes is playing at.

    For a start, Valente should be number 3 in place of sicknote Naysmith, Weir on the bench and Lescott number 5, and I don't even want to mention Davies as number 10... what about Cahill or even unsung hero Carsley?

    If the first 11 are the starting team on the opening day of the season we're in the shit.

    Am I reading too much into this ?
    Glen Anderson, Huyton  (11/7/06)

    Yes. Your're at least 10 years behind the times. They're just numbers. Moyes will play who he plays, irrespective of their squad number. That does not mean to say he won't play Wright or (more likely) Weir, although the general pattern is for him to play new (British) siginings in preference to their alternates. Hope this helps. — Michael

    Anderson Da Silva — not worth worrying about

    In response to Luke Perry's (surely not his real name) post about Anderson Da Silva, I don't mean to piss on anyone's fire but I've started now so I will...

    A quick peek at Malaga's website page for Anderson tells us he has been sent off once and booked twice last season in 16 games and 932 minutes played.

    Unfortunately that seems to be as exciting as his career gets since 488 fans have given him the thumbs up and a worrying 619 the thumbs down with a grand total of 0 listing themselves as a fan of his.

    This, coupled with his inability to break into a team which a Spanish mate of mine labelled quite possibly the worst ever to grace La Liga means that I won't be losing any sleep over his protracted procurement of a work permit or EU passport.
    Glen Anderson, Huyton  (11/7/06)

    Defender of the faith

    This letter is for the wonderfully harmonised Nick Armitage who obviously goes around dressed in a loin cloth, eating nothing but organic fruit, picked by his own fair hands. He wears no shoes (apart from Clarks that is!) and is a self confessed defender of the faith.

    He does not shop in supermarkets and has never bought a single toy or article "made in China". This guy is obviously an awesome example to all you baddie Evertonians who dare buy the kids training shoes and supermarket food. Indeed his ideas are so awe-inspiring we should maybe come up with a new fig leaf football kit for the guys to play in next year.

    Anyway, I would be interested if anyone who knows this "born to be free" hero to come forward and let us all know if he lives up to his own high standards. For the record, I am neither one of the two "types" of person he refers to in his letter and it is arrogant of him to think his amateur attempts at psychoanalysis can sum us all up into the “one or the other” categories. Let’s place Nick behind a stanchion for the rest of his life see how he likes it or better still leave him up in the clouds where he will have a better view.

    No reply necessary Nick, I realise that running your house on wind power can take it out of you and your Internet connection.
    James Meade, UK  (11/7/06)

    That's quite enough on that topic, thank you. — Michael

    If yer know yer colours

    Away kit. White with SKY BLUE trimmings and GREEN Chang logo? BAH — Get a grip, will yer! UP THE (ROYAL) BLUES.
    Ken Buckley, Buckley  (11/7/06)

    Squad Number thoughts!

    No 1. Moyes had to give this number to Dickie. Wright's had that number for years and Moyes doesnt want to unsettle Dickie too much until he's sure that Howard is good enough for a permanent move.

    No 2. Really happy for Hibbo, he's made the right-back position his own and deserves the number.

    No 7. Does this mean we are going to see more of AvdM this season? It certainly suggests the player and Moyes have decided he has an Everton future.

    No 8. AJ played this number at Palace and probably didn't bother to put himself forward for the No 9 shirt.

    No 9. Has Beattie been at Everton long enough to know how special this number is? It's a big responsibility and I hope Beattie can prove himself worthy.

    No 21. Little Leon Osman surely deserves to move up the numbers. It makes me think Leon himself chooses to remain at 21, after all No 12 is free if he wanted it.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (11/07/06)

    Very nice... maybe you could give us the Lottery numbers next, Dutch! — Michael


    Yobo set to sign - er, when exactly? Hope it's not another NTL deal that falls apart at the 11th hour..
    Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (11/7/06)

    Let's see... he's still there on the new squad list. And he has one year left on his contract. So just be patient, Dan. If he hasn't signed by December, start to worry... not that your worrying will have much effect, mind... — Michael

    Where's da Silva Lining?

    I, like most Evertonians, am wondering what is happening over the signing of Da Silva (insert either Anderson, or Everton Ramos... frankly who knows?). I have checked various websites and there are two main leads:

    Sky Sports News says that Anderson da Silva is on loan at Malaga and is awaiting a work permit to allow him to play for us. He's been sent off 3 times and booked a further 9 (quite honestly this guys disaplinary record makes Marco Materazzi look like Mother Theresa), do we really want him??

    And then lead 2 which reads: Everton Anderson Da Silva unknown midfielder signs for Heracles Alelmo, quite honestly will the real Da Silva please stand up and enlighten us... failing that can anyone tell me more about the latter?
    Luke Berry, Liverpool  (11/7/2006)

    Very amusing, Luke, but you've obviously not been following along with the mailbag — I think we all know how they are not one and the same but two and different people. Both those stories have been featured here already. — Michael

    Another good reason to hate yer man

    Barry Horne says that watching Marco Materazzi in the World Cup “definitely proved that you really never know about people or what they can achieve." Marco’s transformation from wild man to wonder boy wouldn’t have anything to do with the difference between being trained by Walter Smith and Archie Knox and being trained by Roberto Mancini and Fernando Orsi, would it?

    Materazzi did well to get out of the Everton of those days while he could or his career might have gone the way of Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball, Richard Dunne and Gavin McCann, whose futures were profoundly and adversely affected by Walter Smith. If we move to a new stadium in Kirkby we should name something after Smith… maybe the Gents.
    Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (11/7/06)

    Nice touch!

    The Pox

    I have it from an extremely reliable source that Arteta intentionally contracted chickenpox to get away from Exeter and hold secret talks with Sir Alex. Let's keep this between me and you as I don't like to spread rumours...
    Art Vandelay, South Florida, USA  (11/7/06)

    Arite then... Mum's the word.

    Mikel Spotter

    Rumour has it Mikel's absence is due to nothing more sinister than a bout of chickenpox, he was rumoured to have been sent home from Exeter suffering with the ailment.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (11/7/06)

    re Mick's Rumour

    I asked an extremely reliable club source: what's this about Arteta? She replied:"Brrrrkk Brrrrrk Buh..BRrrrk" and started doing a poultry impression. I think she was trying to tell me something.
    Phil Bellis, Liverpool 8  (11/7/06)

    Final word

    According to Dave Prentice of the Echo, Arteta is suffering from chickenpox, which is the reason he was not at training on Monday.

    Evertonians just love to panic.
    Ben Greenwood, Chester  (11/7/06)

    Forza Italia

    I'm surprised at the negativity surrounding Italy's World Cup win. I thought they were worthy winners, and with the exception of perhaps Argentina, the best team in the tournament. There's no suggestion that the players themselves are involved in the match fixing and corruption allegations in the Italian League, so fair play to them for overcoming the apparent threat to their clubs being relegated for off-the-pitch activities and putting together a sequence of good performances, particularly in the knock-out stages.

    Neither were they the negative Italians of previous years — they used a great defence as a solid base for attack, and anyone who watched the semi-final against Germany would be hard pushed to call them a defensive team. Unlike England they overcame an unfit "star man" in Totti, steadily improved throughout the tournament, and achieved complicated tasks like passing to their own players.

    Also nice to see an ex-Evertonian winning the trophy. For all that nobody thought Materazzi would reach the heights that he has, I think the view that he was some kind of Everton disaster is a bit of a fuzzy memory. He was no world-beater at Goodison but despite his disciplinary problems he was far from a bad player.

    So well done Italy, goodbye to an OK World Cup, and now we can start looking forward pretty optimistically (fingers crossed) to a new season.
    Robin Cannon, London  (11/7/06)

    On balance, most of the games were pretty forgettable, and I've actually forgotten them. Seconed lowest goals scored after 1990? I can only blame David Moyes and the 4-5-1 formation he thrust upon the world! ;-) — Michael

    Bury or Port Vale

    Does any-one know if or at which ground Andy Johnson will be playing at on Saturday? I want to have a look at him as soon as possible and don't want to end up at the wrong game!
    Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (11/7/06)

    Poor Lescott!

    I'm beginning to feel sorry for Joeleon Lescott. At Wolves he was the Captain, one of their most experienced players. Now at Everton he's being treated like a teenager. Stubbs and Weir seem to have got it into their heads that they have to play mentor to Lescott. I can't wait for the season to start and Lescott to prove himself his own man, a quality player completely at ease with Premiership football.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (11/7/06)

    ... only he's never actually played Premiership football. So they may actually have a point, Dutch. — Michael

    Arteta going NO PLACE!

    Moyes puzzles me at the best of times, but I am more than confident that he will not sell our best player! Everton are under no financial pressure to sell so it's a non-starter.

    Cahill, on the otherhand, can leave with my full blessing! And what's all the fuss about with Zizu butting that Toffee reject? Didn't the reject say he only came here for the money? You lie in the bed you make, Sonny Jim.
    Luq Yus, London  (10/7/06)

    Just spoken with the second cousin, through marriage, of Mikel Arteta... over a game of water polo in southern sunny Spain. Promised me that Mikel´s going nowhere. Perhaps lost in translation! — Colm

    Shittin' myself!

    Think about this: Mikel Arteta did not attend training on Monday and he was fit — never picked up any knocks in Exeter or nothing on the Sunday. Cristiano Ronaldo claims he wants to leave Man Utd and a day later Arteta misses training! Mikel plays on the right — so does Ronaldo!! I really think Arteta will sign for them for about £12 million but I have heard from a reliable source that Barton and Thompson are on the way!!! Absolutely gutted if Arteta goes though...
    Mick Letherbarrow, Liverpool  (10/7/06)

    Nice one... just when we were all trying to be so optimistic about the new season! I think I would file this under "unconfirmed bullshit wind-up" — from a reliable sauce, of course... Michael

    Double standard?

    Having watched the whole 120 minutes plus penalities last night I was slightly amused to see ZZ stick his head right through Materazzi's chest. The game itself had become boring at that point so a slight act of GBH had me on the edge of my seat.

    However, in the cold light of day I have begun to Wonder about the mecurial genuis ZZ's red card. Now, I like a football match to be physical as after all it is a man's game, but what Zidane didto Materazzi was nothing short of assault. Our very own Duncan was jailed for a lot less than that. Whilst I am not asking for players to be brought to punishment for acts on a football pitch, surely the same punishment or something similar should be brought about? Or will this be yet another case of double standards?

    Whilst I agree Zinedine Zidane has done a lot more for football than DF ever did, surely GBH is GBH? After all, can one murderer be better than the other and get a more lenient sentence?
    Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (10/7/06)

    Zizou sticks one on Mazza

    Well, fancy an ex-Evertonian having such an impact on a World Cup Final! It certainly was quite a game, and, indeed, quite a tournament from Marco Materazzi.

    Taking just his contribution in the final - gives away penalty, scores equaliser, involved in one of the most famous moments ever in World Cup history when Zinedine Zidance floored him with a fierce butt to the chest to receive red card in his last ever game, and then picks himself up to bury his spot-kick in the victorious penalty shoot-out.

    All this from a man who got more red cards than goals in his short stay at Goodison — I for one have some sympathy with Zizou — I'd like to have stuck one on Mazza on more than one occasion!
    Richard Price, Gloucester  (10/7/06)

    Wright or wrong?

    Basically, I was browsing the site, as I do on a daily basis, and I saw the story about Richard Wright going to Southampton — to which I was more than happy to hear. However, upon browsing the internet, I came across the following: story.

    Now judging by some of the info in the above story, it may be that there's been a mix-up and you haven't got the Wright man. Just thought I'd let you guys know.
    Ben Freeman, Liverpool  (10/7/06)

    Oh no... not again!

    Marco's Mumbles

    Can anyone confirm that Marco Materazzi apparently had said to Zidane that his friends at Everton were interested in signing him?
    Ron Joynson, South Devon  (10/7/06)

    Hahaha... I dooubt if Marco even remembers who we were. — Michael


    It might be a bit premature to off-load Dicky Wright to Southampton. Tim Howard has had some dodgy games for Man Utd and it would be wise to see how he settles at Everton before Dickie departs. We don't want to sell Dickie and then discover Howard cannot cut it and the only cover is youngsters Turner and Ruddy. Best wait till the January transfer window before letting Dickie go. By then we'll know how good Tim Howard is.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (10/7/06)

    Who Polices the Police?

    So, Italy defended their way to World Cup glory and Fifa’s showpiece event, the pinnacle of the world football calendar has been won by a group of players tainted by the stench of corruption and match fixing.

    In some ways this is absolutely the right thing to have happened; football is indeed fooked, and just like Alice at the threshold of Wonderland, we should soon be finding out just how far down this rabbit hole of ‘payola’ goes… and if the dirty laundry is washed in public, the rabbit warren of sleaze might emerge in some very unexpected places, some quite close to home (one G14 club in particular).

    It won’t happen though: Fifa, Uefa, the Italian FA… (our FA) is comprised of little men who act as if they are firmly in the pockets of big business and the mass media corporations. (In Italy’s case, the boardrooms of the top 6 clubs are almost exactly the same as the boardrooms of the top six companies and even have footholds in the national government). There will be a cursory examination, some fall guys will be sent down, some convenient scapegoats sacrificed, and the whole bent and twisted freak show will continue as before.

    You are right Michael; politics should have no place in football or on football forums for that matter — neither has corruption, match-fixing, payola, and sleaze… Until democratic accountability and financial transparency becomes football’s normal way of doing things, cheats will continue to prosper — both on and off the field.

    Juvenal, a Roman poet, once said that all that people need in life is bread and circuses — what this meant is 'keep them fed and entertained and you’ll pacify the mob and they won’t overthrow you'. It seems in these corrupt times that we, the football fans are providing the ‘Bread’ at an ever increasing rate; and the powerful in World, regional, and national football are providing the circus run by the clowns, for the clowns, in the interest of the clowns.

    I’m not holding my breath for any change…
    Kevin Sparke, Bantry Bay  (10/7/06)

    New Everton Captain!

    On the issue of Captaincy, dont forget that Lescott was Captain of Wolves.

    I suggest Neville, Yobo, Stubbs and Lescott should be the main candidates for Everton Captain this season.
    Paul Atress, Liverpool  (10/7/06)

    And I suggest leave it to David Moyes: I'm sure he will make the choice. — Michael


    ToffeeWeb is a football site and I never intended to use my column to instigate a political debate but I feel I need to answer some points raised about my Every Little Helps article. Firstly I would like to state, again, that I am not in favour of staying at Goodison, we simply need to move. I am pragmatic enough to realise that the club will need external funding, wherever that may come from. Like others I'm just disappointed that the capital will be raised on the back of a deal that will further enrich a corporation that is widely perceived to be highly unethical.

    I agree mostly with Eamonn Byrne's thoughts in the Mailbag but I do believe that any proposal should not just be taken at face value. I personally think there is a wider issue than just the stadium and resticting your viewpoint solely to the merits to Everton, in my eyes, is somewhat narrow minded.

    I would like to add that there appear to be two types of people in this world. The first type are individuals who accept that the world isn't a perfect place. These people are concerned about the impact that developed world, led by its multinational corporations, has on the rest of the planet and its inhabitants.

    The second type is the head in sand, self-centred, fuck you Jack - I'm alright, kind of person. This type of person claims to live in the real world but fails to see further than their own nose and doesn't give a toss about the planet or the welfare of any its other inhabitants. These people don't care about climate change, natural resource depletion, biodiversity or the fact that six year old kids forgo an education to sit in sweat shops stitching next season's Nike trainers together for less than a dollar a day. But none of this really matters when you live in the real world does it?

    I'll lay my cards on the table now and state that I'm firmly in the first category; I'd be interested to find out which category James Meade and Mike Squires belong to.
    Nick Armitage, Liverpool  (10/7/06)

    Okay, let's just draw a line under this one, please. I am at fault for putting up Nick's piece in the first place. I don't want these political debates on here so anyone who wants to continue should take it to an approprate political forum. Thanks. — Michael

    Mr Asher

    Mr Asher, Sir; May I defened myself here and say that nothing is 'posted' for any sort of reaction. I simply offer my opinion as most of the Evertonians do who visit the site regularly. The mailbag is here so that we can get our point across and vent our anger at what tend to be piss-poor performances.

    Yobo would NOT make a good captain, as 95% of Evertonians would agree. He just does not strike me as any sort of ambassador / leader as a potential captain should. I should have made this clear... I was not havin' a "pop" at Yobo as you imply, as I do believe he is a half-decent player.

    What I would suggest you do is that if you don't like the language that I, and others use or the opinions I have, then don't read the mailbag... Up the Toffeemen.
    Andy Callan, North Shields  (9/7/06)

    Hypocrite, Michael!

    When I suggested silimar points that Brain Warring excellent piece stated, you (Michael), slagged me off, calling me a Moyes hater. Funny how prejudice can affect ones reasoning! Speaking of Moyes, I still feel Everton are a striker light. Nugent anyone?
    Luq Yus, London  (9/7/06)

    Whatever you want, Liq. It's a question more of form than substance. The basis or your rant was that Moyes was either lying to us or paving the way for "told you so" inaction, which I thought was disingenous and I said so. You seem to twist everything into a Moyes-hating opportunity, and I think that is unreasonable. You even think one of the players he bought could be a cripple!!! But we both agree that any judgements (good or bad) should be reserved until the team has actually played some football in the new season. Let's just leave it at that. — Michael

    Nick's Tesco article

    I read Nick's article on the evils of Tesco with interest and I hope he takes his standpoint to its natural conclusion.

    • Does he, for example, refuse to drink Coca Cola because of their decimation of the water supplies in Third World countries where they have facilities?
    • Does he cycle to work because if he drives he would be giving money to the multinational oil companies that ride roughshod over the environment and pour money into the hands of corrupt African governments which feather their own nests at the expense of their desperately poor population?
    • Does he do his Friday 'big shop' at the local independent corner shop?
    • Does he only buy free range eggs?
    • Does he check the working conditions of the people who make the merchandise in the Megastore before he makes his purchase?
    • Does he recycle?
    • Does he only bank with institutions that forgive Third World debt?
    If you do, Nick, then you have my full respect and if we move into a new stadium that is funded by anyone other than The Body Shop then your presence will be missed. However, it's a big bad world out there and if you do any of the above 'evil' acts then your position is (at least to a certain degree) hypocrytical.

    Life isn't fair. The Third World, corner shops, battery chickens, local farmers and the environment will be crapped on whether Tesco build our new stadium or not. So I shall go wherever Everton go, and sit in a stadium funded by whoever will put the money up as, whether Everton are successful or not, we shall continue to live in cruel, iniquitous world.
    Dave Southword, Isle of Man  (9/7/06)

    Carried away

    It is amazing what a few signings do to some fans... already, the talk is of a top 6 finish. Let's not get to carried away here. Is howard really that good? If so, why did Ferguson buy Van der Sar to replace him as United's Number 1 and then ship him out on loan to us?

    Lescott is a gamble and may need time to settle into the Premiership. Also, why do a lot of fans think it is going to be him and Yobo who are the main partnership in the middle? Moyes loves Stubbs and Weir, and in his own words said they were great last season, so maybe he might stick with them this coming season.

    We know AJ can score goals in the Prem — let's hope he can do it for us, but credit to Moyes, he was a great buy. I am not being negative here, just not getting carried away... remember last season? Apart from AJ maybe, if there are no more signings to comeare the other two going to make us any better? I hope Moyes adds a couple more quality players then maybe I might get a bit more excited. As I said, I am not being negative, just not getting carried away.
    Brian Waring, Shrewsbury  (9/7/06)

    I'm, with you, Brian. Apart from AJ, there is very little to suggest things will be substantially different than last season. That's not saying they won't be, but it will be mostly the same players and definitely the same manager who has proven his dislike of flair players and attacking football.

    But it happens every summer. The next move is to extrapolate our good/bad performances in upcoming pre-season frendlies to develop firm predictions of where we will be in May... — Michael


    I have just bought a season ticket for next season and I'm feeling really optimistic about our chances. The squad is looking a lot stronger with the new signings:

    • Johnson is just what we needed up-front: pace, awareness and good finishing. He should combine well with Beattie.
    • Lescott is going to form a partnership with Yobo in time and I think potentially that would be a very strog central defence.
    • We now have a good replacement for Martyn in Tim Howard. He's a good goalkeeper and we have Ruddy, Turner and Wright in reserve.
    As Moyes has said, he could add two new faces to the team, I'd like to see a wide left midfielder and another forward. Let's look forward to next season and hope the Blues qualify for Europe. I think Uefa cup qualification should be our goal next season, then we can push on from there. COYB!!!
    Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (8/7/06)

    Better... or just different?

    As an unashamed `Old`,I have been amused — and occasionally annoyed — by the mailbag contributions from the nouveau Evertonians. The aguement about testimonials seem to have developed into the old chestnut as to whether football was better or worse in the days before rock n` roll (Sky). Let`s just agree that it was different, eh?

    I do have to say that Jon LeMonte has a point about attendances, however. In the ten years up to the launch of the Premier League in 1992, our season averages were:-

    • 91-92 - 23,141
    • 90-91 - 25,127
    • 89-90 - 26,353
    • 88-89 - 27,787
    • 87-88 - 27,782
    • 86-87 - 32,977
    • 85-86 - 32,388
    • 84-85 - 32,188
    • 83-84 - 19,288
    • 82-83 - 20,310
    Cue for question: Who was the Everton manager who said Television would be the death of football? Answer: Harry Catterick! Guess none of us can be right all the time, aye?
    David Hall, Taunton  (8/7/06)

    Then and now

    It's always interesting to see a trend develop in the mailbag. The latest is the perspective (or lack of it) being given to Everton's achievements and history; which seems to have turned into a young v old debate, where the former seems to be defined as anyone who can't remember the 1980s!

    If that definition is true then it pains me to say that I am definitely in the 'old' camp! However, I have a son who was born in 1994 and his experience of supporting Everton helps me to see where the youth lobby is coming from.

    My son supports Everton because I brainwashed him from an early age (3) with Everton wallpaper, curtains, duvets etc. He then graduated to watching reserve games when he was 5 and attended his first 'proper' game when he was 7. You may remember me submitting this article a while back describing his day as a mascot.

    I mention all this as background. His loyalty to the Club at the age of 12 is now deep-rooted and will stay with him for life. But, what is he actually supporting? He was one year old when we last won anything!

    I grew up with Everton when we had a realistic chance of winning both domestically and (as a consequence) in Europe. In my lifetime, Everton only ever achieved their full potential during the 80s. For that alone I and many others will always be grateful to Howard Kendall. As both player and manager he is with out doubt an Everton Legend and fully deserves the recognition of a testimonial (outdated concept or not).

    The one thing my son knows is that, as much as he supports the current team, he is also nodding to previous generations. When he's asked why he supports Everton by other kids over here (in Yorkshire), he can at least reel off past achievements, which is more than most of them can do (barcodes mainly!).

    However, I understand where the 'young' lobby is coming from. How much longer can 'knowing yer history' be a suitable substitute for actually winning a trophy ? I have written elsewhere that I am more genuinely optimistic this season than I have been for a long time. The team now needs to deliver for both young and old — but especially the young.
    Steve Guy, Harrogate  (8/7/06)


    When I started going the match we never averaged under 40,000. In fact in 1970 we were only a shade under 50,000. Footy attendances were low in the late 70's and 80's, mainly cos of hooliganism and poor facilities and significantly less hype than nowadays; also this city's population fell dramatically over that period. That said, attendance levels have always been cyclic, and Everton's used to be significantly bigger than they are now. Only Man Utd and City are breaking their average attendance records.... but regardless of this it doesn't really reflect the quality of footy on offer. Two English European champs since Heysel (and both flukes IMO) compared to 8 in the preceding 9 seasons says it all.
    Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    Testimonial Madness

    Firstly, testimonials are becoming a bit outdated unless it is for a good cause, which Duncan's surely would be. Kendall may need a boost financially & would be the least he deserved in my eyes.

    What really annoys me is the attitude to Kendall's achievements being from a bygone era that was pre-BSkyB. All Everton fans who are of a certain age will notice that they attend home games with another 35,000 hardy souls despite a chronic lack of success for the last 15-20 years. Do they think such a big club was born from some masochistic bent of the current masses to watch often pedestrian and sometimes depressing football? No, such a fanbase and heritage was based on being in the top flight for over 100 seasons as well as the interspersed achievements of those who've served Everton FC over the years.

    I'm too young (by some distance) to remember Kendall as a player but can vividly remember EFC being the best team around when I was a kid in the mid-late 80s. Yes, there were little bits of luck & something just clicked, but not giving the credit to Kendall is like saying Alex Ferguson was lucky because Leeds Utd were silly enough to sell Cantona so cheaply.

    Kendall was also successful at Bilbao and was starting to put together a decent team at Man City when he ditched them for us because he just couldn't say no. He won a league title (& FA Cup?) with us as a player then went on to win an FA Cup, ECW Cup & two League Titles as a manager. If this was Newcastle or any other fanbase worth its salt, they would bend over backwards to comemorate someone who actually deserves to be regarded as a LEGEND, regardless of how much he does or doesn't do for local charity!
    John McCabe, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    Crap gates

    As another 'twenty-something', I would ask 'The Olds' why, if it was all so brilliant prior to Premier days, the gates were always so crap?
    Jon LeMonte, Neston  (7/7/06)

    Funny, I thought our record attendance was 78,299, many years before Sky came alone and corrupted football. — Garry

    Javier Saviola

    I have just been informed that Javier Saviola has been at Bellefield for a medical. The fee is believed to be £2.4 million. Up the Blues!
    James Brown, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    You've been reading the highly unreliable and fantasy-filled rumour forums, haven't you? Saviola's name has been cropping up a lot in relation to Everton there — Lyndon

    Shane Powell's Diatribe

    Another youngster hoodwinked by Sky footy hype. Bet you believed England would win the WC too. How could footy in the 80s not be as competitive as now? The whole of Europe feared British teams then, and rightly so. If you won our league you nearly always went on to win the European Cup, that's how strong it was. When we won the league in '85 we were taking it off the reigning European champs and convincingly so.

    Howard Kendall masterminded our transition and then proved his ability again by repeating it in 87 with half a team of odds and sods. The teams of the pre-90s were full of 50s-60s baby-boomers. Britain had a far bigger football playing population to pick from then which again made it far more competitive than now with declining birth-rates, schools half empty or closed.

    Amatuer footy leagues used to fill playing fields all over the country, there is nothing in comparison now. You don't need to have teams full of foreign mercenaries to be more competitive. Quite the opposite IMO.
    Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    Don't Slam Dunc

    I have never been one to attend testimonials, but that is not due to disrespect of the player or manager who is to benefit from the event. The reason, I suppose, is that I believe people who have been earning the sort of money players and managers get nowadays should be quite capable in setting themselves up financially for the rest of their days. When so many of us are having our company pensions ruined by the government, I don’t see the need to make the rich any richer. However, I don’t begrudge anyone a testimonial, I just choose myself not to attend.

    Howard Kendall has been a great servant to the club as was Colin Harvey, however I think Kendall had that little bit more luck in that he had Harvey and the late Mick Heaton around at the same time, plus something just clicked with the players. Some say it was the signing of Andy Gray, I don’t know what it was and don’t really care. What I do know is that we had the best team in Europe but never got the chance to show it and that was under Kendall. I also believe that that team would give most teams of recent years a run for their money.

    The one thing that’s getting on my tits at the moment is people having a pop at Ferguson. He has nothing to do with Howard Kendall’s testimonial so his circumstances are not comparable. What I do know is that, during the bleak 1990s, Ferguson was the only real player that the supporters expected something from (apart from 1 or 2 passers by eg, Kanchelskis). Sometimes he delivered; sometimes he didn’t, but people still expected and looked forward to seeing him play.

    Big Dunc's injuries were a big problem but that’s football and, apart from smacking the odd scumbag, most of his injuries were inflicted playing for Everton. His wage packet was always a talking point, but don’t forget he gave up a million smackers and a drop in wages to return to Everton. He was never an out-and-out goalscorer but 1 in 4 wasn’t bad for a big target man.

    I’ve heard it said he has a massive heart off the field and I’ve never heard of him not signing autographs or posing for photo’s especially when it comes to the younger supporters. What people need to remember is that some footballers come with a certain amount of baggage and we all know what Duncan’s was, it just pisses me off that people accept this when things are going good but decided to turn it the other way around when things aren’t so good.

    If in the future the club decide he is worthy of a testimonial that’s fine by me; however, I would hazard a guess that the money raised will not just line his own pockets. By the way I never saw Dunc twat anyone likeable!!
    Dave Moore, Kirkby  (7/7/06)

    `New` Evertonians

    I shall not be going to the forthcoming testimonial for Howard Kendall as I believe he was well rewarded at the time for his efforts as both player and manager. But, however opposed I am to events of this kind, I would not dream of desparaging someone who, like Brian Labone, epitomises the term `Evertonian`.

    As I get deeper into middle age, I begin to find myself ever more distant from the views and outpourings of the young (or should that be `New`?) Everton fans. I like not what I hear from them one bit!
    Trevor  Wooding, Maghull  (7/7/06)

    I think the idea of testimonials is itself something from the past that has limited relevance today. By all means have games as fund-raisers for the Everton Former Player's Foundation — that is a worthy cause. But this idea of giving a past hero a nice nestegg is getting more and more dubious by the year. And from a practicasl standpoint, the attendances are never very good. Case in point: Colin Harvey's Testimonial a few years ago v Bologna, just 13,624 out of 35,000 regular match-goers. To me, that's more of an insult than a demonstration of appreciation. — Michael

    Shane Powell

    Yes, Garry, you are right saying there was'nt any bad feelings directed at Howard Kendall when he left. People then understood the reasons which we don't need to go into now. In my opinion, our fans in those days had a more mature approach to footballers and managers who for whatever reason decided to move on. Maybe it's just how society is today — the feelings of bitterness and hate if you are not "one of us".
    Eddy Gibbs, Brecon  (7/7/06)

    There's a lot of truth in that, Eddy, and it's a pretty sad indictment. — Michael


    Whilst on the subject of testimonials, why don't the club give me one? I've been watching the Blues home and away for over 30 years, most of which has been absolute shite, therefore my loyalty and service to the club is without question. Also the cash would come in handy in order to help me finish my loft conversion.
    Paul Cantrel, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    Leave the past behind

    If, as Kevin Layton says, Howard Kendall was the most successful manager in our history, that should have been recognised at the time and not inflicted on our pockets some 20 years later. As a 23-year-old, my only memory of Kendall was his ill-fated spell as manager in the nineties.

    According to the history books I've read, Kendall 'did a Rooney' on Everton as soon as the Spanish came calling and, in any case, his achievements were in far less competitive days well before the Premiership elevated our top teams into Super League status.

    Far too many Evertonians live in a world of Deans, Lawtons and Mercers, totally overlooking the fact that for much of their time Everton won fuck-all!

    Perhaps, when we do move from Goodison, all those ghosts can be laid to rest for good as the 'olds' come to accept that their's was a different club in an era so far removed from the game of today!
    Shane Powell, Kirkby  (7/7/06)

    I can't believe the backlash this testimonial is getting. There is no doubt that he is the most successful manager in our history - and one of the most loyal, by returning twice.

    Now isn't the time to get into a debate on how football has changed or whether Howard dumped Everton for Athletic Bilbao. Heysel had happened, English teams were banned and all I know is that there wasn't an awful lot of bad feeling at the time, so youngsters like you and I will have to trust our elders on that one.

    Yes, this testimonial is late but no one man in Everton's history deserves one as much as Howard. Not only was he a fantastic player (don't forget that) and manager for the club, but also one of our most ardent and loyal supporters and advocates. Surprising really, considering the contempt with which, by all accounts, he was treated during his last spell.

    No-one is forcing you to go to the match and to many it may well be just another friendly, but for those of us either old enough, or intelligent enough, to appreciate Howard — we'll be there for him on the night. — Garry

    Andy Callan

    The only person posting to get attention is you, after all, you're the one whose having a pop at someone and you're the one using bad language.

    Yobo would make a fine Everton Captain, Moyes himself has said so in the past. And isn't Yobo also Captain of Nigeria?

    Good idea, Dutch.
    Dick Asher, England  (7/7/06)

    As good as Yobo is, he would be an awful Everton captain. He isn't very vocal, has never been a spokesperson from the club and his antics over contracts say to me that he might not be as loyal as we'd like. Silly idea when Weir, Stubbs, Neville, Cahill and Beattie would make better captains. — Garry

    So far, So good

    Well done, Moysey. Andy Johnson, Jo Lescott. Now an odd loan and the cheapie from the World Cup, a bit of steel in midfield — even if it meant sacrificing Cahill — and I think we would be ok. And anyway, come on Moysey — it's about time you told us what was wrong with Per Krøldrup.
    Sean Holt, Liverpool  (7/7/06)

    Leave off it, la. Sleeping dogs...


    I hope that we see a few more signings before the start of the season. One person in particular I would like to see is Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink. I feel that he would add more competition up front and his experience would help the likes of Vaughn and Anichebe. I have also heard that we will be signing costinha who is currently a free agent. Come on the Blues!!!!!!
    Tommy Smith, Liverpool  (6/7/06)

    Really? Surely we could do better than that. I'd like a couple of them French blokes: Theirry Henry and Zindine Zidane. Come on, Moyes, get yer checkbook out!

    You are havin' a laugh — surely

    This is in response Dutch's posting in which he calls for Yobo to be the next club captain. If I didn't think that he had sent this fuckin' stupid comment to ToffeeWeb just to get a reaction, I would have been a bit pissed off. Yobo for captain — MY FUCKIN' ARSE LAD... Up the Toffeemen
    Andy Callan, North Shields  (6/7/06)

    He does it all the time... glad someone responded appropriately! — Michael

    Scottish humbug

    I`ve just puked in me tea! A testimonial for Ferguson? I`d rather subscibe to a leaving present for Ablett!

    It's moving to see the big hulk wants to set up a Charitable Trust. I thought it already existed — the one that saw Everton donate millions into his bank account for next to fuck-all return! But if he`s looking for an appropriate title, how about the Scrimshanking Headbutters International Trust? No acronyms, please!
    Harry Meek, Worcester  (6/7/06)


    The Boys of the Old Brigade

    Dear God Almighty, I've just read Steve Rhodes's post about Howard Kendall and Duncan Ferguson. Can this really be the mindset of the new breed of Evertonians? Steve, lad, just in case you've forgotten, Howard Kendall was the most successful manager we've ever had in our history - which goes back to 1878 by the way. I think he desrves a little more respect.

    As for Duncan, well, he'll be remembered by most of us for the fact that we were entitled to expect an awful lot more than he gave us. Sure, there was the odd great moment, can't deny it. But there were more sendings off, strangling, punching and butting players than there were match-winning performances. And this is an icon? I'm more out of touch than I thought!

    And as for rubbishing Kendall, can you really imagine Spurs fans having a poke at Bill Nicholson, Man U fans at Matt Busby, or Nottingham Forest fans at Cloughie? To say nothing about the kopite ex-managers, of course. Or what about Ron Greenwood and West Ham? Jesus, most of these clubs either name stands after the ex-managers or put statues up.

    Speaking of which, if the logic is that it's OK to belittle somebody's achievements if they happened before you were born, then Tommy Lawton was a no-mark with a centre part and Dixie was just a piss-head who got lucky.

    So Steve, if you're one of the lads who sings "If ya know yer history" at every game then can I suggest that you read the stuff as well.
    Kevin Latham, Liverpool  (6/7/06)

    As I wrote indicated in my response, Howard deserves a testimonial more than anybody and has been sadly overlooked for twenty years. Don't worry though Kevin, I'm only twenty-two myself, so hopefully Steve Rhodes' attitude isn't shared by us younger Evertonians who only have cloudy memories of those days. - Garry

    RE: More on Anderson da Silva França

    Just thought you might be interested to see this message that I sent to 'asksharpy' on the Official Everton FC Website, and the response I recieved...


    While looking through the squad profiles on the newly designed site, I noticed that 2 young players that Everton bought in to the academy over last couple of years, Johann Davidson and Bjarni Vidarsson, are not listed. Are they no longer at the club? If not, where are they playing and did we get any Transfer fees for them? I can't recall seeing any articles regarding their release and they are not in the Transfers Out section. I read that Johann had signed on loan for a club in the Faroe Islands last January, but I had assumed that was temporary. I had heard good things about both players, and was looking forward to them breaking through, especially Vidarsson.

    Also, whatever happened to Anderson Da Silva, the Brazilian we signed and sent out on loan to Malaga? Will he still be joining up with the squad in July?

    Thanks, Kev


    Hello Kev,

    The players are still on our books.

    Da Silva is still trying to obtain the necessary work permits and I'm not sure if he will be with us for July.

    ...hope that clears a few things up. Meanwhile, still no sign of any of these players on our sqaud list, and no mention of them joining up with the 1st team on the trip to Devon, with Moyes getting the chance to look at some of the younger players. Ah well...
    Kevin Kendall, Bootle  (6/7/06)

    Good work, Kev. There's a couple more I could add: Lee Molyneux & Thordur Ingason. No mention. — Michael

    Gary Ablett Scum

    Can you believe Gary Ablett has left his position as Everton U-18 coach to go and take over as Reserves Coach of Liverpool? When football was finished with Ablett, it was Everton who gave him a job and now he has repaid us by dumping us and joining up with the red-shites. Thanks for that, Gary. Everton now have a coaching role to fill so how about a return for a legend like Watson, Parkinson, Snodin or maybe Big Dunc?
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (6/7/06)

    Well he was a Liverpool player in his time too, so it's understandable he has split loyalties. Stepping up from U-18s coach to Reserves coach is a bit of a promotion too, so you can hardly blame him. Please God, don't turn our youngsters over to Big Dunc though. — Garry

    How I Laugh and Cry

    If it was not for the likes of Tony Marsh, Harry Meek and others like them, this forum would be extremely lame. I do not mind getting slagged off by fans for having diverse opinions, it is all part of geniune fans' passion for the club and I love it.

    As I sit here bored at work, I escape the rat race temporarily and check ToffeeWeb to connect to my beloved Everton! But Michael, your sniping of people sometimes bemuses me. What kind of views do you want on here mate? I know you think of me as a Moyes hater or whatever, but sometimes the people you should be attacking are those passive, green tank-top wearing bores who think the world is all in beige!
    Luq Yus, London  (6/7/06)

    Ah come on. It'd be equally as boring if Michael said nothing or agreed with everything that came in and thanked people for their submissions. Michael loves playing Devil's advocate and that's why I love him — Garry

    Sven Needed a BJ

    If asked, the one thing most people would say Sven certainly did NOT require to strengthen his front line, is a BJ. After all, there seems to be no shortage of willing young volunteers to step in and of prop up his flimsy, sagging attack. But bear with me.

    Imagine, if you will, that during the World Cup Sven had stepped up from the dugout during England's darkest hour and unleashed a weapon of such potency and strength that all rivals would shudder in its wake.

    And this is where the BJ comes in. If Beattie and Johnson had stepped across that white line to rescue the day then I'm sure that England would have achieved World Cup glory. But alas, it wasn't to be and maybe it's for the best. Instead of Sven enjoying a BJ the ginger-headed one will be able to deploy this powerful tool at will, without the risk of tiredness and limpness, during the coming season. And if anyone is in need of a bit more action up front, it's Moyes.
    Steve McBride, London  (6/7/06)

    Hold your horses a bit. I'm sure most people would agree England needed more attacking options in the World Cup but hailing Beattie and Johnson and the messiahs before they've even played a game together is jumping the gun, surely? — Garry


    Now that Joey Yobo has sorted out his contract, I thinking maybe he should be considered for Captain? Dunc has gone and Weir will find himself a bit-part player behind Yobo and Lescott so the Captaincy is up for grabs. Phil Neville and Joey Yobo would seem the most obvious contenders. I suppose you could also consider Beattie.
    Dutch Schaffaer, London  (6/7/06)

    What about the Big Man?

    In common with most younger Evertonians, I was sad to hear that the call for a Duncan Fergusson Testimonial had fallen on deaf ears with the Club preferring to reward someone whose major contributions as both player and manager were long past before we were born.

    I know the Big Man was not eveyone's cup of tea and that he hardly needs the money but he was an iconic figure to the hordes who follow the Club home and away and a Testimonial game would have enabled him to establish the Charitable Trust he was planning to set up.

    I guess the Board's twisted decision is Kendall's reward for the ass-licking articles he contributes to the local rag.
    Steve Rhodes, Bootle  (6/7/06)

    Or it could be that Howard Kendall led the club to European success, two league titles, an FA Cup and came back to manage us a third time when nobody else would... while Duncan Ferguson had a poor goalscoring record, an awful disciplinary record and a six-week stay at Her Majesty's pleasure.

    If ya know yer history — Garry

    It ain't the 4-5-1, it's the way that you do it...

    'France v Italy looks like being another glorification of high goal-efficiency football as their 4-5-1 formations battle away for the one goal that will decide it…' (TW front page)

    Crikey, I’d settle for nil-nil every week, and the lowest end-of-season goals tally in human history, if it meant that we (Everton, that is, not England) played even occasionally with the kind of intoxicating control, fluidity and style of the Italians on Tuesday night.

    I'm looking forward to Sunday's final. Even if a goalless draw is settled on penalties, I'll wager both teams complete more passes in extra-time than Everton did all last season - regardless of formation.
    Steve Rooney, Leicester  (6/7/06)

    Comparing major international teams, one of whom is about to become the best team in the world, to Everton? Bit unfair.

    I'm guessing the point of the front page comment is that we all like to see attacking football and goals, but we've been 'treated' to a World Cup where so many major games have been settled by a single sneaked goal. Wasn't football about entertainment once? — Garry

    re: Two-Faced Fifa

    If I recall correctly, the melee which saw Argentinians resort to violence when they were put out of the competition by Germany still hasn't had it's day, yet Rooney has had to answer to the corrupt bigwigs of Fifa in a far lesser time.

    A case of priorities? Absolutely! If England players had started punching and kicking the Portugese arsehole divers and fakers then the England boys would have been up in court in no time, as well as judged and sentenced in every element of media known.

    All countries are equal, but some countries are more equal than others. It's the truth: Fifa has shown itself to be corrupt and inept, it's time teams no longer danced to the beat of their drum.
    Bingo Bongo, Bongoland  (5//7/06)

    I think you'll find that fracas saw Frings banned for throwing a punch at some ugly Argie bastard although perhaps that came about through devious pressure from the Italian FA... and could well have paid off handsomely for the reknown cheats and match-fixers who will be contesting Sunday's grand finalé. Allez les Blues!

    PS: Full name and location, please! — Michael

    Peter Fearon is the disgrace round here

    Peter Fearon's comments onm Wayne Rooney are nothing short of disgusting. You, sir, are a very poor Evertonian. We as a breed are amongst the most knowledgeable, good-natured and positive of fans.

    Your medical acumen suggests to you that someone who is a genuine psychopath "will end up with an ASBO"? This just shows that you're using terms without any thought whatsoever as to their weight or context.

    And you really need to fill your life with more than endlessly replaying the VCR to work out which exact words came out of Rooney's mouth to all concerned. What a waste of time!

    And I feel sorry for you that you've been so bitter about Rooney leaving right up until this week. Here's a tip, try concentrating on the players we do have instead!

    I have no problem with the publishing of all and any opinion in the mailbag, despite Mr Fearon's stupidity. I do have a problem with ToffeeWeb making it a link on the homepage, thereby giving this tripe way more credence than it deserves. So sorry, Michael, I'm slightly blaming you too!!
    Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (5/7/06)

    That's Okay... everyone's being a bitch tonight! — Michael

    Jorge Nuno Valente

    I hope to see a feature on Nuno's performance vs France tomorrow on your site. I think Nuno's played very well all World Cup and I've been proud to see an Everton player in a World Cup semi-finals. He had tons of possession tonight, and was always a good outlet down the left wing. Good to see his teammates wanted to pass to him - shows his regard in the team... and a number of good dangerous crosses too (Tony Hibbert take note!).

    I do think it's strange that you've followed Cahill, and even Rooney!!!!, yet Nuno — who is still an Everton player (and — unlike most of his compatriots — plays the game without diving) has had hardly a mention. Why not?
    James Welford, London  (5/7/06)

    Just for that, we're saying nowt! — Michael

    Shrek RIP

    To all those fuck-wits romanticising about the return someday of the prodigal Shrek, fucking grow up!

    Why would Man Utd sell unless Shrek was an old crippled has-been? You honestly think one of the richest clubs on the planet (even without bent Russian Roubles) would ever be forced to sell to balance the books?

    Take a reality check and get on with your lives: he has gone, if he ever came back, it will be to score goals against us or as a crippled useless mercenary that we hopefully have moved on from signing.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (5/7/06)

    Okay, so it's Nasty Night in the ToffeeWeb Mailbag... — Michael

    Ingerland Ingerland

    Can some one answer me a question? Is this an Everton website or a website for people who actually give a fuck about the national side?

    I for one don't give a rat's arse about the two Rons, Weepy Dave, the sqeeky voiced scousers, or the Swedish train spotter. The English FA and the World Cup are a total farce so who gives a fuck?

    Please, you patriots out there, find an Ingerland site where people might be intrested in your "Who pushed Roo?" scenarios. Rooney got what he deserves the little shithouse. What comes around goes around and pay-back's a bitch.

    So no more tears for the spoilt brat or any of his back-slapping chums. You know, the ones who lured him away from us in the first place. Tears for that shower of twats? I don't think so.
    Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (5/7/06)

    You're a nasty miserable piece of work sometimes, and no mistake. One thing about some of the games at least in the World Cup is that they tried to play flowing attacking football. When did Everton last do that? — Michael

    Lack of credit

    So that old curmudgeon, Harry Meek, lives on! I quite thought that he had succumbed to terminal depression but no such luck for the rest of us. Sad to see that (just like his mentor, Tony Marsh) he chooses to dwell on all the negatives rather than giving David Moyes credit for not only snapping up three excellent signings but managing to commit the likes of Yobo, McFadden and Weir to new deals.
    Sebastion St Clare, Harrogate  (5/7/06)

    Cynical Harry

    Although I suspect that James McFadden may have gotten too big for his boots where the deal is concerned, I honestly feel that he looked very decent in spells last season & is worth a new contract.

    To level greed at Yobo is ridiculous, despite being head & shoulders above our other defenders yet being left out for the evergreen (mouldy green) Weir & Stubbs, he still wants to be a Blue. He's already given us decent service as it is and he is commiting the rest of his days to us.

    I still aspire to Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, no matter how much this club of ours makes me doubt it sometimes. When Yobo says that we should realistically be playing in Europe each season due to being such a BIG club, I believe he's after the same thing as the rest of us. It's up to EFC to prove it's worth the best years of his career when he could easily fit into any defence in the top 5 of the Premiership.

    Any interview I've seen with him seems to highlight the way in which he is humble for what he's got with us but also makes him hungry to achieve more; maybe he thinks we're as hungry as he is?
    John McCabe, Liverpool  (5/7/06)

    Tesco or Bust

    I hope this Tesco fiasco goes ahead, imagine paying £9.99 for our home/away third strip shirt instead of £29.99! Roll on the new season.
    Mike Seyah, Wirral  (5/7/06)

    Hmmm... can't quite see it working like that, Mike! — Michael


    I have to respond to Nick Aermitage's ridiculous comments about Tescos. I'm afraid if he doesnt like capitalism he is living on the wrong planet, and if our club doesn't embrace it (the players have by the way) then we won't have a club to support.

    Given Nick's apparent self-appointed role as moral conscience of the club, I'm suprised he didn't complain about the Chang deal, after all alcohol causes misery and illness to many more people than Tescos ever will.

    Nick, can we have some considered comments in the future and not this sort of lazy one-sided journalism.
    Paul Tollet, Reading  (4/7/06)

    Two-Faced Fifa

    Portugal v Holland: Figo headbutts Van Bommell who goes down. The referee doesn’t see the incident but after consulting the linesman he decides to yellow card Figo. Afterwards Fifa say they can’t act on the television evidence as the referee dealt with the situation at the time.

    England v Portugal: Rooney stands on Carvalho’s balls, pushes Ronaldo and is red carded, the referee now stating that the dismissal was for stamping on the Portuguese player. Afterwards Fifa say they are investigating Rooney’s ‘violent act’. Did the referee not deal with this situation at the time?

    Although the Argentinean referee had a half decent game it was always likely he would do something controversial against England, another bad decision by FIFA. It was a bit like getting Bin Laden to organise the Bush’s thanksgiving dinner or even Graham Poll to referee Liverpool v Everton at Anfield!!

    With regards to Cahill going to Man Utd for £9M — I haven’t actually heard anyone ask the question, ‘Is he the type of player they need’? Personally I don’t think so, unless they are prepared to pay that sort of money for a bench-warmer. Although I can’t ever see it happening, I would think a return to old Trafford for Phil Neville more likely as he’s more the type of player they are crying out for.

    In my opinion Cahill will be a big asset to us next season: with opposing teams having to keep an eye on both Beattie and Johnson, Cahill will prosper more than last season.
    Dave Moore, Kirkby  (5/7/06)

    Fifa stands for: Football is fucked alright! — Michael

    Moyes should play 4-4-2

    It's good to finally see a well-written, positive letter in ToffeeWeb this Summer (Nil Satis Nisi Optimistic, by Peter Laing, 4/7/06). I share his enthusiasm for the coming season yet he is dead right in highlighting that it all depends how well Moyes uses the players at his disposal.

    Personally, I'm a great advocate of wingers in a 4-4-2 system so I'm prepared to give Andy van der Meyde one more chance and hope Osman or Arteta can provide decent displays on the right. I know that Arteta is a central midfielder but unless we sign Shaun Wright-Phillips or similar I truly believe he would be better used supplying some creativity and vision, not to mention pinpoint crosses, from the wing.

    Roll on the new season!
    Glen Anderson, Huyton  (5/7/06)

    Da Silva

    Given that the rumour mill has now retracted the move of Da Silva to Holland, and that he is conspicuosly not mentioned as having joined the blues in their pre-season kick-abouts - does anyone have any bloody idea what is going on with this? Is this another example of Everton's skillful mastery of the media world?
    Rupert Sullivan, Reading  (5/7/06)

    Turns out the Dutch link was a somewhat odd case of mistaken identity... Everton Ramos da Silva, indeed!!! — Michael

    Call me a cynic

    Call me a cynic if you will, but am I alone in believing that the decisions of Messrs Yobo and McFadden to stick with Everton have as much to do with their agents` inability to find them a better offer elsewhere than any loyalty to our Club?

    That much-used phrase about `Everton`s ambition matching their own` really means that they were able to screw more out of us than anyone else and should not be mistaken for real commitment. Now in Yobo`s case, I think that`s just as well although he is far too classy a defender to hold down a regular spot in this manager`s team. But as far as `The Scottish Rooney` is concerned, I would have been far happier if he`d done one and saved the Club his inflated £16k a week.
    Harry Meek, Worcester  (5/7/06)

    You have to be pretty cynical to come up with that one, Harry. If it makes you feel better to question their loyalty, then so be it. But Yobo was pretty clear in his statements of where he wanted to be and, if Arsenal were in the frame, perhaps he preferred the better chance of actually playing in more games for Everton... Weir & Stubbs notwithstanding! — Michael

    “Green” Armitage

    Nick Armitage's recent column has taken the high ground to a new level. “Geldof” Armitage has burdened Everton with the responsibility of the whole of the Third World debt and misery because it might be involved in a new ground proposal.

    Surely everyone knows that the supply chain management of all supermarkets operate in exactly the same way? This is a poor and feeble attempt at distraction by the “keep Goodison sacred” lobby, and a bit below the belt to say the least. If you want to stay at Goodison then put up some valid arguments for discussion and not criticise anyone and everyone who may have dared to cross a Tesco’s (or any other supermarket's) threshold.

    I would like to ask the organic Mr Armitage to get a grip, get his head out of the tomatoes and start living in the real world.
    James Meade, Liverpool  (5/7/06)

    Rooney & the Red Card

    Another thought occurred to me regarding that incident. If Rooney really kicked Cavalhao in the unmentionables, how come the said defender managed to continue playing straight away? I don't even remember the trainer coming on to the pitch, though I was more concerned with the rest of the action at the time. Rooney was just trying to regain his balance.
    Tony Waring, Frogmore  (5/7/06)

    Reply to ''I laughed while Enngland wept"

    You know, it is no wonder that we Evertonians are called "bitter and twisted." This article wreaks of a person wanting to see a one-time hero knocked to and beaten on the ground.

    Wayne Rooney is still a young kid — a terrific footballer, and although a Man Utd player, he was playing for our national side at the time of his sending off! Why and how can an England "fan" revel in what was a travesty - I'll bet he's one of those who applauded Big Dunc's antics when getting sent off a record number of times or used to chant "Psycho" to Pat van den Hauwe. I'm a fraid he needs to get a life — get over the fact that Rooney is Once a Blue, Always a Red, and look at the other ten players (apart from Hargreaves) who let the team down as much as Rooney.
    Roy McCue, Warrington  (6/7/05)

    A bit of sense?

    Nick Armitage questions the credentials of Tesco? Who, intsead? Russian Roubles?? Drug and sex-trade money??? They're queing up to buy in. Tesco is a successful British Business... yeah, a long way to go on fair trade. But who would you rather have as an investor?

    Nick may have an issue but I don't. His arguements boarder on political belief, in my opinion, rather than what's best for EFC. Families enjoy the benefit of Tesco, but that does not make them devoid of morals.

    If we get a solid proposal then this mailbag should be full of the fans thoughts on the merits of the proposal itself. That has to be said on here.
    Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (4/7/06)

    Football at it's best

    No matter who wins the World Cup, the Semi-Final tonight has restored my faith in the game.

    Two talented teams going toe-to-toe and trying to win the match rather than not lose, a referee who wanted to let the game flow rather than being the starman (hope you watched, Mr Poll). Just a pity it wasn't a 3-3 but if you enjoy football at it's finest then this is a game you'll remember for a long time.

    Unfortunately all those sponsors and hangers on in the game don't realise that this is what supporters go to the game for. Let's hope we see some more of this at home and away in the coming months with Everton.

    Come on, David, with the right attitude and committment any group of players can achieve improbable targets. If you're going to lose, better lose like the Germans rather than like England.
    John McFarlane, Lancs  (4/7/06)

    It was a great ending, but I have to admit I was losing interest a lot earlier to be honest. The superiority of both defences over the respectives attacks was thwarting the best efforts of both teams — and it was not helped by Italy playing 4-5-1. I despise that formation so much, and I don't give a rat's arse how 'technical' it might be. It's ruining the game, as demonstrated in spades by England. — Michael

    Sounds good to me!

    Heard on century FM before that Man Utd want Cahill for £9M and we are getting Joey Barton for £1.5M! that sounds like good buisness to me.

    Cahill is an average midfielder who doesn't do enough! What is his actual job in midfield? He is not a good tackler, not a good passer, and how many players does he beat? Watch when he gets the ball — he always passes it sideways!

    Cahill was a great buy for £1.5m at a time when we needed him but Everton have albeit slightly moved forward from those dark days of getting wacked away from home and finishing 17th and it's about time we strenghtened our full squad.

    £9m is double what he is worth and in my opinion Joey Barton is as good as Cahill if not better and does not go missing during a game. We could also afford to bring in another quality midfielder as well.
    Tom Wright, Kenny  (4/7/06)

    I think someone's havin' a laff! — Michael

    World Cup

    Am I the only person in England who doesn't give a crap that England went out? I mean it is not a showcase for the best English players, is it! It is a showcase of Arsenal, United, Chelsea and Liverpool players! Crouch would not have got in that team if he played for us, eh!

    I get more excitment out of watching our lads Nuno and Timmy do themselves, their country and Everton proud... Let's not comment on Rooney, he isnt our problem any more! The kopites are quiet as the glory bandwagon has hit a bump with their lads missing their spot kicks. About time Gerrard looked a twat. Bye Bye, everyone!
    Abbie Sanger, Portsmouth  (4/7/06)

    Dear Steve Williams

    I agree with you that the Rooney bashing is immature. But Rooney is an immature little bastard himself, who deserves every pitfall he gets! Fans hate him because of his betrayal of the club, and him celebrating his goal against us! But maybe we should move on and let sleeping dogs lie (no reference to Rooney or his missues).

    Well done Joey and the club for tying him down... maybe we will be top eight this year? COME ON EVERTON!
    Luq Yus, London  (4/7/06)

    He ain't no soft lad

    I'm with you, Tony. I love Rooney and think he's class. It sucks that he left but isn't completely beyond our comprehension why he did. He was attracted to the big boys, had parasites whispering in his ear and was helped out of Goodison by our accountants.

    Rooney seems to polarise people's opinions but we all loved him when he was here. Those of us that go mad when he celebrates scoring against us, what do you expect him to do? He's a young kid, probably emotionally confused by playing against the team he supported for so long and being subjected to an incessant barrage of abuse.

    Do you really expect him just to take it all on the chin, score and jog back to the centre circle with his head down? No chance. That aggressive, fuck you attitude was one of his characteristics which we admired so much.

    But anyway, he's gone now. But we look in decent shape & Man Utd don't. You never know what the future will hold & I hope if he ever did come back that the cheers would outweigh the jeers.
    Dominic Buckley, Manchester  (4/7/06)

    Rooney & The Red Card

    Am I the only person in Britain who believes that pushing an opponent is NOT classifiable as a world title fight eliminator and does NOT warrant a red card? The way I see it is it's more of a defensive action which is saying "I don't want to get involved in a punch up". There are far worse things perpetrated which never are punished.

    My first reaction whilst watching the game and replays of the incident was that Rooney was merely trying to regain his balance and stay on his feet. You may recall that two Portugeezers had been hacking at him and caused him to fall. So let's not be too hasty to judge him on his past indiscretions.

    I would still like to see him in a blue shirt, I don't care who knows it and I'll bet I'm not the only one.
    Tony Waring, Frogmore  (4/7/06)

    I don't need this

    Stop the debate, cease all argument, the high moral ground has been seized, anyone with alternative views is a heartless fiend. Whoever accepts sponsorship from those who profit from the sick and desperate are condemned to the fires of Hell.

    I guess that takes care of all other Premiership clubs, thus leaving only Evertonians to fight the good fight — we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, we gallant knights in our shining armour will make whatever sacrifice is required. Truth, justice and the American way will prevail. Er... perhaps not that last bit. We will gird our loins, accepting nor expecting any quarter in the battle against Mammon.

    Though we may disappear with our beloved club from the face of the earth, our place in Paradise is guaranteed. The sacrifice will be all the more glorious when our last stand crumbles into dust. Although perhaps as only a minor footnote, the pages of history will acknowledge our struggle with the devil. On the off-chance that our moral crusade requires support I am sure the powerful forces of religion and politics are waiting to answer our call. Amen
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (4/7/06)

    Blessed are the meek and mild... er... That's about as much as I know. — Michael


    I would just like to say that, while I was slightly disappointed at England being knocked out of the World Cup, I was made up that certain peoeple — namely Mr Poll, Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard — made complete twats of themselves in front of millions of people. Nuff said.
    Andy Callan, North Shields  (4/7/06)

    Yobo signing!

    I for one will be among the happiest of Everton fans when Yobo signs the dotted line on a new contract.

    Many times our better players have left the club to 'match thier ambition'. It's finally good to see that Yobo, who is certainly our best defender, thinks the we are ambitious and still a big club.

    So, credit goes to Moyes and the Board for persuading Yobo, who has all the ingreadients to become a top class defender, especially now with Lescott alongside him, and a favourite among the fans, to sign for another 4 years.
    Vladimir Lenin, Liverpool  (4/7/06)

    It certainly is good news, and you are right to celebrate it as another step away from being a 'selling club'. — Michael

    Response to: 'Why I laughed as England wept'

    I have to say I am sick of this Rooney bashing. The level of maturity typified by this article is just the argument being levied at the fat kid. Yes, he was stupid. Yes, it may have changed the game and potentially cost us our best chance to win the World Cup in my lifetime, but I will not join in the celebrations that it was Rooney who let us down.

    Many things have made me angry following Everton away in recent years (apart from the team/performances at certain grounds), the racist chanting on the way into the ground at Villa (CL season) probably being the top. However, a close second was the unrestrained joy that many fans showed at Boro last year as they watched Wayne get carried off at Chelsea. Clearly I was in the minority as I worried about England's chances for the World Cup... or maybe I was just not small-minded enough to 'enjoy' the moment.

    He'll get his punishment. He'll probably get his revenge. But without doubt he is the only chance we have of winning a major competition on the world stage. So I ask those out there who still wish to think of Everton as a 'big' club to get over Rooney problem and stop making this boy bigger than our club.
    Steve Williams, Liverpool  (4/7/06)

    Nick Armitage

    I have no problem with Tesco helping the Blues to buy a new stadium, my misses shops there every week becauase she gets good value for money. I've got too many problems of my own to worry about the Third World.

    If Everton go ahead with this proposal, I presume Nick Armitage will have to give up supporting the Blues on moral grounds. I don't believe he will be missed, as I for one, am fed up with his moaning.
    Mike Squires, Wirral  (4/7/06)

    Yobo and Co

    Not being one to jump the gun, and it is in no way 'as good as a new signing', but the report on Joey Yobo is pleasing to the heart. I am over the moon that he wants to stay and sincerely hope that the new centre-back pairing is him and Lescott. I have nothing against Stubbs and Weir but there comes a time in a player's career when they have to accept that they are no longer first-teamers.

    Every good club builds a team around its best players and now is the time to do that. Let's stop fielding the team that did well 'last week' and play a team that can grow and improve together.

    Just thought this post would make a change from the World Cup and the stadium move!
    Adam Carey, Berkshire  (3/7/06)

    Scousers + patriotism ... Eddy Gibbs

    Haven't scousers always been quite irreverent as regards our National identity/team? Didn't you attend the FA Cup Finals in the 80s? I can remember the national anthem being roundly booed. Why? Cos Liverpool is for several reasons the least English city in this country. A city and people forever castigated by our fellow 'Englishmen'.

    So why would we jump on Footy's version of Eurovision? It's not real footy, certainly not the way England play it anyway. Fella asked me whilst watching the Portugal game what I would rather have: Everton win the Premiership or England the WC. Personally, I'd rather see Everton win a corner, nevermind the PL.
    Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (3/7/06)

    It's naye him...

    I know you just source the various rumours from other sites and alternative news formats, but I have to point out that the Naysmith I keep seeing links to is Stephen Naismith of Kilmarnock, who has been linked with Celtic for a good 12 months. Goalscoring midfielder I believe. Oh, and is there any way to get rid of Teamtalk?
    Nick Smith, Liverpool  (3/7/06)

    Doh! Thanks for pointing that out, Nick. Guess I should read these things properly in future... — Michael

    Everton and Tesco

    I completely agree with Nick Armitage’s concerns about Everton getting into bed with Tesco. Everton has always stood for something more than just trying to get on and buggering the consequences.

    At our best — the “school of science“ — we tried not only to win, but win by playing the right way. We should conduct our off-field activities in the same spirit — by doing the right thing. After all, nothing but the best is good enough and a shared Stadium, Tesco superstore and God knows what else is definitely not the best we can hope for.
    Richard Watts, London  (3/7/06)

    No Respect

    Born off County Road, I was taken to my baptism at Goodison when the likes of Mercer, Lawton, T G Jones, and Wally Fielding transported me to another world. I've lived through the good times and the not so good and been proud to tell anyone who cared to ask that I was an Evertonian.

    Sadly, I have come to the end of my 'love affair' — not with the club, I hasten to add, but with the bitter and twisted people who presently support Everton. I am referring to the vitriolic posts regarding my (not ours) national team. I'm sure players who have played for both Everton and England would find these remarks distateful. Everton supporters should remember their history as a proud club of ENGLAND.
    Eddy Gibbs, Brecon  (3/7/06)

    Ah, the Good Old Days. When the team was full of English players... oh, hang on. We had all them Scots, Welsh and Irish blokes, didn't we? And we would thrill to the parochial clashes of the Home Nations tournament every summer. Now we have all those Johnny Foriegners in our ranks... why, one was even playing for that lot which knocked out our wonderful England team! It is all too confusing now, isn't it? — Michael

    Oh' dear, oh' dear,

    Nick has brought the starving hordes of Asia and Africa into the new stadium equation and I wonder where this debate is going?
    Dick Fearon, West Australia  (3/7/06)

    Where's it going? Not to Kirkby, that's for sure! ;-) — Colm

    Back to the real world

    Wholeheartedly agree with a great posting from Mark Joseph, I really don't give a monkey's toss about Engerland and the shite it epitomises.

    Bunch of nancy boys poncing about "we are going to win this", "we will do that", the slobbering media bigging them up then jumping in with the same old lame "cheats", "what if" bollocks etc etc. I was greatly amused by one of the shop assistants in Asda yesterday trying to give me an Engerland flag, had to explain "my lot" were already through always having followed Germany since the 1974 World Cup finals as a far superior and not bleat about it team, and check out their kit thats three stars for three world cups not the shame of one trophy in nearly one hundred years having invented the game.

    Well time to get this message board back to what it's supposed to be about, not Engerland, not Liverland, not Shrekerland but Everton bloody FC. Leave the glamour tarts to fail themselevs every few years at every tournament they have ever appeared in. I spend my hard earned on Everton and wouldn't waste the steam off my shite on Engerland. Time to put that George's Cross crap in the landfill where it belongs.
    Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (2/7/06)

    How many ways can you say it?

    Thanks to the indefatigable Moxon we now know that our World Cup star`s surname name should be pronounced `Nuno Valent`. Note the Nuno and no `aye` at the end... Still not heard anyone call him Jorge!
    Malcolm Dent, Culcheth  (2/7/06)

    Ground Move

    With no disrespect to Kirkby, I hope Everton FC doesn't go there for one simple, basic, but compelling reason: It just wouldn't feel right. EFC is a Liverpool based club. There's an intrinsic value in that we can't explain, it's "intangible". If we move, we'll no longer be a Liverpool club. So I hope we can stay near Goodison. I'd still support the club if we did go, though.
    Dave Roberts, West Kirby  (2/7/06)

    Few tips for McClaren

    1. In modern football, especially international football, you need a holding midfielder. Notice how Engalnd's play has improved since we played Hargreaves or Carrick?

    2. Drop Beckham already, and his captaincy. He's the weak link in our attack.

    3. Play your best player in his best poition. Rooney is a deep-lying striker who needs to be facing the goal, not have his back to it. He needs to play behind a main striker.

    4. Therefore, 4-4-2 is the only viable option. It's either Crouch who is excellent in holding the ball or Owen/Defoe who can make runs for Rooney's passes.

    5. With only 4 available spots in the midfield, one of Gerrard and Lampard plays in the middle alongside the holding midfielder, while the other needs to play on the right or be dropped for Lennon.

    6. Joe Cole, Rooney and Gerrard could have played some beautiful football together, but Sven's inabilty to create some balance ruined it.

    Joesph Stalin, Liverpool  (2/7/06)

    Ah bless. Constructive criticsm. And a prelude to yet more of that overblown hype. I think I'm with Mark (below) on this. — Michael


    I'll start by holding my hands up — I detest the national team. Ok, yes, I am English and I should be giving them my full backing. But I won't, because I am sick to death of the hype and shite that surround "our boys"!

    Up until a few months ago Scolari was a no-mark to me. Great coach but what the fuck? Then he was approached by Barn-Owl and his cronies from the FA. The press decend on him on KERPOW!... not interested, just like me, couldn't give a flying fuck about the national side.

    Moving on... did any of you Blues have a wry smile on your little fizzogs when Stevie G lar and Jamie fucked up? (hehehehehe). Me? I pissed meself! I've won hands down! No longer will I have to read or listen to the shite spouted by journo's, that winds me up to fuck! But (even though I can't stand the national side) I can also blame the kopshites for the failure!! Oh Happy Days!!! Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
    Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (1/7/06)

    Equally blessed and cursed

    Further to my letter regarding the talentless mr Sven it appears that the chickens have finally come home to roost. As an Evertonian it would appear that the the devil's luck that has bestowed itself on all things Liverpool has finally been counternanced with the penatly misses of messrs Gerrard and Carragher, the dismissal of Rooney and the chance for Valente to be the only representative of Merseyside in the World Cup semi-finals.

    However, such a view would be tarred with the bitter-blue tag from a wider perspective, it has though raised the question that was £27M good business for what is the flawed genius that is Wayne Rooney. In goal celebrations in front of his adoring following at Old Trafford Rooney almost takes on a messiah stance with arms outstreched in Christ-like pose, this insecurity is reinforced by the need to feel wanted and accepted. The thirty pieces of silver may have gone a long way to ease the finacial plight at Everton and in biblical terms has Rooney been the sacrifical lamb? But at the end of the day you reap what you sow: the enigma that is Wayne Rooney may end up becoming the victim of yet another media driven spectacle, á la Gascgoine.

    Onwards Evertonians as it appears that there may yet be a God — as long as the team doesn't turn out wearing red!
    Peter Laing, Liverpool  (1/7/06)


    Was Wayne Rooney born to break my heart or what? That's all I have to say on the matter, except that I hope he realises what a bunch of twats he plays with. I bet my house that either way, him and Christiano Ronaldo do not play together at Manchester United again. Could be Ronaldo to Barcelona or Rooney to Everton. :)
    Paul Coleman, Kettering  (1/7/06)

    Rooney was crap. He really did absolutely nothing. Then he shoves a player, he gets a red. Had no-one explained to him not to do that? England were crap. Eriksson is a crap manager. Fabulous hyped-up stars like Gerrard and Lampard were especially crap. And none of them seem able to take penalties — practice or no practice. The entire game was particluarly crap. What more do you need to know? — Michael

    New Stadium

    The suggestions pertaining to piece-meal development of Goodison look very plausible to me (not an architect or an engineer). I could be wrong but I seem to remember an outfit of woollybacks at the far end of the East Lancs Road doing something like that and finishing up with a 70,000 plus capacity. So it does work don't it ?
    Tony Waring, Frogmore  (1/7/06)

    Yes, it works... if your stadium is in a spacious industrial park rather than crammed in by row upon row of terraced houses. — Michael

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