Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A

ToffeeWeb MailBag
Letters from our readers — April 2007


Colm, thank you! At last a decent explanation of the Rooney fiasco. Exactly what thousands of people have been waiting for for years! Can you please set that little blue square up as a page in itself that we can send to both Everton and Utd fans alike so that we can finally start to put the whole sorry mess behind us.

I can't stand the lad myself but I hate more the way it is making us Evertonians look to everybody else. We should have class! Seeing us as bitter and twisted does us no favours. I don't want to be branded with shit clubs who lost their best players like Leeds, Spurs, West Ham, Villa, etc. We are better than that. We IMPROVED without Rooney! That is what people all over the country see. Why don't we?

We would not be where we are now without him... FACT! Celebrate it. Because we could easily be celerating safety from relegation this year instead of European qualification. We could be selling Arteta to pay off the bank...(we'd better not do no,w Kenwright!) Be thankful for the position we are in and please please stop bloody moaning ffs! I hate being an Evertonian but love it at the same time!
Neil Patten, Warrington  (30/4/07)

Watson was always the star, Holmes!

Oh dear, oh deary me John Holmes. Sometimes I read your mails and see where your coming from, but your last mail was wider off the mark than England's first ball of the Ashes. Ok then; let's dissect what you said, matey:

Firstly, no ones knows what Moyes relationship is with any of the players, but it isn't a question of that. Its a question of hypocrisy and proportionate praise/criticism. In many cases, a player may need a blast to get him going, but when that player has out-preformed many of his team-mates in THREE months and still gets a bollocking, while the ones he has outshone are made untouchables, is simply stupid.

Neville's performances in midfield warrant a public inquiry, let alone a public bollocking, yet Moyes chooses not to hang him in public as that would be an admittance from himself that again he has failed! Anyone with a brain, John, will agree that what Moyes did with Fernandes and Anichebe and hasn't done with Neville, Hibbert, Osman and Beattie either smacks of bad management or favouritism. And the proof is in the pudding ie, the majority of e.mailers agree with my point ? not your confused one.

Secondly, you are being very naïve if you believe the club don't lie to us, or have you forgotten Rooney and the Fortress Sports Fund saga! It seems smart to suggest I am being paranoid but it's equally silly to believe that Everton are always up-front with their transfer dealings. If so, then why were the Howard and Neville deals undisclosed? You cited me for evidence, well where is your proof that Everton are good for their spin??? Silence I guess will be your defence on this front.

And your stupidest point came with Ferrari and Lescott. I never once said not to sign Lescott, but I did say to re-sign Ferrari on another year-long loan. Quality cover is what we need, not shite like Hibbert!

Ferrari publically said he wanted to stay, yet Everton refused to play him at the end of the season, not to invoke a permanent transfer. It doesn't matter if all parties appear to agree on wanting a permanent deal, if Kenwright says he ain't staying then he ain't staying. So it doesn't matter what Moyes says about Fernandes, like he said Davies wasn't going to Fulham!

It's really that simple, Mr Holmes, but don't worry: I'm sure the club will use fans like you continually to their own gains. Oh well!
Luq Yussef, London  (30/4/07)

The die is cast

  • Reading win three games on the trot (when did we last do that?), and are now level with us.
  • Spurs have a game in hand and will move ahead of us. So then we will be down to 7th.
  • Watford and Blackburn for Reading - 6 pts.
  • Villa at home for Bolton will be 3 pts. So they will be 4 pts ahead
  • Blackburn and City for Spurs 6 pts.
So, even if we beat Portsmouth, we will still end up 8th at best ? anyone genuinely think we will get anything from Chelsea? Their last game of the season before the Cup Final and possibly the Champions League. They will not want to finish with a defeat and will do everything in their power to win and will not (as some people think) relax. Teams like Chelsea don't relax ? it's poor teams like us who switch off.

So I sadly predict no Europe unless we sneak into the InterToto ? wow!. Look what happens to every team who have gone down this route, a poor season with too many games and too many injuries, fading to insignificance just after Christmas.

So this is 5 years of progress!! This is the Moyes grand plan ? a top 10 finish. Well I'm sorry for all you people who believe in DM ? that is just garbage. Walter Smith was worse but two wrongs don't make a right.

Moyes does not know how to win a game, look at his Cup record for the evidence as well as all those other games this season. For instance City last scored a goal at home against us on New Year's Day ? a microcosm of Moyes and his tactics. We went to avoid defeat, conceded a goal, and then had no idea what to do. EVERY other club that has gone to City since has stopped them scoring and most have won, probably because they realised it was an easy 3 pts if you go out to win the game.

So, for all the Moyes apologists, get your excuses ready, tell us how a top ten finish for Everton is acceptable, tell us how unlucky we were, find some injuries, what about the ref's decisions... blah, blah, blah. For those of us who perhaps have a bit more honesty and recognise good football and bad football and will tell it as we see it, we are not fooled. The football on offer is rubbish, the tactics are one-dimensional Championship level, and the manager is limited with no idea how to do anything other than defend.

Sadly, he won't go because BK can't afford to bring someone in who will want to buy players who might win games. Attacking players cost a lot more money so DM's defensive approach suits his financial plans. What a wonderful prospect!!! ? and I've just renewed my season ticket.

No I won't stop going but I won't be fooled by the crap on offer and ? unless he has a tactics brain transplant ? things won't change next year either. I support Everton FC and not DM and won't be happy until our motto is reflected in the football I see in front of me.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (30/4/07)

Ouch! No punches pulled there, Jim. Well said! — Michael

Howard's contract

Can I just clear something up once and for all.

Howard could not have played in the Old Trafford match under any circumstance. It was nothing to do with a failure on Everton's part. Premier League rules were changed a couple of years back to ensure that no player on loan could play against his own team.

As for the Goodison game. Howard was signed outside the transfer window. In other words he wasn't actually signed, he is not our player until the summer. The transfer has been agreed but has not yet taken place, he is still officially a loan player and again the rules forbid his appearance.

Nothing here is suspicious, dodgy or failed on Everton's part except perhaps not signing him within the transfer window. Premier League rules dictated Howard's non-appearance. Not Moyes's incompetence, not Man Utd's bullying, not an inferiority complex. Simple, plain, sensible regulations to stop loan signings adversely affecting their current team's performance to help their paymasters.

So AGAIN stop with the ridiculous conspiracy theories and trying to make every little thing the fault of Moyes. There are geniune criticisms to be made but picking these silly non-facts out makes you look like morons.

On a similar theme. Luq, where does the extra money to sign both Lescott and Ferrari come from?
John Holmes, York  (30/4/07)

Which of course begs the question: "Why wasn't Tim Howard signed within the January Transfer window?" And whose fault is it that he wasn't? Given that he was signed just after the windowm rather than in it... something ain't quite right there, methinks. I blame Moyes and Kenwright! — Michael

The Bigger Picture

After sitting here and studying the league table and the up-coming fixtures for the teams around us, it looks as though we are becoing near outsiders for a place in Europe ? even three points may not be enough for us. But,while most will say we have deserved European football after being in the top six for months on end,I have to ask the question do we really merit it?

Look at our record.. No back-to-back wins since the opening week of September is nothing short of astonishing for a team going for a European slot and just highlights the lack of quality in the Premiership... Just FOUR away wins also is far from good enough. If somebody would have told me after we won at White Hart Lane in August that we would only win four away games, I would have laughed my face off at them.

So really the question begs have we over-achieved or under-achieved? I think a little bit of both. After trouncing Liverpool at Goodison we could have achieved anything; looking at Arsenal's lack of form this season, maybe a Champions League place could have been on the horizon. One thing's for sure: there have been far too many draws and they could easily slip into one-goal defeats next term if we are not careful. The season has been ok with some high points but I can't help feeling it could have been that whole lot better.
Joe Walsh, Merseyside  (30/4/07)

Me too!


?There wasn?t enough involvement in the game from Manuel Fernandes,? said the Everton manager. ?We liked the goal but I think we?re looking for more from an all-round general performance.?

Fernandes is only 21 years old, hasn?t played a match in 5 weeks, facing one of the best sides in Europe and played out of position. He passed the ball well, showed his class and composure on the ball and scored a brilliant goal. I can understand Moyes wanting more from his players but you don?t hear him singling out Neville for his lack of technique and overall ineffectiveness during most matches.

If Moyes wants one of our best players to be ?more involved in the game? I suggest that he plays him in his natural position in the centre of midfield where he can influence a game instead of out on the wing in preference to the ?Defensive Duo?of Neville and Carsley who are hardly accomplished all-round performers. Why is it that ?flair? players like Fernandes, McFadden and Van Der Mayde are asked to improve their all round game and contribution to a match and players of lesser talent (Step forward messers: Neville, Carsley, Hibbert, Naysmith, Stubbs etc) aren?t being pulled up on their inability to develop their passing skills & technique?

Alex Storm, London  (30/4/07)

Low life

I remember a few years ago after the WBA defeat (you all know the one) that i posted my first letter on this website. It concerned the scum element that is all too prevalent within our support and it seems it has not gone away. Colm, I too had trouble during the Man Utd game and I also sit in the Family Enclosure.

My young son had to listen to a tirade of abuse, some racial and I ended up telling the scumbag to wrap up, he didnt have the bottle to argue with me and shut up for the rest of the match. If any readers of this site have thrown abuse, racially or otherwise, then hang your head in shame because you are not worthy of the human race never mind a football club. Apologies to your family.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (30/4/07)


Funny how ESPN Soccernet has Manny selected to its team of the weekend, isn't it?
Rob Gegenheimer, Las Vegas, NV, USA  (30/4/07)

Moyes knows best!

The cancer beneath...

What we saw at the weekend was a glimpse of the impropriety beneath the surface of the game, a corruption that rises into view occasionally like an internal cancerous tumor breaking through the surface of the skin.

First let?s deal with what happened on the South Coast. Liverpool, to all intents and purposes, threw the game against Portsmouth by fielding a catastrophically weakened team. To concede a match before the kick-off by fielding an artificially weak team is in contravention of Rule 10E in the FA handbook, which says that every club must field its strongest available team in all matches in all senior competitions. The concept that every team goes out to do their best in every match is what keeps the game honest. The FA used to act against clubs that fielded weakened teams. It?s time they started enforcing their own rules again.

I realize that we are all supposed to fall around and kiss Rooney?s boots now ? why I?m not sure ? but personally, I prefer not to. His was an inherently corrupt transfer and he is the inherently corrupt centre and the public face of it. One aspect of that corruption is Everton assuming a vested financial interest in the future success of Manchester Utd and all the potential impropriety that implies. Deals that hold clubs hostage to the success of other clubs are intrinsically wrong and should be banned.

And finally, Neville. He would not be human if he did not find his loyalties somewhat divided. It is naïve to think otherwise. Perhaps we shouldn?t ask players who have stronger than contractual ties to other clubs to play against them in important matches. As it turned out, at a crucial moment, the player sticks the wrong foot out at the wrong time and suddenly his family and friends are celebrating. It doesn?t have to have been deliberate or premeditated. It?s enough that it happened. The situation is loaded down with impropriety. It?s corrupt on its face. He hasn't even bothered to express regret. He should never play in blue again.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

"He should never play in blue again." Peter, I had more respect for you as one of our more sensible contibutors... Are you serious? Players switching clubs after a lieftime allegiance is nothing new... next you'll be wanting only players from Mersyside in the team.. or from Liverpool... (or Kirkby!). This whole thing is getting really ridiculous. — Michael

Wexford's finest...

Colm, I sympathise with your plight at the hands of the low-life who assaulted a lady who deserved a great deal better from an Evertonian. I spend a fortune on my season tickets to avoid the sort who ruined your day and that of your family (as if the score wasn't bad enough).

I had cause to complain about the same sort of people when I, briefly, spent some time in the Bullens Road stand. The club were superb in their efforts to get rid the people in question. I would urge you to complain loud and long about what happened to one of Wexford's finest... the GAA team representing Wexford (my own family's home county) are nicknamed the 'yellowbellies...'

The idiot who spat at your mother-in-law is just yellow. If she wants to go to the Man Utd game next year, I'll gladly donate my Joe Mercer seats to her.
Will Hanrahan, Stratford on Avon  (30/4/07)

A most generous offer, Will - and I'll pass on your word of your kind gesture. I know she'll decline, as she's not really into football, simply coming along last Saturday as her grandkids and hubby were present. Beats staying home alone!

I'd like to think that what happened to her was no more than an isolated incident, and not the kind of behaviour widespread around the stadium. Might see you in Croker sometime this summer then?! - Colm


Colm, I hope they find the spineless prick that helped ruin your day. It's families like yours that fork out a small fortune to ensure Everton has fans in the future and I salute you for it. Don't let them win.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (30/4/07)

It's disgusting having someone spit on you. No two ways about it. As for the small fortune it costs... well, all I'll say to that is that every shilling was well worth it when that second goal from Fernandes went in. If only the ref could've blown for full time there and then! - Colm

Manny Fernandes

I find David Moyes's comments about Manny's performance in Saturday's game, ridiculous. Surely he cannot base his decision on this one game alone? He is a 20-year-old kid and we were playing the Champions-elect for Christ's sake. He should be criticising the senior members of the squad.

If this is a subtle way of suggesting we cannot afford him I shall be most pissed off. We deserve the truth, but to say Manny needs to improve or try harder is complete bullshit. We need to sign him permanently!
Chris Neubauer, Oxford  (30/4/07)


I study psychology at degree level. I was thinking the other day, after the United game, what sort of impact Rooney would have had if we all just ignored him? It seems as though, every time we try and put him off, he goes out of his way to pay us back with interest.

What effect would it have on his performance, (which for a majority of the game was average at best) if we all just kept our mouths shut?

Dominic Fitzpatrick, Wallasey  (30/4/07)

How I wish!!! - Colm

A Broken Heart

What brough that on? You ask. A shot curt reply would be your reply to Rob Sawyers observations from Handforth dated 29/04/07.

The real answer lies a little deeper as I stated in my ealier letter, I am originally a Crocky lad. The same estate that produced Mick Lyons and Franny Jeffers.

If we cast our minds back to the end of Rooney's first real season at EFC, we had just avoided relegation and it was like the players went on strike, Man City etc. In-fighting within the squad, chaos in the boardroom (Mr worst father in the world Gregg), players leaving with none coming in. But the one thread we could hold on to was the Boy Blue from Crocky. He won't walk out after one season, while we're in this mess. We all know about his fall out with Moyes, brothels other rumours etc.

He won't walk out on us just yet, he's one of us isnt he? He loves us. We all know if he turns out to be as good as we think he can he'll go in a year or two anyway, with our blessing. Moving 30 miles away will not solve all problems.

Not only did he move he, has tried to belittle the club and its supporters. Never mind how smug he was outside Old Trafford on the day he signed. He never once mentioned EFC playing for England in Portugal. He knew how low Evertonians felt that pre-season and all he as ever done since the day he left is rub salt in the wound.

If I want to let him know how I feel (isn't that what football fans have always done?) I will. I accept with the hurt and the way we threw the game away on Saturday, I was a little OTT in my first letter Colm. Perhaps you were a little OTT bringing Alan Ball into it. (Your reply to Sawyer)

By the way, I was wrong about Moyes back then. He's really turned the club around I even see signs of attractive football. No matter what anyone thinks, Moyes deserves the chance to put the last couple of touches to his team.

No hard feelings, Colm. Onward Evertonians
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Gary - you'll find I agree with you on a lot of things. Sounds as though we've got similar sources (with Crocky origins!). That game at Manchester City, back at the end of season 03-04, where the team simply gave up - I know, for fact, that Rooney turned to a team mate at half time, as Moyes was giving them the last team talk of the season, trying to stir them into giving it one last 45 minutes out there for the travelling Evertonians (of which I was one). A shrug of the shoulders, a throwaway "I'm gone" comment, and that was that. I suspect you know that already, Gary.

I think the difference though here is that I'll point an accusing finger at EFC as much as I will at Rooney, where, I think, you're of a differing opinion, viewing it as, simply, all Rooney's fault that he's no longer an Everton player ? asking the question, why couldn't he stay one more year? The answer, quite simply, is that Everton FC couldn't afford to allow that situation to happen as we were hovering on Death Row financially.

I stood up at an EGM the following September and asked Mr Kenwright to explain the quite lengthy list of connections our Club had with ProActive Sports Management (Rooney's agent). Mr Kenwright had the nerve to say that he didn't know that the (recently departed) CEO of EFC was actually a founding shareholder in Stretford's company. We had three (then) current first team players all with a financial interest in this company. Recall the then captain, Alan Stubbs, himself a staunch Evertonian, expressing an opinion that it might be for the best for Wayne to move on? Stretford got the likes of Mick Doherty at the Academy, and others, to sow the seed, to ensure the cash cow (as Lord Carlisle was to describe Stretford's firm hold on Rooney) was moved away from his beloved Everton with haste.

Why we even had dear old Kenny Dalglish getting north London criminal elements involved in the extraction of Rooney! Furthermore, as then Director of Football Operations at ProActive, the ex-manager of Liverpool (at the time of the Hillsbrough tragedy) was the man who advised Rooney to align himself with The Sun newspaper during Euro 2004. Do you not think Dalglish knew only too well what he was setting in place, knowing the furore it would cause back on Merseyside? Caught firmly, like a rabbit before the headlights, the little boy lost, the kid who only wanted to play football. More fool him not to place his utmost faith in the manner in which David Moyes tried to protect him. His greatest mistake, and it remains so, was to place 100% faith in his agent, misguided in thinking it was Stretford who was the man responsible for a young kid, from Crocky, earning riches beyond his wildest dreams. Oh, and carving out a career for his missus.

I could go on but a court case collapsed with issues not coming into the public domain and I for one am not going to speculate on those on these pages! Where I would wholeheartedly agree with those who are critical of Rooney and view him as some sort of spawn of the devil is when he kisses that bloody badge. FFS Rooney, what the hell are you playing at? He leaves himself wide open to all sorts of abuse when doing so. I know there's an argument saying it's the only way he knows how to hit back at those who are abusing him.

What he should really have are people around him, pulling him in from getting involved in such incidents - like the incident seen at Old Trafford last December, where late, as the taunts from Evertonians grew louder and louder, he stood before us and motioned to kiss the badge. Sorry, Wayne, that's not how to answer unhappy Evertonians. However, I feel that people like Ferguson, and Stretford to a lesser degree, know the score and know that a provoked Rooney ensures they get the best out of him. Normally at our expense.

I would finish by pleading with whoever, to not label me as some sort of Rooney apologist. I am not. I am simply stating a case that there was so much more to Rooney's exit than a young kid demanding out from the Club he'd loved from his earliest days. It's just that a fair number of Evertonians simply do not want to consider that as an option. - Colm


Badge-kissing is merely rabble-rousing and signifies a profound lack of a mother's love in early years. And Frank Lampard occasionally does it. All good reasons to stop it now. At least Tim Cahill merely smacks eight bells out of the pitch furniture.
Guy Pierce, Hastings  (30/4/07)


To all you Moyes fans - ie. Doddy and Co, can you explain where your man is coming from by having a go at Fernandes and tell us do you agree with what he says?

To me, it's obvious he is too much of a footballer for our Davey and it's Ginger's way of getting rid of more talent. Perhaps if he ran around like a headless chicken [Osman], he would be bending backwards to sign him.
Terry Downes, Stoke  (30/4/07)

History? Mystery!

After what I witnessed on Saturday, I purposely kept off this website. I locked myself away (metaphorically speaking) and tried not to think about football for the rest of the weekend. But I kept on having these terrible flashbacks.

What I witnessed reminded me of when my auntie Alice was confronted by a mouse in the coal cellar. Hours of inconsolable panic which resulted in my uncle Dick having to phone an ambulance (this is true!) and only two days later was it deemed safe to discharge her from Sefton General Hospital after she was counselled by a psychiatrist. During her breakdown she had no sense of purpose or intention and everything she did, or anybody else did, only seemed to make the situation worse. There was a time when we all thought she would have to be locked up for good for her own sake! Both of them have passed on now so they are at peace, despite the mouse.

Turner's goof was Everton's mouse on Saturday and it was disgraceful how the team disintegrated from that moment on. I just knew it was only a matter of time and I turned to my companion and said I would be happy with a point. Such misplaced optimism.

I cannot blame Moyes for what happened. It's been mooted on here that his substitutions were 'iffy' but in my opinion the damage had been long done by then and I was already sitting in my seat waiting for the inevitable. No, this one for me was down to the players and it was particularly galling to see them capitulate in the way that they did on the very day that we said our final farewell to Alan Ball. Such a surrender (for that is what it was for me) was never an option for him and would never have happened in his day.

About the players themselves, it seems mainly to hinge on the opinions of Evertonians about two players: Neville who used to play for Utd but now plays for Everton and Rooney who used to play for Everton and now plays for Utd. May I offer two observations.

1: Neville. Personally I think he is crap and should in no way be deemed a part of Everton's future. He should go back to cricket where he is reportedly more skilled and leave us alone. However, anybody who believes he 'assisted' Utd to win that game needs their IQ testing. During the game I saw him having a good row/shoving match with Solsjkaer (did I spell that right?) and nobody celebrated more when we went 2-up. There was no doubting his commitment to Everton on the day.

2: Rooney. I don't boo Rooney at Goodison. I have more important things to use my voice for. But I do not accept the attempt to rewrite history. Rooney is a very fortunate young man. If it were not for the gift of football he was blessed with, it would be hard to imagine a productive future for him. I could say more but I will be diplomatic. This young man, whether or not he was manipulated by others, does have (an albeit limited) mind of his own and the way he chooses to use it, especially at Goodison, is reminiscent to me of a self-serving brat. In my profession I work with self-serving brats so I know what I am talking about. I admire Rooney's footballing skills but I do not like him as a personality and any attempt to rewrite history in order to present him as a 'victim' of Everton Football Clubs' machinations is just not on. He is the sort of personality who will gain strength from abuse and so I would recommend Evertonians forget the little shit and concentrate their energies on supporting the Club.

To be honest, as good as he is, I do not think he is as good as we all thought he was ? if that makes sense! His performances for England this year have been abysmal and I would place Kaka, Messi and Ronaldo way ahead of him. Forget him, Blues.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (30/4/07)

The Game Was Lost Before It Was Started

If Everton had to face the best team in the land with their second-best goalkeeper, then they seriously reduced their chances of keeping a clean sheet let alone winning the game the moment the referee blows his whistle.

From the moment Manchester United loaned us our first-team goalkeeper for a year with the caveat that he shouldn?t play against them, we were doomed in our fixtures against them. Moyesy should have had the foresight to contend this issue. It goes some distance to explain why we conceded seven goals against them and got no points. Only some distance, might I add.

However, I think if we had the experienced Tim Howard at the back, we wouldn?t have had all the errors and confusion in defence last Saturday.
Brendan ZGeorge, Walthamstow  (30/4/07)

Skill...? Neville???

I don't think anyone can fault Neville's work ethic because on the pitch his workrate is spot on but there are a few things I've noticed recently...

Firstly... Phil Neville is not a midfield player, he is a full back. His first impulse when he gets the ball is to play it 30 yards upfield when I know most fans would rather see some intricate passing but FACT... this isn't going to happen with Phil Neville in midfield; when he has the ball at his feet, he panics.

Secondly...his first touch is awful. He has no composure and he gives the ball away a lot. I would only play Neville as a full back as he is not a midfield player. As most people (including myself) would like to see a winning team while playing decent football. I can't see this happening with Neville in the holding position.
John Burquest, Liverpool  (30/4/07)


There are lots of things to reflect on during the closed season:

Performance Personally I believe this has been above average and certainly better than most people would have guessed at given the level of players we have had to work with. Could we have really done any better? I doubt it, so is this a result? Not sure, answers on a post card please.

Ground Move/Re-development The debate we have all been party to is pretty useless until we know what is actually going to be tabled from EFC, Tesco and Knowsley. I have been all for the move to Kirkby but I have been swayed (a little) by some good reasoned argument in terms of leaving this in the city. What I would like to see are financial arguments for keeping it in the city, lots of sites have been proposed, lots of thoughts about redeveloping GP but no ideas concerning the financing of what will surely be out of our league. Let?s wait and see.

Moyes - The future? Personally, I think Moyes has done a good job this season however how far can he realistically take us? We all have an opinion about this one but once again I think he will be there until we are once again on the brink of relegation. Without "real" investment I do not see the value in getting rid of him, who would come? Would they stay? Could they do any better?

It's great we can all have these debates, but they don't win trophies. Bill Kenwright has some tough decisions ahead of him. What really matters of course is that we make progress, whether that is at Goodison Park, Knowsley or any where else.
James Gardener, Chester  (30/4/07)

Who was to blame?

Gutted about the match (and the post in front of my view). But who was to blame?

Iain Turner (dropped balls)?

Phil Neville (still thinking he was playing for the Man Utd)?

Tony Hibbert (Even a six-year-old can tell you that you don't pass a ball across your own box)?

Or was it the Ref? He may have well have been wearing red, we barely got a decision all match and Gabriel Heinze could have shot someone dead and he still wouldn't have been sent off.

Oh well, I can't decide who was at blame so we will just have to look onwards to the next match.

With regards to Rooney kissing his badge am I wrong in saying that he has done that pretty much since he started at Man Utd and it has nothing to do with us booing him and slagging him etc etc. How quickly these youngsters forget where they came from.

Will we qualify for Europe or even the Intertoto? I hope so, but I'm starting to get a sickening feeling that we won't.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (30/4/07)

Quick Healer

Is anyone else amazed that Vaughan played last Saturday after having had a cut artery in his ankle only 2 weeks ago and yet Handy Andy hadn't recovered from a sprain from a week ago!!
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (30/4/07)

Man Urd reserves

What happened on Saturday was a fucking disgrace, which left me wondering whether it was Moyes or Ferguson who had given Everton's half-time talk?

Is it not possible that, given the recent history of dodgy dealings between the two clubs, a deal was done at half-time to give the game away? That is the only explanation I have left after finally recovering from the state of shock I have been in after what I saw on the pitch. You may say I am being a stupid conspiracy theorist but I have been over it all a thousand times in my head and it is all I have left.

The general apathy of the players in the second half was astounding, like they had been told to go out and lose. No wonder Fernandes got a bollocking off Moyes for scoring. Turner throwing the ball onto O'Shea's foot after he had already caught it. It's not fucking cricket!

Phil Neville... now you may already know my feelings on this fucking waste-of-space, and in my opinion it is the strongest argument against Moyes that he continues to play him every week. The only thing I can think of is that his contract says he has to play a percentage of all our games ? why else would anyone play him ever?

Tim Howard. If he's our player then he should be on the pitch. Fuck the old contract. Rip it up and play him then sort it out later. But no. He sits it out at the request of Sir Gobshite. Rooney. I wish nothing but plagues, disease and death on him, but I understand his reaction to the Everton fans, after all he is a scouser. What I don't like is the shitty contract Kenwright got for him which relies on them Manc twats winning stuff before we get paid. The whole thing smells of shit and if you didn't believe it before, you will now if you were at Goodison on Saturday.

All-in-all, everything about Everton and Man Utd is more than coincidence and basically us fans have been duped into paying our good money to watch Man Utt reserves. Wait and see this summer when once again the good reserves go to the first team and the shite players get dropped off at Goodison.

Sorry about the rant but I am truly sick of this shite.
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Stay away, scum

I've just read with disgust the article from Colm Kavanagh regarding the utter low life parasitic scum of the earth who tarnished the name of decent Evertonians with an act of utter cowardice.

I feel ashamed to know that there is sub-species like this who attend our great stadium. Hopefully the lady in question will be aware that real Evertonians will be sick to their stomach on hearing of this. I can only wish the twat who done it is in a hospital bed right now with no one around him slowly dying.

On behalf of true Evertonians, we can only apologise.
Aiden Codd, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

As her son-in-law, I can vouch for her that she wouldn't wish such ill-health on our spitting 'friend'. She won't be returning to Goodison Park, that's for sure. ? Colm

£12 million for Fernandes?

I agree with David Moyes, the goal aside, Fernandes did not contribute enough against Man Utd. If Fernandes wants Everton to part with £12 million for his services, then those are the sort of games he should be dominating.

I really like Fernandes and if he cost £5 million I would suggest Moyes go for it but the player has to do alot more to make himself worthy of the £12 million bracket. Not taking anything away from his great goal though. Just need more influence over the 90 minutes.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (30/4/07)


I think Moyes was wrong to critise Fernandes. He is a 21-year-old kid who scored a cracker and his all-round play was good. He was playing left wing for most of the game and it is obvious he is a central midfielder.

You do not see Moyes having a go at Leon Osman who has been inneffective for the past season. Watching Fernandes play is when you see how good he is. He gets the ball and releases it quickly to a teammate. I think Moyes knows he is not in our price range and is trying to make excuses to the fans.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (30/4/07)


Just a quick note from Manchester, where I had to return to work straight after yesterday?s debacle. Aside from the usual jibes from Man Utd ?supporters? who have never been to a game, I can usually ride above this. Being forced to watch MOTD on my break last night being surrounded by dirty reds was about all I could stomach.


What DOES get my goat is the "true blue" fans who sit behind their computers and slate players demanding they are sold or hung in the summer (ok maybe not hung but I sense the mood was heading that way last night!). I especially don?t understand those who are having a whine at Turner. True enough he was at fault for the first goal but other than that and a poor punch in the first half I thought he had an accomplished display making a few great saves not least the one-on-one effort with Ronaldo. (He rushes out a little too eager on some occasions but at least he did not pick it up outside the box this time!)

I thought that, despite being outclassed on paper (player for player), we held our own and scored two good goals. The second of which was classic quick counter-attacking football of which Man United are famed. We did as a team, as admittedly did I, succumb to the fear that United could score on any attack. Unfortunately the Catch-22 was they pretty much did! Turner changed the game with his mistake and I am sure he will be most upset that, after a great spell with the Owls, he has let in 4 and lost quite magnificently!

Now on to Phil Neville: he had a bad game and forgot he was playing in blue ? the amount of times the ball was played into touch or to a red shirt beggars belief. He should, being a professional footballer, be able to kick moderately well with both feet; thus, using his left peg to clear the ball would hopefully not have ended up in the roof of our net! Still, he is our captain and in my humble opinion quite a good one his passing is very hit and miss but his loyalty to the royal blue of Everton could not be doubted. (Remember the last time he put into his own net vs Liverpool? Doubt Fergie would have wanted that!)

Okay, so for 60 minutes I was as happy as Larry, whoever he is, but a half hour later making my way back to my car I could have kicked the smug bugger in the chops. Still, in my job in Manchester, I at least got to be mean to some annoying Man Utd fans that night!
Mike Newhouse, Manchester  (30/4/07)

Badge-kissing Rooney

In an otherwise very good article, I see you were disappointed that Rooney had the cheek to kiss the United badge at 3-2 on Saturday. I don't know, but maybe singing "Die, Rooney, Die" at Old Trafford before Christmas, and of course booing him endlessly at every opportunity in every game since the transfer had something to do with it? He gave us quite a few good goals and 20 million pounds plus in return. I know we spent a third of it on Beattie, but we can't hold that against Rooney :-)
Ole Pedersen, Oslo, Norway  (30/4/07)

Dumb and dumber and Lee Spargo

You sir, are a complete moron!

You telling me that a back line of Ferrari, Yobo, Stubbs and Lescott would not be strong? Stronger I dare say than the likes of Hibbert and Naysmith in there. You make yourself look as stupid as Moyes is defending Beattie and slating Fernandes!

Then for your next act you claim Everton are a great club? (Applause audience)! A great club would never let another club bully them when to play or not play a player who no longer their player. A great club wouldn't sell its best asset, lie about the sale, get bumped with the transfer fee and then get fringe players (who become our best players) as a pay off!

And you insult Howard Kendall by saying Moyes is the best manager we had in 20 years! Smith would have had similar success if he had the same budget as Moyes, the inept one! Moyes has won NOTHING, achieved NOTHING and will achieve NOTHING while his mentor Kenwright sits smugly on his trainset, content with being in the Premiership only!

Hang your head in shame and forever keep your silence, as fools shouldn't be seen or heard!

Moyes and Neville OUT!
Luq Yussef, London  (30/4/07)

On the happy pills then, eh, Luq?! ;-) - Colm

Re: Luq Yussef and Fernandes

Why is it that certain fans assume there is a conspiracy at Everton to not sign good players? Moyes has already said previously that he wants Fernandes to stay when he stated that he didn't bring players to the club just to get them games for other teams. The match report on this site, as it has previously, commented that Fernandes disappeared for periods and that's exactly the point Moyes was making.

No one here knows what Moyes's relationship with Fernandes is like, what Fernandes is like as a person, and how he responds to this sort of statement. So why do you assume this is some coded threat to drive Fernandes away and justify not signing him? Is it not equally possible that Moyes has discussed this with Fernandes, Fernandes has agreed and Moyes believe a little something to keep feet placed on the ground in public statements will help.

Why doesn't he say the same about Osman, Hibbert, Neville? Perhaps because he already believes he's getting the most he can out of them and the best way forward for such players is encouragement to keep trying. Fernandes is young and inexperienced. Moyes believes he can improve and gave a straight answer to a straight question about the player.

This farcical conspiracy nonsense is as ever without substance. Fernandes has indicated a wish to stay, Moyes has indicated a desire to keep him and suggested he wouldn't have brought him here if he didn't think it was possible so why because Moyes suggests he needs to work a bit harder are fans suddenly turning into paranoid conspiracy nuts.

To draw comparisons with Ferrari is ridiculous. A player who spent the majority of the season injured wasn't signed long-term? God, there's a managerial blunder. What a fool Moyes looks now for opting to spend the £5M on Lescott instead. He won't be making that kinda mistake again with Luq's help.

I don't understand these silly calls for a clearout of the likes of Neville, Osman, Hibbert, Carsley, Stubbs, McFadden, VDM etc etc. Of course we need better players. But our squad is depleted as it is. Selling players who won't fetch significant transfer fees is not going to lead to an improvement in our squad. It's going to lead to a very small squad which is even less able to cope with the small number of injuries which have limited us lately.

People castigate Neville and Hibbert but who is Moyes supposed to play at right-back? He spent all the money available to him last year and spent it well. What more can he do but use the players he's got? We all know we need new full-backs and a geniune winger but we can't buy them all at once.

Have some patience and for the sake of all our sanity drop this ridiculous, unfounded conspiracy nonsense!
John Holmes, York  (30/4/07)

Oh SO Smug

I have read some condesending clap trap in my time but Colm takes it to a new level over Rooney. We can only show our displeasure in a way he finds acceptable. As an adult of 43 who first went to Goodison as a five-year-old (I'm sure somene called the referee a bastard that day), passion, anger, getting upset, unbelievable joy an unhinged hatred of any traitors to the cause, belonging to the EFC family till you die.

Pride in our city, our community, is what being an Evertonian is all about. It's great that football fans think like that and support the local team. Sky have done enough to sanitise football without the need of Colm trying to sanitise it even more.

There are enough new grounds that have the atmosphere of a tennis court without having to make Goodison the same. If you want to thank Rooney for what he's done that's up to you. As a Crocky lad myself (we all knew he was going to Man Utd at least a year before it happened), me I'll tell him to fuck off. As for players not getting involed in "petty intercity rivalies" you should have a word with Gary Nev.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

What the hell's brought that on, Gary? Where am I being smug and ultra defensive of Rooney? I too knew he was off to the Mancs a year before it happened, for what little that's worth. My anger, as stated in my article, was with some prick of an Evertonian who, sitting in the FAMILY ENCLOSURE, thought he was the "Big I Am" spitting on a 60-year-old woman. Great that. - Colm

And now for something different...

I'm not going to harp on about the result on Saturday, nor the dullard Rooney or even Chucklebrother Neville ? instead, I'm going to mention Leeds Utd. It appears as though they are going into administration; although I quietly chuckled to myself when I first heard this news, I began to think that managing to avoid such a scenario at Goodison is one of Kenwright's & Moyes's biggest achievements.

Whether you like watching the team or not (and I don't) they have managed to keep the club just about solvent thus keeping the administrators away whilst keeping the club in the top division.

They were very 'lucky' to have Rooney to bail them out at one point and Moyes has wasted considerable amounts on Krøldrup and Wright but we are comparatively stable considering the mess Agent Johnson left us in... even if we are still locked into this insane mortgage loan agreement ? which, if we did get relegated, would probably mean we would be in the same boat as Leeds.

One last thing: Big Sam. I love the way he pisses off the football establishment but he had managed to create a team that was even more dour to watch than ours so I wouldn't see the point of even considering him to replace Moyes (not that that is going to happen anytime soon!).
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (30/4/07)

Luq Yussef

Are you for real, or are you just simple?

Fernandes's goal was great (and his little shimmy), but let's be honest ? Moyes was right. I hope we do sign him, he's the type of player we need, but for £12M then you have to expect more of an all-round performance than we got on Saturday.

Also, I'm glad we didn't sign Ferrari ? he didn't really want to stay and we eventually ended up with Lescott ? he's much better.

Further, Moyes is the best manager we've had in 20 years. Who should we have instead? Allardyce? Mike Newell?

Oh, and one last thing ? this club is ALREADY great.
Lee Spargo, Wallasey  (30/4/07)


Too right Colm! Do you think i'd stick with Tesco when all I'm doing is funding a new monstrosity in Kirkby! Imagine 20% on every insurance,the robbing bastards! There's an extra 20% on each season ticket next year no doubt, the scoundrals! Stick with Churchill - Oh yes!
Paul Henshaw, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Phil Neville, etc

Bleeding hell... the mail bag reads like we're a total disgrace!!

First, Phil Neville. Anyone who thinks he didn't give 100% on Saturday or even more ludicrously scored on purpose is a complete and utter divvy. Seriously, it's insulting to the lad. While sometimes he has his limitations, one thing you cannot fault is his effort. I've been home and away all season and it's a complete insult to the lad. ,p. Anyone suggesting this, with great respect, you haven't got a clue what you're talking about... he would have been *exactly* the reverse of what you are suggesting - when you play against your old club you want to prove they were wrong to let you leave - I'm sure Nev took the defeat worse than anyone. Yeah.. including us. I know if I'd just scored an oggy against the team that let me go, I'd be devastated.

Secondly. Moyes out. Paff. So stupid it's funny. Clear progress. Even when we beat them two years ago it was more limited then that. The fact is we are closing the gap. We lead 2-0, not 1-0, and should have seen the game out but for a bad bad bad individual error from the young keeper. I firmly believe if they don't score that goal then we'd have kept the clean sheet.

We've made some silly errors this season that have cost us alot of points: Wigan and City home = 4pts; Newcastle away = 2 pts; Man Utd Home = 3 pts, Charlton away = 3 pts ? Total = 12 pts just off the top of my head. Normally every team can say this, but really, we have tossed away a frightening amount of points with games not won. If we can eradicate this next season it all looks very good.

Fernandes. I want us to sign him, but I sort of agree with Moyes: cracking goal, great player, but he cruised through patches of the game. This is maybe what you get from a 20-year-old ? notice how Mikey Arteta at Rangers took time to adjust... Mikey was putting in tackles on the edge of our own box Saturday ? that's what we want from Manny and I think that's what the manager is trying to get across to him. If we are going to spend most of or all of our transfer kitty, Manny needs to understand he has to work harder when we don't have the ball.

Thirdly. We're a win, possibly 4 points from securing European football. The lads have been great all season. Yes, they have limitations a times, but I honestly believe we are the 5th or 6th best team in this league and I believe that if we can continue to build and grow, as we have in the last 3 or 4 years ? then we'll get there.

Stop whinging. It's embarrassing.
Carl Jordan, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Tesco Conspiracies...

Further to an earlier mailbag entrant, my car insurance with Tesco too went up 20%! Is this a plan by Leahy to fund a transfer kitty for the summer in exchange for a definite go ahead by the Blues for the new ground?
Paul Henshaw, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Could you not find a cheaper source of insurance than Tesco? It pays to shop around, y'know. Don't forget: "every little helps!" ? Colm

Not Just Kopites are Gobshites

After Saturday?s events, it took me 48 hours and several drinks to begin to calm down and articulate my feelings. I watched the match in a pub in the South West, surrounded by the usual so-called United fans who?d never been near Old Trafford.

After Rooney?s repulsive antics, which may well have been motivated by the morons who booed him remorsely throughout, I was forced to consider the gobshite factor which infects not only us but every football ground in the country. I also, unfortunately, have a long memory.

I was there when Bally returned to Goodison with Arsenal for the first time. He stood in the Gwladys Street penalty area, waiting for a corner, winked at the supporters and mouthed the word ?Alright?, as if he was greeting old and valued friends. What he received was a tirade of abuse. Yes, it is true, he was booed and jeered by a substantial number of gobshites.

I?ll never express his expression of bewilderment at this treatment, nor my feelings of cringing embarrassment. Some of these individuals, in their fifties and sixties now, would have been there on Saturday, joining in with the moving tributes, misty eyed with memories of a great player. A significant number of football supporters, ours included, are hypocrites.

There are many of those who jeered Barton this season, who?d really love to see him playing for us. Yes, Rooney was an Everton supporter but he is also a serious gobshite ? like those who have disgraced us down the years, like those whose abuse motivated him on Saturday.
Tony Burke, Malmesbury  (30/4/07)

Cap well and truly doffed, Sir. ? Colm

RE:Big Sam!

Sack Moyes and bring in Big Sam. I am fed up with Moyes and his boring and negative football. Sam Allardyce is the answer for all our shortcomings; he is tactical genius; the free-flowing football demonstrated by Bolton is everything I hoped for; no more hoof balls and direct football; "The School of Science" is coming back!

The way they passed us to the death at Reebok; the gently and pleasing for the eye football with the likes of Kevin Davies; Papa Diouf and Ivan Campo is what we need. Entertainment is the name of the game - bring Sammy with his total passing brand of football and sack this prick Moyes.

Paddy Thomas, I am with you...
Stefan Tosev, Vienna,Austria  (30/4/07)

Is this a piss take? Sam Allardyce and free flowing football in the same sentence? You're having a laugh, aren't you? The man who turned the delightful Okocha into a long-throw in specialist. And that's without any reference at all to the off-field fun and games surrounding "Big Sam"! Leave him be, with an eye on somewhere like Newcastle. ? Colm

Moanie Tony

Is anyone else as fed up with Tony Marsh's rantings as I am? I am so fed up with him that I can tell it's one of his moaning epistles after reading the first line and don't even bother finishing his posting.

On a different note, I would just lke to say that I thought Goodison did Alan Ball proud on Saturday - the players wearing training shirts with Ball and 8 on them whilst warming up was a nice touch as well as the bringing on of a wreath and Alan's white boots, and fmaily attending, and the response from the crowd. I felt very emotional and it brought tears to my eyes.

Well done, Everton FC.

Shame we couldn't make it a win for Bally but did we honestly expect to win. NO!! So what are we all moaning about. I agree it was devastating to be 2 up against them and I really thought against the odds we might pull it off but there's no use crying over spilt milk - onwards and upwards [We hope!!]
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (30/4/07)

Regarding Tony's latest comments (just below), I really find it hard to fault anything he says in there. I too believe the style of football we play is criminal. It will drive fans away, of that there is no doubt. ? Michael

Regarding the Club's tribute to Bally - spot on: it was superbly done. ? Colm

Re: Leon Osman

I have to protest at the comments by Jerome Esterhazy on Leon Osman's contribution. Was Jerome watching the same game? I thought Leon Osman was brilliant and once again contributed to a superb midfield performance by Everton. His holding play and pass which led to the goal by Fernandes was excellent.

Andy Gray's summary of the game also highlighted the substitution of Osman as key. McFadden and Beattie were never going replace his midfield presense. What people miss about a player's contribution, like Osman is his work rate, and the ground he covers, and his defensive covering, when the opposition have the ball.

Once Osman and Vaughan went off, we lost our shape and ManU started to find more space. The correct substitution should have been McFadden for Vaughan, leaving Osman on the pitch and maybe bringing Osman off to give VdM and run later on.
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (30/4/07)

Where Do We Go From Here?

I thought last season would take some beating from a truamatic point of view, Villarreal and Bucherest being the worst of it. I am putting Saturday's collapse right up there with the best (or worst!) of them all. I have never seen so many down-trodden broken Evertonians in all my life. The poor souls have had their spirits well and truly crushed. It would be a lot easier if we had lost 4-0 to Man Utd, at least then it would be less painful to take. The manner of our defeat will leave deep wounds on the memory for years to come.

Back In Medieval times, instruments such as the Rack and the Ducking Stool were used as methods of torture ? now in this century we use an Everton FC season ticket to dish out the pain. I am starting to think we would be better off how we used to be, fighting relegation every season. At least, back then, we knew where we stood. All these false dawns and shattered dreams are becoming too much to bear.

I started posting on TW in 2004 and find myself still arguing and debating on the same topics as then. The style of play, the tactics (if that's what you can call them), the poor signings, and the inability of the manager to dispose of deadwood. Next season will be just the same if you ask me, and the likes of Paul Attress and John Cottee and Myself will go over and over the same old ground once again. I know we have a pop at each other and the banter sometimes gets a bit out of hand but deep down we all want the same thing for our great club. The trouble is we all view things in a different way and we some times lose sight of what really matters.

I am at the point now were having a pop at the manager or the dud players is just not worth it anymore. The fighting spirit is being sucked out of me and I know deep down Everton FC will not move forward the way things stand. While Bill Kenwright and Kieth Wyness remain in charge, so will Moyes ? if that's the case, we can forget about anything changing soon.

The spectacular way in which we were beaten on Saturday some how epitomizes what Everton are all about. Always the nearly men, never quite able to make the next step or take advantage of opportunities which present themselves. Whether you like it or not this current manager has to go before we can move on. Not just because of Saturday's debacle but based on his last 5 years at the club.

Most of my worst Football memories have been the ones I have had to endure with Moyes in charge and I don't see that changing. They say a leopard can't change its spots but the thing is a leopard doesn't want to change its spots and neither does David Moyes. Five more years of this aimless and pointless way of playing the game will drive some of us to the brink of insanity. I don't think we can take much more of this up-and-under shite. Watching talented players being made to perform like a Sunday league team is no way to run Everton Football Club and that's what's happening now.

Next season must see a complete change in style and attitude if we are to keep fans interested. Already, many of us are walking away. It hurts too much.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Everyone's to blame

Being an Evertonian is not easy,, so long in the Wilderness, waiting for the day we all see Everton march on to glory; I pray for them as well...

Too many supporters say we should get rid of him, and him, and him ? if we got rid of all the players we say about six or seven!

In my view we would have to sell Cahill & Arteta. The money will have to be spent on the six or seven replacements just to get the squad back to the present levels it is at now ? and we still need more.

The Rooney money was wasted, we all know that, so now Davey Moyes has to get it right. Two good attacking full backs, they don?t have to be great. Just be able to control the ball in wide areas and get a good cross in; we need a quality midfielder also a striker (Nugent or Stead). Them two can hold the ball up well and would be great for Johnson.

That will do us this year, and next year centre-halves and better squad members. And after all that if the move to Kirkby fails and we are to stay at Goodison ? with no sign of being redeveloped and no cash ? then Mr Kenwright should resign... but don?t hold your breath: we have another 10 years of wilderness, or should I say another 10-year plan!
Joe Walsh, Woking  (30/4/07)

Fernandes will NOT sign for next season!

This is why I hate David Moyes! After reading Kevin Sparke's distraught e.mail, and seeing Neville playing shite and not caring less after the debacle on Saturday, who does Moyes choose to pick out for criticism? Read Moyes quote:

?There wasn?t enough involvement in the game from Manuel Fernandes,? ?We liked the goal but I think we?re looking for more from an all-round general performance.?

May the Lord give me strength! Moyes OUT! 40,000 fans were baying for Fernandes to sign permanently on Saturday. Even after the game around the city centre and station, fans were very impressed by Manuel Fernandes. Yet the 'Numpty' Moyes chooses to slate him for being one of the better players on the pitch! And people wonder why myself, Marsh and others say Moyes hates skill!

If you had any backbone you Scottish fool then remove Neville as captain and publicly hang him, Hibbert and Osman! NO! You won't, because you are a limited manager with an even more limited scope on football!

This is why I hate you, and this is why you will never succeed in making this club great! Remember this same excuse Moyes made not to sign Ferrari last season! Boy we could have done with him this season. But instead of improving the squad and actually being honest with the fans, you Moyes come up with this bullshite that Fernandes isn't good enough. Your claim is as weak and foolish as your judgment and integrity is!

How you can pick Fernandes out yet Neville is above blame is beyond logic. Even Mourinho had a sly dig at Neville, suggesting while not suggesting Neville is an agent. Moyes and your new favorite Neville ? the message is clear: PISS OFF!
Luq Yussef, London  (30/4/07)


Am I the only person here who believes Osman is the poorest player to pull on an Everton shirt in years?

Whilst 50% "like" him, the other 50% think he is a good squad player. I believe he would struggle in League One! I have watched him over a dozen times this year and he contributes nothing. If he plays, we start with 10 men.

And if Moyes keeps playing him in the "Cahill" role, both will end up looking more incompetent than they already do. End of rant.
Mark Jensen, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Dear Tony

Ah' to be instantly recognisable merely by your first name. You have achieved so to speak, the pinnacle of this mailbags heaving mass of scribblers.

With such high office comes a duty to be accurate when criticising the lower orders. I did not say you picked the team. I did say its a good job you did NOT pick the team.

And another thing, I am glad you have seen the light about Osman. Over a year ago on this forum I was flogged by one and all for suggesting he was not good enough.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (30/4/07)

It's not fair

Intra-league player loans should be made illegal.

The fact that United were able to insist that Howard doesn't play against them hands them an unfair advantage. They will always face a weaker Everton team than Chelsea or any other of their competitors will face.

I only wish that United had the power to insist that all their ex-players sat out Saturday's game. I'm looking at you Phil Neville.
Steve McBride, London Branch  (30/4/07)

Ouch! - Colm

The truth about Fernandes

I see David Moyes has said exactly what I have been thinking about the permanent signing of Manuel Fernandes - ie, he needs to add a great deal to his all round game to be worth anything like £8M. Now I know the recently announced Toffeewb Selection Panel have been `getting off` on this kid but I have always thought it is because of the total paucity of talent we have in the midfield department. If you study his technique carefully, you will find that he `hides` for long periods and whilst sudden spurts of interest and super-charged activity may make get him spotted by the TSP, it is hardly a quality which endears him to a workaholic like Moyes.

Worth a punt at £3M? Certainly, but the canny Scot will want more than Fernandes has to offer if the fee`s twice that price.
Pete Carter, Old Roan  (30/4/07)


Can we stop giving this guy the column inches he clearly doesn't deserve every time Man Utd come to us? He's gone, it's all in the past, so let's move on.

There are far more worthy people to have the phrase 'Once a Blue, always a Blue'. We celebrated one this weekend, and Rooney is not fit enough to lace up his white boots!

Just look at our history and all of our legends had the one thing that Rooney doesn't. It's called Class.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (30/4/07)

Eight IS Great

Into work this morning to find that some friendly Red has accessed my computer and installed a seemingly unremovable banner `Eight is Great`.

Now, I know this is the theme of several of my recent postings although before Turner`s gaffe I was quietly confident we were on the way to better things. A win against Pompey may still make that possible but truth is we`ve had a fabulous season and most of us would have taken eighth when the season started. So let`s not be downhearted, the club`s remorseless progress under David Moyes continues and unlike Big Sam he`s unlikely to quit on us anytime soon. Thank God for that, I say!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (30/4/07)

A few thoughts

Just a few observations on the match.

Firstly, Hibbert. I think those calling for him to be sold are over-reacting to a ridiculous extent. It's certainly the case he is lacking in some areas and isn't the answer to our right-back berth for the next 10 years. That said, he was also performing well on his return to the team before Saturday. To me, Rooney clearly knew how to play him. Unsurprising given the amount of time they must have spent training together. Rooney shredded him, anticipated his every move and made him look a fool but Hibbert is a solid player most weeks. If he should be sold then virtually our entire squad beyond our little clutch of stars should go.

Osman. A few weeks back, after the Arsenal match, I defended him. I thought he moved about well, dragged defenders around and popped up in unexpected places. More recently I referred to him as "mercurially average" and I think that still fits. However, like Hibbert, his future is as a squad player. Again, shipping him out would serve little purpose, he's a decent player to have around but the team is crying out for a proper winger who can run at the opposition, some real pace in the midfield to push the opposition back rather than having to sit back ourselves.

Finally for those who call for Moyes head I urge you to look at the bottom end of the table. The relegation fight is like a who's-who of promising young managers, clubs who the Tony Marsh's of this world said, "If they can do it why can't we?" about and clubs who thought a change of manager would take them the next step.

We don't sit and take it, we don't settle for this mediocrity but we do remember that the firm footing we stand on has a bloody big trapdoor beneath it and a pit where the likes of Wigan, Fulham, Charlton, Man City and West Ham lie wondering where it all went wrong. Complain, criticise, boo if you must but for the Tonys the Luqs and the rest who see an apocalypse on the horizon every Saturday morning, this isn't the end of the world. Losing two matches which we really could and perhaps should have won isn't Armageddon.

The end of the world is watching week-in, week-out, your team capitulate without a fight, without ever looking like you're going to win without injured stars to hope for the return of, without the prospect of adding a few more pieces to the jigsaw in the summer, and without even the comforting snuggle of sacking the manager because you already did that and it went spectacularly wrong. That's when it's really bad.

We pick ourselves up, we face Portsmouth and we win and, results permitting, we're in Europe. Is there anyone who truly believes we aren't capable of tearing into Portsmouth next weekend? It's been an incredible roller-coaster of a season but the future's still bright, the team still oozes the potential it did two weeks ago and, as more of the old guard are replaced, I still believe the team and its playing style will change too.
John Holmes, York  (30/4/07)

Re-opening the Stadium Debate

Went to Wembley on Saturday for the England U-16 match against Spain.

Wembley, I have to admit, was looking fantastic from the outside and I was excited as to what it would be like once inside. I remember my first visit to the old Wembley. England v Norway in '92. Walking into the stadium with arms aloft in the triumph of just being there was awesome. This time round it was more... well, this is very nice, not bad.

But very soon the thoughts of the old Wembley came back and truly the FA have destroyed aura, prestige, history and dreams for an enlarged Emirates Stadium (a stadium I wasn't impressed with either). With only 28,000 attending, the toilets were still packed, and buying food still had a big queue... It's annoying when the authorities can only see £££ signs; maybe Bill and Keith will be different. I doubt it, but hope is there.

Goodison for Everton.
Nick Entwistle, London  (30/4/07)

After Saturday

Few points now that the dust has settled after Saturday:

The Phil Neville bashing is a bit over the top is it not? The guy has done nothing but give 100% since he's signed for us. For people to think he'd actually score an own goal on purpose is ridiculous and for the conspirators out there saying he'd been seen speaking to Alex Ferguson, did you expect him to just blank him? Get real.

Leon Osman, however, should be given a long-term rest, he can't retain possesion. We simply can't afford to have a player in our team who gives away the ball so much. He was murder on Saturday.

James Vaughan was outstanding though; he gave Heinze a torrid time and had Lescott committed as many fouls on Ronaldo/Rooney I think he'd have seen two yellows. Pisses me off that Vaughan got booked so early for that challenge when Heinze was all over him the whole game. He's a great player and once he learns that he can't turn inside for every shot, he'll be well worth keeping.

We definitely need to sign Fernandes. If Carsley is replaced with a strong, hard-working midfielder to sit back and win balls for us, we could have the luxury of Arteta, Manny and Cahill attacking. Sounds good to me.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (30/4/07)

What happened to Leon Osman?

We lost the game simply because we couldn?t finish with anywhere near the same energy levels as we started. There is only so much pressing we could do before legs gave out and errors became prevalent due to tiredness. Hibbert was a classic example of this. We failed to gain any clear possession during the game, and because of Osman?s presence we were always playing 10 against 11.

At some point during the match, we had to keep the ball to give ourselves a rest but we failed to string any passes together with all players in midfield giving the ball away far too easily (especially Carsley). We had little time to settle and get our breath back before the players were put under pressure again. This told heavily on Hibbert who was caught one-on-one with Rooney on several occasions.

We were fortunate not to concede earlier than Turner?s howler due to some poor finishing from Utd. It always looked like Utd had little chance of coming up with a well-crafted goal and it would come down to us holding our nerve. We didn?t. Simple as.

Moyes was not to blame. Injuries denied us a chance to change things around. How much do we miss Tim Cahill when I watch Leon Osman give us nothing again all day. For all his working himself into good positions on the field, he has this frustrating ability to lose the ball far too easily.

If we make Europe we will need a better season of injury free players than this. A win against Pompey is a must because we have little chance of getting anything from Chelsea. Everton have rarely delivered a win when it?s desperately needed, especially away from home. Can anyone think of an away game in recent years where we?ve come out victorious when nothing but a win was needed?
Jerome Esterhazy, Adelaide, Australia  (30/4/07)

Relegation Football Manager

United game aside, it's that time of the season where we can play a game that I like to call Relegation Football Manager. This where we identify the relegation-threatened team and finger any players that we could snare from teams that we could use in our own squad.

At the moment there are about 5 teams that are not certain of Premiership status:

  • Fulham: Papa Bouba Diop, midfield enforcer and has been previously linked with Everton.
  • Wigan: Leighton Baines, oh boy could we use a good young and coming full-back.
  • West Ham: Carlos Tevez, a class act but he will be pricey to buy, however; Matthew Upson, wWe need defenders ? Stubbs is not getting any younger.
  • Charlton: Darren Bent, ,ot sure if we need him, will be pricey; Madjid Bougherra, more defensive cover, he was linked with us although I am skeptical about his abilities.
  • Watford: Not sure... Anyone?

Nigel Gregson, Sydney,Australia  (30/4/07)

A must-win game

After Saturday's result, our game with Portsmouth has to be a win, if we want to be involved in the Uefa Cup next season. It all depends on who Moyes can select; hopefully Vaughan & Johnson will be fit, and his tactics will have to be win at all costs, let's hope the result Saturday has not affected our confidence?
Norman Merrill, Everton  (30/4/07)

re: Jibes

First, much as I detest Rooney never have I abused him or for that matter Speed and while on this subject I don't like the Gerrard not the dad thing ? none of these are what I conceive to be the Everton way. Also, no matter how poor a player in blue plays, I've never seen any improve with booing, Neville upset me because it didn't seem to hurt him we had lost ? surely unacceptable as captain?

Also although I am not impressed with Turner, he still deserves his chance to prove us doubters wrong. I don't think Hibbert is good enough but, circumstances as they are, who else is there? I still believe we will get 5th or 6th spot and I'm not criticising Moyes again until Big Sam has a job.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (30/4/07)

Future of Everton

I feel we need to not just look at building a squad, but building a first team that tries to accomadate its best players, even if it means playing them out of position. Certain players must be shipped out: Beattie, Hibbert and Osman the main three for me.

Neville is a poor version of Carsley at cetre-mid, and looks much better at right-back, where Hibbert is just not up to this level of football. Osman is a squad player who gets far too many games and, despite the odd bit of brillance, he is notorious for giving the ball away. Lescott has performed well at left-back, but we need him next to Yobo, that's the future.

I feel our First team should look like this:

  • GK: Howard ? Finally a keeper who can be a legend at Everton.
  • RB: Neville ? Much better at RB and has creating a few goals from this postion
  • CBs: Yobo and Lescott, both quality players and good enough to be the future CB partnership for years
  • LB: I feel we need to bring in a good attacking LB, someone to go down the flanks.
  • CMs: Fernandes (we need to sign this player) and Cahill, they provide grit and attacking flair. They remind me of a Scholes-Keane partnership
  • RM,LM: Arteta and hopefully we will sign a speedy winger that can get some crosses in and beat people, not had that since Kanchelkis
  • STs: Johnson and Vaughan, great pace and movement, with Anichebie backing them up
With this sort of first 11, and a few good squad players, we can start to challenge for the top 4 every season.
Stuart Mitchell, Milton Keynes  (30/4/07)

Not fit to wear Royal Blue

Why David Moyes is loving it up with Phil Neville is beyond me. Seeing really is believing (take your rose-tinted spectacles off now please) as a another Evertonian, I never want to see him in our Royal Blue jersey ever again.

Also, he doesn't feel the same pain like born and bred Evertonians do. Mancs will never fight for scousers causes so he will never benefit the club in the long run especially in Man Utd games. Moysie needs to find his replacement in the summer or face the rap in close quarters for Everton will not go places if he is still on the team sheet!

Is there a rainbow on the horizion only when second- rate players of this caliabre leave our club, in the next few months will we see if our club is truely ambitious.born a blue ,live blue ,die a blue.
John Smith, Liverpool  (30/4/07)

Well I never rated Neville from the start of his Everton career, and even labelled him a Man Utd cast-off, this has to be the most ridiculous nonsense we have had in the mailbag for a long, long time (Ricchard DOdd notwithstanding!). He's a professional footballer, FFS! Do you really think he gives a shit about petty city rivalry? So what are you gonna do come Satdee when he appears, as he surely will, in the Royal Blue shirt of Everton? Because he is the team captain. For God's sake ? Grow Up! — Michael

Big Sam!

See ya Moyesie... piss off to Bolton and take yer crap assistant too! We'll have Big Sam the Englishman.. Everton managers post 1945 who have won trophies, Catterick, Kendall & Royle ? all English. Scottish managers might do the business at Liverpool... they don't work at Goodison. Time to go, Moyesie!
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (29/4/07)

Now I've heard everything!

Where's your evidence?

In one of your responses you say Rooney's leaving was 'coreographed.' Can you please recount who 'coreographed' his leaving and how they did and provide evidence of same?

If you can't, it just makes you sound like just another bunch of pub gossipers. Why should anyone believe you?
Neil Grant, West Derby, Liverpool.  (29/4/07)

Paul Stretford, Proactive. I won't bore you with the details as they have been gone through numerous times before. But if you have invested yourself in the bile and the angst, you are hardly likely to accpet the possibility of a different explanation. — Michael


I went to Goodison Park this weekend for the first time. It really was special and although it is old and tired, there is a magic about it. The Alan Ball tribute was superb and I felt quite emotional ? superb day out. That day will stick in my mind forever.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (29/4/07)

Turner gets his reward

All the people who claim Iain Turner should be given a break need to ask themselves, would Dickie Wright get off the hook so easily. If Dickie Wright had made the mistakes Turner made, some people on here would be calling for him to be hanged and Moyes sacked for backing him.

Turner is 23 ? not a kid. In his three Premiership appearances, he conceded 4 goals against Chelsea, got sent off after 9 mins against Blackburn, and now conceded another 4 goals against Man Utd. We all wanted Turner to be given a chance and in hindsight that was a bad decision. Dickie Wright should have played but we cannot change that. Turner dropped a clanger and deserves critism just like everyone else gets when they screw up.

On another note, have you noticed how the players who get slagged off the most (Neville, Hibbert, Osman, Beattie) are all English players? Coincidence? I suppose we live in a time when foreign players are cooler.
Mark Beagles, Aldershot  (29/4/07)

Van der Meyde, Pistone (where has he disappeared to?). And before them it was Lie Ti, Krøldrup... I think we get our fair share of each...— Michael


OK, where to begin. Yesterday was one of those occasions (they happen a lot being a blue) when I realised that there is no God, or if there is, he's either a sadist or a Kopite.

What a fitting way it would've been to send Bally off if everything had stopped at half time yesterday, with Chelsea equal points in the league, leading to the title, along with the other 2, winging its way down to London, leaving Rooney asking if he should ever have left us as, lets face it, a Carling cup means nothing if you go to "The biggest club in the world" to "Win things".

But no, we have to go 2 goals up, just to make it even more painful when we eventually lose. They were not even the better side yesterday, only luck, stupidity, lack of concentration, and the worst captain in the history of our club (he only saves his OGs for the really big games) let them back in, and they didn't need a second invitation.

But that's what being an Everton fan is all about, the only team to have League championship winning sides broken up by World War,s TWICE (reading that back, it almost seems funny) Everton are seemingly not meant to have it easy.

My only conclusion afterall, is maybe there is a God... and we who have chosen the hardest path will meet our heroes in Heaven, and watch the team that God as picked to be his first 11. With Dixie Dean, and Alan Ball, and Labby at the back. We'll watch and cheer as the heavenly blues Attack, Attack, Attack!!

Never know, Wayne might even get in there to if he's smighted down like thousands of us prayed for last night. Prick!!
Kev Kendall, Bootle  (29/4/07)

Good grief...!

Let's Move On

Come on, let's move on now. Let's try and look at the positives. Chelsea have lost the league and if they get to the Champions League Final will have to play a reserve team against us. Two reasons to win on Tuesday night. So we could still be looking at 6 points, and guaranteed Uefa Cup football. So lets lift the gloom and look at 6 more points on the board. We can get revenge on Rooney next season :)
Trevor Tannenbaum, Haverhill, Suffolk  (29/4/07)

Why? Why do we have to move on? This is the here and the now. For those who can't handle it, it seems you have to come up with these diversionary strategems, acts of denial, and projections of futire glory. I don't get it. Fact is we lost a game we should have won. Yet you want to ground yourself on six points we don't have? I just find that bzarre and meaningless. Stay in the Real World with the rest of us, please. It's difficult enough without people developing their own alternate "realities" that simply aren't real. — Michael

So all we need to do is win (one at least)...

... as simple as that. I was watching the game on telly here in the resthouse, surrounded with the most beautiful nature one could imagine. Still, I watched the game, regardless of the "Ohh, it must be bloody Everton again" comments. And it was a good game. Very good indeed. A wise team could learn a lot from it. I hope we'll be the wise ones and duplicate Saturday?s Man Utd comeback repeatedly in years to come. And there will be some comments about it here, I?m sure of that.

Ahh, call me a General, but I knew it the moment when Turner dropped the ball. So what? We lost to a team that had 28 points more than us?! Oh, what a bummer. Didn't Big Dunc seal it against the same team the season before last? With confidence; With style... I guess we haven't learned anything from that one; I hope we'll learn from this one. And this 'learning' will make us top 4 material again. Then again, we could lose the next two and miss out on Europe... but I will still wear my Everton shirt. Proudly. Because I know we won't be looking for the 4th worst spot next season, but for the 'other' 4th spot.

We're on the right track. And I'm positive we'll 'smash' Portsmouth. 1:0. Smash! We just need to think next game, not the previous one. You think Lampard knows whom they played on Saturday? I bet he doesn't.

Cheers from Novi Sad. Still proud to be Blue. Hope I?ll meet some of you guys in Eastern European on our Uefa Cup adventures.
Srdjan Sekulic, Novi Sad, Serbia  (29/4/07)

Use Your Heads

To all those Evertonians who seem to believe that Phil Neville is still in the pay of Manchester United and that his error was deliberate, I say think.

To all those Evertonians who believe that Rooney is going to show a contrite humility when he returns to Goodison where he is reviled at every moment, I again say think. Rooney, whatever's going on inside him, is not going to apologise for signing for a club who can pay him what he is worth. Years ago I wrote an article pointing out that only fans are loyal; for players, it is their job and they play for the firm that pays them best and offers them the best prospects. Everton offered Phil Neville better prospects of first team football, and United offered Rooney better wages and better prospects than he could receive here.

Like Rooney, Ball was sold by a Manager and Board who wanted to cash in. I don't remember us giving him anything other than respect when he returned with Arsenal.

As for tactics yesterday, Jim Hourigan's got it right. We have a manager who is not quite there when it comes to playing the top teams. He's great at putting men behind the ball when the opposition are equally mediocre, but Moyes's inability to develop and work with skilled players, or to recognise what to do when faced with skill, is one of his Achilles's heels. Unfortunately, though it's anatomically impossible, he's got more than two of these weaknesses: transfers, poor use of substitutes, a love of mediocre, but whole-hearted players etc.

Anyhow we lost, and the selection of Turner (aged 23, not a kid) over Wright was a possible error. Let's hope that we can win a point or two over Portsmouth and Chelsea. Liverpool's disgusting tactics yesterday gave one of our rivals points they should not have got. I suggest to all Evertonians that you support United twice a year, against Liverpool, and Chelsea four times a year against United and Liverpool. But think before you make these ridiculous assertions about players and their loyalty.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (29/4/07)

Fairy tale

I find Michael's comments about Rooney astonishing!

"He was just a pawn in the hand of true "professionals" ? Stretford and all the ones playing to his tune (including Alan Stubbs and a number of other Everton players who helped to persuade Rooney his future lay elsewhere)."

Are you seriously telling me that fellow team-mates would encourage Rooney to leave Goodison Park? That is the funniest thing I heard in a long while. While it's obvious Everton were looking to sell to the highest bidder, it is also documented that Rooney made a decision to leave Everton with his agent, and it wasn't because he was made to feel unwelcome! If so, then where is your evidence?

Gary Speed leaving and getting abuse always puzzled me, but Rooney can never be defended for his betrayal and greed. And while threats to his life or his family are not acceptable, anything else is. Booing and heckling him is the only way to show our hatred towards him, it's not to put him off or affect his game. And it's pathetic to suggest otherwise. Do people expect us to give a polite round of applause every time he pitches up kissing his Manchester United badge? Illogical captain!

Robbie Keane wouldn't do that. Alan Ball didn't do that! Dennis Law didn't do that! Most decent professionals would respect their roots, not cut them off like that little rodent.
Luq Yussef, London  (29/4/07)

I guess it's something you either 'get' or you don't. There have been enough descriptions and explanations of some of the shenanigans that went on ? inlcuding the involvement of Alan Stubbs and other Proactive players. Laugh if you so choose. And thus exclude another piece of the puzzle. I just wonder, can it really be betrayal and greed if the inititaive for him to move came from somewhere other than Rooney's vacuous brain?

And why exactly do you need to show your hatred towards him? Well, of course, it goes back to believing the betrayal and greed thing... I think we are going around in circles.— Michael

From my stool(s)

(with apologies to Ken Buckley)

I watched the game in a Newcastle City Centre pub in an intimidating but authentic plastic Manchester atmosphere coming from a group of 10 or so Man Utd supporters, some of whom where old enough to be my dad (and I?m 47). The cause of this; my mate Jimmy had chosen to wear his Everton Shirt and the comments of ?vermin? ?Scouse bastards? and ?thieving dipper twats? at our first goal celebration was very audible as was the ashtray thrown in our direction when we celebrated the second ? such is football in 2007. Straight after, the manager of the pub asked us to leave for our own safety and therefore we were in transit to a more welcoming alehouse and so missed the Turner dropsy incident ? ?poor lad? as Eddie Warring once said about a different sporting calamity.

Frank Zappa had a saying (I paraphrase) ?Scientists argue that the most common element in the universe is Hydrogen ? well it isn?t, it?s human stupidity!? For evidence to back this theory up you only have to take into account some of the more extreme comments whilst browsing this website: prime examples being the Neville conspiracy theorists and the Rooney/Moyes hate mob. I saw that same twisted mindset in the faces of the morons who wanted to ?fill me in? for celebrating one of the finest goals I?ve seen at Goodison this season ? dickheads! It?s a fucking game of football ? not an intercity festival of hate.

As to the game; well it was a typical "backs to the wall; hit 'em on the break" type of football we?ve come to expect from a Moyes team when playing a team comprised of technically gifted and more skilful opponents. The 3-0 Derby win was brought to mind when we went two up and barring the score the only difference I could detect between that match and yesterday was we never made any defensive howlers when we played Liverpool? unlike yesterday. I was encouraged by our performance for an hour yet worried as our heads visibly dropped after the ?Turner incident? ? we do that in Europe and history is fated to repeat itself (if we get there).

I turned to Jimmy after the final whistle, reflecting on our ejection from the earlier pub and our defeat, and said to him ?I dunno if I want to do this any more?. Defeat was hard to take but the knowledge that we were the architects of our own disaster was even harder. Harder still was the fact that some overgrown bully boys had wanted to punch my lights out for having the temerity to celebrate a goal against their team in a neutral city and to my ever lasting shame it crossed my mind to seek them out and take a few of them down with me ? but I never. Jimmy said, ?Well, at least we stuck two past them?. It didn?t help much.

Thankfully we met a couple of sane Manchester United exiles at the next pub and spent a fantastic hour or so talking about Cup Finals and Championships and Graeme Sharpe, George Best, Colin Harvey, Sheedy, Robson, Kidd, Styles, Labone? and Alan Ball.

It made the day almost bearable ? almost.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (29/4/07)


The people I feel most sorry for is....

... Mr & Mrs Rooney. Lifelong Evertonians. Brought up the kids the right way. And then they do this to shame you in front of all your friends.

If one of my kids acted like that... I might even consider suicide. Fancy having that thrown in your face by your own flesh and blood.
Phil roberts, Kelsall  (29/4/07)

Was that Moyes I saw on the grassy knoll?

Did anyone else notice Turner pouring water on his gloves when Man Utd had corners? Is this some secret nature-defying trick he has invented to make his gloves stick to the ball?

It is clearly all a conspiracy by Moyes who obviously wanted us to lose and has been under deep cover as a Man Utd agent waiting for this moment. Afterall, Moyes signed Phil Neville from Man Utd and he scored the OG to equalise. Moyes sold Rooney to Man Utd and he scored their winner. Moyes signed Howard on a complex loan, then permanent deal that meant he couldn't play, so Turner had to go in goal. Moyes was manager of Preston once and David Beckham (former Man Utd legend) was once on loan there.

Finally, to prove it conclusively, my car insurance went up by 20% this year and we know how is to blame for that don't we? Moyes - afterall I am insured with Tesco.
Chris Leyland, Formby  (29/04/07)

Every little helps, eh?! ? Colm


I?ve been labelled a hypocrite, a Neanderthal and told to grow up and so I think it's time I set the record straight. I have never booed or heckled Rooney, and am embarrassed by the treatment he gets at Goodison these days. I also understand why he moved and never wished him ill in spite of the fact it broke my heart. However, yesterday he went beyond the pale.

It is incomprehensible to me how a childhood Evertonian and scouser could do such a thing, whatever the provocation. It must have made his parents so proud! I don?t hate him for leaving, but I?m fucking hate him for what he did yesterday.

If that makes me a caveman, then so be it. Wilma!
Andy Lynch, London  (28/04/07)

For the record, Andy, my usage of the word neanderthal earlier in the Mailbag was not aimed your way. I do agree with you that his badge kissing antics do him absolutely no favours amongst Evertonians and he's better advised (hah!) to steer away from courting controversy. He should let his football do the talking for him; it's something he's particularly good at. - Colm

Look in the mirror

I'm with Jim Hourigan and Michael on this Rooney thread.

I actually cringe when I see and hear the rabid reaction to Rooney being on the Goodison turf.

Does the bile make him play badly?

Does it make him "hide" during the game?

Does it inspire our team?

I suggest the answer is "no" to all three of the above.

The more you abuse him the more he'll kiss the Man Utd badge.

Nobody liked the manner of his departure but let's move on... it seems to have taken 8 years for the venom against Gary Speed to die down. Let's not repeat that...
Rob Sawyer, Handforth  (29/4/07)

Indeed but in their own warped little world it makes 'em feel a little bigger. He gets accused of a lack of class, of disrespecting the memory of Alan Ball - by the same gobshites who spend ninety minutes abusing him instead of doing what they're supposed to be doing inside Goodison Park. I doubt very much that Alan Ball would be impressed with modern day Evertonians continually venting their spleen, as they do, when Rooney comes back. - Colm

The day Wayne came to town

Christ, it's only now I've brought myself to the computer. I've avoided all other football this weekend, not read any of the sports pages either. I left Goodison yesterday absolutely gutted, yet mildly mellow (may have been something to do with the lad in front of me smoking a reefer all afternoon).

When we were 2-0 up I was still hoping for a draw, such is the way as an Evertonian. It is plain as day that we threw it away, blew it, couldn't finish the job. I lay the blame not at Moyes's feet but at the players (Manny, Arteta, Lescott aside). They did not produce anything bar the 2 goals. The first of which was lucky, the second a piece of individual magic (Moyes buy that man). At the back we were abysmal, gifting them all 4 goals. Nev was unlucky to score against Utd, you could have written it though, couldn't you?

I was sat up high in the Gwladys St, from where I could see that Osman would have been more of a help to the club operating the Goodison car park than running aimlessly about the pitch. He is awful. Beattie and McFadden made absolutely no impression when they came on and surely will be off come June.

What compounded the day for me, was the behaviour of that thug in red. On a day of remembrance at Goodison this little toerag didn't even have the decency to mute his celebration in front of the Park End. The guy is a classless ingrate, who would no doubt be in prison now if he werent making millions being a footballer. I never really disliked Rooney for leaving Everton as he was young and had his head turned by his 'advisors'. But to see him at it yesterday. It's easy to see why he's such a hate figure everywhere but Old Trafford.

But don't worry my red friends, as soon as a better deal comes along, Little Wayne will be off to pastures new, kissing the new badge and perhaps writing a bestseller. Good luck to Utd for the rest of the season, as much as I hate that fucker, I would still rather see them lift the Championship than the hordes of Chelsea. That's my say on the subject, bring on Pompey next week, We will take all 3 points there, of that I have no doubt..... Or maybe I'm still under the influence of that lads weed.
Chris Lawlor, Sale,Cheshire  (29/4/07)

What a weird game

It had Chelsea written all over it. We need to learn how to maintain the lead and start a second half the way we start the first. I can't believe the critisism Neville is getting and by the way he did celebrate the goals. He made the mistake of using his right foot instead of his left which a proffesional footballer should not do but under that much pressure the best of players can do it. I know Phil is not a gifted player but you see his workrate on the pitch and that is what every team needs because you need a good balance.

Player ratings:

  • Turner: Made some good saves but the tension was too much for him. 6
  • Hibbert: Kept Rooney quiet for the first hour but needs to work on his distribution badly. 6
  • Yobo: His pace saved us a few times. A good performance from the Nigerian and he is probably our quickest player. 7
  • Stubbs: Great goal from Stubbsy and had a good game. 7
  • Lescott: Excellent again. Brilliant defensive work and gallops up the left when needed. 8
  • Arteta: Not one of his best days but still very dangerous. He gave Evra problems. 7
  • Carsley: Didn't know he was playing. A quiet day for Carsley but worked hard like always. 6
  • Neville: A little better than Carsley but should have kicked the ball with his left for the oggy. 6
  • Fernandes: Great goal and altogether a class act. Even when played out of position on the left side, he is one of our better players. 7
  • Osman: Had a decent first half but faded dramatically second half. Always seems to fall over when put under pressure. 6
  • Vaughan: A thorn in Man Utd's backside. He is our best target man and has pace to burn. Bullied Heinze and Wes Brown. 8
If Moyes wants to win next week, he must be brave. Either Hibbert or Neville have to be dropped and Fernandes has to be put beck in his proper position. Next week will be a tough game and so we need to play our best and most attacking players.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

The most vile man

Michael, I understand your point about Rooney being made to feel uncomfortable at Everton but here's the thing, if I was good enough to play for Everton NOTHING would stop me.

I love Everton and would without doubt play for the club no matter what. Managers and chairman come and go and, if Wayne didn't like them, all he had to do was tell the fans and we would all have supported him, demanding Moyes and Kenwright left the club. If Rooney had gone to the press and told us that forces were making him leave Everton the fans would have united behind him and forced the club to change.

Personally, I would endure any hardship, any personality clash, so long as I was playing for my beloved Everton. The simple fact is Rooney was offered more money and more chance of success and he dumped us as quick as he could.

And I don't care how much Rooney was pushed, nothing excuses his badge kissing when he scores against Everton. When Tim Cahill scored against Millwall we saw a dignified celebration. Rooney has no honor, he is one of the most horrid players to ever put on an Everton shirt.

I hope he enjoyed the respect Alan Ball was shown yesterday because he will never get the kind of recognition from Everton fans. At one time he claimed it was his dream to be an Everton legend. He's not even close, he's just greedy yob who may have played a couple of games for Everton, I can't really remember.
John Cottee, Romford  (29/4/07)

I don't think personalizing it helps. It was Rooney, not you, not anybody else. The point is that it was done so effectively, Rooney (how old was he again?) had not the faintest idea what was happening. He was just a pawn in the hand of true "professionals" ? Streford and all the ones playing to his tune (including Alan Stubbs and a number of other Everton players who helped to persuade Rooney his future lay elsewhere). And your scenario of him bleating to the press about Kenwright and Moyes forcing him out.. come on, lad: football isn't like that.

I am sure by the end he genuinely believed he was not wanted at Goodison by Everton anymore, and that overwhleming feeling is only now reinforced to him by the screaming mob every time he returns. If you could understand the part you continue to play in that fiasco, would you continue? — Michael

A True Watershed Day?

So we lost to United for the 12th time at Goodison in the history of the Premiership. No surprise there then, if only the players had the self-belief to continue to play proper football for the full 90 minutes, we may have won.

Watching Moyes's BBC interview convinces me that we have a manager who really does care about the club. I wonder though if some of his players really care about what happens to Everton. Are they workshy? Do they all want the extra workload of Europe? Doubtless a larger number of the team - than pre-Moyes - do try their utmost, but 3 or 4 cannot be satisfied with their performances over the season, they know who they are and I daresay DM knows who they are as well.

This Everton side should have already assured themselves a Uefa Cup place and to miss out now would be very unwelcome. David Moyes has got to realise that there are no friends in football on or off the park. Ruthless management is the only way to achieve anything in this game. If DM gets rid of those who don't care and replaces them with players who do then Everton may well be on the rise.

Yesterday was expected ? if not the manner of the defeat ? but those games against the so called lesser clubs are the ones which have cost us if we fail to finish in the top 7. It's still possible but all who play in the final two games will have to give their all to achieve the desired outcome.

Evertonians will have to live with whatever comes our way but we cannot afford to lose sight that we want the same thing ? success. Saying a young gaolkeeper is not good enough after one error is not the way to help the player or the club. Beatiie has done jack-shit for his entire Everton career but most blues give him the benefit of the doubt ? I wonder why that is?
John Patrick McFarlane, Lancs  (29/4/07)


That free kick late in the first half, played advantage then cos Evra never skinned Hibbert he brought it back. When was he gonna allow advantage to go on 'til? Until they scored?? Bad prick.

Besides that, tho we turned into the arse bandits as per usual and bent over for them. Okay, Turner fucked up but after that is when the leaders we've been hearing so much about went missing when they should have been saying 'right we don't lose this'.

Rooney deserves to give the crowd stick back and you fully expect him to cos hes a classless cunt but how he got away with fannying in front of their fans is beyond me. Hibbert should be ashamed. Maybe him and Wayne's other mates were worried about not recieving invites to the next party. Dont think it would have happened on the other side in front of Lescott (who was again immense).

Ah well, rant over. Onwards and upwards. I love being a blue!!!
Mick Barnes, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

To the Toffeeweb Selection Panel...

After Saturday, with where we are at the moment, there is nothing I'd love more than to see Fernandes on a permanant contract with us. The only problem I see with that is how are we going to be able to afford to sign him AND strengthen the squad for the Uefa/InterToto Cup?

I've heard many things being said about Mikel Arteta leaving to pay for him, that wouldn't be a forward step at all. But would anyone really have a problem with selling Cahill on for £10-12 million, possibly to Man Utd as a ready made replacement for Scholes? Let's face it, he isn't really THAT good is he? So let's make a healthy profit and get a stronger squad. Discuss...
Michael Bates, West Derby  (29/4/07)

Oh gawd No, not the Cahill bashing bit agina. Didn't we just do all this a little while back? — Michael


Another let-down by the blues. I will be down for a while... But, come next Satdee... Bring it on!
Andrew Cunningham, Australia  (29/4/07)

Once a Red...

If it was up to me, Phil Neville would never play in a blue shirt again. A former key Manchester United figure, brother still an integral part, friends and family all United fans and he scores a crucial equalizer with the Premiership title on the line? No. I don't believe there are many coincidences in life and this probably wasn't one of them. He should never play for us again ? even if it's just to avoid the appearance of inmpropriety. And it's not a loss, believe me. I've never seen one spark of enthusiasm from him. Like a number of players to have come our way in recent years, his main goal seems to be building up his retirement fund.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

Lessons v Man Utd

Lesson 1: Hibbert is a weak link. Every time Rooney had a one-on-one with him, I feared the worst ? and what was that pass for the third goal all about? He provides nothing going forward either. Moyes dropped Osman in on the left to double up with Lescott, but he chose the wrong full-back.

Neville will be squeezed out of midfield when Cahill returns. He belongs at right back and he has provided plenty of assists from that position. Plus he can see all the way across the backline from there and organise the offside trap better.

Lesson 2: Ever since the Fulham game at least we've been very fragile at set pieces. We've got the height and the heading ability in there, so it can only be down to organisation. Who are United's danger men with crosses into the box? Ronaldo, O'Shea, Heinze? Why, when we have Stubbs, Lescott and Yobo in our rearguard, was Vaughan marking Ronaldo and nobody on O'Shea? I'm surprised that Moyes hasn't addressed this before now. With the side that we've got, we should be unbeatable in the air.

Lesson 3: Moyes seemed to have found a new system yesterday that could accommodate all our flair players. With Arteta in his natural position on the right, Fernandes tucked in on the left and Carsley with (eventually) Cahill in the middle. It worked exceptionally well for an hour yesterday because it's nice, tight and compact like the famous midfield of Steven, Reid, Bracewell and Sheedy. What we need now is attacking full-backs to give us some width. Neville is the obvious candidate to take on the Gary Stevens mantle and I think that Micheal Ball on a free would be an excellent acquisition at left-back. Lesson 5: Turner was excellent apart from his inexplicable howler. He'll be an able deputy to Howard.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (29/4/07)


If Phil Neville had been signed from any other club than Untited 2 years ago, would he still be in our first team?

Moyes: give some "boomtown rat" like Southgate or Reoder a call... you may get more than your money back on him.
Bobby Dempster, Huyton  (29/4/07)

The Frustration Continues

Another crushing defeat and what a mess it was. It was an awful mistake by Turner that resulted in United's first goal but it was how the team and manager reacted to it that was the real worry. At 2-1 there was only one change to make and that was to bring on McFadden for Osman (who after a bright start did his usual fade badly routine).

What was the point of bringing on Beattie (who was going to do nothing) for Vaughan who had caused problems for United all game? Then to bring on Van der Meyde (who again would do absolutely nothing) for Carsley, who at least provides some sort of protection for the defence, was suicidal.

The manager is clueless, absolutely clueless. When the going gets tough, he reacts like a school kid making pointless substitutions just in hope. He's so out of his depth it's incredible. We still need a leader on the pitch and a leader off it. After Everton scored the first goal the team played deeper and deeper and were fortunate to go two up, albeit with a great goal. Instead of putting more pressure on United's dodgy defence we just sat back and invited trouble. All down to our useless manager.

And before anyone comes out with the 'we were playing a top team' excuse this happens every season against any old shite: Blackburn, Bolton, West Brom, Villa etc. And as I've said before it will keep happening again and again with the highly paid tosser continuingly destroying the reputation of our club.

All this talk of us having the best squad for a long time just doesn't stand up when we have to play our two quality centre midfielders wide while we have Carsley and Neville playing in the centre of midfield. If Moyes had signed quality players instead of Beattie, Van der Meyde, Neville, Krøldrup and Davies with the Rooney money, yes we could now say we have a strong squad. But he didn't.

This is not a knee jerk reaction to yesterdays defeat but to problems you can see week after week. The frustration continues!
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

No excusing Turner

Why do so many Evertonians persist in excusing Iain Turner? Every time he is given a first-team chance, he fucks up big time ? and I mean BIG TIME!

To follow his sending off and the four he let in against Chelsea, he was responsible for BOTH Man Utd`s opening goals yesterday. He compounded his dropping of the ball for the first by failing to come for the second and thus caused great consternation for his defence.

Come on, let`s get real, he`s not a kid ? he`s 23 and will NEVER make an Everton goalie as long as he`s got the proverbial ...
Nick Plowright, Kirkby  (29/4/07)

... are we missing something there, nick?

Get Real, Chumps

I can't believe the bullshit I am reading on TW this morning. I understand every one is shattered by yesterday's game but some of the postings are pathetic.

Firstly to Chris Dover and Mick Arthur who refuse to blame Moyes for anything concerning the defeat to Man Utd. I agree an individual error by Turner started the rot which led to defeat yesterday but don't try to tell me that's the first time we have ever caved in under Moyes. It happens all the time.

The reason we lost yesterday and at West Ham last week is because we play amateur style football and can never retain possesion for more than 10 seconds in any on stage of play during a game. Five years of Moyes and we still boot the ball fucking anywhere but to a team mate. Whose fault is that? Hoofball is the brain child of Moyes.

You lot just dont get it do you? It's all totally down to Moyes his tactics and his limited abilities concerning game plans. If you use the smallest football player in the squad, Osman, as a makeshift striker, like we did yesterday, and aim ball after ball to his head with absolutely no chance of him winning it and it comes straight back at you with in seconds, whose fault is that? It's the manager who employs these tactics, pathetic as they are, so it is he who is to blame for what happens out on the pitch. It's so fucking simple to understand.

Dick Fearon blames me for the defeat. How stupid is that. Did I pick the side, Dick? Are you really that thick to believe a posting on TW influenced Moyes's team selection? If it did, then Moyers is a bigger waste of space than I thought. You see, Dick, the goalkeeper situation is again Moyes's fault. If it was up to me, Richard Wright would have been out the door three years ago and a decent stand-in brought in. Not these bits of kids we have now. Moyes has signed six keepers in five years and yet, come yesterday, we have to play a reserve keeper aginst the Mancs because his record signing keeper Wright is useless. How's that my fault? Why did Moyes leave himself in a posistion were his best keeper was not going to be available in the most crucial game of our season?

Tony Hibbert fucks up again and Leon Osman has yet another stinker. Neviile has another terrible game in a Blue shirt and once more Beattie the none producer is given chance. I don't rate any of these players at all and none of them are good enough to wear the Blue Jersey but Moyes rates them and constantly plays them and your telling me it aint Moyes's fault.

Wise up, for fuck's sake. Moyes is the boss. He makes the decisions. He tells the players what to do out on the pitch. It's his tactics and his side out there on the feild. Five years of coaching his squad and only 2 or 3 of them can pass a ball 10 yards to another team mate.

Of course it is Moyes's fault, you fools!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

The beast is riled!!! You tell 'em Tony. Hell hath no fury than a prophet who is without honour in his own land... Or something like that! — Michael

I am torn...

... between wanting us to finish as high as we can this season and not wanting us in the Uefa Cup next season.

I can't believe Everton will have the money to strengthen the squad sufficiently to cope with an extra competition (assuming we achieve some sort of progression in it). I do believe we are majking progress in the league, though; with a couple more quality additions to the squad this summer, that progress may allow us to challenge for a top four place again next year but not if we have to deal with Europe as well.
Barry Bragg, Birkenhead  (29/4/07)

He is Scum, you better believe it!

No matter what you say Wayne Rooney is scum. Michael Owen at least gave LFC 5 or so years and he was an 'Evertonian' not even from the city. Fair enough he didn?t get the chance to come up through out ranks. However, Rooney did, loved the club, his whole family were Everton to the bone, proclaimed 'Once a blue Always a blue' and as soon as he got big... left.

Now if he had gone to another club beacuse he wanted to win things that wouldn?t have been so bad, but the fact that he decided to go to Man Utd, forget football for a second and realise the city rivalry, he screwed all Scousers ? blue or red; and don?t try and excuse him because he is a 'bit thick' he knew what he was doing. Now he kisses the ManUtd Badge, not only in Old Trafford but on our hollowed turf on the day that we were remembering a far supreme number 8! I have nothing but disrespect for this lad he knows he broke all our hearts. At least we can hit him were it hurts and next time he comes sing to him...

'Wayne Rooney is a wool, Wayne Rooney is a wool. And all the Scousers believe it, and all the Scousers believe it, and all the Scousers believe it. Your NOT welcome in Liverpool!'

To be called a wool and mean it by thousands of Scousers is possibly the worst insult, particularly if you indeed are/was a Scouser.
Milligan Gullivan, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

Well, at least that little diatribe illustrates why there will never be any progress among the neanderthals, who were eventually overrun. We've not harped on about this for a while but if you could understand the successful 'job' done on Rooney to alieneate him against the club and everything he had loved, as an essential process that laid the way for his transfer request and ultimate departure... If you could get it through your thick skull just how coreographed it all was, excatly so that the neanderthals like you would blame him completely, and not those who were really responsible. But nevermiond. It ain't gonna change anything for you, is it? — Michael

Individual errors

Gutted like the rest of you and it's easy to point the blame at individuals but here's my take on things:

Turner: turning point in the match but to label him as not fit to play for Everton as some pundits have claimed is a bit premature isn't it?

Neville: a conspiracy theory? I don't think I've seen a more honest professional. Didn't celebrate the 2nd goal ? maybe we'd have liked him more if he'd behaved like that disgraceful ameoba in front of the Park Life?

Now before I exonerate everyone ...

Hibbert: in my opinion, a disaster waiting o happen every match. Apart from being a great tackler, what other Premiership talents does he have? One of the first positions that I would look to strengthen next season.

Anyway, roll on Portsmouth ? all is not lost
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (29/4/07)


Bloody hell! I haven't felt as sick as this since losing the '89 cup final! I am almost speechless, almost! For all those with a weak deposition please do not read on.

John Cottee, Neil Humphrey, and any other idiot that slates Iain Turner or says 'oh we you got Turner and look what happened', are complete losers! Yes Turner messed up big time, don't you think he will know that tonight when he lays in bed reflecting. I really hope this doesn't end a promising career for him, but if prick fans get their wish then what a waste. Besides he just wasn't to blame, the goals after we conceded were unbelievable. Unbelievable for a team that prides itself on defending!

If fans want a hate figure then pick Phil 'Agent' Neville. I, and a few other fans, saw the captain having a long conversation with the Alex 'Evil emperior' Ferguson. That own goal sums the player up: SHIT! I never liked or rated him, and if we are to push forward he must be sold ASAP. Him, Hibbert, Beattie and Osman are all a waste of bloody time and wages, shop the lot of these pathetic mercenaries NOW!

Will I blame Moyes, NO I BLOODY WON'T! What the hell could he do against the best attacking team in Europe? He is totally without blame, and if I'm saying this then it must be true as I hate the guy! He can not have expected Everton to be as spineless as they were in the second half, and if we miss Europe because of today I personally will boo Neville and the other jokers mentioned before until they leave!

Rooney! I hope you break your legs and never play again. Enough said!

I am completely disillusioned by Everton ability to mess things up on such a consistent basis. Who is to blame? God knows, but just know Everton that I am a battered fan! You abuse me every bloody year yet I come back for more. Let?s attack for Europe or crash trying! COME ON YOU BLUES!
Luq Yussef, London  (29/4/07)

Ever try feng shui, Luq?! - Colm

Er... I thought feng shui was the placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment? Whereas tai chi chuan involves focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form and purportedly helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity... I'd say the clarity was there... but perhaps not the calm!


Could Neville have done any better regarding the poor attepmt of a goal line clearance? Deep down, he is still a Manc and probably wants them to win the Prem. You could also clearly see him saying 'Thanks, Boss', when Ferguson shook his hand at the end of the game.
Luke Dunn, Crosby,UK  (29/4/07)

Thoughts from the grassy knoll... - Colm

Sat back?

Jim Hourigan's article, Raw Nerves, was a different take on the game to mine. Does he really think we sat back? I think you must remember we were playing against a team miles ahead of us in ability, a team who can play quick possession football. It was surely a case of them forcing us back and causing us to "defend, defend, defend". I don't think we had much choice in the matter. Did Jim expect us to play keep ball and pass Man Utd off the park? Be realistsic.

It wasn't our negative attitude prevailing that lost us that game. Our defending was the key before that awful howler by the keeper. I've been very anti-Moyes this season but yesterday I felt he got it spot on and he couldn't account for some of our player's lack of bottle.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (29/4/07)

Have the title on us!

I am still recovering from yesterday's collapse against the Mancs, and I can't help thinking about the defining moment of the game. If Tim Howard had been in goal we would have IMO won that game, but maybe wily old Sir Alex had a hand in deciding that Tim wouldn't be able to play against his old club, and ultimately that decision has virtually secured the title for them. I wouldn't bet on us beating Pompey next week and totally fucking it up again at the last hurdle.

I can believe if the player was on loan he couldn't play, but I wonder if we even tried to get that changed when the transfer was agreed in February, despite the fact he will officially sign for us in the next transfer window.

My main point is though if the deal was done the other way and we were loaning a keeper to the Mancs, you can bet your life when the deal was agreed into a permanent one they would have renegotiated the deal to make sure he could play in a potentially crucial end of season game?

United fans are probably thinking we have gifted them the title, and they are not far wrong and I'm sure Jose Mourinho will be reminding his players of that fact, if we go to the Bridge with Chelsea having already lost the title, I can't see them rolling over for us!
Craig Stanley, Helsby  (29/4/07)

Its all Moyes Fault?

Well, here we go again, lost to United when we should have won. But hold on, the cry was up for Turner to play, and he did. Fernandes should play, he did. If Vaughan is fit he must play, err he did.

Ok then we got what they (the Moyes knockers) wanted, a bad error which let United in. A second mistake and it's all square. A third error, three two down. What does the cry go for, do not put on defenders to hold out so Moyes puts on two who can attack for two who can attack.

Where does that leave us? Let's find something else we can blame Moyes for. It's about time some gave him credit for the way things have gone this season, he is learning and will improve. When he has a full squad there are more choices, but I have a feeling until the Moyes out brigade get their way, it will continue. Then they can moan about who gets the job and start the cycle again.

Let's hope we can make Europe. I can see the letters being drawn up now as to how Moyes will be usless and not have the knowledge to get to win. Oh well nothing changes.
Chris Dover, Preston  (29/4/07)

Listening to the mob

David Moyes is entitled to look and sound angry after yesterday`s events. I suspect it will be a long time before he listens to the mob again and gives an inexperienced player the nod against his better judgement. As Doddy put it so aptly, Everton simply imploded after the Turner gaffe and that may well go down as the moment that our European dreams went down the plug-hole.

The descended into a rabble straight after `that` goal, and I can see little hope of an Everton recovery in time for the Portsmouth game, with at most another couple of points before the season`s end.

As Turner joins Glenn Keeley in the Everton Chamber of Horrors and gets ready to pack is bags for Sheffield Wednesday, we are left to rue the day Moyes put his faith in the ToffeeWeb Selection Panel!
Mick Arthur, Northop  (29/4/07)

Hahaha!!! The ToffeeWeb Selection Panel!!! Like it. Next season, we're overseeing the introduction of a Duckworth-Lewis style method for rain affected games. Honest, Guv. ? Colm

What do you expect?

He's abused, pilloried, taunted and mocked. People boo his every move, they wish he'll break his leg and that he'll catch the pox. They scream obscenities at him as he gets anywhere near the touchline with a venom at times that seems to border on the psychotic. So what does this 21-year-old lad do? What would YOUR 21-year-old do? What would YoU do?

He sticks it right up you and enjoys every minute of it ? and then everyone screams again at his antics and his character. What do people really expect? There is no one-way street when you give out this level of abuse and vitriol. As we all know, the footballing analogy is "if you can't take it don't dish it out"

Yes, he might be a little shit, he's clearly not the brightest shilling and he has said things that should not have been said. But for Christ's sake he was a teenager and what teenager has not thought they knew it all at 18? He didn't write his book, that's what ghost writers are employed for, and judging by his general lack of intellect I doubt he has read it to this day.

Deep down I think what really gals people most is that he actually left, and we all think that as Blues none of us would do this. Well look in the mirror folks, you're offered 3/4 times your salary with the almost guaranteed chance of silverware and you'd stay? Some of you no doubt would, but I think that an awful lot more when actually faced with it would leave, that's not heresy that's honesty.

What is inexcusable were the comments he made, but some of those were the naive defensive knee jerk reactions of a teenager who deep down knows he's hurt people who he understands. He's young, poorly advised and not very bright, but when the layers are pealed away is it still Blue? I for one think that it still might be but the longer the vitriol goes on, the less chance of it staying that way. For some of course that is exactly what they want and no forgiveness will ever be offered or sought. For these people though, don't complain when he throws it back in your face, you're not immune to the same shit you throw out.

For me, and I suspect many others, let's move on. No, we don't have to like him, deep down we can even loathe him, but let's recognise he is still one of the most talented footballers this club has ever produced. That doesn't mean we have to applaud him, in fact if we treated him with contempt and a lack of recognition he would probably struggle to understand that far more.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (29/4/07)

Couldn't agree more, Jim. Well said, particularly your initial poser: if it was YOUR young fella. I've no doubt in my mind that a personality such as Alex Ferguson will have wound up Rooney to the last, reminding him of the impending abuse and how to make best of such abuse by doing what he does best ? scoring goals. Yet again, he had the last word.

Ah well, at least our financial interest in seeing a rival club achieving success will be rewarded... - Colm


Michael, I don't think I need to grow up. I expect a bit of gloating back, but you could imagine Gerrard kissing an opposing teams badge in front of the Kop? NO.
Andy Lynch, London  (29/4/07)

I witnessed more than enough sickening bile inside and outside Goodison yesterday which truly sickened me. Evertonians? Pricks more like (I'll go into detail later). Far too much bile and energy (sic) is directed in Rooney's direction ? mainly from the collective of neanderthals who call themselves Evertonians. ? Colm

They want to be champions

So we're all 'gutted' (just about the most overused word in football).

Truth is, Man Utd want to be champions more than we want to be in the second rate Uefa Cup. Consolation: that goal from Manny was magnificent.

Midfield next year: Cahill, Arteta and Fernandes! Dare I say it ? a new holy trinity?!

All we need now is a defense!
John de Frece, Israel  (29/4/07)

Hibbert:Time to go

When will Moyes realise that Tony Hibbert is a clown, not fit to wear the shirt and certainly not Premiership quality. What was he thinking passing accross the line to a Man Utd player which led to Rooney scoring the third? He cannot pass, tackle or cross the ball with any consistency.

We played better a in defence when he was injured, what does that tell you?? We must have someone better than this idiot. No more excuses Tony, your're not good enough, time to go!
Rob Watson, Berkshire  (29/4/07)

Oh dear! ? Colm

FEAR and something else too...

I think Chris Jones is spot on. Because of the opposing team's reputation, player prowess etc., we keep ourselves in the bottle and refuse to come out and play like we truly can.

The hoof-ball, a time-tradition tactic for the lesser-minded and the hard grafted, is a lazy and self-destructive tactic that offers few risible rewards unless you have the requisite players to do it, and do it properly. The problem is, we don't; we hoof the ball out because we are too afraid to plan an attack from our own area of the field.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (29/4/07)

That's football....

It the simplest way of summing up our game against United. We did so well to get ourselves into the position we had. Then quite simply blew it. The difference between teams, usually, is that those at the top the players make less mistakes than those at the bottom, and it a sliding scale on the way down. Similarly, the teams at the top take more chances and again sliding scale down.

Unfortunately, the game really pointed out the differences between the two teams. Yes on our day, we can beat United. I think we showed that, but also, that that day can be taken away in an instant by two simple errors.

Blaming Turner or Captain Professional is daft. They were unlucky to make their howlers in this game and ultimately, those two mistakes gave United all they needed to go on and win. Scream from the high heavens about how Moyes should have done this or that. But end of the day, football has far more variables than just what the manager can take care of.

All this talk of Europe has gone, what a great defeatist attitude that is, sometimes feel like refering people to that moto we seem to hear a lot about... Everything is in the teams hands, two games to go; after that, we will find out just how well we have faired this season. Let's take it apart bit by bit, game by game when we get there hey? Cos as always, hindsight is a beautiful thing.
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (29/4/07)

Get off his back

Turner made one crucial mistake and everyone's on his back. He was brought in unexpectedly against arguably the best team in Europe and actually did a pretty good job. His positional sense was spot on.

Had the rest of the team not already capitulated, his save when Ronaldo seemed certain to score from the one-on-one would have been redemption for the howler and we'd all be patting him on the back.

God knows what sort of lunacy we might have got from Wright under the same circumstances.
David Hamilton, Melbourne, Australia  (29/4/07)

Seems David Moyes wasn't too impressed:

"The keeper's error was a big turning point in the game. If we had lost to United with their style and attacking ability, which is fantastic, I'd have said, okay. But we gave them two goals. If United had opened us up and scored brilliant goals, the way they can, I'd be the first to say it is hard to stop that.

"But we could certainly have done something to have stopped those goals. The first one certainly, and the second. We let the goal come across the box for their third and the fourth one could have been avoided by kicking the ball up the park, not giving it to them. For me, the goals were poor all round. I'm disappointed we made it easy for United in the end, they got a slice of luck but it was down to that first goal. I do not think they would have got back into the game had it not been for that first goal."

True Blue?

Martin Cutler:

"From an England perspective, I thought he was the hero last Tuesday getting the winner for Utd"

Who in their right mind would want Utd to do well in Europe ? English or not!

Hero, my arse - When has he performed for our national team? When did he step up against the average teams playing against Everton? Answer - never! I'm not a scouser myself but I would be disgraced if one of my fellow "die-hard running through my blood" mates from my town kissed the badge of a rival.

People on this site are claiming Neville didn't celebrate when we scored, the guy is showing respect for his former employers, he's a true gentleman. He doesn't claim to have always hated his former colleagues like some Shrek-looking illiterate back-stab your manager arse who rants against the manager who protected him from the media. Remember the name? Dixie Dean, Alan Ball, Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp, Neville Southall, Howard Kendall, Gary Lineker, Duncan Ferguson, Dave Watson, Alan Stubbs, Tony Hibbert - blue through and through.

Remember the name? I sure do, it's the name of a player that betrayed his roots and showed a complete lack of respect for his origins. I have more respect for Steven Gerrard than one Waynetta Rooney!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (29/4/07)

Van der Meyde's hair

I see Andy van der Meyde has shawed his head. Good choice as it was getting thinner up there anyway. Does this mean we will see him do defence-splitting passes and matchwinning displays at Anfield and Wembley, like Anders Limpar?
Lars Eidissen, Tromso, Norway  (29/4/07)

Today's Game

Some points:

We need to get into Europe (at whatever level) not for the money and at the risk of overstretching the squad, but to retain (Arteta especially) and attract the players everyone seems to agree we need.

Osman is a luxury player ? OK, when you are beating up on a crap team but not much use in a scrap or when the pressure is on.

I don't buy this shit about Neville and deliberate own goals. He's not good enough to do it deliberately anyway. But he shouldn't be the captain. Of the starting eleven today it should have been Stubbs and next season Lescott (perhaps not surprisingly I'd have a bit of a problem with Cahill),

Goalkeepers all make howlers from time to time ? and he is Scottish after all isn't he?

Rooney's a prick but so what? Get over it.
Andy Crossen, Auckland, New Zealand  (29/4/07)

Where did it all go wrong?

Thankfully, Tony Marsh and other pro Turnerites do not pick the team every week. The tide began to turn when, in excellent weather conditions, our goalkeeper under no pressure got both hands to a simple catch then dropped it. The tide became a flood when he failed to deal with high cross that dropped a few feet from where he was rooted to his goal line. That kind of save is routine to social club keepers on the local park.

Hibbert, having seen United carve us open with diagonal passes that often began in their own penalty area, thought to try the same. He should have stuck to the game plan and booted the ball 50 yards upfield regardless we had anyone in its vicinity. I doubt very much we shall see any more fancy nonsense from our Tony. Such thinking could lead to good football and we don?t want any of that stuff now, do we?
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (29/4/07)

Whats the story, Man U glory !?

Maybe I am missing something but I was led to believe that Tim Howard was NOW a Everton player. So can someone please explain why he wasn't able to play today. Was he injured? Is Everton now owned by Man Utd? I sometimes wonder ? especially when the team capt puts it in his own net.

But back to Howard, I would understand if he was still on loan, but didn't that end in January?

Did anyone notice who the ref was....... interesting. ALL THE USUAL SUSPECTS.

ps: someone needs to finish Rooney! God I wish Pat Van was still playing... maybe Essen will lose it next week?
David Barlow, Colorado, USA  (29/4/07)

Oh for God's sake, do keep up, will you!

The deal, supposedly making him an Everton player, was "signed" on 14 Febraury 2007 ? outside the transfer window. So the loan deal he was on officially continued to the end of the season. Despite everything the club said on their website, it seems he does not become an Everton player officially until the summer. The loan deal did not end in January. "Why Not?" would be a really good question to ask... — Michael


Some of us quietly cried at the pre-match tribute to Alan Ball, but it left us with a hope that this game would be a fitting tribute. As a spectacle, any neutrals watching got fair value. Stubbs's goal, while welcome, came maybe a little too early and United ever so slowly wound up their efforts, but we wern't out of it and I always had the feeling that we could get another, if we only kept going at them. In fact the first half was quite creamy.

United came out for the second half well wound up and had us on the back foot until Fernandes took aim with an unstoppable shot. Hindsight, where would we be with out you. I've lost count over the years how many times 2-0 gets turned over. 'One goal lads and you're back in it, get one and they'll fold' ? I've heard it and said it a dozen times. Getting the one tho'... that's the hard part.

So what happens? Moyes does the right thing and it backfires on him. With no close physical pressure, Turner drops a soft one. We all know the rest.

When it came for both teams to bring on the subs, ours seemed to detract from the overall team effort and theirs added to it. But, as in most things, you get what you pay for (surely now the end of the road for McFadden and Beattie?) £6.5M for the two... Quietly Crap: Ronaldo; £12M ... QC Quality Counts.

Blame Moyes??? Some will; some won't. All the usual supects apply here. I think that it comes down to, no matter how good, or not, you are, if you don't get dealt the cards in your hand you can't play them. We are now 6th, it won't take a lot to get us to 3rd, but the top two are still a class above us... Quality Counts!
Derek Thomas, Torbay Auckland  (29/4/07)

Cheer up....

Come on everybody, cheer up... we just gifted a game (or so it would appear) to arguably the best team in Europe right now (let's not start a chain of comments about whether they are or not, if not the best they are certainly in the top five) ... I'm as gutted as anybody today, nearly in tears in fact, but let's be realistic....our final position is based on all 38 games ? NOT just the one we played today.

A bigger crime was losing to West Ham, not Man Utd, after what they did to Roma and the comeback from AC Milan. Did you really think they were going to give up at 2-0 down? Did we blow it? YES ? and it's depressing as hell but I'd rather lose like this than to relegation fodder. I'd rather be fighting for Europe than be relegation fodder ourselves.

I watched Moyes's interview afterwards (BBC site) and I actually felt sorry for him. It does NOT appear Moyes is to blame ? the players, for a change, are to blame.

This site here is like a rollercoaster... we all want Turner in goal, he makes one mistake and all of a sudden he's shite.... mebbe Richard Wright would have done better? Ha!

All this dislike for Rooney (or Shrek as I call him just to piss The Mrs off!) ? get over it! From an England perspective, I thought he was the hero last Tuesday getting the winner for Utd, and if he's given the chance to score against us, what would you expect him to do?

Bottom line: we just have to beat Portsmouth and with a bit of luck we'll be in Europe next season. By the way, as Man Utd won and especially with Chelsea dropping two, all being well the last game won't be the pressure game it could otherwise be. So we might pull points from Chelsea too.

Beating Portsmouth means they can't overtake us, and Reading would have to get nine points unless we beat Chelsea too then we're definitely safe! Regardless of what Spurs and Bolton do.
Martin Cutler, Canton, OH, USA  (28/4/07)

Safe?!?! Uh!?? ... Blink, and it's a relegation battle... Arrrrgh! — Michael

When does 'less' mean 'more'?

How come we keep gettng told by EFC, Sky TV, the BBC, Guardian etc that Everton have responded to the fans and reduced ticket prices when in fact (for some of us) they have put them up? If you have a seat in the Park End you will have noticed that you are now paying MORE than last season for the same seat despite the fact that the club keep perpetuating the myth that EFC are trying to reward their fans by holding prices down.

Despite the massive hike in Sky Money to the Premiershits, all clubs are intent on screwing as much as they can out of the fans and that includes Everton. Because we are fans we are treated as customers but there is no risk attached to this strategy because they know we will continue to turn up and there is no possibility of taking our custom elsewhere so we get screwed.

I suppose someone's got to subsidise the wage packets of Beattie, Van der Meyde and Pistone but don't tell lies about it.
Mike Keating, Liverpool  (29/4/07)

I think that's the difficult challenge if you love yer footie: you pays yer money, and it goes to a not-so-worthy cause. If you have any qualms about it, then don't pay. Simple as. I know it's like a drug really, and you still pay up even when you don't really like what's going on. But the cold hard logic is that you help to sustain and promote it by continuing to pay for something you are not 100% behind. It's not them screwing you, because, at the end of the day, it's your choice.

It's all very well citing the shite players as recipients of your hard-earned, but don't you think you might also be helping Everton pay the salaries of players you do want to see: Arteta, Fernandes, Johnson, Lescott... — Michael

Quick reply

Fair point in comparison to granny grabber but I honestly think he looked disappointed when Manny scored or maybe he was just shocked and

How can he lead by example when his loyalties lie elsewhere? You say it would have gone in if he was not there ? that logic amazes me he was paid to be there, he was there; he failed to do his job there. As for split seconds as a ninternational of his standing we are entitled to expect better.

As for Hibbert, this is not the first time he's played this type of ball. I feel gutted for the players let down by their mates and as for Rooney he's a yob. If he was not a footballer, he'd probably be doing time. I just hope I'm there when he gets what he deserves. He's a disgrace to the city.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (29/4/07)

So let me run this by you: Perhaps Neville behaved towards his old team in exactly the way you wanted Rooney to behave towards his old team... Confusing, init? Why don't we all just drop this Neville/Rooney shite, 'coz really it's all bollocks. We lost. We're all gutted. Please, let's stop being silly about it. — Michael

The Turner Clanger

For an hour, things were bloody fantastic. Two goals up against Man Utd. The well-drilled and disciplined team were proving unbreakable, I remember one shot being blocked by three Everton players.

Turner's clanger (will it now become folklore like Dickie falling out of his loft?) turned the game. It gave Man Utd a way back into the game just when it looked like Everton could withstand anything. Not only did it give Man Utd a way back into the game, it gave them the confidence they needed to believe they could win.

It also deflated the Everton team, who collapsed under the pressure. I think even the fans knew that, once the first goal went in, there was only going to be one winner. You have to blame Turner for the mistake, it's hard on the youngster but just like his sending off against Blackburn ? he deserves the critism. Dickie Wright would be suffering the worst insults around if he had played and made that error.

It was a big pressure game for Turner to handle and we will never know if the more experienced Wright would have handled it better. Maybe Wright would have caught that cross and the Everton side would have continued to hold on for the win. We will never know. It just goes to show that youth isn't always the better option. We all wanted Turner. We spent all week demanding him.

Was Moyes planning to play Wright? It certainly looked that way early in the week. Did Moyes pick up on the fans opinions? Did Moyes fear another Spurs backlash if he played Wright and Everton lost?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

Gutted, but keep it real

I think today's result was the most disappointing of the season so far. I'd say more disappointing than Spurs even because we had this game won. I left Goodison feeling like I'd been mugged and the day just got worse when the other results came in.

I can't really say that the performance was disappointing because for an hour we were very good. United will be worshipped in the paper's and on TV for their 'remarkable comeback' but to be honest, we gifted them three goals. Every piece of attacking play they produced we defended with little trouble. Their only chances came from hideous mistakes by Turner and Hibbert and that was the saddest part about it.

I feel I also have to comment on some of the letters published after today's game which I find just as disappointing. Now I'm as deflated about the result as anyone you'll meet but to suggest conspiracy theories as a factor in the result is so sad I can barely believe I read it. To suggest that the captain of our team willingly put the ball into his own net is beyond pathetic. People have suggested he should have used his other foot and maybe he should have but bear in mind (a) you have watched replays and had more than a tenth of a second to think about it and (b) the ball was going in anyway if Neville wasn't there. He lashed a foot at it and it went the wrong way, there's no need to suggest he's a cheat. I find that distasteful and insulting.

Oh, and to whoever backed up their theory with the evidence that Neville wasn't celebrating as vehemently as the rest of the players when we scored, maybe that's because he has a bit of respect for the Club that made him what he is, unlike that odious wastrel Rooney.

Similarly, the calls for Moyes's head are also pathetic. We are not going to sack the manager with two games to go and whilst we are on the brink of a European place. Why call for Moyes's head when there is NO CHANCE of him going anywhere? Kenwright's belief in him didn't falter one jot when we were bottom of the league last season so it certainly isn't going to whilst we are 6th. Today wasn't Moyes's fault ? he didn't knock the ball out of Turner's hands and if Hibbert would have employed the tactic most of you seem to despise by hoofing the ball forward, we may have come away with at least a point.

It's not as rosy as a fortnight ago but it's still in our own hands. The season hasn't ended tragically because it hasn't ended yet. We still have six points to play for and if we get them then we will have acheived a satisfactory number of points from the run in. Don't write the obituary until we're dead and buried for fuck's sake.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (28/4/07)


I have never until today doubted Manc Neville, but a few observations from today changed that.

  • First, I want a stewards inquiry about his goal.
  • Second I'm disabled but I could have joined the goal celebrations a lot quicker
  • And did anyone else notice him standing there waiting for Fergie to thank him?
While on a rant, I don't rate Moyes but today was not his fault. Some one posted earlier asked if he was the only one who thought Hibbert was shite? The short reply is: "No, you are not alone."

Finally I keep hearing praise for Turner which is fine... it's just up to now I'm not impressed. Osman has not played a decent game in weeks so I hope Bill's 247 search is fruitful cos this squad is not up to expectations of any True Blue.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (28/4/07)

So it's the best squad we've had for twenty years... but they still fall short of expectations? I can't keep up! — Michael

Mr Dignity

I posted a letter last week re: Alan Ball & dignity from transfered players. The antics from the low life scumbag kerb crawler after scoring a very ordinary goal where vile and totally uncalled for and really showed just what he is no matter any of the rights or wrongs of his departure. He should be done for his behaviour in possibly inciting crowd trouble. Still a great player but what a cretin of a person.. And Ferguson has asked Moyes to drop his case .I hope NOT. I realy do pray he gets what his conduct on & off the pitch deserves! Soon please...
Jimmy Jameson, Cheshire  (28/4/07)

Uefa Cup

Anybody else's arse twitching at the moment? I have got one awful shitty feeling that we are gonna fuck up! Please, PLEASE, let us get a result against Pompey. Uefa Cup? or fuck up? PLEASE don't let it happen!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (28/4/07)

I fucking knew it...

I watched today's game with a total Man Utd fan. He had the decency to say we deserved our half-time lead and that Fernandes's goal was a cracker. He also had the decency to say 4-2 flattered Man U somewhat.

Getting back to the "I fucking knew it" bit. Turner was picked, Turner fucked up and BANG the people that bayed for his selection turn on him. I have no more to say on that.

Moyes put on strikers to try and reverse our fortunes. Moyes didn't let us down today, even Mr Marsh might agree on that, the players did. Although I think Lescott gets a pass on that front, probably Arteta and Fernandes too.

A little advice. The way that cunt Ronaldo is playing you should order your least worthy player to give him a two-footed ankle breaker. Go down to 10? Of course you do. But he's out of the game as well.

The players bottled it today. Moyes didn't.

ps: The OG? I doubt Neville did it on purpose. If he did. Then he isn't the solid, if unspectacular, professional I always thought he was. But he didn't do it on purpose. It is just unfortunate it was against his old club.

pps: We NEED to beat Portsmouth AND Chelsea now. 4 points will do it. 0 points and goodbye Europe. It's up to the players now. Moyes shouldn't have to gee them up one bit if they actually give a fuck about winning. Rant over.
Stuart Beresford-Kelly, Newcastle  (28/4/07)

Hope Springs Eternal

Watch this, see the anger in his eyes and believe...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (28.4.07)

A Grand Old Team

The season is far from over, Tony Marsh. It's the most exciting part. Everton are sixth with only two games to go. Everton are very much involved in the race for Europe. If we beat Pompey then they will not be able to catch us and that will almost certainly mean Uefa Cup.

Even if the unthinkable happens and Everton don't reach Europe, I will not go against Moyes. At the start of the season I claimed that a Top 10 finish was a must for Moyes and he's delivered that, Europe is a bonus.

I still believe though that we will beat Pompey, this season is going to end on a high. I refuse to give up Tony Marsh, I don't care what you might say.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

From my seat

No points toward Europe from a game in which we contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The game had an emotional prelude with due recognition being afforded to the much loved and dearly missed Alan Ball. I am sure his family, who joined in the celebration and indeed went to the Street End and his son held his arms aloft a la Bally, were impressed with the reception received.

Team selection showed Vaughany up front, which gave me hope after last week's toothless display. The game started in ordinary fashion with each team giving as good as they got. Then on 12 minutes we get a free kick in Arteta range and I think all present including the United players thought he would take it. But no, up steps Stubbs and smashes a shot into goal via the foot of Carrick. An early lead, something for us all to hold onto and in the main we did with only a good save by Turner to deny Rooney to trouble us to the half-way mark.

As expected Utd came out second half with a greater tempo but we doggedly repelled them and with about six minuets gone Arteta fed a good ball to the marauding Fernandes who smashed a memorable goal past the stationary keeper. On to the hour mark and we didn't look in that much bother until from a corner our stand in-keeper inexplicably failed to catch a routine ball into his hands and O'Shea had the easiest of tap-ins. From that moment, for whatever reason, we seemed to lose it mentally and play some of the most panic-ridden schoolboy stuff as I have seen for many a day.

Utd sensed this and went for the kill and without them being that clinical we proceeded to gift them further chances that they gleefully took. Hibbert took the blame for the equaliser for playing a loose ball across our penelty area but it could have been anyone as countless others were doing similar things. From the resultant corner I felt both Turner and Neville could and should have done better but the ball still ended up in the net via Neville. 2-2

The manager had by this time made subs by introducing Beattie and McFadden for the tiring but otherwise excellent Vaughan and the rather weak but spirited Osman. But to no avail as more sloppy play let in Rooney to slot home, effectively game over. Although Utd did get one more at the death when we had all but given up. Some say Turner deserved sympathy and understanding for his horrendous error as he is young but I have no truck with that as simple handling errors have no bearing on age, if it had been a more technical error, well yes, but basic stuff: no.

But was that any excuse for the rest of the team to cave in mentally as they surely seemed to given the errors made?

I thought today laid bare both our shortcomings and what is needed to continue our perceived steady progress and is a challenge for both Chairman and manager in the coming transfer window. <> Today, I gave my MotM for us to Lescott for a good steady display and for handling Ronaldo ,when he came on, as good as any player I have seen against him. But my overall MotM was Scholes who controlled that midfield with majesty and vision and if he made himself available for England would surly solve the Lampard/Gerrard conundrum. How we need an orchestrater like him.

I trudged somewhat slothfully from the ground and on turning into Spellow Lane I looked up at the mural on the gable and saw Harvey, Kendall and Ball and thought what we could have done with those in the team; mental collapse was not in their make up. At that moment as I reflected I am sure I heard 60,000 voices singing:-
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (28/4/07)

Don't Blames Moyes

I simply can't understand the letters blaming Moyes for today's result. Yes, there are longer-term issues we can blame him for, such as the chronically small squad, but today it was individual mistakes that cost us the game ? not the manager's tactics. After all, for 60 minutes we harried and harrased this year's Champions and were 2-0 up. I'm convinced that if Turner had held onto that ball we'd have won this game. He didn't and we didn't so we'll never know.

Finally, a special mention to the granny shagger - you are a disgrace to your heritage and upbringing you filthy little scrote. On the day we remembered an Everton legend, your behaviour showed that you don't have 1% of the class or grace of someone like Alan Ball.
Chris Leyland, Formby  (28/4/07)


I have to say that, unlike Tony Marsh, I hate Liverpool far more than Man Utd, and if we can't, then I don't mind them winning things as it winds up the Gobshites like nothing else. I also don't hate Rooney... he is a thick scally and reacts to the abuse he gets like a thick scally would. What do you expect? He doesn't have any class apart from his footballing ability, we all know that and so he retaliates in the only way he can by winding people up, kissing badges, showboating etc.

In some ways I feel sorry for him, his audience treat him like the hired help that he so clearly is. They have no love for him whatsoever and clearly no respect with their scouser songs. The thing that pisses me off though is that our players, the ones that can directly affect things, seem to still revere him and almost seem scared of him. No doubt he is 'harder' than any of our players on show but show a bit of character for God's sake! A player taking the piss in our own backyard as well as winding up our supporters should be put in his place. If that means a red card in the last minute for a ridiculous scything challenge then so be it. An injury would make him think next time and although I wouldn't wish a bad injury on him, I think retribution of the Peter Reid kind was in order. The sight of Stubbs and Hibbert turning into star struck Sunday leaguers around him, that still want to be his mate after the game, was sickening.

I also have to say that I really didn't like the Phil Neville scenario one bit. I'm sure he didn't do anything on purpose but his attitude was wrong and I got the distinct impression he was partially pleased for his old team and would have been invited to celebrate with them if it was the clincher.
Mike Price, Vancouver,BC  (28/4/07)


This is becoming a bit of an obsession for me I know.

However devastated I was from today's game, the one thing that stood out to me was Rooney's goal celebration. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't give a shit about players winding the opposing fans up, but for him to do that dance and kiss Man Utd badge in front of the Park End was nothing short of heresy. What makes a person turn on his own people like that? Wayne Rooney is truly the epitome of everything I hate about the game today. How could such a God-given talent be trusted to one so treacherous? I pity you Wayne, you would sell your own Granny, but not before you shagged her first.
Andy Lynch, London  (28/4/07)

Honestly, after all the shit he gets on a constant basis whenever he comes to Goodison, what do really expect? This idea that it's fine for Evertonians to hate the kid's guts, and then go all righteous when he gives some back is hipocrisy of the highest order. Grow up, please. — Michael

The Captaincy

By the antics of our present Captain today, Phil Neville, re conspiracy theory and others letters, it's time to hand the armband to either Lescott or Cahill who are the only players who would run through a brickwall for our beloved blues.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (28/4/07)

Okay, that's enough of this nonsense. If you really think he did it deliberately, please take your stupid thoughts elsewhere. — Michael

Possession and the Gulf in Class

I don't think I've ever felt quite so gutted by a game as today. The Bally emotion, then 2-0 up, apparently defending heroically, then the calamitous errors, and all the teams winning around us ? and the European dream (nay, financial necessity) could now very likely be taken away from us.

But on reflection we did not lose just because of the errors. Nor for sure because Moyes tactically failed to 'kill the game'. [Note: AC Milan couldn't 'kill the game' against Man Utd when they were leading!] Actually, if I have one tactical criticism of Moyes it is that he was not more defensive today, and did not bring on Naysmith for Osman in the first half, when we were getting beaten on the wings, and Osman was obviously useless.

No, we lost firstly because we lacked attacking outlets (Vaughan was terrific, but of course we missed AJ). And compounding that was the biggest reason of all. We simply do not have enough players who can actually keep possession of the ball, and then pass it to another player in the same shirt.

We have three types of player. Those who can RELIABLY keep possession and pass ? only really Arteta, Fernandes, Lescott and AJ to tell the truth. Those who FREQUENTLY actually give the ball away ? Osman, Neville, Carsley, Hibbert, and McFadden in descending order of incompetence. And the rest. (Vaughany to be fair looks like he may join the first category in time.)

And if you can't keep possession, you are not going to keep Man Utd at bay for 90 minutes. Simple as that. The Fernandes goal wasn't just a wonder strike, it was also a neat passing exchange between he and Arteta.

The moral is well known. If we are to progress we must sign Fernandes (and more players like him), and at the least demote those who can't pass to squad players. And yes, that most definitely includes Neville.

One final thought for next season. Please - Cahill for Captain.
Neil Pearse, London  (28/4/07)

Top Ten

I kinda thought we were guaranteed Europe next season, but i'm worried were not even going to finish top 10, everything was rosy just before West Ham, now we will lose to Portsmouth and Chelsea... but at least we will get £500k from Man Utd...
Lee Howard, Napier, New Zealand  (28/4/07)

It ain't over 'til it's over... surely you knew that already. — Michael

A Favour?

Let's try to be positive about today's hiding. Rooney and Co did us a favour in helping to save us from an embarrassing Uefa Cup qualification. A squad the size of ours cannot look at Cup matches in addition to 38 Premier games. Now we can all see that Turner has to follow Wright out of Goodison. Iain Turner seems like a nice lad and we will find a good use for his transfer fee when he joins Sheffield Wednesday.

Also demonstrated, for every Blue to see, was the fact that Phillip Neville cannot be trusted. He will be difficult to move on, given his long contract and high salary, but one positive step would be to take the captaincy off him immediately. Blood is thicker than water and Neville will always be a red after spending 11 years at Old Trafford. That was probably his best finish of the season.

Beautiful goal from Fernandes and another great display from 'Player of the Year' Lescott. We never finish the season well so can anybody be surprised at the last two results? There's always next season and I firmly believe that we have the players to comfortably stay in the Premier for yet another year.

Europe? ? Behave !!!
Glen Strachan, Oaxaca , Mexico  (28/4/07)

Keep the faith!

Today, for the first time this season, I came away from the game with sadness in my heart. For 60 minutes we had held our own ? nay, had United on the back foot. But then, following a disaterous individual error by young Turner, the team simply imploded. As I have said so many times before, it is just too easy to blame David Moyes. Today we lost because too many were found wanting. But we all have to keep the faith, Davey will see us through!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (28/4/07)

Hmmm... So the Spurs game didn't make you even just a little bit sad? — Michael

Aah Bless

All these 'plucky Everton and brave Moyes' e.mails have almost brought a tear to my eye.

Back in the real world, however, the Mancs will have gone away thinking that we remain the softest of soft touches. The rest of the football world will look on and think "Wwhat a bunch of bottlers!" ? and both would be dead right (progress still being made, mind you!!!).

The most interesting and relevant comparison to our result today was of course Bolton's. In a more difficult game (ie, they were away to a team at least as talented as Man Utd) they came away with a draw ? anyone spot the difference ? no hard-luck stories, they just got the job done against the odds.

Even a cursory glance at Moyes's record as manager reveals one consistent key theme ? a total inability of his teams to cope with pressure.

  • In 02-03 we stumbled over the finish line to miss out on Europe.
  • Never mind though as in 03-04 big things were expected and the result was of course a total nightmare.
  • With no pressure at all the following season we produced a blistering start but once the weight of expectation increased we collapsed and crawled over the finish line.
  • Never mind as again in 05-06 big things were expected but the season was a complete non-event (progess still being made mind you!!!!).
And so to the current situation and the game against Pompey, which I believe could be a defining moment for Moyes. Again, the pressure will be on (relatively speaking anyway as we are only talking about a play off for the Intertoto ? oh, the pressure!). What will be the outcome? ? who knows... but all the signs are not good.

In reality there can be excuses (injuries, small squad etc will all become so much bollocks next week and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves and they know it). It is a game we must win ? if we don't Moyes will still be Everton manager but the words 'progress' and 'genius' will simply become more laughable than they already are.

It is hard judging a man on one game but that's what sport is all about at the highest level ? taking your chance when the moment presents itself.

ps: In the final game when Chelsea will have the deckchairs out, how many Everton fans would put money on Moyes getting It's the sound of silence...
John Doolan, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

The truth about Turner

All week I have been calling for the inclusion of Turner over Wright. Tonight, in the pub, blessed with the benefit of hindsight, someone asked me why? Do you know, all I could think to say was `Because he isn`t Wright!! How bloody daft is that!

After today`s debacle, I`ve suddenly realised that it ain`t so easy to be a football manager ? not when players make howlers like Turner did today!
Ned Diskin, Hale  (28/4/07)

Let's get some context

It's in the very nature of football supporters to need a scapegoat and to point the finger over disappointments. I don't think anyone would have been that devastated or surprised if we'd lost 4-2 if the scoring or the way the game went had been different than it was. 2-0 up was great but beyond any of our expectations.

The game turned on individual mistakes, not on Moyes tactics or even on any great surge by the opposition. Turner and Hibbert were the guilty ones, no doubt, it's a shame but they're the facts for me. Like probably everyone else, I was as edgy as it gets once we'd gone 2 up but, looking back, pretty as United's football was, they there going nowhere fast until the keeper's error.

What though disappointed me more than anything was the behaviour throughout of our former "Once a Blue... blah blah". He's not a kid anymore, he should know better. Constant niggles, leaving his foot, arm, and anything else he could in on many former team-mates was low for me, but his piss-taking on the touchline near the end was scandalous. I wouldn't have blamed any of our players for going right through him there, for me someone should have.

It's maybe hard to look for plus points right now, but this season at Goodison we've beaten Liverpool and Arsenal, and been ahead for long periods against the other two "big clubs". Patience is difficult, but I think real progress is being made. I don't go to these games expecting inevitable defeat anymore and we are getting closer to these arrogant teams. I just wish Moyes had a little more faith in the talent of players he has at his disposal now and was more positive in his approach.
Lee Gorre, Leeds  (28/4/07)

Players ? not manager ? to blame

I know most of my postings are in criticism of Moyes but today`s debacle had nothing to do with his usual inadequasies. In short, too many players let him ? and Everton ? down. He fielded the team we all demanded and employed the tactics we all expected. But you just can`t legislate for howlers such as those demonstrated by Turner, Neville and Hibbert.

I have little sympathy for Turner who started the rot. Like Wright, he is disaster-prone and will never make an Everton goalkeeper. The other two I have mentioned are in no way good enough for the top tier but, as we decline to the 8th position (which Doddy will claim as progress), I guess they will just have to do!
Brian Noble, Freshfield  (28/4/07)


Watch MotD, when Fernandes scores... I pointed out to my mate next to me, Neville's chin was on the floor. Every Everton player was on top of Fernandes; Neville was strutting from the centre circle towards the player ? he did not look happy. Then he scores an oggy. Coincidence? ? I think not.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (28/4/07)


What a horrible way to gift the Manc twats 3 points. They didn't win it ? we threw it away. The decision to play Turner backfired and he was at fault for the first two goals. At 2-0 up we were cruising and only our own mistakes allowed them back in to the game.

It was quite obvious though early in the second half that Leon Osman who was having a stinker[again] should of been replaced before they scored their first goal. Every time he got the ball, he either fell over, got caught in possesion, or passed to one of their players.

This long-ball shit has got to stop. That's another reason we ended up getting creamed. Possesion is the key to winning games. If you constantly give the ball away by hoofing it up field then you are inviting trouble.

I don't think Vaughan had one pass to feet all game and, with Osman playing in a forward role, he too got the ball aimed at his bonce all day. If we must play this long ball to heads crap then, for fuck's sake Moyes, sign some tall players to play up front. Peter Crouch or John Stead-size players ? not all these fucking dwarfs we ask to play as target men. I hate the long ball system but if that's all Moyes knows then bring in the men to make the fucking thing work.

I hope Man Utd get smashed in Milan next week just to see the smirk wiped off Rooney's face. He has got to be the most vile scouser ever to breath air.

Well, that's just about it for the season, boys; and, just like I said all along, the wheels were bound to come off in the end. We really do need a change at the top ? not just because of today's result but to guarantee a better future for our club. This one-dimensional manager, Moyes, is well out of his depth when it comes to pushing on. Today wasn't really his fault but as ever we fell apart under pressure and caved in big time. If we are really honest with ourselves, it's been like that for five years now and it's not going to change as it is.

I feel sorry for our fans who deserve much much more than this. So many false dawns... it's getting so hard to carry on. Its getting to the point now were the pain of being an Evertonian is so bad, I want to give in. How much more dissapointment and misery can we the loyal Blues take?

We will find out next week if we don't beat Portsmouth ? that's for sure. It is now odds-on we won't be in Europe next season... so what then? Will Atress, Cottee and the rest of the apologists still defend Moyes at all costs? Only time will tell..
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (28/4/07)


I was hoping to be able to write something positive on here following the Man Utd game, and it was looking as if that would be possible at 2-0.

I just cannot believe what happened. The roles completely switched after half time. Let's not kid ourselves, the Turner gaff was not the only turning point. Utd came out the more hungrier and wanting to bring themselves back into contention. Our inability to keep the ball cost us, and the fact we had no real outlet upfront was also a big factor. Even bringing Beattie and McFadden on did not change this. The outstanding performers were those who actually know how to put the ball on the floor and play football, ie Fernandes, Arteta, Lescott and to a lesser extent Vaughan and Yobo.

At one point, David Moyes's tactics were working fine, so anyone who comes out and says he lost us today's game is foolish and knows very little. There is only so much a manager can do; once those players pass the white line, it is up to them.

If we had more players who were more interested in passing the ball about, retaining possession and making openings rather than resorting to hoofing the ball clear and giving the defence 30 seconds respite, we might have stood a chance in the second half.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Wallasey  (28/4/07)

Rooney is a wanker

Sorry to sound so fucking sucked off but I need a rant. How can this guy go from a diehard Evertonian to kissing the badge of the Scum? Lucky, jammy bastards, fluke, fluke, fluke. Come on AC Milan and whoever else plays them.
Chris Wilmot, South Wales  (28/4/07)

Well Said, Stefan

Don't get me wrong ? I am absolutely gutted, but Stefan is right: there is not too much to complain about.

Despite my hollow feeling, deep inside, most of us blues weren't expecting any points from today's game before it started. We hoped and didn't give up but only the daft could really have been actually expecting us to get points. Man Utd are a loathsome but highly talented side. Read the highlights in their team sheet, Rooney, Ronaldo, Van der Sar, Scholes, Giggs... Is anyone seriously suggesting that this is a team they EXPECTED to beat?

In addition, Howard, one of our stand-out players, missing. Of our four best goalscoring players in Cahill, AJ, Anichebe and Vaughan, only one was available and he hadn't trained in nearly three weeks. All credit to the team, they started the game very well. Vaughan's work and talent up front gave the team the shape we missed after AJs injury at West Ham. The midfield showed decent passing and decent resistance. The defence was working okay too.

We were not the better team though. We went 2-0 up but we had our share of good fortune in that and you could always see the quality of Man Utd. Fernandes scored a fantastic goal to make it 2-0 and I jumped out of my skin. My craziest celebration I can remember in recent years. I then began to believe we might be able to hold on for a win ? and I think all the other fans did too.

Vaughan tired. Not surprising given the work he had been doing as a lone striker after 3 weeks out. Without his contribution (even before he went off) the shape started to go, just as it did when AJ went off at West Ham and general tiring made things worse. At this point Moyes had NO options. Every decent, fit player was already on the pitch, what did you want him to do?

The manner of the goals we conceded were horrible, but if we are honest, the lead would have been lost to better goals if these poor goals hadn't happened. So why are we all so upset (including me)? The main reason, is because they did so bloody well at the start. They gave us hope! Then we were reminded of how much better the United team on show was compared to the players we had on the park.

From a more long-term view do we have something to complain about? There were positives here. Even forced to play without Howard, AJ, Anichebe, Cahill, we gave Man Utd a bloody good scare. Man Utd, the team that will win the Prem and probably be in the Champions League final. That doesn't feel good right now, but it is.

Fernandes showed us a little more of how good he could be for us... These are reasons to be cheerful and look forward with optimism. The logic is there, maybe I will feel it in my heart when my dissapointment fades a little. CoYB! We'll take Portsmouth next week....
Tom Brown, London  (28/4/07)

Conspiracy theory and Call to Arms!

Now, after that capitulation, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I would be duty bound to look into the way Everton threw away their lead (and threw the game) and defended in a way they have rarely defended like before since their resurgence earlier in the year. Extraordinary mistakes from the normal trustworthy Neville, Hibbert and Carsley and a similar extraordinary drop of the ball from bread-and-butter catch scenario from young Turner.

Underpinning this conspiracy theory is the fact that perhaps Everton stood to gain more by United winning this game and indeed the Premiership than Everton would ever do in qualifying for the Uefa Cup ? namely several millions from the ?Rooney deal add-ons? if they win the league and the Champions League. The score from the Bridge suggested that Everton must do something extreme to protect their investment.

I would be clamouring for an independent investigation into the conduct of several Everton players and perhaps none more so than the Captain Phil Neville who waited patiently to congratulate his former boss with a wry smile on his face at the end of the game and received a very firm pat on the back?

Conspiracy theory ? Just a bit of fun that??or was it??

Now, back to reality ? wake up to the real world. This was no conspiracy: we were let down badly by several players who simply lost the plot second half. Very, very poor performances from the aforementioned normally rock solid players and a disappointing performance from Arteta to boot.

This time I do not blame Moyes ? in fact, I applaud him. To have the balls to play Turner in the first place was admirable and this young kid has got something and deserved his chance. Another season on loan and we will see this kid?s talents come to fruition ? he will be our future ?keeper and Scotland?s? Even though Turner made a mistake, he performed ok and I prefer us to give players their chance on several occasions to see if they can step up instead of trying time and time again and time again with seasoned pros i.e. Dickie and VDM who simply are not at the required level.

Previously staunch Anti-Moyes, I am now warming to the man ? yes, he has many faults but is learning clearly all the time and I guess it will take several years yet before we see whether he has taken Everton as far as possible ? but, for me, over the last few months he has earned a lot of credit and deserves to take us into the next season or two? Yes, I have done a complete turn-around in my opinion ? football is indeed a funny old game.

Most disappointing for me is the fact that the whole of the footballing world (and possibly future investors) will probably see, hear, read of this performance and our great name will be synonymous yet again with capitulation and failure and on the day we celebrated the life of a Legend it was not worthy of our great name, which saddens me.

We have to move on. Yes, the badge-kissing of the fat, spotty, kerb crawler (I?m not bitter!) does make my blood boil but he will get his ? one day all will not be so shiny and bright in the footballing world for him.

As far as we are concerned, we have to look at the Portsmouth game now as our Cup Final. Attend in your thousands, make as much noise as you can and we will get a Uefa Cup spot, I am sure of it ? if we do, overall, it would be a magnificent achievement for this season.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

Show Turner the door!

Perhaps all those who have clamoured for the inclusion of the hapless Turner will be prepared to eat their words. Promising he may be, but it`s in the context of the lower leagues and each time he moves up to top level he`s found sadly lacking. Like Wright, he`s a disaster waiting to happen and Moyes` very first priority in the summer is to sign proper back-up for Howard.

I feel absolutely no sympathy for Turner ? he started the rot and should be shown the door!
Clive Soley, Connah`s Quay  (28/4/07)


I?m still smarting from that freaking United defeat. Silly defensive mistakes and all that after we were comfortably holding them back. I?d like to point my finger at Turner, as a result of his howler leading to the first goal, but then again, he made a number of vital saves so that?d more than makes up for it I guess.

As for their second goal, I do wonder how much ?bonus? Neville got (from United) for his part. And that fucking silly twat Hibbert. Does he not know the first rule of defending? Never play the ball across the defence, not while there?s a packed opposition in and around your penalty area. I like his determination and all that running he does about, but he needs to use his head at times. Forget about the fourth goal; that was just rubbing salt, as well as chilli, on an already huge wound.

I was already screaming, cursing, swearing, spouting loads of vulgarities (in my own language!!) by the time the second goal had gone in. The third made me go absolutely MAD, while I couldn?t be bothered to say or do anything when the 4th went in.

And why oh why didn?t Hibbert break that wanker Rooney?s legs when he was showboating on the left wing, after they had obtained the lead? That just infuriated me ? I wonder how the fans at the stadium must have felt. They?d probably felt like throwing a few bottles, or maybe knives, at that fucking dickhead. At this point, I felt like smashing up my TV. Why the hell is it so difficult being an Everton fan??? Life?s meant to be simple!!!
Ram Garibaldi, Exeter  (28/4/07)


I am as gutted as anyone else over the nature of the result today and where it leaves us with regards to Europe. One thing that struck me, though, was that this United team is something that we would seem to have the opportunity to become, albeit on a lesser scale at present.

Regardless of what you might say about Moyes, he has instilled that same work ethic and attitude that Man Utd have. We have also a strong sense of team unity right now as well. Moyes himself has, while very very slowly, learned to vary his tactics also. I know he ain't perfect, and I ain't his biggest supporter, but I do think he is improving as a manager.

We might not be able to match the strength in depth or financial muscle that United have but it is the best squad we have had in quite a while and we have the opportunity over the summer to pick up the likes of Fernandes. It might not sound like much of an arguement, and a small crumb of comfort after the game today, but it's something I have to put myself through right now.

It's just that I have really enjoyed the high I have been on as an Everton supporter over the last couple of months. I don't obviously want it to end and, God forbid, we don't qualify for Europe, I just want to try and pick out the positives from this season.

This post probably makes me look silly, and a little naïve but like I said, this is something I have to make myself do right now.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (28/4/07)

Kick in the stomach

Very hard to describe the feeling in my gut after the match today. I was ecstatic when Stubbs's and Fernandes's goals went in, and what goals they were! Can't blame Turner for the result, although it was a massive howler. I championed him being put in instead of Wright and, even though he conceded another 4 goals, I stand by that ? at least until he concedes 7.

No, I lay the blame for today squarely at the door of Phil Neville. It was an absolutely horrendous own-goal, I just dont understand why he didn't swing his left peg at it. And Hibbert was almost as bad, passing the ball across the face of his goal at 2-2 is unforgiveable for a Sunday league player ? let alone a pro of his experience. And am I the only one who thought that Neville, who the pass was intended for, could've done more to get the ball?

Moyes certainly deserves some criticism, not for the team he picked today as I feel he picked the best 11 for the job (my feelings on Neville notwithstanding), but for the miniscule squad he has assembled. AJ is and was a big miss, and Vaughan certainly did his best, but we're a well-established Premiership team pushing for Europe so why the hell are we relying on kids, unfit has-beens, Scottish Fancy Dans and a Shandyman?!?

Terrible result, especially when coupled with Portsmouth and Spurs winning, Bolton drawing. Beat Pompey on Saturday at Goodison and we're guaranteed 8th which is Intertoto, but that to me will feel like failure ? nothing other than a top 7 finish can be considered anything like a successful season.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (28/4/07)


I can't believe the knee-jerk reactions. Today I was proud of Everton, the way we played against one the "top Two" was admirable, we took the game to them, we battered them for most of the game. We were in control, I couldn't see how whey would score, they were lacking spark and I thought they were resigned to lose.

Turner's mistake was the turning point, it was an awful mistake and unfortunately it turned the game. There was nothing Moyes could do about it. At no point during the game were we defending too deep; instead, we played 4-4-2 with Osman just behind Vaughan. We were never under pressure up to that point but shit happens. Even after we gifted them the second goal, Moyes brought on two strikers in attempt to relieve the pressure at the back and maybe go for the win, but United were sensing blood at the time and we gifted them a third goal.

Moyes has made a lot of mistakes and if we don't qualify for the Uefa Cup I would blame him for the silly points we lost against Man City, Wigan, Charlton and Tottenham but today for me he got everything right. Team selection, tactics, attitude, substitutes ? everything was spot on ? it's a shame that it all ended so cruelly. Up the Blues
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (28/4/07)


I have to fully agree with Alan Clarke about the performance of the referee; that was one of the worst refereeing performances I have ever seen, And he was lucky enough to go un-noticed in that match by the commentators, it was abyssmal he gave us one or two decisions all match and one got us the goal (but only because it was an unbelievably obvious freekick).
Shaun Ferguson, Maghull  (28/4/07)

Moyes ? super tactician... NOT!

As i have said before on this site, we have got to get a midfield coach at the club or even a coach, full stop. Did Moyes sack Harvey? We could sure do with him now. Phil Neville is Moyes's blue-eyed boy, he scored one for ; when we went in front, he didn't even celebrate.

To cap it all off, Moyes takes Carsley off and leaves his Captain Marvel on. Then Fredo Corleone [shithouse out of The Godfather] scores and he kisses the badge. How many more times are we going to put up with negative tactics?
Colin Malone, Wirral  (28/4/07)

How can you blame Moyes this time?

He played Turner, didn't start with Beattie, made attacking substitutions, everything the anti-Moyes brigade have been asking for.

We are not Man Utd, we are Everton; we are re-building. What Man Utd did is what they do, that is how good they are. Once upon a time, that was Everton ? it's not now. We are the best of the rest... do I expect more? Of course I do. But not overnight.
Peter McIver, Adelaide, Australia  (28/4/07)

Fearing another End-of-Season collapse

You simply cannot blame Moyes for this defeat. Moyes's tactics were working brilliantly, Everton were leading 2-0, defending superbly, well disciplined and drilled; it looked like the points were ours.

Then Turner hit the self-destruct button and the team fell apart. Moyes did his best to get Everton back into the game, two strikers and AVDM were brought on but Man Utd (arguably the best team in Europe) were just too good.

It was mistakes from the players that lost this game, not David Moyes. That said Spurs and Portsmouth are now breathing down Everton's neck. I won't blame Moyes for today's result but I will blame him if we don't beat Portsmouth, I cannot stomach another end-of-season collapse.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

Got to get it out of my system

I've just got back from watching the game in a pub with my son and a handful of other Blues. The lad's 15 and is growing up a Barça fan in Spain but remains loyal to the Everton cause. What approach should I take to keep the flame burning? Should I start berating Moyes and blame today's shocker on negative tactics? Would he be convinced by the argument that we should have brought on Beattie and McFadden to support Vaughan up front and gone all out for Number 3? I think not.

Let's be realistic; we were in the driving seat against a team of class players when a young kid a few years older than my son made a crucial slip. Admittedly, some of the more senior players went on to lose their nerve to compound the error but Moyes can hardly be held responsible for that. No, I'm going to take a more upbeat approach with him ? when he gets in later I'll tell him we can still beat Portsmouth and make it into Europe and even if we don't, it's still worth being an Evertonian.

The emotion you get from seeing Goodison stand to salute Alan Ball can't be beaten anywhere or by anyone, least of all by an ungrateful little twerp who does all he can to wind up the fans he used to stand with as he prepares to take an injury-time throw in. He should be sued again just for being a wanker.
Phil Grayston, Barcelona  (28/4/07)


That ref was a fucking joke, his performance was laughable. Maybe it's my short memory but I can't think of a more biased refereeing performance. He gave us absolutely nothing and gave them everything.

I normally go along with the thought that we should win with or without the ref's help and it always sound bitter if you blame the ref for a defeat but he was awful. Playing against 11 United players is tough enough but it's too much to expect playing against 12. Wiley should be held accountable for that, if I did my job as badly as that I'd get the sack.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (28/4/07)

End-of-season blues

Well, they made it until the last 4 games this year before packing for 2 weeks in Benidorm. What a waste! Have a great season and throw away European football in the last 4 games. Results at Portsmouth and Chelsea? Forget it; Big Dunc's called up the boys for the summer tour '07. I wish I could hang my boots up 4 weeks before my deadlines are due.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (28/4/07)


Why can't we blame Moyes as some people have suggested? When we went one up, why did we sit back and defend it? The same happened after the second went in, we continued to defend, instead of going for a third. I thought tactics were down to the manager. He must have seen how deep we were playing, so why didn't he do something about it?
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (28/4/07)

Must win

Simply put, we must beat Portsmouth now to have a decent shot of Europe. Liverpool are doing their bit today to make sure we miss out be fielding a weakened team at Fratton Park and Spurs/Reading should get wins against teams with nothing to play for. I hope we make it because we all know that next year we will be in a relegation battle as Moyes's team is only good every other season.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (4/28/07)

What a Sickener

It's times like this when it is so hard to be an Everton fan. The match reminded me of the Chelsea game earlier in the season, it was going so well and then we have victory snatched away from us (or rather, throw it away).

Part of me would have preferred a sound thrashing, simply because it is easier to accept than throwing away a game that we should have won, due to defensive errors. I was hoping that just once we would have a result that I could rub in my Manchester United supporting 'friend's' face, but sadly I think that I'll just have to give him the finger instead.

There were some good points to take from the game, Manuel Fernandes's flashes of brilliance and Vaughan's impressive, nay miraculous recovery from injury for starters, but the defence were not up to the quality that I thought we had, not up to the standard that helped us triumph over Liverpool. I'm sure that Turner is going to get a lot of stick for this and I feel for him but I can't hide my disappointment.

A draw I could have grudgingly accepted but it should never have been 4-2. Still, with two games to go and Chelsea dipping in form, I am hoping and praying that we can pick ourselves up and push for Europe. Was this a fitting tribute to Alan Ball? I fear not...
Sam Robinson, Hungerford  (28/4/07)


It's so frustraing, isn't it. Bolton are now above us, Spurs & Portsmoth are both winning. Are we going to have our usual end to the season and end up with nothing?

And am I the only pesron who thinks Hibbert is Fucking Shit?!?
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (28/4/07)

Good, Bad and Ugly

Ian Bell blames Moyes for not changing things around when we were two up. I've heard it all now! Can you imagine how that would've been received? We were playing well and they were getting frustrated. Then a goalkeeping error changes the whole game. The trouble was that at that stage it needed the more senior, experienced players to take responsibility and keep things calm. But they did not do so and instead we gifted them goals and just let the heads go down.

Not sure what the manager can do from the touchline at that stage other than shout and beg them not to make schoolboy errors please. So the good, the bad and no prizes for guessing who the ugly is... I thought he was going to swap shirts with the ref at the end...
Rob Paterson, Birkenhead  (28/4/07)

Almost speechless

Ian Bell. "Who knows these schoolboy errors might have been pre-planned..." Sir, you are a baffoon (sic).
Colin Gillbanks, Liverpool  (28/4/07)

De ja Vu....

1-0¡ 1-1¡ 2-1¡ 2-2¡ 2-3 ? against the mighty Chelsea; 1-0¡ 2-0¡ 2-1¡ 2-2¡ 2-3¡ 2-4 ? against our Judas & his comrades (having Judas scoring again is like rubbing salt in our wounds). And both happened in our beloved Goodison Park. With Stubbs scoring a long-range effort and Fernandes's stunner, a rare combo for our season so far, we should have really pocketed the 3 points.

I would not blame Turner for his miscue. Clean-sheets in the Championship don't compare with playing against Man Utd ? and don't forget how young Turner is! But what really frustrated me was that, when we need the manager the most, our manager went AWOL. After Turner's mistake, Moyes should have done something to calm the team down: it could be a quick substitution or change of philosophy (either telling the lads to keep pressing Man Utd like they did in the first half or play a 9-0-1). It wouldn't happen with the inflexible, stubborn and dull Ginger tosser, would it? Indeed, nothing happened and shortly afterwards, in went the second to Man Utd.

By the way, should we get Scotland Yard to investigate Phil Neville? His 'clearance' warrants a trip to Court, a la Juventus!

Did the Goodison faithful boo Moyes as they did in the Spurs game? I didn't know because I switched off the TV as soon as Man Utd scored the fourth one! Regardless, Moyes should deserve every boo from all of us faithful (I am sure our good old Richard Dodd would still be able to dig out positives from today's disaster).

Today's game showed that David Moyes is simply not good enough for this elite level. If I were him, I would be too ashamed to even do the post-match interview. But guess what? The good, dear Ginger would always find an excuse ("We only have a small squad and remember we didn't have Timmy & AJ playing today") to live another day.

If Moyes chooses to go after the season (or sooner), he can retain his personal popularity. Moyes would still be appreciated and revered by us for pulling us out of the Dark Ages. However, it has never been clearer than now that it is time for Moyes to go.
Dupont Koo, Hong Kong  (28/4/07)

John Cottee

John, you are talking wet mate, Moyes's "obsession with youth" ? what the fuck are you talking about? It is only a little while ago people were saying he doesn't give youth a chance!

Fans like you really get my back up, if he went with experience and it ended up the same result you probably would have moaned that he didn't give youth a chance. The reason for the loss today is simple, we played well in patches and a far superior team outclassed us in the second half. John, think about, and read your contribution before you send it!
Dylan Goodison, Bootle  (28/4/7)

Err... I think he was being sarcastic. Maybe, for the sake of clarity and to avoid these knee-jerk reactions, people could bracket their sarcasm thusly: [Sarky] sarcastic statement [/Sarky] ? then we would all know and dit would be perfectly clear... if still no less painful. — Michael


Jeezez fucking Christ, I have never been more disappointed after a game! But this one is not on Moyes, this is down to errors from the players! All you twats blaming Moyes for everthing from parking tickets to global warming ? Moyes did not drop the corner or use his right foot to clear the ball of the line when he should have used his left. Neither did Moyes put a terrible pass across the defence only for this to be intercepted and then lunge in a challenge which Rooney could only skip past!

This is down to errors from players, unfortunate errors from otherwise good players. It was just bad bad luck for all of us that they all happended in one match where we had three point in the bag... Let's kill Pompey in the next match. Then we should be fine.
Jens Hansen, Norway  (28/4/07)

One Word

Devastated !
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (28/4/07)

Three defensive howlers

Typical that we saved THREE DEFENSIVE HOWLERS of the season for one match, against the one team you could ill afford to bear gifts. It's just things like this that make you wonder...

I don't and can't blame Turner, but his mistake put the boots on to the inevitable comeback. Who's to say that Dickie wouldn't make the same error (we can all but speculate)? I don't and can't blame Neville, for the ball came so quick and to that one area around his foot that cannot be cleared properly. Hibbert might be culpable for the third, but by that time, I had closed my eyes.

And I am not going to talk about Roon the Loon. His antics in the end will remain as is until the day comes when one of our very own could do that to his team on his ground. Time will fucking tell!

I don't care where we finish now, I just don't care. Ball is gone. Labone gone. One by one, the heroes of yesterday will fade away, but who among the current will and can ever take their places?

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum...
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (28/4/07)

Moyes not to blame

Just got back from the pub. Can't believe we threw away a two-goal lead. Who would have thought Turner would do a Wrighty? Isn't that what they call 'irony'? Cant wait to see what Tony Marsh made of it.

Bottom line is that Moyes CANNOT be blamed for this ? he put out an attacking XI and made attacking substitutions. At the end of the day, two defensive errors cost us points. It's now out of our hands in terms of finishing 5th with Bolton having drawn at Chelsea. Spurs are winning as I write this. Bollocks.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (28/4/07)


Just home from another inept performance by Moyes and his boys. Individual errors and lack of directtion both on and off the pitch. One sorry lot of players, not one of them covered themselves in glory, and as for that hapless manager!? He should leave now and give Big Sam his chance! Europe?! My arse!
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (28/4/07)

Mistakes ruthlessly exploited

I hope that this game tonight puts into perspective the gap that exists in quality between our team (which I mentioned in my earlier article, is still a top 10 team rather than a top 6 team) and sides like Manchester United, which we have to aspire to be. Full credit to them: after being 2-0 down, against a hostile crowd, they get a little sniff and they ruthlessly utilize that window of opportunity and cut us to shreds.

There was little else that the manager could have done with the squad he has at his disposal. He is often criticized for being too conservative and not taking risks with young players etc. I hope those critics can see why exactly he needs to be so conservative. At this level, even the slightest mistake and inexperience can cause a lot of heartache. Today we made three.

On the other hand, personally I am glad that he did take those risks today, including throwing every single attacking player in and giving Turner the start. This will only toughen the kid up.

Manuel Fernandes seems to be the type of player who seems anonymous on the field. Its partly because he is so quick to create a pass and get rid off the ball. What a good goal though. We need that kind of quality for Everton to move forward.

Young Vaughn will develop into a better striker as well, it's wonderful to see his aggression out there. Turner was great 'til the dropped ball; after that he totally lost it. Tim Howard in goal could have shown a different result for us today.

Leon Osman on the other hand should hit the gym sometime soon. Him, Neville and Hibbert were shown up for being mere squad players today.
Nigel Greggson, Sydney, Australia  (28/4/07)

Today's game

One thing I can't understand about the game is why after we went a goal up did we start to drop deeper and deeper? Vaughan was winning plenty of headers, and there wasn't a player within 20 yards of him. Even when we got the second, we just dropped deep again and let them come at us. This is why, in my opinion, Moyes will always be just a half-decent manager and not a genius like some would have us believe. Also, we can't use injuries as an exscuse, because they had half their side missing today.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (28/4/07)

Thrown it away

4-2... unbelievable. We had the best team in Europe on the rack, right where we wanted them, and blew it. I for one wanted Turner in goal today but his mistake was undoubtedly the changing point in the game. Fernandes's goal was pure class and his assured touch proved exactly why we have to sign him. I have my doubts though to be honest: I expect another Carsley figure.

Moyes was not to blame today ? it was individual errors and lack of squad depth cost us. We desperately need to ship Beattie out ? we needed a quality player as backup to the injured Johnson and again we couldn't trust him as has always been the case: lack of form, constant injuries etc.

I also believe Hibbert is well below Premiership standard. Heart and fight doesn't always cut it and he always seems to get caught out and be rash. I fear for our European chances and will be gutted if we blow it as it'll stunt our growth for years. Fingers crossed for other results going our way. UP THE BLUES!
Shaun Cook, Bedford  (28/4/07)


Moyes and Kenwright need to go. Moyes's tactics where woeful. After going 2-0 nil up he should have changed things around. What's with all the long balls? Don't they know how to pass or keep possesion? The club won't move forward with these two bafoons in charge. This is the best it gets. Who knows those schoolboy errors might have been pre-planned, now that Man Utd have more or less won the title Everton get a million pounds for Rooney. Three mistakes in one game is hard to believe.
Ian Bell, Huddersfield  (28/4/07)


Oh dear...

Well, that's the worst I've felt for along time. You just new after Turner dropped it and they scored we where in trouble. Gawd, the defense and Pip Neville where rotten in the second half

We got shown a lesson and no mistake but the errors for the first 3 where laughable. I feel sorry for Turner, he made some decent saves and looks promising, let's hope today doesnt knock him too much.

Well DM, yer self-styled small squad came back to haunt us today, please get it right in the summer. I'm off to lie down for a bit
John Audsley, Leeds  (28/4/07)

Turner's Turning Point

Tony Marsh, you were so sure David Moyes should start with Iain Turner. How do you feel now?

In his three starts for Everton, Turner conceded four goals against Chelsea, got sent off after nine minutes against Blackburn and now conceded another four goals against Man Utd. He's not exactly our lucky charm. His Everton career to date makes Richard Wright look like Neville Southall.

You have to blame David Moyes and his obsession with youth. He chose Turner over Wright, he chose Vaughn over Beattie. If Moyes had gone with the safer more experienced players they could have handled the pressure better and not fallen apart after Turner's mistake.
John Cottee, Romford  (28/4/07)

That is unbelieveable!

What we just saw is amazing. How the hell could ve lose this? And 2-4? I am afraid the otherwise excellent Iain Turner cost us this match, as his error gave United the spark they didn't have earlier in the match. But to lose in this manner is just not right. Reading are able to surpass us, so is P'mouth and T'ham now. We don't look likely to make it now. This is horrible.
Kjetil Moen, Oslo, Norway  (28/4/07)

Defensive collapse

2-0 up in a game we should of won and then a goalkeeping error followed by a defensive error and our defense falls apart! Turner was exposed far too readily after the second of their goals and though Moyes was pushing forward for points Man Utd's ability to counter-attack left us vulnerable and we paid the price, as have so many other teams this season.

As much as I hate to say it, I think moyes would of done better defending the 2-2 scoreline, niether Beattie or McFadden had the ability to change the game. Apart from his error, which resulted in the first goal, I think turner had an excellent game and should not be overly criticised for it.
Mat Jennions, Sheffield  (28/4/07)

Eveton 2 - 4 Man Utd

It's ironic in the worst way that we all spent this week demanding Moyes start with Turner, only for the young Scot to gift Man Utd a way back into the game.

Before the game it seemed like a good idea to start Turner, he was in form and deserved his chance. But there's no excuses for his mistake, it was inexperience and pressure that led to Turner dropping that clanger. Would the more experienced Dickie Wright have kept his cool and collected that corner? We'll never know.

We were 2-0 up and I really felt certain for the three points, the second Turner gifted O'Shea that goal I knew things wouldn't go Everton's way. That's the last time I demand Moyes picks youth over experience.. Turner gives a gift to let them into the game, Neville smashes into the net and then Hibbert makes an awful pass to give them the lead. It's almost as if the players wanted Man Utd to be Champions. HOW MUCH MONEY DO WE GET IF ROONEY WINS THE PREMIERSHIP?

Moyes made a flurry of attacking changes but he must be fuming with the mistakes. That Turner clanger was the turning point of the game. Why didn't we all demand Moyes starts Dickie???
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (28/4/07)


What a ridiculous way to lose a two-goal lead. I am gutted. This is a hammer blow for us and shows what a Jeckyll and Hyde team we are.

Turner was unlucky but Neville - conspiracy theorists might ask "Why use your right foot when you should have hoofed it out of play with your left?!?"

This is such a shame because we had more than matched them before this.
Russ Kavanagh, Ellesmere Port  (28/4/07)

The story so far

It's the middle of the night here and fortified by enough beer have just finished watching the first half. A fitting tribute to Bally so far, so long as we don't try too much defence there is still another goal there (for us), keep taking it to them.

Hibbert seems to be giving his man, be it Rooney or Giggs, too much room; that aside, keep on keeping on. Ronaldo is still there on the bench, always a worry, he may be a diving twat but he is good. We SHALL prevail!!
Derek Thomas, Torbay Auckland  (29/4/07)

Response to: AJ, Beattie and the rest

Alex Storm claims:

"Spurs, for instance, go on the front foot and attack. Both teams have pretty much the same amount of points per games played it?s just they go about getting the points in a different fashion; we keep clean sheets they score goals."

This season Spurs have scored 49 and Everton have scored 46, granted we've played one more game but hardly a huge difference in our goalscoring. AJ hasn't taken all our penalties this season, which he always did at Crystal Palace. He has 12 goals from 35 appearances this season, not a bad ratio. I can't find the number of penalties we've had this year, but 5 would have his ratio up to the 1 every 2 games mark. And let's not start on how many penalties he has not been given. Beattie ? well that's another story!
David Haimes, San Francisco  (28/4/07)

Response to 'AJ, Beattie & the rest'

Considering Spurs 'go on the front foot and attack' and 'go about getting the points in a different fashion', i.e. 'they score goals' I would have thought that they might have scored more then 3 goals more than us over the course of a season? Spurs and Reading are the only two teams outside the top four to have scored more goals than us this season, and only 3 and 2 more respectively.

I would agree that we need one or two more creative players, ideally a quick tricky left winger who can beat a player or two, and I would also agree that the coaching in an attaking sense needs to improve (simple pass and move would be nice) but I think Moyes is building the team well; the old adage of building from the back, laying solid foundations and other such cliche's spring to mind.

Remember where we were when he first took over, turning that around with little money was never going to be an instant thing, but hopefully we are starting to see the fruits bit by bit. And I actually think his transfer record stands up to scrutiny when compared to all the other managers in the Premiership (alright he's made the odd rickett but less than most and if you look at our first team all the best performers are his purchases who have undoubtably improved the standard).

I just don't think comparing ourselves to Spurs and wishing for the type of football which yields only 3 more goals but 4 less points is neccessarily helpful, in my opinion they may have a couple of good strikers and flair players but they also have a very soft centre (particularly midfield) and few real leaders on the pitch.
Luke Murray, Nottingham  (28/4/07)

Our house

It's the same feeling as when one of the family dies and your getting ready to say goodbye. Without knowing, I'm going through the same procedure. Got up had a bath and made sure I was going to be dressed in blue. The emotion is starting to gather pace...
Colin Malone, Wirral  (28/4/07)

Am I too cynical

Perhaps I am getting too cynical as I get older, but surely I can't be alone in treating the news that Arteta is staying with some sceptism.

I find it hard to take any player as the genuine article these days, no matter how much I admire Arteta as a footballer. Players will go wherever the money and/or glory take them and unfortunately loyalty doesn't come into it anymore. Much has been said this week about Alan Ball virtually having to be dragged out of Goodison ? if ever there was a true hero and legend (isn't that a spectacularly over-used word these days?) he was it.

I hope Arteta stays like I hope Johnson actually becomes the player we keep getting told he already is, but I won't be surprised if neither happen.
Lee Gorre, Leeds  (28/04/07)

Response to: AJ, Beattie and the rest

In this piece, the author states that "Everton defend and Tottenham score goals" as a reason to why AJ & Beattie haven't scored more goals. I find this totally incorrect as Tottenham have scored only 3 more goals, whilist or goals difference is 10 better. 3 goals extra ain't exactly more creative and ain't exactly a difference.
David Marsden, London  (28/4/07)

The little general

It always seemed the case that our away game at Blackpool was at that time of year when the town had shut up shop and almost everything was closed for winter. So it was, when we battled our way against driving sleet from Bloomfield Rd to the Winter Gardens. There we were entertained by a woman dressed as a man pretending to be a woman dressed as a man. Brings to mind certain blokes whose outward appearance is that of footballers yet in reality are merely well paid pretenders...

I digress; meanwhile, back at the Winter Gardens, word filtered through that Harry Catterick had been attacked while going to the team bus. Some of us were dismayed at the news while others said he deserved it; my own feelings lay somewhere in the middle. I had just witnessed the most hapless pathetic performance of an Everton side ever in my memory. The only game before or since that debacle that goes anywhere near as dismal was a 4-0 drubbing we got from 4th division Bradford Park Avenue.

Once again I digress because the real purpose of this letter was to mention the first time I saw Alan Ball. It was in that very game at Blackpool when this tiny red-haired youngster that Blackpool fans called The Little General took Everton apart.

Roll on about 30 years and the last time I saw him was when he paid a lightning promotional visit to Western Australia. Permission was sought and granted for him to play in a nothing game on a local park. Although it was many years after his retirement, his bubbling enthusiasm and love of the game was abundantly obvious. Alan will long be remembered in this neck of the woods. RIP.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (28/4/07)

Sadness and then GLEE!

I would like to think that the game tomorrow, will produce what you would expect from such old foes, but with the happenings of the last day or so things might for a short time be sombre. Let's hope the boys do Bally proud, and more important the fans and get the points we need to enter Uefa Cup.
Norman Merrill, Everton  (27/4/07)

Getting your facts right?

Paul Atress, don't start claiming getting facts straight without doing your homework first, a quick look at the Premier League Actim Stats will show you the following as of just prior to posting this:

Minutes played 2006-07

4. Joseph Yobo - 3367
8. Lee Carsley - 3309
11. Tim Howard - 3274
13. Joleon Lescott - 3261
Don't spout without facts, Lescott has played a lot but three Everton players have played more minutes on the pitch than him.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (27/4/07)

Tony and Richard

Can I suggest Marsh and Dodd could replace Cannon and Ball as their posts are as about as funny as their act was. As for Marsh being a grumpy old man, please dont insult us oldies.

Great tributes to Alan Ball, whom I had the privilege to watch and meet ? small in stature but big in talent and heart. RIP.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (27/4/07)

Apologies To One And All

No sooner had I pressed the submit button on the mailbag page, than I hear Moyes has given Turner the nod over Wright in goal for tomorrow's game... What a twat I am!

So it's sorry all round then lads and well done Moyes for having some spine at last. Long may it continue. It's hard admiting you have made a tosser of yourself but we are all human ain't we???

As for Ryan Jones and his personal summing up of myself, all I can say is this: I am young 40, 6ft tall with blue eyes, and an absolutely a demon in the sack. A good looking bastard as well if I do say so myself. International playboy is how some have described me in the past. Plenty of dosh and a fantastic lifestyle ? it couldn't be any better really. All this 5ft 3inch tall old bastard nonesense is way of the mark, lad. Oh, and I don't come from Preston either, which is a bonus.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/4/07)

Wow! A Blue-Letter day on the TW!!! Tony "the Lounge Lizard" Marsh eats humble pie!!!

Now before all you ladies get excited and start writing in for photos of Mooneybags Marsh in his Speedos, I believe he regularly buggers off to the fleshpots of Sunnny Cyprus for his R&R. I guess he might be fun for a while but you just know it would all end in tears... Just Say NO! — Michael

His balls are growing!

GO ON MOYES MY SON! Ey man you got big balls now, wanna buy some cocaine???

Enough of my woeful cockney Scarface impression but finally Moyes has made an impression with me by realizing Wright is a waste of wages ? pity he hasn't figured Beattie out yet though! Unless Wright is injured, Moyes is showing signs of a management brain.

Like I said earlier this week, Turner is the future and has played more meaningful competitive games then Dickie Wright. Moyes has to blood Turner sometime and tomorrow is the best occasion to do it. Hey if we are to more forward, the youth like Turner, Vaughan and Co have to be in the team. Well done Moyes... now for those Colombians deals.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I don't care if Joey Barton realizes he made a mistake by turning us down, tough tits! Fernandes is a far better player/attitude/prospect than you, so piss off you little shite and stay at City. A club that matches your mentality ? a shambles!
Luq Yussef, London  (27/4/07)

Ease up on the Friday night sauce, there, Luq!

Turner To Start

David Moyes has confirmed that Iain Turner will start against Man Utd. I wonder if Tony Marsh will offer an apology after his latest rant?

As usual Tony Marsh jumped right in to slag off Moyes as quick as he could. He just assumed Moyes was going to play Wright and now Tony Marsh looks like a fool.

Of course, this is the same Tony Marsh who at the start of the season claimed Joeleon Lescott was another Krøldrup. When Lescott didn't start the first two games of the season, Tony Marsh claimed he would spend all season on the bench behind Weir and Stubbs. Lescott has now played more football then any other Everton player this season.

There's a lesson to be learned Tony Marsh: don't be so quick to jump in with an attack ? be sure of your facts first. At least you gave us all a big laugh with your "Wright to start" rant, just as Moyes confirms Turner's starting. Very funny.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (27/4/07)

Tommorow's game

What a relief to hear Wright will not be between the sticks. I think some are harsh on Tony, if I were a betting man my money would have been on Moyes to select Wright ahead of Turner.

It will be a huge plus to have Vaughan available. Surprising as it may seem when Beattie has played alongside Vaughan in the past they've appeared to compliment each other.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow, we should take encouragement from the Mancs midweek performance. Up until the substitution of Gutuso they never looked comfortable on the ball. If we can get amongst them in the middle of the park we could get a result. Above all we desperately need the fans to get behind the team. I'm sure they won't disappoint.
Gerry Western, London  (27/4/07)

Roy Vernon

Having just read Ian MacDonald's lovely evocative piece on Alan Ball, he implies that Roy Vernon is dead. When did this happen and what were the circumstances? Vernon was a true great and I always feel it is sad that he is very much the forgotten man of that great team of the early sixties.
Rick Tarleton, Rutland  (27/4/07)

Goals or Clean Sheets?

In my view, both Johnson AND Beattie are very good strikers and goalscorers but one of the biggest problems they have is playing under Moyes at Everton. Johnson?s league record for his last three full seasons at Crystal Palace reads played 117, scored 64. Beattie?s last three full league seasons at Southampton is almost as impressive at 103 played, 49 scored. Contrast the 1-in-3 goal ratio of Johnson this season or Beattie?s woeful goal tally.

As a team we set out our stall to be tight and hard to beat to grind teams down and to nick a goal. Spurs for instance go on the front foot and attack with pace and flair and try to really open up the opposition. Both teams have pretty much the same amount of points per games played it?s just they go about getting the points in a very different fashion.

Any striker plying their trade at Goodison is going to be somewhat starved of service considering the relatively few chances they?ll get during a match but for defenders they can count on a few extra quid in their wage packet as there?s a great chance of picking up a clean sheet bonus.

Neither Southampton or Palace can be considered as being in the same league as Everton (quite literally at this time) yet they got those two strikers to score, on average 16 and 21 league goals respectively for 3 consecutive seasons. At Everton a better team, with better players doing well in the league in theory they should score at least the same amount of goals. Unfortunately the overall standard of football, lack of creative nous and the onus on not conceding goals means they?ll be lucky to score more than 12 or 13 league goals a season. Even Dixie Dean and Lawton in their prime would struggle to get their goals tally into double figures in this team. We seem to play almost exclusively toward our defensive strengths and as a consequence find it extremely difficult to impose ourselves even on inferior opposition, keep possession and dominate games. With the exception of both Arteta and Cahill who have both been unqualified success stories at Everyone very few other ?flair? or goal scoring players have prospered at Godson and that is down to Moyes? failure to allow them to go out on the pitch and express themselves and of the ?style? of football he persists on inflicting on us.

I like to think of myself as neither Pro nor Anti- Moyes and instead judge him on both the positive and negative actions he has on team tactics, substitutions and the players. Since coming to Everton Moyes has turned around a club that annually battled against relegation or at best mid-table obscurity into one that has had a top 7th, 4th and ? (This season) place finishes in the Premiership. Our progress as a club over the last five seasons or so have been down largely to a great defence, discipline and organisation and for that Moyes must be acknowledged. But I feel for Moyes to prove to me that he?s capable of becoming a very good Everton manager is for him to take the next step and find it within his coaching and tactical abilities to successfully marry-up the teams attacking and creative potential to go alongside the defensive aspect of the game.

If so a team who can challenge for honours domestically and in Europe might not be that far away.
Alex Storm, London  (28/04/07)


I have just heard on Radio Merseyside that Vaughan is definitely not playing tomorrow, the Scottish Wayne Rooney has turned an ankle in training and won't be available, and Victor will have a late fitness test but is very doubtful, and that AJ too is unlikely to play.

It looks like Meattie in a 4-5-1 lads and lasses, God help us! Ah fuck it, I don't like Europe anyway.

No, seems Meattie's got a virus. It could be 4-6-0....unless Dickie can play up front on his own? Cunning or what...? I think I'll wait to see, through the tears, who trips out onto the field tomorrow...
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (27/4/07)

Marsh: zip it!

What a load of bollocks. I'm so pleased Moyes has already said Turner is playing. Take that! I can't help but think that if Turner makes a mistake on Saturday (it happens in football), Marsh will be on on Monday saying "How can Moyes pick this inexperianced clown etc, etc." and bore us further. We are 5th in the league you idiot and though Moyes has made mistakes (again, it happens) it's his decisions that have got us there.

And on your point of Moyes being on the touch line constantly, I think a Mr Sven Goran Erickson is proof that sit-on-yourarse management doesn't work. Mourinhio, Wenger are on their for feet for large parts of games. Ferguson was in his younger days also and uses Querez to do it now. And O'Neill is an example, one of the most favoured managers of English club supporters outside of their own is up and down constantly.

Conclusion: You talk tripe, and in this instance your opinion isn't welcome (sorry, Mr Editor, I know the rules...)
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (27/4/07)

Tony does seem to suffer a rush of blood to some vital lobe of his cerebral matter now and again... I think he can handle the inevitable consequences... ? Michael

Well done Davey...

...for selecting Turner over Wright. Fingers crossed for AJ's and Vaughan's fitness tests tomorrow and another 3 points off the Mancs. COYB.
Barry Bragg, Birkenhead  (26/4/07)

Dickie Wright

It's interesting that Moyes has chosen Iain Turner over his No 1 Richard Wright. What message does this send to Wright? Moyes says he is thinking of the future, yet Wright is still only 29 which is young for a goalkeeper. Does this signal the beginning of the end for Wright's Everton career?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (27/4/07)

Richard Wright will be out of contract with Everton in June 2007 and there has (thankfully) been no talk of new or extended contracts. Once the massive clamour of clubs desperate to pick him up subsides, I suspect he will slink away to a life somewhere in the lower leagues. — Michael

Website look

Well done for the image of Bally up at the top of the website. Perhaps you could have legends up there mixing with the current squad pictures on a more regular basis. Just another reason why this is the best independent site on the web.

To finish, can we stop all of this squabbling over other teams 'claiming' Bally as their own. Anyone who is worth listening to will already know where is heart stayed long after he had left and that is what counts. RIP, Mr Ball.
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (27/4/07)


Can I ask why Moyes's decision to play Turner is a U-turn? He never said Wright was going to start. He just said Richard Wright has done well in training. It was Scott McLeod who said it looks like Wright will start. Moyes never said a thing.

Thanks Alan Ball. I never saw you play in the fleash but my family who did loved you. You were a great player.
Ben Greenwood, Rochdale  (27/4/07)

"I will not have any qualms about putting Richard back in." That's as about as direct a statement of intent as you get from Moyes these days... — Michael


Tony, for God's sake, calm down. Much more ranting about Moyes and I fear your head will explode a la Scanners.

I think Moyes was quite right to boost Wright in public, we might need him. What's the alternative? Slag off your own players? Mmm, I don't think that works too well. Still you might as well keep at it. Why not have a go at Osman while you're in the mood?

And as for Moyes prowling the touchline ? do you remember Walter Smith? He sat in the stands very calmly. In fact, I think he used the opportunity for a kip. At least with Moyes you know that he gives a shit.

Whatever your views on Moyes the manager that 'coward' comment is pathetic. To paraphrase an old quote: "With fans like you, who needs enemies?"
Simon Hughes, Sheffield  (27/4/07)

There's a wee bug going around

"James McFadden went over on his ankle in training yesterday whilst James Beattie has had three days off with a virus."

What is it with footballers and viruses? I live in New York, crowds all over the place, I'm not particularly fit and touch wood cannot remember the last time I had a "virus".

Maybe it's a typo and should read, James Beattie has had 3 days off to visit Pies-r-Us.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (27/4/07)

Eye wiper

Looks like you've had your eye wiped, Tony Marsh, as it seems Mr Moyes has decided to play Iain Turner. I haven't much to say except "Give it a rest, mate" for Christ's sake.
Pat Jones, Swansea  (27/4/07)

Bitter Sweet

Like a few others on here, Alan Ball introduced me to Everton. Aged about 9 or 10, I got a pair of those famous white boots for Christmas. Was I happy or what!? Unfortunately, a few months later, I left them on the bus and never got them back (that's Dublin for ye!). Needless to say, I got the proverbial bashed out of me that night and an even worse punishment later ? a pair of the ugliest (Blackthorn) boots you've ever seen. Since then, I've realised that being en EFC support was never going to be easy!!
Ciaran Duff, Sydney, Australia  (27/4/07)


FFS, Marsh, get a grip. Letter by letter, you are just serving to parody yourself. I used to find your rants slightly amusing but they now drive me to the point of nauseum.

I'm no psychologist but judging by the tone of your letters I gather that you're a 5ft 3", 63-old male, recently made redundant, bitter at the world and releases his inner anguish via venomous posts on ToffeeWeb and regular visits to S+M brothels. How's my aim???
Ryan Jones, Preston  (26/4/07)

Turner to start ? Give Moyes credit

Website has confirmed Turner will start. So prehaps some credit should now be given for a decision we all wanted?

As far as Beattie is concerned, I think the past few months have confirmed that Beattie is way down the order and will only play if others aren't fit.
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (27/4/07)

I won't be too surprised if there's not another change of mind before lunchtime tomorrow ? especially after Moyesie reads the latest Marsh rant! — Michael

Good choice, Moyes

I see from the official website that Moyes has confirmed Iain Turner will start in goal, despite all the recent comments from Moyes and Howard about Richard Wright's Everton swansong. I know he's young and inexperienced (at Premiership level), but he's gonna be our Number 2 keeper next year so we've got to blood him at some stage. Plus, his recent experience at Sheff Wed will hopefully stand him in good stead. I hope he has a good game, and of course I hope and pray we win, but whatever the result I have to applaud Moyes for doing the right thing IMO in picking Turner over Wright.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (27/4/07)

I think I'm gonna wait 'til I see the actual line-up...

Man Utd Game and David Moyes

One of the many reasons I don't like Moyes as a manager is his overly cautious approach to team affairs. This latest decision to select Richard Wright ahead of Ian Turner stinks. It's a joke. How much more will it take for Dopey Dave to realise that Wright is the goalkeeping equivalent of James Beattie? A total waste of space and a complete liability.

Moyes really is a coward who is so afraid of making the wrong decision that he lets fear and indecision take over everything he does. A manager needs to put out his best possible eleven players he has available, regardless of any factors like age or what they cost. Richard Wright is not a better keeper than Turner so why play him? Wright hasnt played a game for months now and will be rustier than a bolt on the Titanic. Turner meanwhile has been playing every week for Sheff Wed and getting rave reviews. It's an absolutely crazy situation Moyes is putting us in.

Please no one come on and say Wright has got more experience than Turner. The man never plays and when he does he is crap. Who needs experience like that? If experience is what really matters then why isn't David James ahead of Paul Robinson at national level? I hate to think what the mood will be like after tomorrow's game if we lose and its down to a Dicky Wright clanger or two. Moyes is leaving himself wide open for the critics once again when better options are available to him. Is this the Moyes we are told is learning from his mistakes?

If you watch all the top managers in the game the likes of Wenger Ferguson and Morihino they sit down in a composed manner and let the team play. If needed they get up and give instructions or jump up after a goal is scored. Moyes never lets the players alone for a second and it must be a nightmare playing under him. Constantly prowling the touchline shouting and bawling his way through a match. It's a sign that he has no belief in his team or what they are doing or evn worse no belief in himself.

Moyes really annoys me and this Goalkeeper fiasco that is about to unfold tomorrow will annoy me even more. If we start tomorrow with Wright and Beattie in the line up then it's Goodnight Vienna. We will in effect be playing with 9 men and the Mancs will have a field day. Hoping and wishing they are shattered after Wednesday night's game in the CL is all we will have left to cling to. Moyes has put an end to any notion we may of had of winning the game with his selections already. Like so many times before we will need luck to bail us out again.

You were right all along, Micheal; Moyes will stick to what he knows best and has bottled it yet again. I can't understand you people who defend this clown, I really can't.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (27/4/07)

Apparently there has been a U-turn (maybe Davey didn't know Turner had returned?) and the latest is that Turner will start ahead of Wright (to my ceaselss amazement!). But we'll keep you in mind, Tony, next time we need an upbeat Match Preview prior to our next big game... NOT!— Michael

In defence of Richard Dodd

Come on folks, Richard has a point. James Beattie was an out and out goal scoring striker when Moyes signed him and he has added a new dimension to his game ? not scoring. He does that very well.

ps: It appears that £500k is exactly the price Moyes and Co put on the club's pride and dignity (Tricky Dicky ahead of Turner...)
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (27/4/07)

He's Ours!!

Just out of curiousity, I looked on the Arsenal Club Website to see what they had to say about Alan Ball. Needless to say they appear to be claiming him as all their own!! Hasn't anyone ever told them Ball was an Evertonian through and through? They are suggesting that their supporters should get their white shoes out, trainers, or whatever as long as they are white ad wear them to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for thir game against Fulham. Where have I heard that suggestion before? Oh yes, on ToffeeWeb!! They also refer to singing to the Everton Fans all those years ago "Thank you very much for Alan Ball, thank you very much, very very very much" to the tune of Lily the Pink. Well hands off, you reds, Bally was ours and will remain so.
Pat Jones, Swansea  (27/4/07)


Can somebody please inform me as to where in Goodison the seats with restricted views are? Myself & my family are heading over for the weekends match and wanted to know will I be able to actually see the match.
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (27/4/07)

Ah bless, that's sweet. They are all over (except the Park End, Paddock, Family Enclosure and the Director's Box) Do you have your tickets already? Coz it usually says on them if you will be blessed with a restricted view. It doesn't mean you will be unable to see the match, however ? just parts of it. It usually means your view of one of the goals will be blocked by a large steel column. If the endorsement is missing, however, it means your view of part of the field may be similarly obscured... Enjoy! — Michael


At the start of the season, I was hoping for a BT/AJ partnership to strike up and bang the goals in.

I don't know what the deal is with Beattie this season, but despite his obvious problems, I don't agree with some of the stick he's getting. He's clearly low on confidence and is having real trouble putting fairly simple chances away. His all-round game this season has been average at best. In his last few games he hasn't done a great deal right. At the same time he hasn't done that much wrong (missed sitters aside).

He is out of sorts and I don't want to make excuses for him, he plainly isn't good enough this season. But think about last season, he did fairly well in a team that spent half a season struggling. You can't go from a decent enough striker to a useless sack of shite just like that.

Last season he got 11 in 37 appearances, whereas this season AJ has bagged 12 in 35 appearances.... statistically not a huge difference. OK I understand that AJ brings plenty more to the table than just goals. But to say that BT can't finish is a little harsh!

I just need to remind you all of the goals he bagged last season against Arsenal at GP in the one-nil win and his superb chip against Fulham. Pretty good for someone who can't finish eh?
Richard Parker, Paris, France  (27/4/07)

Okay... He can't finish NOW. "He hasn't done that much wrong (missed sitters aside)."...!?! I don't think that fools anybody. He needs to be scoring, He's not. Simple as. — Michael

Ginger Wigs, Brilliant!

May be not the players but the merchandise guys could have a field day tomorrow. The whole crowd in Ginger Wigs!!!!

That way Man Utd may not recognise Paul Scholes and so not pass to him (like when they had their grey kit that once and swapped it at half time).

Craig Taylor, Leicester  (27/4/07)

I think that's enough now, Craig.

Moyes`s Hall of Shame

It looks likely that the Man Utd game will see both of Moyes`s fuck-up transfers in the starting line up. Upwards of £10M was wasted on recruiting the `talents` of Wright and Beattie who, by any standards, have both been unmitigated failures.

Wright is just a disaster waiting to happen (even at home or warming up!) whilst so much has been written about Beattie`s failings that he must be embarrassed to take his £40k a week! For the record, the recent statement that his goalscoring record was on par with Johnson`s is arrant nonsence. Whilst neither are exactly prolific, Beattie has notched but 13 goals (inc 3 pens) in 73 Premier games whilst AJ`s 11 (inc 1 pen) have come from only 32 appearances.

The truth is that when history is writ, I suspect neither Beattie nor Johnson will be seen as `Goodison Greats` with the former likely to join Wright in Moyes`s Hall of Shame!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (27/4/07)

Apparently it will be Turner in goal and Vaughan up front, if that helps!


Cant believe the lack of disbelief at the news that Tim Howard won't start on Saturday. Howard was paraded as a new signing in the transfer window to shut us up as nobody was else was coming in, Once again, they forgot to leave out that he's been signed from next season. Will he now be paraded as a new signing in the summer, AGAIN!!!
Rich Jones, Deeside  (27/4/07)

It's a pity as there really is no need for the Club to be so coy on this issue. But you're memory is a bit off, Rich, as he 'signed' on 14 February, after the transfer window had slammed shut. — Michael

Minute's Applause

This is the perfect way to celebrate the passing of a great character. I think a minute's silence is sombre and does not really appreciate the person who has passed. A minute's applause celebrates a legend's life and the contribution he has given to the club, I'll be clapping my heart out tomorrow.

On another note someone mentioned a statue for Bally; I'd love that. If we do get this new ground I'd love to see Dixie at one end and Bally at the other and likewise if we stay at Goodison.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (27/4/07)

Aggressive take-overs

Michael, assuming the rules are the same in UK you are right. In a private company 19% is a good safety position. The rules here prevent unsuitable behaviour of directors etc. However, if a shareholder doesn't want to sell he/she/they cannot be forced to do so. That's the issue. But, if somebody wants it badly enough they will buy up those shares that others are willing to part with at the right price, build up a good shareholding percentage and try to reach a majority position... make it attractive!!! This is the only legitimate way I can see but it can still be aggressively followed.

ps: That was really upsetting news about Alan Ball ? I enjoyed watching him play.
Bob Parrington, Adelaide, Australia  (27/4/07)

Pissed up ? but proud!

Well I'm 2 weeks off going to Iraq and I'm pretty scared (but it's my job). I've been on the ale but, as usual I'm still thinking about the Blues.

Thank you, God (yes, God) for making me a Blue. How could I be anything else but Blue? How could Rooney become a Manc? It really messes me 'ead up. Everyone can e.mail in, sit at home and say "Whatever, who cares?" Well, I'm going to Iraq, you're going the match, you're going the pub!

We are Everton and I'm feeling that magic. Tony Marsh and David Moyse to fucki n' Alex Ferguson, it's magic and nothing else. Sorry for the drunken rant but Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

I love Everton.
Matty Loveless, Bulford Camp  (26/4/07)

You be careful now, Matty, and watch out for them IUDs or whatever they are called!

Everton Football Club

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's the greatest of them all,
Dixie Dean? Big Nev Southall?
Alex Young? Or Alan Ball?

Thank you Alan, you are the epitomy of what makes this club special, what makes it ours.

"Three special words have had a sepcial place in my soul as well as my heart for the past 40 years: Everton Football Club", (Alan Ball, Evertonian, One of us).
John Kemp, Rainhill  (27/4/07)

Bally's Passing

I went to school in south-west England ? rugby union country ? but football was always my game of choice and from the age of 9, Everton was my team of choice. Why? Because of Alan Ball and Brian Labone.

I used to collect the footballer pictures off the back of Typhoo tea packets. I think you had to have ten to send away for a colour print. Ball and Labone adorned my walls and along with Colin Harvey, they were my heroes. How sad that only one of those three is still around.

I know some have expressed doubts about one minute's worth of applause before the Man Utd game, rather than a silence... but really when was Bally ever silent, ever still? Applause would be perfect ? it was good enough for Princess Di, which is when I think the trend started on the streets of London during her funeral, so why not Alan Ball? Plenty of Evertonians would mark him down as a prince, if not a king!

By coincidence, my 8-year-old was watching the BBC History of Everton video that came out in the 1980s just hours before the news of Bally's death reached these shores. The video brought back some great memories for me, while my son brushed up on his history ? which, I'm glad to say, he's pretty hot on.

I'll be thinking about Bally, late on Saturday night over here. I doubt we will see his like again.

His passing merited a full page article in The Age, Melbourne's daily broadsheet. In a country where football is at best the third most popular spectator sport, that's some achievement. It's a nice article too.
Richard Ewart, Melbourne, Australia  (27/4/07)

The Importance of being Ginger

Was about to write, but realise I have been pre-empted by the Steve Cummins e.mail. Anyway, it was 1968 and I was a budding 9-year-old ginger-haired right-winger, living in Kent, looking for a team to follow. There was only one role model and therefore only one team, and hence I've had a 40-year sentence of far too many more downs than ups. So I guess it's true ? being an Evertonian really can be traced back to your genes. (In my case the red hair was from my mum's side.) RIP, Bally.
Rob Gomme, Cumbria  (26/4/07)

The Enemy Within

Sorry, Wayne, but I fully agree with Gareth Price and have witnessed trouble on more than a few occasions as a result of away fans being in amongst the home support. I consider it a serious safety issue and have urged the club to look at this matter.

I was once sat in the Park End a few years back and witnessed an Everton fan assault a rival fan who was in there. The idiot didn't do himself any favours cheering when the opposition scored but that hardly warrants getting his block knocked off ? he simply shouldn't have been in there in the first place. I realise this is a difficult problem to address but would like to see the Club making additional efforts given the particular brand of hatred which exists between certain fans and our friends from down the East Lancs.

For the safety of all concerned, this needs looking into before something more disasterous occurs. As it's obviously too late now ? let's hope we do the business on the pitch on Saturday to silence the rogue element.
Anthony Newell, Nantwich  (26/4/07)

A Minute's Applause

I think in the case of Alan Ball, a minute's applause is a good idea. If you have a minute's silence, it would only be disrupted by the sound of 40- to 55-year-old blokes crying, cause I know I will be in tears.
Stewart Oakes, Crewe  (26/4/07)

Minute's silence

Lot of cynacism around the minute's applause. Could it not be that it's a time to celebrate a great person and life rather than dwell on the sadness? I don't think there's any hidden agenda about it... Let's give Goodison one last roar for Alan Ball while we still can.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (26/4/07)

Dickie Returns.

I am shocked to learn Dickie Wright is going to get another chance against Man Utd. I understand that Dickie has more experience and is probably the safer option for such an important game but Turner is in great form and deserves a chance. Although is the game really that important? Look at it this way, Everton cannot lose against Man Utd:

  • If we win then it's almost certainly European football next season;
  • If we lose, Man Utd take another step towards being Champions and that long-awaited Rooney money heads our way.
A no-lose situation. That said, I would prefer the points.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

A lesson for Mr ''R''

I have been an Evertonian since I was seven, over 60 years ago, having seen all our greats in that time, I have only truly idolised six.

One, of course, was Bally; the others were Dave Hickson, Brian Labone, Alex Young, Duncan McKenzie & Neville Southall. Not sure why, just my choice, probably: great players, entertainers & men's men. Alan Ball had all of these qualities, truly a great player with charisma, though one of quite a few who have left Everton in a cloud amidst many odd rumours, the main one in his case being he did not want to go but was forced out?

Whatever, the circumstances, he never ever showed a bad attitude or slagged our club off. The great admiration and respect between him & the fans continued after moving on, even when playing against us for other clubs. No matter what the true circumstances, what a contrast & lesson in dignity to the ongoing controversy & antics of a more recently transfered 'character'...

ps: Sharpy might make my idols up to seven!!!
Jim Jameson, Cheshire  (26/4/07)

Come on you Blues!!!

With Man Utd coming to Goodison on Saturday I am expecting a great atmosphere. After loosing to West Ham last week, there is stiff competition for a European place so what better to claim it against one of our most bitter rivals. With the sadness of Alan Ball's death and the return of Wayne Rooney, I think we will all be spurred on to make this as good as 2 years ago when Big Dunc powered a header into the Street End. That day was second to none and I cannot remember an atmosphere as good since Bayern Munich. Let's also hope the players are ready and willing to fight for Europe. Come on you Blues!!!
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Re: Doddy

Is Richard, deep down, saying Moyes deserves credit for adding a new dimension to Beattie's game, and has made him a better all round player?

Richard, Beattie is shite! He can't head a ball, his ball control is dire, his shooting... well let's not get into that. I just can't see this new dimension to his game you are going on about. I think you are deep down just covering for Moyes because you know he has fucked up with Beattie.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (26/4/07)


Can someone please tell me that Richard Dodd is having a laugh about Beattie? If he isn't, then he needs to see a good doctor because Beattie is on a par with the very worst centre-forwards we have had in many years. He has scored as many almost as AJ but many of these have come from penalties. Get shut, Moyesie ? now!
Russ Kavanagh, E Port  (26/4/07)


I can't believe he will play ahead of Turner and Ruddy! We know Wright can't hold the ball so Fergie's team talk will be shoot when possible and make sure his forwards are there when Wrighty parries or drops the ball.

Dont do it, Davey.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (26/4/07)

Ginger Wigs

I have just finished laughing at Craig Taylor's suggestion that all the players wear white boots. Why not go the whole way and all wear ginger wigs? RIP Bally ? a true legend.
Chris Woodhouse, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Wait a minute (or two)

For Bally, why not a minutes silence AND a minute's applause? Surely this man's contribution to Everton Football Club is worth an extra minute of our time? If some other Club's supporters choose to disrupt a minute's silence then it will be there for all to hear on Sky TV. Somehow I do not think it will happen but if it does, just point to them en masse in silence for the cameras to record.
Dave Roberts, Runcorn  (26/4/07)

Damn, I have to admit Michael might be right!

I think the white boots for all the players is a great idea for a small gesture on the field of play, at goodison (where Bally entertained so many).

Unfortunately you are right that this weekend may be too soon for new boots. Also you are right about the whole endorsments thing.

So that's twice!!!
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (26/4/07)

Sorry! ;)

Remember This (to Penny Lane)?

Alan Ball is my ears and in my eyes, He plays beneath the Royal Blue Goodison skies,

I'm quite sure he'll be there on Saturday willing us on. God Bless You, Alan, and Thank You Always in our Hearts.
Colin Potter, Wavertree  (26/4/07)

James Beattie

I do feel the critisism of James is a little harsh but for someone to say he is a good link up player is a joke. The only thing I would say about Beattie is he can finish. But he struggles to get himself into these positions because of his lack of pace and overall lack of ability.

He is supposed to be an old-fashioned centre forward but what is an old-fashioned centre-forward. An old fashioned centre-forward is supposed to win headers, rough defenders up and hold the ball up to link up with midfielders or strikers. Beattie does not hold the ball up and he does not link the midfield to the strikeforce. He wins few headers and generally looks lost on the pitch.

I will give him credit he has lost weight and his work rate has improved dramatically. If I was Beattie I would look at Bob Latchford. Bob was the laziest centre-forward ever yet he put the ball in the net consistently and that's what we need.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Alan Ball; Minute of Applause

I have just read that the Premier League want to have a 1 min applause for Alan Ball at games on Saturday. What is that all about?? The man was a legend and I think ourselves and Man Utd fans can be trusted to stand and not speak for 1 min. I was at Old trafford when Matt Busby died and we were exemplary. So forget all this Sky/Premiership crap and let us show our respect in a traditional way... respect the minute's silence.
Chris Morris, Hull  (26/4/07)


Mr Coffey - I read your letter regarding Bally and all I can say is "Wow" - what a story. That just shows you how much he was revered even around the world.
Pat Jones, Swansea  (26/4/07)

Dodd right on Beattie

I actually think Richard Dodd is spot on with his estimation of James Beattie.

The guy came to us with a reputation ? borne out by his stats ? of being a clinical goalscorer. Two and a half years under `the guidance` of David Moyes and he couldn`t score in a brothel. But hey! ? he`s great defending set-pieces!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (26/4/07)

Perfect - White Boots all round!!!!!!

All the players to wear those famous white boots. I just think that would be brilliant. Even better if we beat Utd as well.

Has to be done.
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (26/4/07)

Sorry to be practical but it's a ridiculous idea, a non-starter. Product endorsements aside, a player's boots are his tool of the trade. Playing with new white boots that have not been worn in for most of the team would almost guarantee a defeat, I think. White boots were personal preference for Bally and should be respected as such for other players too. They are far better ways to honour the man. ? Michael

The Minute's Applause

The reason why there's a minute's applause instead of a minute's silence is because Manchester United fans are who they are and would inevitably disrupt a minute's silence. A minute's applause is harder to disrupt. This does not apply to all fan groups. It's a call clubs make on an ad hoc basis. When you are faced with a bunch of lowlife hooligans, you can't take too many chances. The fact is, though, I fancy Alan Ball would prefer his name to be greeted with sound and not silence.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Re: Alan Ball RIP / One Minute's Applause?

Firstly, Alan Ball RIP. He was just before my time, although I vaguely remember the white boots! Great player, great Evertonian!

Patrick, wasn't the passing of Brian Labone ALSO marked with a round of applause? I agree, I think it SHOULD really be a minute's silence, perhaps more sombre, but traditionally respectful. Maybe this applause idea is (a) from abroad? (b) to ensure that no divs spoil the silence?
Steve Johnston, Nottingham  (26/4/07)

Alan Ball celebration

I found the following post on the BBC site. It was one of the responses to the McNulty piece. Wouldn't it be a dream send-off?

Alan Ball was a true Everton legend. The relationship he had with Kendall and Harvey lives on to this day, and every Everton midfield lives under the shadow of the Holy Trinity. He contributed not just to the greatness of Everton football club but to the finest moment in English football as a whole.

In this day of token gestures to remember those who pass on, such as black armbands, may I suggest that the blues on Saturday all go out wearing those magic white boots that Alan wore with such grace and skill. And then batter Man Utd just for him.

Roberto Birquet, London  (26/4/07)

James Beattie

I have just read Richard Dodd's submission below regarding the apparent merits of Mr James Beattie. I actually think Richard gets a rough deal on here sometimes but on this occasion he has finally lost his marbles.

To describe Beattie's goal return as a little dissapointing and to state that he is our best front man at linking with the midfield is astonishing! A trier he might be but his confidence is completely shot and he cannot trap a bag of cement. The first priority for me this summer must be to get rid of Beattie to the highest bidder (if there is one).

I admire Richard's blind faith but he cannot expect to be taken seriously with comments like those below.
Dave Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Bearing Gifts

About 10years ago, I was working at an oil refinery outside Athens. The complex was so big that the only way to get around was in a truck. The first day, the truck showed up, but as my Greek vocabulary was limited to spears and chariots, there wasn?t much conversation with the driver. After a few minutes he turned to me and said ?English?? I nodded. ?Football ? Manchester?? he ventured... I shook my head and said ?Everton?. The driver looked thoughtful and then, with a huge grin exclaimed ?ALAN BALL!?

Michael Coffey, Libya  (26/4/07)

Roll on the weekend

Firstly, can I say what a great site this is. Many a customer I have placed on hold just to finish those last few lines of a column or comment. Unfortunately, coming from Peterborough, I am surrounded by mostly Arsenal and Manchester Utd fans, so for the best part of two years reading this site has given me a healthy dosage of Evertonian opinion other than my own. It is only now, after seeing the moving response to the passing of Alan Ball, that I have felt compelled to voice my opinion.

Sadly, with the exception of highlight reels and BBC montages I haven't seen much of Alan Ball's playing days. But I have the word of my dad that not only was he a hugely gifted footballer but also a true gentleman.

As an Everton fan I suppose I could be accused of sitting on the fence a bit; I wholeheartedly agree that the position we find ourselves in the league (and if we remain there) is a great achievement given our limited resources. We have a squad that at worst is competent and hard-working and at best has sprinkles of brilliance and promise (We all know who I?m referring to). We also have a manager who has done a good job, and as many say is 'still learning'.

However, while once called the ?School of Science?, Everton should not be providing an education but in fact going on a journey. This is why I find myself agreeing with some of the other opinions on this site. With a heritage including Alan Ball and those like him, we should be journeying to the top. And to do that we need to beat the top.

Roll on the weekend.
Eddie Harrison, Peterborough  (26/4/07)


Did you really think Turner would play! Moyes has faith in Wright.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (26/4/07)

Not me! As I said, I'd be amazed if Turner started... Mind you, this might just be a bit of Moyes Mindgames to mess with Sir Alex! — Michael

Man Utd at Goodison

Gareth Price ? chill out, mate. Every time we play Man Utd, there are always hundreds of Utd fans in home seats, as they can't get into Old Trafford.

This has gone on for as long as I can remember ? I wouldn?t worry about it. The only time there was trouble was at the FA Cup game a couple of seasons ago. There were plenty of reasons for that, none of which were that Utd fans were in home seats.

Chill out and enjoy the game on Sat (hopefully)!COYB!
Wayne Francis, N Wales  (26/4/07)

One minute's applause?

Call me old fashioned, but am I the only Evertonian who was dissapointed to hear that Alan Ball will be remembered with a minute's applause at Goodison this Saturday, as opposed to the traditional minute's silence?

The minute's silence is part of our game and allows the crowd and viewers on the telly to remember those who are being respected. In this case, quite possibly Everton's greatest ever player and without doubt our greatest personality.

Does anyone else agree with me here?
Patrick Marks, London  (26/4/07)

Bally in Singapore

To answer Mikhail Ridhuan, although I no longer live in Singapore, I was there for 12 years up to 2001. I clearly remember Alan Ball at the Padang in 1996. Not only was he commentating, he was actually playing in a 6-a-side tournament.

I can still visualise the pre-game kickabout he had with Tony Woodcock and another of my heros of days long gone, Rene van der Kerkhof. Gave me a buzz as they were about 10 feet away from me.
Mac Holden, Nerja, Spain  (26/4/07)

Poor turnout

Just been down to Goodison to sign the book of condolence thinking that I would be queuing for the whole morning... What a pathetic turnout, 3 people waiting!
Matt Geraghty, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

Lower Bullens

I found this link today regarding Man Utd fans buying seats in the Lower Bullens and am trying to draw as much attention to it so the club may take some notice.

It seems that Man Utd fans have bought hundreds of tickets for the game and that there will be more of a chance of trouble. Is there nothing that can be done to stop this?
Gareth Price, Lancaster  (26/4/07)

Alan Ball

I have never seen Alan Ball play, neither in his prime or his latter years, or even as a manager, but I know my history, and history will dictate that Ball is one of the greatest Evertonians of all time.

I don't know if I am dreaming this or did it really happened but I recall Ball coming over to Singapore to broadcast-commentate on a few S-League matches (first season, 1996-ish) if I am not mistaken? Would any Singaporean Toffees enlighten me on this? I was only 15 at the time and can't remember. Wish I could have been nearer and maybe shaken his hand then...
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (26/4/07)


Sorry mate but excuse me if I'm wrong but every striker, even the best (Henry, Ronaldo, Rooney, Shearer, Pele) miss chances in games. The fact he gets into those places and gets a chance is a positive thing, it has to be. Of cours,e I would rather he had scored 20-25 goals this season, but I'm sorry that aint going to happen in a team that plays 4-5-1 for most of the season.

Cut AJ some slack and start being a bit supportive. For the last few seasons we have moaned that as a team we haven't scored enough goals. This season our goal difference is a + figure, that hasn't happened for ages. AJ has been a big figure in this, and in our season as a whole.

I'm willing to bet that next season with a decent partner with him in nearly all our games we will see 18-20 goals from AJ.
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (25/4/07)

Worthy of a Statue

News of Alan Ball's death literally stopped me in my tracks yesterday. Later, I was thinking whether he, like Dixie, should be commemorated in statue form... Only a handful of ex-players would be truly worthy (Young, Kendall, Sagar, Southall, Labone...) but if we do move or redevelop Goodison, imagine having a "team" of legendary statues outside to greet you and the opposition...
Rob Sawyer, Handforth  (26/4/07)

It began with Bally

In 1966 I was 11 years old. The World Cup was on telly and I was glued to it. I was small, slight, and I had red hair. I liked the look of the red head playing for England, boy could this lad move.

Some weeks after the World Cup I saw the headline on the evening paper - Alan Ball joins Everton for record fee. If Everton was good enough for Alan Ball then it was good enough for me. A true legend, gifted footballer and an Evertonian through and through; we will all miss you.
Steve Cummins, Ireland  (26/4/07)

Lay Off Beats

I guess you are used to my holding a view diametrically opposed to most posters but I really do feel the need to say a few words in defence of James Beattie. Some of the personal attacks on such a talented and whole-hearted player go far beyond what should be expected of Everton supporters.

Whilst the player`s goal return is, perhaps, a little disappointing, just as with AJ there is much more to his overall game. The stats will show that he is amongst the most industrious of all Everton players and David Moyes has added a new dimension to his game in the time he has worked with him. Signed as an out and out stiker, James plays the link with midfield role better than anyone on the books and can constantly be seen doing his stint in defence for set pieces.

I realise that, in spite of his all-out effort and populatity with fellow players, his lack of goals will prevent him from ever being a crowd favourite here but, were he ever to be made available for sale, I can assure you there would be a queue of Premiership clubs round the block to sign him!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (26/4/07)

Something New To Moan About

First of all I wanted to say RIP Alan Ball and also as someone never to have seen him play it's really breathtaking to have read all the different contributions in the mailbag.

So, why the sudden constant criticism of AJ? Without him this season we'd probably be a lot further down the league. Barring the top 2, he'd walk into any team in the league. I thought everyone was over the moon with his contribution this season. For a few seasons we've been crying out for a striker like him, now we've got him he's getting abuse after 3/4 of his first season!! I dunno, I don't think we're every happy. Probably a good thing I suppose but I just don't think we give anyone a chance. How long before Anichebe and Vaughan dither on the ball and become victims? McFadden and Beattie are deemed shite by the majority. No wonder these players' confidence is low.

I'm hoping AJ is fit for the game on Saturday and that his normal buzzing about, harrying defences is back as well, make no mistakes about it workrate in a striker is a very admirable quality. Would you rather see AJ jog about on Saturday do feck all, then hit a goal in the 90th minute for us to get beat 1-2? I doubt it very much. It was the buzzing about and defending as a team that earned us the point at Anfield.

Can we not just get behind these players for the remainder? If Beattie is playing, same with him. COYB.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (26/4/07)

Hope you're right about a fit AJ being ready for the Mancs. The sight of an Everton Number 8, wearing white boots, and grabbing the winner would be very poignant this Saturday indeed. - Colm

''Alan Ball is an Evertonian''

I was getting a little bit concerned that the London media bias was in full flight in the tributes to Alan Ball. The general gist of the tributes were that Alan Ball won the World Cup for England, played for Arsenal and in North America. Oh, and he won the league in 1970 with Everton. The fact that he is a legend at a currently unfashionable Liverpool club seemingly added on as an afterthought.

Thankfully, the BBC web page is currently carrying an excellent article about Ball and Everton that recognises the sense of loss felt.

My own Alan Ball recollection is somewhat insignificant compared to others. It seemed that every team Alan Ball brought to Goodison as a manager lost. I remember being in the Gwladys Street when we beat Man City 2-0 in 1996. We sang "Alan Ball is an Evertonian". He was.

Perhaps we should revive that chant and the "Who's the greatest of them all?" song on Saturday? That would be a fitting tribute.
Myles Sunley, London  (26/4/07)


Words fail me. I can only echo all that has been said.
Derek Thomas, Torbay Auckland  (26/4/07)

Bally the LEGEND

Alan I speak for all Evertonians, when I say THANK YOU for choosing the Blues after starring in the World Cup.

As we look back, YOU had the chance to go anywhere, but you CHOSE the club you always held dear to your heart. I have been to charity events down near your home in Hampshire, and in London, and you always made a point of talking about your FIRST love ? EVERTON. We have lost two GIANTS in just twelve months, but you will always be with us, so to you and LABBY. GOD BLESS.
Norman Merrill, Everton, Liverpool  (26/4/07)

AJ and JB

I doubt there is a better exponent of the role AJ plays and this is not a criticism of him. At the same time we must come up with a game plan that does not entirely depend on long balls to a lone striker. With his speed and enthusiasm, AJ does stretch defences he also stretches our team and with him not being noted for holding onto the ball until back-up arrives, far too many attacks are snuffed out before they have a chance to develop.

I am also worried that far too often, AJs high-speed runs put him on a collision course with much bigger opponents. It is only a matter of time before he cops a really serious injury. What is needed is a two-man strike force and that brings me to Beattie. I do not believe for a minute he has lost what prompted his signing. What has changed is the kind of game expected of him. With us he plays an AJ-type of role in a 4-5-1 formation and not very successfully I might add, yet at Southampton he made his name as part of a dual strike partnership with Kevin Phillips. Before we throw the baby out with the bath water I would like to see a Beattie-Johnson partnership in a 4-4-2 given an extended try-out.

Meanwhile, I thank those who wished me well, its been a bit rough but now I am back on track.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (26/4/07)

The picture above the bed...

Like so many Blues of my generation commenting here, I'm an Evertonian because of Alan Ball. All these years on, a continent and a lifetime away, I can still conjure up his picture above the bed. I can still feel keenly the disbelief when he was transferred....the utter disbelief 'cause he was truly one of us.

As the old toast goes "Who's like us??? There's none like us... and them that are, are dead!"
Paul Daly, New York & Dublin  (25/4/07)

A fitting tribute

While, perhaps with justification, we claim the lad from Farnworth as one of our own, there was a smashing tribute to Alan Ball in the text of John May's tribute on the BBC news website. Very tellingly John writes:

"... Such was the stature of the little man that he is possibly the only person to be loved in equal proportions by fans of Southampton and Portsmouth

Ballie (sic) achieved cult status as a Saints player during his years at The Dell and had to overcome that perceived handicap when he moved down the coast to manage rivals Pompey, not once, but twice.

He became a hero in his first stint by guiding Pompey back to the top flight for the first time in 29 years, ...? AND ??Southampton fans welcomed back a prodigal son when he returned as manager to save Saints' bacon and when he headed back down the M27 for a second spell in the Pompey hot-seat, his passion kept the financially stricken club alive off the pitch until the cavalry arrived ...?
My testament to the man. Aged 11 in 1970, I desperately wanted a pair of those white boots!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (26/4/07)

Please Grandad

"Grandad, can I have a new pair of footy boots please, please Grandad?"
"What's wrong with the ones you've got?"
"They're a bit small Grandad and they hurt my feet."
"Oh, I suppose so but you'll have to wait for a few weeks 'til I save up"
"Luv you Grandad".....

"Right, let's go and get yer boots"
"Great Grandad! I want white ones"
"You want bloody what?"
"White ones Grandad"
"White ones? WHITE ONES? never bloody heard of them."
"But Grandad, Alan Ball wears white ones"
"Then white ones it is then, but make sure you play like Bally when you wear them."

I never did, no-one ever did, play like Bally. Just my own personal reminice.

I find it very eerie that I have just started to read the book Talking Blue by Becky Tallentire (Michael, Lyndon and Colm all ask a question) and the first man in the book is Alan Ball (Lyndon was the only one with a question to Bally.) I remember as a child in the mid/late 60's and seeing a picture of Alan and his Dad, Alan Ball Senior, who I seem to recall was Preston manager?

I was 11 when Bally left for Arsenal and I remember crying... I don't know why, but I sobbed my heart out. I've never shed a tear for a Blue who left after Bally and I guess I never will. I write with a tear in my eye though.

RIP Bally, and say hello to Labby and Dixie for me ? and don't forget my Grandad and thank him for the boots!
Mark Joseph, West Lancs  (26/4/07)

Thanks Lyndon, Mike, Colm, Rob and the boys

For the Site, God Bless you all Guys, thank you ? it helps the world over.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (25/4/07)

You, and everyone who contriburtes, are most welcome. — Michael

Alan Ball Can't Be Dead

Alan Ball can?t be dead. He was my first football hero, he was Everton?s best player, he was England?s best player, and undoubtedly the best player in the universe. I knew everything about him, most of which could be referenced to ?Shoot?. His picture hung over my bed. I remember trying to imitate ?Mr Perpetual Motion?s? style of play on our local park, I remember always wanting to wear the Number Eight shirt and would have loved a pair of those famous white boots. I know I could have played ten times better if only I had a pair of Alan Ball boots.

I remember the first time I saw him in the flesh; it was from the ?Boys Pen?. I must have photographed the image in my head, it?s so clear. It was a corner, the Royal Blue shirt looked tailor made for him, he really did have red hair and he really did wear white boots. Now, I could add ?the best corner taker in the world? to his CV.

A man possessing all these powers should have had a voice like Richard Burton, but he didn?t, his was high and wispish. But, if it was good enough for Alan Ball it was good enough for me so I set about imitating him as best I could. However, achieving this falsetto style was too hard for me so I gave up. Alan Ball didn?t give up and that?s why he even had a world class voice.

I remember standing on a corner with a few mates on that cold night in December 1971. It wasn?t possible that my hero was leaving Everton. It couldn?t be his fault, it was Harry Catterick?s fault, it was Arsenal's fault, it was Bill Shankly?s fault. Yes, that was it; somehow Shankly had got to him and drugged him with ?Purple Hearts?. It was someone?s fault but it wasn?t Alan Ball?s.

I never had another hero like Alan Ball. I loved Reidy and Sheedy, I admire Arteta and wanted ?Big Dunc? to be great. But none of them got to me like Alan Ball. Alan Ball was the best player in the universe and he played for Everton. Alan Ball dead? No, Alan Ball can?t be dead.
John Burns, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

What becomes of the broken-hearted?

I watched Alan Ball as a six-year-old kid... he was my idol; I tried to play the way he did and never quite succeeded. In '68, we played in the most one-sided cup final I have ever witnessed to date. In 1970 we came of age, I was 10.

When Catterick cashed in and sold him to Arsenal, I was barely 12; he was my idol and I cried, a lot.

At 45 years of age I met him at the Springfield Hotel, Holywell. He was still my idol and he made me smile a lot. I won a joint raffle with another fella and was given a choice over a shirt or Bally's book.

I chose the book, he signed it for my lad (I was too embarrassed to say it was for me) and I was on top of the world. The man was pure class and I am crying about him all over again. God rest you, Bally, you sent a million kids dreaming.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (25/4/07)

The man

I was 13 when we won the League in 1970. Alan Ball's picture was above my bed. Every night I asked God to bless our team. "God bless Gordon West, Tommy Wright, Sandy Brown..." When I got to the number 8, I said, "God Bless Alan Ball. Especially Alan Ball." Then I carried on with the rest of them.

Now I can only say what I used to say all those years ago. God Bless Alan Ball.
Hugo Kondratiuk, London  (25/4/07)


As a fairly young Evertonian I never had the pleasure of seeing such a class act grace the turf of Goodison Park, but my dad has always said, and will probably always say, Alan Ball is by far the greatest English footballer that has ever lived. I believe him!! RIP Bally.
Dean Adams, Isle of Man  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

Isn't it strange how certain things touch us? I got into football in 1986, long after Bally had packed up his boots, so I've no real connection to him. Being a Blue, though, I do find it profoundly sad. As far as I know, he was very fit. Maybe it's his youthful exhuberance? He just seems to have gone way before his time.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

What horrible news to wake up to one of my all-time hero's gone. I remember when he signed and the Liverpool fans, fresh from beating us in the Charity Shield, called it a panic buy. God how they must have wished it over the next five years. He may not have been scouse but he was like one of us Glawdys Street fans on the pitch, only with skill to spare.

Remember his cup goal that beat them at both grounds, when he KO'd Tommy Smith. The memories flood back. I hope Rooney sees on Saturday how a real Once a Blue is revered. A guy who was class on and off the pitch ? sadly, a dying breed in modern football.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (25/4/07)


Devastated to hear of the death of one of our greatest-ever players. I have so many happy memories, as a lad, of watching Bally play his heart out for us and run rings round the opposing defence. He was a world-class player but played with the infectious enthusiasm of a little kid in every game, including the odd tantrum when things didn't go our/his way, and two kids' tricks which he would treat us to occasionally ? one was sitting on the ball in the middle of a game and inviting opponents to get it off him; the other was wiping his nose on the flag when he came over to take a corner.

He really was the heart and soul of Everton, and I'll always cherish his memory. A sad day for all Blues. RIP.
Mike O'Neill, Barcelona  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball ? Simply the best

I started supporting Everton in 1970. The only reason was not that they had just run away with the League Championship or that they were playing the most attractive football on the planet, but because they had this fiery red headed-midfield general called Alan Ball.

Bally could have played for Mansfield or anyone and I would have supported them. He had this passion to win that even I as an eight-year-old could see. The saddest day of my life was when he was sold to Arsenal.

The first time I went to Goodison was to see his return against us. We drew 0-0 against a very good Arsenal team. Even then I could see his heart was with Everton. Truly once a Blue always a Blue. Bally rest in peace! Lets win it for him on Saturday
Ajay Timothy, New York, USA  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball ? Ball of Fire

I was nine in 1970. I grew up a mile from Highbury with a dad and brother and at least half my school supporting Arsenal. However, I'd just seen Everton win the title and a little red-headed fella in white boots (cool or what!) that became my first footballing hero.

Even when he signed for my nemesis, I couldn't stop the affection I held him in and at my very first visit to Goodison, he trotted out wearing the red and white of the of my brothers team but I still appluaded him onto the pitch (along with every other supporter in the stadium) and he applauded me back (he might have glanced at a few of the others around!)

He epitomised Everton and the reasons why I love them against all the odds, great style but worked harder than anybody else around him. Never took his ability, or the support of those who watched him, for granted.

I was lucky enough to meet him briefly a few years ago at a lunch held in honour of Jimmy Greaves. But I still felt nine years old when I excitedly went up for his autograph after his speach. He was a giant to me and I'll miss seeing him on TV and remembering those early days.

I've had many favourite players since but, with the possible exception of Bob Latchford, never a hero like Bally. That team playing behind the pearly gates is building a great midfield with Bally alongside Labby. Thanks for everything, Mr Ball, we'll all miss you greatly.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball-The Greatest of them all

It is such a sad day for us Evertonians, and a year since the passing of another legend, Brian Labone. If Brian was the last of the Corinthians, then Bally must've been the first of the new generation. A player who could run all day, pass, tackle but also score goals, what would he be worth today?

He played for many clubs but always held us Blues closest to his heart. And us him... RIP, Bally ? you'll always be the greatest.
Paul Henshaw, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

Yet another sad day for our club. Being exiled in Blackpool it is pretty strange as of course he is technically their 'son', but we all know Alan Ball was an Evertonian, and one of the greatest of all time.

There are probably thousands like me who never saw him play but who feel like he is a major part of us as Evertonians. RIP to a true legend and condolences to his family on the passing of a true hero.
Rob Fox, Blackpool  (25/4/07)

Having a laugh, now AJ?

Can't believe anyone would dare to question the brillianace and wonderousness that is AJ. The Premiership isn't as weak as it used to be, no doubt all the defenders in opposition backlines have instructions to force AJ out wide if he tries to get in behind. People don't often get the chance to run directly at goal with time to take a shot. It's credit to managers and defences if they prevent AJ from scoring ? that's their job.

Since we bought AJ, a lot of teams have given us a lot more credit and played less attacking formations in order to prevent AJ getting in behind them. Before that, there was no real threat in our forward line, hence why teams like Arsenal murdered us 7-0.

Each season brings more money and new talent; with a new striker (ie, Nugent) two hard-working full backs and a winger, things ain't looking too bad for the boys in blue.
Daniel Dunbar, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

"People don't often get the chance to run directly at goal with time to take a shot." Exactly my point. I that split second, he needed to shoot. He took a fatal second touch. Very rare chance gone. He gets one a game like that ? if he's lucky.

Other times, he runs alongside the bouncing ball... waiting for what exactly? Get yer foot on it, lad! It won't bite!!!

How can anyone use the 7-0 aberation at Arsenal as an indictor of anything, other than end-of-season relaxation after an all-night bender the team went on?

And who are all these new players we don't have? Think it's time for you to pack in the FM prog and get back in the real world, Danny boy. ? Michael

Alan Ball ? pocket dynamo

I had the privilege of watching Alan Ball during the mid 60s and early 70s, can well remember his goals against Liverpool and the goal on his debut at Fulham when we won 1-0 (the last time we won at Craven Cottage).

He was my first hero along with Gordon West and a role model for any player who wants to gain the adoration of the crowd. He would run through a brick wall for the Blues, cover every blade of grass in his efforts to win and was one of those players that made things happen when you least expected it. He wasn't just a trier though ? he had skill in abundance and was an entertainer too.

I remember a match against West Ham in the 68-69 season which was heading for a 0-0 until Bally popped up near the end with a goal that he squeezed in from an almost impossible angle. We went onto win 2-0. I remember also a penalty in the last minute against Ipswich with the score at 2-2 when he blasted the ball against the post and then netted the rebound. The ref rightly disallowed it because no other player had touched it in between Ball's two touches. The disappointment on Ball's face matched everyone's in the crowd ? he played like an Evertonian playing for his team, not as a paid employee of the club.

I'm sure the Evertonian in him never deserted him. There are some players such as Harvey, Royle, Kendall, Andy King, Labone, Lyons who remain fans when they've finished as players and that's why they're revered.

If any of you younger fans ever need reminding what it means to be an Evertionian in these days of rare success and limited football, just watch the reaction of the older generation on Saturday. I'm sure some of us will be unable to hold it all together during the minutes silence / applause.

I don't think we'll see his like again at Goodison.
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (25/4/07)

Rather than RIP, I think I'll be a buddist for the day and start praying that he is reincarnated... in the body of Leon Osman!— Michael

God Bless You Alan

Like all Evertonians of my generation, I just couldn't believe the news this morning. As a young lad in Liverpool in the 60s, Bally meant everything to me. He was Everton, the absolute heartbeat of the club. I was always Bally when there was a kickabout and had his Number 8 stitched onto my blue footy shirt by my Mum. In those days everyone knew of and respected him, Blue or Red, a legend. The day he was sold to Arsenal broke my young heart, but thankfully he always remained an Evertonian through and through. Thanks for the inspiration, Alan. RIP.
Simon Hughes, Sheffield  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

My Father passed away late last year and he would always talk about how good Alan Ball was. I know he would be gutted to hear of Alan's passing. I would be frequently informed how it was impossible for me to imagine how good Everton were back then and how great Alan Ball was. A sad day for all Blues.
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I was at Alsop school in the 60s and as usual the majority were Evertonians. It was always, "Who is going to be Ball, Kendall and Harvey?" No offence, but the majority of us wanted to be Bally. My memory was his penalty against you know who and when the ball hit the back of the net he almost joined us in the Street End!

Why is it that this year the soldiers dying in Iraq seem to be all Evertonians and now Bally as well. Who said only the good die young? RIP Alan, thanks for the memories!
Les Golding, Evesham  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I will never forget at 7 years of age, we stood in the playground playing footie... everyone said, "Right, who are you going to support?" everyone went for Man United but I had seen Bally in the 66 World Cup, so I said... "EVERTON". We won the Chapionship that year... 69-70. Bless him!
Will Bruce, London  (25/4/07)

Junior tickets

Firstly, I am absolutely gutted at the loss of Alan Ball. It renders me speechless and hollow.

I was however EXTREMELY annoyed at the club's policy on general sale of the Man Utd tickets. I farted about for two hours trying to secure one adult and two kids seats. For the Carling and FA cups I have taken a wagon load of kids. The e-ticketing site that night was an absolute shambles. I gave up. Now we see a message on the O/S about ticket fraud???

Get your software sorted lads. There are still people at the turnstiles to pull you up. Really angry at the incompetance of it all since they have gone to a new provider. I'll watch it on sky and hope the lads give a performance worthy of Alan Ball. COYB's ... RIP Bally
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (25/4/07)


I am 38 years of age. For a man with a terrible memory, I can remember the black and white pictures of him on my wall when I was 2 maybe 3... my mum and dad had murder over calling me Alan after him; my mum won and Paul it was... but after hearing this story I always felt a weird connection to the man.

I only saw him play for Southampton but met him at the odd function; however, I got the chance I really wanted last year outside Manchester Airport: I saw him waiting alone I felt for the fella thinking of what he had gone through with his wife and daughter. I just walked up shook his hand said, "Alan, you're a legend," and walked away. The look on his face was enough for me. God bless, mate.
Paul Gladwell, Birkenhead  (25/4/07)

I had to add this....

This is from an e-mail I received today re: Alan Ball. From one of his contemporaries who watched him at Goodison many times ? I think it puts his talent in perspective for those of us who didn't see him play:-

"When he was young, just after the World Cup, he really was the best midfield player I ever saw. Imagine the technique of Arteta or Fabregas with the ability to run flat out for the whole game, his work rate/tempo was unbelievable... and he scored goals!

When I see a midfield player Bally, is always my yardstick and frankly no one has ever measured up! His influence on the players around him was amazing too!

Truly one of the greats! Hopefully Football in England will give him a great send off... he really deserves it!"

Richard Williams, Danbury, CT, USA  (25/4/07)

Great BBC Article

There is a brilliant tribute to Alan Ball written by Phil McNulty on the BBC Football website, any chance of setting up a link for the rest of the Toffeeweb readers to read it. Thank You.
Ryan Jones, Preston  (25/4/07)

Here it is: Farewell to Everton's favourite son. Thanks for that, Ryan. We're stunned and somewhat overwhelmed today. ? Michael

Thank you, Dr France

I'm feeling incredibly moved this morning by Dr France's superb remembrance of Alan Ball. I would just like to offer up my most heartfelt thanks to Dr France and so many other more senior Evertonians for sharing our history with world-based Evertonians like myself. Having come to the Club from a foreign place, it's a bit of a drag for me to admit that I don't know my history as well as most of you folks here. It's through brilliant essays such as David's that I learn and nurture my appreciation for this very special team that's become such a major part of my life.

I think it all underscores the importance of treating Dr France's Collection with the major respect it deserves. Before I was married, my yearly holiday was to come over to Liverpool and catch a home and away game. While that's ended for the most part, I've been able to persuade the wife to 'let'(!) us head over in early '08. I'm over the moon about it, but I digress.

What a wonderful thing it would be for me to be able to take her to a site that houses a definitive history of this utterly brilliant institution we all love so massively. Not only would it be a permanent testament to our fantastic Club, but it would serve to further (I hesitate to use this word, but still...) enlighten supporters like myself and my wife to what so many others of you know already. We're immense, have an unparalleled legacy and I'm so proud and honoured to be able to refer to myself as a Toffee.

Years ago, I never would have imagined that I would find such passion for something that on the surface is so far removed from where I come from. But, here I am :) Thank you, again, Dr France and ToffeeWeb for keeping we (geographically) far-removed supporters close to the heart of my beloved team.
Stig Meacham, Hawaii, USA  (25/4/07)

That was great, Stig. Many thanks to you! — Michael

Sad day...

Alan Ball IS the reason I support Everton... that and a 4-0 thumping of our neighbours! Definitely a childhood hero and he'll definitely be missed: sad, sad, sad day!

I do vividly remember the day he was sold... it was a news item on News at Ten (or similar program) and I was speechless... even to this day I still don't understand why they sold him; either way, a SUPERSTAR in his day!!!
Martin Cutler, Canton, OH, USA  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

At 23, I'm too young to have seen him play but that doesn't take away from the fact that I know we've lost a true great. Ball was the personifacation of an Evertonian. RIP
Ciaran McConnell, Belfast  (25/4/07)

Childhood Hero

As a child on the Wirral, I must have bought a 100 pkts of football cards trying to get the Alan Ball card. I remember being broken-hearted when Alan was transfered to Arsenal. I only saw him play half-a-dozen times at the most but the memory of watching him in those white boots is something I will always remember. Even now, thousands of miles away, living in Canada, the news of Alan's death brought a tear to my eye.

Rest in peace, Alan.
Ray Pearson, Canada  (25/4/07)


Can we stop this "AJ isn't very good" lark? AJ has been a breath of fresh air for us this season. Comparing him to Rooney, Keane etc.. WHY? If they were in our team up front on their own for most of the season, then I do not think that they would have scored many more goals. What I do know is that they wouldn't have worked their bollocks off for the team in the manor he has.

Can we start being positive about our team for once. Yes, the club has their bad points (and AJ certainly isn't one of them) but let's not dwell on them all the time.

I accept people are entitled to their opinions as well but questioning AJ, PLEASE!!! it's almost as though we are so stretched for something to moan about we have to find the smallest thing.

We could of course play Beattie 5 bellies upfront on his own...
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (25/4/07)

I'm sorry but his failure to shoot when clean through with a sight on goal the other week just summed up what I've been thinking for a good few weeks after watching his performances recently. You may think it is just a small thing to moan about, but our failure to grasp those fleeting chances is an abiding memory of this season for me already, and that I assure you is no small thing: it's massive.

I guess work-rate doesn't do much for me: strikers are there to score, not work. The Arsenal strike was a fabulous example of what he should be doing. But how rare is that? — Michael

Alan Ball RIP

As a longtime Evertonian and ToffeeWeb reader I felt compelled to write in and share my thoughts on this sad day. I just can't concentrate at work. Being 26, I never saw Alan play and, to be honest, didn't truly appreciate just what kind of man he was and what he achieved both for us and England.

Needing a good book for the all - night coach journey to a Uni reunion in Aberdeen last summer, I bought Alan's book 'Playing Extra Time'. After completing it somewhere outside Dundee, I realised here was a legend of a bygone age. The obvious devotion to his family, club and country was truly inspirational.

To cut a long story short, I would have loved to have had the chance to meet him in person to just say thanks and as strange as it may sound, give the guy a big hug! I feel pride that he was one of us and look forward to Saturday and giving him the send off he deserves. RIP Bally, I'll miss you.
Andrew Presly, London  (25/4/07)


I'm ginger and Bally was my hero. RIP, you're a legend.
Steve Robbs, Knotty Ash  (25/4/07)

Onwards to Saturday after such a grey day

A sad day for all Evertonian's with the passing of Alan Ball.

The best justice we can do for the memory of such a great player is to pull off a superhuman result on Saturday and truly show what it means to be an Evertonian. I'm sure Bally will be looking down on us on Saturday and smiling.

Rest in peace Alan Ball.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball ? icon of Arsenal and Southampton

I know it's easy to get paranoid about the media treatment of Everton, but if you look at many of the national sources we are being air-brushed out again. Sky Sports says, for example:

"Ball shone with The Tangerines and earned a place in the World Cup squad in 1966 at the age of 21 after making his debut for England the year before. His performances for Sir Alf Ramsey's side saw a host of clubs battle for his signature - before Everton paid £110,000 for him in August 1966.

In 1971 Arsenal paid a club record £220,000 for Ball and he flourished at Highbury"

No mention of his Championship medal with us (something he never got at Highbury). Equally this morning's Breakfast news on BBC had a similar 'ex-Arsenal player dies' line.

Please don't let this letter be seen as in bad taste. Bally was my idol too, seeing as I started going regularly in August 1966! But it's just symptomatic of the lack of respect in which the club is held by the media.
Brian Denton, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

RIP my hero

I am an Evertonian because of Alan Ball and so today's news has left me stunned and deeply saddened. He was my first sporting hero ? a man small of stature who joined Everton at a time that my awarenesss of our great club had just been inspired by the 1966 FA Cup triumph.

Thanks to Bally, Everton FC is in my heart and forever will be. Thanks for the memories, Bally. RIP.
Chris Goldie, London  (25/4/07)

Re: Robin Byrne Plagarist

I submitted my article on Monday morning, it just got posted today as (hopefully) one of our esteemed editors/administrators will vouch for. Sorry if you think I copied you but I got there first ? I'd like to say that wise heads are thinking alike, but you'd probably accuse me of copying that from someone as well!

To be honest, I'm sure I'm not the only person on this website who thinks that my selection could reap results against Man Utd ? I don't make any claim to being a tactical genius; I'm just submitting my two cents.

Anyway, this is not a day for bickering between ourselves about manager for a day selections: this is a day to remember a true Everton great in Alan Ball, and I hope the lads on the pitch can do his memory justice on Saturday.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (25/4/07)

RIP Alan Ball

To quote Bono... "Can't believe the news today, I can't close my eyes and make it go away..." Another legend passes on.

Didn't mean to cause such a fuss with the AJ vs Beattie stats by the way! Just a bit of fun to distract from the fact that we have to face Rooney, Ronaldo et al on Saturday.

Just to set the record straight for Steve Jones, though - Rooney has scored 22 goals this season, Keane has scored 19, Defoe 16. AJ is only outscoring Bellamy of those strikers you mentioned. So let's not get carried away with ourselves ? AJ is a decent striker whose status has, as others have argued, been elevated to that of a legend by scoring against Liverpool.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I started watching Everton in the Mid sixties when we could afford to buy one of stars of the 66 World Cup. The effect as a little kid of seeing Alan Ball with his white boots and shock of red hair - always easy to spot - is difficult to put into words. His superb flicks and passes made your heart jump and as a midfield player he was a frequent goal scorer. He was the greatest player I have seen in an Everton shirt
Terry Connell, Australia  (25/4/07)

Robin Byrne Plagarist

Hey Robin, that was my team I posted yesterday - do we think alike or are you just unable to think for yourself? Roll on Saturday and well find out if Moyes has been copying as well!

Bally RIP.
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

A sad day

As a 27-year-old lifelong Evertonian, I never saw Alan Ball play a live game let alone for Everton, but having read his book along with numerous Everton books and having listened to the opinions of his contemporaries, fans and players, I developed a strong affection for him as a true legend of our club.

In fact it seems ridiculous but whenever I read or hear mention of his transfer to Arsenal in 1971 it hurts and I ask myself why? He was only 26! Keep the Alan Ball stories coming, I enjoy them immensely and with each one his legend grows.

Rich Willaims, Danbury, CT, USA  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I put the radio on after waking up this morning, needing my morning coffee, to hear Lawrie McMenemie wittering on about a friend of his.

He never mentioned the name but I quickly became aware whom he was talking about. After the death of Princess Diana, I could not for the life of me understand people crying over someone they?d never known. Well, I obviously do understand. And it is difficult getting through the memories of those who have contributed here.

We met, but I have no memory, just a fading photo. He opened a new building estate where we moved to in 1971. I was a few months old, and my dad took a pic of him holding me.

He left us (Everton) soon after that, and I only remember him playing for Southampton. But my dad let me know about him. If there was one player he would never tire talking about, it was Alan Ball. He even named our kid after him. My brother ended up a red ? some people don't understand.

God Bless you, Alan.
Roberto Birquet, London  (25/4/07)

Tribute in verse

Just thought I would share this text I received from a fellow Blue:

The 24th April
A year to the day
Our greatest centre half, Labby, passed away

Stood by Heaven's Blue gate
He gave an unexpected call
To our greatest Number 8
Our genius Alan Ball

With his famous white boots
He was the finest of them all
He completed our great trio of
Harvey, Kendall and Ball

As every Evertonian mourns
As Bally lays to rest
We will always remember
He really was the best

Steve McBride, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

My Grandad always said...

I'm writing to pay my respects after the untimely death of Alan Ball. I'm only in my early 20s so unfortunately never had the privelige of seeing him play, but my grandad always told me stories of how brilliant a player and inspiration he was for Everton Football Club. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum he truly epitomised. RIP.
Ryan Jones, Preston  (25/4/07)


My whole family supports Everton and the reason? Alan Ball.

My dad started to support Everton in the 60s because he loved to watch Alan Ball on TV. As a result, all my family now support them and we often chat about the Holy Trinity of Ball, Harvey and Kendall and the great football they played. It is very sad news, my thoughts go to Bally?s family and friends. May you rest in peace.
Gavin Harris, Wales  (25/4/07)

My Hero

People often ask me why as a Londoner I have always supported Everton. The reason for that died today. As a youngster growing up with parents who had no interest in sport I saw Everton on TV in the late 60s and decided that was the team I would support.

It was watching Alan Ball that made me a Blue. I never got to watch him in the flesh but, along with Labby and big Joe, he was one of my first heroes.

RIP, Alan. Once a blue always a blue!
Michael Phillips, Little Dunmow, Essex  (25/4/07)

A player who lived up to our motto

I felt I had to add my respects to those who have writen about the untimely death of Alan Ball. His signing coincided with my first season ticket at Everton.

There are fewer and fewer who realise how great it was to be an Evertonian in 1966. He was a marvellous player and his touch and vision have been underrated by the emphasis on his work rate and great spirit. He carried the responsibility of goals in those early seasons at Everton and we could have won the league a season or two earlier if Catterick had managed to get a real goalscorer in before the emergence of Joe Royle.

On a personal note, I met him a couple of years ago in a bar at a racetrack and mentioned I had watched him at Everton as I passed. He finished his conversation and 10 minutes or so later came to talk to us about those days and how the club was doing now. As pointed out by all those who met him, he was a gentleman. Rest in Peace.
Peter Jones, Dorking  (25/4/07)

RE :AJ ½ stats and the bigger picture

Exactly, it is the pressure and general harrassment that AJ causes which puts defences on the back foot. That in turn allows our midfield to push up and grab goals (Arteta, Cahill et al). By simply putting Beatties stats beside this is no comparison whatsoever. Just accept it: Beattie is shite.
Luke Dunn, Crosby  (25/4/07)

Thank you Alan

Words cannot begin to describe the loss that is being felt by Evertonians on hearing the tragic news. I was privileged enough to see him play what I consider to be his best football whilst wearing the Royal Blue jersey.

He epitomised all the things that make me proud to be an Evertonian and I am certain we will not see the likes of him again for a long, long time. For those of us of a certain age, he was quite simply the greatest, and will forever be a legend in every sense of the word.

Thank you, Alan.
Tom Evans, Beverley, East Yorks.  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I was 5 years of age when he signed for us, and he was my idol. As a five-year-old at the match my concentration would wander until such time that 'Carrot Top' got the ball, then I was mesmerised.

At the 1984 cup final I found myself actually sitting in front of him, got him to sign my hat and I was absolutely speechless! I treasure that moment more than us actually winning the cup that day.

God Bless Alan, the world is a poorer place without you. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Steve Taylor, Wirral  (25/4/07)

Tottenham's run in ...

With the last few games remaining and people talking about other teams' run-ins... I noticed that Spurs have to play three games in the last week. Ideally we would not be looking at other teams but such is the possible reality that it maybe out of our hands at some point.

Saturday, 28 April 2007 Middlesbro' v Tottenham, 15:00

Monday, 07 May 2007 Charlton v Tottenham, 20:00

Thursday, 10 May 2007 Tottenham v Blackburn, 20:00

Sunday, 13 May 2007 Tottenham v Man City, 15:00
Gary Russell, Taiwan  (25/4/07)

Ball of Fire

Such a sad and unexpected loss. Condolences to his family. A player I was lucky enough to just remember in the Blue. To me it was he who galvanised that Championship-winning side into one that flowed like oil.

Sometimes when I get slagged off for bemoaning our present style of play, I just smile to myself and remember Bally and his like who instilled into us how a team in Blue should play the game.

A sad day as part of my good football yardstick is now no longer with us.

Ken Buckley, Buckley  (25/4/07)

A J Ball RIP

`Once Everton has touched you nothing will be the same' ...and he so obviously meant it. Thank you Bally. Rest in peace, wee man
Phil Bellis, L8  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball RIP

Who's the greatest of them all? Little curly Alan Ball. Another graet has gone. RIP, Bally
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

AJ vs BT

Out of BT's 11, how many were pens?

If AJ was our penalty taker and scored all we won and just 2 or 3 of the stonewallers we've been denied, AJ will be on around 20. I also think AJ has played a lot this year when he has not been fully fit, and the same will happen on Saturday.

I will make one defence of BT's contribution to the team that on the pitch recently has been poor, during his purple patch last year he and McFadden created a good partnership that injuries have ruined since.

That the two of them haven't been given reserve team football during our 4-5-1 period this year, or when the two kids have been fit to try and rediscover that bit of form, could cost us now.
Gareth Price, Lancaster  (25/4/07)

Scott Brown

It seems Alan Irvine was at Hampden yesterday watching him put in another MOTM performance. I really, really hope we sign him. He's a 21-year-old with everything and if we can beat off the Old (in)Firm/Spurs/Bolton he would be a very exciting signing.
Ed MacDonald, Lothian  (21/4/07)

Bally RIP

He was one of my first Everton heroes. He worked his socks off, he could tackle, pass,shoot and take the piss out of opponents. Above all he had a genuine love and passion for our great club AND was a winner.

He was also my first taste of the crass complacency which seems to affect Everton every time we get some success. Reluctantly sold far too early from the club he loved and graced. How we suffered!

There's been talk of 'legends' on this website recently.

The name Alan Ball is synonomous with the word legend. Championship winner, World Cup winner, true achiever, true Evertonian.

Rest in peace Bally. Thank you!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (25/04/07)

Damian Waite

He was spot on with his article, and I too firmly believe the club are in safe hands for the future!
Craig Jones, Chester  (25/4/07)

AJ ? stats and the bigger picture

Wow, if you put Beattie's best stats next to AJ's stats, there's a comparison? Does that take into account pace, mobility, work-rate, attitude, stretching defences, bringing midfielders into play or goalscoring opportunities? Oh yeah, he scores goals as well.

AJ is the first decent striker Everton have had in years. If he had more players behind him who could pass the ball or go past a man, God knows how many goals he would score or create.

Beattie strikes me as someone who likes being a footballer more than actually putting the effort into being a good one. Instead of making excuses for underachievers like him and McFadden, let's just face facts, ship them out in the summer and cut our losses.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (25/4/07)

Thanks for the memories, Alan

At a time when we Evertonians are remembering a previous sad day, we are confronted with another. The best player ever to grace an Everton shirt in my lifetime passed away today and I had a good cry when I heard the news.

There is a theory that we are only warranted a fixed number of heartbeats in our lifetime and when we achieve that number we pass on. If that is true then it is no surprise that Alan died so young. His efforts on the pitch, especially for Everton and England were phenomenal and he must have used up a lot of them in our cause.

Thanks for the memories Alan, whether they be all the goals you made and scored, or getting sent of for throwing the ball at the referee! While it is not politically correct nowadays, thanks for making me laugh as a kid when you would sit on the ball in the middle of the pitch after leaving the opposition bamboozled.

There is another memory too; of the day the club sold you as a double-your-money asset when other teams could have been built around you. That broke my heart and it took the club 15 years to recover. Idiots! Your reaction to that demonstrated that you were a far bigger man than some other players I could mention in similar circumstances.

God bless, mate and farewell.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (25/4/07)

A True Icon

I was devastated when the news broke of Bally's death this morning. I grew up on the streets of Croxteth living and breathing his name. He truely was, simply the greatest living Evertonian of my generation, and I say that with all due respects to the late Brian Labone.

I remember hitch-hiking down to London on New Year's Day shortly after he was transferred to Arsenal when he made his home debut at Highbury against you've guessed, Everton.

As a kid, I remember Evertonian's idolised him, especially as he had a knack of always scoring against the Reds, he was absolutely fearless and had a wonderful arrogance on the ball which all great players have.

Never have I known an ex-player to be loved and revered after some nearly 40 years as this guy, I only hope the club pay some lasting tribute to this icon of a man.

When the words "Once a blue..." ring a little hollow these days, it is somewhat ironic that the first opportunity we get to pay tribute to the little man, will be against the individual who could have been his prodigy.

Thanks for the memories Bally.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (25/4/07)

RIP Alan Ball

What a true legend, it's such a shame, and it happens almost a yeat to the day Brian Labone left us as well.
Danny Jones, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

The day that Bally died

A year, almost to the day that Mr Everton died, another of my heroes has passed on. Alan Ball was probably the clincher when it came to my choice (I know I know, we do not choose etc) to be an Evertonian and my memories of him would be too great a list to publish on here but on the wall of my nearest pub here in Horsham (the Dog & Bacon) there is a picture of Alan Ball at a family wedding. Apparantly he popped in from time to time. I will be raising a pint to him Saturday lunchtime as the Blues salute the memory of the greatest of them all ? little curly Alan Ball!

Rest in peace, little man ? I loved you!

Mark Murphy, Horsham  (25/04/07)

Alan Ball

Such sad news today that Alan Ball has passed away, made all the more poignant that it happened so close to Brian Labone's first anniversary. Two Everton legends the like of which will never be seen again. My thoughts and prayers are with the Ball family and his friends.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (25/04/07)

Breaking into the big 2...

Funny quote from Rafa Benitez today coming on the back of recent debate on here regarding the reality or the myth of the big 4.

"I also hear that he says Chelsea have got 60 more points than us over the last three years. Well to do that they've spent big, how much has each point cost them?"

Erm... back at yer Rafael. My heart bleeds for yer. Maybe you should go to Real Madrid and stop pissing around at that small club you're at?
Michael Johnson, London  (25/4/07)

RIP Bally

Just like that... he's gone...
Paul Conatzer, Harlingen, TX, USA  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball RIP

I have just heard the sad news of the untimely death of the great Alan Ball. The word 'great' is used too often these days in the context of football and elsewhere in modern life, but it certainly applied to Alan. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a dinner in Goodison and he, together with some of the other ex-players, gave us a great night.

It was whilst his own wife was very ill with the disease which finally took her and he was not expected to make the event. However, he did and in his after dinner speech spoke movingly of his wife and how she had persuaded him to attend and 'be in the one place he belonged'. It was an emotional moment and said everything you need to know about Alan Ball the man and Alan Ball the Evertonian.

Rest in Peace Bally.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

What a shock to hear about Alan Ball's untimely death. Now we should have an Alan Ball Day following on from Brian Labone Day. He had over the last few years had so much personal tragedy in his life ? his wife and daughter both dying of cancer. He was one of my heroes ? a marvellous footballer and I was very proud to say he was an Everton player. He will be very sadly missed ... he was still a big part of Everton and Everton was a big part of him. Rest in peace Alan ? you were a footballing genius.

On Mr Kinsella's letter re "our Wayne" ... it's behoped he doesn't strut his stuff against us on Saturday, although having watched the game last night against Inter Milan, he may well do so, which will make me hate him more than ever. Can't see our lads getting even a point from this coming game although we can all live in hope. Perhaps "Bally" will put in a good word for us with the Lord...
Pat Jones, Swansea  (25/4/07)

Beattie v Johnson

Mr Humphrey's conclusions from the goals to games stats for these two players are very misleading.

I have not been one of those who last season slagged Beattie off. Indeed around the section where we sit, I was laughed at for suggesting that he could get us 15 plus goals at that time. I wasn't far off as it happens and at the time I thought Beattie did alright in a struggling side.

Beattie was unlucky this season; in the sense that, we quickly settled into a 4-5-1 formation in which he typically only featured when AJ was unavailable. The fact is that AJ's pace gave the team a dimension which it lacks when Beattie plays. He's an old-fashioned centre-forward unsuited to playing at pace and 'off the last man'.

I think this is where the above stats start to err from the true picture. In the last couple of weeks, Moyes has been talking Beattie up; in both an attempt to build up his shattered confidence and increase the selling price. However Moyes's whole focus has been on his work rate, but from what I have seen it is mostly headless chicken running with little or no end product.

AJ has the same work ethic but it is far more constructive. He is direct and worries the life out of defenders. His pace is allied to an awareness which gets him into positions where he can do damage. Although I don't know the specific stats I would bet that his 'assist' and pass success rates will be higher than Beattie's.

Finally, AJ's goal tally this season has been undoubtedly held back by poor refereeing. To be in a position where a penalty is (or should have been) awarded is what he is all about and supports my comments above. Assuming those decisions had been given (and that AJ converted them!), he would be nearing 20 goals for the season.

I have never agreed with singling out players for a barracking and I won't start with Beattie. He has had a rough time of it this season, but has dealt with it in a professional manner; continuing to be supportive of his team mates and doing his best when asked to step in. Unfortunately, his best isn't good enough for the aforementioned reasons. He will probably leave in the summer and I genuinely hope he is successful elsewhere. Whilst he wears a Blue shirt I will continue to urge him on.

Would Beattie be playing ahead of Vaughan / Cahill / Anichebe if fit? I doubt it. In contrast, AJ is one of the first players on the team sheet and for good reason. Additional quality in midfield and a partnerships with the likes of Vaughan or an incoming striker (better suited to our emerging playing style) will see AJ to 20 goals next term.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (25/4/07)

Tony Marsh

Yet another rant from Tony Marsh, but this time he's taken a different tack and labelled him the luckiest person alive! Unfortunately, Tony fails to wise up to a few facts in his latest offering. For example, Tony says:

"Take our best player Arteta. On what basis did Moyes form an opinion on him and his ability to perform at the top level?"

Maybe the fact that Moyes originally took him on loan before actually shelling out the money to buy him permanently? You know, the same kind of deal he got for Yobo and Howard? Also the same kind of deal he currently has with Fernandes. To me that is very good business sense.

Or, how about this phrase:

"The thing is, though, Wally wasn't out every pre-season smashing our transfer records was he."

True, he wasn't but how about some of Wally's signings? Nyarko (£4.5M) and Bakayoko (£4.5M) for starters ? set Goodison alight didn't they?

Plus how many players did we see signed and then get sold after just one or two seasons? Try Materazzi (1 season), Bakayoko (1 season), Dacourt (1 season) and John Collins (2 seasons) on that one.

Was the football really better under Walter Smith?

4 seasons under Wally saw us finish 14th, 13th, 16th and 15th (an average of 14th/15th place) ? and yes I know that he was sacked before the end of the 4th season, but he left us in 15th place and we finished the season in 15th place.

Whereas, 4 full seasons from Moyes has seen us finish 7th, 17th, 4th and 11th (an average of around 10th place) ? but apparently that's not progress according to Tony.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (25/04/07)

I thinkl you're confucing "football" and "results"... wurely you know the differnce by now? One matters and the other doesn't. — Michael

Wry Smile

Your comment that AJ may not be that good after all brought a wry smile to my lips. When I first suggested as much LAST NOVEMBER, it brought the retort from you that you had to look at more than his goal-scoring record as well as letters of disdain from a large number of Evertonians. The truth is that Johnson IS a good player but is by no means the natural AND CONSISTENT goalscorer we all thought he was in his first few games.

Faced by clever managers and even cleverer defenders, his direct threat is easily negated by forcing him wide whilst his energy is gradually depleted as Moyes`s style of play necessitates his going in search of the ball. Allied to the fact that his control is not all it might be, he is several degrees below top grade ? witness his fruitless outings in an England shirt.

Having said all that,I still believe he was a good ? although expensive ? signing and, in all truth, who`d really want to be a striker in a team Moyes sets out?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball ? sadly missed

It is sad news that Alan Ball has passed away at what is a relatively young age. Unfortunately, I wasn't even a glimmer in my parents eyes to ever see him play, but I have seen clips of matches and he definitely looked a great player. He was also a very knowlegeable football man, this I do know as I have watched him as a pundit on many games.

Football and Everton have lost another legend. Sad day.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball RIP

My boyhood Everton hero has gone to join Labby. I have just read the news and I am shocked. I was such a fan of his that I would only do something if my dad (another great Blue, also sadly no longer with us) said Bally did it! "Alan Ball always eats all his cabbage" etc.

I was lucky enough to see him in the first game I ever saw at Goodison as a 7-year-old. There he was with his distinctive hair and those white boots. I got into trouble for painting my brand new boots with white gloss because I so wanted to be as good as him!

Farewell to a son of the School of Science. What a player.
Tom Edwards, York  (25/4/07)

AJ the answer

Andy Johnson has scored 11 Premiership goals, 12 in all competitions. Wayne Rooney has scored 12, Robbie Keane Craig Bellamy and Jermaine Defoe all haven't even scored as many as AJ. You can add to the fact that AJ has missed a fair few games and doesn't take the penalties like a lot of strikers at other clubs, he also doesn't play an extra 20 games a season as we don't have cup runs in any shape or form.

Maybe he can add to that tally in the future by scoring four or five against TNS, like super Stevie G. Let's face it, in this day and age strikers get about 17 or 18 league goals so considering it's Johnson first season here, he has done pretty well.

We saw the team without him on Saturday. Do people want to go back to that?
Steve Jones, Merseyside  (24/4/07)

Rooney = The Missing Link

The debate on this site recently about the so called 'big four' got me thinking. We seem to look at it by assessing our own chances of somehow breaking the monopoly generated by the same 4 clubs occupying the top 4 league positions each year. We have proven that it is possible to finish in the top 4 with a relatively average side, and also how team spirit and a dose of good luck can see you a long way. So as we sit in 5th place, just outside the top four, we could be described as the best of the rest.

So I ask myself, what is needed to take us up the next level and extend the 'big four' to the 'big five'? An Abramovich type obviously, but more realistically what is needed is a player with world class ability with blue blood running through his veins. All the top clubs have them, and we had one in Rooney. I'm sorry to still moan on about this issue, but when you see him doing what he did for United last night it really brings it home. He alone could have given us the extra factor in a season like this one, to elevate us beyond our current position... into Champions League places.

The fact that he decided to jump ship, has in my opinion, had as much a devastating effect on our club as the European ban on English clubs in the 80s.

I would rather EFC receive no extra money from the Rooney deal, than to see him lift any trophies for Man Utd.
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

24/7, my arse!

In answer to your question of how Blue Bill finds time to work 24/7 for Everton and still appear on the telly, the truth is he ain`t even got time to see his `dream team` play!

Several reports on last Saturday`s game at West Ham had him leaving at half-time to fulfill his tv commitments. 24/7, my arse!
Ken Melling, London  (25/4/07)

It was, more specifically "24/7 finding new investment for Everton". Even more fanciful, I fear...

RIP The White Boots

My sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Alan Ball, too young to see him play but from the video footage I have seen he was an absolute joy to watch in full flow, a sad day.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (25/4/07)

Another Legend Leaves Us

What a sad, sad day for Blues yet again. Another one of our favourite sons has joined Dixie and the rest of the boys, what a team they'll have now.

God Bless Bally, thanks for everything, you were passion personified, you'll be greatly missed. Keep an eye on all our Toffees in the armed forces who have been so badly hit recently as well mate, just like you, their passing makes us so sad and yet so proud. RIP
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (25/4/07)

Another sad day

Have just read the news that Alan Ball has passed away. I think, along with Dixie Dean he personified everything that is good about Everton. Every Everton midfielder who has joined the club since has been compared to him... and failed.

I hope Everton FC acknowledges his huge contribution to its history.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball ? Legend

I've just seen the sad news on the official site that Alan Ball has passed away aged 61. I never had the pleasure of seeing Alan in action as a player like I'm sure many of you have in person as I'm a younger blue, but I did have the immense pleasure of meeting him and his wife in Puerto Banus in October when he was there holidaying with Roy Evans and his wife. I was lucky enough to spend an evening with him chatting about football, Everton past and present and it was still evident how much affection he held for our team.

He was an absolute gentleman and assuming that he had probably been approached by fans on countless occasions throughout his life to talk about football, he happily spoke to me and my mates for hours. His wife and Roy Evans and his wife were all terrific company and we had a superb evening with them. Even when Roy Evans got up and sang You'll never walk alone with my kopite mates at the end of the night, Alan just turned around to me and said "Another drink?"

What an absolute gentleman. What an absolute legend. What an Evertonian. Rest in peace, Alan.
Niall Clinton, London  (25/4/07)

AJ vs Meattie

Following on from the letter regarding AJ and Meattie's first-season record, it's something I said when he had a goalscoring drought after the Liverpool double. Like Ferguson before him, all you need to do to become a hero is score past the RS and you get the rest of the season off criticism.

HOWEVER, in saying that, the reason I don't think AJ is a bad player is because his work rate for the team is fantastic and if Meattie did the same things to contribute I wouldn't think he was a waste of money. He doesn't; I do. Beattie is just in the wrong role for a player like him.
Ben Houghton, Reading  (25/4/07)

Alan Ball

I just heard the terrible news about the death of Alan Ball. Bally was an Everton legend and will be sorely missed. I'm sure everyone here will join me in passing on our sympathies to his family and friends.
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (25/4/07)

Stunned. Gutted. No words can really describe the sheer sadness upon hearing this news. ? Colm

Tell me why-hi-hi-hi-h-hiiii

Why is City a take over target? Two words: Ray Ranson... Two reasons: ex-player, loadsamoney.

The stock exchange rules only apply to public companies, for that very reason, coz they are public and the public might put in their 'hard earned' in under false pretenses.

In the 'private sector' it's all's fair in love and war, it's business... caveat emptor rules. 'It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it' so sang Fun Boy 3 (nothing of them later)

This is where we are with Johnson Vs Beattie, just as there is more to football than results (oh no there isn't... Oh yes there 'kin well is my misled friends ? trust me on this!). So there is more to being a forward than goal scoring; 30 a season will cover a multitude of sins, but what we have is a more or less like for like record and only the seriously blinkered, will, if there was one place left in whatever formation you care to name would go for Beattie (nice lad so he is)over Johnson, if fit. End of, game set and match!!

I must, for once, agree with Luq: take it to them, seize the day, Carpe jugulem! and yes, if we can't find a place for Pip at LB drop him to the bench.

Turner; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Neville; Carsley, Osman, Fernandes, Anderson, Arteta; Fuck knows... At least I'm honest, we don't know who will be fit, Victor must be due back.
Derek Thomas, Torbay Auckland  (25/4/07)

Intertoto as good as UEFA

Looking at the draw we will get if we go into the Intertoto, which I think is our likely route to Europe, it looks as good as assured that we will get to the UEFA cup.

We should stay positive even if we do slip up during this final month of the season. None of the games left are easy so hopefully no Moyes bashing should we loose to the Mancs, Pompey and Chelski.
Paul Momber, Thailand  (25/4/07)


I couldn't agree more with Jeremy Benson. This is what I do when I look to buy a company ? check out the current P&L statement & balance sheet. If I like what I see, then I look to see what can be done to make it work better ? what for? to make some moola, quids, etc! If It all looks right the next move is to get the message to the owners/shareholders etc.

But if the current Blues shareholders don't want anybody else to play with their train set (nice one Jeremy) the only option is an aggressive takeover of some form.

Let's face it, we are good but we need the investment if we expect to be the best. So let's hope that someone becomes sufficiently interested to make the effort.
Bob Parrington, Adelaide, Australia  (25/4/07)

Perhaps someone could reiterate the rules (if there are any) regarding agressive takeover of privately held (as opposed to publically held) companies. For example,

  1. How many EFC shares would someone have to own before they could start to pressurise other shareholders to sell?

  2. How many EFC shares would someone have to own before they could legitimately press for a seat on the Board?
I have a feeling that the fairly significant portion of Everton shares (12% to 20%) held by a large number of "small" shareholders actually protects the club form agressive acquisition tactics and perhaps disuades investors out to make a killing through a total takeover. But I admit I'm just guessing... ? Michael

Good old Rooney !

I know we like to have some light hearted banter and tease the lad about playing for the reds but it was great to see him strutting his stuff against AC Match-fix tonight.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (24/4/07)

Oh dear... I didn't think you were supposed to say anything positive about him? — Michael


How can you claim that Bill isn't on his 24/7 mission? He's clearly working on that Lord Lloyd-Webber fellow. It could even solve our song for Everton problem as well...!
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (24/4/07)


He broke my heart again tonight. Odious twat he maybe but what a player. If he plays like that on Saturday, we're fucked.
Andy Lynch, London  (24/4/07)

AJ ? just a thought...

Was just idly browsing through the ToffeeWeb stats for this season and last and came across something interesting...

  • This season, AJ aka the saviour, aka god, aka snip at £8M, has scored 12 goals in 35 starts.

  • Last season, Beattie aka fat boy fat, aka Meattie, aka biggest waste of money ever, scored 11 goals in 33 starts.
AJ may score more before the end of the season ? but he also may not. At the moment, both strikers average a goal every three games in each of their first full seasons for Everton. If the same pattern continues, I can just imagine the abuse next season: "Why don't you just fuck off, you bald twat?" "£8 million for that? Fucking waster"
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (24/4/07)

Sadly, that just confirms to me that AJ really ain't all that good. I know we're not supposed to say that as Evertonians, but since when did that ever stop me!?


Just read Robin Bryne's interesting comments. I agree that Turner is the future and should play because:

  1. He is a better keeper than Wright
  2. He has played in more competitive games this season for Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace rather than reserve outings a la Wright.
But Moyes will see it as a case of Wright is more experienced in the Premiership and will bottle a decision to pick Turner. Rooney hardly had big game experience but playing him in those big games improved him as a player, until he sold his soul to the Mancs.

What really sucks is it feels Everton are Manchester United's puppet club. First getting bumped over the Rooney fee of £50 million once stated by Billy Bullshite, then receiving their cast-off players as a small return on the Rooney deal, then the grave insult of owning a player (Howard) ? yet he can't play against them in our biggest game of the season! And fans think we are a big club nowadays?

And, Robin, amen to your Neville comment. I remember, when Neville arrived, I warned fans he wasn't a midfielder. I was then was accused of having a Man Utd bias. Well, Howard is one of our best players yet Neville is still shite in midfield! Go figure huh Byrne?

Saturday is a must win game which we won't win with Moyes being such a coward! Legend? ? my Willy Wonker he ain't!
Luq Yussef, London  (24/4/07)

Doddy on message

Richard Dodd may spout a load of absolute bollocks but what frightens me is that he conveys the views of Chairman Bill to a tee!

If Moyes does his usual bombing act when the chips are down and we finish eighth it will still be painted as a season of progress because "before we came here, Everton could never make the top ten and we`ve done it three times out of five now!"

Anybody with any sense would be DEMANDING Euro qualification this year and not passing off the Intertoto as the real thing ? as no doubt Kenwright and Moyes will do. But at least Doddy will be happy!
Pete Sanders, Crosby  (24/4/07)

Why Investors aren't interesed in us

It does surprise me that people are trotting out some fairly lame excuses as to why there are no investors for us. Please - it is nothing to do with the stadium, or a financial position (which actually is very healthy compared to many in the Premiership).

I would point you all to the most recent list of world clubs based on annual income (2006). Everton are in 18th. Let me state that again - Everton are EIGHTEENTH in the world, in terms of annual income. Very, very interesting for an investor. Money is the only thing an investor is ultimately interested in. That makes us exceptionally attractive over the long term, even with an initial splurge on say a new stadium (the fact we attract 40k crowds being another very attractive proposition).

However - if the club is a private company and current shareholders won't let anyone else play with their trainset... unless its for a kings ransom... well, that's the real reason.
Jeremy Benson, Cotswolds  (24/4/07)

So let me get this right: Bill Kenwright has been working "24/7" to find new investment for Everton, all the while he is not really interested in doing anything that would involve selling his own shares or diluting their value in the club! Not surprising that Robbie Earl was the only thing he seems to have come up with after that all-coinsuming effort. I'm deeply shocked!! ps: How does he find time to appear on the telly??? — Michael

Tim Howard can't play on Saturday

Everton have signed Tim Howard. However, the contract runs from June. He is at the club before then as a loanee. As such, he cannot play against Man Utd on Saturday under the terms of the loan. Bugger! And I have to say that the idea of Turner sounds more interesting than Wright.

I wasn't at the OT game, but heard that Dickie played well. At least if he plays, he'll know that it is his last chance to show himself before he looks for a new contract, wherever that may be.
Roberto Birquet, London  (24/4/07)

Man City investor

I would imagine debt and being in the same city as a more famous club counts against us in the investment stakes, but that would also count against City and probably more so.

As for a stadium; am I wrong? I'm sure that City do not own "their" stadium. They rent it. If that is the case, then they have no asset to talk about.

In the modern business world, the logo counts more than physical assets. Nike and Adidas don't even have their own factories. They produce nothing. Its success is all advertising, using big name athletes and getting cheap factory businesses in Asia to manufacture the merchandise. Source: No Logo, by Naomi Klein.
Roberto Birquet, London  (24/4/07)


Maybe I was asleep when it happened but I thought we had signed and paid for Tim Howard, in which case why can't he play against Utd on Saturday?
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (24/4/07)

Oh please do keep up! Read this

Progress ? What Does It Mean???

The buzzword amongst the Moyes brigade these days is "progress". How do you determine what real progress is?

When I was at school, progress meant you where moving forward and getting somewhere. As you move forward, you continue to improve. I think thats what progress is. Too many of our fans think progress is not being in the relegation zone or having better players in the team than we had when Smith was in charge.

Ever since the jewel in the Moyes crown[finishing 4th 2005] we have done anything but improve. 4th place down to 11th in the league placings is not an improvement in my book. It's going backwards in fact. And we are nowhere near making the later stages of a cup competition or even putting up a decent show in one. Progress? I dont think so.

Moyes has been very lucky and got himself out of jail quite a few times with some of his dealings in the transfer market. Take our best player Arteta. On what basis did Moyes form an opinion on him and his ability to perform at the top level? In the reserves at Real Socieadad and in the reserves at Rangers (his two previous clubs) so what was it that made Moyes want him? Pot luck is my answer. Moyes got lucky with this one but you can't deny it's worked out well.

Let's look at the other great signings by DM: Cahill, Lescott and Johnson, I think you will agree, are the best we have. It could all have been so different though if Moyes had got his original transfer targets back then. The likes of Emre [useless racist], Robbie Lilly Savage[garbage], Scott Parker [very average]. Then there was Forsell [who was linked with us] and half a dozen other second-rate strikers could all have easily ended up here.

Moyes got very, very lucky with Emre and greedy twat Parker saying no to us. They are both the target for the Geordie boo boys this season as both of them are not up to scratch. Imagine the midfield we could of been lumbered with had Moyes got his way: Davies, Parker, Emre, AvdM... and Forsell up front with Beattie. It is scarey to think how poor the judgement of Moyes concerning players really is. Even the Lesscott deal would not of happened had Krøldrup stuck around ? another shrewd peice of Moyes buisness.

Luck is the key to success with in the mind of Moyes. The way we play shows you that, week-in, week-out. It's a "let's see if we get lucky and hang on" philosophy that gets on my nerves. I would put Moyes right up there with the luckiest men on the planet. He is like a binman from Rochdale who has 12 kids and wins £20 million on the lotto. Lucky in his dealings; lucky to have a chairman who rates him so much; lucky to have the job as Everton Manager.

His luck runs out though as soon as we cross the white line because out there you need more than luck. This progress you all go on about is not because of Moyes ? 'its despite him. He has had fantastic backing from the Board but, five years on, our playing style is worse than it was under Wally. The thing is, though, Wally wasn't out every pre-season smashing our transfer records was he. Twice on strikers, once on a keeper, and twice on defenders ? Moyes has smashed more records than most at Everton. Even the most dubious ones now belong to him as well.

If this is what we call "progress" then I cant wait to see the shit we are in when things go tits up.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (24/3/07)

Tony, the Moyes apologists look at progress in terms of results, not in style of play (you knew that) and since before he was here, primarily. As you point out, it depends how you define progress, be it down to luck or ability or (more likely) a combination of both. Moyes has demonstrated ability in making a defensive team (though with some horrendous lapses), and that is the foundation for his progress. But if he really has made the progress claimed in terms of the squad while he has been here, then results should be better than 7th (02-03) and better than 4th (04-05). Whereas we are right there, right now, between 7th and 4th. ? Michael

The longest trial in history

The jury is still out on Moyes!! He's been here five years for heavens sake ? surely that is enough time for people to make up their minds or at least for the judge to accept a majority verdict!
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (24/4/07)

You're correct, John: the jury is still out

The e.mail from John Coyne was spot on; may be the pressure will be taken off Moyes if we can get a result against Man Utd on Saturday.
Norman Merrill, Everton  (24/4/07)

Strike force

It has become apparently obvious to me that our European hopes/future success depend upon how we play and the strikers we get fit. I will never expect to see Moyes going gun-ho (like when he first arrived) every again! But Moyes needs to realise that when we have got an 'attacking' side ? we actually are quite a good side.

Most of the victories we achieved this season have either been one-nil cling-ons or us taking the game to the opposition and beating them with sheer quality. Okay, not Manchester United or Real Madrid quality but an air of confidence and quality which most of the teams in the Premiership don't have. Remember Tottenham at the Lane where Everton went there, defended stoutly and attacked with venom and purpose. Then remember Goodison where we were defensive and ultimately shocking, wacking long aimless balls into the channels. That is the challenge that faces Moyes, getting that balance right. Something, I fear, we is no longer capable of doing.

Then you have the strikers. AJ and Vaughan are our best two, for goal threat and for the balance of the side. When Vaughan or in particular AJ is missing, we are toothless! Seriously toothless! Moyes can't help that Vaughan and AJ are injured, but he can help the formation he plays to combat that. Playing attacking players like AvdM and Fernandes will only help create more chances for us to score then hold on, but Moyes always sticks rigidly to this defensive bullshite which ultimately leaves us relying on Beattie and McFadden for goals.

See the irony!

Some fans will disagree, but while key strikers are injured, Moyes has to at least try to burst our way into Europe, not stumble before the finish line.
Luq Yussef, London  (24/4/07)

Re: Investment

In response to the question of why Everton do not seem to get much interest from investors as opposed to, presently, Manchester City, I would suggest that what immediately springs to my mind is that Manchester City have a modern, recently built stadium, which forms a good asset for a potential investor.

Any potential investor, when looking at Everton, will see all the ongoing discussions in relation to Everton's proposed ground move, and will of course note that if they were to invest, they would have to invest a substantial amount of money in a new stadium, to maximise turnover. This is undoubtedly off-putting.
Michael Gibson, Manchester  (24/4/07)

Team for Saturday...

My team for Saturday:

 Hibbert Lescott Yobo Valente
          Carsley (c) 
Osman Fernandes Arteta McFadden

Bench: Ruddy Stubbs Naysmith Van der Meyde Beattie (Anichebe, if available)
I think 4-5-1 is a necessity given our striker problems at the moment. No place for waste-of-space Neville in my team; Valente should come back in as we have the option to push him up if McFadden fails to perform (though he usually plays well against Man Utd).

Stubbs will be dissapointed, but I feel we need to start playing Lescott in the middle with Joey as they are two cracking defenders, and Alan is getting on a bit. I would give Carsley the armband as a reward for the great season he has played for us and I think he would respond with an excellent shift.

My tactics would rely on tough defending from the centre (Hibbert to 'look after' theat diving ponce early on), keeping Manny and Osman available in the middle of the park and looking for early balls. The impetus is then on McFadden (AvdM) to get wide and supply AJ who I would tell to stay central and not drift out wide too often.

The most important tactic I would be drilling into the players this week is SHOOT!, especially any midfielders near the edge of the box, and let AJ pick up the pieces if Van der Sar, who has looked a bit dodgy recently, continues dropping speculative shots. I also think Morph is prone to mistakes and pressure should be applied to squash him into the box.

I too would like to see a more attacking-minded formation against these horrible twats (especially at home), but with our injury list, and despite theirs, I feel we are better suited to the 4-5-1. I will be praying to god please let AJs ankle mend as the alternative does not bear thinking about (4-6-0)!!!
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (24/4/07)

Dropping the team captain for a crucial game against his old club... now just what woukd that do for the team spirit the manager has built up to amazing levels in his players? — Michael

Bill/Moyes Correspondence

With regards to Rob Williamson, there is only one thing I want to know. How did he manage to get his hands on a confidential letter between Moyes and Bill? He must have insiders.

In all seriousness though, some people have gone over the top on this one a bit haven't they? It was, as it was meant to be taken, just a bit of light-hearted banter. Chill out, people, chill out. I hope Frank McGregor hasn't bust a vein in his neck ? can anyone check that he is ok?
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (24/4/07)

Work Shy

When you're running your balls off in midfield. it really is quite annoying if your forwards aren't pulling their weight and closing down the defenders. But it's even worse when the fat lump is pretending to go for challenges and close people down, when all he is in fact doing is selling himself cheaply into challenges, landing on his arse so he doesn't have to track back, or giving away stupid free kicks. Of course, you've guessed I'm talking about James Beattie.

The lad can score goals, it's just that a Linekeresque goal-hanger is a luxury our hard-working team can ill afford. Since arriving at Everton, he's been asked to do more than just sniff out goals, and he's been found wanting. If I was Moyes and I had the choice then I wouldn't play him, Johnson harasses defenders, works the channels, wins free kicks, tracks back and scores goals. But if I was forced to play Beattie, I'd tell him to save his limited energy for any chances on goal and let the rest of the team do the spade work.

It would be nice to think that Beattie could step up a gear and do more for the team, but he can't, so it's pointless asking him to play the target man. You might as well let him do what he does best, and hope the rest of the team can make up for the shortfall in effort.
Steve McBride, London Branch  (24/4/07)

Re: no such thing as a failure

John Doolan, I have to disagree totally with your point of view. I am definitely a supporter of the Moyes regime at Everton, but I am also a realist.

To drop out of the Uefa Cup spots at this stage of the season would be a disaster and it is a very real possibility with our run-in. To finish 8th or 9th after the season we had and call it progress would be pure bullshit. But I still can't fathom the attitude that we are not making any progress. I find it astounding that after all those relegation battles, people don't accept that we find ourselves in a strong position.

I am personally not satisfied with a Uefa Cup spot. But it's a shitload better than a relegation battle. Look at the first XI that Moyes had at his disposal when we played Fulham in his first match. People like Pembridge, Gemmill, Alexandersson... Paul Gerrard ? Number 1!!! Now look at a first XI that contains Johnson, Cahill, Yobo, Lescott, Howard, Fernandes and of course Arteta.

Look at the club's and fans' aspirations to European football, to the Champion's League and to breaking into the top 4. Compare that to the aspirations of 5 years ago, which amounted to survival.

We have made progress, but now we need to see the final result. We need some silverware, we need to make the top 4, we need to achieve something tangible. And we need Moyes to achieve it soon, or questions should be asked. But, hanging on by his fingernails, I think not!

A last question, since Kendall Mk I, has any other manager given us something to be as excited about as the build up to that first match against Villarreal? Who didn't have the hairs standing up on the back of their neck as Everton FC ran out to compete for the Champion's League? That was a taste of what EFC should be all about and I want more!!!
Richard Parker, Paris, France  (24/4/07)

Rob Williamson

I couldn't see much wrong with Rob's article as a piece of satire. Some people got a bit hot under the collar, perhaps because it's too close to the truth!

As for actually getting into Europe, I can't see us getting more than 3 points from the last 3 games ? and that's not enough.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (24/4/07)


I have to say that Rob Williamson's piece is one of the most unnecessary and pathetic pieces ever to have been published on the site, which I've been reading for about ten years. I have no problem with many of the 'negative' pieces published even though, the odd quibble aside, I am fully supportive of David Moyes and perhaps to a lesser extent, Mr Kenwright, as there is a need and desire for a full extent of opinions.

However, Rob Williamson's piece was certainly not satire, it was immature, flippant and facile and should never have been published on this otherwise excellent site. I fully expect us do get into the Uefa Cup and have a decent run (well, it can't be any worse than last time); however, this would perhaps be more than Mr Williamson deserves.

I heartily wish Peter Johnson and Walter Smith (perhaps with a dash of Mike Walker) back on him, so he can relive the days when European football was something that other clubs did.
Michael Callaghan, Glasgow  (24/4/07)

Chill out, Frank!

I think Frank McGregor goes a bit over the top in his condemnation of Rob's piece. By the tone of his letter, the veins must have been popping out of his neck when he was writing it (must be an apologist!). Take it for what it is Frank, tongue in cheek satire, which I thought was quite funny.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (24/4/07)

The jury is out

This mailbag always makes for an interesting read. What makes it appealing is the different views offered by Evertonians from all over the world. Despite living locally, I don't subscribe to the theory that I have more right to air my own views and that somehow my opinions hold more weight than those of a fellow blue residing in a different country.

Over the past 12 months I have been torn between wanting Moyes to stay or go. At present I'm still unsure. In his favour he has given us back some lost pride and we've had some standout results. Unfortunately the last two seasons we've been too negative at times and there have been too many 1 - 0 wins that have seen us having to protect slender leads in games that should have been out of sight. On the other hand, our league standings have improved under Moyes considerably, yet his cup record is appalling.

I'm really not sure if my glass is half-full or half-empty. Some of you will agree with me on this, some of you will think I'm talking rubbish. Many of you will think I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know. I suppose that is my point ? I'll read anything that an Evertonian wrote and either agree or disagree. I certainly won't judge them though as we are all entitled to opinions and the diversity amongst our support is what makes me return to this site each day.

I've renewed my season ticket despite often feeling like the club take us for granted. I'm often disappointed by my return on the investment I make in Everton Football Club, yet they have this knack of keeping me as a customer. Something I'm sure many of you are familiar with.

Would anyone else liked to have seen our current squad play with the same positivity that Moyes offered in his first 6 games as manager?
John Coyne, Liverpool  (24/4/07)

Frank's right...

I agree with Frank McGregor. It seems some people can't wait for a bad result so they can have a pop. It wouldn't be so bad if the 'letter' was actually funny.
Jon Berry, Bath  (24/4/07)


City have received a £90 million takeover bid which will wipe out their debts and give them a £20 million transfer kitty...

There has got to be some serious reason why a club with the potential of Everton never receives even a passing interest from these investors. Maybe you 'insiders' can enlighten us?
Michael Johnson, London  (24/4/07)

In Reply to Bob Williamson's 'Letter'

I think that Mr Williamson's letter was a disgrace! How you can see it as satire, I will never know.

This weekend is a massive game for us against Man Utd. They are depleted (as are we) but even with injuries, we have arguably our most talented, young and hungry squad we have had in years! for some reason, instead of backing the boys and cheering them on, Mr Willaimson decides to write this shit to the site!

I still can't get my head around the idiots who want Moyes out! The man can do no more!!! Look at his stats as manager and where we have finished! Before him, with the exception of Joe Royle, we were a joke, a good season was avioding the drop with a few games to spare! Now, this season, we will be dissapointed if we don't make Europe! It shows how far we have come under Moyes, AND Blue Bill.

The man is no billionaire but he lives and breathes Everton and what he has done since bringing Moyes to Goodison is back him with all he can. That money has bought us a lot of new young and hungry talent that a LOT of the Premiership envy! The average age of the squad has dropped dramatically and there is no more deadwood on the bench! Kilbane, Bent, Davies have all gone.

We should be grateful with the team and squad we have now and if we can make Fernandes a permamnent member I cant wait for 2007-08 season! All we are missing is a few more additions and we can really kick on!

Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente, Stubbs, ARTETEA, Cahill, Carsley, Neville, FERNANDES, AJ, Osman, Vaughan, Victor and hopefully Nugent and another young classy midfielder.

Instead of slating the lads, the manager and the Board, get behind them and cheer them on to victories againt Man Utd and Portsmouth, that will see us in Europe next year! I personally think that a win against Portsmouth will be enough but I'd love to see us do the Mancs all the same!
Ben Chambers, Liverpool  (24/4/07)

Re: John Doolan

Whilst I agree with John that Richard Dodd is generally living in a utopian la-la land, such absurd criticism as Mr Doolan's is equally ridiculous.

What is Moyes hanging on to by his fingernails? The club's second-best Premiership season ever? The best being achieved under him also. A clearly and indisputably improving squad whose key players are coming out to angrily deny rumours that they would even consider leaving? A Uefa Cup place? Something the club have only achieved in the Premier League era under Moyes.

You're absolutely right Moyes has no record to merit calling him a genius but such ludicrous statements as European qualification being a nail in Everton's coffin make you look as tragically blinded as Richard Dodd. Success does not equal failure just because you don't like the manager. You may not agree with how he's achieved success but he's hardly taking Everton to hell in a handcart is he?

You talk of 1000-year plans and Moyes's supporters praising him as he relegates the club but you can throw as many other silly childish exaggerations at the man as you like. I think 5-year plans sound rather amusing as a phrase too but Moyes can point to the fact that, in his five years, he has transformed the playing staff, gone from perennial relegation favourites to European contenders, and restored some dignity to the supporters. The next five years may or may not contain playing some better football (and God knows we'd like it to) but, if you're going to criticise, at least keep it in the realms of reality.

We all have things we'd like Moyes to improve but branding him as a destructive influence on the club is laughable. Even if the football never improves and in a couple of years he leaves the club we will be able to look back and say he indisputably improved things even if he couldn't take us all the way.
John Holmes, York  (24/4/07)


I've just read through some of the letters and I just wondered which Everton managers of the last 30 years (apart from Howard of course) they rank above Moyes? I'm serious. I just think it's weird that some people expect us to be topping the league.

It's not like we have the money to match Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea is it? Does anyone really think that if they get rid of Moyes some guy's going to come in and win the league next year? Maybe we should sack Moyes and bring back Mike Walker or Walter Smith, they did fantastic jobs.
Alex Highton, London  (23/4/07)

Mike Walker... even the mention of his name sends a shiver down the spine. - Colm

Bottom of Barrel, Rob

I would like to express my disgust at the article on ToffeeWeb by Rob Williamson. It has to be the most cynical, digusting, biggoted piece of literary trash ever displayed on ToffeeWeb. Mr Williamson I would imagine has neither the capability or the courage to put into Everton the committment and dedication both Bill Kenwright and David Moyes have done over the past five years. By the way, Mr Williamson, we all make mistakes including yourself for putting together such trash. Finally, I believe the editors at ToffeeWeb should do us all a favour and not allow such venom on the site.
Frank McGregor, Sarnia, Canada  (24/4/07)

Well, I thought it was a fair attempt at some contemptorary satire... whereas others seem to view it simply with contempt. So whose venom are we supposed to respect here? And why? — Michael

Goalkeeper debate

Correct me if I'm wrong (and don't be a cock about it if I am). But wasn't Dickie Wright the difference between us getting stuffed and getting a draw against Man Utd last season? And I mean in the "he saved the day" manner.

There are a lot of fantastic "with hindsight" managers who comment on here. Not one of you could keep a managers job in Division 2 for more than a month. Everyone I've ever met has the "gift" of hindsight. I've yet to meet someone with genuine foresight.
Stuart Kelly, Newcastle  (24/4/07)

Letter from Bill to Davey

This is such a pathetic attempt to discredit an Evertonian who rescued us from Mr Johnson, (remember him? ? the red who owned us!).

There has been no queue of investors lining up for an Everton takeover, and this pathetic scribble from the pen of a nobody and a know nothing, is simply unaccepteable. I would love to see my team in the top four, I've supported them for 55 years, and I'm not going to sit quietly while some journalistic wannabe, writes tat about a man who's put his money where his heart is.

No we don't have the biggest squad; no we don't have the best stadium; there's lots we don't have ? we don't have a rich yankee to pander too, who will love us and leave us for a fat profit. So get off your pontificating bike and stop slagging Kenwright off, what have YOU ever done for your club... nothing I'll bet!
John Pacman, Eastbourne  (23/4/07)

No such thing as failure

The most recent posting of Richard Dodd sums up the position of the Moyes fanatics very well:

  • If we lose a single game then any criticism is invalid on the grounds that people fail to see the bigger picture.

  • If we lose out on Europe any criticism is invalid on the basis that progress is still being made.
This should come as no surprise as moving from 4th to 11th was bizarrely still portrayed as progress by some fans. Never in the history of the club has a manager been put under less pressure to achieve success. Even if we go out of the cups early next season (again!!!) ? the attitude of some will, inexplicably, be "no problem Davey we still believe in your 1000-year plan".

Moyes knows all this and so can afford to tell those fans, like me, who harbour serious doubts to basically fuck off ? hence his complacency and arrogance in interviews. All of the above would be more bearable if eveyone recognised Moyes for what he is ? a competent but limited manager who may or may not have gone as far as he can. To call a manager a genius when he has not finished in the top ten 2 seasons running has got be a joke ? hasn't it?

On the evidence of the quality of football this season, Moyes is not building but simply hanging on by his fingernails. If it is a valid criticism that some times fans like me go over the top in their criticism of Moyes, it is even more so that his supporters will brook no criticism. If we do fail to qualify for Europe and Moyes receives pats on the back, it is one more nail in the coffin for this club.

I would really be interested to know what some fans would regard as failure by Moyes - another bottom half finish next season (no ? the Uefa Cup will be the reason); a relegation battle (no ? anyone can have one off season); relegation itself (no ? it is somtimes better to go backwards before moving forwards).

And all the time Moyes becomes more complacent ? a very dangerous situation...
John Doolan, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

Turner Will Start

Michael, you will be amazed to see Iain Turner start against Man Utd but I personally will be amazed if he doesn't. Why would Moyes recall him from Sheff Wed if he was just going to sit on the bench?

If Moyes was going to play Dickie Wright then surely he would have kept John Ruddy (now at Bristol City) at Everton to sit on the bench. Surely Ruddy is good enough to sit on the bench?

It makes no sense to go to the trouble of recalling Turner when he's enjoying such a great time at Sheff Wed, just to sit on the Everton bench. Even Lars Stubhaug could sit on the bench, its very unlikely a substitute goalkeeper will be needed.

Recalling Turner and putting him on the bench upsets the player and upsets Sheff Wed promotion push. I will be shocked to see Dickie Wright given another chance.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

I just hope you're right, for all those valid and sensible reasons. But when it comes to goalkeepres, you can't beat experience. [Thinks: Espen Baardsen...] — Michael

Birthday Boy

It's David Moyes's birthday on wednesday.I believe it would be a nice gesture by the Club to reward him immediately with an extended 5 year contract along with a doubling of his salary.

I quote the following famous speech, which for me, epitomises the character and spirit of our Manager,

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again....who knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
We seriously need to keep DM for the foreseeable future.
Frank Carse, Bury  (23/4/07)

Somehow, I don't think Teddy had the mixed bunch of Brits and foriegners playing "Soccer" in mind whe he spoke those words. — Michael

Why are we poor finishers?

The simple answer to that question is that the players are knackered by the end of the season. Because the emphasis in our play is on running, effort, work-rate and more running, the energy levels have gone.

Interesting that this season feels like we're finishing better, largely because of the good additions to the squad last summer. Just imagine if we could find a couple of players who could keep hold of the ball and pass it, or maybe even practice it in training?

If you keep the ball rather than spend time chasing after it, you last the season better. Why do you think we were so poor last season? The players ran out of energy, the coaching staff ran out of ideas. Whatever you think of the quality of football, you can't argue with our 5th/6th/7th finish ? progress indeed!

Big decision time in the summer. Are we going to be poor little Everton, or are we going to be really positive? I was interested to hear Allardyce's comments about possible Champions League qualification 'destroying' Bolton, particularly as I think our management seem to be modelling Bolton both on and off the pitch in terms of stadium, style of football and aspirations.

As a Moyes-doubter, there has been improvement this season. I still regard Uefa Cup qualification as a must for any Everton manager with this level of backing and I share Moyes's view that we should have won more points.
Paul Tran, Kendal  (23/4/07)

Everybody Loses

I must admit, I have been one of the "Let's get Moyes out" boys earlier on this season, but I have to say that I think a lot of us need to look at what we are achieving. The squad is gradually getting better and when we have our best 11 on the park, we can win against the best.

On Saturday, we lost against a team fighting for their lives. Man Utd went to West ham and lost, so did we and we did it without Cahill, Anichebe, Vaughan, Fernandes (for most of the game). Every team has off days, just look at the top two this weekend. COME ON YOU BLUES !!!!
Simon Wilkinson, Worksop  (23/4/07)

Goalkeeper Dilema

If Tim Howard is indeed unable to play against his old club then surely Moyes must turn to Iain Turner? Dickie Wright has had enough chances to prove himself and his contract runs out soon. He clearly has no future at Everton so why give him another chance?

Turner has been in fantastic form at Sheff Wed, was undefeated and even made the Championship Team of the Month. Surely Turner's recall suggests he'll be picked over Wright? I suppose the only fear Moyes might have of playing Turner is that last time he was given a chance against a top side he conceded four goals against Chelsea.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

I'll go on record as saying I'll be amazed and pleased to see Iain Turner starting on Saturday, no matter how many goals he may let in. It would be a great testament to Moyes's faith and trust in the youth he wants to have as the core of tne Everton squad he continues to build.

Richard Wright was one of Moyes's earliest mistakes, but someone whom Moyes has stuck with nevertheless. Despite his preoccupation with the continuing search for the perfect young goalkeeper (there's an article in there I'm sure), I just feel certain Moyes will persist with the "experience and maturity" of Calamity Wright in preference to youthful exuberance on Saturday. — Michael

Onwards with Moyes

Fully agree with Kevin Sparke's article. The top 4 mini league is no myth. Unfortunately it is a financial reality. EFC's lack of depth because of lack of funds was plain to see on Saturday. Moyes can only work with the budget he is given and IMHO (Beattie aside) he has done well with the limited cash he has. I don't think anyone can argue that he hasn't increased the quality of the squad and reduced the average age also. We still need some more quality and depth but I'm definitely in the Onwards with Moyes brigade.

Anyone remember back in 2004 when ex-Brazil & Portugal coach Big Phil Scolari was allegedly approached to replace Moyes? At the time he said 'The team that finished 17th in the Premiership (Everton) contacted me, but what can I do when a club invites me and tells me that the transfer budget is £10M? How can you compete with the big clubs when this will give no more than two good players?'. Am I the only one who is glad that we stuck with Moyes?
Ciaran Duff, Sydney, Australia  (23/4/07)

Agree and Differ

I agree with Richard Dodd that we are making some steady progress both with players bought and nurtured from within. I differ in opinion. To make the automatic European spot confirms the steady progress and puts us in a more favourable position when attracting players the manager may have identified as his first choices. This in turn will make us stronger as a squad and hopefully allow us to deal better with the inevitable injuries and suspensions a season brings as well as the chance to make matchdays more enjoyable for the paying customers.

To miss out now would be a real downer for me as I would see it as a brake put on the start of the manager's second five-year cycle. If you do really believe in Moyes's Magic then I think you should be willing him ? no, imploring him ? to get our foot on the first rung of the Euro ladder. I am not expecting instant success but merely qualifying automatically would improve my perception of stady progress no end. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (23/4/07)

Good to be Blue this saturday

Just a thought regarding the run-in. If we maintain our season long average of roughly 1.5 points per game, we'll get 4.5 (or 4 at any rate) points. A win and a draw aren't beyond the realms of possibility (AJ/Beattie permitting). Also, even if we do loose against the Mancs, I can still see us finishing the weekend in a strong 5th, what with Chelsea likely to beat Bolton, Liverpool a tough test for Portsmouth and Newcastle also a threat for Reading. Spurs away at Boro isn't a definite 3-pointer for Tottenham either.

Also a thought regarding previous run-ins, I can't be bothered to do the statistics, but I wouldn't be surprised if the last 4 games were pretty representative of the seasons as a whole, what with most years in the Premier League being spent in the bottom half of the table!
Anderw Humphrey, London  (23/4/07)

No it can't be done Kevin

Kevin Sparke is absolutely spot on with his article about the top four except for his conclusion that other clubs can break in. Even if we were to have a brilliant manager, without similar type of investment, it is impossible to get a big enough squad. If we have our top first eleven out we can beat anyone but lose a couple to injury and we become very ordinary. That is what is happening now with the loss of Vaughan and probably AJ.

The season we finished 4th we were very lucky to keep a settled side most of the season. In my younger days it was possible to get results playing with pride and passion. Now it is all to do with greed and money and that is what separates the top four from the rest.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (23/4/07)

And favourable refereeing decisons for the Big Four. I'm beginning to buy into that particular conspiracy theory more and more... — Michael

Baited Breath

I think we are all waiting, with baited breath, to see the outcome regarding Andy's ankle. The thought of playing Man Utd on Saturday without him and Dickie Wright in goal doesn't bear thinking about, and the thought that "Once a Blue, always a Blue" might also score against us. And on telly as well... and if they splatter us, its there for everyone to see. God I wish it was Sunday morning!!

I too was very disappointed that Mikel Arteta was not considered for the Player of the Year awards... but then he plays for Everton doesn't he?
Pat Jones, Swansea  (23/4/07)

And that's the end of it!!!

Arteta has said yet again he wants to stay and extend his contract. Let the rumours stop. NOW! "MICKEL ARTETA!! MICKEL ARTETA!!!"
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (23/4/07)

Status Quo?

UEFA Cup ? poisoned chalice or holy grail? Erm, neither. Simply the next logical step for a team that is progressing steadily, if ever so slowly.

Mind you, logic doesn't seem to be something the anti-Europe brigade have. Maybe I'm missing something but I cannot see the logic in thinking qualifying for Europe will be a bad thing. What do you go the match for, if you don't want the reward that supporting a winning team gets? Would you prefer us to finish 11th again so that we wouldn't have to worry about Europe next year and could concentrate on finsihing higher in the league? Oh hang on, not too high though cos that might mean the dreaded Uefa Cup, so probably best if we just finish 11th forever then eh? Fancy the FA Cup or League Cup next year? Of course not cos then we'd have to enter the dreaded... da da daaa.... Uefa Cup!

I'm sorry, I just don't get it!
Jon Sellick, Crosby  (23/4/07)

Well, the context was set by our fearless leaders, who complained that the financil rewards of teh Uefa Cup rather took the shine off qualifying. I think it was suggested at the highest levels that the cost of competing far outweighed the rewards in the early rounds... Go Figure! — Michael

The Scapegoat

One of the more distasteful aspects of supporting all things Everton is to listen to the vitriol aimed at particular players over the years, who have worn the royal blue jersey. I can only recall one player in recent memory who was clearly playing (or not playing) to 'get away' and that was Kanchelskis. Quite rightly, the crowd let him know very quickly their displeasure.

So what of Beattie? Clearly, this will be his last season in a blue shirt, as centre-forwards who suffer such a dramatic loss of form and confidence NEVER regain it. Unlike midfielders or defenders, there is no hiding place; if you haven't scored a goal in open play for over 15 months, you simply cannot hide the fact.

The problem he has is that everyone likes a 'scapegoat' especially when you are down to the barebones and your star centre-forward is injured along with your two other younger prodigies. However, the remarks aimed at him on this web-site are rather bitter, 'fat-bastard' (simply not true anyway) 'pie-eater', 'lump of lard'. It might be better if those involved in the criticism questioned the size of the squad rather than the petty name-calling.

Whatever else he is, I don't believe he is lazy, nor does he hide; if anything, he has acted with good grace when substituted or left out of the team altogether. The same guy is also the first to congratulate his teammates when they win a game, remember Charlton?

He won't be the last 'big name' centre-forward to flop, just take a look across the park at our dear neighbours and think Morientes and Cisse, the latter costing £14M and still officially on their books.
Steve Hogan, Chester  (23/4/07)

Give us a break, Marshy

What exactly qualifies Tony Marsh to hurl such abuse at David Moyes every time Everton fail to deliver a victory? Moyes is revered by his Chairman and players, admired and honoured by his peers, respected by the Press, and appreciated by at least 90% of Evertonians.

From the tone of his boring and repetitive postings, Marsh would no doubt have been first in line to get at Harry Catterick in his early days if his team selection didn`t exactly match his own! I`m no sycophantic follower but you have to be an idiot to fail to recognise how far the Scot has taken us in the last five years.

Just go and play Football Manager, Marshy, and give us all a break!
Mike Cannon, Prescot  (23/4/07)

I'd be the first to admit Mr Marsh is not to everyone's taste. However, you have to admit there's more than a handful of diehard Evertonians at Goodison whose attitude and analysis he reflects with remarkable accuracy and consistency. And it's actually hard to fault a lot of the basic criticsms he cites, even if he does go over the top a little too much for the more tender-hearted amonst our number. Celebrate diversity! — Michael

Square pegs and round holes

The bitter taste of Saturday's result once again ephasised the frailties that continue to scupper every opportunity that is presented to make progress, especially considering Bolton's reverse against Reading. The lack of strength in depth squad-wise continues to be a challenge as is the static and one-dimensional approach of our midfield.

Having not played for four games, it may have been optimistic to start with Fernandes; however, when I see Lee Carsley and Phil Neville together in the engine room, my heart sinks. Neither Carsley nor Neville is acomplished going forward; both are very limited in terms of retaining posession or being able to find a blue shirt with any frequency of passing.

The fact that Moyes left Fernandes warming the bench for 65 mins demonstrated to those who question his ability with further ammunititon, he remains too cautious to change things, adopts an over-zealous defensive policy, and is far too loyal to his charges. Midfield has continued to be our archillies heel all season; just as in season's gone by we have had to endure a "make do and mend" approach. It was once the goalkeeping berth, defence and attack; this season its midfield.

Fernandes must start against Man Utd on Saturday, an oppurtunity has already passed to put daylight between ourselves and those around us. However, it's always been the Everton way to make life hard, put you through the mill, and sheer the ends off fingernails and nerve endings.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (23/4/07)


Its just unbelievable that people on this site are calling for his head again. I was at Upton Park on Saturday and witnessed one of the poorest performances all year. The loss of AJ was key and it was a shame to see a lack of ideas when he went off. However, losing 3 in 17 is not bad at all and a must-win game for the Hammers was never going to be easy.

The reality is this: three games to go, 5th place and Europe STILL IN OUR HANDS! This is a side that has been frustrating a few times this year, but also stubborn and brilliant at others. 4 points off Liverpool and Arsenal shows that Moyes is no mug.

As Stuart Duncan so rightly said, those who follow other sides than us can't believe this feeling amongst a few supporters that Moyes should be sacked. My friends the same! Moyes is respected throughout football with ex and present players, staff and coaches. People like Ball, Kendall & Royle have all supported and applauded his work so far. It's about time the Mr Angrys on this site did the same.
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

Horror Show

Saturday's performance was horrific. No pace or movement up front. Osman couldn't get anywhere near the ball, McFadden is so laughably slow it looks like he's running in treacle. And Beattie? What the fuck is he playing at? To be fair, using him as a target man isn't the smartest idea, but even so, he's a professional attacking footballer and should be able to at least pose a threat.

I began counting the number of challenges he went up for in the second half; he won one out of nine. His technique is woeful; for a start, you need to actually be looking at the ball ? not the defender ? if you want any chance of winning it. It was painfully predictable that the single ball he did win bounced off Osman's shins and went straight out for a throw-in.

It wasn't just at centre-forward we were struggling, though. Our midfield didn't get into the game but, in their defence, you've got no chance of controlling the park if there's no outlet up front. Fernandes looked good when he replaced the weak Neville, but even he was running up blind alleys with no-one ahead of him capable of providing a viable option.

If we play like that on Saturday, the Mancs will twat us off the park. It will be a real horror show. And what's worse is that we'll have Dangerous Dick in goal. I'm just praying for the speedy recovery of Johnson, Vaughan and Anichebe, someone with a bit of pace or physical presence up front ? anyone but Beattie.

Come to think of it ? as nice as it would be to get something against United ? the real crunch game is against Portsmouth. If we don't win that then we'll be spending the summer exhausting our players in the InterToto so that, by Christmas, we won't have a single fit player and we'll be back to where we are now, scrapping for points, limping towards the finish line with a depleted squad that isn't quite up to the job.
Steve McBride, London Branch  (23/4/07)

Better to wait

Quite a few of us said on the way back from London that we shan`t be too disapointed if Everton don`t quite reach Europe. Apart from the travel costs to far-away places to play shit teams, the demands on our small squad would be excessive and will no doubt result in a Premiership struggle.

Moyes says he`s about half-way through the mammoth task of getting Everton in the top four and I`d rather wait another couple of years for Europe proper. All in all, it's been a good season even, if we miss out.
Terry Runnicles, Thornton  (23/4/07)

Fernandes joke

Don`t quite see why everyone is getting so exercised by the need to buy Fernandes. OK, he`s a decent player but I have to agree with Harry Rednapp who said a fee of £12M for him had got to be a joke! The problem is that he`s worth about half that but has a couple of owners who both want a cut. If Moyes blows his whole transfer budget on this one player, he`s not the shrewdy so many think he is!
Keith Hayhurst, Aldershot  (23/4/07)


Is 8th place still an Intertoto Cup place? I hope so, we might need it.
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (23/4/07)

Tim Howard ineligible???

Why can't Tim Howard play on Saturday against 'his former club'? I thought we signed the guy in January? Anybody know any different? Sure Turner will get the nod ahead of Richard Wright either way.
James Hazlehurst, Wallasey  (23/4/07)

That is certainly the impression we were given by the club and by articles published on the Official Website when Tim Howard "signed" for Everton. I suspect there are two factors here:

I think what he signed in February was a pre-contract agreement that was presumably allowed as an option under the terms of the original loan deal, the latter which remained in effect for the full season, thus preventing him from playing for us against his own club.

The signing came significanty after 31 January 2007, and thus outside the transfer window. I would suspect that, even if he had "become an Everton player", his registration with the FA could not be changed at that point, so he was still a Manchester United player, as far as they were concerned, and would have to abide by the rule of not playing in games between loaner and loanee clubs. — Michael


I see today that cheating has been rewarded in that the dirty wimp at MUFC has been voted PFA Player and Young Player of the Year! What is the game coming to? Is big bucks the reason why a win, at any cost ? includig cheating and gettng your colleagues booked/sent off ? is the only way? Isn't it about time that cheating was stamped out of the game and maybe The Blues could lead the way in this?
Margaret Callan, Ashton-in-Makerfield  (23/4/07)

Always the same...

When Beattie starts, tactics change to "hoof to his head", normally leading to possession being lost and it all starting over again. It shows how valuable a proven striker actually is. Players hitting close to 20 a season should rightly be worth £20M plus. I'm not sure why Beattie is so poor now, as it seems he has an excellent bonding with the other members of the squad. Maybe they also secretly know he is rubbish and all expect him to move sooner rather than later.
Jason Turnbull, London  (23/4/07)

Bit close for 7th

Looking at the fixtures, I reckon we may just miss out on 7th, I pray I am wrong but I reckon Tottenham will defo make it and probably Bolton, Reading have some winnable games too. I don't think Portsmouth will make it.

We have to beat Portsmouth that's for sure but I think that one may end in a draw or a loss due to our striker shortage and their pretty good defence.
Paul Momber, Thailand  (23/4/07)


I have to say, I now feel really sorry for the guy! He's obviously trying his hardest but nothing is going his way. However, somebody else made a comment about getting behind him ? something I think can do no harm at all.

So if Beattie starts on the weekend, let's get behind him and let Goodison resonate with the sound of his name. The fans are just as important to this club so give him your support and let's try and boost his confidence to get that goal! Imagine what could happen if he breaks that scoring drought! If AJ isn't playing, we may well need him to deliver ? so why not give him that boost of confidence?

Or am I living in cloud-cuckoo land?
Simon Morgan, Lancashire  (23/4/07)


Nick Harrison, I think you had that one wrong: Berbatov already has 20 goals and 12 assists to his name and is very intelligent player ? good movement, pace, skills, headers, eye for the goal ? everything I would like in a forward. It's a shame that when two years ago his price was ?4M and he was available for a transfer, we didn't move for him.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna,Austria  (23/4/07)

We were linked to him in The Rumour Mill on 21 Dec 2004.

Steady progress continues

With a most difficult `run in` ahead of us, let`s just for a moment think the unthinkable. Let`s suppose Everton ? faced with both Man Utd and Chelsea in their last three games ? fail to win the points necessary to qualify for Europe. Will that mean, as some have suggested, that the season has been a failure? Of course not!

Whether we finish fifth or eighth, we have seen so many positives over the past nine months. The unqualified success of big money signings Johnson, Howard and Lescott. The careful grooming and emergence of Anichebe and Vaughan and the flowering of Arteta as a midfielder of real quality.

For his part, David Moyes has shown the ability to outsmart the Big Four managers on more than one occasion and even if we do have to finish in 8th, the verdict will be `steady progress continues.`

So let`s all go into the final games with optimism but knowing that if we miss `the prize`, Everton FC is in a far better shape than it was twelve months ago and have given us some magic moments in 2006-07.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (23/4/07)

Oh that's a good move, Dicky: fear the worst and get the positive spin out before it happens! I think you've caught us all napping... or sweating buckets while gnawing our fingernails to the bone. I think if we do fail to get into the Uefa Cup after all the hoopla, a lot of Evertonians are going to be very disappointed, and no amount of this "It's been a wonderful season" nonsense is going to placate them. Still, we should make the InterToto, surely...??? — Michael

End-of-Season Collapse

I'm not suggesting Everton are about to collapse (even though the fixtures are very difficult), I really hope they can graft out at least a couple of good results, but, if you look back to previous seasons, Everton have never been good at getting points at the end of the season.

Looking at the last four games of each season with a maximum of 12 points to play for, the following does not bode well:-

David Moyes 

05-06:  W 1 D 2 L 1  Pts: 5
04-05:  W 1 D 0 L 3  Pts: 3
03-04:  W 0 D 0 L 4  Pts: 0
02-03:  W 1 D 0 L 3  Pts: 3
01-02:  W 1 D 1 L 2  Pts: 4

Walter Smith 

00-01:  W 1 D 1 L 2  Pts: 4
99-00:  W 0 D 2 L 2  Pts: 2
98-99:  W 2 D 0 L 2  Pts: 6

Howard Kendall III 

97-98:  W 0 D 2 L 2  Pts: 2
96-97:  W 0 D 2 L 2  Pts: 2

Joe Royle

95-96:  W 2 D 1 L 1  Pts: 7
94-95:  W 2 D 2 L 0  Pts: 8

Mike Walker

93/94:  W 1 D 1 L 2  Pts: 4

Howard Kendall II

92/93:  W 1 D 2 L 1  Pts: 5
I went back 14 seasons and only three times did Everton manage to get more then half points. Only three times have Everton managed to win two out the four games. That's a disgraceful record for all the Everton managers. Particulary bad was season 03-04 when David Moyes Everton failed to get a single point.

The best Everton have managed was season 94-95 when Joe Royle's side managed to gain a respectable eight points but even that was against Coventry, Ipswich and Southampton who were all struggling that season.

So why are Everton such bad finishes? Do they get tired towards the end of the season? Any ideas?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (23/4/07)


I'm not going to get into any discussions about Moyes today, I can't understand why the "sack Moyes", "Moyes is learning" etc brigade has come out today. How did the result on Saturday change anyone's opinions? It was a bad result stemming from an off-colour performance. Whatever you make of the reasons, excuses or symptomatic, they were completely unremarkable. Coupled with the reality that there isn't a chairman in the Premiership who would sack Moyes at this juncture.

So instead, the Big Four... again. One of the things that sets them apart is they have a small number of truly world-class players at their disposal. Liverpool have Gerrard, Arsenal have Fabregas and Henry, United have Ronaldo, Scholes and Rooney. I've often wondered how we would ever close that particular gap. We can't buy them, we simply don't have the kind of money that a player like that costs. We might breed one but then he smells the dollar and goes to United. So how do we get some top-of-the-pile world-beaters into our team?

Well, it seems we pick up Portsmouth rejects. Now no one knows for sure if Fernandes has the class to go all the way. But everything I've seen suggests that, at 20, he has the ability to take on the world. I don't know what the fee for him will be, £12M is speculated but that's the fee that was requested from Portsmouth. There were some odd goings-on surrounding his signing for us. Why did he sign a new contract with Benfica? No buying clause was put in the loan deal to meet Premiership rules but Moyes is adamant he doesn't sign players on loan unless he intends to buy them. Who actually owns Fernandes now and to what extent can they dictate transfer dealings?

I sense protracted negotiations in the summer but Fernandes seems happy at Everton, he seems to like the Premiership and for a player of his quality to land in our laps is a Godsend. If we are to close in on the top four, this is the kind of player who MUST be signed when they come our way.

If Moyes can also locate a decent winger, a midfield of Arteta, Cahill, Fernandes and said winger would surely put an end to shabby passing and turn us into a formiddable force and an impressively slick attacking outfit.
John Holmes, York  (23/4/07)

Euro Spot?

When Vaughan and Anichebe got injured I naïvely thought this is Beattie's chance to show the fans that he is still hungry for a place at Everton (unfortunately all it has shown is that the only hunger Beattie has is for the pies that he shoves down his face). So, now that Johnson appears to be injured (fingers crossed, not for long), I am worried about our European place.

The only possible outcome I can see is a win against Portsmouth and all the other teams not picking up many points. But now that Reading and Tottenham have started getting results they could easily slip into the places currently occupied by ourselves and Bolton which really only means a fight between us, Bolton and Portsmouth for the last spot. With Chelsea and Man Utd both taking it to the wire, I would find it doubtful, but not impossible, that we would get a result against either team, it's getting scary now.

On another note, I was disappointed that Arteta did not get picked for the PFA Team of the Season. A lot of the Man Utd players who were in there didn't deserve to be, which is a shame really.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (23/4/07)

Our Euro bid

To be honest, right now, I'm scared to shit. We've gotten 4 points off Arsenal and Liverpool but both of them are nowhere near to Chelsea and Man Utd.

If we were to lose both of these macthes, the final game to Portsmouth will be a very important match, and looking at past seasons, Moyes don't do quite well in season ends. However, if there are reason to be postives:

  1. We have two homes games out of the three.
  2. Man Utd are now without three of their back four, Neville, Ferdinand, and Vidic... there for the taking.
  3. Man Utd and Chelsea will be slightly fatigued, with both still in the FA Cup and CL.
  4. Bolton have lost Diouf and Nolan for their final games.
However, it is very important for Vaughan, Johnson, and Ferandes to be fit for these fianl games... COYB!!!!
Eric Byton, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

Manuel Fernandes

I think we should make sure we can get a European place. I don't care if we play awful football in all three games as long as we stay in the top 6. Manuel Fernandes has got to be our top priority. I would rather spend £12M on Fernandes than £6M to £8M on Nugent. The boy is top class and you can see the difference when he is playing and when he is not. Him, Arteta, Cahill, Johnson, Lescott, Vaughan, Howard, Anichebe and Yobo are the future of this club and we must keep them together as well as adding others.

When you look at the price tag being rumoured at £12M it is probably correct. Cristiano Ronaldo was bought for £12M a few years ago so it will probably be similar with Fernandes because he is seen in the same class as him. Let's hope Kenright backs Moyes.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (23/4/07)

Wilting In The Heat

What is about the sunshine, especially at the end of the season, which seems to bring out the poorer aspects of Moyes's Everton?

Is it the over-reliance on work-rate rather than skill, which makes us look inept when the temperature rises? It's a good job Moyes is not Brazilian as he would never have got a coaching badge in such a warm climate.

Prior to the weekend, I was looking forward to the United game with some hope we might turn them over. But, given they had a shock home draw and got away with it, I am now fearful of what they may do to us ? especially with Tricky Dicky in goal and the possibility that AJ won't be fit!!!

Can we hope for an unseasonally cold three weeks in order to secure a European place? If we don't manage to get the points ourselves, those around us seem hell-bent on not gaining points. Maybe they all think Steve Coppell's idea of not getiing into Europe is a shrewd one.
John Patrick McFarlane, Lancs  (23/4/07)

"It's a good job Moyes is not Brazilian as he would never have got a coaching badge in such a warm climate." LOL!


I'm no blinkered disciple of David Moyes but in football's pragmatic world ? and you don't get more pragmatic than twin-title winning Abramovic/Jose ? I think, all in all, Moyes has done a fairly decent job over the past five years. So, just to put my mind at rest, would Michael tell us who he'd like to see replace Moyes? Not 'what' sort of manager but, specifically, 'who'?

What could his man do that's so radically different from Moyes? And does he really believe that Wenger, Hiddink, the saviour of Aston Villa's season (ha ha), my lad on his PSP2, whoever etc would actually get any more out of a) the current threadbare squad or, more important, b) Kenwright and Wyness? Steve Coppell, maybe...
Guy Pierce, Hastings  (22/4/07)

I have always believed (naïvely as it turns out), that David Moyes would improve during his time with us and become a better manager for the Blues. I'd like to believe it was happening now... that it's still a possibility. He's done 7th and he's done 4th... I expect more ? don't you?

What to do if he continues to fail to deliver? Well, you should know (if you read this mailbag) that it ain't up to me. Bill Kenwright is sticking with Moyes for more than the foreseeable future. So, until that situation changes, any discussion of replacement managers is, to say the least, moot ? I'm sure you'd agree? — Michael

The Poll and PFA Awards

I'd like to change the subject to the PFA awards and ask a quick question. First of all, when is the '5 year plan' poll going to change? ? I'm interested in the result.

Secondly, Ronaldo's won the double at the PFA awards and the team of the year is this:

Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra (all Man Utd); Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo (all Man Utd) & Steven Gerrard (Liverpool); Didier Drogba (Chelsea) & Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham)

According to the official actim index, Arteta is the 5th best player in the Prem this season. Gerrard is a meagre 16th and doesn't even feature in the top 5 midfielders bracket. Arteta is 4th in that bracket and if you count Barry as a defender, he'd move up to 3rd but that's pedantic, and credit to players like Barry who are in weaker teams for being where they are. The fact this lad misses out on England caps to the likes of Jenas is a travesty and is likely to be why our national team is awful.

The top three forwards in the league have been Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, and Andy Johnson... so how the hell has Berbatov got in there? He had a month-long spell where he banged goals in and now he's back to being mediocre again. Looks very fancy on the ball but the end product is not consistent.

It really does pain me to see players like Barry and Arteta miss out on awards and recognition, from the media and international bosses, due to the way the media operates in this country. That is why we have a top four, it's a myth perpetulated by the media and thus this mentality makes it hard for managers and players to believe they can break it.
Nick Harrison, South Liverpool  (22/4/07)

5th from top

I must be missing something because I thought Everton were 5th from top. From all this sack talk, you would think Everton were 5th from bottom.

I could understand the complaints if, like last season, things were disappointing, but 5th???? That's about as good as things can get.

Ask the Spurs, Newcastle and Man City fans if they would like to be 5th.
Barry Burnanby, UK  (22/4/07)

We are Everton; we'd like to be even higher... Why don't YOU agree with that? — Michael

First impressions...

Anderson Da Silva was a surprise to me during his time on the pitch against Charlton and he made an impression. I don't mean on the game (he was given no time and David Moyes would probably die laughing if he read this) but I'm certain the guy can play.

For the oldies reading this, he reminded me of Martin Dobson and showed showed the same ability to find time to think on the ball before playing the right pass. In my opinion, he may be another one who "got away" if Moyes doesn't give him a proper chance to show what he can do.
Steve Alderson, Jersey  (22/4/07)

Beattie = Poor Performnace

Playing Beattie equals poor performance and/or defeat; so Moyes keeps playing him. Playing the £6M flop keeps costing us points. We are where we are in the league because everyone around us is average. And, yes, with a half-decent manager and the right tactics, we could have squeezed in the top four this season.

Moyes is a lucky idiot who ultimately holds the teams progress back. Nothing else. The only way to get any money for Beattie is to keep him the hell away from the first team. His price tag goes down every time he plays.

And I'm sick to death of the excuses people trolley out for Moyes: 'He's learning', 'He needs more time', 'He's bought some duds but also some good ones' (anyone can do that)... He's a thick fool (who cares more about saving his face than Everton Football Club) in a League there for the taking. Reading are proving that conclusively!

Don't let the atrocious management of recent times and our flattering League position make you believe Moyes is the answer. And if he has now built such a good squad of players, how come as soon as Vaughan got injured the wheels fell off ?
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (22/4/07)

Sheeesh!!! Now you're what even I would call a Moyes-hater! — Michael

Leon Osman

Osman gets more criticism than most on this site but seems to do the work of two players, even though his control means he makes plenty of mistakes ? and who knows whether he actually makes many tackles? On the other hand, sometimes after 20 minutes you wonder whether Arteta or Neville are playing. As far as I know, Davey invests in ProZone, a camera system to measure individuals' performances. If only we knew the figures, as opposed to spouting our opinions. I merely watch games on TV. Sir Bobby Robson said that was like watching a couple having sex through a keyhole, you have just a vague idea of what's going on.
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg  (22/4/07)


We all know Beattie is useless for us but, seeing as he might have to play in the remaining games, wouldn't it be nice if the fans as one sung his name a few times? You never know, it might wake him from his slumber 0151 its amazing sometimes what a bit of vocal support can do.

Prsonally, I think we need 3 more points to make sure of Europe...
Terry Downes, Stoke  (22/4/07)

Tony Marsh cooking stew

It?s great to have a rant after the game after you have lost away from home. For all the Blues who made the trip it must have been very disheartening.

The fact is, though, this was another game which showed Everton?s shortcomings. With one of the smallest squad?s in the division, our midfield lightness was always going to be our Achilles heel. It has been all season. We don?t have enough quality or pace in that area to turn matches.

That said, frankly there where options open to David Moyes and he got it wrong. Hindsight is wonderful but I thought this before the game. When I say he had it wrong, the line up was pretty much the same as faced Liverpool. It?s a straight question: Did he want to defend through attack or trust the defensive players we had? We know what he chose.

The team lost a curve ball early on with Andy Johnson coming off in 5 minutes. The team, though, have battled through the shortcomings all season but not had enough quality to turn results in general. Respectable non the less. The squad is so small, it?s so transparent.

On this one, Tony, I would suggest that Moyes was caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea. I would have gone more attacking. It was 50/50 which way he went given player availability. We lost one, get over it.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (22/04/07)

Some good thoughts but I cannot agree "It was 50/50 which way he went given player availability." ? there was only ever one way Moyes was going to play this game, and that was defensively, hoping his limited attack could steal a goal for them to defend.

Well how about this: he risked Fernandes so why not put him on from the start and actually make sure you have some ability to get the goal first? What are the stats about scoring first and getting a result? If the player only had 20 mins in him, then haul him off after 20. It's not rocket science.

Coming from behind is the hardest thing in football. Scoring the first goal away from home in a massive relegation game and then defending it isn't easier either but doing it by attacking first is smething Moyes has shown, time and time again, is anathema to him and his whole footballing ethos. That's what drives me mad about him. — Michael

We are not world-beaters

Getting beat will happen, and that's not me being blasé ? the blues getting beat puts me in a right mood (ask the missus) but results were kind yesterday so we are still fifth. Yes ? I can see the wider picture, the football we play, the direction of the team and I am happy with our progress ? I had a season ticket through the nineties for Christ sake! We do need to improve in many areas and I'm confident we will.

Our small squad is stretched ? why not start with Fernandes (please god may he stay)? Well, maybe, just maybe, Moyes had an insight into were he was at in terms of fitness by watching him all week in training and he didn't want to risk a recurrence of his thigh injury which would rule him out of the last 3 matches! The manager has an insight into the workings of the team that we are not privileged to see and I believe that he believes his decisions are for the good of Everton. Lets get this Uefa Cup spot secure sooner rather than later ? come on you blues!
Steven Lewis, Newton-le-Willows  (22/4/07)

Joey Barton

"There is no way Reading have spent more than us and no way Everton have either, but they seem to have overachieved," Joey Barton

Errr, perhaps Man City have under-achieved and Everton/Reading have simply achieved. There is no over-achieved about it. If he's such a great player, why can't he motivate the rest of his team to play better. Sorry, too busy showing your arse at kids and visiting your brother in prison?

What a bitter prick!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (22/4/07)

Osman et al

I remember not so long ago reading the ToffeeWweb Mailbag and everyone was harping on and on about "just how good Osman is". Everyone was complaining that Moyes wouldn't give youngsters a chance and that Osman might leave after he was so great on loan at Derby etc etc. Well you all got your wish. Now he plays all the time and at best he is a poor man's McFadden, which basically means he is a Preki. Maybe next time we should accept that the management know more about the players than we do.

While we're on the subject, I can't say I have heard much of Daniel Fox,who one poster wrote a great eulogy to when he left. Some posters have a romantic notion that one day we will have a good youth team that produces good Premiership players. In reality, other than Rooney, we are like Wimbledon were in the 90s. We produce mediocre players (Jeffers, Cadamarteri, Osman, Branch, Jevons, Fox, etc) tell everyone they're good and flog them before anyone realises they're crap. Let's not disrupt this method of generating cash by demanding that the likes of Osman and Boyle get first team football.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, Fl  (22/4/07)

Jim Kearney

It was great shock and sadness that I learned of the sudden and untimely death of Jim. As a former chairman and founding member of the Cork Branch, Everton Supporters Club, I will be forever grateful to Jim and his friend Duncan Kenna for their help in setting up our club in the dark days of 1994. It was through their contacts at Goodison that enabled our club to get ?status? and to be recognised as an official supporters club.

Jim was a great blue. My abiding memory of Jim is that memorable day at Wembley in 1995, looking across at the final whistle and seeing the look of disbelief and joy was etched on his face. I would like to express my deepest sympathies on behalf of myself and our club to Jim?s family, friends and fellow supporters of the Irish toffees. Everton FC has lost a great fan and friend.
Declan Burke (Former Chairman Cork branch), Cork, Ireland  (22/4/07)

From my seat

No points toward Europe in what was a strange match. We had just kicked off and I had just enough time to think "He looks lively today..." then AJ is hobbling off. Plan A is out of the window as McFadden takes his place and no-one seems able to sort out the reshuffle. For the next 20 minutes, we were all over the place as the Hammers fought for Premiership survival and took full advantage of our disarray, Zammora scoring with a 25-yd thunderbolt but just who was supposed to be marking him? He had the freedom of the park.

On the 20-minute mark, we put our first move of note together and I thought Beattie should have done better. By this time, we seemed to have got some order in the ranks and it looked to me a 4-5-1 with Osman in the Cahill role. The game changed at this point and became more open allowing us to play the better of the football but it was noticable that when AJ went, so did the pace of the side, yet we still persisted with channel balls which were easily mopped up by the Hammers' defence.

Half-time came and I thought we may see the introduction of Fernandes to add some class and drive from midfield, which did not seem to be functioning, but we persevered without causing to much alarm to them.

Neither keeper had much to do which was strange considering the importance of the points for both sides... in fact, at times, the second half reminded me of an end-of-season game with nothing on it!!

Eventually Fernandes was introduced for the out-of-touch Neville and made an immediate impact that seemed to rub off on others. Two gilt-edged chances came, first to Beattie who showed his lack of belief by hurredly dispatching over from a very good position, then of all people, our best footballer on the day, Arteta found roughly the same area as Beattie with a rush of blood shot instead of the finish he is capable of. The ref must have thought we deserved something out of the game so gave us an extra 6 mins to do it, but to no avail.

I thought today showed graphically the work the manager needs to do in this next five year plan. Without the likes of AJ, Vaughan, Cahill, Fernandes and Big Vic, we looked ordinary ? and that's not an excuse for the loss today as you can't pick and choose who will be injured when ? that's just part of football. I just hope this wafer thin squad problem can soon be sorted, starting this summer.

Today's game was not enjoyable and as a team we looked hopeless and toothless. Let's hope that's out of the system and at least make a fight for the points remaining.

Man Utd next; not easy, but if you pull on that Blue shirt, it should mean business. See you there -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (22/4/07)

Tickets for Man Utd

I posted a couple of letters on here a few days ago regarding Everton's selling arrangements for our home game with Man Utd next Saturday to say how I thought we had got it wrong again.

As i said we were never going to sell out by putting them on sale to season ticket holders who already have a ticket or a small number of Evertonia members. Well, suprise suprise, as from Monday they go on general sale with fans able to buy up to FOUR tickets per person, a surefire way of stopping United fans from bringing a group of mates into our stands, I must say.

I was unable to buy one ticket last week but tommorrow I can buy four and, as I said, Everton haven't got tens of thousands of fans waiting to buy tickets so they cannot pick and choose who they sell to. So come on, Blues ? in future, just let them go first-come, first-served.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (22/4/07)

What do you want him to say?

Beattie was rubbish, has been all season. You know that, I know that, and I'm pretty sure Davie knows that too... However, you've got a £6M White Elephant on your hands. You're desperate for one of 2 things to happen:

  1. He somehow regains his confidence and hits a run of form, slotting in goals like the purple patch he had the season before, which would be really handy as you're bang out of options up front.

  2. In the Summer, you want somebody to take him off your hands, preferably for some money, or at least a Twix.
Should you

a) Go on Sky Sports, outlining his all too obvious recent failings (ie, being unable to hit a cow's bum with a banjo) thereby battering what little confidence he has left, and putting off all and sundry... or

b) Be as positive and supportive as you can, talking him and his performances up in the hope that he and the Barcodes (who else would be daft enough) believe you.

We all know my Gran (may she rest in peace) could do better, but maybe Davie shouldn't necessarily be broadcasting the fact. Altogether now... 'Beattie had a great game, he worked really hard'.. you know it makes sense!
Gordon Blair, Warrington  (22/4/07)

Two steps forward one step back...

I didn't see yesterday's game so I'm not going to offer any analysis. I just wanted to comment on the apocalyptic mood of some of the messages on here.

It's reassuring that Tony Marsh is as gloomy as ever. Why are you so confident that Portsmouth and Man Utd are certain defeats Tony? I actually am intrigued by the United match as Everton consistently produce big performances at Goodison against the top teams. They've just had a sticky day on the Riverside and a skeptic might go so far as to say they're bottling it. We certainly have a chance.

As for the general doom and gloom, of course it's depressing: we lost a game we thought we should win. We lost it fairly meekly by all accounts. That said, I fail to see why anyone's opinion will have been changed by yesterday. Those who believe in Moyes will have seen an off-day; every team has them. Those who see him as a charlatan, playing bad football to get dubious "results" will see chickens coming home to roost. The rest of us will see a frustrating result and little more to be read into it.

I'd put myself somewhere between the believers and "the rest of us" usually and whilst I'm annoyed and don't particularly like to roll out Michael's list of excuses I think the pertinent one is that 5 of most (I think) fans' first team were missing (after 85 mins, Johnson, Vaughan, Cahill, Fernandes, Valente). Plus Anichebe leaving us with our 4th and 168th choice strikers. Of course, excuses shouldn't get in the way of questions about attacking intent, performance and results but there is something to be said for begrudging acceptance of this result as an annoying lowpoint and hoping that we'll have a better strikeforce and Fernandes back next week.

As for Moyes's defence of Beattie. Agreed the guy's shit but if the teenagers and Johnson aren't fit next week he's likely to be playing. What's Moyes supposed to say if asked directly how Beattie did? His confidence is shot already without public criticism from his own manager.

I dunno, I guess we just need to muddle through to the end of the season and try and get those points to get us into Europe. The squad's run through with injuries, players ending their Everton careers and the team is in need of a tactic rethink to accomodate our best players in their best positions. I was hoping the season would stretch unbeaten to at least Stamford Bridge but now I just want the points and a good summer.
John Holmes, York  (22/4/07)

Am I being pessimistic?

On the BBC football website, there is thing called The Predictor whereby you predict the scores of of all the games up to the end of the season and it predicts the league table for you. Following our defeat to West Ham, I went on it again. Going in to the final game of the season I had Everton in 5th. Unfortunately, after predicting the scores of the final games of the season we dramatically dropped to 8th. If you are a saddo like me, have a go and tell me that I am wrong.
Mike Kennedy, London  (22/4/07)

No, I think you've discorvered an alternate reality there, Mike. Post up the scores and let's see how we got on. Did we beat Pompey? Did Rooney score against us again?? Do we get to watch the new champs seal it against us again ? for the fourth time in recent seasons??? Tell all, fella! — Michael

Just three games to go

Now is the time for we 'Blues' to stick together and do everything we can in these messages to support the lads on the pitch. I feel sure they read them as do we all and I quite often imagine James Beattie's thoughts as he reads some of the hugely uncomplimentary comments made about him.

Thinking of Mr Beattie, I sometimes wonder if David Moyes is trying to get him to improve his performance on the pitch to better his resale value. I cannot think there can be many sides considering a £6M outlay for a striker who hasn't scored during the whole of this season other than a couple of penalties...
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (22/4/07)

Reverting to type

The most depressing thing for me yesterday is that, after all the progress we seem to have made since the Spurs game, we reverted back to type. Better players were left sitting on the bench. No tactical substitutions until after an hour when they should have been a lot earlier. Then, poor excuses for players performances, and ridiculous atatements about monumental tasks, in front of the media afterwards.

I posted a piece recently where I stated that I wouldn't mind poor games if they provided the right results and European qualification. I also said that I would be able to stomach not qualifying for Europe if we continued to improve as we had been. This would, I felt, stand us in good stead for the full of next season. Instead we got yesterday's performance.

I know we were without a lot of first-team regulars, and I know that West Ham are fighting relegation. But when you look at the way that they approached the game, relegation or not, and the way they played throughout, these excuses count for nearly nothing.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (22/4/07)

Who to blame?

So, not to upset the pro-Moyes brigade but, who does one point the finger at for another dismal display, against inferior opposition?

If you blame the players, and the tactics, the buck must stop at someone's door? Why was there not a place found for Fernades? We expect Arteta to create everything, from freekicks to corners, and the odd spectacular goal.

The possibility of Johnson missing the three remaining games, and Vaughans absence, leaves us woefully short of fire power, when coming up against two of the best defences in the league. We might catch Utd at a good time after the semi-inal against AC Milan, but we are talking about Everton and, if we fail to get the points required, who do you blame?
Norman Merrill, Everton  (22/4/07)

Come on... Moyes is blamless for any mistakes but deserves instead legend stasus for all his many achievements. Surely you understand that by now! — Michael

Flaws exposed yet again

Some allude to the injury situation in order rationalise performances like yesterday's; however, I'm afraid that's all too often the easy option. The bottom line is Moyes had some tough decisions to make yesterday and he got them badly wrong.

  • Phil Neville never was a midfield player and never will be ? he's a utility full back ? not a first-choice selection. His presence in the middle simply confused things, running around like a headless chicken to no obvious effect.

  • As for Osman, I have to agree 100% he has a tendency to make it look as though he's busy as he shadows the opposition around the park without somehow managing to get a tackle in on anyone. In a game where we desperately needed to get hold of the ball, his contribution was next to useless.
The fact is we were completely overrun in the middle of the park, unable to match the physical efforts of the Hammers. The balance was eventually somewhat redressed with the introduction of Fernandes for Neville but the continued persistence with Osman in a game as physical as this encounter was a disaster ? we may as well have turned out ten men as we simply found it impossible to win possession. I'm not always in agreement with Tony but he was spot on with his take on this game.
Gerry Western, London  (22/4/07)

Moyes's Defence Of Beattie

Beattie has been crap this season. Moyes has obviously taken note and played the youngsters ahead of him whenever availabe. But I do not understand why do some criticise Moyes for making positive press comments about Beattie. Isn't it his job as a decent mananger to try to instill some confidence in his players? Do we honestly prefer a manager who makes comments that cause players' self-belief and transfer-value to plummet?
Jason Heng, Singapore  (22/4/07)

I guess we got used to him being a manager who for once was straight and true, always told it how it was, respected teh intelligence of the fans, and didn't attempt to bullshit us. Ah... the good old days! — Michael

Lessons for today

Well, I think we have learnt three things since our loss at West Ham..

  1. I think the idea of our opposition having a tough game in midweek while we rest has finally been banished now, we had extra rest on West Ham yet looked nowhere near as hungry (same as the Spurs game we lost in February).

  2. At Upton Park it was a hark back to last season's strikeforce and, put simply, it was bloody scary! I can understand how we struggled scoring so much last term.

  3. For some reason known only to the players and manager Everton cannot put two good performances in back to back.
What else is there? Well, I think it's blatantly obvious that Beattie will not be here next season. I can see why McFadden is better as a substitute (a late one) and does Moyes really think Osman is a threat on the wide berths of midfield?

If we do make Europe, we must improve our squad greatly in terms of pace in midfield and flog the players that can't do it at this level/club. We have had a good season but we are still learning lots and there is still so much we can improve.
Jim Parker, Liverpool  (22/4/07)

Rooney Bullshit!

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't one of the first things Rooney said in his Man Utd press conferance that it was a difficult descision to leave Everton his boyhood club? Well, several years later and the shithouse says in his book he couldn't wait to leave Everton. I think he needs to get his story straight. I hope the fat basterd wins nothing at United.
John Glover, Liverpool  (22/4/07)

I think it's a bit late for that, John. He alrady has a gong or two I believe... but it's the thoughht that counts, I guess!
ps: you should perhaps know by now not to entirely trust what players say! — Michael

Ah well

From what (admittedly little) I've seen of him Manuel Fernandes looks a cut above what we have in the squad currently, with only Arteta coming close to him. I don't care if we have to bust the bank for this guy, someone like Fernandes could make the difference between us being Uefa Cup also-rans and Champions League qualifiers, he's that good.

Maybe any deal could be financed by the sale of Beattie (time to point out I'm tanked on cider!), well maybe some of it! I've stood by Beatts but it's time to admit he is very much out of his depth. The fact that he really does seem to be trying makes it all the more painful somehow. Good luck to the lad.
James Newcombe, Oxford  (22/4/07)

Sack The Chef

The thing that gets to me with some pf my fellow Evertonians who post on here is when somebody has a go at Moyes, they take it as a an attack on themselves and start to get personal. I find it very strange... just as I find it strange that Alex Storm [He sounds like one of the X Men] watches programmes about men's balls being cut off. Haven't you got Everton FC 2005-06 season highlights DVD? Then again, Alex, stick to the castrations mate ?much less painfull to watch.

Let's forget Rooney and the Mancs and please stop taking my rants so seriously. We are all allowed to go on one now and again arent we?

My point being that, for all the good work Moyes has done in assemebling a decent squad, he ruins it with his his outdated and poorly thought-out policies. I totally agree with those of you who claim we have the best set of players for 20 odd years and it was thanks to Moyes we signed them. I don't have a problem with that at all.

"Arteta, Cahill, Lescott, Johnson and Fernandes ?all Moyes signings and great players too ? would walk into any other team outside the big 4," I continually hear you say. Throw in the other players who are more than capable ? the likes of Neville, Howard, McFadden, Yobo and yes it is a fine team we have at Everton.

  • Why is it then we are so fucking diabolical to watch?
  • Why is it then that this team of wonderfull players can't string two passes together?
  • Why is then that week-in week-out, regardless of the team we are facing, we always rely on luck rather than skill when we play?
  • Why is it that the ball is never on the ground for more than 2 seconds when we have possesion?
Not just this season mind you but ever since Dave Moyes arrived it's been the same. In my humble opinion, Moyes is like a lousy chef in a busy restaurant who wont admit he can't cook. He knows what ingredients to buy but he just can't make the recipes work. Everything is over done or worse still left to go stale. Nothing new, nothing fresh. Never any new suprise dishes to whet our appettite. No, it's the same old boiled mince and mashed potatoes we are served up. Sometimes we get a bit of fresh veg but that's very rare.

The truth is Moyes is limited in what he can cook up in the kitchen and we will never get a Michelin Star while he is in charge.

I know the truth is hard to take when you realise your hero is not all he should be and it so hard to move on. It's a bit like me finding out wrestling wasn't real back in the 1970s and Mick McManus was a fraud. I took it bad although Burt Royal was my favourite. I think he was Joe's uncle...

If Moyes was a wrestler he would have been hit on the head by an old biddy's handbag by now and Ken Walton would be saying Goodnight, grapple fans but this one is over.

The thing is, too many of our lot are still believers and they refuse to face the truth. Just like Mick McManus, David Moyes is a fraud but there is no one around to provide the flying drop kick for the ten count. Moyes is limited in what he does and that filters down to the players: end of story. It's not the players who determine the way we play ? it's the coaching staff and the manager ? and the way we play is awfull. Just like I said ? Boiled Mince and Mashed Potatoes. It fills you up but is not very appettisizing ... Just like Moyes's football.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (22/3/07)

Win percentages

Just thought it would be interesting to look at Premiership managers by their win percentages.

1. Mourinho 70%
2. Ferguson 57.6%
3. Wenger 57.5%
4. Benitez 57.3%
5. Coppell 49.1%
6. Jol 47.2%
7. Roeder 47.1%
8. Jewell 44.4%
9. Warnock 42.8%
10. Hughes 42.1%
11. Allardyce 41.6%
12. Moyes 38.6%
13. Redknapp 38.5%
14. Pardew 38.4%
15. Boothroyd 37.3%
16. Pearce 36.3%
17. O'Neill 28.1%
18. Curbishley 27.7%
19. Southgate 25%
20. Sanchez 0%
The table isn't a true guide as it measures the managers wins at their current club, so Coppell, Jewell and Warnock are higher up the league because they won a lot of games in the Championship.

The top four speak for themselves, although it's astounding that Mourinho is so far ahead of the chasing pack. I'm actually quite surprised to see Roeder so high up and Allardyce in such a (relatively) lowly position.

Moyse's position would probably be even higher, but we've gained far more points from draws than any other team over recent seasons.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (21/4/07)

On yer way Moysie

Yet another 'must win' game, yet another defeat! oyse can never win the games that count.. ime for him to step aside...

Back in the real world, though I'd love for Moyes to be shown the door. I concede that if (and I believe it's a big if) we qualify for europe he'll get another year from his mate BK, which is a shame really. One thing I won't be doing is renewing my season ticket until Moyse goes, his brand of football is so negative I just can't be arsed anymore.
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (22/4/07)

But we have only lost three games in the last 17! It's all about results! What's the matter with you?!?

Dear Tony

As I often fear for your good health. I would just like to point out that James Beattie has been at Goodison just over 2 years having signed in January 2005..

So you can cut a year off your "3 long years" unless you were just planning for the future with your post today...

As for today's game, the less said the better, it was awful, but we got a massive game next weekend, and personally I am pulling the blinds down and hoping today's game will just go away..
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (22/4/07)

Let's all pile in on Moyes

Well, no surprises tonight. All the familiar faces can't wait to slag off the manager:

  • He said 'Beattie played well' How dare he! So would you prefer a manager who slagged off his players in public? I certainly wouldn't.

  • He should have picked McFadden instead of Beattie ? I reckon there's almost as many out there that think McFadden is as much of a waste of space.

  • He should have played Manny in a five-man midfield. Every time he does, he gets slagged off for being defensive 'He should play 4-4-2'.
I spend all week working in Kent with fans of Chelsea, Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool (no surprises with those two ? in Kent!), West Ham, Charlton, Leeds and Gillingham. When I tell them that most ToffeeWeb scribes are 'Moyes Out', they simply cannot believe it. To them, to see a team go from relegation fodder to where we are now is a minor miracle.

Frankly, I'm beginning to hope that Moyes does clear off to Newcastle or Celtic, so we can drop back to bottom half mediocrity and relegation battles. It would give you all something to cry about.
Stuart Duncan, Parbold  (21/4/07)

Leon Osman

I think Leon has become a fans boo boy. I have been aggravated by the way he plays. He seems to do something good and then five minutes later makes a mistake. Everyone tries to stick up for him by saying he has good feet but what I see every week, is when put under pressure, he just falls over. I am not sure what you can do about this?

Does Moyes need to put him on the weights or do we keep him how he is? I would rather see him succeed at the club because he has talent but something needs to be done about the physical side of his game. Osman's form hasn't been great yet he is still in the team and this shows our squad needs to be added to.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Pendulum? it's the pits

James Doolan should be banned off this site for crimes against pragmatism... 'playing football in the right way' indeed. We all know it's about results... the Spurs result, the Bolton result. There are future results lined up like cascading dominoes that can lead to all sorts of endings: Cheasea v Newcastle; Everton v United, Portsmouth & Chelsea; Man Utd v Chelsea.

Now that Michael has let the genie out of the bottle and mentioned the dreaded end of season 'W' word, we will all know not to blame Moyes. The pendulum on my Moyes-o-meter ? apologist, realist, kneejerk ? has moved all on it's own into slight kneejerk. Due in the main to reading his BBC comments, which seem like the football equivelent of an art expert putting down the common mans' 'I don't know much about art(football) but I know what I like' with redards to modern art / results... or in this case lack of. "The operation was a compleate success, but the patient died..." To-day's result was a load of Jackson Pollocks.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (22/4/07)


I have to agree with the mailbagger some way down who defends Leon as a central midfielder. There's a vast difference between the centre and the wing in terms of taking players on or creating space, that's why the most skilful are put out there on the wing... because only they can hack it. Leon often looks a very good player in the centre but with our 4-5-1, where two of our '5' are defensive, it's hard for him to ever get his ideal position. The lad should never be scapegoated because he puts his all into his games and cost us nothing; Beattie, on the other hand...
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

It is not the end of the world

Our performance today was, by all accounts, an off colour one. It was a tough game and we lost. But the post about us doing a 'Devon Loch' is so premature it's utterly pathetic. If we do go on to lose the next three games then fair enough, draw that analogy, but why be so negative when you have no idea what will happen (unless you're Tony Marsh who apparently knows we will lose the next three games)?

Moyes made mistakes today and it goes to show that the rule that you don't change a winning team isn't adequate when you have better players fit and ready to play. At least Moyes won't have that reasoning next game and I would hope to see Vaughan, Fernandes and Valente back in the side as I find it hard to watch players like Osman and Beattie struggle when I know we have better available.

Unlike others, I really fancy us to beat Man Utd next week and I think the game will be a huge test of character and of the progress we've made.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Hard work

Moyes said Beattie "worked hard"... So does my washing machine, but I'm sure nobody would stick a No 9 on its back and expect it to score goals. Although when it has an unbalanced load, it might move a little quicker than Beattie...
Paul Conatzer, Harlingen, TX, USA  (21/4/07)

Here we go again

The usual naysayer's are beavering away at their keyboards spouting more doom 'n' gloom than the undertaker off Dad's Army! In case people hadn't noticed, West Ham were fighting for their Premiership status! Whereas everton have been on quite a decent run of late (two losses in 16 before today.) Now after losing your top striker after 5 mins, and not being able to call on the two teenagers, Moyes's hand's were always going to be tied with his limited options up front at that point.

On another day (next week?) if Everton were playing West Ham, they could have beaten them, that's how a much of a muchness the rest of the premiership is from 5th place down. After looking at the league table, Everton are still in fifth place after today's games, Bolton losing at home and Spurs drawing against Arsenal (Everton beat them, remember?).

So, with three games to go, Everton are looking good for a European place. Which is more than can be said for some teams who have spent twice as much as Everton this season.
Jamie Carroll, Co Louth, Ireland  (21/4/07)

Oh here we go again, indeed. All the bloody excuses. Sorry, Jamie, but I beat you to it already, although you did come up with some more perennial ones:

  • Moyes's hands were tied
  • On another day, we could have beaten them
  • From 5h place down is much of a muchness
Well, in case you've forgotten, it's all about results!!!. And if we lose, that is a bad result. No two ways about it. If we aren't allowed to complain any more about the awful football we play, becasue "it's all about results", then you can be damn sure we're gonna have a real good moan when Moyes fails to achieve a result... because that's what he's set his stall out to do... and then he compounds it by saying fucking Beattie actually played well!!! Oh lordy, lordy, give me strength!— Michael

RE: Tony Marsh

So you're not a ?real Evertonian? if you?d prefer Man Utd to win the Premiership or the FA Cup rather than Chelsea? Or that you?d rather see Man Utd win a possible European Cup Final over Liverpool?

Bottom line is, if Everton can?t win the league or one of the cups, then I don?t personally care who does. If Man Utd winning trophies profits us more than Chelsea or another club then I?ll grudgingly take it. The phrase ?cutting off your nose to spite your face? springs readily to mind. The most important thing as far as I?m concerned is anything that is beneficial to the club as opposed to my own personal feelings and bias toward any particular player or club.

Besides, it's not a question of ?wanting? Man Utd or Rooney to do well (my brother is a Man Utd supporter and I?ve had to put up with plenty of grief in the last 15 years) but rather opting for the scenario in which, although distasteful, at least gains you something. I?d trade in the temporary satisfaction of laughing at their misfortune in order for us to put that extra million or two toward signings like Fernandes or Nugent in the summer.

You say: ?Who gives a shit what they win? We are Evertonians and don't give a fuck about those horrible twats and that shithouse player of theirs?. So surely if that?s the case it shouldn?t concern you unduly if they win trophies and we pick up a few quid in the process?

Chopping off your own balls if Man Utd and Rooney are successful seems a little drastic but, if you?re determined, I did see a programme on Channel 4 a few weeks back about men having their genitals surgically removed so I suggest you leave your meat cleaver in the kitchen draw and consider getting in contact with the experts. :}
Alex Storm, London  (21/4/07)

Wry smile indeed!

Just behave!

As I have posted previously, David Moyes needs no defence from me as he makes a point of ignoring phone-ins and web-sites. So all I want to say is that there cannot possibly be an Evertonian alive who, at the beginning of the season, wouldn`t have settled for fifth position and 54 points with 35 games played. Just behave yourselves, will you?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (21/4/07)

Typical: no comment about the loss as if it didn't happen... And the world doesn't work like that, Richard. Firstly, nobody actually offers such a thing because they do not have the power to do so. And secondly, it's called a league table and you have to play the games in order to get the points, the season being 38 games long. And thirdly, that's another one of those stupid fucking football clichés I am banning forthwith! — Michael


I think a lot of the things said about the team are pretty obvious.

For one, Beattie is rubbish. No argument whatsoever from anyone, end of discussion. In relation to this, we look a hell of a lot more threatening with AJ and Vaughan, or AJ and Anichebe if Vaughan's not fit. But they're both injured right now, so we only really have three strikers. McFadden's alright and could be made to look a lot better with good players around him. Osman's a bit like this too; in a good footballing side he'd be ok because he'd be carried. Still not a first-choice player though.

But we really miss Fernandes and Cahill. Particularly Fernandes ? you get the feeling can force his team to play decent football. I agree that Neville is an average central midfielder and he isn't really good enough to keep someone out of the side in this position. He is though a very good full back, better than Hibbert I reckon.

Put simply, without our full-strength starting eleven, we are pretty bad. The players just aren't good enough to play attractive football. With our starting eleven (or at least as close as we've got to it this season), we play much better stuff.

Ain't rocket science boys.
Ben Brown, Nottingham  (21/4/07)

Get off Ossie's back

Ossie is not an outright left- or right-winger. Leon is more than comfitable when we play 4-5-1, he has great feet, and can play the pass-and-move game. In a 4-4-2 formation, he is asked to play on the wing, and any good coach can see he is not fast or strong enough to play that position. Also it would help Ossie if he had someone inside of him who can give a give-and-go pass ie, Arteta, Cahill, or Fernandes but not Neville. So, to Davey Moyes, if you're going to play Ossie in an isolated position, forget it.

ps: I've watched Ossie since he first came into the side; for all the stick he has got, HE HAS NEVER HID ONCE.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (21/4/07)

Mr Marsh

You say that David Moyes "persists" with James Beattie and Leon Osman when everyone else can see that they are the worst players in the world? Who exactly would you like to be in the team in their places? Anderson da Silva? Gary Naysmith?

We have three strikers injured now ? who is going to play up front in Beattie's place in your mind for the Man Utd game?? You can't legislate for injuries I'm afraid!! Do you think if Cahill, Johnson, Vaughan etc were all fit James Beattie would be in the side??

We have suffered an injury crisis at the worst time but don't worry ? we'll get the points we need to qualify for Europe. Of course that won't be good enough for some people will it?
Steven Mills, Knotty Ash  (21/4/07)

Here is your result, people

After another shamebolic display from Everton today, I must remind people that this display is what I was warning people about long ago.

The thing with Moyes is that there isn't much variety to his tactics or thinking. And with AJ out, he simply cannot figure out how to approach a game with any attacking nous! And a one-nil to us could always be a one-nil to the other side as we play that negative "get a goal and sit on it". I seriously hope Everton do not blow this chance for Europe, and I hope the fans stop talking this 'results' shite and realise that we still have a lot of improving to do.

Beattie is a waste of space and the sooner he is sold the better. Neville is NEVER a midfield and to play negative against a team who were nervous is abysmal! But I agree with Fernandes not playing from the start, as he needs to be eased back into the side after injury. But Fernandes must play he next game and start it Moyes!

This result has been coming and, like I have said, results of recent weeks only mask the problems we have! Poor!
Luq Yussef, London  (21/4/07)

Today's game

Once again, shoals of correspondence regarding Moyes's limitations. Certainly he isn't by nature a Brazilian:? no matter how many the opposition score, our attack will score at least one more. That, as I understand it, is the Brazilians' way of playing this football game!

Today, I did feel rather sorry for Moyes. Once AJ was injured and left the field, I'm afraid our goose was cooked. What strikers had we left? Beattie... 'nuff said! James McFadden, a trier but rather an ineffectual striker. His wonder goal last week should fool nobody. It was a one-off, it's not to be found on more than one occasion every three seasons.

Once Beattie was found to be a non-starter, our 'strikers' were always going to be a problem. The more so, when Anichebe, Vaughan and Cahill were all unfit. For his seemingly many detractors, who should he have brought on to score us the required two winning goals?

So easy to be critical. I would like to hear what we should have done after the loss of AJ to win this game.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (21/4/07)

It's easy to say after the event but starting McFadden with Johnson could have given the lad a bit of a boost and inspired him a bit more than coming off the subs bench. But no, Moyes just had to stick with Beattie... who "played well"!?! Even if he did miss the usual hatful of chances.

So, if our best spell came from 60 though 80 minutes, after one Mannuel Fernandes was snet on, what does that tell you? That he only had 20 minutes in him? In which case, why not start with him, try to get the go-ahed goal, and hold on for dear life with the defensive players you have. ? Michael

Today's game was very disappointing

Moyes chose to stick with the same team and it had a negative effect on fans and players. Moyes needs to have a little more bottle. If Fernandes is fit, then play him and dont play two ultra-defensive midfielders.

Our substitutes bench made me angry. Everyone knows Da Silva is not going to come on so why not put someone on the bench who can change the game? A skillful winger like Van der Meyde or an attacking left back like Nuno Valente?

The problem with Beattie is not Moyes's fault. Beattie has failed to pay back his price tag and he is judged on his time at Southampton but if you really look at his career he has only ever had two sucessful seasons. The point is people can talk about him lacking confidence but really it is lack of ability. Something he has not got and never has had.

Anyway let's not be to downhearted because we're still 5th.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Devon Loch

It looks like we are going to have our usual poor end to the season; losing at West Ham today was a bad result and wouldn't you just know it that Zamora would be the one who stuck the knife in. In reality, it looks as though we will only get 3 points out of our last three games ?optimistically 4 ? but will that be enough to get us back into Europe, where we should be every season?

The other contenders, Bolton (god forbid if they get a Eurpean berth with fat Sam's alehouse brand of football), Spurs, Reading (who have the easiest run in) Portsmouth, all could overtake us and we could end up finishing 9th. Moyes reckons that is a good achievement with the so-called limited resources but, when you consider he splashed out £6M-plus for Beattie, is it any wonder they are limited?

I fear if we don't make Europe, it will be adios Mikel. Let's pray we don't fall in that final furlong!
Eric Yarker, Isle of Man  (21/4/07)

L-Plates for David Moyes

Still learning from his mistakes, I see. Still persisting with Beattie and Osman. Still using the negative approach. Truth is, the guy is not learning at all.

It's been three long years of utter shite from James Beattie ? and Moyes is the only man in town who hasnt twigged on to the fact that Beattie's a dud. Even longer is the time its taking for it to register with Moyes that the Toffee Lady has more on-field presence than Leon Osman, the schoolboy in an Everton kit.

Today's performance and result is exactly the reason why ? unlike some of you ? I fail to get carried away with anything to do with this manager and his team. As usual, when you need the big performance from Moyes and the team, it goes tits up. Today could have been the days when Euro qualification was sealed but no; it's never that easy with us, is it?

Now what? Well, we need at least one win from three games to have a chance of Europe and I just don't see where the 3 points will come from. Man Utd? ? dont think so... Chelsea away? ? forget that as well. That leaves the home game against Pompey as our only realistic chance of a victory. Judging by the way we played against Charlton last week and today at West Ham, the home tie with Portsmouth will be no gimme. Don't think for one minute that Moyes isn't capable of sending out his side to lose all three of those matches ? then what? We finish 8th in the league, no Uefa Cup chance and another season up the Swanney.

I really hope I am wrong on this one but usually my gauging of Moyes and his ability is pretty accurate and I can see disaster looming. Another end-of-season debacle, like all the others we have witnessed and Atrress and co can put away the champagne for another year [or five].

These are real scarey times to be an Evertonian and I for one will not have to wipe any egg of my face if it does go tits up. I never expected this season to amount to anything; by the way it's going now I won't be dissapointed. The last two games we have played have been against two of the league's worst sides and we have struggled in both of them.

We are starting to go backwards at the wrong time and I fear more humiliation on the scale of the European debacle two years ago. Please, for the sake of my sanity, don't let it happen to us again. No need to worry, though ? we are in the very capable hands of the one and only David Moyes. He will see us through... Won't he???
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Foundations of Sand

No disgrace in losing today but then again we were apparently facing a 'monumental task' - way to go to motivate the team, Davey boy. Get your excuses in early ? I really think he is turning into David O'Leary ? he even has the same condescending attitude to the fans.

On a more serious note, the reason why so many of us are not convinced Moyes is a genius is defeats like today. As I say, no disgrace... but we were never really in the game and if West Ham do stay up it really would be no surprise to see them above us next season.

In the long term you can only build a sucessful team if you play football in the right way. Despite the recent improvement there is still way too much hoofball.

I think we will still make Europe but if we don't ? what then for the Moyes fanatics? What am I saying!?! ? they wil still probaly pass ninth place off as the second coming.

For the rest of us, Moyes has another big summer ahead and for me two objectives for next season:

  1. To get the side playing decent football; and
  2. To achieve consecutive top-ten finishes ? surely not too much to ask after six years in charge.
Personally, I am not holding my breath on either...

Finally, one more thing:

Tony "I would prefer to see Liverpool win the Champions League" Marsh. Tony, you normally talk a lot of sense but get a fucking grip, man! If Liverpool win it again, life won't be worth living in this city. I just can't go through another Istanbul.
John Doolan, Billingsdon  (21/4/07)


Everton manager David Moyes:

"It's our first loss in eight games so we need to keep things in perspective. I'm not disappointed with the performance, although patches of the first-half could have been better.

"It was a blow to lose Andy Johnson early on because he stretches defences, but I thought James Beattie played well. I thought he worked hard and won some important headers.

"I think we were progressive and anyone who saw the game would say that Everton were unfortunate to come away with nothing."
That quote from BBC says it all about Moyes ? once again, he says Beattie had a good game and he isn't dissapointed with a defeat at a poor team. He needs to be more ambitious if we are to ever achieve anything! Now we need to beat Pompey and rely on other teams loosing to get into the Uefa Cup
Danny Jones, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Well, must admit that doesn't surprise me in the least. But "progressive" !?! WTF is that supposed to mean? — Michael

West Ham 1 - 0 Everton

Let's not forget that both Arsenal and Man Utd have lost at Upton Park this season, in fact only a couple of weeks ago the Hammers did the double over Arsenal by also beating them at the Emirates. Not excusing the lads below-par performance today but West Ham are desperately fighting for their Premiership lives.

Everton are still 5th with three games to go (two of those are at home). I think one more win will be enough to get that Euro spot. The home game against Portsmouth is a must-win, Everton's biggest game of the season.
John Cottee, Romford  (21/4/07)

I do wish people wouldn't say "must-win" [another phrase that needs banning from the TW mailbag!]. It's just too much pressure and tempting fate. Let's just settle for "a result", eh? ? Michael

Neville for Beattie?

How about it, Davey, cos it must be in Neville's contract that he must play in every game.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (21/4/07)

Now that's plain daft, Colin. Moyes has made Neville his captain. Of course he's going to start every game, if available. As well as Stubbs, Carsley and Osman. ? Michael

Another Top 10 Finish

Crap result today (has Beattie forgotten how to score?) but on the positive side... Everton have guaranteed themselves a Top 10 finish. At the start of the season I said that a Top 10 finish was a must for David Moyes and that's exactly what has been delivered. With difficult fixtures against Man Utd (H), Portsmouth (H) and Chelsea (A) to come the blues can take pride that another Top 10 finish is in the bag. That's the 3rd Top 10 finish for David Moyes in 5 years. Credit to the boys and let's hope they can go one better and hold onto the Euro spot.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Oh aye yes Paul, fantastic achievement. Surely an over-achievement? Is our rightful place not down in the bottom half, still fighting relegation? Nice to see you effectively contemplating a slew of losses, to finish off the season (yet again) with another lame whimper. How positive is that? — Michael

Simply not good enough

21 April 2007: the day Everton lost out on Europe as James Beattie drew a veil over his simply sub-standard Everton performaces.
Alan Atherton, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

I understand the Beatty comment, but Everton are still ideally placed for a Uefa Cup slot, despite today's results. So you are talking rubbish, Alan. And any thought that we will not see Beattie in a Blue shirt again is premature ? I feel quite sure of that! — Michael

Manager evaluation

After today's loss at Upton Park, I think Blues fans need to put the result into perspective. Everton are still fifth in the table thanks to a manager who gets the most out of limited resources, inspires his players and displays superior tactical nous in the face of adversity. Yes, I'll have nothing said against Steve Coppell.

Now, David Moyes on the other hand ? he's ok at coaching defences, but when it comes to managing Everton, he's toothless, impotent and lacks any imagination when trying to adapt his team to the ebb and flow of the game. If we could get rid, I would!!!
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (21/4/07)

Hehe... Nice twist there, Mark. That's what gets me: all this praise for defensive prowess and grinding out results. Sorry, but this kind of situation is classic: if we really were a side under Moyes who could kick on and put releagtion-bound sides under the sword when it mattered.... But we can't, as today proved (Excuses nothwithstanding!]. I'm not convinced either. — Michael

Beatties Last game!

Hopefully, providing Vaughan, Anichebe are fit and AJ?s injury not to serious that will be the fat useless twat's last game for Everton, enough said.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Er... Isn't that we said last time? But what do we know? Moyes knows best: "I thought Beattie played well today. I have no complaints. [Arrgh!!!] His workrate was excellent. He got himself into good positions and just a little bit of luck with the bouce of the ball would have seem him hit the net again." Blah Blah Blah... — Michael

Learnt his lesson?

Moyes learnt his lesson from the Tottenham game did he?

Beattie was useless against Charlton, McFadden scores a great goal so what does Moyes do? Starts with Beattie up front. Fernandes is fit, so what does Moyes do? Sticks with a midfield of Neville and Carsley.

His team selection today was purely to try and not get beaten. Moyes really lacks balls at these crucial times.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (21/4/07)

Moyes strikes again

Well, final whistle and Everton beaten ? no thanks to glaring shite yet again from that useless tub of lard Beattie, Moyes!: Get fucking shut for Christ's sake ? he is utter crap!!! Arteta also missed a sitter from ten yards out but to be fair he has scored this season and would still make most teams in the Premiership, unlike lardarse.

Moyes, please don't revert to your dour defensive conservative shite when attacking has made us look half-decent since the Spurs fuck up.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (21/4/07)

Come on now, Gavin. Lots of excuses available today for our poor showing. Please don't blame Moyes, the budding legend. It's results that matter after all...

Oh, er... wait a minute. Best forget that business for today: we didn't get a result, did we. ? Michael

The Rooney deal!

Thoroughly agree with Tony Marsh comments about the Rooney transfer. Kenwright said in the summer after Euro 2004 that he wouldn?t sell Wayne for £50M; any other business man would have used the impending transfer deadline to his advantage and got a £30M downpayment and then add-ons included. To get a £10M downpayment for the hottest teenager on the planet after the heroics of euro 2004, on the last day of the transfer deadline, was a joke.

I remember the sick feeling in my stomach after Rooney had left, and listening to Ian Macdonald on talksport almost begging Rooney to stay. I also will never forgive Rooney for what he did to Evertonians and will never cheer the Mancs on for a few million quid. Kenwright was a disgrace in the handling of that transfer and it?s also something I will never forgive him for.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Half time and fuming

Who, besides Irvine and Moyes, rates that useless fat turd Beattie as a player? Again he traps the ball in his feet instead of doing what strikers should do and hit it in the back of the net. Sticking with this useless turd is risking the European place which still isn't certain. Yet, when I understand Anichebe is fit again, if the excuse is muscle in the game ? saying that, why Osman over Fernandes?? Maybe he does have that "play so many games" clause after all... I'd never believe anything from Kenwright's mouth again.

Come on blues pull your bleeding fingers out.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (21/4/07)

To Tony Marsh, re Rooney

Tony, here's my understanding of the Rooney situation:

Players under 18 are not allowed to sign contracts more than 3 years in length. Players out of contract, under the Bosman ruling can sign freely with another club (for a young player, we probbaly can get 2-3 million as compensation)

If I'm not mistaken, it is Rooney, not Kenwright, not Moyes, who forced the move:

  1. He made it clear he wanted out
  2. He had 18 month of his contract left
Man Utd at that moment was heavily in debt due to the takeover and according to Gill made a statement that Man Utd was not interested in signing Rooney 'at that moment'.

They knew Rooney was unhappy and would not sign an extension. In other words, it is in thier plans to get him on the cheap (think Kewell 3M, Lennon £1M) the following summer, when he will have only 6 months left and Everton will be forced to sell him to avoid the risk of Rooney leaving on a Bosman.

HOWEVER, Newcastle came in with a huge offer, and Man Utd had to a make a rival offer. We got a guaranteed £20M plus another guaranteed £7M over the next 3 years. It was in my opinion a very good price. We may have lost one world-class player, but we have now many quality players throughout the squad (Lescott, Arteta, Johnson, Howard...)

If you undertand the situation, hate him how you may, but Kenwright made the correct decision for the club by selling him at that moment, and avoiding the risk of Rooney going on the cheap.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (21/4/07)

Arrrrgghhh! Noooooooo!!!! Please God, No, not all this shite again! I just can't take it anymore... well, not today auyway! ? Michael

Much to Ponder?

With late tests expected on Arteta and Stubbs and with Valante and Anichebe both fit it would seem that Moyes will have few options to consider before the West Ham game. Does he keep faith with Beattie? Will he bring Fernandes in? If so who for? Will it be 4-5-1 or 4-4-2?

Personally I would bring Anichebe for Beattie and Fernandes in for Osman providing Arteta and Stubbs pass late tests. An early goal would get West Ham fans on the team's back ? and please let's not go 1-0 up and sit on the lead.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Yes; No (bench); 4-5-2. Next question? And why do you FM enthusiasts always pluck out Isman? He is a first-choice player for David Moyes, alongside Carsely and Stubbs. — Michael

The Rooney Deal Makes Me Sick

The old debate over the Rooney deal money is back on the agenda, I see.

What I never understood about the whole sordid affair was why, when we had no chance of spending the £10 million downpayment because of the window closing and the fact that Man Utd didn't have all the neccasery funds anyway, why we let the deal go through on that day in the first place?

Why didnt Kenwright say at the time "If you want him, Show Me The Money. If you can't then come back in January, when the window opens again. Make sure you have got the 30 big ones with you next time, soft lad."

All this 'bits and bobs' add-on bullshit is doing my head in and there would have been none of it had BK done the deal properly at the time. No money? No deal. Simple!

Also, I can't believe some of our fans wanting the Mancs to win a trophy just so we can pocket a million quid. Why on earth would any one want to see that creature Rooneys ugly kipper plastered all over the TV and newspapers for the next 12 months just so we can get a small windfall? It's pathetic. I would sooner chop off my own balls with a meat cleaver than watch that horrible runt Rooney enjoy any kind of success with those Manc twats ? money or no money.

These posts asking things like "If Man Utd win the league, does that mean we get Blah Blah?" make me so fucking angry. Who gives a shit what they win? We are Evertonians and don't give a fuck about those horrible twats and that shithouse player of theirs. I hope they never win another trophy as long as I live. As far as I am concerned, anyone wanting Rooney and the Mancs to do well is not a real Evertonian.

I won't and can't forget what Rooney has done to this club and hope he fucks up like George Best or Gazza. Stick the Manc money up your arse. We got fucked on the deal. Rooney is a rat and a poxy million quid isn't going to help sweeten the blow is it? For the first time in my life, I would sooner see Liverpool win the Champions League than Man Utd, my hatred for Rooney is so strong.

Nah, what am I saying come on you Blues [Chelsea]
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Now, now, Tony. Less of the gratuitous swearing, please! But then again, if you REALLY mean it, I guess it's okay... ? Michael

KEIOC Website

Good job at presenting a side of the argument. I urge fans to read through all the pages, and maybe come to the same conclusion that I did.

  1. KEIOC have no say whatsoever as to the direction of the club.
  2. Buried within text of Sir Terry Leahy's article is the salient fact, which really should shame all those stuck in a time warp of their own making, that when EFC moved to Goodison, Walton was outside of the City limits of Liverpool.

Ray Mia, London  (21/4/07)

Today's Match

Does anyone know of any free websites were I can watch today's game from??? I normally use, but for some reason it's not on the list of games today. I'm stuck at work & it was my plan to sit back & watch us batter them cockney cocklers today!
Allan Barratt, Durham  (21/4/07)

Beattie is a must!

David Moyes will make his worst mistake of the season if he starts today`s game with McFadden up front instead of Beattie. Now, like most, I don`t rate the Big Man as a striker but, in a game where the opposition are fighting for their lives, his physical presence and work rate will be vital.

It`s the only time this season I`ve said it but with the youngsters unavailable Beattie is a must!
Mike Farrell, Dingle  (21/4/07)

Hmmm.. what price McFadden starting and being a star??? — Michael

Go the whole hog for a pig

The only thing wrong with Moyes suing Rooney for £300k, is that he should be suing him for the FULL amount of the price of the Dr David France Collection. Now that WOULD be justice not only being done, but being SEEN to be done. It will no doubt be a hell of a scrap at West Ham and I think that Naysmith might be better suited to the fray than Valente.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (21/4/07)

Can Howard play vs the Mancs?

With ref to Tim Howard playing vs Manchester United, I picked this up on

On February 14, 2007, Everton announced that Howard had signed a permanent deal with the club through the 2012-13 season. Under Premier League rules, the transfer is permanent as of this date, and as such Tim is eligible to play against Manchester United this season. The permanent deal is believed to be worth around £3 million, but the exact fee paid by Everton remains undisclosed.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Hmmm, that is contrary to reports at the time that the transfer doesn't come into effect until May. Seeing as the veracity of Wikipedia has been called into question a few times already (below), we'll have to wait and see... ? Lyndon


Wasn't there a 25% sell-on clause placed on the Rooney deal? If we get near £25M and perchance a bonus of (a very optimistic bonus) £12.5M then we'll have done very well out of the deal.

? I agree that he hasn't improved since leaving, I'd say he's gotten worse. He doesn't show the same kind of fire for England since Euro 2004 and he should have drastically improved his goals-to-games ratio since leaving us, considering we were not capable of creating the amount of chances Man Utd can, yet he hasn't. It's just a pity he didn't want to go to London, then we could have got God knows what off Roman...
Nick Harrison, South Liverpool  (21/4/07)

£20M down

We got £10M, gave that lot a £10M interest free loan, then allowed ourselves to be mugged over for £3.5M for Phil Neville.

The Tim Howard deal has been kept hush-hush regards figures ? I wonder if it's that lot's commercial sensitivity department forcing the issue or have we paid the going rate instead of again getting mugged over?

Also, there has been a lot of speculation about certain clauses in contracts and that contracts thereafter have relied on previous deals. I don't know much about other clubs but it appears that only Everton get embroiled in such complicated affairs.

ps: Turner to start verses that 'lot', as Howard is out contractually.
Boris Berluskofski, Jersey  (21/4/07)

Failing to live up to expectations.

Colm, do you seriously consider Wayne Rooney a £50M player? I would say that Wayne Rooney has not improved as a player since the day he left Everton.

Rooney continues to disappoint at International level and at club level he's been left in the shadows of Ronaldo, Giggs and Scholes.

No way is he a £50M player, the £20M deal Bill Kenwright agreed is just about right for a player of his quality.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (21/4/07)

Colm's reference was to Bill Kenwright's quote prior to Euro 2004 that Wayne Rooney wouldn't be sold for less than £50M. You can argue that he hasn't improved since he left us but he was that good in the first place and £20M down was not enough. ? Lyndon

Out of towners

First, I have never heard any one criticize the fact some of our support comes from afar. I did hear Kopites making a big deal in the local after an announcement at Goodison for our Irish fans on the lines of the People's Team. How that winds them up!

The only complaint in my local are Reds moaning about the glory hunters taking their places. Now neither of these concern us as A) how often is Goodison a sell out? and B) if I was going to glory hunt, much as I love Everton, I wouldn't pick us. This thing is a load off Connors warped mind; I am a local suporter for 50 years and during that time have been happy to put up a fellow blue for the weekend on numerous occasions. Now, can we ditch this crap?
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (20-4-07)


Wiki ? Mike Emm

Dunno why, but I was looking through the Everton players on Wikipedia t'other day too ? Phil Neville had died in a car accident apparently... It's a load of BS mate.
Wayne Francis, N Wales  (20/4/07)

Indeed. I was reading an article recently by Wikipedia's founder and he said that they will be looking for ways to increase the validity of what is posted on there. Can't come soon enough on that evidence ? Lyndon

Big 4 myth

Just feeling reasonably smug in the reminded knowledge that the "Big 4" league and FA Cup domination has been broken twice ? and both times by us! Shame those G14 bastards just get richer though...
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (20/4/07)

Pity the media don't recognise that feat very often, though...

Osman's Wikipedia Entry

More reason to never trust Wikipedia: "Many believe Leon Osman has the skill, vision and intelligence to cope at international level."
Sami Fam, Boston, USA  (20/4/07)

Now, now...

Playing catch-up

While it's really quite pointless at all to discuss a "made up" phenomenon such as the Big Four, it does indeed hold some relevance as to where the gaps in ability and potential between clubs lies.

It has occured to me during this winter/spring in particular, that it is indeed becoming a "Big Two" (Chelsea and Man United will possess the top two spots for the third season running), while Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are looking increasingly consistent and able to close the gap on Arsenal (who has been on a negative spiral for a few years now) and Liverpool (who remain a good cup side once they catch the smell of potential finals but who has only shown a small progress in the League in terms of amassing point, their dreadful ? by their standards ? 58-point campaign in 2004/05 aside) making it a little "challenger" league in itself, with these four teams trying to catch the Big Two and fighting in-between for the remaining two Champions League spots. [World's longest sentence? ? Ed]

Of course, right now, Liverpool and Arsenal remain firm favourites to qualify with United and Chelsea for Champions League also next season, but Everton and Spurs have reached the stage where the natural ambition now must be to consolidate this top-6 position first, and then look to challenge higher up ? Arsenal and Liverpool clearly looking the most likely from this so-called "Big Four" to be able to catch up on.

As for Everton, next season we need to make a much bigger impression on the cup competitions. We are now looking to etablish ourselves somewhere around 4th to 6th in League, semi finals should almost be our average achievement, and finals very realistic. Being involved, most likely, in three cup competitions next season, we should harbour realistic expectations of participating in more than 15 extra games compared to this season, so just get squad-building, Davey!
Lars Eidissen, Tromso, Norway  (20/4/07)

Lars, you haven't changed in ten long years: you may have grown up since the heady days of ToffeeNet but you are still have that remarkable ability to write a lot and yet say nothing. "Next season we need to make a much bigger impression on the cup competitions." ? I'd wager that shouldn't be too hard...— Michael

Season tickets for the poor

Anyone having trouble with renewing season tickets through standing order? I was told by the Box Office this could be set up as normal if application for Master Card is declined? They explained I would be declined due to not having a good credit rating, despite never being in debt. Mastercard then said Everton are talking rubbish and, if I was declined, that is the end of the matter.

I then received a voicemail from Everton saying I was one of many complaining and it would be sorted. I Phoned today and got a very blunt, "No". End of story. This is the only way I can afford to go, by paying monthly. Any advice would be much appreciated. Oh, and by the way, Tony Marsh talks the most sense I have ever heard from an Evertonian in my life... seriously.
Tony Cawson, Liverpool  (20/4/07)


Eh, Tony??? I thought those words of yours were after a bottle of bubbly or six! No worries, at least I won't see you in court like Moyes and Rooney, the shite! Once a blue, you gonna get sued!!!

Today, at work, the Chelsea fans were bleating about their club in crisis (as if, the daft dicks), the Spurs fans worrying over Europe, and the Arsenal fans crying over a guy who doesn't really matter to the club. What a time to be an Evertonian! All our worries extend to hoping Beattie doesn't take his shirt off if he scores.

Let's enjoy this period of non-success as, let's face it, it ain't gonna last long!
Luq Yussef, London  (20/4/07)

Top four: myth or true?

I don't understand what's the difference between the two possible situations ? one being that there is no such thing as a inpenetrable top four, the other that there is.

Even if it were to exist, it still should be our goal to break into that top four. It wouldn't be realistic, but hey, isn't that what setting targets is all about: improving your situation, try to reach greater heights than thought possible?

I really think it is a non-issue. What if we were currently on top of the league, would we say "Oh we're sorry dear ManU/Chelsea/FC Londres/Darkside, we'll just give up our first spot because we didn't stick to the rule of the inpenetrable top four"?

I just really do not see the importance of the discussion if there is a top four or not. Either way, we should try to break into them. And no, that won't be easy and won't happen overnight.

Anyways, let's blow some bubbles tomorrow. COYB!
Erik Dols, Maastricht, The Netherlands (moving to Arnhem comi  (20/4/07)

Blow bubbles, or burst 'em?! ? Colm

Spreading some manure...

Not wanting to start a stampede here, but just been browsing through the Everton players archive in Wikipedia and was somewhat surprised to see the following:

"Andrew Johnson (born 10 February 1981 in Bedford) is a professional English footballer who plays for Everton in the Premiership as a striker. But, according to reports, he has signed a pre-contractaul agreement with Man Utd for a fee of £9.5M plus add-ons. Everton Manager Moyles [sic], is known to be seriously annoyed with the Everton Board."

Smells like kopites playing silly beggars to me, so I thought I'd ask a more reliable internet source. What says ToffeWeb?
Mike Emm, Bristol  (20/4/07)

'Tis the curse of the modern day Internet. Does anyone wholly believe a Wikipedia entry?! Worry not! ? Colm

I can explain!

I would like toexplain myself. I didn't say fans from Liverpool were any better than fans from other place. What I said was there is a different outlook on how you see Everton. Evertonians from the city care about such things as keeping Everton in the city and the fact that we do not fill our stadium etc. It is local stuff. I wasn't actually trying to have a go at out of town fans, I was having a go at local fans like myself. That includes everyone from me, my family, friends and associates. I am sorry if I offended people but I am an open-minded person.

People can compare me to a kopite but I am here to speak my mind. I am not so jealous of Liverpool fans (like some Evertonians) ? that's why I can mention them and bring them into our conversation, because they are our locals.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (20/4/07)

I think I know what you were trying to say, Connor ? even if it didn't come across overly well! However, where I think you underestimate matters is believing that out-of-town Blues (be they of scouse origin or not) are not equally as passionate about all things Evertonia. I'd argue that I'm surrounded by more Reds living where I do than you are! Makes for an interesting derby day. Mind you, I'm probably back in Liverpool for that game! ;-) ? Colm

Ross Trotter

I hope you're not right. I just released him.
Terry Wiseman, Hull  (20/4/07)

RE: We could have done better...

The U Need Specs Ref website is a good bit of humour and does point out ref's failings in certain games. However, it is not entirely accurate. Who is to say, if we were awarded penalties or free kicks etc, that the result would have stayed the same? Often the award of free kicks or penalties dramatically changes the game. We could have scored our penalties but the other side could have kicked on and still beat us. Just because we would've been awarded a penalty doesn't mean we would've won the game or drawn the game.

And, in the same respect, just because a young goalkeeper becomes the best goalkeeper in the world on Football Manager, doesn't mean that he will in real life.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (20/4/07)

Once a Blue...

The whole hilarious bun-fight about what constitutes an Evertonian and the alleged credentials required to support the Blues is a real source of amusement. I have had many an enjoyable chat in the Winslow to 'out of town' blues from all corners of the UK and overseas. What has amazed me time and again is both their devotion and desire to visit Goodison as often as they can.

If you want a real laugh, then visit the 'reclaim the kop' website which typifies the jingoism and self-preening that exists across the Park. I for one despise the silly banners, childish songs and kopite mentality; at Everton, we certainly do not need such a culture.

The great Brian Labone once said that one Blue is worth twenty Reds... we may have only a couple of songs but Goodison should be a welcoming place to all Blue bretheren, particularly those brothers on pilgrimage.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (20/4/07)

Spot on Brother Peter! But don't forget our Sisters!! ? Colm


I always thought £ 1.65M was more than nothing at all but seems I must be mistaken...............
Tony M, London  (20/4/07)

It is more than nothing. Correct. But consider this ? we gave Manchester United a £10M plus interest free IOU when the chairman got "the best deal possible". A downpayment of £10M was all that was received, proving that you don't need £23M to buy a £50M player! ? Colm

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Champions League Winners: £30M?
Premier League Winners: £30M?
FA Cup Winners: £5M?

Everton's Rooney Cut £1.6M

Steve McBride, Liverpool  (20/4/07)

Whistle blowing

Colm's recent remarks about referees chilled me to the bone. I saw the Arsenal-Bolton game and again, a clear penalty was denied Bolton, and the final result virtually guaranteed that the Big 4 remained intact for another season

Now, this is not a new debate, but I don't recall it being one in the pre-Premiership era. Pre-93 Referees made appalling decisions, some enjoyed the notoriety, and power went to the heads of others. But no-one ever thought they were bent.

Let's leave aside the question of whether someone who invests several hundred million in a football club would contemplate a little "insurance" on that investment. Fans of the big four, disregard this as sour grapes if you will, but consider the following.

Firstly, referees are now professionals. They have therefore a stake in the success and revenues flowing into the Premiership.

Second, they are now personalities in their own right. Teamsheets are now scanned by fans as much for the name of the ref as for who's in midfield. Certain people enjoy the drug of fame.

Thirdly, they need friends in the right places to ensure they get the plum games in the International competitions and the profile that generates. This in turn is a potential source of income for them. After refereeing the 1974 World Cup Final, Jack Taylor went back to being a butcher in Wolverhampton. Compare that to the TV advertising career now enjoyed by the Italian Mekon.

I still don?t think silver crosses palms (well, not in this country) ? it would just take one referee to err, blow the whistle, for the gig to be up. But just as 99.9% of employees in a dodgy multinational prefer to keep their heads down when there?s a mortgage to be paid, is it too far fetched to suggest that a ref who makes the Premiership knows that rocking the Big 4 boat is not in his interest?

And while we're at it, how do we square referee's shirts and Arsenal's stadium being sponsored by the same company?
Michael Coffey, Libya  (20/4/07)

The big 4 myth?

The Top 4 is not a myth, practically every season the same four sides top the Premiership. Spurs are desperate to break into that Top 4 but in recent years only David Moyes Everton have managed the feat.

Look at the FA Cup, the Top 4 usually send out reserves to compete in that competition and still manage to win it every year. The last team to win the FA Cup outside of the Top 4? Everton ? nearly 12 years ago.
John Cottee, Romford  (20/4/07)

The myth is not whether they exist but that they are inpenetrable. There is a difference...

Conner Roher

I often find I am left with a bemused smile at some of the drivel posted by Conner, but his 'out of town' tirade was a step too far.

People should not dignify his narrow-minded crap by reciting thier Evertonian creditdentials. A blue is a blue. End of.

I live in London. I am an Evertonian. End of
Andy Lynch, London  (20/4/07)


Connor R ? Plant or Plantpot?

I am now convinced that Connor is just a plant by ToffeWeb to create a reaction from the rest of us to post responses when the 'debates' become less passionate and emotive. Shit, I fell for it again!!

You talk absolute tosh mate. 'Once our success dried up...', have I missed something here, someone please send me the video of the 'success' I obviously missed. Our gates are consistently higher now than when we last won the league and I don't recall when we always sold out 40k anyway, even during the success I actually saw.

The 'People's Club' was coined because Moysie said the fans on the streets of the city were Blues so, if you are suggesting that this no longer applies, then it must be the Blues in the city who are no longer going not the 'outsiders' who 'it means less to'.

I'd sooner have 34,000 fans from outside the city who are bullishly proud of EFC traditions and the beliefs of it's fans and what they stand for, sentiment or otherwise, than have some 'superior' city 'fan' who feels that just going to the match makes him an Evertonian.

Are you actually proud of anything about this club and it's fans? Your posts would always sit more comfortably on a Kopite site so, as you obviously weren't 'born' ? I am sure you could easily be 're-manufactured' in red, I'm sure there are a few components already in place, and give us all a break.
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (20/4/07)

The illusion of the league within a league

Shock horror! A balanced, perceptive and optimistic piece on Everton's place in the current scheme of things!!! It was a joy to read John Holmes's piece ? as it made so much sense ? because it's true. If Valente hadn't fallen asleep on the edge of the box against Charlton away and we hadn't let Man City equalise in the last minute at home, we'd be right up there with Liverpool and Arsenal. We should have and could have won both these games, therefore we are that close.

We took four points each off both Liverpool and Arsenal this season. So I'm with John. Forget the hype, ignore the blanket media coverage of the 'big four' because positions three and four are there for the taking. And who knows where we could go after that...

As a group, Evertonians should be anticipating a new dawn for the team that Moyes built. They can do it, we can do it. Let's play our part and start believing we've finally got another team that can compete ? because it's true!!!
Nick West, Londinium  (20/4/07)

Lars Stubhaug

Lars Stubhaug I'm sure is currently about 16 or 17 years old. For those interested, he becomes the best goalkeeper on Football Manager around season 2010-11!

Look out!
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (20/4/07)


On the speculation about our getting Nugent, I agree with those who say that if there were a choice between him and Fernandes, it?d be "Manny, hands down".

However, just because there were reported offers of £6M in January for Nugent does not mean he will cost more than that in the summer. He has just one year left on his contract and players tend to be cheaper in the summer, anyway. There are no desperados such as West Ham looking for a saviour from relegation.

Besides, the new Sky money makes the double signing a possibility ? even if I am getting ahead of myself with that speculation. But, contracts for Arteta, Fernandes and a winger have to be the priority.
Roberto Birquet, London  (20/4/07)

Re: Happy Campers

What an excellent article! Rob has manmaged to perfectly sum up the 'level-headed Evertonian' point of view. Often, we Everton Fans want our cake and to eat it. This is rarely an easy thing to achieve and Moyes is the manager who has come the closest in recent years. He's not perfect, but he is certainly better than any alternative I can think of.
Richard Osborne, Birmingham  (20/4/07)

Derek Thomas....

Although this debate may have run its course, I think your interpretation is exactly the spirit of John's piece, and, like yourself, I think it is a perfectly fair point of view.

The orginal piece did though contain the term as a proper noun (inconsistently) and talked of an invention. As for permanence and invincibility, they sound like absolutes so I think you're on safe ground ? it will change at some point, let's hope it's in the next couple of seasons rather than the next couple of decades!
John Dooley, Chester  (20/4/07)

A Blue is a Blue

Does it really matter where you come from? To me an Evertonian is an Evertonian no matter where they call home. The fact of the matter is to compete with the 'top 4' we must attract as wide a fanbase as possible. This does not mean we are selling our soul. English football is a global game with people all over the world tuning in to watch. If we do not attract fans from outside of Liverpool we will fall further behind other clubs.

Now I come to the issue of a 'true Evertonian'. I am from Belfast. I am very proud of that. For the past two years I have lived in West Derby. I have been an Evertonian for 20 years (I am 25). Does this make me any less of an Evertonian becase I wasn't born in the city?

What about the numerous times I spent a lot of time and money to get from Belfast to watch the Blues? What about the the others who do this for every home match? What about those who live in North America or Oz who spend vast amounts to maybe get to 1 match every year or two? Are they not fans because they do not live in Liverpool?

The answer to all these questions is that all these people are Evertonians. I would bet that they spend much of their free time searching for information on the Blues and keeping up to date with what is going on with their club. I would also suggest, that like me, most Evertonians who were not born in Liverpool would like the club to remain inside the city boundary.

This club needs all of its supporters. If it comes down to the schoolboy-like issue of "I'm a better supporter than you because I come from the city", we will drive potential supporters away. Remember that one of the main arguments to keep the club in the city is so that our fan base does not disappear.
Jonathan Hutchinson, West Derby  (20/4/07)

Fake Fans

Connor Rohrer?s got me thinking.

I am a 24-year-old male who lives and was born in Scotland and have supported Everton since 1994, say since I was 11 years old. I was a big Dunc fan when he was up here playing for Dundee Utd & Rangers and I loved that he moved down to play for Everton ? probably the main reason I started following Everton.

Some of my favourite Everton players over the years would be Dunc, Barry Horne, Kanchelskis, Paul Rideout, Danny Cadamarteri and more recently James McFadden.

I?ve never been to Goodison although I would love nothing more than to get down to see Everton play. I envy supporters who get to follow Everton every week. My following of Everton is pretty much supported by watching games on Sky, BBC MOTD, teletext updates, ToffeeWeb, the club site, buying club colours but more than anything my simple passion for the club.

What my question really is, is in the eyes of other supporters what constitutes a ?proper? Everton fan?
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (20/4/07)

That's a great story, Ross, but please God, NO! We really do not need to be discussing what constitutes a ?proper? Everton fan ? trust me on this. If YOU think you are an Evertonian, then you are... nothing else matters. ? Michael

Moving away rubbish!!!

Boys, what's all this rubbish about out-of-towners and people who live away not being true blues?

I moved away from Liverpool 6 years ago although I have watched Everton well over 50 times since then. We have a bunch of guys over here who travel to as many games as the Mrs will allow and don't think twice about the near £500 roundtrip amount you need to "go back" for the weekend. My little lad has everything Everton you could wish for and will follow me to every Everton game I get to.

I think it's wrong to suggest that due to different reasons that anyone living outside Walton Road is not a "diehard" and mad about the Blues. I seem to spend most of my life educating half-wit cockneys or "one trip to Anfield in a lifetime" reds. How I hate them horrible tax-evading wankers!

Anyway rant over ? lets get 3 points out of the useless Hammers on Saturday and make my flight from Jersey to Kiev/Seville/Milan?
Garry Lloyd, Jersey  (20/4/07)

Moving to Kirkby

Haven't posted previously but I do read the mailbag every day. Considering all debate regarding the 'possible' ground move it's good to see someone from Kirkby saying they don't want it either!
David Graham, London  (20/4/07)

More on John Holmes

His article is a ridiculous 'against the odds' rally cry full of ifs and buts.

The first if: "Chelsea's success is based on an unsustainable operational defecit. IF Abramovich leaves they will be forced to sell and sell big." ? Is this likely? I haven't heard any real evidence why he won't be in charge for the rest of his life.

2nd if: "Take Gerrard out of Liverpool and I honestly believe they are no better than us man-for-man AND we have a better 'team'." This isn't true anyway but the fact is Gerrard plays for Liverpool.

3rd if: "Arsenal are coached by a man who can only play one way, it's a pretty way, but it means, IF you find a way round it, you can do it everytime." ? not that many teams have, that's why they're third / fourth in the league. Also with better finishing from Arsenal they'd have wiped the floor with us both games this season.

It makes no sense to say IF this happened and IF that didn't happen we'd be top of the league. It is John Holmes's opinion that is a myth the rest of it is the reality we are stuck with.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (20/4/07)

I think you have to differentiate between knowing they are dominant now (obviously true) and believeing they will dominate for the foreseeable future (hopefully not so true). — Michael

David Nugent

An excellent player, young and definitely looks worth taking a punt on. People keep on talking about his price ? Yes, in January Sheff Utd (I Think it was) had a £5M bid turned down. But I don't think we can really believe that this was because the price was to low. I think it was probably more to do with the fact that Nugent didn't want to go there (possibility of going straight back into Championship etc). So this whole price thing I think is a bit of a worry about nothing.

Yes, he has proved he is better than championship standard, excellent for U21's and also broken into the full England team. However, he hasn't played in the Premiership before so that puts a big stumbling block on his price being too big. People compare him to AJ and so let's remember AJ HAD played in the Premiership before.

Whilst bringing AJ into it, I can't believe some people are questioning him. He has been a breath of fresh air to our club. GOALS GOALS GOALS, THREAT THREAT THREAT, WORK WORK WORK. I don't think we have had such a threatening striker since Gary Lineker.

Also, I believe that with a partner such as Nugent it will bring out even more in AJ. Vaughen and Anichebe are not quite as experienced or as good as Nugent YET, but you can see what a better team we are with two good forward players.

Conclusion: Nugent is worth a punt, don't pay over the odds but I can't see as we could have to for an unproven Premiership player. I'd say £5M plus different add-ons for say Everton finishing in Europe next season (again, I'd like to say) and goals, England caps that sort of thing.

Also he wants to come and play for us!!!!
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (20/4/07)

Re: Derek Thomas

Exactly, no-one can dispute that there is a group of teams who have been more successful over recent years and are in a vastly superior financial position. What I dispute is that in footballing terms this is permanent.

I see no evidence that, in footballing terms, there is some massive gap between 'us' and 'them' and I sincerely believe that what gap there is is being closed slowly but surely. Liverpool are no better a team than they were 5 years ago and Arsenal are signficantly worse.

Here's a question for you. In the last ten years how many times have the supposed top four actually finished as the top four?

Answer: Three times. 97-98, 03-04, 05-06.

Hardly an unstoppable long-lasting dominance is it? One of them isn't even in the uber-champion's league era! It's amazing how people forget that until recently Newcastle were seen as one of the big boys. Before they flew too close to the sun, Leeds were potential champions. Cast your mind back less than ten years and Villa were there or there abouts. Ipswich, Everton, Spurs have all been scrapping alongside this supposed elite in the past decade.
John Holmes, York  (20/4/07)

We could have done better...

...and other supporters can make the same claims as us regarding the bad refereeing decisions against them so here?s a website that analyses all the games and the bad decisions against and for each team.

As you can see we really could have done better and that?s not counting the likes of the Spurs and Man City games which were a result of our own failings.
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (20/4/07)

Connor Roher - Fans

In response to Connor's post regarding out of town fans, I think Connor needs a bit of a reality check.

Just because you still live in Livepool, mate, dosn't make you any more of an Evertonian than somebody who has moved away. I wouldn't normally respond to stuff like this but honestly, mate, get a grip. You are just another one of a growing band of Blues who will go to any lengths to moan about something at the club. If it's not Moyes, it's the players, or the Board, or the ground move. Now it seems, it's the fans.

I've supported Everton all my life, as have all my family. I have watched Everton all over the country for as long as I can remember. A few years back I decided to serve my country and joined the RAF, I'm currently based at High Wycombe and spend a lot of time out of the country. This unfortunately, means I can't get back to the game as much as I'd like.

Sometimes, it's not so easy to get home to the game although I get to most of the London games. To suggest I'm not 'as sensitive' to all things Everton as you, or anyone else who has not travelled further than the the Mersey Tunnel is quite frankly laughable.

I suggest Connor that you stick to moaning about everything else and leave other fans alone, now go and get yourself a plate of scouse and put your feet up with the Echo kidder.
Francis Porter, High Wycombe  (20/4/07)

We need our fix!

Yet another non-local fan ? this time on the other side of the world...

Isn't it obvious that your contributors are from all points of the compass? Lifelong Evertonians need their fix and ToffeeWeb, with its varied and intelligent comments, feeds our habit. Being so far from the action, reading your mailbag and articles makes me feel I am still a part of the Evertonian family.

For the record, I don't believe Moyes is a great manager and I do think our present style of play is crap. At the same time, I am delighted we are 5th in the league and I wish David Moyes every success (not with any great optimism!). My opinion could be described as pessimistic but I put this down to being lucky enough to watch my side between the mid-60s and 1985.

For me 'Once a Blue, always a Blue' is incontrovertible!
Steve Williams, Melbourne, Australia  (20/4/07)

Top 4

John, your piece has made be realise I have probably accepted that top 4 myth. The reason is sometimes to give me an argument with mates when Liverpool are doing better.

However I do wonder of the refs believe it too...
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (20/4/07)

Compare two incidents this past week involving said clubs: Sheffield United do not get a blatant penalty at Old Trafford ? which should've resulted in the dismissal of Heinze, earning him an unwanted ban at this crucial stage of the season. Meanwhile, over at Anfield the following night, a gust of wind gets up from the Mersey, knocking Peter Crouch for six. Decision reached by LFC's Club Man of the Year (2000), Graham Poll? What else! PENALTY! ? Colm

I think what John Holmes meant...

Was not that he thought the actual existance of the big four (proper noun status disputed thus no capitals) was a myth.

Rather that (IMO, correctly) their permanence and invincibliity is a myth.
Derek Thomas, Penny Lane  (20/4/07)

Moving to Kirkby

There is so much talk about Everton moving to Kirkby. I would like to say nobody has asked the Kirkby people if they want a football stadium put in their town. It is the council who seem to have made a decision without consulting the people.

There are a number of action groups starting up to tell the council that the people of Kirkby are against the idea of a stadium in our town centre.
Ann Sweeney, Kirkby  (20/4/07)

Those Man Utd Tickets

Christ, it seems my previous letter caused a bit of a stir... sorry if I offended anybody. Just like to say, though , if I was running a football club, I would sell out first and then worry about fans that couldn't get tickets.

On the point of not putting tickets on general sale in case Mancs buy tickets for our area, there is a simple solution to that - just don't sell them to anybody who hasn't got a scouse accent. Anyway I have just remembered my brother has a season ticket in the lower Gwladys. So, taking into account that I had a 16/1 at Newmarket on Thursday, I'm off on another 2 mile walk on Friday afternoon.
Colin Hughes, Norris Green  (20/4/07)

Guess I'll have to brush up on re-finding me scouse accent, lost sometime back in the '70s! Where's me "A-Z of Scouse", by Linacre Lane, gone?! ? Colm

David Nugent

I think people have to stop getting carried away with David Nugent. Some have said it is a done deal but I very much doubt it. His price tag in January was six million and now if you add the goals he has been scoring plus international debut he price tag has most definetly risen.

I myself believe we may have missed out and if I had to choose between him and Fernandes it Manny hands down. People have a right to question Andy Johnson but to go as far to say he has made us route one and should be sold is an absolute joke. He has made us a much more dangerous team even though we don't actually play to his style.

I don't see him getting through balls through the back four. I myself have seen a lot of Nugent and he is a better finisher than Johnson but while he is quick he does not have the pace or workrate of Johnson.

Let's get real, we're hoping on a boy who is 22 years old and has no experience in the top league.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

I thnk I'm going to ban some expressions from the mailbag: the first will be "Let's get real." — Michael

David Dein

I wonder if we can expect to see David Dein on the Board at Goodison. He is a good mate to Our Bill's. Do you think he would be a good aquisition?
Mike McLoughlin, St. Helens  (19/4/07)

Can he play in goal against Manchester United??? ? Colm

Response to The Big Four and the Mini League

I'm with you, John Holmes ? all the way. We were once a member of the so-called big five. So stretching the modern day elite top four back up to that number would be an excellent acheivement, if Spurs join us and make it into a top six even more fun for us purists. Although my view that our biggest chance of achieving this would be by keeping Mr Moyes for another five years could be one comment too far for certain ToffeeWeb regulars.
Derek Wadeson, St Helens  (19/4/07)

Moyes The Genius...?

What's wrong with people these days - you aren't allowed to take the piss anymore... Luq, mate ? surely by now you must know my opinion of Moyes? His record speaks for itself. What there is of a record. Just to put you straight, I was having a bit of a tongue-in-cheek moment when refering to Moyes as a genius. I know sarcasm is sometimes lost in translation but surely you Londoners get it a little bit.

Basically what I was trying to say is that we the fans who like to be entertained and enjoy football being played the correct way can forget it. Moyes is a genius in some eyes for what they see as progress regardless of playing style. know I am a fick Norvan Git but come on Luq get a grip lad.

Moyes a genius...??? Do Me A Favour, My Son!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

ToffeeWeb MailBag

Just a break from the specifics of our Football club. I would like to express my opinion of this site.

As a fervent supporter of the boys in blue, like so many others I trawl thro each and every site that has opinions on Everton FC. Somehow, each time I come back to ToffeeWeb, my early opinion is reinforced that this is both different and a little bit special.

Maybe it is because the standard of the contributions is noticeaby higher than on some other sites. The differences in opinion are still to be found but most contributors do try to reinforce their opinions with facts. Personally I find gratutious swearing etc a pain in the butt, it proves nothing to me.

Congratulations to Michael and his cohorts in producing a site eminently worth reading.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (19/4/07)

Many thanks for those appreciative comments, Tim, but it's really fans like you that have now become a big part of this website, and do more than we do to define the higher end of the quality curve, especially through the range of well-written articles and e.mails we receive. I'm just sorry I can't be online more frequently to get things posted in a more timely manner... this week has been a 'mare! ? Michael

Not under any circumstances

We all know we need better players and to get them we need more investment. But not under any circumstances should we consider David Dein ? the man who, for his own ends, has corrupted the beautiful game in this country. I cannot stress strongly enough how important the decision of the Arsenal Board has been to get shut of him. Of course we want to breach the top four clubs but please let's do it by fair means, not foul.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (19/4/07)

Amen to every word of that. ? Colm

For Brian Baker of Aldershot

I posted this to Sharpy sometime ago.


I was wondering about the situation with Tim Howard and the Manchester United game we have coming up. Will Tim be in goal for us or is there an agreement (between Moyes and Sir Alex) that says he won?t be able to play against his team as he is only on loan?

Many thanks Shiela

Hello Sheila,

Unfortunately Tim will not be able to play against United.

Sheila Bluenose, South Liverpool  (19/4/07)



David Dein For Everton?

No Thanks.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (19/04/07)

1000% agreed! Spiv of the highest order. - Colm

Re:Colin Hughes

Just to let Colin know that tickets are available on line to evertonia members - not just season ticket holders for the United game.

I purchased mine with relative ease last week as I have done numorous times this season. Only thing is - the tickets never arrive and I always end up having to get duplicates printed in the ticket office before the game! Still at least I get them I suppose!
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk,Ireland  (19/04/07)

I had that problem last week with Charlton tickets not arriving till this Monday just gone. Mind you, they arrived with some Man U tickets so all's not so bad! - Colm


So tell me again why do we sell tickets to season ticket holders if they already have 'em ??
terry downes, stoke  (19/4)

At last some sense!

I'd just like to thank John Holmes for excellent article about the top four and the mythical leagues-within-leagues rubbish. It always annoys me when people start harping on about mini-leagues and the like - take a look at the league table! Yes, that's right - it's one big league!

This unassailable group of Manure, Chelski, Arse, and the Pinkies have only occupied the top four spots together on 3 occassions in the 14 seasons of premiership football we've had. That's hardly untouchable. If we all start believing we're playing for best-of-the-rest then we may as well let the G14 go and form the super euro-league they've been wanting to for ages. Then the rest of us no-hopers can get on with our own league. Rubbish!

Oh, in answer to Brian Baker's question about Tim Howard - NO, he can't play. Hopefully that won't mean Dickie getting to wear the shirt again.
Logan Shave, Rainford  (19/04/07)

Cheering on Man Utd? Are u having a laugh?

I read today in numerous newspapers that Everton would recieve £1.65M if Man Utd went on to win the treble.

How do we know that these clauses, inserted into his contact at the time when we sold Rooney, haven't been written off as part of the deals that brought Phil Neville and Tim Howard to Goodison.

I don't think we will ever discover the truth out from our 'secretive' board, so I for one, will not be cheering on Man Utd to any trophies, on the off chance these clause still exist.

We should be looking to generate our own revenues by finishing as high in the premiership as possible, which includes beating Man Utd at our place next weekend. COYB.
Ian Sephton, Manchester  (19/04/07)

Strengthening need not cost the earth

I've found the recent discussions on the contribution of Johnson very interesting, primarily because whilst I retain the opinion that he has been an extremely useful addition to the squad he does unfortunately impose a certain one-dimensional approach to our game, although I have to admit there has been an improvement of late with the introduction of Vaughan who like Johnson has tremendous pace.

However, personally I would not be averse to the sale of Johnson as this would raise the kind of money required to seal a deal for Fernandes if we could offload Beattie also this would enable us to sign Nugent. Cahill could then become a very valuable asset with his ability to play either upfront or in the middle. With a squad low in numbers this would afford a degree of flexibility in the event of injuries.

Any permutation from Vaughan - Nugent - Cahill will surely compensate for the loss of Johnson. Any surplus cash could perhaps be used more effectively in signing a quality left back and decent wide player.

Whilst I recognise this would not be a popular move however, it does warrant consideration
Gerry Western, London  (19/04/07)

Moyes learning from Wenger

If you look at Arsenal, one thing they have done is sign loads of young (16-21) players.

What is great about this method is that for every 5 young players, one will become Cesc Febregas, Toure, Eboue, Clichy.. and so on. and to sign all these young players are very cheap.

And to add to that, even those who do not make the grade, they can sell at good prices and make a profit. Upson sold at 4 mill, Pennant at 3, Bentley at 3.

If Turner and Ruddy become good goalkeepers, imagine having to release Wright and having 2 talented back-ups already waiting which cost us practically nothing.

Beattie leaving?? Vaughan and Anichebe are waiting.

Hopefully in the coming years, we'll see a few from the likes of Vidarsson, Kissock and others become first-teamers and save the club from spending.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (19/4/07)

Matt is right

In other words, what Matt is trying to say is Moyes has probably done 2-3 mistakes, but at the same time in taking us taking us to 5th place, he made 20-30 right decisions.

You can concentrate on the few negatives or more-than many postives this season.

Anyway, if you say that we should be far higher than we are in the league, than that's only a praise for Moyes's excellent work in the transfer signings, considering he has only spent around 4 million pounds nett per season.
Micheal James, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

Supporting a club

With regards to Trevor Thompson's posting, and his point about only supporting teams that have success, is it just me or is that not the reason we support our team?

I don't support Everton because of their level of success. I just support them. Can't explain why, they are just in my blood and have been since I was a boy starting to get an interest in this game called football.

I just thought he missed the point of being a supporter...
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (19/4/07)

4-4-2 or 4-5-1?

Moyes has alternated between the two systems since the second half of the 2004-05 season and I?m not sure if he knows exactly what his ideal formation is. We?ve had some great results playing 4-5-1 with Cahill scoring plenty of goals coming from deep and making late surges into the opposition?s penalty box. This season has seen us play 4-4-2 about 50% of the time and the team have scored more goals at this stage of the season than in recent times and the system is arguably just as effective. Both systems have their merits.

The 4-5-1 gives us an extra man in midfield allowing us to boss (in theory) this area and gives Cahill the licence to get forward and support the front man. The use of this system was extremely effective during the first half of the ?04/05 campaign and the beginning of this one and one that Johnson?s familiar with from his Crystal Palace days so its definitely one option.

The 4-4-2 gives us another goal threat up front, be it Beattie?s aerial presence, Anichebe?s physicality, McFadden?s skills or Vaughan?s pace and it gives Johnson a partner to play of and share the workload with.

The 4-5-1 undoubtedly gets the best out of Cahill but that would mean that there would be no place in the starting line-up for Vaughn or McFadden alongside Johnson.

The 4-4-2 means defenders will have an extra threat to concentrate on and that should give Johnson more space to exploit but it would also be to the detriment of Cahill?s game. What I think we need is a system that gets the best out of both Cahill and allows us to have a front two.

Considering the players currently at Moyes disposal, our lack of out-and-out wide players (Van Der Mayde apart) and the height of Johnson, Vaughn and McFadden perhaps a diamond formation like Chelsea often employ might be an idea. I would like to see a return of the more bold and daring Moyes who when he first took over the reins regularly played a 4-3-3 and more adventurous, attacking football. Ideally a front two consisting of Johnson & Vaughn but I wouldn?t complain if McFadden starred up front given Vaughns lack of experience. Cahill at the top of the diamond in an attacking midfield role, Arteta slightly wide left of the centre circle with Fernandes (if signed) slightly right with Carsley or possibly Da Silva (who is huge and according to the precious few who have seen him play, can pass, tackle and has good technical ability and played well in friendlies and reserve matches) playing the holding role at the base of the diamond.

Where?s Phil Neville you ask? Sorry I just have this, genetic pre-disposition against ? Steptoe? irrational I know but what can you do? A back line with Hibbert, Valente, Yobo and Lescott and of course Howard. Solid defensively, midfield creativity, goals and pace up front and my personal favourite a team that contains players (for the most part) who can pass the ball and play attacking, entertaining, winning football.

The only real flaw I see is the general lack of width to our attacks and our fullbacks being over-exposed as although Arteta and Fernandes would play somewhat wide they wouldn?t provide great cover. But even so I think the system has something to it and could be a possible answer.
Alex Storm, London  (19/4/07)


I am to be honest very disappointed with our fans. The fact that we fail to fill 40,000 per week is very disappointing. We were once the People's Club but not any more.

Once our success dried up we lost lots of fans. But people need to realise there is a difference between Evertonians in Liverpool and Evertonians who live outside the city. People from Liverpool are very sensitive about these things because they mean so much. We go the match on a regular basis and are the roots of the club.

People who live elsewhere may see this differently but it is a fact that we have either 4,000 fans qho are staying away from matches or they have turned to the red side. And dont give me this "We are born not manufactured" bullshit. Think of the likes of Rooney, Fowler, Carragher, Rush, Owen and Gerrard who were all die hard evertonians who have turned.

Our fans are not special ? they are normal average fans.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

I think you're doing a percentage of Evertonians, born and raised in the City of Liverpool, fully understanding what it means to be a local based Blue in a city so divided but who now live away from Merseyside, whether within Britain or overseas (I myself fall into that latter bracket) a bit of a disservice. As for questioning why so many fans chose not to fill out Goodison each and every game - look no further than inflated pricing over the years driving more and more away from attending.

And dare I mention the often noted lack of genuine entertainment on view? It's not just a problem with Everton, Connor - it's throughout the League. I've a young fella who wants me to take him to Chelsea on the last day of the season. £48 a ticket and the added cost of flights! Footy's moved further and further away from the "common man"... - Colm

It's only business

Many years ago (another old fart) I remember reading a piece in Alan Ball's autobiography (sic). I even remember him playing ? one of the best players wearing the blue shirt.

He described being called into the manager's office to be told he had been sold to Arsenal. After remonstrating that he loved playing for Everton, the fans loved him, and how he was playing the best football of his life the manager (Catterick) said "It's not football son, it's business."

All those whinging about the Big Four spending obscene amounts of cash: remember, it has always been this way, only the names change.
Denis Shepherd, Derbyshire  (19/4/07)

The Beast's Whinge

It would appear looking to the quote attributed to Baptista that he's not too impressed with the footballing tactics or skill from the teams in the Northwest with their 'lump it forward' football.

He says he once counted 30 long balls in one match from the centre backs, so at least that counts us out of his stinging criticism?
Mike Whittaker, Bristol  (19/4/07)

And to think the Gooners normally win when visiting Anfield! - Colm

JH's 'exposition'

Hey Michael, thanks for pointing me to John Holmes article yesterday (and well written John) in reply to my mail. The article itself is a perfect illustration of what it means to be an Evertonian today - passion, belief, hope but, ultimately, arriving at an opinion that suits your own view while the world rolls merrily on in a parallel universe.

John's opinion that the 'Big 4 is a myth' is, simply, wrong. Base its existence on any of the following: factual data; John's own words (read it objectively and it says there is a gap but we can breach it because, er, I said we can) or by opening a newspaper and looking at the top four teams. So, let's be optimistic and keep striving to upset the facts but let's not kid ourselves it isn't true. I noticed one of John's conclusions was extending the big 4 to a big 6. I think we might be in the bottom half there John!

Crappy as it is, the game is a business where those paying the most get the better players. Why, ultimately, did Rooney naff off? Why would AJ be on the next Virgin express if Arsenal offered double your money? Whether you think either of them is any good is irrelevant, that's what happens with supply and demand especially if your top man has one eye on his personal share valuation.

So, for me progress for EFC is not closing your eyes and predicting we can finish third next season. It's more about the club keeping hold of Arteta, Lescott, AJ and the youngsters as they make their mark, no matter what the pressure from other clubs to sell AND augmenting them with better players (Fernandes being the obvious example). The manager has to make the right choices (and god knows he's got a mixed record) but it's the board that has to provide the means to attack the big 4 and that means vision and money. I pray they can deliver but, as John Cleese once said, 'It's not the disappointment, it's the hope I can't cope with".
John Dooley, Chester  (19/4/07)

RE:Lack of Local Fans, Why ?

Colin, sorry to hear you were unable to purchase tickets for the Everton v Man Utd game. I admit I do feel it is wrong to charge extra.

But to be fair rules are rules. So not being a season ticket holder, holds. Have you checked the "accurate" information on the website?

As for the amount of non-native Liverpool based posts, well I am from liverpool, travel back every home game plus for most of us ToffeeWeb is one of our only reliable sources of news and fans discussions.

I don't have any Evertonian friends down this part of the country. The neighbours opposite support Liverpool for Christ's sakes!

As I was saying for those who have moved away. ToffeeWeb is my only daily dose of Everton!
Shaun Brennan, London  (19/4/07)

Making Mistakes

Some people have been saying that if it weren't for some of Moyes's tactical decisions we would be in 3rd or 4th. Ok, maybe, but the logic is completely flawed. If it weren't for some of Sir Alex Ferguson's decisions, Man United would be well clear of Chelsea having beaten Arsenal at home and Pompey away. Same with Chelsea. With their superior line-ups, they should be beating every team they play.

Alas, football isn't that straightforward, and managers often have to work the percentage game. They also make some mistakes. For the best managers, these mistakes are countered by much larger successes. EVERY manager makes mistakes. The fact that Everton are in 5th shows that Moyes has made a lot more succesful decisions than he has mistakes. More success than Spurs, even though they have a better team. Surely we should be judging Moyes on the ratio of his good to bad decisions, rather than pin-pointing decisions that backfired? And Moyes MUST make good decisions if it means we are winning games ? they are just not mentioned as much because people expect him to make good decisions.

I accept that Moyes makes mistakes ? I'm not going to pretend he's a superhuman god of a manager. But I dont understand why people can't see that overall, Moyes is making the right decisions. Rather than costing us the points in order to get in the Champions League, I believe he has made enough succesful decisions to put us into 5th.

These are two ways of seeing the same scenario, and two different views of Moyes. I don't think I am being biased, but perhaps I am by my own view of him as a manager. Just as the opponents of Moyes are likely to give a negative spin on our league position. We need a neutral fan to tell us how well Moyes has done as a manager this season!
Matt Sweeney, Wallasey  (19/4/07)

That's where you are wrong, Matt. I don't need anyone to tell me what MY assessment of our manager is or should be. I trust my judgement far more than any neutral, for the simple reason that they are not involved. — Michael

The big four

'The way things stand, the top echelon will only be breached in the odd flukey season like two years ago. Fifth is as good as it`s ever gonna get for Everton ? with or without Moyes!' -Ben Rawlings

Let's just give up and support one of the big four teams then. Good grief! You've got to have hope that one day in the future we can break the mould, otherwise what's the point of supporting a club???
Trevor Thompson, Croydon  (19/4/07)

David Dein

Just to add to the debate on Dein's departure from Arsenal. If he is Blue Bills bezzy mate and he sells 15% of Arsenal then let's hope he is looking for another club to invest in and he picks EFC. He has a pretty good track record in keeping Arsenal at the forefront of the game in terms of results, youth development, new stadium etc. He is on all the FA committees.

Fifteen to twenty years ago we could claim to be in a similar position, except for the stadium, but then we want one of those don't we? The team was winning things and Carter was on all the Premier League and FA deals. To be fair, the youth side has continued to produce the goods but our decline means they are now sold to win cups for the big boys.

Would we really be so set against the cosy G14 club if we were still in it? The world has moved on its all a big business but we haven't kept pace. Dein offers a real chance to get us back up to speed. We want the type of investment his £60M and his contacts could bring. He has a good track record and we represent one of the teams just outside the top 4 on the pittch but not off it.

Go on Bill, give him a call
Ian Stewart, Wakefield  (19/4/07)

Jaysus, this is getting as bad as Football Manager! Alrite... enough already!

Local Fans?

I think there's a very straightforward explanation for the apparent lack of local fans contributiing to your Mailbag.

I can get to maybe half a dozen games per season. I'd probably go to more but I seem to have an unfortunate jinx on the Blues whenever I go: I saw them lose twice last season 4-0!

Out here, we just don't have any other Blues to talk to! I can speak to my Dad, brother or sister on the 'phone but I still have an insatiable need for information and the exchange of views on all matters Everton. Local fans can get that by just walking into a pub or going to the game.

I'm heartened to see so many Evertonians willing to write in from all parts of the world. I'm working hard in Birmingham to spread the word. I think we're well represented here as a second favourite team, at least in my local. All the best.
Steve Lewis, Birmingham  (19/4/07)

No prizes for losing?

Most will have their own thoughts on who they would like to see win the Prem this season. I was rooting for the Blues until I remembered we could possibly receive some extra cash due to a certain Wayne Rooney's efforts... This led to thoughts that it could be in Everton's favour to lose against United deliberately!

Obviously this would depend on where we stand in the race for Europe and how significant the pay out would be. Should I really be rooting for a United Treble this season?
Brett Bradshaw, Northamptonshire  (19/4/07)

Visionary Dein

Whatever you may think about David Dein, he is a visionary who has done nothing but advance the cause of his club, Arsenal. I suspect that he will be back ? in charge ? at the Emirates fairly soon but if he were to look for an alternative club, Blue Bill should be parked outside his door.
Jason Levy, London  (19/4/07)

Young Goalkeeping

Who the heck is Lars Stubhaug? Don't we have the young goalkeeper angle covered with Turner & Ruddy?

What is Moyes's passion for young goalkeepers all about? I'd rather we had a bit of experience, squad is getting too young.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

Once and for alll......

Can Howard play against Man Utd?
Brian Baker, Aldershot  (19/4/07)

Lack of Local Fans

I don't think it's a case of lack of local fans.... many of us true Evertonians are exiled Scousers living in other parts because of marraige, business etc. We consider ourselves as true blue as someone who lives on the Walton Road.
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (19/4/07)

Reply to John Holmes

In attempting to expose the myth of the big four you have only succeeded in exposing your naivety.

Good point about Chelsea's success being down to a sugar daddy that will eventually grow bored of his toy, but this hardly supports your argument that pluck and gumption can make up for a lack of cash. On the contrary, they are a prime example of exactly what money can do. You also argue that without 'Stevie G La' Liverpool would be no better a team than Everton. This is highly debatable, but even if true, it's simply a further illustration of the difference between the haves and havenots; unfortunately for us, we couldn't afford the £80k a week required to hold on to our own unfeasibly talented young Scouser.

Even if an English team fails to win the Champions League this season, the top four English teams will net an astonishing £100M between them, or to put it another way, a tenth of a billion pounds, and that's just from this one competition. Don't even get me started on the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Premiership, sponsorship, gate receipts and merchandising.

No-one is saying that the current status quo can't be overturned ? in time it will, it's inevitable, that's the way of the world. But to blithely ignore the fact that a massive, currently insurmountable, gap exists between the top four and the rest is, at best, delusional and, at worst, dangerous fanaticism.

It's simply too tempting to look at the league table and imagine what it would be like if we could bridge that seemingly narrow points gap. We did it for a short time two years ago, and what happened? A G14 club came in, as you rightly pointed out in your article, and took Gravesen, and in doing so ripped the heart from the team, setting us back years. We've almost recovered now, we?re back up to where we were, challenging once more at the top of the table, but we're going to face a massive struggle holding on to the likes of Arteta, Cahill and Lescott.

We're in better shape, financially and on the pitch, than we've been for many, many years thanks to the current management, so who knows, we might have an outside chance of building on the improvements made this year, but don't get your hopes up ? the big four aren't a myth, a figment of a your imagination, they're very, very real and they're here to stay for a good while yet.

To them, dismantling our painstakingly assembled squad is like taking candy from a baby? "Just sign on the dotted line Joleon? of course you?ll be a first team regular? smile to the camera? there's a good lad? cheese!"
Steve McBride, London  (19/4/07)

100,000 local Evertonians?

When did that happen? Surely out of over 1.4 million merseysiders we are more than just 7% of the local population?! I would say that if there are about 800k worldwide at least half of them were relatively local, which is still less than 30% of the local population.

I thought the club was operating a priority scheme for this fixture with those with previous ticket stubs getting first chance. In which case, regular non-season-ticket holder supporters should have no problems. Man Utd may be winning the league that day, and demand will be even higher than normal from that end of the East Lancs (and everwhere), so you can perhaps understand the club's reluctance to go to general sale before exhausting all other demand. Still annoying when you have to walk away from the ground without your tickets, but Man U fans in the wrong end would be worse!!!
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

Baptista doesnt like it up T'North

Arsenal's Baptista has been quoted as saying...

'The teams from the north of England are terrible,' he told The Times.

'When we play them I have counted their centre-backs booting up to 30 long balls upfield per game.

Hmmm, he couldn't possibly be referring to us, could he?

As a fan who is not enamoured with the Moyes philosophy on football, I will say well done on getting up so far the league. If we do manage to qualify for Europe I hope he has learned from our last European 'adventure'. We will have to be much better at keeping the ball than we are now.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (19/4/07)

Time for second thoughts?

I, too, think Moyes would be wrong to blow £6-7M on Nugent, although word around the town is that the deal is already done.

Personally I don`t think he is any more of a natural finisher than Vaughan, who has shown himself as an ideal foil to AJ. Moyes may now feel the same but I fear the deal was done before he gave `the kid` his chance.
Les Moody, Preston  (19/4/07)

Standing Tall

Unlike Mr Tony Marsh, I do not think Moyes is a genius, I think he is a good but not great manager. My argument with him is the results he achieves are inconsistent, and a one-nil to us could always easily be nil-one to the opposing side.

He is a good manager, but I still don't think he is the man to take us to the next 'regularly challenge the top four' level. When was the last time we won two on the trot? How many times have we won a game after conceding a goal in the last few years? So unlike others (Michael, Marsh, Holmes, etc) I am not blinded by this results craze, its the long term that counts and the long term is never certain under Moyes!

Refering to John Holmes's letter to me a few days ago. You didn't understand my post before yours as I agree with your views. It will take at least two seasons to adapt to a European style and to get our coefficient ranking up to avoid the bigger teams. But Moyes is quite shrewd in copying tactics so hopefully he and the team can benefit if Europe is achieved.

And on the FM round, I would love Fernandes and Da Silva to stay on full-time. Again if we are to be in Europe, we need a beefy squad to challenge of all fronts. Watching the West Ham, Reo-Coker is a good alternative to Fernandes if that doesn't happen. Reo-Coker is Neville with ability, so Moyes would love him. Another striker ripe for the picking would be Dean Ashton! He may be slow but he is a proven goalscorer in the Premiership (unlike Nugent), and would make a excellent target man! Two players who would strengthen us to that required level, now shutting down FM!
Luq Yussef, London  (19/4/07)

Don't include me out, well not yet

Totally agree with John Holmes, still though, totally disagree with the "results over football" mantra.

I wrote a piece the other week titled, 'apologist, realist or kneejerk', where, long story short, said that it seemed to me that most who where one or the other actually had elements of all three in different ratios. Now, as the king of the anti-apologists; Marshy, is getting realistic, don't all you 'results-istas' start to think it is game set and match. I will take a chance and include him in this and anybody else can sing along if they know the words... shock, horror, you can do both!! It's about balance and knowing when to favour one over the other, that and having the players to do both.

Moyes has clearly mastered the iron fist aspect and, since Spurs, is waking up to the vague possiblity that the velvet glove he found in an old box at Bellefield labelled 'Harry and Howard's legacy' could well be dusted off and still provide years of service... 'fashions change; class is timeless'.

Moyes seems to be, slowly, getting in class players; some have the class and the work ethic, some can have it grafted on, and some reject it. But, nobody, ever, has been able to put skill on to work ethic ? that's why the Watfords of this world come up and go back down. Nothing wrong with their attitude, they lack the inate football skills, physical and mental...

So football doesn't count? arse it doesn't!
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (19/4/07)

Bent Business

Steve McBride and Mike Price both seem to have expressed vaguely fond memories for Marcus Bent. I am shocked. I couldn't believe our luck when Charlton gave us good money for him. Best bit of business we have done.

I only usually get to games when we play down south but I saw Bent turn out a few times in London away games. A typical scene: Everton player passes into space in front off Bent, if he sprints 15 yards he will more than likely reach it before a defender/it goes out of play. Bent sees the opportunity, pretends to sprint 5 yards without looking like he has any intention of genuinely running for the ball, he then pulls up and turns to the other Everton players and starts mouthing off at them.

He rarely seemed to make any effort other than in slagging off the other players. I hated him. I would bet money that the other players hated him too. Getting rid of him must have been excellent for our famous team spirit.

Since Bent's move, I have been to the Valley and seen him turn out for Charlton. Guess what I saw? Exactly the same. Directly linking Charlton's signing of Bent and their descent into oblivion is probably stretching things but I expect it has been a negative factor.

This isn't a message about Beattie, but for all his failings on the pitch I know who I would rather share a dressing room with. I think it speaks volumes that most Evertonians I talk to view Beattie with sympathy, whether or not they rate him as a player. Maybe they recognise his hard work and the positive force he seems to be in the spirit of the squad. I loathe Bent because he is the opposite of this.
Tom Brown, London  (19/4/07)

What lack of fans?

Sorry, Colin, where is the lack of fans? Yes, kids are going around in Liverpool kits, so what? I doubt these kids will ever set foot in Anfield. I've seen kids in Chelsea kits and Arsenal kits in Liverpool. It's just 'I want one those ones mum'. If Everton were in the Sky 4, the TV coverage would do likewise for us. It's a thing I don't worry about. Like it says Col, "WE ARE BORN, NOT MANUFACTURED."

On the Man Utd tickets. The club must be aware of Utd fans buying up tickets. It's happend before and the possiblity of trouble is too much of a risk. I think the club are doing the right thing here. A general sale of Utd tickets is asking for trouble. It's not very often the club does anything right but this time I think they doing the right thing.
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (19/4/07)

Bunch of Bankers

Of course the Big Four is a reality but what sets them apart from the rest is their ability to incur and service huge debts. In spite of the riches they glean from annual participation in Europe, they only sustain their position by continuing to borrow for ground development ? and team building.

I recently saw that treir combined indebtedness was in the order of £2Billion, so it`s the banks who really keep them at the top of the league ? not the genius of their managers!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (19/4/07)

Impenetrability of the Big Four

For those claiming the big four are impenetrable, look again at what I said in my article. 3 years: 04/05 - We penetrate it, 05/06 - Spurs miss out due to food poisoning and little else and granted this season hasn't been as close. It's there to be broken up if the teams trying can just take that extra small step. Maybe a good summer in the transfer market can do it. I'd argue both ourselves and Spurs made excellent buys last year.

What really bugs me is the one season we did break it we didn't get to see the effects. It's a bit of a 'what if' but... what if Liverpool hadn't won the European Cup? All odds were on their one world-class player leaving, they'd have been starved of the Champion's League cash... things could have been very different. But I don't see why it can't be done again and this time the effects be felt.

Oh and as a side issue, I felt Johnson failed to score that chance against Charlton due to a heavy second touch. If you watch it again he overhits it and denies himself the chance to run across the defender. Still an error on his part but I don't see him as someone who is reticent to shoot, just a little loose in his control or bringing the ball down at times.
John Holmes, York  (19/4/07)

Local knowledge

What is Colin Hughes on about? He obviously has internet access so why not check with the official site to see when Man Utd tickets are going on General Sale instead of breezing up to the box-office window?

As to increased prices, when was the last time he went to a Category A game? Prices have been increased for the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool etc for years. So don't go Colin if all this offends you ? you probably won't be missed!
John Beesley, Maghull  (19./4/07)

Re: John Holmes

Can we finish 3rd in the Premiership table next season? ? it's not outside the realms of possibility, I would say; it?s the best we could hope for ? Optimistically as opposed to Realistically. The club is going in the right direction and with an injection of funds, a few new players (please, God, Fernandes) and an upgrade to a more vibrant style of football, I think we can consolidate our position in the top six.

After a couple of seasons of playing European football and competing at the business-end of the Premiership, I then feel we can start looking at breaking up the Big Four Elite. Finishing 5th, 6th or 7th for the next three or four seasons consecutively is probably better in the long run than us unexpectedly finishing 4th like we did in the 2004-05 season and then looking like we don?t know where to go next.

I agree with Connor Rohrer in that I don?t think our squad's as good as Liverpool?s or Arsenal?s man-for-man. We have Naysmith, Stubbs, Neville, Carsley and to a lesser extent Hibbert, Osman and Beattie playing regularly in the side. I can?t imagine them displacing too many of the Liverpool or Arsenal lads.

The Big Four have the money, the manager and the players; clubs like Everton, Spurs, Newcastle, Villa and possibly Bolton and Blackburn can theoretically gatecrash the party but can we stay there? One season of over-achieving isn?t good enough; the entire financial framework, the infrastructure, the complete mindset of the club needs overhauling and replacing by a system that not only expects and demands success but has all the necessary tools in place in order to implement it. All of this unfortunately takes time.

Out of the 14 Premiership seasons we?ve played, we?ve only finished in the top ten in 3 of them. Gone (hopefully never to been seen again) are the perennial relegation struggles and in recent season we?ve finished 4th, 11th, and ...? We?re on the rise but can anyone be truly dissatisfied if we finish 5th or 6th next season?
Alex Storm, London  (19/4/07)

Erm... It depends how we play... ;) Oh, sorry! Yes, that would be wonderful! I would be delerious. — Michael

Lack of Local Fans, Why ?

Just thought I would offer an opinion as there seems to be letters from fans everywhere on here but not many from Liverpool. I walked down to Goodison today to buy a ticket for the Man Utd home game but was told I couldn't have one because I wasn't a season-ticket holder and that's all they are on sale to.

I honestly find it amazing that a club that hasn't had a 40,000 full house since last September is turning their nose up at fans cash. Come late next week, when there are 3-4000 tickets remaining on general sale I shall not be going back for one. On top of this, the prices for this game have been hiked up £4 on normal fixtures ? I ask, "Who do I support ? Everton or Man Utd?" If it's Everton I pay to watch the same Everton team whoever we play.

People's Club, my shiny arse ? it is still terribly run. We can't afford to lose fans when Liverpool have cornered the future support of all the kids in this city.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool L11  (19/4/07)

The funny thing is, Colin, if you think about, fans like you, who live in or near Liverpool and go the game... you are in the minority. There are between 500k and 800k Evertonians worldide, and by all accounts, probably only 100k at most live within the Goodison Park catchement area. Now there's a shocker! No sure what it has to do with your main issue, but there ya go! — Michael

Winning the second league!

I was talking to a friend of mine tonight and, apparently, in the world of horse racing they often bet without including the favourites to make it more sporting.

Considering that the top four in the Premiership are a given 9 seasons out of 10, that means that we're currently winning the second tier or league within a league! What more can you ask? Moyes did spend a fair amount in the summer, but both Lescott and Johnson are now worth considerably more than we paid for them and they've still got their prime infront of them.

Perhaps we did spend that money in lieu of the extra TV revenue that we're due this summer but, if so, then the gamble has paid off. I'm actually pretty confident that we'll improve the quality of the squad again this close season. My concern though, is that we'll take our eye off the ball if we have a Uefa Cup run, and we'll end up slipping down the league ? which has happened to nearly every other Premiership team in the competition in recent years.

All together though, if we surpass Reading, Bolton and Spurs, who have had excellent seasons, then we've done magnificently well.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (18/4/07)

Perhaps tthe Uefa Cup is a cunning plan, sponsored by the G14, to actually suckk the strength and lifeblood out of any up-&-coming young team, and thus prevent them from making any real porgress that would allow them to take a meaningful run at the Top Four? — Michael

Worth his weight....

With regards to Mike Price's comments about Beattie...

"Undoubtedly, pound for pound, our worst ever signing and David Moyes's biggest mistake so far."

I think if you look at the deal that brought Beattie to Everton in terms of weight (lb for pound) then we got a steal! Southampton were robbed.
Dan Walker, Amsterdam, NL  (18/4/07)

Fifth is the tops

John Holmes is talking pure bollocks if he truly believes `The Big Four` is a myth. Just look at the table ? and their bank balances. It`s ok to say that Everton should have garnered more points but if you supported any other team you`d be saying that about them.

The way things stand, the top echelon will only be breached in the odd flukey season like two years ago. Fifth is as good as it`s ever gonna get for Everton ? with or without Moyes!
Ben Rawlings, Gresford  (18/4/07)

I just hope you're wrong Ben, I really do. — Michael

A glimmer of hope

The resignation of David Dein today has given a glimmer of hope to all football fans in this country. Along with a few others, he has been responsible for corrupting the game as we know it. A leading light in the formation of the Premier League, the G14 and a major player in the FA, he has changed football from a game all could enjoy regardless of wealth or social class. Now it is for the rich few.

No reason has been given yet for him going other than irreconcilable differences with the Arsenal Board of Directors. It is rumoured the other directors have refused to go ahead with their possible takeover by yet another American billionaire. Well good on them.

John Holmes is wrong, I feel in saying we can compete with the top four. Without the money we cannot compete either in quality of players or most of all because of squad size. Chelsea are competing for four trophies, United for three and Liverpool for the Champions League. This has only come about because of the obscene investment from foreign billionaires. And David Dein has been one of the main instigators of this appalling scenario. We should all be glad he has gone and for anyone to suggest he join the Everton Board is totally beyond my comprehension.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (18/4/07)

Andy Johnson

There is no doubt Andy Johnson needs to work on parts of his game but he offers so much to the team. He has scored 12 goals and he will probably get a few more but his pace and workrate this season has been a relief. The amount of times over the past seasons people were getting depressed by watching slouches like Beattie and Ferguson but this season we have been able to see someone who can go behind defenses no problem.

I watch a lot of Championship Football and have watched David Nugent quite a lot. He is a good player but he is not a natural goalscorer; he is a better finisher than AJ but he is not as quick or as hard working. If I was Johnson, I would try to work on my technical ability and first touch. These aspects need improving and I think will get better by playing more European and Premiership games.

The striker I would pick over Johnson and Nugent anyday would be Vaughan. This lad has impressed me a lot. He has pace, power, good workrate and is one of the best I have seen at defending from the front. He also has a knack for being in the right place to score goals as seen against Fulham and Crystal Palace and also in reserve games.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (18/4/07)

Good Football, The Myth

I think we can safely say that Good Footie is dead and buried ? as long as you are not a Man Utd or Arsenal fan that is. Those two teams might as well be playing a different sport to the rest of us, the gulf in quality is so wide. Even the Champions Chelsea are terrible to watch most of the time.

The two teams directly below the big 4 in the league standings are Everton and Bolton. The two teams who are by far and away the worst to watch in the EPL excluding Watford. Even the national side now play like Everton and they are slowly becoming the world's laughing stock. As for the Trotters, well that's just what they are: tripe!

So why is it that this crappy style of play is becoming more and more popular when we have this mass influx of European superstars coming into the country? It's strange I know but playing shite actually brings some sort of success these days. Chelsea are sweeping the floor with everyone put before them doing a Wimbledon Impression. Everton and Bolton will make the Uefa Cup next season, and even Northern Ireland are on a roll playing the same brand as we do.

The Spanish football, if you watch it, is also going downhill fast and it won't be long until Real Madrid are pumping balls in to Raul and hoping for a flick-on in the box. No fancy Galactico stuff any more. Barcelona will bypass the midfield and send 60-yard air balls over Ronhaldino's head for him to chase after down the flanks. Etto and Messi... who needs 'em?

Take the last two World Cups as an example. The biggest load of shite ever produced since the Elephant House at Chester Zoo had a bout of the Wildies. It's an epidemic of Bubonic Plague proportions and it's spreading fast. The fans don't care how quick it spreads though as long as their team keeps winning. This can mean only one thing if what I say is true: Davey Moyes is ahead of his time and his way is the future.

Who are we to critisize if we mantain our lofty posistion in the league table? Why worry how we play if the Uefa Cup is a regular thing? Is it even worth worrying about any more this decent footie malarky?

I think its now a case of "If ye can't beat 'em join 'em" and what you now see is what we will get for the foreseeable future. They are all at it so we must follow. It's sad but true so all we can do is pop a tape in the old VHS every now and again to see some real stuff being played. As a lot of you on this site say, you dont care how we play as long as we win... Think you have got your wishes now, lads.

Football is no longer a game of the people anymore ? it's big buisness and big buisness wants results. So you see there is no point in fretting about how we play. It aint going to change and even I am resigned to it now.

David Moyes a Genius... Who would have thought it.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (18/4/07)

Ah Tony. The Last Bastion comes tumbling down. You've finally succumbed. It's results, results, results. Chant it quietly as you cry yourself to sleep. — Michael

Dixie Dein?

David Dein has left Arsenal. Bill's mate, wealth of experience making a success of a top club... poach onto our board?
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (18/04/07)

Reply to John Holmes assault on the Big Four

Stirring stuff John, but sorry, it is not a myth.

Your Henry V-style battle cry is what many want to hear and not just from our Club, but across a lot of football. Who wants a boring league in which the top 4 positions are known from the start? All to play for is moving the same four seats around the Fat Feast table, and everyone else rushing for the pauper's Uefa Cup? Not me, not you, not anyone but the G-14.

However, who is surprised that the top four berths are taken up by you know who? Was it just me who scoffed when early season tips of a possible top four finish for Villa and Bolton were being discussed? Surely not.

A financial myth? Manchester Utd had a turnover of Euro 243 million last year, Liverpool in 4th place of English clubs had revenues of Euro 176 million.

In fifth was Newcastle on Euro 124 million; Everton gained about Euro 80 million.

Leeds almost went out of business 'chasing the dream'. Leeds for Heaven's sake!

Of course, we should not give up. But I have noticed on the site, among the desire to see good, free-flowing football - I'd love another couple of Artetas at the Club and Heaven, please don't let us lose the one we have got - a split among fans. And it is not, I suggest, a split between those who want to see Everton achieve the greatness our History demands and others content with scraps from the Fat table: It is the denial of the oligopoly's existence versus the recognition of it.

For Everton to compete regularly, what must happen? The best-case scenario is a Wenger-style revolution. Of the BIG 4, only Arsenal have got there on merit. Money from enormous worldwide fan bases - Man U and the RS - Russian oil in the case of Chelsea seem unlikely for us.

But even Arsenal know they needed a new stadium with corporate boxes. Football has changed, and the CL has accelerated that change.

And on our 4th place: It was no surprise that we collapsed in the second half; it was a surprise we didn't in the first.

A small squad for a relatively poor club means you have to do especially well in the first half of the season. Everything must go right, which is why I rue more than anything those dropped points in October to Wigan and City. When Liverpool won the CL the same season; the G-14 (and don't give me the old, but the champions must be able to defend their crown) and no-one else got them back in, and we got the third-best team in Spain for a qualifier.

Anything is possible. But don't deceive yourself, the dice are heavily loaded. And Spurs nearly got in or Bolton had a chance etc is not a good enough argument. The Fact is: Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have been each of the last four competitions. Only Leeds, and we know what it cost them, got in to the post-qualifying competition in the last five apart from them. We must get 65 points AND hope that one of the Oligopoly has an off-year. We live and dream?
Roberto Birquet, London  (18/04/07)

John Holmes

John Holmes - superb article; agree with you in entirety. It would be great to play more stylish football, but I don't think Moyes would entertain the notion if it meant losing some of our current 'work ethic'. Perhaps this is a good thing in as much as Moyes would rather support England than compromise his methods. Is it best to have strong enough self-belief to carry on with your plans and ideals? Or do you learn from your mistakes and others around you? Does this create doubt amongst players and fans?

Personally, I would rather a Manager stuck to his beliefs whilst keeping an eye open for any handy tips. I think or I hope that Moyes has turned a corner; he seems to have realised his methods were no longer having the same effect on the players and (to his dismay) on the fans. I think he actually listened to the Fans and it looks like a good decision.

Now about the transfer budget this summer...
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (18/4/07)

AJ the goalscorer?

I'm glad to see I'm not the only only one who has doubts about AJ as a prolific goalscorer.

I do admire him for his selfless running and for that reason I think he is a valuable member of the team. His pace will also earn us a reasonable (if not fair) quota of penalties. He is an effective footballer rather than a brilliant one.

I was interested to compare and contrast AJ with David Nugent when on recent England duty. Was I the only one who felt that Nugent showed more footballing ability in 10 minutes than Johnson had in two games?

I love the fact that AJ actually wants to play for us. It seems that Nugent is the same. Let's hope we can secure him in the summer at a reasonable price. The challenge for Moyes would then be to get the best out of the two players in the same football team. Oh, and he'll need to keep Vaughan and Anichebe happy as well...

Here's hoping!
Steve Lewis, Birmingham  (18/4/07)

John Holmes

Excellent article John Holmes, my feelings exactly. I posted in a couple of months ago, if it hadn't have been for the tactics employed by our famous coach we would have been without fear of contradiction sitting in third place and with little thought of finishing fifth.
Colin Potter, Wavertree  (18/4/02)

Worst ever?

Before we signed Beattie, I was saying to anybody who would listen that it was a disaster waiting to happen. I couldn't believe the price for such a limited player and the fact that Moyes rated him was the thing that turned me off Moyes.

I can't think of a more disastrous signing both in a playing and financial sense. It started as soon as he arrived... people always think Gravesen leaving in the January window led to our relative collapse, but I think it was the intoduction of our record signing to play in Marcus Bent's position. Bent was excellent for us that year but Beattie came in as a fat, slow, crap, non-aggressive 'big-time Charlie'. It completely changed the team's effectiveness and clearly affected morale. That was the 'highlight', he has been a joke ever since and a total disgrace when he allowed himself to become even more overweight.

Of course Moyes was inextricably tied to his record signing and has persisted with him for way, way too long. Even now, when we play him, I feel as though we have 10 men and am aggravated at Moyes for picking him. Every time he 'plays', any chance of getting rid, for any sort of fee recedes... I would be amazed and delighted if we could give him away without having to subsidise his salary for the remaining period of his contract.

He will forever be a stain on David Moyes's career; but finally it seems that Moyes has recognised the blindingly obvious and the luckiest millionare to ever fill his bank from Everton's limited coffers will go.

We all make mistakes but £10 million wasted on Beattie and Wright are big ones, and hopefully Moyes has learnt his lesson. Oddly enough, and despite his millions, I feel slightly sorry for Beattie. It's not his fault we pay him so much but he is so far out of his depth it's cringeworthy and I actually feel embarassed for him when he's on the pitch. Undoubtedly, pound for pound, our worst ever signing and David Moyes's biggest mistake so far.
Mike Price, Vancouver  (18/4/07)



For many years now we've been crying out for a striker with pace. This season we've finally bagged a player that can spring defences by virtue of speed alone, and the change in our 'goals for' column speaks volumes.

Having a mobile striker like Johnson forces defences deep into their own half, for fear of a long ball over the top, allowing the midfield more time on the ball. The main beneficiaries of the increased space in which to play are Arteta and Osman, who have both had good seasons. It's just a shame Cahill has been injured for so long; if we can get him fit for next season then he'll be a real threat.

You can talk about skill and good football all you like, but without pace you have no chance in the modern game. Look at what happened to Arsenal this season when their pet speed demon, Henry, became injured. Look at the sublime skills of McFadden, rendered largely ineffectual by his distinctly ponderous limbs. What we need is speed.

If you look at the teams currently dominating the Premier League, they all have pace and skill in abundance. But this is not a recent phenomenon; look at the difference a player like Kanchelskis or Lineker made to the team. And although he was no legend, Marcus Bent deserves a mention when it comes to players capable of stretching a back line ? look what happened when he was replaced by the lumbering Beatie.

We're slowly getting there in terms of fleet-footed personnel, but fast, skilful players are rare commodities and come with a premium price tag. Johnson has his flaws, but he always works his socks off and has scored many fantastic goals throughout his career. A couple more like him, maybe someone who can play out on the wings, and we'll be looking good. And that Vaughan is no slouch either, he couples speed and power with an eye for goal; he's definitely one to keep an eye on...
Steve McBride, London  (18/4/07)

Top 4

Everyone must be aware of our small squad size and I feel the reason we've been able to have our unbeaten run of late is due to the fact that we haven't competed in any other competitions this season. Whilst people are comparing us to Spurs and Newcastle, they've both progressed quite far in the Uefa Cup with Spurs also reaching the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

My opinion is we have a good first 11 but if we have a few injuries then we're scuppered. I hope we qualify for the Uefa Cup but a good run in this competition will be at the expense of a top 6 finish next season, I'm sure of it. The point is we're not close to actually sustaining a challenge to those top 4. We still have absolutely no investment in the club and our "yo-yoing" will only continue. Money is still the key and only the G14 seem to have it ? we certainly don't.

The top 4 is penetrable and G14 don't have the monopoly they wished for ? we're an example of that, as are Villarreal and Udinese, but it is not sustainable without investment. So anyone who thinks we're capable of breaking into the top 4 needs to start asking Kenwright some questions and demanding some answers. The problem is, whilst we sit 5th in the league the apathy towards his mis-management continues.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (18/4/07)

Re: Goal Scorers & Optimism; AJ

Hi Michael,

Do you really rate AJ down for prefering not to take a shot from distance? Surely that is not what he is there for? If he could do that too, then great, but surely he is there to be our box man.

How many of Lineker's 30 were from distance? I have no idea but I bet it isn't many. I don't think I would mark down Lineker for that. If he had added a few from distance then he would have been even better, but surely he was good enough.

AJ is no Lineker but he is the closest thing to a top-class goalscorer that has pulled on an Everton shirt for a while. Anyone think of a better one we've had in the last ten/fifteen years? (genuinely interested)

Rooney manages a few but I feel like disqualifying him and anyway, even he has only scored 13 so far this season with the fantastic support he has now... I think he managed 15 goals from 40 for us... Actually, isn't Rooney the only Brit who has scored more than AJ in the Prem this season?

Genuinely interested in your thoughts. I know AJ has room to improve, but I do think he is one of the best goalscorers we have had for a while....
Tom Brown, London  (18/4/07)

Kanchelskis was better... but I guess he's just outside your 15-year limit. Ho hum... But it's not about making comparisons with who else we have had: Is AJ good enough? Is he doing what we bought him for?? Is he worth £8.6M??? I'm sorry but I'm at about 70% on all three of those. I'd like to be at 100%. And again (broken record time) the difference is probably down to Moyes being a defensive coach. I really worry about whether he knows how to employ players to form an incisive ruthless attacking force. I've not seen it... yet. — Michael

Johnson, The Man, The Myth The Goal Machine?

Replying to an earlier poster, I don?t think injuries will prevent Andy Johnson from scoring more than 16 league goals this season (he has played 31 league games so far) ? I think its down to the 12-game goal drought he suffered from mid-October to mid-December.

He?s got tremendous pace, work ethic and a great goal scoring record but his first touch let's him down a little and he might not be quite as clinical as I first thought. He works the flanks like a Trojan making runs out wide to gather aimless missiles, hoofed forward by the likes of Stubbs and Neville, instead of being in the penalty area and putting away the few chances that he gets during a match.

Until Cahill recovers from injury we are going to play with two strikers upfront and the workload can be shared and he can concentrate on doing what he does best being in the box and scoring goals. A front pairing of Johnson and ideally Vaughan would probably be more productive than any other combination with their pace, movement, aggression and goal threat I think they?d score plenty of goals and stretch even the tightest of defences.

Like they say, no man is an island, and no striker is a goalmachine without the proper service. So, if the team are to be successful, playing to the strengths of the strikers is paramount. Passes ? good, quick, incisive passes ? are what forwards thrive on. Playing a midfield including the likes of Carsley and Neville will probably be less creative than say, playing Fernandes and Van der Mayde. Arteta and VDM/Osman on the wings means the strikers can remain central in the box instead of ghosting out onto the flanks while Fernandes can supply the creativity necessary from the middle of the park.

It's hard to see which two of the four central midfield players (Carsley, Neville, Cahill and Fernandes, if he signs permanently in the summer) will start next season. I think Johnson with a partner willing to share the load upfront combined with a more attack-minded, creative midfield will be right up there near the top of the scoring charts next season and that being the case I hope that we see an entertaining and successful Everton side in 2007-08.
Alex Storm, London  (18/4/07)

Andrew Johnson

Andy Johnson is not doing that well?! Come on Mike! He's scored 12 goals and would have had 16 by now if he was awarded a fraction of the 8 penalties he should have had! Add to this, he has spent a fair chunk of the season playing upfront on his own. This boy is class and will get better with age. Let's get behind him and the rest of the team. NSNO.
Shez Khan, Birmingham  (18/4/07)

RE: 'The Big Four and the Mini-League'

Just read the article by John Holmes, and I totally agree 100%.

Constant talk of the 'big four' being light years ahead of the competition is nonsense, it's been proved by us just two seasons ago, yet people still struggle to believe it. Yes, the teams ahead of us are better off financially, and have the ability to consistently attract high-pedigree players but they are not untouchable.

People continually say it's unrealistic to hope for consistent top-four finishes. If this is true, what are we aiming for as a club? To be the best of the rest? As a supporter I find this unacceptable.

Of course it would be foolish to demand to be title challengers next season, it takes steady progress. But if as a club we have hit a ceiling and fifth place is the best we could hope to achieve, then is there really any point?

Ourselves, Tottenham and Bolton have all proved in recent seasons the top four are not impenetrable, and although I am happy for the moment to get a top 7 finish (which we could still lose out on) I expect us to be strengthening the squad and aiming for a top four finish within the next couple of seasons.
Jonathan Jones, Bridgend  (18/4/07)

All for one and one for all

I believe there are people on this site who I?d class as the ?Anti-Moyes Boo Boys?. If it wasn?t Moyes in charge they?d have a go at the next manager.

He made a mistake in the Spurs game, yippee, GET OVER IT, IT?S GONE!!!. We seem to forget all the games we?ve enjoyed this season. Spurs away, Arsenal at home, Liverpool at home to name but a few, these are all tough games but we came through these and many more. We?ve had more success this year than disappointments.

I often sit sometimes and wonder at games, listening to the negativity of these small minority of fans, these fans you?ll never please and I guess some of these fans including the ToffeeWeb Editor should step back a little and reflect on the 10 years prior to the last 5 years. If they're like this now, god knows what they were like back in the dark days where season on season it was a fight against relegation.

Let's get behind the manager and the side lads, remember through thick and thin, through sickness and in health. Yes, I value everyone?s opinion on this site, so long as they value mine. I just think from where we where under Walter Smith to where we are now, is for me a better place to be.

We have a current England Striker in Johnson, we have a potential England Center Half in Lescott, we have a Goal Keeper in Howard (which we?ve not had since Southall), A guy who should be walking into the Spanish side no problem in Mikel Arteta, dependable players like Hibbo and Cars, box to box Cahill, young potential in Vaughan and Anichebe, all things considered its not bad is it guys.

So let's look to the future with hope and not dwell on the past and on one particular game this season where he got it wrong. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.
Shaun Kinnair, Chester  (18/4/07)

Again, we're all different, Some people look at the Spurs game and they write: GET OVER IT, IT?S GONE!!! ? as if that somehow would remove it from our consciousness and make the world a prettier, happier place. Well, sorry, Shaun, but it happened. It's a fact. In fact, it will proably become the defining moment for Moyes's Everton career, provided he goes on to become the 'legend' some think he is already.

I remember only too well the games I enjoyed ? like you say, most came in that heady opening month of the season (Spurs, Liverpool). Since then came the long and drepressing slide, most games only emphasizing the difference between how were doing and how we should have been doing, based on those early games.

The irony to me is you talking about forgetting the recent past, that is highly pertinent to where we are now, and you wanting us to dwell on ten years ago!!! Why on earth would I do that? It was a different era altogether. The manager we have now is David Moyes. He showed us what he could do for us in that first season, when he set the benchmark at 7th. Here we are, five years and no cup runs later, and we're up to 5th. To use your language, Whooop de doo! Meantime, whe have plumbed the depths of bottom for weeks on end (just last season) and a finish of 17th.

Instead of adopting your advocated approach, my feeling is that we should all get behind what Alex Storm said below. I'm tempted to repeat it for you because, for me and the others you righteously criicise, this is something we can all stand behind, surely? ... well no, because we all think differently about these things. There are those of us who can accept that diversity... and those who can't.

Since this is a forum for promoting an exchange of different views, I am tempted to delete messages like yours that require uniformity of thought from all of us. Who do you think we are? A bunch of gay French chappies with cloaks and swords?!? It ain't never gonna happen. Sorry. ? Michael

Andy Johnson

Just a quick couple of thoughts. Whilst I agree that Johnson's goal-return has been disappointing, especially given his excellent start, I feel that it's unfair to suggest he hasn't been impressive.

His work-rate is incredible and to contrast it with Beattie, he actually achieves something. Whilst perhaps not as many goals for himself as we would wish, he has won several penalities (and should have had more), has a litany of assists and key contributions (depending on your definitions) and, if nothing else, drags defenders around creating space for others and getting the ball into attacking positions.

It was perhaps optimistic to see Johnson as a 20-goal-a-season striker but I feel his tally has been hampered by the limitations of this season's midfield, particularly Cahill's absence. Although I don't have the statistics to back it up, I strongly suspect that Johnson's best performances and goals came predominantly in matches where Cahill also played.

I certainly see him as a key building brick in our future team and undoubtedly a vast improvement on Bent, Beattie, Radzinski and Co. Perhaps not £8.5M of improvement but I'd rather have lost the £8.5M and have him than be still looking for a quality forward.
John Holmes, York  (18/4/07)

I guess I'm stuck with the repeated image of him running alongside the boucing ball, watching it intently, rather than taking command of it. Or when he does take command (v Charlton), pushing it too far ahead/out wide rather than taking the shot. I have to wonder regarding Sunday if he didn't shoot at that split second that he could becuase he thought the chances of drawing a peno would be better than shooting a goal? Now that would not be good, IMHO. — Michael

Breaking in...

I do agree with John Holmes that the so-called big four can be broken but it is not that easy. Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Liverpoolhave been fighting it out for the past few years consitently. Only once was it broken into by a so called lesser team and that was us. I am not taking anthing away from us but the points we gained from that season would not have got us in there this season so this shows Liverpool had an off season.

I don't agree that we are as good player for player as Liverpool and Arsenal. For one if you look at the way we play compared to them, it is completely different. We are not able to keep the ball and build attacks so our attacking is high tempo which ends up with a misplaced pass or long ball. They also have bigger squads with more quality through it that helps them to deal with the pressure of playing in four tournaments.

Could we really put us as a consistent top 6 side? We have had a good season but we are a very inconsistent side. We have been a yo-yo team for the past few years and the fact that we have failed to win two games on the run since the Spurs/Liverpool game is quite annoying.

To be honest, I am not sure where we are going to finish next season. With our small squad and lots of injury-prone players plus an extra competition it will be hard to establish ourselves back into a top 6 position. But, as John Holmes tells us, it is not impossible to break in and start challenging for the league but it is going to take time. The reason some people think it is good to settle for a Uefa Cup place is so we can take our time in Europe instead of being thrown right in with the big guns without bulding towards it.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (18/4/07)

Re- Good Football (Nick Harrison)

Arsenal play some of the most entertaining, exciting, technical football ever seen in England. They regularly reach finals of major competitions. They were Premiership champions only three seasons ago. They went through an entire season unbeaten playing good football. They are currently 3rd in the Premiership. They have won the double, been the 2nd most successful side in the Premiership and have never abandoned their footballing philosophy. And they haven?t finished outside of the top four since Wenger took over ten years ago. Good football can win you trophies and be easy on the eye, who knew?

ps: They?ve also got a brand spanking new state-of-the-art stadium with all the latest facilities. Can you guess what other club is currently in the market for one of those?
Alex Storm, London  (18/4/07)

Top 4 club

I agree entirely with John Dooley. The facts speak for themselves. The top 4 have huge turnover and squad values compared to ours. In fact, other teams (eg, Spurs, Newcastle) also are much stronger than us financialy. Naturally, while this doesn't guarantee success it certainly gives them a major head start over everyone else. The top 4 places over the last 4 or 5 seasons bear out that reality.

Firstly, I think we need to recognise the huge progress EFC have made in the last 4-5 years. For us to be even contemplating breaking into the top 4 instead of keeping out of the bottom 3 shows how far we have moved. This is all at a club which has been in debt, with an old stadium, spent very little (nett) on transfers (ok one W Rooney balanced that one out a bit).

Secondly, there seems to be an expectation or a "could do better" attitude from some people on this forum which I find bloody annoying. I'm not saying we shouldn't strive or want more but to expect it and not to give credit for what has been achieved is ridiculous.

I have read John Holmes article and I too (and many other people including Fifa) do not like the G14 cartel. It is designed to maintain the interests of the so called modern "top clubs" in Europe. They have structured the UCL in a way to maintain their dominance (ie the money earned by the top clubs helps to keep them at the top). Unfortunately, that again is the reality and while I hope and wish that EFC can break into that cartel, I recognise that the odds are stacked against. I hope and pray that we can overcome them but I don't expect it as a divine right. Lets be happy that we are moving forward.
Ciaran Duff, Sydney, Oz  (18/4/07)

Just make sure you read below what Alex Storm had to say. ? Michael

The Sun, etc.

Norman, Could not agree with you more. My point was about lazy journalism. But you're right. It'll snow in Singapore before I get wound up about what The Sun prints!
Matt Traynor, Singapura  (18/4/07)

Don't get Exicted yet, Singapore Blues....

Some of you may know that the Socceroos are due to host a 10-day training camp here in Singapore, before playing the last game at the National Stadium (against the National side here) before it's redeveloped.

I've asked EFC whether Tim Cahill would be available to guest at an Everton Fans evening here. They're here from 21-31 June. As Timmy is recovering from injury, he'll likely be available for the training camp. I may get some tickets FOC from the event organiser, given my job here.

The best part though is an event at a bar in Singapore, where our much maligned Aussie will put in an appearance, as long as EFC and the Aus team play ball. As an ex-employee they better bloody had do...

If they can play ball, then I'll keep you guys who are based in ASEAN updated. Even the presenters at ESPN are willing to show their face!!!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (18/4/07)

Hey... can we all come???

Goal Scorers & Optimism

Tim Lloyd mentioned the absence of a prolific goalscorer in recent years as a driver behind our dissapointing results.

My favourite trivia question is - Which player has scored most league goals for Everton in a single season since Everton last won a major Trophy? The answer, of course, is Kanchelskis with 16 in 95-96. Not many people get the answer right. Indeed, the last player to do better was Lineker with 30 in 85-86... Twenty years ago!

I, for one, believe that in AJ we finally have a goalscorer and if his injuries prevent him breaking 16 this year, I am sure he'll do it soon. I am also optimistic that Jamie Vaughan and Anichebe could have the ability to get to those levels if given a season in the team. Maybe not next year but soon...

We are relatively solid at the back... add in these goal scorers... Midfielders finding the net in Cahill and Arteta... I am coming over all warm and fuzzy inside. Cheer up guys! It isn't looking that bad...
Tom Brown, London  (18/4/07)

I hate to disagree but I am not all that impressed with Andrew Johnson. He's not doing all that well, to be brutally honest, and his failure to take that gloriuos opportunity on Sunday really underlined his inadequacies for me. Why oh why did he not shoot? Does he really need to get inside the goal area first?? Are his shots from distance that weak??? — Michael


Mr Holmes. What a blinder of an artcle, you have put into words superbly what I and I think a lot more Evertonians have been trying to say. We will not accept second best and others have no right to expect us to accept second best.

The so called Big Four has always been a myth, perpetuated by Sky and gutter press tabloids for reasons we all know and detest, Money! Money! Money!

Seriously John. I feel all uplifted after reading that, let's have the bastards next season!
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (18/4/07)

Are we forgetting something?

I'm finding it a little surprising that more hasn't been made of the fact that we're now into double figures in the 'GD' column - and for once that's not in the red! It doesn't seem THAT long ago that every article on this site asserted that the key to greater success was scoring more goals and exhorting Moyes to strengthen in that crucial department.

Now, not only have we been scoring more - much more - than we've been conceding, but the goals have continued to come from throughout the team, demonstrating that having a focus for our attacks doesn't have to mean route-one direct football.

Simply seeing a positive goal difference next to Everton's name in the table gives me a real sense of pride, that we're not simply 'shut-out' merchants hoping to pinch a goal from a set-piece or dubious penalty appeals but a team that can create (and take) real chances from open play. The fact that this positive goal difference is heading towards the 20 mark seems unbelievable given recent history (-15, -1, -12 etc).

At the same time we are seeing home-grown striking talent making and scoring crucial goals, leaving me with the overall impression of a team evolving (according to plan?) into the 'attacking unit' that many on this site are yearning to see.

I believe it's also a real testament to the way Moyes has moved the team on this season ? and to some extent disproving the groanings about negative tactics that continue to dog Moyses reputation. Where we've relied on defenders and midfielders to win games in the past, we now carry a significant attacking threat and have managed to retain the potency and danger posed by the rest of the team ? Arteta has scored 8 goals this season, up from 3 last year ? a 166% improvement!

The goal difference is where the change this season has been most marked ? and before I'm accused of recommending we give ourselves a premature pat on the back ? I think we still have acres of room for improvement. The thing that pleases me is to see such a definitive step made to address our weaknesses pay back so handsomely.

This is still a team very much in transition ? but I for one, am certain we are going the right way.
Simon Williams, London  (18/4/07)

You have stollen a march on that particular topic. My inclination was to wait until the end of the season, when we had the final number, before givibg it full-court press. Yes, it is a fabulous turnaround from previous seasons under Moyes, and hopefully a harbinger of future success ? [and here I make no apologies for going all Marshy] ? just as long as the improvement continues and we don't go off on another downward spiral. — Michael

More Beauty With a Hint of Beast

I agree with you, Martin, that Football is unfortunately a more results-orientated game than it used to be. But I still believe clubs in the Premiership who charge exorbitant amounts of money for tickets have a duty to not only try to win games but to also reward the fans who follow them up and down the country with some form of entertainment.

Spurs play great football and are a quality side; Newcastle also play attractive football and have possibly the best record in the Premiership (outside of the Big Four), having finished runners-up twice, 3rd on two occasions, 4th and 5th other top ten finishes as well as progressing well in the Uefa Cup. West Ham finished 9th last season and very nearly did away with Liverpool in one of the most entertaining FA Cup Finals of all time.

You say that Rome wasn?t built in a day and that you/re confident that we?ll be playing fantastic football in a couple of years. I was expectant after our fantastic 4th placed finish of the 2004-05 season that we?d go on and build upon it and start to play a more expansive, sophisticated type of football. Instead, we continued playing the same type of football that had been (obviously) less effective as the season wore on and, although we played well against Villarreal in the European Qualifying Round, we were totally humiliated against Dinamo in the Uefa Cup.

I congratulate Moyes on his defensive coaching skills: the back four are well drilled (unless you include the excellent Jolean Lescott?s aberration against Bolton) solid and hardworking. We have a team of technically gifted players ? Yobo, Lescott, Valente, Arteta, Fernandes, Van der Mayde, Osman and McFadden. As I?ve said before I feel Moyes has done a good job overall at Everton; if he could properly harness the creative talents at his disposal and let them express themselves a little more, I feel we?d not have only a successful team but one that?s also enjoyable to watch.
Alex Storm, London  (18/4/07)

For all you rabid Moyes supporters out there who lamabast constructive criticsm as "negative" and "anti-Moyes", pleaese read that last bit again very carefully:

Moyes has done a good job overall at Everton; if he could properly harness the creative talents at his disposal and let them express themselves a little more, I feel we?d not have only a successful team but one that?s also enjoyable to watch.
That is what this dicussion is (or should be) all about. Again, well said, Alex. You nailed it. — Michael

I'm only 21 and, therefore, my POV is irrelevant

Being a hard-up student exiled down to Nottingham, I haven't been seeing nearly as many games as I'm used to. This season I have been to just four home matches and seen 12 everton goals (Liverpool, Sheff utd, Newcastle and Fulham) and since I began university (2004-05) I've yet to witness an Everton defeat! I was just wondering if there was anyone who fancied supporting me through uni (so I don't have to work Saturdays) and paying for my train/match tickets in order to propel us to the top of the league with a goal difference of 76 of thereabouts.

Such flimsy logic brings me neatly onto my next topic ? that of confirmation bias... which is a close companion of most men over the age of 30. It is a state of mind where you only look for evidence to support your pre-decided point of view and let nothing but nothing ever change that pre-decided point of view even... god forbid... evidence to the contrary. While I think there are many people on this mailbox who could be accused of such parochial behaviour, I would never have thought to accuse Michael of it until today.

I can see where Michael is coming from even if I don't 100% agree with him (I know it's a crazy concept ? understanding someone you dont agree with ? but it really is worth giving a go) he's not saying that David Moyes has not made progress at Everton (anyone who does think that needs shooting) but rather that the progress stopped 2 years ago... and I also like the way he has begun sarcastically agreeing with people that don't agree with him. It's a personal favourite tactic of mine, along with self-deprecation, to stop people coming back at you. However, I do know that when I do use it, it is often because I'm slightly insecure that my argument isn't quite strong enough...

This is why I'm saddened to hear Michael today imply that goal difference means squat and that only beautiful football ? not points, not goals ? is what matters. It seems like he's shifted the goal posts from earlier on this season where he told us that a positive goal difference would be a sign of progress. It was a bluebox almost Marsh-esque in it's pettiness, reminding me of the constantly unsatisfied grandmother on the Catherine Tate show.

Is he seriously saying that he'd prefer us to be in the shoes of West Ham, Fulham or Newcastle? With their allegedly better football, passing and moveing their way into the Championship because, lets face it, points and goals don't count for anything if you don't play proper football? I can just about stomach this argument when it comes to points (a goal difference of 0 and 54 points suggest boring, grinding, high efficiency football) but to suggest that goals don't equal entertainment is absolute madness! Ask some Arsenal fans how entertained they were for their 5-game no winning streak. I'm not saying that nice football doesn't matter but to imply that it is more important than scoring goals is a very strange idea. Also, I'm not saying that we're goal scoring gods all of a sudden, simply that we've got a better goal difference (and have scored more goals than) the majority of teams in the Premiership AND IT IS A SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT. We probably haven't had a positive goal difference for almost 15 years?

Just as a quick thought at the end, there is probably only one team that I'd want to swap places with right now - Tottenham. Being run by a huge faceless corporation/heartless sugar daddy or having a team full of mercenaries seems too high a price to pay for success... and I'm sure everyone would be even more wound up about that than they are about moving to Kirkby.

PS I'm 21 also so you might just want to brush me aside with the condescending ease that you did with the previous guy!
Paul Hetherington, Nottingham  (18/4/07)

On the contrary, Paul, your contribution to this website is well-written, witty, non-abusive and intelligent ? everything I could wish for from a fellow Evertonian.

I actually liked your analysis of my character; it is pretty close and I do have to struggle sometimes to subvert its worst expression (often failing) but I think I must have mis-stated something if I implied that goals don't equal entertainment. The reference to "89 minutes" was to the remainder of the game outside of the obvious goalscoring entertainment value, which I think was the topic of that response.

Not wanting to labour the point, but to focus on the goals as meeting the need for entertainment, while ignoring the rest of the game, is buying into the Sky Sports News view of football that I personally abhor. Of course the goals are the peak of entertainment value (and I'll try not to derail this with any mention of good- versus poor-quality goals), but if that is the be-all and end-all of football as entertainment, then I'm sorry, I can't accept that. Call it "confirmation bias" if you must, but when people say "It's only the results that matter", that is what they seem to be telling me.

Perhaps you could explain why people come up with hypothetical examples to bolster their arguements ? saying things like I'd perhaps prefer us to be in the shoes of West Ham, Fulham or Newcastle? This is about one club ? the only one I care about, and how they play football. Yes, it may be too narrow a focus, but when those clubs you mention lose possession needlessly, I don't give a shit. However, when Alan Stubbs losses possession by passing the ball directly to an opposition player for a move that leads to a needless corner and then a dreadfully defended goal against, I go apeshit! You've probably got a fancy dan Psychology 101 label for that too! — Michael

Good Football and teh Mini-League

As a relative newcomer to this site, I like the breadth of opinion available on the club we all love ? even when I think it's nonsense. However (you knew there was one coming!) why is it that people tend to employ progressively spurious arguments rather than be seen to give an inch in any debate?

For instance, I would summarise Michael's perfectly reasoned opinion in this forum as 'what I see on the pitch I find defensive and not entertaining'. As someone who stopped watching the latter part of Walter's reign for the same reasons, I have no problem with this. So what is left for poor old Michael to do? Stop going to GP or get spurious? That'll be the latter then!

Let's gloss over the 'laborious climb back to fifth' (slight generalisation there Michael) or even 'goals... have nothing to do with good football' (fair enough, although I thought that was the objective of good football?) but now try this 'If you really think 5th is the highest we can go because the Big Four are impenetrable, than football truly is fucked. Sorry, but I refuse to believe that'.

Well, you might refuse to believe it Mickey boy but take a look at the facts. A look at the final table for the past five years (DM reign) shows the top four each year as a combination of (would you believe it!) Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool. Only two other clubs have broken into this little cabal (briefly): Newcastle and Everton. The last club outside the big four to attain 70 points (our next challenge) were Newcastle in 2002. What do the Big Four have in common ? wage bills which are at least double ours. Newcastle's bill is @ 50% more than ours.

So, given that overwhelmingly the Big Four occupy the top four spots and NOBODY but the big four have amassed 70 points since 2002, I think there is a good case for Matt's mini-league theory. What would be your reasoning against it? Might it be that you both have a point ? the state of the football we see is explained by the fact that you get the entertainers you can afford to pay for? The alternative explanation is, as you so rightly put it, that football is truly fucked.

ps - Matt, I am from the 'older generation' so let's not lump us all together ):
John Dooley, Chester  (18/4/07)

I must refer you to our esteemed contributor, John Holmes, who has composed a far better exposition on this topic than I could ever manage. — Michael

Good Football

This 'good football' thing is getting out of hand a little. Can I just ask: would those of you who want to be entertained be happy to be an Arsenal fan? Where good football is played but they can't buy a win.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (18/4/07)

Let's see... Arsenal 3 Man City 1. What exactly is your point, Nick? — Michael

Spurs myth

Can I just point out that the substitution of Fernandes for Hibbert did not hand the game to Spurs. If people remember, Keane had a missed a sitter and so did Berbatov before the substitution. We could have been 3-1 down before Hibbert came on. In fact, it was a matter of time.

The real issue for me that day was not the fact he brought on a defender, which did have a logical tactical reason behind it at the time. It was the fact that Spurs were there for the taking throughout the game. Even when they were outplaying us, they were desperately poor. We just did not raise our game. We did not have a desire to win that game.

Now I have sensed a change since then. I feel we have more desire to win games rather than not get beat, especially at home. There have been plenty of positives from this season even though at times it has been frustrating, maddening and sometimes depressing. But David Moyes needs to use this season as a springboard.

Even though I disagree with what Tony Marsh says sometime, I agree with this: The real work starts now. The negatives of this team are there for all to see. We need to work on them. We need to get better.
Ben Greenwood, Rochdale  (18/4/07)

Meaningless Drivel?

Popping on to the Everton website this morning trying to find out who else has injured themselves today I noticed an article mentioning our erstwhile opposing manager Snr Benitez. Apparently, Benitez reckons that the Blues (by this I think he means us, you know, the 'small' team on Merseyside) can challenge for fourth spot!

Now, we currently have 54 points, and Liverpool 61 (with a game in hand), and Arsenal 62. This means that there is a minimum of a 7 point gap between us and fourth spot with only 4 games left, not to mention a 12 greater goal difference ? oh, and we have to play Man Utf and Chelsea before we finish.

Now I'm all for being positive, but what lame brain either made this up, reported it, or decided to put it on the Everton FC website - it is obvious bollocks and quite frankly, in my view epitomises the condescending attitude with which Everton FC has treated its website this season: fabricated 'news' items which say nothing and mean even less. Are all other 'official' sites like this?
Rupert Sullivan, Bristol  (18/4/07)

re: Singapore Blues


I'm out of Spore for a few days and won't have a chance to check this site. Feel free to mail me at BTW not sure about

Mark Cassin, Singapore  (18/4/07)

Oi, what about my Finder's Fee? — Michael

Beauty or the Beast by Alex Storm

An interesting letter. One thing which tends to get overlooked by people writing about David Moyes is where he came from. He had done very well as Manager of Preston. However, he had not set the football world agog nor were the big clubs clamouring to make him their manager. Everton took him on trust and, in my opinion allowed him (subject to pretty severe financial restraints) to progress the club in accordance with his own dictates.

So many people expected him to produce a team capable of playing a brand of football seen only by the teams well above us in financial support. To produce that style requires a manager to have the players capable of playing that way. The normal run of English footballers in particular were never trained that way as youngsters and, if one looks at Arsenal in particular, one notices a complete absence of English players. The every best English players have been acquired by the top three clubs (the top four excluding Arsenal). They are very well complemented by high-quality foreign players.

Slowly, David Moyes is trying to emulate that, by producing home grown talent, buying very young players who exhibit good skills and buying a very few foreign players who seemingly have the skills naturally. Each year the team seems to me to improve as the older players are shed and the new acquisitions begin to slot in and make their presence felt. Nobody exemplifies this more than Mikel Arteta. I'm sure his skill will rub off on to our younger English players. With luck, we may welcome into the fold Manuel Fernandes. This young man will do as much as Mikel in raising the team's general level of skill.

Maybe next year ? yes, possibly as soon as that, we will see our beloved team start to play the style of football we all crave to see.

Oh! Just one thing. I have watched Everton since the days of Dixie. Actually we have not had that many 'glorious' years and in those that we have had, the skill level was certainly not higher than the present team. I think the main difference was that goal scorers were more in evidence. At long last we seem to be recognising that and the likes of AJ, youngsters Vaughan and Anichebe (and possibly Nugent?) may begin to rectify that crucial deficiency.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (18/4/07)

Good Football

Am I happy with the league position now? Yes... so far... Am I happy with with the Moyes's football? Like shit, is all I can say.

We just can't go on playing like shit, get results and be happy about it. How long will it last? Do we really have wait for some American or Arab to invest and then expect the Arabs will teach us how to play good footbal?

A few seasons ago, we played like shit but got fourth place and we were celebrating like we won the league. Let's be honest with ourselves: we all knew we wouldn't go far with that kind of football.

I just hope guys know how it feels to stay up 'til 2:00am watch shit football and get result. Happy am I? Yes... But I just got a feeling it's not going to last.
Sankar Vasu, Penang  (18/4/07)

In Response to Matt Sweeney and others

Typical of youngsters today, you don't listen do you, cos if you did you would not have written the load of old cock you have kindly had published.

I dont think any of us so called oldies (I am 46 by the way) are in awe of the top 4, it's just the way it is. Moyes has had five years in charge and in his time has very rarely got pulses racing with his brand of football. Most of us cynics hgave complained about the way we have played over this period, not about under-achieveement.

I could go on but what's the point? You youngster know better don't you? Moyes has finally found a combination of players capable of entertaing the crowd, good for him, it's been a long time coming but let's hope it continues.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (18/4/07)

Leaving the results to speak

The reason for my absence from these columns is that, two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Davey Moyes for the first time and he assured me that he took no notice of the constant criticism of his methods, either on web-sites or any other medium.

He told me that he and Chairman Bill had a vision for Everton from which they would not be distracted and that they were both happy for results to do their talking for them. Given how well they are doing at present ? both on the pitch and with the impending ground move, I am happy to leave the club`s fortune in their very safe hands!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (18/4/07)

Hahaha... Good one, Richard! I thought you were going to say the experience had been so uplifting that you had only now come back down to earth! — Michael

We are improving

I much prefer what we are doing now compared to anything we have done previously in the Premiership ? including Joe Royle?s short adventure. Our squad is younger, better, and more successful.

Moyes has made mistakes, does not always admit to them, BUT seems to learn from them, so maybe he did hear the booing at the Spurs game. I think that Moyes would like to play better football, but the last time he tried ? the beginning of last season ? it went badly wrong. But things are getting better: we now are playing two strikers again, the skill level in midfield is improving, and we have a close season coming up for the plundering of quality Championship midfielders, I hope.

Even with Beattie, he was first choice at the start of the season, now Moyes has had to accept that Vaughan and Anichebe deserve to be given a chance, and that is difficult when you?ve spent so much money on a player. He will of course continue to try to get more out of Beattie by talking him up, that?s what a manager is supposed to do, the lad has more in him but no confidence. We saw Kendall persist with Andy Gray when he came here with his confidence shot, and he kept playing him until he started doing what we all knew he was capable of...

For the future, wasn?t it good to hear that young James practices the wonderful goal he scored against Charlton? Hasn?t it been encouraging to see Vaughan (and quite a few others) come through and show what our Youth scheme can do?

We ARE improving; yes it will be difficult to break into the top four, but Moyes may just be the man to do it for us for a SECOND time, he has certainly done enough to warrant another year at the helm, and our support.
Laurence Hart, West Midlands  (18/4/07)

Fernandes Conspiracy

Afraid to disappoint those looking for a conspiracy surrounding Fernandes but if you check this link on the Official Website, Mystical Mick Rathbone reveals the truth behind the enigma. A rather unscandalous bout of tonsilitis. Sorry to disappoint those who have been sharpening their blades...
John Holmes, York  (18/4/07)

Thanks for spotting that, John.

'Oh Steven Gerrard, the baby's not.... SHUT UP!'

Few points about this song:

  • it has nothing to do with Everton
  • it says nothing about our history
  • it says nothing about how much better we are than our neighbours
how did we get from Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey to this?
Mark Quinn, Liverpool  (18/4/07)

Both Sides of the Story

I have been sitting back and reading the posts since the Charlton game and, indeed, before with great interest and it appears to me that both sides (those who want great flowing football against those who are results driven) are actually right!! It occurs to me, as someone who does play the game (albeit at county level), that, while it is absolutely the right of supporters to expect a certain level of quality, it is the results at the end of the day that matter.

I am lucky to play in a team that plays a good style; we pass the ball and have actually just won the league! Now we have not managed to perform at our full potential every week but have ground out results when we have needed to and I think that this is the important point that has been missed so far ? you cannot be awesome every week.

I am sure that Michael would agree with this; if Everton were to perform wonderfully well, pass teams to death and win comfortably in 50% of their games, scrap and bully their way when not performing so well in another 25% then we would all be happy!!! Looking at the current league table, that sort of record would put us in the top four which, like Michael, I think should be our goal and I do not believe is out of our reach as I think we proved a little while ago?!

I guess what I?m trying to say is that we are all right on this subject (I am so on the fence!!!); we, as supporters, have a right to expect to be and to be entertained but we need to be realistic that this may not happen every week. What I don?t agree with is jumping on the players at the first sign of things going wrong (0-0 at half-time shouldn?t be booed, don?t clap them off but as they come out for the second half meet them with the Goodison Roar ? if that doesn?t fire them up nothing will!!). We should wait until the final whistle to vent our frustrations and during the 90 minutes give the players a full and vocal support (unless the manager does something crazy a la the Spurs game).

I think we all have valid points that when put together do actually make sense so, please, let's stop the bickering and the "he's older than me, he's younger than him, no-one knows what there talking about" rants and have some good old constructive conversation and remember 5th in the league would be a GOOD season but we want GREAT season's. Let's look forward and up not backward and down!!

Bring on Europe bring on all comers, a few more quality signings in the summer and who knows! COYB
Paul Smith, West Sussex  (18/4/07)

That makes a lot of sense, Paul. Well said! — Michael

Singapore: end-of-season gathering


Maybe you can announce the gathering on the ToffeeWeb mailbag, I am from Malaysia, but I am currently based in Singapore. I was an active member of the Malaysia Everton Fan Club. I would definitely like to get in touch with the Toffees fans in Singapore.
Daniel Lim, Malaysia  (18/4/07)

Sun and truth dont mix

In answer to Matt Traynor, out in Singapore, if you want the truth or anything near it, then why even think about the RAG that is The Sun?
Norman Merrill, Everton  (18/4/07)

Media Shite

I don't normally bother too much about anything I read on the Sun's website, but this one made me laugh and angry at the same time, about Arteta:

MIKEL ARTETA is keeping his options open.

The Spaniard, 25, knows he is a £5million transfer target for Atletico Madrid after starring in Everton?s midfield this term.

But he will sit down with Goodison chiefs at the end of the season with a view to staying on Merseyside.

He said: 'I have a conversation lined up with Everton. I haven?t spoken to Atletico.

'I?m happy here and I?m super-grateful to my club.

'Here I feel important. I?m having a good time.'
The headline? 'Arteta keeps his options open'.

Now maybe I'm missing something, but can anyone tell me from the quotes attributed to him how he is keeping his options open? I read it as saying he wants to extend his stay.
Matt Traynor, Sinagpore  (18/4/07)

Grumpy Old Men

With regards to Jo Parkes 'idiots' letter, I have to agree with most of it. I'd have thought that if most non-Everton supporting fans saw the critisism that Moyes gets on this site, they'd be shocked - understanable when you consider our average position under Moyes is about 10 places higher than under Walter (and with a lot less of a budget than other teams).

If found that these 'idiots' all tend to be of the elder generation who seem to think we're in a time where money doesn't talk and any other manager could do better than the incompetent moyes. I mean we are fifth, but with such a superior squad every other team in the premiership, why aren't we challenging for the Premiership?!?! I understand the elder generation remember Everton as being one of the best teams in the world, but I still don't really get how they can't all just realise that the past is the past.

I read Michael saying there was no mini-league. Apparently, even though Liverpool and Arsenal have a budget 3 times as large as us, the reason we aren't competing with them is because of 'negative tactics' and being in awe of the top 4. I'm sorry, but if you really think that's the main reason (which you did), then you really are an idiot.
Matt Sweeney, Wallasey, wirral  (18/4/07)

Fair enough, Matt. I honestly don't think this is an issue of hankering back to the old days ? do you ever hear me saying anything like that? I'm watching the football played here and now. And the football played here and now just sucks in large part. Sorry, but it does.

Moyes has been negative and defensive for most of the season and that saw us fall down the league, from 3rd to 10th, and get dumped out of the FA Cup in the most ignominious manner possible.

Here and now. You can forget that if you wish, and just accentuate the positives. Yes, we've done well to recover and climb back laboriously up the table... but what a massive opportunity squandered! Surely you can see that? I'm not making this stuff up: it happened. This season. We had a glorious, glorious opportunity to really be up there mixing it with the so-called Big Four... and Moyes blew it.

You can make this into an ageist issue if you want, but I think you're wrong to do so. It's about attitude and style of play. But we're not meant to talk about that, are we? We're only supposed to talk about results. Well, it's the results that mean we are only fifth and not any higher, when we really could be. If you really think 5th is the highest we can go because the Big Four are impenetrable, than football truly is fucked. Sorry, but I refuse to believe that. — Michael

Suffer little children

He's only 21!! Sounds off like a 10-year-old... sounds to me he's a closet Manc!!

Anyway, the Lord said, "Suffer little children to come unto me..." or words to that effect.. When will the younger supporters start reading their history books? They put up with shite week after week, they're turning our club into mid-table also-rans instead of insisting that we strive for the geatness that this club once had..

Just a few signs of greatness:

  • the first purpose-built four-sided stadium in the world!
  • Original members of the original Football Leeague!
  • The greatest centre forward this country has ever seen the one and only Dixie Dean
  • Nine league titles
  • The great 60s team (in an era full of great club sides,
  • Everton won more games than any other in the 1st Division
  • the mid-80s team destined for European domination (we all know what happened next)...
There is a lot more as those who bother to actually find out about the club know.. So don't be going on about how happy we should be for being 5th ? it's crap for a club with our tradition. EFC the One True Club, Goodison Park The One True football stadium, without this club football would not exist in this city.

Anyway, ramble over, gotta go and get the Horlicks and slipers!!
Tommy Gibson, Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey  (18/4/07)


I go to the match to watch football. If I want to sing I go to the Karaoke in my local.

I make a 'noise' if something happens on the pitch that pursuades me to do so.

I don't think players listen to songs... they respond (if at all)to noise. They know from the noise whether it is complementary or critical. Did we sing a critical song to Davey at the Spurs game? No, we made a critical noise.

Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (17/4/07)

Team America

The USA had a very disappointing 2006 World Cup: they got walloped 3-0 by the Czechs and lost an encounter with Ghana 2-1, they did manage a 1-1 draw against Italy, the tournament's eventual winners. And this year have so far beaten Ecuador (3-1), Mexico (2-0) and Denmark (3-1).

While grass roots soccer may be coming on in the USA (the sport is especially popular among girls) that alone can hardly account for their success. Have we not had thriving grass roots soccer in this country for 125 years and more? Not to mention being former World Champions and having club sides which have won numerous European-wide competitions? Just look how well our lads are performing at the moment!
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (17/4/07)

It's probably more about numbers. Your are looking at a population of 300 million... there must be some good footballers in there somewhere. — Michael

Ground move/Anthem

As a big fan of China Crisis (Not only one of the most underated 80s/90s bands but also Kirkby boys born & bred) perhaps they have already made statement on our potential ground move:

The world knows no shame
as we all walk away
no hope is inspired
no progress is made
From Saint Saviour Square
Simon Temme, Bristol  (17/4/07)

Wake up, boo boys

I find it intersting, in what is a season of great hope and improvement, the continuous knocking of a manager who most would agree has done a decent job with his hands tied behind his back.

Let me take you back a few years: Howard Kendall was in the same position before we enjoyed the best period in the blues modern history... Did not Alex Ferguson face the same barrage as he built the dynasty which replaced our bitter opponents across the park?

To claim the boos changed the tactics of the manager after the Tottenham game is talking rubbish. I was at that game and Spurs were always cruising. Remember, it was a free kick that got us back into the game and you always felt they could take us at any moment.

Maybe it was an off day or lack of quality available but the manager has to make a decision to see what he can get out of a game. Howard Kendal said we are a very fickle crowd many years ago, I still believe it stands today.

Will all you experts put up or shut up, and let the true supporters get behind what I sense is a bright future just around the corner.
Robert Carney, Liverpool  (17/4/07)

Geez... it looks like, after five weeks, we are now disintering the Spurs debalce for a ratehr delayed post mortem... Look, the people who booed did so for a reason. You may not have agreed with them at the time or subsequently but you cannot change what happened or why it happened. The idea that all those thousands of fans were somehow wrong is totally devoid of merit. It was a product of the moment, a spontaneous reaction to a piece of abject bullshit from a manager who was digging his negative defensive unadventurous footballing hole ever deeper by the week. Spurs were there for the taking, and to claim otherwise is total bollocks, I'm afraid. THAT is why the thousands booed. Please do us all a favour and don't try rewritting history for you own ends.

If trial by fire from the roasting of disgruntled supporters is what spurred on the likes of Kendall and Ferguson to greater things, you should instead be rejoicing at the demonstration the fans made that night ? it may just prove to be what Moyes needed to set him on the right track to greatness. (Sorry, Tony.. I kinda lost it there!) — Michael

Good football

In response to Alex Storm's article on "Good football", where Alex states that we should be playing on a par with the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham, I thought about an objective way of measuring this.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so not everyone is going to agree on whether we play good football or not. However, we have scored 1 goal fewer than Tottenham, 9 more than Newcastle and a massive 20 more than West Ham. At the same time, we have conceded 18 fewer than Tottenham, 13 fewer than Newcastle and 24 fewer than West Ham.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think scoring more goals than all but 5 teams in the Premiership, and conceding fewer than all but 3 (less than Arsenal, since Man City have just scored as I type!) is a decent, objective, measure of "good football".
Bob Turner, Runcorn  (17/4/07)

Sorry to disagree with you, Bob, but goals scored and goals conceded are essential components of the results we so crave ? they have little or nothing to do with good football ? football that happens out on the field before you score or before you concede. Good football is what I'd like to be watching in the 89 minutes when we are not actually scoring goals. But then I'm a dinosaur who wants to be entertained... Ho hum. ? Michael


All of the negative jokers who contribute to this ridiculous mailbag are an utter disgrace. If you?ve such a god-given right to watch fantastic football every week then go and support United.

Everton have played the best football I can remember under Moyes (I?m 21). Player?s like Arteta, Lescott, and Johnson used to be a pipe dream under every other manager I?ve seen at Goodison. Furthermore if we were scrapping out a relegation battle right now, which you better believe we would be if it weren?t for Moyes, do you honestly think we would be able to field some of the more delicate and intricate footballers like Osman to churn out results?

I honestly believe you have been living in your own little bubble for the last 20 years. I used to believe we had the best fans around... in fact that is simply not true, we?ve adopted are own theory about us being intelligent fans and now think we know everything.

All I know is this: we?re fifth now and I don?t have a problem with that at the moment as long as I am seeing progress and I fucking am. I put it to you that you are using the passion of our fans to aid the progression of this farcically negative bullshit you keep churning out. I can?t wait to see the little blue bit underneath this article so that you get the final word.
Jo Parkes, Burton-on-Trent  (17/4/07)

Hahaha... I think you just laid the biggest claim you possibly could to being a bit of an idiot yourself. I guess you should be forgiven for being only 21 and not knowing any better, but you really are as daft as a bag of frogs if you think I have the power to harness "the passion of our fans to aid the progression of this farcically negative bullshit" I keep churning out! Actually, no, I apologise ? I shouldn't call you an idiot: that's a classic worthy of framing. ? Michael

Red-shite link on ToffeWeb

I was intrigued by the link about Everton getting a bye in the Liverpool Senior Cup and so I innocently clicked on the link. My eyes haven't been the same since, my heart is pounding still and my dad is spinning like a top in his grave ? there were no warnings, no ID was asked for but it was... it was.... a trap door to the dark side for the unwary. A link to the Red-shite site ? how could you do that?

Take it down ? we don't want them darkening our doors. You just can't get the staff these days.
Mike Byrne, Preston  (17/4/07)

Hehehe... that was a bit naughty I know. But News is News! I'd hate for you to be kept in the dark. ;) ? Michael

Re: Beauty or The Beast?

Sorry Alex but lets get back to basics. Football is a results-driven business, and you are only as good as your last result.

In your examples, Spurs being the anomoly, where exactly are Newcastle and West Ham in the league while playing the type of football you would like Everton to play? What competitions have they won in the last decade or two? And in comparison to the mighty Blues, just how much have they spent to be where they are?

Its undeniable that every Evertonian wants to see the Blues be a success while playing some great football. I dont know how many games you have been to this season, but from the games I have seen, there are some matches and periods where we play tantalising football... the key is to get that football played consistently throughout 90 mins. Or more accurately, the 40-something minutes the ball is actually in play.

To assist this you need the right quality of players. It's so easy for 'fans' to say it takes a good coach to make them pass a ball, and to some degree that's true, but as a coach with Premiership clubs experience, I can tell you that it also takes a natural ability of a player to make that possible.

It's a simple formula: positive results yeild positive returns ? ie, Europe. A club who play consistent European football will attract a higher calibre of player who wants to play in Europe. From there, you can increase the quality of player and team to consistent good results in the Champions League and Premiership. With that better quality player comes the natural ability to pass, control, and think intelligently on the pitch. We are moving in that direction already with the players such as Lescott, Fernandes and Arteta.

I hate the use the old cliché, Rome wasn't built in a day.. but it's so true. Everton are coming out of the dark ages of Premiership football and things take time. I am highly confident that Everton will be winning 2-0/3-0 with some fantastic football played in just a few years time.

Martin Roberts, Merseyside  (17/4/07)

Good Football

Good football is that which wins football matches. David Moyes's job is to field a side that wins football matches. As has already been pointed out, his relative success in this is reflected in our improved positions in the final league table. End of.

By the way, watch out for Reading. They could quite easily win all 4 of their remaining games...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (17/4/07)

Sorry, it's my fault. I should never have allowed these "good football" advocates any airtime. Don't they know the only mantra that matters? ? Results, results, results... ? Michael


The chorus of boos from some quarters at half-time and after Charlton equalised truly baffled me on Sunday afternoon. Not a great performance I admit ? but it was always going to a slog against a team fighting for its premiership life.

Moyes implied that the treatment from some of supporters at times was less than helpful when he commented upon the reaction of Villa fans a fortnight ago who rallied behind their team to a draw against the blues. How often do we witness the same kind of reaction when we go behind? Rarely these days I would say.

There are times at Goodison that it's tempting to join in that now familiar away support lament of 'your support is fucking shit'. Hard to take, I know ? but take a long cold look next time we have a crap first half or go a goal down. Oh and by the way, at the same time have a look at the league table...
John Mahon, Liverpool  (17/4/07)

Speaking as a fan who invests a couple of hours of my time to watch a game of football, I want to be entertained!!! If the game is not entertaining, I have a right ? indeed a duty ? to boo, if I so desire. How else shall I let the powers that be know of my displeasure? Letters to fans' websites perhaps?!?... [Yeah, right...]

Surely if you have been to Goodison, you know there is one sure-fire way to get the fans excited and expressing their vocal support: it's by upping the tempo on the field and playing exciting attacking football! Not by pulling out the fucking programme and looking to see where we currently reside in the league table!!! ? Michael

Boos before Time

People keep referring to the Spurs game and stating that David Moyes was booed because we lost. Incorrect: the score was 1-1 when he deemed to bring on a defender and hand Spurs the initiative, this is why those who dissaproved vented their spleen ? and rightly so.

I also think that David Moyes had better beware getting above himself as some of his comments after Sunday would seem to me at least to suggest that he too (along with the Board) think they know far more than the supporters. This is something that Merseyside football fans are not used to and are unlikely to accept.
John Patrick McFarlane, Lancs  (17/4/07)

Well said, JP! — Michael

Fitness defeats Entertainment

The notion that fitter players in the game has led to a stifling of ?entertainment? (ie, ?school of science? stuff) is a fact. This is why we see numerous countries who once would have been 'easy meat' to the big guns making life hard for everyone. As folk keep saying, "there are no easy games in international football these days". Why? Because a well-organised team of fit athletes with a modicum of skill can stop a talented side performing.

A great case in point is the emergence of the USA over the last decade or two, they now being consistently ranked by Fifa in the top 10 of nations (currently 5th, we are 10th, Italy are 13th), and them without what any sane person could claim was a competitive league system. I know the USA had an amazing World Cup run in 1950 (with a team essentially made up of ex-pat Brits) but I?m talking about consistent performance over a decade or more of international fixtures, and in an age when travelling to a ?strange? continent is no longer any possible excuse for an established soccer nation performing far below the standard expected of them.

So, how did the USA become a recognised force in World Football ? i.e. to the extent that no one is now surprised when they appear in World Cup tournaments? They have a team of very well organised, supremely fit athletes with a modicum of talent (and perhaps the odd ?star?). If getting results in football was more about skill and flair, they?d be nowhere ? except for the occasional giant killing act. The game has changed as human sporting performance has changed. IMHO, and in an ideal world, every club would be making their pitches bigger (stadium considerations notwithstanding) to create more space and time for ball players to shine.

Other sports make major changes in the interests of entertainment (the ruling bodies of volley ball and table tennis have both recently made major rule changes with this aim). Unfortunately, short of shifting stands to make pitches wider or longer, the only option football has is to reduce the number of players on the pitch, which most folk just would not countenance.
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (17/4/07)

I got the impression a few years back that (when I cared about such things!) the iinflated ranking for the USA was due to them playing an abundance of games against beatable opposition. Whereas the established European countries really play a minimal number of internationals by comparison, and most are in the tenser confines of World Cup and Euro qualifiers. Let's face it, the Fifa rankings are really a load of bollocks based on the placings you just cited.

I really don't think the USA is a very good example for you to use. In the last 10-20 years, the grassroots progress of soccer in the USA has been phenomenal, such that it is the most popular participation sport through age 25 or something. That, and not MLS or being better athletes, is what accounts for their meteoric rise to being a passable footballing nation ? but one that still cannot really compete with the traditional footballing nations.

Interesting thought about bigger pitches, though. And rule changes... Just Say No! — Michael

Ged Dwyer & We shall not be moved

Nice thoughts, Ged. When I was a kid in the 60s my dad always sang the song; "This is ours lad", he would say and sing along if it came on the radio. Why it never really stuck I'll never know but us older ones when we hear it still go back to the 60s and 70s in fond memories of the times.

I suppose going out of cup competitions in early rounds doesn't help either. We live in hope that we can sing loudly at a Villa Park semi-final and not the new Wembley. We can sing it again at Wembley when we win. I did say 'when'...
Dave Charles, Liverpool  (17/04/07)


On the theme of anthems, how about this one for Marshy: Can't get no Satisfaction ? (Rolling Stones)

Only messing, mate ? I'm in your corner!
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (17/4/07)

I though it was just called Satisfaction?

Is Manny on limited games?

Great ? it's about time someone asked for a halt to all this "Who to buy?" & "Who will go?" ? most of it will not happen. It will totally depend on who Moyes wants, has any chance to get, and if we can or want to pay the fee for them & their wages...

Am I too suspicious about the info our club give out or is there something odd about Fernandes mysterious injury? There is NO comment on the club website about his possible fitness for this week-end. It does go on about the others on the 'sicko' list but not Manny??? Could there be complications, like only playing so many games, as with his Portsmouth loan spell???
Dave Hickson, Ellesmere Port  (17/4/07)

Ah... it's been a while since we had a good Conspiracy Theory... Where's Colm when we need him?


I am obviously biased on this one (being from Ireland) but The Fields of Athenry is a rousing song which, when sung in unison, is spectacular. Unfortunately, the red scum have already adapted it. All it would take is for someone far more witty than I to re-word it so we can praise the Blues and slag the Reds in one fell swoop. Either that or the Teletubbies song?
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (17/4/07)

Now yer talkin'! The Telletubbies... YES!

Response to Thomas Moore

Well said, Thomas. I was personally horrified at the abuse hurled at Moyes after the Spurs game. All those who criticised him and asked for him to be sacked where abjectly short-sighted. Look where we are in the league, look at how the team and the manager picked themselves up from that awful night in February.

And as Thomas points out, look at the undoubted quality of the players he has brought in over the last few years - Arteta, Johnson, Lescott, Fernandes, Yobo, Cahill. This season has been a solid progression from last year, and on our budget we really can't hope for more. Well done DM, and well done Thomas Moore.
Joe Wightman, Basildon  (17/4/07)

So the impossible question to answer: if the fans hadn't reacted en masse that fateful night, would we have seen anything even close to the change in approach and mindset that we have seen subsequently? A change that is, I contend, directly responsible for our ascent to the dizzy heights of 5th? — Michael

The indefensible

While it is good to see Moyes come out in support of his players, his current defence of Beattie is a case of defending the indefensible. Fair enough, the fella may have been feeling unwell at half-time but to say he did a good job is a bit much.

From what I read in match reports, Beattie ran around a lot, got in the way, generally making an effective nuisance of himself. But he's not Lee Carsley. He's a striker, and when in positions he should have been in as a striker, he fluffed several good chances.

Also, If Moyes has to make this much of a stretch to build up the guy's confidence, by giving him a public show of support, I think it's already a lost cause. I know we have strikers out injured right now and Moyes may have felt the gesture was necessary for Beattie because of this. But it is still a lost cause. I do think also that Moyes would have been better served keeping this issue in-house if he felt he had to deal with it at all.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (17/4/07)

Every little Helps

So what do you do with profits of £2.55 billion and virtual dominance of the retail market? You diversify and create new revenue streams to ensure that growth continues, profits rise and shareholders remain happy. On the back of the latest news concerning Tesco's success, will we soon be privvy to the findings of the feasibility of the Kirkby project following the Period of Exclusivity? Without wishing to reignite the whole stadium debate, can anyone shed light on the timeline (if any) that exists for an announcement from Buster Wyness? Apparently its a done deal and the worst-kept secret...
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (17/4/07)

All our yesterdays!

The little debate that is developing about comparisons between today's players and those of the sixties reminded me of a kopite a few months ago (during the Dixie Dean centenary business) who said to me something like, 'but it was easier to score goals in those days because the game was much slower'. He said his dad had told him.

Today, we don't have to rely on our dad's opinions about the 60's we can see for ourselves to a large extent. Anyone who doubts the sixties player's abilities and fitness when compared to those of today need do no more than aquire a video of the 1966 FA Cup Final. Two 'middling' teams of the day who put up a great show. It was quick, brave, skilled and hard and there were no substitutes to bring on. It was a game and a performance that would have more than held it's own today in my humble opinion and the sight of Jimmy Gabriel holding on to the ball by the corner flag, socks down and exhausted, in the final minute of the game still makes me smile.

I don't know wether the game was easier for Dixie or not ? MY dad never told me it was. But for me it was just as hard and just as fast and in my view a tad more skillful in the 60s generally than the game is today.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (17/4/07)

Passing Football

I agree with a lot of people that the football we play is not good enough. If David Moyes wants us to play the long ball then we should buy a proper target man. Beattie just isn't the answer. We seem to play it out wide a lot and try and get the ball into the box with real urgency. The answer to this problem is Fernandes. He is someone who can dictate the play and initiate attacks from left to right.

The most exciting game in my eyes was the last game against Blackburn where we won one-nil. The football that day was better than the Liverpool and Arsenal games even though the end product was not there to make the win a bigger margin. Our midfield consisted of Arteta, Carsley, Fernandes, Cahill and Van der Meyde. This to me was our best and most attacking midfield.

We had three ball players in Fernandes, Arteta and Van der Meyde, mixed with the energy of Cahill and Carsley. Whatever we want to say about Van the Man, he is a good player and has played well in most of the games he has been involved in this season. If you want to see good football then we must play these type of players together on a regular basis.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (17/4/07)


What is it with footballers playing things down. This 'the important thing is we got 3 points' is so dull. Why can't the man say "Did you see that piece of freeking magic I did? 'Scuse me while call my self Pele!".

If I hear G Neville go into another tournament with England saying "it's important to take each game as it comes" I'll... I'll... erm do something like go 'boooo'.

Yes yes, you want players keeping in touch with the common man and not getting above themselves yada yada blah blah... but stating a little more belief, arrogance and exuberance in their abilities might do Englsih (UK) players some good! Seems to me English players can't succeed in football without the better winning mentality of foreigners.
Nick Entwistle, London  (17/4/07)

I think that's the main reason why I have generally stopped linking to media stories that are written around the golden words of our highly esteemed players. In my book, they are esteeemed for playing footie ? not blathering endless footballing clichés and meaningless platitudes to lazy journo hacks.

Unfortuantely, over the internet years, the clubs, players and PR merchants have twigged to the instant exposure possible and such stories now dominate. And it's at the expense of more meaty fayre that used to constitute "investigative journalism" or just simple stories that contained a little more for us to get our teeth into. Ah well... 'tis the Age of the Cult of Personality! — Michael

We Shall Not Be Moved

All these ideas for an Everton anthem and we already have the best song ever: We Shall Not Be Moved is ours and incredibly we rarely ever sing it! Then again, Stanley Park was ours and look what's happening to that. It should also be the anthem for everyone who wants Everton to stay at Goodison, so start singing it!

I am very pleased with our league position. Just imagine where we might have been if Moyes had not foolishly persevered with Beattie at all this season and had used some brains against Man City and Spurs at home.

We're reaching the same stage as two years ago. Has Moyes learnt from his mistakes and will he help us move on? Mmmmmm...
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (17/4/07)

A slight response

re: "By that I mean, an era where average players ran 100 metres in 13/14 seconds, or weighed almost a stone overweight, or could ?only? do the simple things well." Sorry, but I couldn't help wondering exactly how Alan Ball or George Best fitted into that bizarre generalization.? Michael

Read my paragraph properly and then my response to your reply, would be, do you call george best or alan ball 'average' footballers? I said the 'average' player.

Yes of course it was a generalisation (I had been talking about the king of generalisations after all) to show that I have the oppinion that the difference between your Alan Balls, Bestie's etc to the average player, back then was a much bigger gulf than the difference, at least in condition, between the top players and the average player of today.

Thus allowing more scope for entertainment.
John Prior, Liverpool  (17/4/07)

So your point is they are all now 25% fitter, and therefore we don't get to see anywhere near as much entertaining football?!? Forgive me while I sit down and rest for a while before trying to digest that non-sequitor. ? Michael

Caracas Maracas

Since when have Everton been in awe of the big four? We've taken four points from both Liverpool and Arsenal this season, and ran Chelsea close, beaten only by a clutch of wonder goals.

We can beat anyone on our day. But I think the point is that we can't regularly break into the top four in terms of league position as we don't have the squad to perform at our best consistently.

As for the song, I know they're Mancs, but wouldn't Hallelujah by the Happy Mondays be a more appropriate song ? the Oakenfold remix with the pumping bass, not the bland original version?

Remember that quite crazy manc bird from the X-Factor a couple of years back with the deep voice? She sang the backing vocals. I'm sure it wouldn't cost much to get her to sing it as the Blues ran out. We could get a different ex-player to accompany her on percussion each week. Could you imagine Stuart Barlow decked in flares and a psychedelic hooded top, shaking his maracas in the centre circle as the deafening roar built up around the stadium? Pure Goodison Magic!
Steve McBride, London  (17/4/07)


Is anybody else sick of this "I think we need to sign Manny, Nugent, Healy, New right back etc nonsense"

At this time last year who thought we would sign the 3 we did? NO ONE!!! Trust me, Blue Bill, Moyes and Bully dont visit the ToffeeWeb Mailbag every day to see who the fans want us to sign. They will "try" to sign who Moyes wants and who Bill can afford.

Personally I have no idea how much cash we will have, we spent a fortune (by EFC standards) last summer and I don't expect massive amounts spent this one.

In all honesty, folks, Manny may cost £10M, Nugent £6M etc. This is IMHO well beyond what Blue Bill would spend, without Investment. Still we can all hope... I'm just a little tired of the FM talk ? it's utterly meaningless.
John Audsley, Leeds  (17/4/07)

Oh goody, someone with some sense at last! Well said, John. It really is utterly meaningless. Thank you! — Michael

Football Stadium Anthem

How about "All Together Now" which was created ofr the 1995 FA Cup Final, the original being recorded by a Liverpool group.
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (17/4/07)

I guess it just never really caught on as a fans anthem, otherwise, we'd all be singing it together, now... My guess is the variation in tempo that makes it difficult for a crowd to sing together. The chorus is fine but the verses are too fast and intricate(!) for everyone to keep up. ? Michael

Re: Luq Yussef and the perils of Europe

I'm afraid I don't buy all this talk about Everton going into Europe being a bad idea and just waiting for us to be taken apart. I agree that we don't really look like a European style team but I'd offer two arguments against claims that that means we're going to always be humiliated.

Firstly, Arsenal have chronically underachieved in Europe over the last ten years, yet they play the most stylish European-style football of any team in England.

Secondly, do people not remember United in Europe in the early to mid-90s. Disasters aplenty there. But they learned how to cope with the European game, not by hiding from Europe until they were ready, but by playing in it and getting the experience of what it takes.

The only way Everton are going to succeed in Europe is by playing in it. Personally I believe we can cope with Europe and I don't think looking at last years misadventures is a good source of evidence for anyone. As has been noted many times, Villarreal were an exceptionally unlucky opponent to be paired with. By the time we were playing Bucharest, the confidence of the team was shot. Remember we were rooted to the bottom of the league by that time last season. It wouldn't be a stretched argument to suggest it was nothing to do with Bucharest being European, just the same as it wasn't some mystical quality in Villa, Bolton or West Brom that allowed them to stick 4 past us.

For me, the team that looks to be achieving European qualification this season is based on far more quality and ability than the team that dragged us to fourth place two years ago. For that reason alone, I feel we are better prepared for Europe.
John Holmes, York  (17/4/07)

European Misadventures

I'm a little surprised by some fans' take it or leave it approach to getting into the Uefa Cup. Sure, it's not the honey pot that the Champions League is, but for Everton we should be competing in Europe on a regular basis. The '85 win aside, we've got a pretty abysmal record in Europe. If we want to continue to develop as a club in this era of football, we will need to be able to attract better players ? and that means we need to be a regular in European competition.

My only experience watching football in Europe is with the England team ? and I'd much prefer to be able to watch Everton, given the choice. And then even one of the contributors below might even get a chance of a shag off some Eastern European girl....
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (17/4/07)

Oh behave!

Singapore Blues

Mark Cassin - yes mate, there are a few of us in Singapura. I've tried in the past to rouse the local Everton supporters club ? we've even been on TV a couple of times! But unfortunately they're a passive bunch. That said, there are a few exiled Blues here who are Everton daft.

If you know of the Irish pub on Tras Street ? Shamus O'Donnell's ? you'll find me in there. At the end of the season, I'm going to try to arrange an Everton night there ? quiz, maybe show a DVD of one of our big games, the usual bollocks.

I might even get one of our former players along ? you know Steve McMahon is here for the year as an ESPN pundit? Nah, maybe not!!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (17/4/07)

RE Gamst

In response to the fella suggesting we might take a look at this boy, I'd have to say a big "No thanks". Playing for my local team I have a good knowledge of the player, and I have to say he is not anywhere near the quality we should be looking at. Pedersen is what I would call a classic 'highlights' player. He takes a decent set play and will score a few goals in a season, most of them very spectacular... trouble is he's no good at the basics.

The boy is supposedly a winger but is very one-paced and not at all 'tricky' or blessed with great skill. His lack of these basic essentials of successful wing play mean he rarely finds himself in good crossing positions and he is well known amongst Blackburn fans I know to 'go missing' for periods of several months in a season.

If we are on the look out for a good old-fashioned winger with a bit of pace at a good age and an eye for goal my personal suggestion would be James Milner. Whether or not Newcastle would be interested in doing business remains to be seen but he ticks all the boxes for me.
Neil Steele, Blackburn  (17/4/07)


While I'm a huge, huge fan of Lenny, and have been since circa 1977 when first introduced to his music, and while I like Buckley's interpretation of the beautiful song that is Hallelujah, I'm not so sure it?s suitable for a football stadium.

Having long bemoaned some of the bickering that goes on within this mailbag, could I suggest instead one of Lenny's much earlier songs, which opens with the lyric "A bunch of lonesome and very quarrelsome heroes ..."
Chris Jones, Wakefield  (16/4/07)

The run-in

It looks like our last four games could be pretty nasty. West Ham, who are fighting for their lives; the two title contenders; and Portsmouth who will definitely be eyeing that last Uefa Cup spot. Two wins and two losses would be an acceptable return. Two wins and two draws would be very good.

In my opinion Spurs and Bolton have the "softest" run-ins. Hopefully both will falter but I'd rather we didn't have to rely on that to secure 5th.
Stuart Kelly, Newcastle  (16/4/07)

The reality of Beattie

Does anyone else think we're part of some ellaborate reality TV show involving James Beattie? I keep expecting someone to announce that he's not actually a pro footballer and has been faking it all along, he in fact works in B&Q on the Returns Desk.

Keep checking the TV listings, I'm sure there's some explanation as to why he's playing pro football when he lacks any kind of ability whatsoever.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (16/4/07)

Haha... ain't that the truth! — Michael


To me, good football is not Arsenal players running around with gloves on, ducking out of challenges, and it isn't the gamesmanship of Ivan Campo and Robbie Savage. Good football is great last-ditch tackles that prevent goals (ie, Tony Hibbert on Darren Bent) the amzaing skill of Mikel Arteta, and Manuel Fernandes, the passing that Everton have produced this year. I'm shocked people can call Everton boring and rubbish, especially so called Evertonians.

I wonder how certain people have not noticed that we actually play great football, passion, work rate, tackling, passing, great clearences, great goals, great passages of play leading to goals. What do you clasify as good football editor?

ps: David Moyes said he wanted us to play like Man Utd ? I don't think we are too far away... I guess we'll see in a couple of weeks!
Sylvestre Stallone, Baddills Place  (16/4/07)

Good football: retaining possession, not aimless hoofs upfield. Passing to feet, not passing to the opposition. Trapping the ball and controlling it, not fucking head-tennis, or waiting for the ball to bounce (Johnson's worst crime against football). Watch any Everton game and you see far too much of this rubbish for it to ever be classed as good football. Well, you asked! — Michael


With Europe looking likely we are going to need goals next season. Do we have the strikers to do the job?

Andy Johnson: Johnson has impressed me this season and looks a snip at £8.6M. Combines lightning pace with an excellent workrate. His lack of technical ability is sometimes very obvious when he are having a bad day and needs to be more clinical in goalscoring positions.

James Beattie: At the start of the season, fans were dreaming of a Beattie/Johnson partnership but it did not develop and since then he has been overtaken by two kids. Not strong enough on the floor or air to succeed but has proved people wrong in terms of attitude and willingness to chase lost causes.

Victor Anichebe: Started very brightly with excellent performances against Chelsea and Newcastle but faded and now recently has made an impact coming off the bench. He has all the attributes everyone thought Beattie was going to provide with strength, power, pace and ability to hold the ball up.

James McFadden: Some fans cant stand him but I think he could become successful at the club. In the past he has shown all the tricks but no end product. He had a good pre-season and looked better with Johnson than Beattie. His season has been troubled by injuries and suspension but the goal against Charlton shows he has ability.

James Vaughan: I wasn't sure how he would come back from injury. Has he lost a yard of pace? No chance. He came back quicker and stronger and ready to battle for a starting place in the side. Combines pace, aggression and a poacher's finishing instinct. He could become our next Number 9.

Out of five strikers, I would say four have the right ingredients to score goals next season. Beattie has been here for 2½ seasons and still hasn't proved his worth. I think we have missed out on Nugent; even though he is an Evertonian and a good player he will be too expensive. Preston rejected £6M from Sheffield United and his price tag will have definetly gone up since his introduction to the England squad.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Moyes's utopia

I just heard Everton legend Duncan McKenzie saying that Moyes is a tactical genius and that Lescott is the second best English centre-back! Somebody been slipping gin in the evening tea I wager! Anyway, as said yesterday, I have grave concerns if Everton do qualify for the Uefa Cup.

Firstly the squad we currently have has the same depth as a spit pool! Playing in four competitions means we will need at least two players for each position, something I know will not happen.

Secondly I seriously have concerns about Everton's conservative style in Europe. Teams abroad keep the ball for long periods, which will render Everton's pressing game futile. Long aimless balls will again do no good against the better brass, but if we want to get back into the big time we must learn how to adapt to European football/expectation!

Anyway, all I pray for is that Everton build upon this current success to build for the future, not fold like a deck of cards. And if Moyes is to be our leader, then keep the team consistent ? then you will have my backing, sonny!
Luq Yussef, London  (16/4/07)

Neil Styles

Neil, do you really think that football clubs need a catchy song for them to be recognised? Are EFC not associated with All Together Now and Z-Cars?

For you to believe that every club needs a gimmic tune is actually quite sad. What goes on on the pitch should do the talking for a football club! Liverpool's anthem is a fitting tune to those who lost their lives which is marketed exceptionally by their club and other clubs less famously also associate themselves to a tune to moderate success. Z-Cars may not mean a lot to anyone except an Evertonian, but they don't matter, those who feel passionate about it do! Just concentrate on the football from now on!
Dylan Goodison, Aintree  (16/4/07)


Something to cheer us up: Faddy's Goal

John Fowler, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Nice that, init! ? Michael

Tony Marsh

Re: Charlton, third-worst team in the league ? However, over the last 8 games, Charlton are 7th in the form guide, might not mean much given that, yes they are 3rd bottom, but they are not playing that way. Not exactly the clueless alehouse team Tony paints a picture of, but a decent squad of proven professionals scrapping for their lives.

Re: the dreadful quality of football in the Charlton match ? Your analysis is so absurd it's almost Mark Bright-like. The first half had plenty of snappy little passes, plenty of possession, and plenty of chances. But Charlton do what we do, when we have to: set out to stifle and be physical. I agree it would be much better, if they stood aside allowed us to play a bit of ?science´. But, yet, all teams struggle to dispose of relegation battlers at the run-in, unless you have arrived at a top 2 club. Yes top 2, because Arsenal and Liverpool would have been in the thick of it too.

Re: Osman & Beattie: Maybe you would have liked Fernandes and Vaughan playing instead?? Me too. Guess what? They were injured, and as the squad is still developing we don?t have enough quality in certain areas. Sorry, not Moyes?s fault. At least 18 teams in the league have ?known? areas of weakness, and don?t quite have the quality they would like, otherwise we would all be tied on the same points and goal difference as the Mancs.

Re: the last diastrous Eurpean adventure - Yes, it was a disaster last time around, so yeah its obviously gonna be disaster everytime eh? I can?t even begin to figure that one out. Tony likes to isolate traits of the team and manager, and pigeonhole them for ridicule, when actually football is far more complex than this. Tony, how many kick-and-run goals have you seen lately mate? There's been some glorious pass-and-move goals in recent months, only a cretin would deny that.

If you think playing balls into the channel for AJ to chase down, is playing kick-and run football, maybe you don?t understand the term, or you have forgotten that playing balls deep into channels for pacy forwards to hold up, and bring other members into play is tactic used since the year dot by every GOOD manager who ever had a pacy forward.

Of course the job's not done, but at least the Everton managers position is a job again, and it is going fairly well IMO. Maybe I can wait a little longer than some, but things are getting better every year ? they just ARE; anyone can see it and most of us can feel it. It may not be the ideal path for people who grew up seeing footballers play in another era. By that I mean, an era where average players ran 100 metres in 13/14 seconds, or weighed almost a stone overweight, or could ?only? do the simple things well.

Allowing more scope for players to be exceptional, the athletes to leave everyone in their wake, and the real footballer brains shone through regardless of how much of an athlete you werw, because the chances are you were in an acceptable bandwidth. Instead of playing in the lower leagues as they tend to now.

Football may still have the skill variances between the Beckhams and the Robbie Savages of this world but, in the game we play today where I believe players are in up to 25% better condition than 30 years ago, enthusiasm, conditioning and determination can ?almost? bridge the skill differences. It's been happening for a long time; it will continue.

Technological advances in training and treatment have proven to be a great leveller, where someone with the tenacity and heart of Lee Carsley, can limit someone like Cesc Fabregas for 90 minutes. We may not like that; I don?t, in an ideal world we would have players like Fabregas winning out everytime, but that?s not realistic anymore.

Truly skilful players cost £12m+ for a full back. Truly commited players is what you have to rely on to get you into a position to afford skill, unless you have investment.
John Prior, Liverpool  (16/04/07)

"By that I mean, an era where average players ran 100 metres in 13/14 seconds, or weighed almost a stone overweight, or could ?only? do the simple things well." Sorry, but I couldn't help wondering exactly how Alan Ball or George Best fitted into that bizarre generalization.— Michael

Did someone say songs???

....well then...

Paul Daly, New York & Dublin  (16/4/07)

Pre-David Moyes

I've been watching Everton since I was 13 years old and apart from the 80s, every season since then has been traumatic to watch. The Wimbledon and Coventry games took 10 years of my life. Under the circumstances and limited resources, David Moyes has started to progress a side which is young with a good future. The club feels more stable. Yes, we haven't won nothing, but who has outside of the top four sides? The more we progress, the more we'll attract the players we need.

I remember the days we use to worship players who looked good in our side, but put them in a Big Four side and they look below average (Barmby). We now have players who wouldn't look out of place in a Big Four side. Moyes has been patient in the market buying young players at the right price, building for the future and not over spending on money we haven't got. He won't panic buy and he'll wait if he has too (Johnson and I'm sure Nugent).

We're in a mini-league at the moment and we're top, we've hardly got any money and we have a thin squad. But the squad we do have is young, hard working and winning. Progress is being made and at the moment I feel a lot younger than I did pre-Moyes.

I for one will raise a toast to the blues for making me feel that way, even if we are winning ugly, which Chelsea seem to do every week.
Shaun Kinnair, Edinburgh  (16/4/07)

You know, I didn't accept this mini-league stuff ? the latest football cliche. It's about getting results. If we got better results, we'd be higher up the table, simple as. If that means being among the so-called Big Four, so be it. That's what the league table was always about in my lifetime. The problem is that the mediocre also-rans in the Prem have developed this awe of the big four, epitomised by a negative "do not lose" attitude rather than a positive "win at all costs" attitude needed to overcome those who think they are better than you.

Funny you talk about our players gracing the Big Four... didn't soemone say exactly the opposite last week ? that hardly any of them would get a look-in anyway? Personally, I think it's one of those meaningless beer-soaked pub discussions that can never be answered. ? Michael


I know he is the Rovers golden boy but anyone have a guess at how much it would be to sign Morten Gamst Pederson? He's streaky but a pretty good winger all things aside.
Joey Brown, Athens, Georgia  (16/4/07)

Time to boot up your copy of...

A winning Manager?

It is interesting to read how many people ask "what have we ever won under Moyes?" The last team to win the FA Cup outside of the so-called Big Four were EFC 1995 (under big Joe). This may put things in perspective of how much money plays a part in modern football. I am sure Chelsea spent somewhere in the region of £300M to buy the Premiership title. If we ever finsh fourth again it will be a minor miracle.

The gulf is becoming wider as each season passes. If you drop out of the Premiership this season you will receive £750k. New TV deals mean each club in the Prem will pocket £40M, with a further £20M if you reach the group stages of Champions League.

The Uefa Cup is a start in the right direction. Maybe a new owner could make sure we don't run out of lager and programmes as we did yesterday! Fifth place would be a great season for the blues, especially with a positive goal difference ? in double figures!!!
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Song suggestion

Three suggestions for songs for Everton:

  1. "You are my sunshine" - Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan, fantastic version.
  2. "My Old Friend The Blues" by The Proclaimers lyrics perfectly describe how Evertonians feel.
  3. "You're in My Heart, You're in My Soul" ?we have all seen this written on car windows).
All these titles encapture "Everton-ness"
John Molyneux, Cheshire  (16/4/07)

Re: Neil Styles and Hallelujiah

Much as I love Hallelujiah as a song, in fact I'd go as far as putting it as a favourite, I can't believe you're not a particularly sly Liverpool fan for suggesting it.

It's a song of pain, misery, loss, failure, let down, despair, fatalism and general feeling of self-pity... I'll leave it to Tony Marsh to say "sounds perfect"!
John Holmes, York  (16/4/07)

He's not a legend yet

First things first: what a great run we're on at the moment! Winning games late is the sign of a good side with belief ? credit to Moyes for that and the fact that he's actually coming out and making positive statements of intent. For the first time in four years, he's starting to convince me that he wants the players to express themselves and win games ? brilliant!

Now that 7th will be good enough, a Uefa Cup spot is ours to lose. Now I'm a miserable sod who thinks that TV has ruined all the competitions ? the European ones are of no interest until the knockout stages, but of course, football isn't about excitement anymore is it? To me, regular Uefa Cup qualification will get us noticed by better players and their agents. It may also remind our management that you have to win games to win cups, thereby keeping them thinking positive.

Moyes bought well in the summer. This season he's generally organised the team well, made us hard to beat and brought back a sense of self-belief in the team. I think we should be qualifying for Europe as a minimum, so when he achieves that, he'll get plenty of praise from me.

Whatever happens at the end of the season, please let's get a grip. Are we going to spend the summer talking about false 'legends' or are we going to think about how we're going to stay at this level and carry on improving? People seem to think this is a negative stance ? I just want us to be fifth or higher next season and the season after that. We did all the premature celebrations two years ago and got our arses well and truly kicked ? let's make it different this time!

Before we start comparing Moyes to the genuine 'legend' managers, remember that no-one called them legends until they built teams that actually won trophies! I criticise Moyes when he gets things wrong, but this year he's got more things right and deserves plenty of praise. Let's just enjoy what he has actually done, rather than turning him into something he isn't... yet!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (16/4/07)


I have always personally felt that we, as Evertonians need an emotional song to act as the flagship anthem of our club. Don't get me wrong, 'Grand Old Team...' is a wonderful anthem that lets the opposition know just where they are but I don't think it reflects just how much EFC means to most Blues fans. Sheffield United's 'Annie's Song' and the Reds' rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' both capture the feelings of their fans so well.

Personally I would love to hear Jeff Buckley's/Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah ring around Goodison, that to me, mirrors how Blues' fans feel about their club. What d'you think?
Neil Styles, Dublin  (16/4/07)

All together, Now...


First and foremost, well done to the players and Management for their resillience yesterday. The game was poo but yet again we have started to show a bit of bottle and guile which has been missing for 18 months. Faddy's goal was absolute class. He does at times look magnificent, just not even nearly enough!

Secondly, from a very selfish point of view which I'm sure some will share, I'm not that arsed if we don't do well next year in Europe. Don't get me wrong: I would love us to win the Uefa Cup but for me the supporter, I am more excited about boarding a flight in the knowledge that my destination will not be a lads trip to a sunny destination in July with the aim of shagging as many birds as is humanily possible and vomiting over my limited suitcase... but an oppurtunity to watch the mighty and famous blue boys battle it out with European teams far far away... who knows maybe I'll get a bit of both!!!

The thought of taking my limited days' holiday off work to watch us abroad gives me huge goosebumps. Isn't that what being a football fan is all about? I want to tell my old man of my European stories... cos I've certainly heard enough of his!
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Handbags at dawn

I have read Tony Marsh's comments and I have also read the comments of the guy who called him a gimp. I can only say that I think Tony had a lot of fair things to say and in no means did that mean he was being pessimistic (maybe he was, maybe he wasn't) but I'd like to think he was being more realistic. Again we left it to the last possible minute to salvage a win and now that the final run in is upon us we need to start finishing games off when we are in the lead.

Crikey, we're fifth in the league at the moment I just hope it stays that way. There's no need for name-calling though, everyone.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (16/4/07)

Mark Cassin/beer in Singapore

I'd be pleased to have a pint or two blue. Email me at: Up the blues.
Pete Moore, Singapore  (16/4/07)!?

Oh No, Not Neville

Marc Rogers, a bit harsh on Simon Davies don?t you think? Comparing him to Phil (50 caps) Neville ? surely no-one is on a par with Steptoe?
Alex Storm, London  (16/4/07)

Moyes ? Moyesiah or Masquerade?

In his five years in charge at Everton, where is Moyes taking this team of ours? If it?s slick, patient, exciting, flowing football a visual treat for your eyeballs ? forget it! But if points over performance float your boat, then certainly Moyes is the outstanding leader in this field.

We have a wafer-thin squad made up of 18-year-olds, a couple of substandard players and, up until the 88th minute in yesterday?s match, the Brazilian Krøldrup. On the other hand, the players aren?t taking to the field in their zimmer frames, referring to how things were in the ?good old days? anymore; we have some young, talented players with bright futures ahead of them. Domestic and European Cup runs are a dim and distant memory consigned, primarily to old beta-max tapes gathering dust in my old loft.

Could we do better than Moyes? Is he taking us in the right direction? Is he the right man for the job? Who knows? Regardless of his perceived faults as a manager by some, if you look at our Premiership history BM (before Moyes) it reads:

13th, 17th, 15th, 6th, 15th, 17th, 14th, 13th, 16th, 15th,
and SM (since Moyes) it reads:
7th, 17th, 4th, 11th and this season 5th/6th?
I?m undecided about Moyes personally but in general we seem to be a team on the up (cup runs and good football excepted).
Alex Storm, London  (16/4/07)

Now that is what I call a realistic assessment. Paul Atress: please take note! ? Michael

Simon Boyd

How I agree with what you wrote regarding our Tony Marsh and would add just one thing... Tony, you are such a miserable pessimistic get!! Like most men, you don't like to be proved wrong and I, for one, am looking forward to you "eating your hat" when we finish higher this season than you miserably predicted at the start of it. Isn't it time you visited Cyprus again?
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (16/4/07)

Incipient optimism...

Was it just me or did I notice an air of optimism in Tony 'THE ETERNAL PESSIMIST' Marsh's last post? Has the tide finally turned? Have the days of competing with the promoted clubs for the right to play second tier football become a thing of the past?

I, for one, share Tony's optimism! I think the club is in a much healthier position than the nightmare years of the 90s (even healthier once the ground issue is sorted) and indeed without massive investment we ARE the best of the rest. Compared with a club like Nottingham Forest (who my father supports!!) ? who suffered the fate we so narrowly survived many times during the 90s and who are still struggling to re-establish themselves in the second tier of English football ? I think European football for the second time in three years is progress. The glass is half-full!! COYB!!!

ps: Anyone out there feel Mattie 'I don't do tap-ins' Taylor would be worth a punt on the left??
Rob Murphy, People's Republic of Cork  (16/4/07)

Uefa Cup

I disegree with people who say that the Uefa Cup is not right for us. We are a successful club in English football but if you look at our European record, it is not that good. We have only won the Cup-Winners Cup in our whole history so let's be realistic. The Cup-Winners Cup was very similar to what the Uefa Cup is now ? I remember when we played in the mid-nineties and it was mentioned as the "Mickey Mouse Cup". I also think our type of football could unsettle European teams. As shown against Villarreal, if we can mix it up with physical and good football we will be ok.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

It's the "good football" bit that has me and Tony fretting. Giving away possession by poor passing and aimless hoofball just won't cut it. — Michael

Repply to Mark Cassin:

Q: Anyone to have a beer with in Singapore?
A: Yes. I am an Evertonian and have a share in a bar, all your prayers in one. e mail me at
Andy Drake, Singapore  (16/4/07)

European Nightmare??

Once again, Tony Marsh proves how pathetic his negativity can be when he states we 'are right on track for another European nightmare'. Is there any point in saying something as sad as this?

Tony, you have no idea how we will do if we get into Uefa Cup next season. We might lose 15-0 on aggregate in the first round, we might win the thing. Nobody knows until it happens and I would hardly regard our last venture into Europe as a nightmare. We were dumped out by Villareal (eventual semi-finalists) after some sinister officiating and although we were well beaten in Bucharest, we did win our home Uefa Cup tie. The European nightmare you allude to was, in fact, one nightmare game out of four.

You go on to infer that you need to play some sort of European style passing game to do well in Europe, but I seem to remember Middlesbrough getting to the final last year playing like an alehouse team. If we play our game correctly, we can beat anybody, English, Spanish, Icelandic, whatever. We keep getting told by the likes of you that Moyes's fantastic fourth-place finish was now two years ago and needs to be forgotten, so why can't you take your own advice and forget that one Uefa Cup game in which we were humbled?
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

I think it is a mistake to forget anything, and especially a game that could hopefully help Moyes learn some lessons for next season, should we qualify for the Uefa Cup. Let's face it, his ability to set up teams to go out and win when they have absolutey got to win is still highly suspect. The mentality is all about getting a result... and then making excuses if we do lose. The mentality needs to change to a belief that we can win, that we will win, and that anything less than a win is not acceptable, for any reason, and must be improved upon. None of the "no complaints" bullhonky that drives me insane! #8212; Michael

John, What game were you watching?

John, you must be sniffing the same stuff Moyes is ? if you think Phil Neville made ANY single contribution to Evertons game yesterday can you please come back and name it? The man is a footballing joke on a par with Simon Davies, it's astounding how a player with no skill, judgement or even arwareness of what is happening around him can get into a Premiership team, never mind the 50 caps you mention.

All I saw him do yesterday was make 5-yard passes to players in worse positions than himself, shout at players around him to calm down when we needed to step things up, and of course the blind panic hoofs up the pitch to pull AJ out of position as he chases another crap ball down the flanks. I beg you to watch the game again and compile a list of positive things Neville did.

It really amazes me that anyone can rate this faker, most of all Moyes! The way I see it, he is a poor defender and NEVER a midfielder of any kind. He may think the fact 'he takes the throw-ins' is enough to justify his place on the team sheet but I have never seen him do anything to contribute positively besides a couple of lucky crosses.

So, John, I ask you to reply with your list and prove you're NOT Gary Neville?
Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

I guess there are some players who are just hard to watch. I'll just watch Arteta instead... and my new hero, Jimmy McFadden! — Michael


Great strike from Faddy to save us from throwing away the win yesterday ? nice one!

Tony Marsh said it starts now and he's right. If we blow a Uefa Cup space now it will be a disaster and heads need to roll, but the positives are we're not far away from a decent squad. Hopefully Blue Bill will find where he hid his piggy bank and give Moyes a few quid to play with.

Fernandes needs to be number 1 target, and I think a left-back next ? Bridge or Baines. Then another centre-back as cover. Nugent would be nice but not our priority.

Next year will be Moyesey's make or break season. He needs to show he can compete tactically with European managers now without a long ball to Big AJ! Feels good for now though with our win yesterday and other results going our way. It's gonna be a big summer for us though.
John Fowler, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Tony Marsh = Gimp!!!!

What a gimp you are Tony Marsh!!! Sorry but I felt compelled to write that as I read another pessimistic view from this guy. Why do you bother supporting Everton when you have nothing positive to say!! It's got to the stage now where I get annoyed with myself for reading the bollox you write!!!

Firstly let me say that I do agree that our style of play may not be the most glamorous but there's no denying that this season (so far) it has got us results and I for one am more than happy with that. Ask most Everton supporters if they'd be happy sitting in 5th place now and I'm sure you'd find they would be.

Also, you don't sound to happy about our possible upcoming venture into Europe (fingers crossed) or as you describe it...'another European disaster'!!! Would you prefer us to be scrapping in a relegation battle instead? What do you want?!!!

I agree that our foray in the Uefa Cup was awful, however you seem to be forgetting that our 'disastrous' football nearly got us past the eventual semi-finalists of the Champions League that season, and we were robbed!!!

I like many others do agree with a lot that you say, however, you also sicken me with your pessimism, so please, please, please could you fuckin ligthen up a bit and get behind the boys in blue.


Yours optimistically,
Simon Boyd, Bangor, NI  (16/4/07)

I smiled when reading that as you yourself pointed out that, on a lot of points, you're in agreement with Mr Marsh!! Must be a gimp in us all, Simon!!! ? Colm


All this talk in some quaters regards Moyes being one of the great Everton managers got me thinking about his so-called achievements. I had to ask myself exactly what he has achieved, some say he has given the club stability? But his seasonal yoyo performances indicate that this is not so.

Under/over achievement seems to be the way some posters view our performances, but the fact remains that we have won nothing ? nor even, for that matter, come close to winning anything ? in the last five years.

Stability should be a pre-requisite for a club of our standing and history both financially and statutory, so take that out of the equation and in effect we have achieved nothing more than mediocrity, which to my mind was where we stood before Moyes joined the club.

That said I can see signs of improvement on the pitch and hope to God that he sees the season out all guns blazing. Who knows what might happen if the clubs above us start to lose interest in what is now in effect a two horse race. Come on Blues let's have a go... Cue the backlash.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (16/4/07)

I'd agree with a lot of that but I think you're quite wrong about the level of mediocity that existed before Moyes came. We were bottom dwellers, unable to finish in the top half of the Premiership (except for one season). Moyes has undoubtedly moved us forward in that regard, despite his two (full-season) lower-half finishes. — Michael

A Point lost or a Point Gained?

People have mentioned on this site that if we hadn?t have dropped vital points at certain stages of this season then we would be higher up in the table but to the best of my knowledge we are not alone in that category.

EVERY team has dropped points or squandered leads this season. Every fan of every club in Europe can show where their club deserved to get more points than they currently have. Every team can point to dodgy penalties awarded against them, offsides not given, disallowed goals, injury crisis? ? the list goes on.

Sure, games against Man City, Villa, Chelsea and Spurs were points lost but what about last gasp winners against Arsenal and Charlton or a late equaliser against Reading, a fortuitous late penalty against Watford first day of the season?

Sometimes it's down to tactical changes (good or bad), the crowd getting behind the team, the players raising their game or taking their foot off the gas and sitting back, decisions that go for or against you, physical or mental fatigue or even simply blind luck.

We currently sit fifth in the table and after 34 games how many of us would have thought that at the start of the season? Does anyone seriously think that we are top 4 material at this present time? Certainly not in terms of financial clout, players, stadium or even playing style. What we are, along with the other Outsiders - Spurs, Newcastle, Villa and arguably Bolton - are the best of the rest and it's up to these clubs to break into and sustain a position amongst the elite in the Premiership.
Alex Storm, London  (16/4/07)

Someone else put it succunctly when they pointed to the mistakes Moyes has made that led to the loss of points. That has been the most frustrating thing this season... well, that and the defensive posture he adopted that costs us league and especially cup games... and the attrocious quality of "football" (but we're not mentioning that!).

The rest of it I think is part and parcel of football but to have a 'legend' of a manager doing what Moyes was doing for half the season was driving me mad! Especially as I could see he had the players to be doing far better than we were. Yes, he deserves credit for assembling such a team and getting the team spirit built in there, but what went on during that period of inconsistency is unfortunately what I have come to expect from David Moyee in that it is the low spot on the roller-coaster ride.

Currently we are climbing back to a high spot. What happens next? That's when I start getting the Tony Marsh feelings... — Michael

Support Needed

There is a tendency on this site to complain about the mistakes Moyes has made and certainly a few of his decisions have cost points this season but for every bad decision made there are plenty of good ones.

Yesterday's result is a perfect example; it looked like the game was heading for a draw until Moyes made his substitutions. It was Naysmith who crossed to McFadden for the winner, both players were brought on at exactly the right time by Moyes.

If you look hard enough you can pick apart every manager but can't we for the time being just focus on the positive? Particulary now that we are so close to a Top 6 finish, the players need our support, not criticism of their master & commander.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Paul, why are you so preoccupied with what other people think? If you feel he needs to be praised and lauded as a legend, you go right ahead. No-one is stopping you. Have at it. You can do it without requiring the same from others. We are all free to express our views and feelings as we see fit, the last thing we need is you telling us how to feel and react. ? Michael

Glass Half-Empty

Just looking at Arsenal's run-in, with fixtures away to Tottenham and also Chelsea at home, it looks likely they will drop further points. Will we finally put back-to-back wins together before the end of the season?

I notice people are beginning to realise that the amount of points dropped this season because of shit-house decisions by the manager has, possibly cost us a place in the Champions League again.

So jump for joy for the shitty Uefa Cup, I am gutted we haven't taken 4th when it was well within our capabilities.
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

The Mystery Toddler

Did I dream it yesterday or at the end of the game did I see a toddler run the full length of the pitch from Gwladys St to the Bullens/Park End exit? I had a few drinks but nobody else seemed to have noticed it.
Eddy Elton, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

Here you go...

What A Difference A Goal Makes

If James McFadden's wonder strike had gone 3 ft to the right and missed the goal, the mood around Goodison Park yesterday would have been one of total despair. It amazes me how easily and how readily our supporters are prepared to sweep under the carpet awful displays because we got a result. I know it's results that count but yesterday's showing against the third-worst team in the league was pitiful beyond belief.

I lost count of the times we gave away possesion with sloppy passing and constantly hoofed the ball down the channels to no-one in particular. Since when did AJ become a right winger? To be honest it was heading towards one of our worst performances of the season until the last 10 minutes. I was feeling suicidal after what seemed like the 100th ball was lobbed in to the box to one of the midgets waiting for it.

Please can some body tell me what use Leon Osman is to the team because I can't think of one. Another inept lightwieght performance from him to add to his collection. Please, no more. James Beattie was given another chance, why? I feel sorry for the lad now. His confidence is shot to pieces and he just hasn't got what it takes at this level any more. The game's moved on from what it was when he was at Southampton and so should he.

For once Moyes moved quickly in making the substitutions and bringing on McFadden did the trick so well done to Moyes on that one. 5th in the league and right on track for another European nightmare ? that's how I see it anyway. When we come up against teams and coaches who are technically more advanced than us and play a better system than the Charltons of this world, I fear we will be doomed.

The long-ball game of kick and run WILL not work against sides from the continent. You need only to look at the last time we tried it. Distastrous is how I remember it. If we are not to be humiliated once more then Moyes needs to have a complete rethink on his approach to the game. A total transformation of his playing style is what's needed to progress further than the 1st round.

I must admit though that the Ginger One has far exceeded my expectations of him by getting us so high in the league table. It really is an achievement to do it playing so poorly don't you think?

A word of warning to all of you who are getting carried away with it all out there. Remember the season that followed after we finished 4th? Not a pretty sight was it? Not one I would like to see again either. Let's hope as you all keep telling me that Moyes does learn from his mistakes and lightning doesn't strike twice. Surely we can't be butchered in Europe so easily again can we?

The next home game against Man Utd will give us all a yardstick with which to gauge our progress under Moyes and give us some clues as to what is required next time we take on Europe. We might be the best of the rest at the moment but it's not best of the rest we will face when we take to the field in Europe next season is it?

Great achievement to be 5th at present no doubt about that but don't let your guard down and think the job's done. The job starts here and this time it needs doing properly.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/3/07)

A lot of fair points there Tony - amidst the fear lies a hint of hope. You serve to highlight the thin line that exists between unbridled joy and a week's worth of angst over points dropped at home yesterday. However, McFadden did get us out of jail and for once we could celebrate a Sunday where everything went our way (Spurs dropping points and 7th place in the League becoming confirmed as a cert for UEFA Cup qualification).

Ask any Man United fan about Ferguson's tactics and team performance on the night that side of theirs won the European Cup. They were woeful, outplayed yet the final score shows them winning. And that's what matters most ? as Mr Moyes will time and time again point out to any of us who are critical of the performances this season (valid or otherwise!). I'd like to think he's amended his ways after the crowd let him know in no uncertain terms towards the end of the Spurs home defeat ? incidentally, the last game we were beaten in! ? Colm

The Run-In

Here is the run-in for those who want to do the calculations! Overtaking Liverpool will never happen with that run in! Arsenal may stumble but to catch them is surely extremely wishful thinking. However, with the additional Uefa place now available, we will do really well to blow this one! COYB!

  • Liverpool: Middlesbrough (H) Wigan (H) Portsmouth (A) Fulham (A) Charlton (H)
  • Arsenal: Man City (H) Tottenham (A) Fulham (H) Chelsea (H), Portsmouth (A)
  • Bolton: Reading (H) Chelsea (A) West Ham (A) Aston Villa (H)
  • Portsmouth: Aston Villa (A) Liverpool (H) Everton (A) Arsenal (H)
  • Tottenham: Arsenal (H) Middlesbrough (A) Charlton (A) Blackburn (H) Man City (H)
  • Reading: Bolton (A) Newcastle (H) Watford (H) Blackburn (A)

Cenric Clement-Evans, Merthyr Tydfil  (16/4/07)


At the start of the season, when asked what I expected from Everton I said I'd take a Uefa Cup place and a final for one of the cups otherwise Moyes should be punted. I still agree.

All this shite of him being a legend is just daft. Until we are a CONSISTENT top 6 team and compete in both cups then we can't get carried away. With the players we've got we should be doing both but we're not consistent enough over the years. I can see us next season scraping down the bottom half again.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (16/4/07)


At the present time we are only seven points behind Liverpool who are in fourth spot, but they do have a game in hand.

I know it's big wishful thinking and probably a definite impossibility, but wouldn't it be great if they suddenly hit a bad run and lost all five and we won our four...yeah, I know its a lot to ask of the Lord but everyone down on your knees and light those candles. Wouldn't I just love to see that.

Well done you blue boys.
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (16/4/07)

Somethin' in the water this morning! ? Colm

Wishful thinking?

First things first... what a goal from McFadden yesterday!!! While we may all get frustrated with him at times, we must all agree that the talented young Scot is one of the few players in our squad capable of scoring such a quality goal out of nothing. Pure class.

We are now getting excited by the prospect of Uefa Cup football next year. While trips to Bulgaria or Estonia on a Thursday before a weekend Premiership match might be a bit unwelcome, would we really turn down a Uefa Cup spot if it was given to us? I think not, even if it is not financially rewarding, it will give us much needed experience in Europe and help in attracting a better calibre of player in the close season (Fernandes included?).

However, why not talk about the Champions League instead? The only thing consistent about Arsenal is their inconsistency and with games against Spurs, Chelsea, Portsmouth, not to mention Fulham, who are fighting for their lives, is it unreasonable to expect them to drop points in any of those games?

While we have some tough matches ourselves, the team's confidence must be high, a win against the doomed Hammers and a home win against United and why not pip the Gunners for 4th spot. Or is this wishful thinking?
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (16/4/07)

Yes, it is wishful thinking! ? Colm


Please sign Fernandes, Leighton Baines, David Bentley. Please offload Beattie, Wright, Van der Meyde, Pistone, Naysmith

ps: Anyone in Singapore to share a pint with?
Mark Cassin, Singapore  (16/4/07)

Mark, can we have next week's Euro Millions numbers please. ? 'David Moyes'

Uefa Cup is the first step

I completely agree with Nathan. I have no problems getting up at 4:30 in the morning here in Adelaide to watch Everton play Flora Talinn.

I can understand how some fans might not get excited by the prospect of Uefa Cup football, but our previous attempt at Champions League was horrid. We must learn to walk in Europe before we run in the Champions League.

Also, European cup runs, whether Champions League or Uefa Cup, means that we need more depth in the squad, which can only mean better things for the domestic league campaign. With more players means a larger pool of talent, more depth to cover injuries and suspensions and best of all, more competition for those limited 11 places.

So bring on the Uefa Cup, let's have a good run and build our club up to a more deserved status.
Allan Kane, Adelaide, Australia  (16/4/07)

Agreed that we'll need to strengthen the playing side of matters in other to make further progress. Investing in the playing side of matters is the hoped for catalyst to better times. ? Colm

Verge of greatness?

Without wishing to sound like the lamented Richard Dodd who seems to have passed from us, am I alone in thinking that David Moyes is on the verge of being raised to the level of Messrs Catterick and Kendall in the order of great Everton managers?

At a time when the Top 4 are in a league apart, finishing fifth would surely be the equivalent of winning the old First Division and when seen in the context of his overall achievements, Moyes must now be one of the greats. Please someone on here give him the credit!
Bob Lightowler, Burscough  (16/4/07)

Y'see this is the thing! I'll say whooooaaah there, Pull in those reigns! Moyes has won nothing. NOTHING! And that comment alone sees this place deemed anti-Moyes by all and sundry! Not so. Moyes has a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as the two you refer to. I'd like to think that David Moyes himself would say as much if asked that very same question. ? Colm

Looking to Europe

I just want to say Dan Murphy doesn't represent all South Australians and Australians. For those of us too young or too new into football to have witnessed the glory years of Everton, I am and will be as chuffed as hell to see us in a major competition. I'm damn proud of this group of lads and if we get into Europe next season, there'll be some in Australia getting up in the early hours!!!
Nathan Round, Berri, Australia  (16/4/07)

Without wanting to put a downer on it, I tend to agree with Dan's overview that the Uefa Cup ain't what it was these days. Europe these days is all about the Champions League ? on both football and monetary levels. The Uefa Cup? Anything but I'm afraid. However, over the years we've very rarely qualified for the Uefa Cup via a high League placing so that in itself would be an achievement worth recognising, if and when it's secured, of course!

Also, and this is the bit that has me scratching my head these days... European football recognises co-efficient these days. Yeah, I know... errrr???? I've not checked lately but wouldn't be surprised to find, according to some wonderful Uefa stats, that Skonto Riga have a better European pedigree than ourselves! With or without the assistance of Dinamo Bucharest! ? Colm


After listening to Alan Pardew's post-match comments yesterday, I think it's a case of rose tinted glasses: "I was really dissapointed that we were looking like only coming away with a point, let alone a loss".

I know your team is GOING DOWN and you've got to big them up before your foray into the Championship, but for God's sake get realistic, it should have been far more comfortable than it was.

During the transfer window, we tried to sign Bougherra from Sheffield Wednesday, who showed how ambitious he was by snubbing us and going to Charlton. Brian Laws called it a "No Brainer". So it was priceless when Faddy chipped the ball over him and smashed it into the net. Let's beat West Ham next week and send them down too. COYB
Chris Neubauer, Oxford  (16/4/07)


Sod the result - what about that goal?

The hope of seeing moments like that are why I still watch the game.
Kevin Sparke, Northumberland  (16/4/07)

Agreed. It was a thing of beauty! ? Colm

Premiership Contenders

Michael, you claim that the few games we should have won this season have frustrated you and spoiled everything. But if we had have won those games and gotten an extra 15 points then Everton would be practically challenging for the Premiership.

Are you saying that if not for a few games thrown away, David Moyes has created a Premiership winning team? You believe those few games were winnable for Everton so you must think that Everton are good enough to win the Premiership.

So what you're saying is David Moyes now has a side good enough to challenge for the Premiership, from relegation strugglers to Premiership contenders in five years, amazing work Mr Moyes.
John Cottee, Romford  (16/4/07)

Beginning with your conclusion where you're attempting to misquote Michael I'm sure he'll (when he comes online later) put you straight and remind you that it's not so long ago we were finishing a magnificent seventh and two seasons later a very creditable fourth. I think no matter anyone's opinion on the good the bad and the sometimes ugly of this current Everton side that you can hand on heart dare claim them to be genuine Premiership contenders! For all their millions spent I wouldn't even consider our neighbours to be so! What we are is a team amongst the best of the rest ? good to watch one day, dreadful the next.

This season, I've enjoyed it in parts, and endured in others. The bright start to the season, where a ten-man Everton side were confidently passing a decent Spurs side to death at White Hart Lane proves that Moyes has the nucleus of a potentially very good side.

The downside to all the positives was never greater highlighted, for me anyway, yesterday, with the forced placing on the subs bench of one Anderson da Silva. Little or no-one left to select from, leaving Moyes with no option but to put this lad on the bench. Our numbers are threadbare, particularly when injury robs the manager of choice. Surely any would-be Premiership challenging side has the luxury of choice, John? - Colm

Why we shouldn't sign Nugent

First of all, Cahill is a crap midfielder, we all know that, so let's see him now as a striker. He has shown he's a bloody good foil for Johnson, and so is Vaughan. Let's not forget super-sub Anichebe and McFadden, and young Lukas. We have 6 strikers, should we really pay £6 million for an unproven striker?

On the other hand, any money should be diirected to sign:

  1. Fernandes
  2. A winger
  3. A centreback
If we can extend Anderson's contract as well, we'll have 6 strikers, 8 midfielders, and 8 defenders. For me, that's a big enough squad for a European assault.
Eric Cryton, Liverpool  (16/4/07)


Hey Michael, I implied people were complaining for a reason because, given today's result and our position in the table (5th!), people are still not happy, they'd rather whine about the performance. Let's be honest, at the end of the day, under the circumstances, it wasn't that bad! That aside, somebody did have a whine and your response was: "Rejoice! Results are the only thing that matter! ? Michael"

As I said... the results ARE INDEED more important!
Martin Cutler, Still in Canton, OH, USA  (16/4/07)

Okay, one thing I think you need to figure out: Someone saying we did not play well (when we did not play well) is not "complaining" if it's true ? it's merely an observational fact or judegement.

But Moyes says everyone played well, so I guess they're all wrong anyway! There are a few hold-outs who sill believe the spectacle of a football match should be more attractive than it is. But they just don't geddit, do they? The only thing that matters is the RESULT!!! ? Michael

Uefa Cup ? Who Cares?

I'm not bothered about making the Uefa Cup. Who cares about playing Red Star Thingumybob on a Thursday night with a league game on the Saturday after?

Since Uefa changed it all and got rid of the Cup Winners Cup, the Uefa Cup has lost any prestige it had. All that stupid group stage bit creates too many games. Who can name some recent winners of the Uefa Cup. I don't know and couldn't care. If we get into it I hope we go out early.

If Arsenal get two points out of their next two games and we win on the weekend, it's game on as far as I'm concerened. They are on the slide so it can't be ruled out.

I reckon we'll draw with Man Utd and beat Chelsea and will stand a good chance of finishing fourth. I'd like to see the spin the Moyes haters put on that one.
Dan Murphy, Adelaide, Australia  (16/4/07)

Back-to-back wins?

What's the big deal with back-to-back wins? If in three games, we win the first two then draw the third game, is it better than winning the first, drawing the second and the winning the third? We'd still get the same amount of points.

At the end of the season, it's the total points accumulated throughout the whole season that counts. At the start of the season, I thought we had the best squad outside the top 4. Currently at 5th, I don't think we are over-achieving and definitely not under-achieving. Moyes has done well this season, credit to him.

Whenever we are without Ferandes, we play a little badly. But if Man Utd were without Carrick or Arsenal without Fabregas, I think they would be quite different from us. A play maker makes a big difference to the team.
Eric Cryton, Liverpool  (16/4/07)

One word: Consistency.

5th... that IS good news

Mebbe this wasn't one of our best performances but, as I said in an earlier post, I really don't think I could take it if we played exciting footie and were challenging for Europe.

Personally, I think the big difference of late is that, when we go down by a goal first (v Fulham) we came back and won the game; we play a physical game against Bolton (who equally are fighting for a spot in Europe) and we come away with a well-earned point; and then today we play Charlton who are fighting for their lives and have actually done really well of late. Having tied the game, we still kept it up right to the last minute and actually won the game!

When that last STUNNING goal went in, I nearly fell off me chair... I REALLY DON'T CARE IF WE PLAY boring or stunning footie (well, I do but that's not the point), I care about the results and the effort the lads put in. Right now, I have no complaints and as to the three games I mentioned... in recent times, I would have expected to lose all three so definite improvement all round.

And let's not forget that Cahill, Fernandes, Anichebe and Vaughan (and others) are all injured. I know we all want perfection but how anybody could be complaining at this point is beyond me. PROUD TO BE BLUE... AND FIFTH!!!
Martin Cutler, Canton, OH, USA  (15/4/07)

Who's complaining? No-one's complaining... we're just not getting carried away, as the boss said. I'm right behind Moyes, me: I hang on his every word. ? Michael

Wayne Routledge

Appreciate it's all about opinions, but can people stop obsessing about Wayne Routledge! He's shite! Can't cross a ball and is a very poor man's Ronaldo. There's a reason he was on loan for so long after signing fromSpurs. Goal-scoring winger, as well as goal-creator? He's yet to find the mark for Tottenham. Even the Spurs fans I know think he's useless...

Aaron Lennon - damn, if only we'd taken the offer Leeds made us for him when they went down....
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (16/4/07)

Lukas watch

I was pretty happy with the result over Charlton. To come back and win the game late like that and with a bit of real class from McFadden was good to see.

Looking to the future, I notice that our new young striker Lukas Jutkiewicz has scored the winning goal for Swindon for the second week in a row. It's another matter entirely doing it in the Premiership, of course, but at least it looks like the lad knows where the goal is. He could turn out to be another of Moyes's bargain buys from the lower divisions.

Talking of which, I was interested in the comment that Spurs may get Giles Barnes "because they always grab the best Brits" from the Championship. Surely the best two Brits signed during last summer are both at Goodison ? in the form of Lescott and Johnson??
Richard Ewart, Melbourne, Australia  (16/4/07)

Lousy game...

...three points won and McFadden actually scores a great goal. Should I feel overjoyed or fear the arse-whipping we will receive if we play like this in Europe? I really don't know....
Erik Dols, Maastricht, The Netherlands  (16/4/07)

Rejoice! Results are the only thing that matter! — Michael

Results count... but for how long?

Remember May 2005? Every Toffee fan was optimistic about our Champions League adventure, beating Liverpool to 4th place, and sung Moyes's name long into the night. Then remember May 2006. Everton having an embrassing record of getting knocked out of TWO European competitions in the primary rounds, scored the least goals in Everton history and fans were slating Moyes for playing the same football as last year but not achieving the same results. Meaning: DON'T GET TOO CARRIED AWAY LADS, RESULTS ONLY MASK THE TRUTH AT TIMES!

And the truth is again today we were very fortunate to win. The game should have been over at the 60th minute mark. Today clearly showed me many things about us, like:

  • We need another class/world-=class striker as NONE of our strikers are lethal hitmen. Good, yes but the chances we missed, Man Utd or Chelsea would have buried!

  • Beattie is GONE in the summer. Commitment, yes; skill and striking ability... zero! He is a useless fat lump and his disgust at his substitution was infuriating! His attitude is all wrong and the quicker he leaves the better!

  • Moyes saying he settled for a point before the winner! Sorry, son, but that negative talk is horseshite and again highlights your passion for caution. Ultimately, you have done very well at Everton, but you need to learn to attack, Moyes ? especially at home.

  • McFadden! Enigma! Useless yet so brilliant at times ? that's why he is so frustrating! But a good player to have in the wings for back up.

  • Da Silva: Looks good and is bloody huge! Still missing Fernandes (dogdy business why he ain't playing after recovering from injury... remember Ferrari?), so maybe he can step in? Neville did alright but clearly ain't a midfielder.
Overall, the push is on but, with Man Utd and Chelsea coming up, we'll see how far we have come!
Luq Yussef, London  (15/4/07)

From my seat

Another three points toward European qualification if not already there. This was a game for those who take the result despite the performance but in my view not the best for keeping you on the edge of your seat as today we dominated throughout against a team who were prepared to let us do that whilst gambling on us not being able to break them down and secure a lifeline point for themselves.

With the game being so one-sided but yet, for all our approach play, no cutting edge was forseeable. It all left me being sidetracked into wondering why their number 23 was wearing gloves on such a beautiful day and why Beattie wore his socks so low. Also, why should a raw 18-year-old striker with a cut foot be such a big miss.

H/T arrives and the chat is we will either get a bagful second half or we will see a disappointing stalemate.

We start the second period as we left the first but still no sign of a breakthrough. Then the manager makes a sub and hauls off Beattie in favour of McFadden and I couldn't help feeling sorry for the lad as he had given all he could yet still looked short at this level.

The game meandered on in the same vein, our attack against their defence, and they were happy that we didn't have the nous to hurt them. An away point at Goodison would be satisfactory whilst holding on to the hope that catching us on the break was possible with the quicksilver Bent being supported quickly by Ambrose.

Ten minutes to go and a Johnson snap-shot is very well saved by their keeper but his push out is only to the predatory Lescott who finishes well and we all think "That's it!" But no, football isn't like that... they throw attackers on and, instead of defending, they throw caution to the wind and go forward whilst we surrender all the control we did have and drop deep to hang on to the win.

Arteta takes a knock and looks decidedly wobbly, he is replaced by the lesser seen Da Silva and his entry cuases a comic interlude as he appears not to know which position to take up. Carsley points to wide left but the skipper firmly sends him up front with AJ. with McFaddon ushered to the left. This causes confusion to both teams especially, the Blues defence, who get into a right tangle and the inevitable happens and the impressive Bent(D) slots home and they are ecstatic.

They then fall into the same trap as us and attempt to see out the game with the point they had come for. We in turn reverse our defensive mode and attack again once more, putting them on the back foot. We continue to press without any meaningful thrust... Then, just after the board is held up to show four minutes more, we put together an attack that sees McFadden come in from the left and, with a piece of skill that would't go amiss within Brazilian ranks, he chips over his marker and despatches a screamer into the net beyond the impressive Carson.

We see out the remaining minutes without mishap, the whistle blows, our players and fans are 'over the moon' whilst the Charlton players sink to the turf.

On leaving the ground, the mood is upbeat and snatched conversations are positive; I quietly wonder what our reaction might have been without that Jimmy Gem!!

My conclusion for today was of being grateful for the points but, in such end-of-season nail-biters or indeed any foray into Europe, we do need that extra bite and class from midfield.

I found it difficult to pick out a MotM; as much as Faddy will get deserved praise for that finish, as well as Arteta for being possibly our most skillful, my award goes to Tony Hibbert over the 90 minutes. Charlton did threaten mainly through the excellent Bent (D) and Hibbert made the decisive tackles to prevent them from having something to hold onto and make it much more difficult for us.

A trip to the Hammers next and probably a totally different game with different scenarios but one where we still should look for the maximum points. See you there -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (15/4/07)

Great narrative, as ever, Ken. I think I should make your regular contributions a pert of our Match Report file! — Michael

If my Auntie had a dick...

5th place is pretty impressive at this stage of the season; best of the rest of the and all that. However, I can't help thinking about all the points we thrown away this year, such Man City, Reading, Villa, Chelsea, Newcastle, Totenham. I reckon its at least ten, and all but Newcastle were Moyes's fault. Davie a legend? He's good but not that good.
Andy Lynch, London  (15/4/07)

Thanks, Andy. That's what I was trying to say. — Michael

Thanks Admin

I will endeavour to use capitals appropriatley, thank you for correcting my letter, I appreciate the last thing you need is to be proof reading letters especially after an avalanche of letters after today's game.

I was hoping you would comment on the content of my previous letter, but I suspect you are very busy.
Boris Berluskofski, Jersey  (15/4/07)

Sorry to beat up on you, Boris. You are right: too many letters! As for comment... No Coment! ;) — Michael

Everton v Charlton

Good result today even though we were poor and frustrating for most of the game. We seem to have the spirit back that made us so successful in the 04-05 season. We are grinding out results without playing anything special. I thought we had a lot of star players off their game today. I thought Johnson started off brightly but faded out of the game after that. Stubbsy was caught a few times for pace but Hibbert, Lescott and Yobo covered well.

Joseph Yobo had one of his better games and his distribution was excellent. Osman is a player that is brilliant one minute and falls over the next. Nobody can question Beattie's workrate but the quality just is not there. If only he was stronger and learned how to hold the ball up. All in all, I thought we played the better football and deserved to win.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (15/4/07)

Phil Neville

Often overlooked, what a contribution he makes and I can't see his name mentioned at all on any report or posting thus far but I thought he gave possibly his best performnace in a blue shirt for us today.

His covering, tackling and even crossing was spot on today but most of all I heard on many occasions him encouraging the rest of the team. I have to say that I have had my doubts and by no means have I ever in his career seen a player with >50 caps in him but in terms of a true professional he sets an example many younger players could learn from.
John Waugh, Ormskirk  (15/4/07)

Incredible. The only other mention was that he was awful. Each to his own... — Michael

Sorry, Jim

Yobo was held back because Lescott has pushed forward and Bent's pace had been a thorn in our side all day. Whenever Charlton threatened, it was through Bent and Moyes knows, like WE ALL know, that Lescott is more composed and threatening in the opposition half than Yobo.

As for Europe, Spurs and Seville... well Seville will be in the Champs League and we are unlikely to meet Spurs until later in the competition, and didn't we beat Spurs this season with 10 men?

Today, Charlton regularly had ten men behind the ball, and defended like the 300 spartans. Look at our injury list, especially in attack, and ask would it have been different if we had of had Fernandes, Vaughan, Cahill and Anichebe. That's four skilled attackers. As you brought Spurs up, let's see them struggle against Charlton without Lennon, Berbatov, Keane, and Defoe. They would be forced to rely on a big heavy flop like Mido... remind you of anyone today?

Fifth and pushing, beat West Ham and Pompey and a Uefa Cup place is all ours, with no Champs League refereeing fiasco haunting the playing staff.
Boris Berluskofski, Jersey  (15/4/07)

[Boris: use bloody capitals or you won't get published in future]


I know I've already posted this evening but just a quick response to Jim Hourigan's post below.

If this game had been played at Christmas everyone, myself included, would have agreed with it and muttered rebellion under our breathes. If anyone, editorial team or website subscribers had posted Michael's response, there would have been more collective mutterings.

The irony is though, that even though we have been out-played and out-thought by many in the second and third tier of the division, we are perched above them all right now. Our results, while not pretty in the manner of their achievement, have gotten us there and for the last four games, we will gladly accept the same style if it gets us the results we all crave right now.

Weird to have to say it, but same again Davey.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (15/4/07)

As good as it gets?

Another much welcolmed three points today. Pleased to see McFadden clinch it for us with a rare bit of quality in what was otherwise a poor game. I really hope the lad comes good for us, as I think he's one of the few players we have with real technical ability. He just needs to get his attitude right.

I came away from the game today a bit depressed with the overall standard of our football. At times Howard's punts were farcical, especially towards the end when Beattie, our only discernible aerial threat, had left the field. I thought Neville was awful today, and really highlighted how important Fernandes has become for us in the short times he's been around.

Beattie ran his socks off and had one or two nice little touches. Well, one at least. He just never looks like a goal-threat and running around a lot just doesn't cut it for me. AJ will be gutted he didn't take the chance early on when clean through, only to needlessly take a touch wide outside. Osman seemed determined to shoot every time he got the ball, no matter where. He was also muscled off the ball on more than one occasion today.

As always, Arteta was immense for us. He's so assured on the ball, so skillful, so graceful. Our best player bar none, and technically as good as the league's best. We have to hold on to the lad. I just hope the opportunity to become true Everton legend holds some meaning for the boy. I can understand why a return home may also hold some appeal.

Overall, I think today's game was a perfect example of just how over-hyped the Premiership is... Outside the top 4 (I want to say 5 or 6, but come on!) the standard of football is pretty poor.

I shouldn't feel bad tonight because we sneaked the 3 points we desperately needed, to calm nerves if nothing else. The Uefa Cup spot should be assured now, and we have some tasty games coming up... COYB!!
Raoul Duke, Manchester  (15/4/07)

It's the result that counted

I, as others on here, sat and watched a tense game with little flowing football on offer. I will not, however, have a go at Moyes or his tactics this time. We were playing a team that is fighting for Premiership survival and over recent weeks has been one of the form teams. They had a similar record to ours over the last six matches. Today they came for a draw and hoped to snatch a victory. They had ten men behind the ball and hoped the Bent would be able to score on the break.

No matter how good or (in this case) how poor you play, it is always difficult to break down a determined team; this team had not had a goal scored against them for a number of matches so must have been doing something right.

I saw Moyes shouting Yobo back and if I had been Moyes I would have done the same. At the time, if he had gone forward, it would have left us one on one with Bent and although Lescott is good it would have been dangerous. If they had broke and scored, many would have held this up as a Moyes mistake.

After this Moyes then instructed Carsley and Hibbert to stay back and Yobo and Lescott moved up for what I initially thought was going to be the winning goal. So obviously he is a master tactician. Yes, his two substitutions were involved in the winning goal. YES, I know this is rubbish but it shows that you can pick one incident from a match to criticize and one from the same match to praise. It depends on what you want the outcome to be.

Overall, a painful match to watch but the result and atmosphere at the end was brilliant. I want us to be in Europe next year and this appears to be a good possibility. I am not going to hope we fail so we can point-score against Moyes ? as far as I am concerned, I hope he becomes a legend as this means that results and trophies will have eventually come our way. If he doesn?t, I will be disappointed ? not for Moyes but for Everton.
Tony Miller, Merseyside  (15/4/07)


Good result, poor peforrmance

From my perspective, I'm delighted with the win today but it doesn't camouflage the fact that, for most of the game, we were downright awful. When thinking back to the games that we should have won but didn't, this is probably one of those where luck evens itself out.

I'm pretty confident that we'll qualify for Europe now and that we've got the nucleus of a good team, but I don't think that should stop Moyes having a bit of a clear-out. Top of the list has to be Beattie ? I believe he may find a club that suits him somewhere but he's clearly not going to cut it with us. We're still lacking real firepower even with Johnson, McFadden, Anichebe and Vaughan and I believe that another top striker is a priority. To be honest, even though he works his socks off and sometimes does score instinctively, I'm beginning to wonder if Johnson is as clinical as he ought to be at this level.

But that's a concern for another day. Onwards and upwards! ps: Bit surprised at only 34,000 attendance today...
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (15/4/07)

Maybe they'd gone to swell the numbers at Old Trafford... er, no, on second thoughts... If that is not an endictment of today's "quality football", I don't know what is. But then I keep forgetting the mantra: it's only results that matter ? not performances. Results, results, results... [fade] — Michael

Praise Required

With four games to go Everton are 5th. Even the biggest Moyes critics have to admit thats pretty impressive.

At the start of the season the Moyes critics were complaining because Matteo Ferrari had been let go but does anyone miss the injury-prone defender now that we have the excellent Lescott? The same people were complaining because old players like Stubbs were given new contracts but his influence this season has been so important.

It was claimed young players like Anichebe and Vaughan would not get a decent chance in the first team but both players are developing nicely and both have had plenty of first team football. It was also claimed that managers such as Martin O'Neill and Alan Curbishly would make better Everton managers, but both are struggling at their present clubs. Even Tony Marsh's precious Harry "now that's what I call a manager" Redknapp is attempting to get his side to somehow catch the Moyes boys.

I dont like saying I told you so but I know if things hadn't turned out so fantastically this season the Moyes critics would be banging their drums as loud as possible. I respect that many still have problems with Moyes but please, just a little praise for his work this season?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (15/4/07)

So help me here: if it's all about results (not the "football" we play), surely games that we should have won but didn't ? or should have drawn but lost ? wouldn't they stand as big negatives in this all-out quest for results, results, results?

And if that's the case, then, as Moyes himself says we should be in a better position, higher up the league than we are. You know what: I believe him. Which is why I think he and his team have under-achieved this season. And you're telling me he should be praised for not getting as much out of his players as he should have done, for not getting the results their skills and abilities would warrant? For forcing them to play negative defensive football rather than going for the win when warranted? Wherever we finish, those will be the main memories I take from this frustrating season. As Moyes echoed after the game, I'm not getting carried away just yet. ? Michael

So what results do we need?

How many more points do we need to qualify for UEFA? 3? 6? A win against West Ham and Portsmouth would do it wouldn't it?
Andrew Gaule, Ft Simpson, Canada  (15/4/07)

European Qualification

If we win at West Ham and Reading Lose away at Bolton then we will qualify for Europe. COYB! Everyone slagging off Moyes should get real and realise what a top job he has done, he will go down as an Everon legend.
Rob Jones, Essex  (15/4/07)

Now wouldn't that be wonderful? Unfortunately, as with another Scottish 'legend' until recently a part of Everton, it would a pity if he were to suffer from having that accolade bestowed upon him too early, before it was due. He has done well to get us climbing back up the table but that only really happened after the Spurs debacle. We are going to finsh with a very impressive positive goal difference; and winning the first of the last five games of the season is also a big step forward. I'm still waiting for those back-to-back wins that would be another good sign. Legend? Sorry, not yet, Rob; Not by a country mile. — Michael


A solid enough performance against a team who are fighting for their lives and who were unbeaten in six. And now we are fifth. You can point to the boos against Spurs but I can point to the chanting of Davey Moyes' name at almost every game. I'm absolutely convinced I'm in the majority in being behind moyes, and I'm also convinced I'm in the majority in thinking we're having a good season.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Merseyside  (15/4/07)


It was a good day all round today. Other results went with us, as well as us winning playing well.

Best of all though, McFadden gets some playing time and scores. Given that we now have extra midfielders, and Beattie has flopped again, I hope that McFadden gets a decent run between now and the end of the season as a striker. I know he has been inconsistent but he has never had a settled position. But when played up front he has always done well. An extended run as a striker could do wonders for him.

It would also mean not having to spend some of a limited summer budget on another senior striker. I do think four strikers, with Cahill able to push up if needed, might be enough for next season.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin, Ireland  (15/04/07)


Re: John Holmes on Osman "mercurialy average" perfect, enjoyed that one!
Rich Williams, Danbury, CT, USA  (15/4/07)

Yea, that was a great line. We'll put that in his eulogy. — Michael

It says it all!!!

Around 15 to20 mins to go, challenging for a European spot against a team in the bottom three at home. We get a corner, no Beattie by this time, so no big men in the box ? the crowd shouts for people to come forward ? we are at home against a team in deep relegation trouble. Yobo starts to come forward, gets about half way between the penalty box and the half way line, looks unsure so he puts his arms out questioning towards the touchline.

What does our illustrious leader do?

Tells him to go back to the halfway line and defend. Yes we're at home against a bottom three team and we'll settle for a draw. FFS

It actually happened today, and people say he's a good tactician, that he's learnt from the Spurs debacle, that he can take us forward. Sorry, woeful performance aside, that single incident sums up his ambitions ? don't get beat. We're fifth because the standard is so poor and he can get a team to defend. On a par with Bolton, just above Portsmouth and Reading that's the real statistic.

Anyone watch Seville and Spurs this week and think we can play football against them??? Playing in Europe demands the ability to win matches, it's a knockout competition ? not an eight-month league. Does he know how to win matches? His results in all the cup competitions to date clearly show he does not know how to send a team out to win a game from the start. He only knows how to avoid getting beat.

Today, for me, once again clearly showed his ineptitude in the tactics field. McFadden's winner was a piece of pure improvisation, and very nice to see, but how many of us were sat there thinking we had been held at home by Charlton? Most of the people sat round me felt that a draw was all we deserved, we created little in the way of real chances in what was a dire football match ? and he'd have settled for a draw with 15 mins to go at home!!!

Europe?? Do we really want another debacle like the last time? Because, with the players he's got, and the way he sends them out to play, it's what will probably happen. Get someone on the coaching staff who knows how to attack and is strong enough to stand up to Moyes and his negative, dour, defensive football before it's too late and we become a laughing stock in Europe again.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (15/4/07)

Er... Jim: you're using the wrong hymm sheet. It's results that count. Nothing else. We win, we draw, we win, we draw... as long as we don't lose. We haven't lost since the Spurs debacle. Nothing else matters. — Michael

A drunkard left wing dwarf Ferrari driver

Somebody used these words the other day. I recall that there was a message on the site a couple of years ago that Johan Cruyff had warned that this left-sided player, who can in theory go round defenders & cross or shoot, ie a jewel to any team, was a waste of time. I then asked this site what sort of contract these players were given, eg if injured for 20 games a season, what do they collect. The answer from the Editor at that time was, we all have confidential employment contracts. Does £5M-£10M down the drain mean anything? If so, who's to blame?
Dave Tootill, Johannesburg, South Africa  (15/4/07)

Ya win some, ya lose some. All part of the game. Results are the only thing that matter. Wasting a bit of money on crap players is just part and parcel. Let it go. We're fifth and cruising into Europe! ? Michael

Re: Richard

The only side who can play Champions League next season while finishing 5th in the Premiership is if that team wins the competition this season. For me, a UEFA Cup place does mean a very good season for us...
Fred Kwong, Hong Kong  (15/4/07)

Anderson da Silva

Finally he made his debut and he started the move for the second goal. Felt sorry for Andy Shandy but glad to see the Brazilian get his debut. He is huge ? even bigger than Joleon Lescott. Showed some neat touches and won a few headers and tackles. I'm not going to judge him on five minutes but glad to finally see Moyes throw him on.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (15/4/07)

Moyes doing a good job with limited funds

Could it be like I said all along? He's doing a good job with limited funds? Even if we don't finish sixth he's done wonders given the circumstances. In Moyes we trust. (Just admit you were wrong with Beattie, Davey...)
Craig McManus, Mold, Flintshire  (15/4/07)

Bye Bye Beattie

First of all, well done to the lads today. I had a feeling McFadden might do something to repay Moyes's faith in him. As for Beattie, it's got to be the end. He was crap ? end of. Of the goals that Anichebe, Vaughan and now McFadden have scored in recent weeks, would Beattie have converted any of those chances?

When Beattie goes, can Osman have his pie ration? The lad gets pushed off the ball far too easily.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (15/4/07)


I tend to agree. I always thought he was crap before he joined Everton and couldn't understand why the pundits rated him. I sat in the stands as he scored against us for Southampton a few years ago and said to my Dad ? "he's still crap". If a couple of youngsters can take their chance and shine, there really are no excuses for an 'established' striker. Pity we wasted £6M on him...

I remember a ToffeeWeb article about not trusting dodgy haircuts ? enuf said!
Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (15/4/07)

What if?

Should we hang on to 5th place and an English side wins the European Cup, am I being too hopeful that we might get a 5th English Champs League spot this year?

I'd just like to say that I also think that Moyes is doing a top job. To still have (however slight) a hope of making the Champs League is an enourmous transformation of EFC from where he took over.

Let's be fair, first we need to get the results, then attract a better class of player (which we are beginning to do!) and then improve the style of play. Also, we have the 5th largest positive goal difference in the Prem - that's a long way from the 1-0 specialists of 2 years ago!

Good luck to him and the boys on the pitch for the next 4 games and let's hope for a successful European campaign next year.
Richard Parker, Paris  (15/4/07)

Ya dreaming. It doesn't work like that. The only English teams in with a chance are already in the four positions that qualify for the Champions League. — Michael

David Moyes's Barmy Army

Great result as the Toffees march on. One question though, did Beattie play well? ToffeeWeb match report slags him off every other sentence but Sky Sports states "Beattie impressing in a target-man role upon his return to the team".

Having not seen the game, who am I to believe? (I'm imagining he was crap!)
Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (15/4/07)

He ran around chasing everything. If you believe a striker should chase everything, then he did well, played a fantastic roll in running the legs off Charlton, and wearing them down so that oothers could ultimately take advantage.

If, on the other hand, you believe (as I do) that a striker needs to be getting in the right place and at the right time, getting his body shape right, jumping high enough to connect well with the ball to score goals from half-decent chances, then he was poor. That's my problem with him. It's about a helluvalot more than workrate!

Apparently, it's because he's lacking in confidence, or we don't play the right type of football for him. Enough of the excuses: the game is about scoring goals. It's all about results. He quite clearly cannot do it for us. End of. — Michael


Sometimes it is better to sacrifice ones pride's and tempt fate. That is exactly what I did and it obviously worked. You should be thanking me pal.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (15/4/07)

Hahaha... yeah, right, Kieran, I believe ya! — Michael

Winning Ugly

Still buzzing from the emotional roller-coaster of those last ten minutes but my take on today's game was that any win was a good win.

It was ugly, messy, bloody awful at times. The few flashes of smooth passing and flowing moves which did crop up were welcome but infrequent to say the least. But let's be honest, after 20 minutes Charlton had given up any aspirations to win the game and simply sank deeper and deeper. The second half wasn't a football match; it was a siege.

Everton's tactics were right under the circumstances: get it wide and pelt the crosses in. Sadly the crosses were abysmal for the most part. Even Arteta's delivery was largely wayward. When we finally grabbed the goal it felt like job done, to see them peg us back was heart-breaking but all credit to the lads for not giving up on the three points and credit to McFadden too. You've just won yourself a starting place at West Ham.

For me this was a quintessential example of one of those matches when the MotD pundits sit back and drawl on about winning when you're not playing well. Charlton were only interested in not losing, several of our players were looking off the pace and making silly errors, the tactics were right but the players simply weren't at the races and we're clearly desperately missing Fernandes, Cahill and (already) Vaughan but we got the points, we're in fifth and the ship sails on course.

A few footnotes. Surely this was one last chance too many for Beattie. I actually thought he did okay in the second half, not great but well enough to believe he might have a goal or two in him. It looked like someone had poured concrete on his feet at half-time. I really can't believe that this time his Everton career isn't over. McFadden looked lively and I've always felt he's been hampered by a lack of chances as a striker rather than a winger. Give the guy a run up front. Shades of Gascoigne in that winner.

Ossie... Ossie... what to make of the most schizophrenic performance I've ever seen! One minute falling over the ball, the next skipping past defenders, the next conpletely missing his touch, the next firing in long range efforts. Has there ever been a player so mercurialy average?

Finally, Da Silva... or Anderson if that's what we're calling him. Tony, you got your wish, and I have to say he looked as good as anyone can look in 5 minutes. Maybe all he did need was a few months proper training. Who can tell? His presence and appearance ahead of VdM may speak volumes for those two's long-term prospects.
John Holmes, York  (15/4/07)

It's all about the results at this stage. The end justifies the means... And the end of this one was pretty amazing. — Michael

Another nail-biter

Just when I thought we were going to wrap up the race for Europe Charlton go and score a bloody equaliser. Now I am looking at a tight race involving 5 teams and games against Utd and Chelsea to look forward to. Wouldn't be the same if we didn't have a nail-biting end to the season would it?
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (15/4/07)

Why don't you watch the bloody match instead of writing in here all the time? You never know... we might just WIN this one!


Wouldn't it be great if we could con the Portuguese into doing a swap deal of Beattie and Valente for Fernandes? Sadly, Souness isn't over there any more and nobody else would be stupid enough to fall for that. My fear is that all these comments about "Changing Cahill's role" from Moyes may be leading up to selling him in order to buy Fernandes. The other option is that we'll buy Fernandes and then in a Gary Speed type scenario we'll be told that Arteta is a scum bag and forced us to sell him for the exact same amount to another club.

I don't quite know why we still have McFadden since the logic that "if he can score for his country he can score for his club" has never been applied to poor old David Healy who has scored a lot more international goals than Fad. I think if we can get a new left back who is neither old nor injury prone, some kind of back up cente half, and a left winger who is neither a drunkard or a midget then we'll be in pretty good shape. That being said we must get Richard Wright off the wage bill because it pains me to think that he actually gets paid for his dire cameo appearances for us.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (15/4/07)

"I don't quite know why we still have McFadden" ? another one of those classically timed pieces of fan insight that make you look pretty darned silly, eh, Kieran?!? Back from injury, hasn't played for three months, wins two fabuous vital points for Everton with a superbly executed goal at the most crucial time imaginable. ? Michael

Free Transfers

So, who's actually available on a free this summer? Sidwell, Ball, Flamini... who else?

I do think that Sidwell is very similar to Cahill and we couldn't accommodate both in the same team. Plus, he's going to Newcastle, isn't he?

I'd love to have Ball back, who is an excellent defender, decent going forward and with a great long throw. It would be great to have him Valente and Lescott competing for the left-back slot and clearing out Naysmith and Pistone. It seems though that Bally will repay City's loyalty in him and stay there.

Heinze is also on a free, isn't he? But, he's likely to move to the continent and, however much I like him, we already have one 30-year-old left back in Valente.

Flamini is a good player, but I think that our midfeild would be exceptionally lightweight with Osman, Cahill, Arteta and Flamini, so I'd have to give that one a miss too.

If we can get two or three free transfers in though it would be a great help to our squad numbers (especially with a Uefa Cup campaign in mind) and it would leave funds available for a couple of biggish signings.

Sneaky I know, but we could always sign up Flamini and Sidwell on frees and then sell them on for a profit next summer!!
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (15/4/07)


I'm sorry, Gavin, but there is a difference between winning flick-ons and attacking headers to score goals. James Beattie is good at attacking a ball, as we have seen against the likes of Middlesbrough and Liverpool, but he lacks the spring of a smaller lighter man like Cahill. He is also in the best shape of his Everton career and every time he has come on he has chased everything. So he is not lazy and uninterested.

I am defending him in those respects but I do not think he is a good player. He lacks brute strength and the ability to hold up the ball to ever be called a target man. His future looks bad at the club but if we are negative towards him on the pitch it might reflect on the team.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (15/4/07)

Bolton Disgrace

It has been a long time since I visited an away ground to watch Everton. I have to agree with the earlier comments the supporters around my young son and I were devoid of footballing knowledge and of limited verbal versatility.

In fairness, the majority stood and clapped when Vaughan was being taken from the field but the person next to me stayed seated and made references both to his colour and the fact that he was a Scouser in Bolton and they don't want them there. This accompanied by the stewards laughing when the Everton away support wanted assistance from the St Johns ambulance could have lead to some unsavoury scenes, but to the Everton fans credit they remained as calm and resolute under provocation and aggression as the team on the pitch.

As for the Reebok Stadium, I had been a supporter of the Kirkby project up to this trip. The ground was worse than Goodison is now; what Bolton have is an Ikea ground ? looks good but is lacking a few nuts and bolts and finishing touches. If we intend to go to Kirkby then the ground spec needs to be substantially higher than Bolton, the facilities should be much better than they are currently and Bill Kenwright needs to spend some time outside the Directors box and see what the ordinary fans have to put up with.

Bolton was an eye-opener for me: it seemed to be badly planned and poorly executed and the less said about the quality of football they play the better. Small wonder the pitch is good ? the ball is never on it!
Allan Fry, The Hague, Holland  (15/4/07)


I can just see it, Beattie scores the winner against Charlton and goes on to score a couple more before the season's end. On the back of this, Moyes keeps him and we are subjected to the same lacklustre performances next year.

Show him the door and cut the wage bill. Vaughan and Anichebe are already better players and even McFadden looks more potent. We tried it, it didn't work. Thanks but no thanks James!
Lee Jones, Rugby  (15/4/07)

Defence of James Lard?

Sorry, Connor, but Biffa is 6'1" and to defend his inability is just not on. A striker of that sort of size needs the ability to win headers he simply doesn't win enough which is down to plain lack of ability of lack of the application of ability. To say centre-halves are taller than him then how do you explain the salmon like Tim Cahill at just 5'-10" ? three inches shorter ? able to score far more goals with his head?

Yes, it's about being in the right place at the right time and application of ability, again neither of which Biffa has shown enough of whilst at Everton. I agree with you that I've also seen Johnson skinned for pace on a few occasions but at least he applies his ability. I think with Biffa we simply have a player who doesn't fit the team and the way it plays but also one who hasn't done himself any favours by trying to show what he actually can do.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (15/4/07)

James Beattie

Connor, you list a number of old fasioned strikers Duncan Ferguson, Alan Shearer etc. How can you mention Beattie's name in the same breath as these greats? The worrying thing with Beattie is he now seems to lack any ability. He doesn't have any pace, I would take Osman to win a header against him, his touch is lacking, and the worst thing is he looks out of shape and lazy. If every time he was given 'another chance' he really looked like he wanted to put the effort in, fans wouldn't be so hard on him. I think there are other options available to Moyes today and he should use them ahead of reinstating Beattie.

After saying all that, I slated Carsley on here before and since then he's played unbelievably well, so here's to a Beattie hat-trick today!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (15/4/07)

James Beattie

Another challenge for James Beattie which will probably fail. While I badly want James to succeed I feel his time is running out. Two kids have skipped past him and knocked him down the pecking order. While Beattie was a good player at Southampton, he seems to have gone worse with the times and this is down to his style. The so-called old-fashioned centre forwards are leaving the game. The likes of Alan Shearer, Duncan Ferguson, Niall Quinn, Christian Vieri, Andy Gray, Greame Sharp and Dixie Dean are all being replaced by the likes of Henry, Johnson, Bellamy, Anelka, Rooney, Tevez, Defoe and Owen. Pace is what you need to be a force in today's Premiership and Beattie does not have it.

The thing that I do not like is fans moaning at him whatever he does. If he loses a header to a centre-half like Samba at Blackburn who is like 6ft 5inches tall it is not on for people to moan. I mean come on he is only about 6ft tall. No one moanes when Andy Johnson is outpaced by a defender and believe me I have seen it this season. Even if he doesen't become successful at Everton we should still get behind him because he does give his all. He has been lazy in the past but people just use it as an excuse when he is playing bad.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (15/4/07)

Bolton's Home 'Support' - Don't Make Me Laugh

Further to Rob Randall's review from the Reebok, I too had the opportunity to see the game with my 12-year-old daughter through the use of my mate's season tickets. Having made it into the ground at 4 minutes to 3, we sat down, politely applauding the Bolton players at 'our end' whilst I pointed out the Everton players to my daughter at the other end.

What followed from the home fans was, frankly, comical, were it not insulting to any sane person's intelligence. AJ rides two knee-high challenges before succombing to a Campo scything lunge - 'You cheat, Johnson' comes the cry. Diouf takes out Neville with a disgraceful over-the-top assault ? with the result that Neville gets booed for feigning injury for the rest of the match... and so it went on.

I suppose I should really have stood my ground and taken exception to the attitude of those around me but then wondered whether our own home support would have been just as blinkered. Well actually, no they wouldn't have because they do actually appreciate skill and endeavour from the opposition (Christ, even Steven Gerrard is given begrudging respect).

All in all, not a happy experience, although I can't complain too much seeing that the tickets were for free. I for one would dearly love to see Bolton back in a relegation fight next season ? and lose it this time.
Ian Mackenzie, Congleton  (15/4/07)


If a winger is what we need then we should look realistically. We are never going to buy a Ronaldo, Robben or Rosicky. My candidates would be the likes of Routledge, Boa Morte, Richardson, Ricardo Gardner, Kazim-Richards, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Downing, N'zogbia, Beasley, Trabelsi and Bouazza. All these are in our range and wouldn't cost to much money. It is obvious we lack pace in midfield areas especially on the wing. Fernandes is our quickest midfield player and he is a centre mid.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (14/4/07)

I know: let's name all the players in the Premiership! Why stop there... we could have anyone in the world! — Michael

Nugent vsThe Maybes

As we approach the 'business' end of the season, the back pages, internet sites and pub lounges will, as they always do, begin to fill up with numerous rumours about who will be lucky enough to pull on our famous blue shirt and join the club.

As we are all aware, the vast majority of these rumours will be 100% farcical nonsence, with the papers linking us to anyone in our price bracket, regardless of their availability or even ability.

One rumour, however, that seems to be consistent enough to have some fire with the smoke is the David Nugent saga, valued at £6M... oh wait, no sorry, £7M now he's "scored" for the national side.

If this is true and Moyes does have £6M-£7M at his disposal, then Nugent would no doubt be a good buy... but would he be the best? Is this not a lot of money to be spent on a striker who is not that different to what we already have in Victor, Vaughan and (on his day) Beattie?

However, a good team can never have too much competition for places (especially up front). But I for one believe that David Nugent is not the only promising young English striker who may be available in the summer... in the right hands and surrounded by quality could the younger, and perhaps more importantly, cheaper John Stead not be a welcome addition to our blossiming strike force?

Maybe, who knows. Maybe we don't even need another striker, MAYBE a left sided player like Gareth Barry would be even better. I would love to see him in the blue jersey as I feel he shares the passion and committment of Phil Neville, but with more quality. Plus he can play both left-back and left-mid... which have undoubtably been two of our weakest positions for many years!!!

Maybe we'll get into Europe, I personally feel we have performed well enough to this season and deserve to be there. But if for whatever reason we don't, please can we not turn against our chairman, manager and players like many of us so often do. Instead can we look to the future and support something that all true fans consider to be; in our hearts and in our souls... maybe.
Graeme Sullivan, Aintree, Liverpool  (15/4/07)


In one of the previous letters there was the suggestion of getting a target-man in in the summer. I'm all in favour of this as long as he ain't a slow ass like Beattie or we bypass Arteta and Cahill with crappy hit-and-hope balls...

I would prefer to get in a winger like Routledge, a holding midfielder who can lead a team like Reo-Coker, and maybe Nugent but not for £6M ? upped of course because of his deadly finish for England!!! We need to step up another class. Champions League aint that far away...

ps: Two new full backs wouldn't go amiss either!!!
Rob Wilkinson, Chester  (14/4/07)

Any Dream Will Do

I've just been watching some crap Saturday night telly when I spotted Bill Kenwright on the panel of some Pop Idol type programme with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

What is more embarassing: the fact that Bill is on it? Or the fact that I'm watching it? Hmmmmm...........
Francis Porter, High Wycombe  (14/4/07)

RE: Holmar Finsson and Hameur Bouazza

Indeed, Holmar, Bouazza looks a very good prospect ? he reminds me of Cahill with his tenacity in the penalty area. I am not sure he is a left midfielder though, more of a central attacking midfielder.

We have been crying out for a left midfielder as you have pointed out, but I truly believe we need a real left midfielder this time, someone who can use his left foot and actually cross with it. If we want to progress, we will need to incorporate width into our game. Arteta gives us exactly that when he is on the right; someone of the same mould on the left would be perfect... not sure if Bouazza is that man though.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Wallasey  (14/4/07)

Re: Tony Marsh... An ever popular letter title

I'll try to respond to you point by point Tony. Firstly, if you read my message I said I believed we signed Da Silva 2 years ago but then were forced to loan him to Malaga due to work-permit issues. That is also the account given by Wikipedia (reliable source, obviously); if correct, then he was already our player when Moyes "signed" him this season, just until January he was unable to play for us.

As for your hysterical ranting about players not deteriorating in the reserves. Yes, absolutely ? some players can cope with a year without much football. Others, however lose their sharpness, don't train hard enough and lose fitness, become disaffected through lack of games etc. Others still look good in other countries then struggle here. Carlos Tevez being a prime example. Veron being another. And let's not forget, for £700k, Da Silva was hardly likely to be a world-beater anyway and much more a squad player who might have the potential to blossom.

You call for Moyes to give him a chance but surely that is what the reserves are for. Moyes has watched him in training, watched him in the reserves and made his decisions. What you're actually calling for is for Moyes to give YOU a chance to appraise him. We all want to see new, exciting players thrown in to the team but the manager has to have some room for decision-making ? otherwise, you end up with George Weah's cousin playing for you.

I agree, it seems strange at times that Moyes signs players then they never seem to get a chance in the first team. But at the moment the first team is performing well. If Moyes does not believe VdM and Da Silva can add to that, based on what he sees in the reserves and training, then I'm willing to accept his judgement. Those are the decisions he's employed to make. I won't subscribe to this 'any change is good change nonsense'. By that logic I must be better than Naysmith because I haven't been given a chance yet.

Why do the fans need to see Da Silva to know he isn't good enough? Are you that anti-Moyes, you can't trust him to judge a player at all? Yes, it's frustrating that we paid £700k and haven't seen him but, as I stated, that was 18 months ago. Perhaps not Moyes's best decision but, until he leaves the club or truly disappears without trace, then I'm willing to withhold judgement. After all, he was on the bench last week.

I seem to remember similarly hysterical cries about the lack of opportunities for Vaughan, yet a favourable view, given his performances, would be that Moyes timed his introduction to the first team just right. As for VdM, the guy is a serial whinger and under-performer ? do any of us really know how fit he is? Is the team crying out for him right now? Let the manager manage.

To summarise, Moyes signed a player for a small but not insignificant fee, but was forced to see him idle away his time elsewhere for 18 months. The player has arrived at the club now and Moyes, AT THE MOMENT, does not see him as ready or needed for the first team. My point earlier was I fail to see why this attracts such moaning from the fans which often seems to be based on little more on some mythical belief that because he's Brazilian he must be good.
John Holmes, York  (14/4/07)

Bouazza for Everton

I think Moyes should do everything he can to secure this player for next season. We have been without a left winger all season, the last few seasons actually, and Bouazza has everything we need in a left winger. He´s quick, has good technique and an eye for goal. He would fit perfectly to our midfield next season along with Arteta, Cahill and Fernandes (hopefully). Since Watford are as good as relegated, he should be available for a reasonable price. His recent performances have been eye-catching but let´s hope not many teams will approach this diamond hidden in a otherwise poor Watford team.
Holmar Finnson, Iceland  (14/4/07)

Tony Marsh's obsession

I just don't understand Tony Marsh.

For a player who is on free transfer, Moyes saw something good in him 12 months ago. 12 months on, Moyes gives him 6 months to prove himself, probably due to a question of fitness.

He may be a good player, but with the likes of Neville, Fernandes, Carsely, Osman on form, it's hard for him to break into the first XI. Moyes brought him for cover just in case if we have a major midfield injury crisis.

Even if he's really crap, do we really need to be so arsed about a player who is a free transfer, on a 6-month contract??

I've seen him play for the reserves lately, and I can tell you for a free transfer he looks like a good signing.
Jackel Campbell, Liverpool  (14/4/07)

Free transfer? I thought we paid Montevideo £700k? And who knows how much we are paying him??? ? Michael

Da Silva And The John Holmes Theory

John, you can't have it both ways, mate. Moyes signed Da Silva regardless of wether he was shit in Spain or not. You say it's probaby because he didn't play in Spain rather than Moyes signing a dud that's made him this poor player.... What a load of shite!

If being stuck in some Spanish teams stiffs turns you into a shite player then what the fuck went wrong with Arteta? Arteta couldn' buy a game in Spain but is head and shoulders above everyone else at Everton.

You cant honestly believe Da Silva was a goodun when Moyes first watched him and then turned crap in 12 months. We have signed Da Silva, he is an Everton player now and he is a David Moyes signing, like it or not. By your calculations, anyone in a reserve team on the continent will, if they come to England, be a crap player. How about Tierry Henry or Patrick Vierra for example. Never got a sniff over in Italy but in this country they are world-beaters. So all I am saying is, if he was good enough 18 months ago, at least give him a fucking chance.

For some reason, I just don't see Gary Naysmith ? who is CRAP ? being a better player than Da Silva in the midfield role regardless of where the Brazillian has or has not been playing. As usual, we hear nothing at all coming out of Goodison about the guy. It's the same with AvdM and all I was saying is it's very strange.

If, as you say, Da Silva is shit, then fair enough ? but how will we the fans ever know if he doesn't get a game? If he is crap then please dont try to defend Moyes over his signing. He turned shit in the reserves in Spain... How lame is that, John?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/4/07)


With Liverpool currently operating at a much different level to us at the moment, financially, squad wise, and expectation-wise, our sights have turned very much elsewhere.

At the moment, Spurs are the team we feel the need to compete with most. This rivalry, for want of a better phrase, has been brewing over the last couple of seasons while both clubs have been striving to get things back on track.

While I am happy to be competing with Spurs for a European place, I do find myself envious of them in ways. My arguement is a bit shallow I admit in that I don't know much about their finances or their board, but I look at their manager, their squad, their seemingless endless pot of money for signings and I do feel envious. They seem to be a club on the up and you never seem to read or hear anything negative.

We spend all our time on this website stating and argueing about what seems to be the obvious. No money for anything, a self-serving board and a genuine but limited manager. What hope we have comes in the form of a European place. Even in this, we sit around with fingers crossed that other clubs do us a favour.

Please don't get me wrong. I love Everton with all my heart. And we could win three-nil tomorrow and I will regret having posted this piece. But maybe it's just the nature of suppoting a club nowadays that's not mega-rich ? you're damned forever to have classic bipolar tendancies.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (14/4/07)

Return Ball

Michael Ball is in the process of having a mansion built right next door to Richard Dodd in Formby. It looks like some recent posters may be about to have their wish of a Ball return to Goodison soon granted!
Neil Rimmer, Freshfield  (14/4/07)

re Ann Adlington

Well done, Ann, on bringing this up. It has always had me puzzled as to where the money goes, I remember years ago when standing in Glawdys Street and being squashed and then reading a ridiculous attendance in the Echo. So Everton hiding facts is not new but this asset-stripping is criminal ? who is going to buy a name?

Alright, Everton is more than a name to us. But to buyers, what's there to entice them? Kenwright and his cohorts have a lot to answer for... I personally hope Kirkby goes pear-shaped. But I'm also concerned about our future as it appears to be getting slimmer with every asset-striping deal. Of course, Bill's boys will I hope prove I'm talking out my arse ? I just hope I am!
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (14/4/07)

So if the money is disappearing, someone is taking it, right? That must be someone involved in the club at the very highest level, a senior investor. Assuming it were happening, then that would indeed constitute a great return on investment, and surely make Bill's 24/7 search for new investors much easier.

But hang on a minute: don't we want investors to be putting money in, not taking money out? And if it was happening, how could we afford to buy and pay even the players we have, never mind bringing in new ones for gobs of money?

However, there is one person, a member of the Board and avowed entrepreneur, who actually owns no shares... but receives large bonuses and he of anyone is in the most powerful position to manipulate the books... Hmmm... maybe you do have a point! ? Michael

Da Silva and Football Manager

With regard to the "mystery Brazilian". I do wonder about some of the people who post here who argue that surely a well-built Brazilian must be able to do a better job than Neville/Carsley. As if the fact he is Brazilian gives him some divine gift of footballing mastery. Quick information for you, there are Italians hung like pixies, Frenchmen who don't surrender, Americans who aren't fundamentalist Christians, Britains who are crap at queueing and Brazilians who can't play football.

As for whether he should have been signed at all. My understanding was that Moyes signed him a couple of years ago and he has been on loan at Malaga but barely playing. It appears then that whatever Moyes saw in him has been lost in this time. It looks increasingly unlikely we'll ever know what it was Moyes saw but the farce in Spain seems as likely a cause for his failures as Moyes simply picking a bad 'un.

As for the rather random speculations on players. My sole contribution for now is just to question. Is the rumoured £6M fee for Nugent really the best use of our resources? He's certainly a quality player but he doesn't offer any variety to our attack and we're not short of quality strikers right now. Even if Beattie leaves we still have 4 strikers plus Cahill (in a 4-5-1). If Moyes invests in a striker I would rather see him purchase a target man to give us the opportunity to change our approach (or at least play long balls to compete with the defender rather than to get behind the defender... or is that just cynical?) I'd much rather see £6M spent on a winger to aid us in counter-attacking effectively.
John Holmes, York  (14/4/07)

'Fans ownership'

Apologies if this is an old agenda but it seems to me the only way the club can go forward with respect to a new ground and investment in players is if the fans own the club. There are some interesting role models in Spain on this and I would love to hear fans opinions and how ToffeeWeb views these things. At least things would be likely to be above board.
Si Hodgson, Southport  (14/4/07)

Hi Si; this is a wonderful idea and it does crop up now and again. In the UK, I believe this is usually attempted through a Fans Trust. Did you know some enterprising Blues tried to get that idea going at Everton? you can read about it here.

Getting the fans on board is only a part of the story. Ownership of Everton is via shares in Everton FC Co Ltd. There are 35,000 shares, with less than 10% owned by "small shareholders" ? who may or may not be fans. For Fans Ownership to work, that percentage must increase significantly, either by purchase of existing shares (at £1500 to £2000 each, they are likely beyond the means of your average fan, and few are typically available anyway) or by issue of additional shares. Interestingly, issuing shares was a key part of Peter Johnson's strategy and it helped him benefit hugely when he came to sell his stake to Bill Kenwright and 'friends'.

As the current custodian of EFC, BK shows little interest in diversifying share ownership ? if anything, the opposite, if you look a the consoldiation of shares with Robert Earl. If more shares were issued, that would dilute Bill's ownership... unless he bought a big chunk of the new shares himself ? something he probably can't afford to do.

But I've said much of this before; we should see if there is any more insight or feeling out there... — Michael


Fernandes: an absolute must and £12M would be a bargain as he's only young and will develop into an immense player.

Nugent: many says it's a done deal... his signing would surely end the Everton career of Beattie, who I feel he made the wrong choice rejecting Villa as they play with wingers and he'd have suited their play.

Aliadiére + Flamini: both would be good signing and would Aliadiére end the everton career of McFadden?

Sidwell: would be a good player to have on a free but is he too similar to Cahill and how would we fit him in if we sign Fernandes?

Bale: a long shot but we need a left-back. United have two high-paid one's, we desperately need a recognised left-back ? if there's money generated from sales and we see what's left in the coffers, surely a sneaky bid can't harm, especially if we make Europe.

Barnes: looks like Tottenham will do their usual and buy every decent Brit outside the Premiership but this lad has a real future and £3M isn't much for his class.

But what we have to remember is that this year's TV money was surely used to fund the Lescott and Johnson deals last year... wasn't it?

Whatever happens, we've now got the basis of a very young team that's about to peak. Sure we'll miss out on a few, but suppport the team, don't get on Beattie's back on Sunday, I predict he'll score 2.
Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (14/4/07)


Eileen Roberts gets loads of flak but I've no doubt she's a true blue. However, instead of saying we have no alternative but to move to Kirkby, I wish that she (and a lot more Evertonians) would query how we have reached this position.

I've been watching the club's finances for ages. In 2003, I posted on BK's website (yes, it might as well be called Kenwright's website) the fact that we didn't have a carrot ? everyting has been mortgaged off. Since then, in 2005, we sold off Netherton and the megastore, a bit of Walton Lane and 24 Newby Street at the princely sum of £3M in total for all those sites ? at the height of the property boom. We've since sold off and leased back Finch Farm.

Eileen, you should be asking, "Why is our club being asset-stripped? Why are we in a position now that we have to ask for a freebie from Tesco? Where's the Rooney money gone? Where's the TV money gone?"

David Moyes has a fantastic record in the transfer market. Despite a couple of bad buys, records show that (in effect) he has spent nothing because of his wheelings and dealings in the market. Every Evertonian should be screaming from the hilltops, "Why are we in the position we are now in finacially? Why can't we attract investment?"

My view is that the Kirkby thing is a smokescreen ? we ain't even got the money to go there. While we are all going to war debating this non-happening venture, the guilty parties are sitting pretty. Giving us the impression that they are taking steps to move forward, but really taking the club nowhere.

Let's stop debating between ourselves and ask the club how we got to the position we're in now. An average of 35,000 every home game. An average £700k take every home game... Where's our money going? Why do our assets continue to be sold? EFC don't even own Goodison Park.
Ann Adlington, Everton  (14/4/07)

Hello, Ann... an interesting rant. We don't usually get many takers when we profile real money matters on here ? despite the obvious fascination/pre-occupation with spending the virtual millions on virtual summer transfers...

So I'll start the ball rolling: have we really sold GP? When did that happen? I have access to only the last three Annual Reports, and all include under Tangible Fixed Assets, the following statement:

The Club's premises at Goodison Park, the equipment and contents, together with the residential properties were revalued at £13,097,550 by John Foord & Company as at 31st May 1999.
Are you saying that is a lie? Also, surely the income from gate receipts is included in the Annual Reports as a component of Turnover? I know it is the thing to slam the club, and I am usually the most sceptical, but do you honestly have so little faith in the audited and published corporate accounts? Surely that is a very serious accusation.

And to bring this full circle, surely the most powerful rationale for the other asset-stripping you mention (which is substantiated in the accounts) is to provide monies for the purchase and salaries of new players? — Or am I really that naïeve? Michael

Da Silva lining

Re the Brazilian, I could wax lyrical, but it would be a close shave. Perhaps talk of Hollywood is more appropriate?!
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (14/4/07)

Ho ho ho!

Maintaining the success for next season

I think the key to maintaining the form we have shown this season is not to sit back and admire what we will hopefully achieve, but to invest in the team and strengthen the squad in a number of positions whilst we can offer European football, if we don't we risk doing what we did last time, returning to the middle of the table.

I think we will need about 6 or 7 new players in the squad... 2 defenders 4 midfielders (some just back up) and a striker as we should be getting rid of Beattie. The players I would try and bring to the club would be...

  • At the back: Leacock from Derby and Anton Ferdinand on the cheap from West Ham if they go down.
  • In the middle of the park: Joey Barton, Steve Sidwell, Giles Barnes and Manuel Fernandes.
  • Up front: it goes without saying, Dave Nugent can complete his dream move.
You will probably say how are we going to afford all them but, if we are to become a regular member of the top 6, we need to spend now to ensure success in the future, and who knows a good team may even lead to an investor in our wonderful club.
Danny Jones, Liverpool  (14/4/07)

Who we should buy?

Given the fact that we will receive a substancial sum by finishing 5th/6th/7th ? and therefore qualifying for Europe as well (hopefully), will our money be lost in Bill's slush fund? (Who is the next Joseph? ? Surely Tiny Tim...) or will he back a manager who, after the first five years, is now finding consistency!!!

I think a lot of blues will agree with the fact that Moyes has made a lot of superb signings; however, what do we need? A combatitive midfielder to replace the excellent Carsley? Then Nolan (Bolton blue) is your man; a left-back who understands our culture, gets forward and scores goals? ? return of the prodigal Ball. Let's go out of our way to keep Fernandes and maybe increase our English internationals / blue lads in Nugent.

I don't know what other ToffeeWebbers think and I am not playing fantasy football; however, the last five games are crucial and Moyes and his depleted squad (his and the Board's fault) can do it for us ? but who should we sign?
Simon Temme, Bristol  (13/4/07)

You know what? It is fantasy football. Just let Moyes sign whoever... honestly, all this is just so much hot air. He will go after a few, miss out on a few, sign a few... just roll with it. — Michael

How to expand the squad?

There's been a lot of sensible talk on here recently about the need to expand the squad next year ? particulraly if we get into the Uefa Cup. As someone pointed out, shelling out for Nugent and Fernandes would just about blow any budget and, if we release Beattie and VdM, as we surely must, our numbers won't have actually increased.

The answer isn't necessarily with Anichebe and Vaughan, promising though they undoubtedly are. Surely a short-term fix like Brian McBride (yes our former player), would be worth a punt? Veteran though he may be, he's as fit as any younger striker, a dedicated professional and a proven top-flight scorer.

Any other bargain golden oldies knocking around, I wonder?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (13/4/07)

Don't Waste my Time with 'If Only'

Football results depend massively on chance. The 'could have done better' line peddled by many on this messageboard is a fairly limp tool to bash Moyes with. Going back to the infamous Spurs loss, this is supposedly an instance where Moyes 'cost us points', but ? if we're delving into the realms of alternative realities ? seem to remember Leon Osman missing a fair few decent chances to wrap up the game. If he had bagged one of these then Hibbert?s substitution would have been irrelevant.

In the year we finished fourth, we didn't play attractive football and we had an arguably lesser team, but we were lucky and tenacious and we finished way higher than our goal difference merited. I lost count of the times we went one-nil up and defended doggedly. I didn't hear anyone complaining about Moyes's poor tactics in that season. The difference this season is that we've been dogged with injuries to key players and we haven't quite been able to hold on to winning positions. But is it the manager's 'fault'?

And to those of you who think the disgraceful booing motivated Moyes to rethink his tactics ? get a grip. Does Moyes strike you as the type of manager that does things any other way than his? The change in formation in recent weeks has been down to the loss of Cahill and Fernandes to injury. We don't have enough midfielders to play a 4-5-1. It's just as well that Moyes kept Vaughan and Anichebe chomping at the bit all this time so that they'd be fit and ready when called upon.

And to all those who were/are predicting an end of season downturn ? that won't happen this year. In previous seasons we've been relying on players busting a gut to maintain our position in the upper echelons of the table. But this year we've paced ourselves better. In many ways we've been playing within ourselves, saving capacity for the run in. We've got better players and we're playing better football. We're letting the ball do more of the work, so the legs don't tire quite as much.
Steve McBride, London  (13/4/07)

WTF! I know it's Friday night, Mr McBride, but methinks you are taking the proverbial. — Michael

It weren't me, honest, Guv!

Just a reminder that it wasn't ME who brought up the subject of Everton 'credentials'! It was that troublemaker Nick Harrison (joke by the way!) who I now think is a great fella because like me he is a knackered Evertonian and has shifted his view a little on Bolton FC. It takes a good bloke to do that!

In response to Tom Hughes's post... I am honestly looking forward to his revamped drawings of the proposed redevelopment. There was a lot that I liked about the old ones. But pretty pictures are not enough: it has to be explained how a redevelopment can be achievable which, I think, is as much a part of the Architect's job as the actual design.

Additionally, I am not getting involved in an argument about how many homesteaders it is ok to have evicted from their homes and how many makes it unacceptable. That is a spurious and illogical argument and is not worthy of either ourselves as Evertonians or the Club. If we had to have 50 homes vacated and every resident was happy about it, then that would be fine by me. But one case of abject misery and the possibility is not acceptable.

Show me, Tom, that a 55k stadium is possible, without enforced evictions and is financially achievable (and tell me where the money is coming from) and I will be there with you shoulder to shoulder, mate.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (13/4/07)

About Anderson da Silva

I have a friend who knows people down at Everton and she's informed me that Da Silva would struggle to get into our reserve team and he was awful down at Bournemouth. This is probably the reason why he hs not been included in the team since his arrival. All I can say is, Moyes shouldn't have taken him if he wasn't up to the standard of Everton.
Danny Jones, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

Rooney money

Michael: Why do you believe rumours ? 'there is a perception among some' ? rather than published official material? What exactly are these sources?

And what do they say exactly beyond a vague "changes to the deal with purchase of Neville and Howard"? That could easily be interpreted as: "We'll take the money out of what you owe us". It seems obvious that most of the money we've spent since Rooney left will have come from funds from his sale, whether for Neville or Arteta.

Although, the biggest fillip in our and any other financially-struggling club is the massive boost in TV money coming up. I hope that will go to buying Fernandes. After that we can wheel and deal.

An earlier contributor said we must keep Pistone. Are you off your head? The release of Weir and imminent releases of Pistone and Wright will allow us to go out and get a decent full-back as competition/ back up for Hibbert.

Would be interested in looking at Ball again, who is on loan at City. Will he a free agent this summer? If anywhere what he was, he would shore up squad numbers for centre- and left-back positions. Nugent would be low on my shopping list even if we sell Beattie. We needer more midfielders.
Roberto Birquet, London  (13/4/07)

Well, if I can pull you away from Football Manger for just a few moments, tell me this: When if ever did Everton FC or any other reputable body report payment of the second £10M payment for Wayne ROoney, due around August 2005? Perhaps you could point to it in the Club's Annual Accounts?

As for all the otehr stuff you quote... well it was published... but only at the time of the original deal, and only because of Man Utd's legal status at that time. Which subsequently changed when Glazer bought up all the Man Utd shares and converted the club back to private ownership. At which point, such commitments may have changed or gone away, without any public pronouncements. — Michael

Money, money, money

At the risk of mentioning the unmentionable, I've just learned with interest that Everton will be due £3M from Utd for Rooney still being on their books on 30 June 2007. They're due a further £500k if United beat AC Milan which will grow to £1M should they win the champions league, £500k if they win the Premiership and £150k if they win the FA Cup... Come on Man Utd!
Dave Towell, Dublin, Ireland  (13/4/06)

Good to see you're keeping up with the news, Dave. It is actually 2007 now, not 2006, but there ya go... Hate to piss on yer chips but there is a perception among some that the original clauses of the Rooney deal, much publicised when Man Utd were a plc, were renogtiated during the Neville and/or Howard deals, and are now merely a memory unearthed by Everton fans desparate for a bit of a good news about a potential windfall. — Michael

Da Silva Mystery

Anyone else wondering what is going on with the invisible Brazillian Anderson da Silva?

Back in early January, after the FA Cup defeat against Blackburn, I was talking to a guy who is one of those Evertonians who is well in at the club. He told me a story that day that I just shrugged off as usual shite you hear in and around the ground on match days. He told me that he had been at a function a few days earlier and he over heard a conversation Bill Kenwright was having with some people...

To cut a long story short, some one asked BK what the new Brazillian kid Da Silva was like, to which Bill replied along the lines off, "Don't worry about him son you wont be seeing him in a Blue shirt any time soon." Now as I said at the time I just laughed to myself when I heard the story but now I am not so sure. Da Silva has never played a game for us apart from a friendly appearance at Bournemouth and when we have been down to the bare bones he hasn't had a look in. Is this another on of those deals that we get involved in that are very strange?

The Ferrari and Krøldrup deals were strange and the Fernandes deal was also unusual but I reckon we need Mullder and Scully to sort this one out. Anyway when I spoke to the man with the message yesterday he said to me, "I told you what Kenwright said about Da Silva in January didn't I. Something dodgey there lad."

Does anybody else think the whole saga is strange? Has anyone got a view on it? I mean when you have got a 6ft Brazillian midfieder on the bench and you use a left back in his posistion instead it can't be right. What's the bet he never plays for us at all then is shipped out in the summer... Only at Everton.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

He played in the last reserve game, after missing a few, if that means anything at all... ? Michael

Memory Lane

I went down to Goodison yesterday to sort out my season tickets and managed to have good stroll around all the different parts of the ground looking for the best spots etc. It gave me a unique opportunity to relive all the great memories I have had at the old lady over the last 40 years.

I stood where I used to stand with my dad from 5-10 then I stood where the old Boys Pen was where I stood from 10-12 until it was not cool to go there anymore. Then I went to the Gwladys Street end behind the goal where I spent my teens watching Latchford, Lyons and Co. I strolled down to see the plaque dedicated to my best mate at school whose ashes are scattered on the hallowed turf. Then to the New Stand which I watched being built each day on my way to Arnot St School and sat in during the best ever Goodison experience against Bayern Munich.

Now the amazing thing was that, apart from the seats, everything behind the scenes was exactly as it has always been. You could have filmed an episode of Life on Mars under the street end. Eventually I went to the Park End, which has bad memories for me as the only time I ever went there was in the Glen Keely derby. I broke my leg playing football and swopped tickets with my mates kopite sister so I could sit in the upper tier. Sitting amongst the kopites while they thrashed us four-nil... arghhhhh! I still wake up sweating. Even though the old stand been knocked down and rebuilt, I still felt a shudder as I entered it.

However it soon occurred to me that the seats had more leg room, the unobstructed views were great, the toilets were many and civilised, there were lots of catering points, and it seemed so much better than the dungeon at the other end. It was as though I had just slipped through the space time thingy in back to the future.

Anyway, this experience has left me totally confused: I want to stay at Goodison but I want it to be modern and fit for the 21st Century. How can this happen? Can we have our cake and eat it? If we modernise, will it still be Goodison?
Eddy Elton, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

City Boundary

I was wondering how the people of Sefton feel when "The Greatest Steeplechase on Earth" takes place in Liverpool this Saturday (14/4/07). When, in fact, it is not in Liverpool at all! What "makes" it a Liverpool event is the media and no-one seems to mind.

I am neither for nor against Everton's proposed move, but I am against NOT moving for all the wrong reasons, ie, sentiment, because of what the darkside are doing, because I don't want to!

I applaud the KEIOC campaign but, because of Liverpool 08, the Paradise Street Development and all the proposed waterfront developments in the pipeline, I fail to see how an investor in EFC can squeeze anymore out of land within Liverpool. A new stadium needs an investor and those waiting for EFC to finance their own new stadium should lay off the drink/tablets!
Mark Jensen, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

Credit where its due...

So Everton stand on the verge of European football next season. We aren't there yet but assuming we do make it I will happily admit I was wrong, as a prominent Moyes Knocker, and give him the credit that he will undoubtedly deserve. Although I would'nt rule out Blackburn beating Chelsea this weekend and scuppering our chances it will take a terrible loss of form and nerve now for us to even miss out on the Intertoto Cup.

However, if we do miss out on Europe because Moyes reverts to type and starts doing stupid things like playing 4-5-1, giving James Beattie another chance etc. then I will be the second person (after Tony Marsh of course) to point the finger.

Talking of Marsh, if Everton do finish in the top 6 then he will do himself no credit whatsoever if he either stays silent and fails to admit he was overly harsh on Moyes, or worse still attempts to tell us that the season was not a success. No one will ever convince me that Moyes is a great manager, but if Everton finish in the top 6 this season then I will agree that he has had a great season.
Gareth Hughes, Childwall Library, Liverpool  (13/4/07)


I was ejected from Bolton two seasons ago for not saying a word... instead I wasn't* cursing the ref and linesman for every decision. I live near Bolton so have the same accent... but I wasn't carrying a flask, so that might something to do with it!!!
Mike Benjamin, Leigh  (13/4/07)

* You wasn't? Or you was? Or is that broadest Lancashire??? — Michael

FA Cup Semi-Finals

There are so many Evertonians who are convinced that 7th place will be good enough for a Uefa Cup place because, apparently, it is a formality that Chelsea and Man Utd will contest the FA Cup Final. Word of caution ? remember 1995. Everybody under the sun said the 1995 final would be a Spurs & Man Utd ?dream final?, and that got messed up ? by us!! So who is to say Watford and particularly Blackburn could not do the same? It might be unlikely but this is the FA Cup and "it aint over ?til it?s over".
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

Fishing for Heerenveen...

The rumour mill suggests Everton are eyeing Heerenveen Brazilian striker Alfonso Alves. Now I can tell you this would be a massive signing; this bloke is the biggest hit in Dutch football. And he is not the standard type of Brazilian footballer who would have trouble adapting to British football. He's a big guy, strong, good header, great finisher.

I only see two problems: first, to all my knowledge, he will never get a work permit. And second, Heerenveen are eyeing a fee in the region of £12M. If we bought some wingers, a defensive midfielder to compete with Carsley, some squad players and Manny, and we still would have that kind of money, well about that time I fancy this guy.

I do think he is much better than Nugent to be honest. Alves will score at least 20 goals a season at any club. But that could be a bias since I live here these days. I don't feel we should splash the biggest portion of the transfer kitty on a striker though.

But of course, it's just a rumour, and I get carried away. COYB!
Erik Dols, Maastricht, the Netherlands  (13/4/07)

Re: Plus what we should have had...

Pat, you are absolutely right, a number of penalties were denied, but giving them was not in our hands as they were down to poor / biased refereeing. Don't expect it to change next season either; AJ's card is well and truly marked by both media and referees (however unfair we might think this to be).

My point (and I think Tony Marsh's) is that the disappointing element this season has been when you look at the points that were in our hands, but which we threw away.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (13/4/07)

Matter of prioities

It`s alright clamouring for European football but few teams who progress in the Uefa Cup make an impact in the Premier League. Just look at Middlesbrough and Newcastle. After losing out last night, I suspect Spurs will be on a downer when they return to league action (at least I hope so!) and with Prem positions carrying so much prize money that`s got to be the priority. With over £500 already spent on a season ticket, I couldn`t afford Europe anyway!
Henry Walters, Chester  (13/4/07)

Transfer Targets

I think the close season could provide the biggest test of Moyes's tenure so far. Say for example he does clear out Beattie and VdM, that leaves us with an incredibly bare squad. In fact we would only be left with Cahill, Artera, Osman, Carsley and Neville as first team standard midfielders ? not enough to play a Premier season, let alone maintain the much hoped for Uefa Cup run.

Therefore, for those of you who (understandably) want Blue Bill to shell out for Nugent and Manny, and therefore possibly use all the funds available on two players, it wouldn't leave us with much change to expand the squad. Given the current exchange rates, we probably aren't going to get those two for much less than £20M, which is as much investment as we are ever likely to get.

Perhaps the only hope is that Moyes can find some loan options or generate additional funds from Beattie, VDM - £3M for the former perhaps, £1M for the latter? Either way, he will probably buy another couple of left-backs!
John Williams, London  (13/4/07)

The right choices

With the debate going on over bringing the right quality into the club during the summer, there is the chance that I will disagree with a lot of people on this. I really cant see the point in coughing up what will be almost £6M for David Nugent when we already have two rough-diamond strikers of our own in Vaughan and Anichebe.

Nugent is unproven in the top flight yet we are talking about a big fee for him. Have we got that kind of cash at the ready for someone unproven? Or are we just carried away with him being an Evertonian? Is he that much better than Vaughan?

I would love to see the proven genuine class of Robbie Keane at the club or Dean Ashton if West Ham go down. Both of them are Premiership-proven goalscorers. I just urge a sensible thinking mind if we are to splash out a biggish fee for a striker who CAN at last help out Andy Johnson and share the burden of goals.
Paul Hughes, Liverpool  (13/4/07)

Uefa Cup

After watching Spurs play Seville tonight, I think it will be a difficult competition to win, if we get in it. Spurs have spent big to get into the Uefa Cup whereas we have just spent what we have and got on with it. If Kenwright does not back David Moyes with the transfer budget and wages for the players we need, I will be hugely dissapointed. If Moyes is backed and backed well, we should spend half on quality players like Fernandes and Nugent and half on squad players to make the squad bigger.

The difference between us and Spurs is not quality on the pitch ? it is quality in their squad. If both teams have their best players on the pitch, we can match them but they have more and better squad players who can come in and do a job. I don't think we should let many players go. We must keep the likes of Stubbs, Pistone, Anderson and Carsley who all have limited contracts.

We must keep our quality players like Arteta, Cahill, Johnson, Yobo, Lescott, Valente, Howard, Van der Meyde and Neville. The likes of James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe should not be loaned out because they our better than Beattie and McFadden and much more effective. But hey we need to qualify first. Come on you blues!
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

Re: Bolton Disgrace

I just read the "Bolton Disgrace" article and I have to admit that I am stunned at the behvior of Bolton regarding away fans. Am I to believe that if you are sitting in any other section besides the away section, and you cheer for your team, you will be told to leave by the stewards? Even after paying a ticket???

I have to agree with the author's Danish friends, how is that legal? We have some of the most obnoxious fans in the universe here in America (anyone attending an NFL game will agree) and unless you're shout obscenities or racial slurs, you'll never be asked to leave. This just blows me away. Is this common?
Chris Wilson, Denver, CO, USA  (12/4/07)

Price of Success II

Matt Traynor is right about the practical need to spend no more than 50% of turnover on wages. That is why the same teams turn up at the top, year on year ? they either have a benefactor or a turnover that dwarfs ours. Teams that break the statistical pattern of the figures I quoted tend to do it fleetingly (Wigan did best last year in a wages/points sense, but they obviously couldn't sustain it).

The reason I sent the figures is because the Moyes debate needs a context. As a fan, I want to see Everton playing free-flowing football, passing teams to death and winning in a style set (for me) by the Holy Trinity. Given our resources, this would be over-achieving and the realist in me knows that you can't over-achieve consistently because it's a contradiction-in-terms. To sustain the kind of football we want as fans, at the very top of the pile, you need money and that means a sugar-daddy or increased revenue.

So, for me, Moyes has done okay so far. He frustrates me with some of his buys (Wright, Krøldrup, Beattie, VDM, etc) because we don't have that money to waste but he is investing in a younger squad that he seems to be improving over years rather than months (remember those constraints). Is he good enough to take us to the next level? I don't know... but, until we have a better financial base, the realist in me knows it doesn't much matter.

Perhaps a more pressing question for a club that was once in the financial 'Big Five' is:- "Can Bill Kenwright take us to the next level?" ps: My source for the wages & points correlation is the 'Fink Tank' in The Times, which modelled Deloitte's figures.
John Dooley, Chester  (12/4/07)

Veterans' game

Has anybody commented on the fact that the programme for the vet's game against Barcelona contained the badges of the two clubs ? that is to say Everton Football Club and Barcelona volleyball team!!! No really! Will it never end?
Andrew Hegan, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

Puts a whole new perspective on hoofball and head-tennis! — Michael

Points Given Away

Can you imagine the frenzy for the run in IF we hadn't given away points against Man City at the Christmas period, Chelsea at home and Spurs? That's at least 8 points more in total in the book.
Roger Domal, NYC, NY, USA  (12/4/07)

Knocking houses down.....

So Eileen claims a balanced outlook yet is only open-minded and receptive for the Kirkby option... stating categorically that Goodison can in no way be redeveloped to the desired standard, and we can't afford it anyway.

It has been shown that a stadium of 50k capacity can be built on the current site without house demolition. It has also been shown that a 55k capacity stadium can be built with the loss of 6-12 homes on the Bullens Rd side. When I first mentioned this figure Eileen was quick to say "but they're people's homes". Homes that have lived in the shadow of a football stadium and consequently always under threat since 1892 (just like the the north side of Gwladys St, Goodison Ave and Walton Lane). "Balanced" Eileen makes no such plea for the Kirkby homes. These 70 (I believe) houses in Kirkby are a bigger and established community that has never faced this threat... nor perhaps should they expect to from a neighbouring city's football club. There is a significant difference in magnitude of effect. 70 v 6-12... hardly balanced.

As far as affordability of either option is concerned, who has any idea of what we can or can't afford, or what Tesco's will cost us short- and more importantly long-term? Who knows what potential investor may be considering us as bargain of the century... not like they're not dropping like flies all around us. In 12-18 months time we might look back on the folly of selling our souls/heritage to the land grabbers, we don't know all the options yet.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

3 points from Euro qualification

I firmly believe that we could be as little as 3 points away from Euro qualification. No, I haven't been smoking crack, and yes, it is contingent upon a number of factors ? but (as I hope to demonstrate) each is highly likely to play out in our favour.

First off, we have to assume that Man Utdand Chelsea both win this weekend in order to open up the additional Uefa Cup spot for the team finishing 7th. Bring me a knowledgeable footie fan (not a Blackburn or Watford fan as they will be biased) who doesn't believe this will be the case and I'll show you a liar.

Ok, so 7th now qualifies us for Europe. The team currently in 8th are Portsmouth, who are 5 points behind us with 15 left to play for. Let's look at their fixture list and likely results: Newcastle at home (3 pts), Villa away (1 pt, but lets say 3 for arguments sake), Liverpool at home (0 pts, it pains me to say), Everton away (0 pts), and Arsenal at home (0 pts). Feel free to disagree with these if you like but on the balance of form and probabilities Portsmouth are only likely to get 6 pts from their remaining five games.

Even if we are ultra generous and give them a point each against LFC and Arse, that still only gives them 8 points ? meaning all that we need is 3 points and we would finish at least 7th (given our vastly superior GD). Now obviously we want more than this as we want to finish in the highest place possible (and I think a return of 9 pts from our remaining fixtures should actually be the minimum target given our opposition and form), but the point is, we are already a lot closer than most people think.

What about the teams below Portsmouth, you ask? Might they perform a late surge? Take a look at them and get a fucking grip. Reading are 9th and 6 points behind us, and Newcastle are 10th and 10 points behind us. Add this to the fact that they're both shit and it is looking increasingly likely that Portsmouth are the only team outside the top 7 with any chance of finishing inside it.

Whilst we're on the subject of European qualification, I'd also like to say that the posters who have been slagging off the Uefa Cup need to have their heads examined. Yes, it's not the CL, but its still European football. If we'd have been in it this season, we could have been up against Paris SG, Rangers, Marseille, and Bayer Leverkusen, to name just a few. Granted, we could also have been drawn against Llanelli FC, but at least our presence in the competition would be a step in the right direction (assuming we don't get our arses handed to us like we did in 05-06).
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (12/4/07)

Everton Credentials

Sorry, just have to ask, firstly, what is all this ''Everton Credentials'' nonesense? Is there a level of acceptable Everton knowledge now that is needed in order to have an opinion on the club you choose to support?

I ask this solely from a neutral's point of view, not from my own, as I feel I have a decent knowledge of the Blues, even though myself, my Brother, my Dad and my Uncle John where suitably embarrassed when we tried (twice) unsuccessfully to win the Everton quiz held at Goodison. The attendees there, most noteably the winners, would certainly have to be in the higher percentile of Everton officianados, and would have no problem if ever the club issued a suitability quiz to qualify for a season ticket, say.

My second point, is why would any opinion relating to the Kirkby debate make you more or less an Evertonian? That truly is ridiculous. I myself have stood back from this particular debate as very few of us have any actual factual (that rhymes) information, and with me being neither a financial whiz, an Architect, a city planner nor a structural engineer, anything I could offer would be purely opininon, and would therefore compromise my ability to call myself an Evertonian, according to some at least.

The Kirkby debate could have endless pros and cons for either arguement, and I appreciate everyone's individual insight on the matter, all of which are helping myself, and I'm sure other like-minded people, to create a fair and balanced opinion on the matter as a whole. But surely nobody can question whether somebody has the right to be an Evertonian? ...Unless they want the Shite to win that is. ;-)
Kevin Kendall, Bootle  (12/4/07)

Sorry, I should never have let that "credentials" bollocks through. Eileen ususally makes a lot of sense but on that point she lost it IMHO. Once again, for the record: we do not do "Everton Credentials" on here.

Also, banter is fine, but I draw that line at calling each other Liverpool supporters, which is just another dimension of the same "Everton Credentials" bullshit. If you have a point to make and it is worth making, you can do it without any of this rubbish, or accept the consequences. Here endeth the lesson! — Michael

Last response on issue

The Kirby jibe was merely banter, as I presumed 'Who are ya?' was too.

I've been called an apologist for David Moyes on here in the past so I thought a little criticism of our team from me would be welcomed. I don't believe Bolton are that bad, although I do recognise that Diouf should have been sent off. I even rued my first response about Allardyce as a manager because I later heard his comments after the game and he was complaining that his team didn't get enough decisions!?! The cheeky beggar. However, the Vaughan moment was an accident and most other fouls were honest and not cynical. I do recognise Bolton are a tough team with a few dirty players but, as another mailer said, it's not their job to stop it, it's the referee's job. I'm just happy to agree to disagree.

On the Kirkby issue itself, I'm a supporter of neither at the moment. I fluctuate all the time on the issue. One minute I can't wait to see this new stadium wherever it may be; the next I'm worried about all the kopite chants about being the only club in the city.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

Plus what we should have had!!

I would remind Mr Guy and Mr Marsh that we have also been robbed of a number of genuine penalty shouts this season. Okay, every Club is denied a rightful penalty and quite often get one that they should not have been given and it's all swings and roundabouts... but I think that Everton, and this is an unbiased view, have been robbed of a lot more penalties due to the shadow hanging over Andy Johnson in this respect. Had we been given half of those penalties then we probably would have as many points as Arsenal and even dear old Liverpool, so let's be a little fair.
Pat Jones, Wales  (12/4/07)

Re:Man U tickets

In response to Kevin Lloyd's plea for tickets for the United game, I have just come off the club website where I purchased 2 tickets for the Gladys Lower and there appeared to be tickets for most areas of the ground still available. I think at the minute though they are on sale to members only but will be on general sale on Monday and I'd say if you get in early you'll get sorted.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland  (12/4/07)

Nice to meet you

Ok, Nick, now we know who you are... a tired Evertonian. I guess we all get tired at this time of the season. Let's agree to disagree about Bolton. You obviously feel they are acceptable and I despise all teams who set out to deface the game in the manner they did on Monday.

I am glad you questioned my own Everton credentials on the basis of my 'support' for the move to Kirkby as it gives me an opportunity to put a few things straight.

One of the problems with internet debates is that once a thread get's going participants tend to respond only to the specific points raised in previous responses and original views can get lost unless we constantly refer back to previous posts or write them all over again. As a result, because we don't do that, it doesn't take long before people begin to look entrenched. If ALL my posts on the Stadium issue were examined my views on the move to Kirkby could hardly be construed as 'support'.

My views are based on the fact that I do not believe Goodison can be redeveloped to an extent that would serve the Club that we all want Everton to be in the future. I want Everton to be as ambitious as any other club and not to be satisfied with a stadium fit only for also-rans. I do not believe Goodison can be redeveloped because it would mean demolishing people's homes in order to get the space required and the fact that KEIOC are now using that same possibility for Kirkby residents as an argument against a move there does tend to preclude accepting the possibility as a fair price to pay for redeveloping Goodison! The other reason is financial. Who is going to help us pay for a redevelopment, which I am reliably informed is more expensive than newbuild? I believe nobody will.

A move to somewhere else in the City would be great. Space shouldn't be a problem but I have lost count of the number of times I have been exasperated on this website and elsewhere when people tell me about this site or that as if it only required Everton to choose a site and away we go! The same question has to be asked. LFC hawked themselves all over the world to find the finance they needed. Who is going to give it to Everton? Even Warren Bradley can't answer that one.

I do not 'support' a move to Kirkby, my earliest posts on this matter should make that clear. But what frightens me as an Evertonian (with credentials) is that we generate so much opposition to the proposal that it is knocked in the head prematurely and without any other option being available to the club. My purpose in presenting a positive view of a move to Kirkby and criticizing uncosted and unviable pie-in-the-sky possibilities was to do my little bit to avoid my great fear from bearing fruit. It was the only way I could think of to try and get some realism into the debate. I have been quiet on the stadium issue for a few weeks now because I believed there was no more I could say on the matter. In summary though, may I say the following:-

I do not support a move to Kirkby although I do believe the proposal has some positive merit. I am not a knee-jerk anti.

If there was any way of doing so, my own preference would be to remain at the site of Goodison with a stadium that matched our ambitions.

My second preference would be a site in the City but only because I know most Evertonians would be happiest with that.

If it came to a choice between staying at Goodison as it is with the place deteriorating around us or a move to a new Stadium in Kirkby... I choose Kirkby. Because I would be more fearful of the consequences of not going than of going. And I believe with good reason.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (12/04/07)

Probably one of the most sensible and balanced views of what is a very difficult issue. ? Michael

Another year...

I find myself agreeing with Tony Marsh. His latest missive gave a far more balanced view, although I still felt like slashing my wrists ocassionally whilst reading it!

I too, have seen the current league points total as a wasted opportunity this season. Albeit with glorious hindsight, we can all point to four or five games where we should have come away with more points and in so doing would now be battling it out with Arsenal for the 4th spot; but a lack of adventure in the final third of the pitch put paid to this.

It's a shame the likes of Vaughan weren't given more time in the team and that we seem to have only recently finally found a way of playing 4-4-2 successfully as a result of his and Anichebe's inclusion. I also think that 4-4-2 appears to be working because we don't have to find a place for Tim Cahill and it's to be hoped that Tim can adapt his style of play to suit.

I don't agree with Tony when he slags of the Uefa Cup competition. Yes, it is the poor man's CL, but don't underestimate what a good run can do both for confidence and experience within the team (and for the manager). It also has great shop window potential for exposing the Club to those elusive sugar daddies.

Even though few can doubt we have improved significantly in terms of league position under Moyes, it still feels as though we are over-achieving. This may be a legacy of so many years in the relegation zone, but I also think this is because of the cautious tactics this season, combined with a small squad containg few flair players. It may also be because I am nervous of losing those key players this summer without the ability to replace them (Arteta obviously and, although we have only seen glimpses, Fernandes).

Added to this, whether we are in the Uefa Cup places or not come May, the squad numbers and the quality of those players need to improve dramatically if we are to start to expect a top 6 or better finish each season and I don't see that happening.

Having said all that, I am enjoying the ride much more this season and it's great to still be in the hunt for meaningful league placings with only five to play.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (12/4/07)

So forgive me, please, but I'm confused. Are we over-achieving or under-achieving?

The true skill of a great manager is to extract more from a team than the sum of its parts, and Moyes is again showing some signs that he can do this (albeit for at most four or five months at a time). Over-achievement is therefore a prerequisite of any success. It's the longer-term consistency that we still struggle with ? over-achieving consistently ? which makes the lapses all the more troubling because they then stand out as moments of glaring under-achievement in terms of what we know we can (over-)achieve. — Michael

Moyes's Oxford Moment

There comes a defining moment in every long-serving manager`s career when he seems to 'turn the corner'. Sometimes it augers his dismissal, sometimes the converse. With Kendall, it was his decision to push Adrian Heath forward in that Milk Cup tie at Oxford that got him eventually into the history books. With Moyes, I am convinced it was the stick he got from fans over his substitutions in the Spurs game. On the night a totally different outcome but if he goes on to become a truly great manager,I shall always believe that was Moyes's "Oxford moment".
Ferdie Haslam, Gresford  (12/4/07)

Tesco to re-buid Old Trafford!

Just received my Lancashire CCC membership card and with it news that the county cricket club have entered into a partnership with Tesco to totally rebuild Old Trafford. It seems that `our` Uncle Terry is also a cricket buff and thinks it`s about time his company put something back into the community. Only difference is he`s insistent that the club stays at Old Trafford because they haven`t got a store in that vicinity!
Andy Keogh, Orrell  (12/4/07)

Spurs and the Uefa Cup

This might have been covered and I apologise in advance if it has but just been reading the Uefa website with regard to Spurs winning the Uefa Cup, this is what it says:

?Unless the Uefa Cup title-holder qualifies for the Uefa Champions League through its domestic championship, it will be guaranteed a place in the first round of the Uefa Cup. If the Title-holder does qualify for the Uefa Cup through its domestic competitions, the number of places to which its national association is entitled in the Uefa Cup does not change. If the Uefa Cup Title-holder does not qualify for either the Uefa Champions League or Uefa Cup through its domestic competitions, its participation in the UEFA Cup will not be at the expense of the contingent of its association.?
If they win it and finish in the Uefa places then it makes no difference to the amount of English places, if they win it and finish below the places then thankfully they will not replace any of the English Contigent. Given our history on missing out on Europe due to regulations at least now it is entirely in our own hands.
Daniel Ford, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (12/4/07)

Except for the possibility that we may need Chelsea and Man Utd to contest the FA Cup Final? — Michael

The Riddle

Nick Harrison talks in riddles. I have read both of his posts now and still don't understand what he is talking about. Regardless, I think that Bolton are nothing more than paid thugs and yes sometimes our tackles go astray but at least our players don't genuinely go out to hurt people. But that's Bolton's tactics through and through, if they injury every player in the league they are bound to win it at some point.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (12/4/07)

Quiet(er), maybe; it depends

The difference between an 'apologist' and me is that, while I am happier with the post-Spurs 'play to win' and not 'play not to lose' ethos of Moyes that we have now, likewise the apologensia also seem quite satisfied with watching any old shite that gives a result, coz it's better than Walter and we don't have a lot of cash...

Any backsliding will soon pump up the volume, but in the meantime we have 5 games to win ? or are the apologensia happy with trying not to lose their way into Europe... it didn't seem to do Roma much good now, did it!?!
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (12/4/07)

The end justifies the means. — Michael

Who am I?

I think the 'Anfield' comment shows how optimistic I am. Or how tired I am. But please don't cast doubt on my Everton credentials when you, yourself, have professed support for Kirby FC. :)
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

Re: The Price Of Success

John Dooley (11/04/07) raises an interesting point about wages, but there is another variable you need to bear in mind. Unless you are bankrolled by a benefactor (Oligarch or otherwise) you need to realistically keep your total wage bill (all staff as well as players) to around 50% (I think it?s 50%, but it?s been a while since I worked in UK football economics!) of your total turnover to be ?financially stable?.

Where Moyes has been admirable is his steadfast refusal to spend beyond his means, although no doubt that?s the brief that Bill gave him! The clubs that have massive wage bills invariably have ?top? players in the dressing room. Chelsea and Man Utd have been relatively successful with this policy. Our neighbours have not, in Premiership terms. Arsenal actually has a fairly rigid wage structure, so I wouldn?t even count them.

Many people cite the Leeds example of what can go wrong, and yes they gambled, but there was more to it than that: if you can recall the various court cases involving players, who pretty much got away with it after the Sunday Mirror committed what was, in my opinion, tantamount to perjury. Despite a couple of minor hurdles along the way, Moyes has fostered a team spirit ? witness Vaughan?s celebration of Anichebe?s goal against Fulham. I know he?s been accused of losing the dressing room, but trust me, Smith, Harvey and even Kendall (II and III) lost it in a much bigger way.

I actually just turned down the chance to return to a really good job back in Liverpool. There is just too much going on out here, and I want to see it happen! That, and my good lady didn?t want to move to the UK! One of the main pluses of returning was actually watching Everton again, home and as many away games as possible. Probably not the best reason, but one I?m sure a number of you will empathise with. Guess I?ll just have to continue to watch what happens on and off the field from afar. But next time I?m back for a holiday, I?ll make sure this time they?re at home!

Finally, to one of the Steve McBrides (London version) and your ?It?s all gone quiet over there? missive. Have you learned nothing supporting Everton? By all means blow the trumpet when we?ve got there, just not yet please!!!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (12/4/07)


I think I need some medical advice as I have actually agreed with Eileen Roberts's last post ? we're normally poles apart.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (12/4/07)

What I want from Everton

Kevin Sparke, those are brilliant words. A beacon if you like to the negativity that surounds our football team. What I want from Everton is no different to your original sentences and I have to be patient because of the demands of the modern game. I am hapy with the little resources we have (masssive compared to other clubs) that we are making steady inroads into success again. Look at our form since the start of 06. It may yet fizzle out again, with five tough fxtures ahead giving Michael plenty to whinge about. It's not enough that we have a good positive goal difference? We now cannot string back-to-back wins. Win at home and draw away? Surely that's good enough?

The point I would make is that there are five tough games ahead and I am very happy with the way the team are going about it. This season and last bears no comparison. The players ain't the same for a start.

I said I would judge Moyes based on a whole season and for me we are still moving forwards. So I have formed my conclusion early and will just enjoy the ride from here on in. So for me, my Everton, is moving in the right direction.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (12/4/07)

Eileen again

At the risk of being seen to use this site as a chatroom for those looking for someone to "date", I once again find myself in agreement with Eileen from Runcorn. I could consider myself to have been unfortunate enough to have had to attend the Reebok in the recent past and consider their "type" of football to be visually unacceptable. We might not be Arsenal or Man Utd, but at least we try!
Simon Templeman, Gloucestershire  (12/4/07)

You're Nicked!

I'm sorry that Nick Harrison equates Tim Cahill's activities in the GOODISON derby with those of the Bolton players on Monday. There is a vast difference between playing hard and employing thuggery as a justifiable means to win or not lose.

I can't believe that Bolton are where they are in the league. I have seen them twice this season and they have nothing for Everton FC to be jealous of. I also cannot see the referee on Saturday at the Emirates allowing those sort of tactics to work against Arsenal.

But to all those that say results are more important than the game then the game will see more teams employing the same tactics as Bolton. Do we really want to watch teams forgetting about the ball and watch an event more akin to rollerball? I don't want to see Everton win at all costs as much as I want them to win.

Moyes may not be my favourite Everton Manager but at least he keeps his players' behaviour in acceptable limits, which cannot be said of Sam England Alladyce.
John Patrick McFarlane, Lancs  (12/4/07)

Rooney money...

In response to Baz Johns: I can't see why we wouldn't get extra on the Rooney money.

As for Phil Neville, United were due to give us £10M from the Rooney deal as he joined, so I'm sure they shook on £6.5M plus Phil. And as for Howard, they were due to pay us £3M this summer, so I'm sure they have shaken on "keep him and we'll keep our money". That is surely how those deals have been done.

And the Rooney deal included, if I'm not mistaken, £1M if they win the League, and another £1M if they win the CL. I believe, we'd get £0.5M if they just get through the CL semis... this is quite unhealthy, though. I'm finding I want them to get to the Cup Final as it is, as that would mean 7th place would get us in the Uefa Cup next year. I'll be with all the other gobshites filling the pubs down this neck of the woods (South London) going: "Cam on Unoited" ?uurgh!
Roberto Birquet, London  (12/4/07)

Another Year over (Response to Steve McBride)

If you are interested like you say, Steve, to hear my views on Moyes and all things Everton, well here they are...

We are in 6th posistion in the league and that's a lot higher than I thought possible a couple of months ago. Ever since Moyes got the message from the fans at the Spurs game, there has been a definite change in our playing style and in the way we approach games. Has the penny finally dropped with Davey Boy? Well, that's anyone's guess...

Moyes now knows though that the Goodison faithfull won't stand for all that other nonesense he has put us through the past couple of seasons. Dithering, negativity, 4-5-1 at home against relegation fodder, poor use of players etc etc. Now the fans have spoken and let's hope Moyes has listened.

As for this Uefa Cup qualification, I honestly believe it can't do the club any good by being in it. If we make it, then so be it... but if we don't, then good riddance! It's that simple. Ever since the thing took on its new format, I have never heard anyone involved in football who has had a good word to say about the thing.

Yes, I know it will be great for the fans to get on the lash abroad and watch some footy but I can't see how it will be beneficial to us at all. Putting more strain on an already small squad... and let's be honest ? what chance do you think we will have of winning it? Don't even get me started on the prize money.

No, Steve, if DM had shown a bit more ambition and a bit more drive, we may well be sitting clear in 4th spot today. The games and the points thrown away this season have been touched on before but are still hard to take knowing how costly it's going to be and that's what hurts most. We could have been somebodies. It's the difference between big money and proper games in Europe in the Champions League or the other Polish tram driver version against Widzed Lodz or the waiters of Plovdiv from Bulgaria.

We are safe from relegation and for some of you that will do. I think we could have and should have done much better than we have done with the team we have got but... what do I know? At times these past few seasons, watching Everton play under David Moyes has been about as appealing as a Bullens Road Eccles Cake that's been on top of the tea urne all day. Then the grease runs down into the water and your tea ends up tasting of currants and flakey pastry... that bad!

The past few weeks have been a lot better in terms of a spectacle but I just wish that Moyes would stop the team playing long balls into space or just pumping it into the penalty area. Pass it to feet. Pass it to another player. Play it along the deck and retain possesion. That shit actually works you know. Well it did for the Mancs last night.

Steve I am glad you feel as though the feelgood factor is back. I like it when Evertonians are happy. Maybe I am just a miserable twat who will never be satisfied but that's the way it is and they are my opinions, mate.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

Let's get physical

We can say what we want about Bolton but they are successful. They have been a top-eight side for the past four years. This shows they have been consistent and this is down to their style.

Let me take you back to 1995: the "Dogs of War" was our tag because of our rough and tumble style of play. Bolton have the likes of Davies, Campo and Nolan who are likely to give you a physical game. But they also have the likes of Anelka, Diouf, Stelios and Gardener who can play and play with skill and flair.

As I've said before, it does not matter how you play as long as you win. Yes we had big Dunc and sometimes he took it a bit to far but I always like to see the big man scaring defenses alive with his physical presence and heading prowess.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (12/4/07)

In Support of Eileen

I do not agree with a lot that Eileen Roberts has to say (thinking stadium debate here) but I have to say that Nick Harrison must have watched a different game than Eileen and I. On the day, Bolton were thugs and cheats. Nothing more, nothing less. Their one passage of joined-up football happened on 92 minutes, the rest was long balls to massive forwards, and in-between, hacking at anything in Blue. They should have finished the game with 9 men? maybe 8. They had a forward who tried to score, and win possession, using his hands, twice in the first 10 minutes of the game. The same player then attempted to kneecap Neville. He should have been gone.

I counted at least five occasions when they simply went straight through our players from behind, no ball contact. I thought that had been outlawed. AJ and Arteta were both cynically tacken out, having beaten the defender and were through on goal, or at least a clear break from our half. I thought that was supposed to be a yellow (red if there are no more defenders). They tried (and succeeded, due to totally incompetent refereeing) every trick in the book to stop us playing. If Arteta leaves, it will be because he gets no protection in the Premier League. If he was at one of the top 4 clubs I suspect it may be different. He gets scythed every game, and his cynical hack (for which he received a yellow) was due to frustration, not because that?s his natural game.

Pompous and melodramatic??? Absolutely, it was a disgrace. We may not always play attractive football, but if Everton ever resorted to the antics that Bolton (and many other sides) adopt to try to achieve success, then I for one would not watch the game. Yes, Dunc had a tendency to lose it, we all have, but with Bolton it is a tactic. I actually want Bolton to fall away badly from here on in, as I think ourselves and Spurs would be a far better advert in Europe for the game than Sam?s hit men.

And Nick, we didn?t score 3 at Anfield at the start of the season. Maybe you were watching a different game then as well.
Brian McIver, Adelaide, South Australia  (12/4/07)

The Price of Success

Sorry to keep the statistics thing going but a more sinister and, for Everton, worrying statistic than the goals/points ratio in Jarid's mail is the (very strong) correlation between a club's wage bill and points total - better players = bigger wages. The figures are:

Wages		Expected Outcome
£12M 		> relegation zone
£20M 		50 points
£36M 		60 points
£64M 		70 points
I think our wages bill for last season was ~£36M so we should have expected a return of around 60 points (we got 50). However, if we want to challenge the 'big boys' we'd need to invest in a squad where our wage outlay grows by nearly 80%, as the expenditure gap to go from 60 to 70 points is massive. To give our 4th place finish some perspective, Champions league averages to a £55m wage bill.

It might be true that money doesn't guarantee success (Leeds!) but it seems increasingly difficult to find success without it!
John Dooley, Chester  (11/4/07)


Re - Troglodytes

My mate who works for Bolton Wanderers gets two free season tickets as part of his salary. He doesn't go. He says that the football is dreadful and that he would rather shop in the retail park next door on a Saturday.

And on the subject of Ferguson, he was an honest thug in the sense that he reacted and threw punches. I don't remember him being sly about any of his 'incidents'.

I wish we had scored three at Anfield and decapitating Alonso counts as services to humanity, not thuggery. Well done that Aussie fella.
David Torley, Northumberland  (11/4/07)

Who are ya?

Who is this Nick Harrison? He peppers his posts with that many 'we's I just assumed he was an Evertonian! Then he starts ranting about Cahill nearly decapitating Alonso in the build up to 'one of our three at Anfield'!

Firstly mate it was no more than a harmless headlock but more importantly the game was at Goodison!! So either get back to your own Bolton website or (more likely) your redshite website and stop poking your nose into things that don't concern you or I'll lay into you with my handbag!
Eillen Roberts, Runcorn  (11/4/07)

What did that mean? "Our three at Anfield"? Guess I was sleeping at the wheel there... but we had a really nice bottle of California Cab Sav (Silver Oak) at lunchtime... so today might not be much better!!!! ? Michael


Looking at the table, it would suggest that 9 points from out last 5 game would be good enough. As 9 points would give us 60 points, it would virtually guarantee no less than 7th, as that would be surely too much for Portsmouth as they would have to win all 5 of their remaining games to surpass us. It would also mean that Spurs would need to amass 13 from 18 points to overtake us, which is again a big ask. And there's also the possibility of a United-Chelsea FA Cup Final, which would make the Spurs issue irrelevant.

So basically if we beat Charlton, West Ham and Postsmouth, we should be there, and if we fuck those up, maybe we don't derseve to be there anyway.
Liam Reilly, London  (11/4/07)

Trogalogytes have rights too

I didn't really want to write this because, like most Everton fans, I thought Bolton crossed the line between physical and dirty on Monday. But I also think that firstly, that's the referee's job to moderate not Sam Allardyce's.

Secondly, I also believe that whilst Bolton are far from pretty and are at times deeply cynical in their approach to the game, they add to the character of the Premiership. Whilst it's entertaining to see Ronaldo skipping round defenders one week, I also take pleasure in seeing him kicked 6 feet into the air the next week by one of the Premiership's hardmen. Was there anyone who didn't feel a warm glow when the Boro defender took his frustrations out on him the other week and simply belted him into the crowd? Remind anyone of Rooney in 2004 after Ronaldo had given Hibbert a torid afternoon?

Yes, it's great to see fast-flowing football, and it would be even better if it was Everton playing it. But the reason the Premier League is renowned as the best in the world is that that isn't enough to win it. You need to able to also combat the physicality of Bolton, the (at times) inpenetrability of Everton, the unpredicatability of Newcastle and the 17 other permeatations in-between. The Premiership is exciting because every game is a different test and therefore there are a multitude of different approaches to success. Moyes has at times found one, Allardyce another, Wenger another still.

Whilst it's frustrating to see our lads hacked down, it's the referee's job to do the discipline ? just as when we do our "grab a goal and then barricade the penalty area" act against the big teams, it's comical to watch Wenger, Benitez and Co moaning that we don't play fair because we won't let them score. It's not the managers' job to make it easy for the opposition just to achieve results in whatever way he sees fit. Bolton may be dirty, but they're filthy in fifth.
John Holmes, York  (11/4/07)

What I want from Everton

I have just read Kevin Sparke's piece about what he wants from Everton. After all the talk and discussion all season about tactics, style, substance and what we expect of David Moyes, I honestly don't know what I want at this stage.

It is true that we are at the business end of the season. Right now I would give my left nut for European qualification. I would of course like to see us do it in style and with pomp. Being this close to qualification though,I wouldn't care either right now if we scored the most outragously poxy goals, played rubbish and still qualified. What we would do, once qualified, is a different story of course but let's just get qualification first.

In a perverse way though, if we continued to play on a more positive footing like we have since the Spurs game and didn't qualify I would still be happy. I think it would be a good end to a season that had us pulling our hair out for long periods over our negative play and approach. It would set us in good steed for next season as a full season with the outlook we have now on the pitch would be very enjoyable, and productive, IMO.

For now, I just have fingers, toes, arms legs and eyes crossed.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (11/4/07)

RE: Yes...Trogolodytes!

Ok, if Duncan was an honest brute, what is Tim Cahill? He nearly decapitated Xabi Alonso in the build up to one of our three at Anfield at the start of the season. I don't doubt that Bolton are a big team with a few dirty players but your reaction sounded a little pompous and melodramatic.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (11/4/07)

Allardyce for England

Who does that Sam Allardyce think he is to regularly promote himself for the England manager's job? His team are an "ale-house" set of thugs and play the Wimbledon game. Everton are lucky to have a squad left after such an encounter and frankly the Reebok shopping precinct is only 20 minutes from my home but I wouldn't have a season ticket if they were free. No wonder there were so many empty seats in the home end. Come on you blues!
Barry Roberts, Widnes  (11/4/07)

David France Collection

I've just got my photo with me and my baby with the league trophy and FA cup from visiting the exhibition a few weeks ago. This got me wondering about how much has been raised to date. Does anyone know how close the charity is to the £800,000 needed?
Stephen Linden, Liverpool  (11/4/07)

Stats, drats!

A question for you regarding goal difference/points... What does it mean if you win 30 games a season 1-0 and win the league but the lose the other 8 games 50-0? With a goal difference of -370 but win the league does it matter? My head hurts.
Paul Henshaw, Liverpool  (11/4/07)

No Paul, goal difference is a good indication of whether a club is over or underachieving. Our goal difference of -8, or whatever it was, when we finished 4th showed we overachieved that season in so much that our performances did not match our league position.

Similarly, it now shows that we are a better team than Bolton. Do you think that it's coincidental that ranking teams by goal differences rather than points actually yields a very similar league? ? Garry

Jose to Everton?

Jose Maurinho has indicated yesterday after Chelsea's triumph over Valencia that he might not be handling Chelsea come next season. He was quoted to say: 'What I want is to remain in England with Chelsea but sometimes in life you cannot get what you wish and what you want. If I can't coach there I would like to coach another team.'

Could Everton be his next destination? Realistically, I certainly believe not, but like they say 'Anything can happen in football', eh. COYB.
Azlan Deniel, Malaysia  (11/4/07)

Training sessions

Marie Guti asked about attending an Everton training session. If no-one knows the answer, the questioner could contact the Everton General Enquiries line on +44 (0) 870 442 1878 or at
Steven Murray, Birmingham, UK  (11/4/07)

It's all gone quiet over there

I think David Moyes is doing a terrific job under difficult circumstances. Now that we've emerged as European favourites, does that still make me a Moyes 'apologist'?

What's happened to the anti-Moyes lobby? Tony? Luq? Michael, have you ran out of ammo for your snipers rifle? Do you still want him out?

I would just be interested in hearing a few views on the subject from the people who were so voiciferous a couple of months ago.
Steve McBride, London  (11/4/07)

As I recall, there were two main issues: the results we were getting and the way were playing. I thought I read David Moyes himself saying it was all about results, and implying the way we play does not matter. If he says it, then it must be true, rendering any further discussion of the way we play somewhat moot.

The results have improved, particularly since the Tottenham debacle, but it is not cool to claim that David Moyes may have had something of an attitude adjustment prompted by the response of the fans that night. However, I believe he is taking a more attack-minded approach to the subsequent games and the results have consequently improved. I would maintain that, under those circumstances, the job is actually less difficult. The squad is so small that the team is picking itself, and Moyes is doing a better job generally with his substitutions (or avoiding them).

The real test, though, will be the last five games. That is where things have fallen apart in every season at Everton that David Moyes has presided over, although the trend over the years has been toward a slight improvement. We were losing four of the last five; last season it was down to only two games lost and five points earned.

The best we could anticipate based on current form is three wins and two draws (11 pts). However, when we last played Chelsea and Man Utd in the last five, we lost four of them... Eeek!!! — Michael


Well, Nick Harris, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Somehow though, I don't equate Duncan Ferguson's stupid and aggressive behaviour with over-the-top tackles, scything down strikers at the earliest and every opportunity, and with kneeing goalkeepers in the back.

If Duncan's behaviour was unacceptable (as it was at times) it was at least 'honest' in it's unacceptability. There was no attempt to diguise it as part and parcel of the game in the hope or expectation of getting away with it. If Duncan's behaviour was stupid it certainly wasn't cynical. There is a qualitative difference here which needs to be considered.

As for the England Manager's job, I can think of a few individuals who could probably make a better fist of it than McLaren, but Sam Allardyce wouldn't be one of them! I have a little bit more hope for the England team than that. But if that's the kind of football you want to watch then that's up to you. By the way, there is nothing wrong with 'physicality', after all it's a contact game and using your weight is part and parcel. It's what you do with your weight that matters and if Everton rely on physicality from time to time I have seen nothing comparable from our team to the way Bolton played on Monday.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (11/4/07)

A Successful Man Utd Season

Can anyone tell me if there is any residual money that would be payed (or rather taken off the cost of a player coming down the M62!!) via the Rooney deal if Man Utd win one (or all) of the 3 trophies that they are contesting this season? What odds on the likes of Richardson or O'Shea being linked again if there is money to be payed?!?
Baz Johns, Glasgow  (11/4/07)

There is a belief among some that the well-publicised details of the Rooney deal were superseded by subsequent deals involving Phil Neville and Tim Howard. I don't think Everton will be getting any money from Man Utd... unless it is (God forbid!) to buy one of our better players. ? Michael

Let Vaughn rest

I think the seriousness of Vaughan's imjury is being underplayed by both Moyes and the media. To suggest you can be back playing top flight footie within three weeks of severing an artery seems ludicrous to me.

Everton have done a great job with this young man (and Anichebe too) so far and I would hate to think they might mortgage his contribution next season for the sake of what will be most likely two games this season.

Frustrating as it might be for all concerned, the sensible approach would be to let the wound heal completely over the summer before asking the lad to play again.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (11/4/07)

Some help there

I'd like to do the same as the spanish visitor. What hours do they visit Bellefield?
Michael Enggaard, Copenhagen  (11/4/07)


Does anyone know when Evertons's period of "exclusivity" runs out with the Tesco crowd? I understand Everton may want to keep things under wraps however failing to communicate simple milestones is not doing the PR exercise any good. Surely Everton should be promoting key dates, draft proposals etc. at this stage to gain some interest.
James Meade, Chester  (11/4/07)

Tickets for de Mancs?

I'm looking for 2 or tickets for the Utd game on Sat 28th April. I am a member of the EFC supporters club in Jersey and i'm coming back to my sister's wedding and I wanted to know if ANYONE has got any spare tickets as I would like to take my sister to the game. I'm willing to pay whatever they cost and ANYWHERE in the ground (except with the Utd fans) . So could you please help. My mobile number is 07797774370 or 01534 840243.. Many Thanks
Kevin Lloyd, Jersey  (11/4/07)

Kev - if you're a paid member of the Evertonia eTicketing scheme (on the Official website) you are now eligible to purchase up to 15 tickets for the Manchester United game. - Colm

Help info Bellefield

I go to Liverpool soon. I am from Pays Basque. Is it possible to see a training session of Everton? Thank you!! Cheers!!
Marie Guti, Basque Country  (11/4/07)

They'll be doing such exciting things as head-tennis and how not to defend a free-kick with the offside trap... ? Michael


I think you're a little unfair on Bolton, Eileen. In the game on Monday, we matched their physical style for long periods. I know Johnson and Arteta got a few challenges but I remember seeing a wild slash from Arteta, from behind, on some Bolton player.

Arteta can be quite sly at times, I think we'll all agree. Perhaps players like Kevin Davies may dish out some physicality but let's not forget, until recently we had Duncan 'two burglars' Ferguson. He punched two players in two different matches in his penultimate season alone.

Bolton can play it about in style at times, much like we can. And at times they rely on physicality, much like we do. Sam Allardyce has done a fantastic job there and he should have easily beaten McLaren to the England job.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (11/4/07)

RE: Moyes ? The Great Over-Achiever

This mathematical forumla Jarid Avila has applied to measure Everton's/Moyes's sucess is an inappropiate tool for measuring achievement. I think he answers his own question in the first paragraph which is that we don't have a play-off system... We have the league table to view a whole range of statistics. Chosing selected aspects of this table and morphing them into a number means absolutely nothing whatsoever.

And when you write "In plain English, what does this mean? It means that, since 2003, Everton have consistently finished seasons with more points (and a higher position on the Premiership table) than you would expect based on goal difference.", maybe so, but so what?!? I'm sure you could divide the square root of away goals scored divided by the home games drawn and come up with all sorts of assumptions and non-'interesting' facts. The Pearson correlation coefficient is probably, in my opinion, not the best tool for measuring a football manager's success.
Alex Kociuba, Liverpool  (10/04/07)

I think you miss the point or deliberately wish to be disparaging about it. The statistical 'fact' is that there is a relatively high correlation between points and goal difference... Correlation between Goal Difference and Final Points Total Not entirely surprising, but that was not really the point of Jarod's analysis. He is actually analysing the residual or the departure from the mean equation for that correlation, and drawing an inference based on the marked contrast between that residual for David Moyes (+ve) as compared with his recent predecessors (-ve). The difference itself is there in the numbers. It is a statistical fact. And it is not just an arbitrary one. Does that in itself measure the success of the manager? That is a debatable point. But it does not detract from the statistical validity of the analysis.

Where Jarod went slightly awry, as was pointed out by John Holmes, is the chicken-&-egg thing. Jarod implied that goal difference is a predictor of points, whereas they are merely variables that have an in-built dependency on each other... as the correlation shows. One of our other more generous contributors summed it up by saying that it reflects the different ethos of David Moyes in terms of High Efficiency Football, the avoidance of scoring goals "just for fun" but instead maximising the point-earning potential of each and every goal. That is a fair and meaningful inference that actually proves the lie in your final conclusion.

The correlation coefficient is just that ? it measures the degree of correlation, nothing more and nothing less, and was added just to provide a measure of the strength of the underlying correlation. It was not itself presented as having anything to do with measuring a football manager's success. ? Michael

Re: Building a Young British Team

In reply to Paul Atress's recent post, my answer is YES! Particularly pleasing to see homegrown players coming through the EFC ranks! Long may it continue.
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (10/4/07)


There is not much I would disagree with in John Holmes's post... especially his view of Arsene Wenger and the need to break down the Top Four Cartel. But everything has a price and one price I would not be happy to pay is Bolton getting to the Champions League!

Suddenly we could end up with ten or so other clubs deciding to follow the Bolton creed with cries of:- "That's the way to do it!" ...and henceforth there would be more paramedics at Premiership games than supporters. No, we don't want to be encouraging the Bolton Neanderthals (am I being disrepectful to Neanderthals here?) or any other club who decided to follow suit on the back of such 'success'. The game has been there before and I am old enough to remember it and we don't want to return.

Champion's League? No, dropping out of the bottom of the Conference is where the Boltons of this football world need to be; as far as I am concerned, it could not happen quickly enough. To think... Sam Allardyce thinks he should be the England manager! I am no raging patriot but I respect my Country a little more than that!
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (10/4/07)

Help from Spurs?

I might have this wrong, but I believe that Uefa Cup qualification works somewhat differently to the Champions League, so that if Spurs win the thing, they re-enter the tournament as holders and would not qualify for the tournament via the league.

If correct, even if Spurs finished ahead of us, 7th could be good enough for a Uefa spot, or even eighth if Utd face Chelsea in the final, not even considering the Intertoto. Fingers crossed they can overcome Seville in the second leg, then all the usual end-of-season maths and predictions might not be necessary. (That said, this could be complete bollocks...)
Tom O'Brien, Manchester  (10/4/07)

Building a young British team

Is anyone else proud that Everton's first team currently includes seven British players (eight if you count Birmingham-born Carsley), it also includes four home grown players (Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan & Anichebe) and only has three players over 30.

David Moyes said he wanted to build a young British team and he's certainly doing that. In a time when most teams have very few British players (Arsenal) or home-grown players, it's refreshing to find a manager building a Top-6 side the old fashioned way.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (10/4/07)

Beattie & Nugent

Could we be in the realms of that great old joke about Heskey with regard to JB? ? "Everton have offerred Preston £6M for Nugent or £7M plus Beattie"?

I just want the man to score ? don't care how, off his backside. Simple tap in, don't care. On the other hand, for his own career he will need to leave in the Summer. He needs confidence and ?playing for Everton ? he will never get it. Just make sure we get a sell-on clause.
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (10/4/07)

Never been so dirty

As a Bolton fan, I've got to say that the Everton match was the worst I've seen in ages, and I've seen some bad 'uns! I'm blaming us 75% for that, we were more physical and in the mood for a "scrap" than I've seen us for ages. We've played crap before but usually the opposition has played their own game and beaten us.

But Everton came down to our level on the day, your full-backs were as good as ours in the art of overplaying a pass and finding the ball boys. No team attempted to play a winger (well that's what it looked like) so when the ball wasn't being given away by a full-back it was being launched down the middle for the centre-halves to gobble up.

There must have been 200 headers, most of 'em on the half way line. A draw was definitely a fair result, but 0-0 would've done the game justice. Both goals were down to defensive cock ups, though both were finished well.

Re the Diouff tackle, I havent seen it, but Paul Merson on Sky was fuming at Diouff, he said he should've been booked twice before that for handballs! I've honestly never seen us play so "dirty" ? Campo did a blatant hack on Arteta, Faye nearly cut Johnson in half three times, Davies was flying in at every chance and Vaughan got a nasty gash off Meite and was stretchered off. It was very competitive but if Prem footie was like that every week I wouldn't be going much longer.
Dave Gleaves, Perth, Australia  (10/4/07)

Euro place

To be fair to MOTD, John, we are still 3 points from Bolton, which is still a margin. We do have an advantage of a high goal-difference, but we still need to close the gap.

To Tony re Uefa Cup places:

  • 5th place ? automatic Uefa Cup Place
  • 6th place ? has become available due to Chelsea winning the League Cup
  • 7th place ? will ONLY become available if BOTH Man Utd and Chelsea enter the FA Cup Final. If one of the finalist is not in the CL places, then that team will enter the Uefa Cup, regardless of they win or lose in the final.
So, in short, if Man Utd and Chelsea meet in the final, we have a good chance of Europe, as we currently have a 5-point gap from the team occupying the closest non-Uefa Cup place.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (10/4/07)


Whilst watching MOTD last night, Gabby said when introducing the game something along the lines of "and it's Bolton chasing Arsenal for the Champions League spot and Everton who are chasing a European place." We could have gone above them but what would anyone on MOTD know about football?
John Scott, Edinburgh  (10/4/07)

So What's The Deal?

Uefa Cup qualification: what's the deal? Does anyone know? The BBC website gives the following rather unclear explanation:

'Teams finishing fifth and sixth will qualify for the Uefa Cup, along with the FA Cup winners unless they have already qualified for the Champions League.

'The Carling Cup was won by Chelsea, who are already in the Champions League, so the team finishing in seventh place in the Premiership could also enter the Uefa Cup.'
Where do we need to finish to qualify?
Tony Horne, Kettering  (10.4.07)

As high as we can, Tony! My understanding of it is that we need to finish in fifth or sixth, to gain entry into the Uefa Cup. If Chelsea face Manchester United in the FA Cup Final then an extra place (seventh) will become available. ? Colm

Paddy Thomas's Tactics

Paddy Thomas says that Moyes is tactically naive. I say to Paddy Thomas that I bet him all the money in the world, that given the players in the Everton squad and the money available to him, he couldn't get the squad into the same position.

It is naysayers like him who do this club a disservice. Moyes has done a good job this season give or take a few bad decisions (namely the Tottenham game) and I think it's time everyone started getting behind him and realising exactly where we sit in the league at the moment.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (10/4/07)


It was never going to be a pretty game. I was prepared for a battle but this was the dirtiest side we have ever played. How on earth they finished the game with 11 players and are still moaning about the referee, I 'll never know.

The cynical fouls from Campo on Arteta and Osman, the dirty game of Kevin Davies, the brutal foul on Neville from this cheating twat Diouf, and finally the challenge that lead to Vaughan's injury ? all deserved at least yellow cards and, in the case of Diouf and Campo, red.

I think Moyes tactic was spot on ? there was no place for "sexy football" ? there never is against Bolton. Free-flowing game, using the wings... get real - every intelligent move was ruthlessly and cynically broken down by Campo and he wasn't even booked until the 83rd minute, after denying us two great counter-attacking opportunities.

I am more concerned about the run in as we are now without Tim Cahill, James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe and Manuel Fernandes is doubtful. The lack of depth in our squad may be decisive for the Euro push.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (10/4/07)

Do we need Nugent?

With Big Vic, Vaughan and AJ, do we need to spend as much as we would have to on Nugent? Would we be better off spending the cash elsewhere in the team? I appreciate that he is a good player and a true blue but if he comes in and plays then maybe we will loose Vic or Vaughan as they will want regular first team football.

I guess if we get rid of Beattie (useless) we will need another striker as cover but can we justify the cost of Nugent?
Paul Momber, Thailand  (10/4/07)

Brave Blues

I have read with interest all those commenting on our lack of guile at the Reebok. It's very hard to apply your skills when you you are being pushed and pulled all over the place. The standard of refereeing set the tone for the whole game, Martin Atkinson should be ashamed of himself ? not least for the three pens that should have come our way. A better referee would have ensured a victory for us yesterday, punishing Sam's neanderthal team for its relentless misdameanours. Instead, we were let down once again by the powers that be.

I was very proud of the lads; when the going got tough, they got stuck in and didn't bottle out of anything (including Arteta) ? we were not going to get a result any other way. Better teams than ours have gone there this season, tried to play football, and lost. We played the only football of note and got a result. Well done to all concerned.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (10/4/07)

Paddy Thomas

Wrong... he is, you're not.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (10/4/07)

Battle at Bolton

After the game, the main talking point was not the football, but the two tackles, one a pure accident, the other a cynical assault on Phil Neville, by Diouf. How did referee and his Blind Pew assistant miss that challenge? Mind you, let's add the two blatant handballs by the same unpunished player early in the game.

The football was poor, bad conditions for both sides, and after a rare mistake by Lescott, playing five Bolton men onside, the lads fought back, and after good work by Osman, James Vaughan whipped the ball past the Bolton keeper.

It was a typical battle with Bolton, but at least we came away with a point, and the sight of James Vaughan's boot gushing blood stayed with me all the way home. Let's hope he is back quickly as we need him.
Norman Merrill, Everton, Liverpool  (10/4/07)

I'll take a point

Some people say we should've beaten Bolton, but to be honest I'm happy with a point. Bolton are a physical team ? you only have to look at the state of Vaughan and the possible injury that could've occured with Phil Neville to see that.

That said, Bolton have something going for them; they are after all above us in the league and winning home games more often than not. I think the fact that Bolton scored first and we got back into the game shows that we are battling well.

With regards to the Vaughan injury, a severed artery will take at least 2 - 3 weeks to heal properly so I reckon this might be a chance to utilise Beattie. I think the lad deserves a fair crack of whip to show everyone if he still has something left to give.

All in all though, sixth in the league and Charlton to play next, we're not doing too bad, eh?
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (10/4/07)

See ya, Moysie

There we go again... Moyes loses out when it matters again. Whoever says it's a great point at Bolton wanna learn their football! They where awful, not awkward, and we didn't have the gumption to use the wings or thread the balls through to those two giant strikers we had playing. Moyes, get outta here you scotch git... you ain't wanted or needed anymore, you are so tactically naive it's unbelievable.
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (10/4/07)

Oh dear... I think that sort of thinking is best kept to yerself there, Paddy! ? Michael


Just read the match summary by Michael, you call Nolan a diehard Evertonian. I thought he was a diehard dark side supporter?
Daniel Lim, Malaysia  (10/4/07)

Hmmm... they had an interview with him on Everton TV/Audio prior to the game... maybe I wasn't listening very attentively... ? Michael

Who's the stadium builder?

McLaughlin & Harvey of Northern Ireland hasn't been mentioned yet. There's a tip...
Alan Woodison, Glasgow  (10/4/07)

Oh come on... Northern Ireland ain't that bad! — Michael


On watching the highlights of yesterday's match, I am amazed at how El Hadji Diouf avoided being sent off. Not content on trying to cheat by handling the ball into the net or by controlling the ball with his hand in the box or by diving for a penalty, his tackle on Neville was disgraceful. He really is undoubtedly the biggest fucking cheating little scumbag I've ever seen taking to a pitch. I would be ashamed to call him a team-mate. I used to have a lot of respect for Bolton and their manager but they are fast becoming a detestabe shower of sneaky cheaters.
Jay Kay, Carlow, Ireland  (10/4/07)

Bolton, Arsenal and the Champion's League

I made an off-hand comment earlier about hoping Bolton won all their matches and kept Arsenal out of Europe and a couple of people responded, one saying they'd rather see Arsenal "gracing" Europe than Bolton, and another pointing out the risk of Spurs keeping us out of the Uefa Cup as a result.

Obviously, the first priority is Everton qualify for the Uefa Cup. But I genuinely feel it would be beneficial for us and English football for Bolton to overtake Arsenal (assuming we can't do it ourselves, which ? given their current form ?is not impossible).

Most fans on this board seem to hate the Big Four mentality and are desperate to break it apart and whilst it would be nice for Everton to reallign English football single-handedly, realistically it needs more than one club opening up the Champion's League cartel. That way, the wealth is dispersed somewhat more evenly, limiting the excesses of the current oligarchy and by proxy increasing Everton's chances of getting in amongst them. Alongside this, if Everton can't break the cartel this, season I would like to see it broken as soon as possible so any team denying one of the "big four" the Champions' League bounty would be welcome.

On a more vindictive note, I loathe Arsene Wenger, his supercilious attitude to the supposed smaller clubs, his arrogant belief that somehow Arsenal's admittedly impressive style automatically gives them the right to success, his lack of respect for English football and the need to develop English players, his myopic and hypocritical criticisms of other teams' players and blinkered support for his own, and countless other reasons. I also despise the way when we sat in the top four for the entirety of the 04-05 season the media still referred to the top four as though Everton didn't exist and simply weren't there.

For me, any team breaking the top four up is beneficial to English football, to Everton and a cause for a little sense of poetic justice.
John Holmes, York  (9/4/07)

Midfield creativity

I agree we do need some more creativity in our team. While some people have been asking for Arteta to move into the middle, I disagree. While he does more than a good job in the middle, his best stuff is done out wide. Left or right ? it does not matter. He is too small and lightweight for the rough and tumble of the middle of the park and the game would pass him by.

Moyes has found a class central midfielder in Manuel Fernandes ? someone who can thread balls through to the likes of Johnson and Vaughan. Like Arteta, he is a ball player but a different kind. Mikel likes to get the ball and run at defenders whereas Fernandes is someone who can dictate the play of a game and start our attacks by giving it to the likes of Arteta, Osman or Van der Meyde who have played on the wings this season.

I don't think we need a ball winner either. Carsley, Neville and Fernandes all like to put their foot in. If Moyes can add Fernandes to our squad and maybe a winger (if Van der Meyde is never going to be fit) then the future looks bright.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (9/4/07)

From my seat

An away point gained in the most difficult of circumstances. The spells of football we have been producing recently were quickly negated by an uncompromising side who set out their intentions from the first whistle. It took the blues a good twenty minutes to come to terms with this brutish style of play,something I think they should have been expecting, but by this time they were one down due to an error in following a training-ground routine, perhaps they practised this on Lescott's day off!

The Blues then rallied and started to meet brawn with brawn and had the better of the second half of the first half which resulted in an equaliser from the excellent Vaughan. This was no game for ball players and it was most noticeable that Arteta had a quiet match only bursting into life spasmodically. The referee played his part in ensuring this was a match to forget due to sheer incompetence and a touch of myopia. The assessors report should be interesting... Looking at our performance I thought the back five were resolute, the central midfield combative which they had to be.

The highlight for me was our front two who looked as though they were a pair and would be great for us in this run-in and then Vaughan gets that horrible injury and leaves me gutted. After all the deliberate stuff that had gone on his was just an accident. I suppose this game could be described as a blood-and-thunder cup semi-final that had a bit of everything; in my view it lacked that ingredient called "football", which was down to the way Bolton go about their game... perhaps it is just as well Sam failed the England interview.

I usually look for a reason to award my MotM and see how it compares with others but today it was a case of everyone looking after each other and resolute displays required all over the pitch and in the main I thought we achieved that. I would pay tribute though to Tony Hibbert who is often maligned but today no matter who Bolton sent down their left, which is one of their ploys, none got the better of him.

Can we make Europe? I think we will get a better idea by Sunday when we see who has shaken off the knocks that most got today and what sort of line-up transpires. Our lack of quality depth in the squad could be pivitol at this stage. Charlton will be fighting for their survival and will no doubt try to make it difficult for us so we will need to be fit fresh and up for it to ensure a vital three points; an early goal would be good. Here's hopeing -- UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (9/4/07)

Vaughan injury

In response to Eileen - it's not good news. I think that's his season over. It's not just a case of the severed artery healing but also of the artery walls strengthening again. It would be risky for him to even train if they're not absolutely certain he has recovered.
Carolyn Hayre, Preston  (09/04/07)

In amongst the opposition

I watched the match today sat amongst Bolton fans and, my God, do they moan. They moaned every time we got a freekick, they moaned when they got a freekick usually for not booking one of ours, but very significantly they moaned about the lack of quality in their own team. The bloke sat next to me even said the only reason they had the Iranian was because he had a long throw!

Anyway, not withstanding this and rhetoric aside, the interesting thing is listening to their appraisal of our players and our tactics. Apart from the usual vitriol because we are the opposition, some of the comments are quite interesting. They think Hibbert is even worse than Hunt, Stubbs was class with them but is too old and slow now, Osman is too small and weak, but that as a team we are very physical and difficult to match. They rated Yobo and said he played Anelka out of the match, Carsley and Neville dominated the centre of midfield and AJ and Vaughan were a constant threat. What they couldn't understand is our lack of width and inability to attack Hunt and Gardner. Begrudgingly we were better man for man but lacked ideas — sound familiar?

From my point of view I thought Mikel was too ineffective today, particularly when he switches in front of Hibbert as the ball stops coming to him. I also felt he wasn't interested today and we need his quality. I thought Lescott began to show that he is playing out of position. For me though the biggest thing missing was the ability to play balls between defenders for the forwards to attack. Leon was brushed aside constantly and Neville and Carsley set out to win their battles and no more. With the pace and threat of AJ and Vaughan we need players who can thread passes not just hump them forward. Still we were solid, they had few real chances and whilst we didn't really threaten we were comfortable and deserved the draw.

Once more today was a perfect microcosm of our season, difficult to beat, solid and rugged, we create few chances but also give away very few chances, Our spirit is good, our fitness levels seem high and we can match most sides. So can DM move us to the next level and find and play passers of the football? Progress? Yes but as the song goes — there are more questions than answers!!!
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (09/04/07)

The Last Chance Saloon

Its a real shame that James Vaughan has been injured, sounds like it could be a few weeks at least. With Anichebe and Cahill also on the sidelines and McFadden still short of match practice, one last chance seems to have fallen to James Beattie.

Beattie's Everton career looked over, with Moyes sure to sell him in the summer but this run of injuries to the forwards has given the former England International a life-line, a run of games to find some form and score Everton into Europe.

Can Beattie make the most of this unexpected chance? He looks fit and maybe a run of games will give him the confidence he needs to regain some of the form we have seen sporadically in the past.

One things for sure, this is his last chance, unless of course Moyes decides he's had enough already and brings in Scott Spencer or John Paul Kissock?
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (09/04/07)

Kissock is primarily a play-making midfielder and Spencer doesn't appear to be near the first-team, but we'll see. I suspect Beattie will now be given every opportunity to play the target for Howard's hoofs but nothing I have seen from him so far this season fills me with confidence that he'll do anything other than run around a lot with plenty of determination without offering any real goal-scoring threat. I hope I'm wrong, of course — our European hopes may depend on him. — Lyndon

Disgruntled of Singapore writes

What a feckless performance! I swear I was watching gridiron football at the Reebok. If this is David Moyes' idea of unlocking defences, by constantly upping the ball towards first Vaughn's, then Beattie's collective heads, only for it to rattle away while Andy Johnson chases it without a cat's eye chance of getting it, then please allow myself to congratulate you on your shiny new 5-year blueprint plan.

Hoofing the ball against a side like Bolton - especially a side like Bolton - is just akin to a bad throw. What is so wrong about mixing and matching, using the width, bringing our creative players (Arteta and Osman) to the ball and pick a pass for Johnson to nip? I can't understand why we play it so fucking safe all the fucking time?!

This is one point I am sure as hell am ashamed to get. As it is, we are still in the hunt for fifth. It's all there, it's all up for grabs. Maybe it's time to adopt Harold Lloyd's philosophy and hang to the edge of that needle, never giving up, and getting the girl (5th) in the end. Safety Last!

And to John Holmes, hell no. I would rather see Arsenal gracing Europe anytime instead of those thugs from Bolton. The future is bright. The future is blue.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (10/04/2007)


Good point. Hope James Vaughan gets better soon.

But it is off the pitch I want to vent my spleen. I got inside the Reebook to get a pint before the game only to be told no booze was to be served. Why? Certain games they stop serving booze to away fans. Now, I certainly don't need a drink to watch the game but being treated like a kid going to a children's disco is outrageous.

Was this decision made because of some of th