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Letters from our readers — May 2007

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re: Uefa Thin

I’ve got to disagree about Michael Coffey’s remarks on the UEFA cup final, I thought it was a pretty good game for a European final. I was also left wondering how well Everton would cope with Espanol, Seville, Werder Breman et al, especially as Seville beat Tottenham (who are probably on a par with us give or take) with some room to spare.

The core of this current Everton team is pretty sound, Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Arteta, Johnson, but I’d be worried about the ability of Hibbo, Stubbs & Carsley to retain possession of the ball. I’d also have to say a player like Fernandez would be much more of an asset, than a Barton, who, ignoring his various off the field misdemeanors, is much more of a poor man’s Arteta than a ball winning long term replacement for Carsley. As a tackler Barton’s about as effective as Gravesen. Fernandez, on the other hand, can win the ball & do something useful with it when he’s got it.
Colin Smith, Hopewell, New Jersey, USA  (18/5/07)

Howdy, Cousin

While not wishing to be thought of as a Smart Alec, I would suggest that the passage of time has clouded Gerry Quinn's memory.

Alex Young did indeed score twice against his cousin in the 1967 F.A.Cup replay,versus Burnley, his cousin being Harry Thomson, who later played league football for Blackpool and Barrow.

There is however, nothing wrong with his assessment of Alex being a class act, I count myslf fortunate to have had the privilege of seeing seeing the master at work

I mean no disrespect to Gerry, it's just that opinions can be debated and disputed, but facts remain just that.
John McFarlane, Senior, Skelmersdale  (18/5/07)

Blinkered statto

To John Holmes of York. You're right. The £5M-£10M that Man United spent last season didn't win them the title. It was the £100M they spent in seasons prior - Rooney, Ronaldo, Ferdinand, Evra, Saha, etc.

You seem to have overlooked this and come to the conclusion that money doesn't bring you success in football. Maybe you would like to rethink. Perhaps revisting your stats using a broader, more relevant, timeframe would help.

From the top of the Premiership right down to bottom of the conference, there is almost a perfect correlation (if you factor in standard deviation) between club turnover and league standing.

If you're still living in hope that Everton, or any other club for that matter, are about to significantly buck this trend, then you had better prepare yourself for a bitter disappointment.
Ryan Crest, London  (18/5/07)

Re. London Supporters Club

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, it seems the link to the site must have occured to you while commenting on my post.

I was having difficulty finding it. Many thanks.
Shaun Brennan, London  (18/5/07)

I have them all memorised... but my memory ain't what it used to be. I'm sure they'll give you a warm welcome, Shaun... — Michael

re. Lee Carsley

Love him or loath him, he has been a real unsung hero. But remember, Rumour Mills are only rumours. I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay. After all, he did say he wants to have a crack at Europe after missing the last campaign.

Up the Toffees

ps: There seem to be plenty a number of blues down this end of the country. Anyone any information on a supporters club?
Shaun Brennan, London  (18/5/07)

Yea, that would be a good idea... I wonder why no-one's thought of that before...

Oh, wait a minute...

What's this? ? ESCLA!

Manny and others

Interesting snippet of information from Kevin Tully regarding Manny Fernandes but isn't this a double-edged sword?

It sounds a great deal to get him on a season-long loan to save us our precious cash for other players this summer but wouldn't that mean that if he achieved what we all hope and expect of him, ie, a great domestic and European campaign in 2007-08, his price will get even higher and further out of our reach? If he fails to live up to his potential and our expectations we will have had a poor campaign and wasted our time.

If we are to get him on a long-term loan deal, I hope we can fix a price first.

On another player, is it true about Lee Carsley and Wigan? I normally dismiss these rumours but this one seemed so definite (although no source or corroboration provided I notice).

There is no mention of it on the Official site or Sky Sports transfer window. Bearing in mind our limited resources and heavy workload next season, wouldn't this be a massive mistake? I'm no fan of Barton's but even if we did get him, surely we still need strength in depth for each position next season more than most and Lee is a proven worker and does a lot of the unfashionable work that others, Arteta in particular, would miss without him.

Finally, I know you hate us all playing FM Michael, but isn't that the only thing left in the summer months and almost every supporters favourite past time when not watching a game?

There seems to be a number of quality players available this summer for free that could boost numbers and achieve alot for us, Sylain Distin and Michael Ball of City, Viduka at Boro, Sidwell (still hasn't officially signed for anybody) from Reading.

A player like Viduka may not last a full season in all competitions but would be a very skillful addition for (hopefully) those many glorious nights on the continent.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (18/5/07)

Lee Carsley

I've just read something on the rumour mill re Lee Carsley on his way to Wigan. I have to say that, if his departure is imminent, I for one would be sad to see him go. This season he has been a rock and has put some cracking, gritty performances in for the Blues. He's not everyone's cup of tea but he does a good job of doing all the less glamourous stuff in midfield. If I look on the bright side though, could this mean he knows that DM will be bringing in some fresh faces and Cars won't get regular first team football, something that he is more likely to get at Wigan.

Well, whatever happens, love him or loath him, Lee Carsley has served this club well and the fact that he stayed this season because of his injury problems in the previous season shows a man of integrity.

So maybe Barton is on his way here after all - suppose it's only a matter of time before we hear "Joey, Joey show us yer arse......" Eeeeek! Just when we were getting rid of "...the baby's not yours..."

Roll on next season, can't wait, can't wait. COYB
Lue Glover, Buckley  (18/5/07)

Put Nugent on Ice

Can't understand how PNE expect to get £10M for him ? I would say something closer to £4M-£5M is more realistic for a talented yet top-flight unproven Championship striker. He's also in the last year of his contract and can start talking pre-contract agreements in January. If he really wants to play for us (which it seems he does), and we really want him, (which also seems to be the case) then this is surely the best option for both parties?

Another season in the Championship isn't going to do too much harm to his International ambitions, AJ can talk to him about that one (and how much they improve when you play for the Blues!). With Vaughan and Vic coming on in leaps in bounds, we should have enough quality up-front and if it does look like he's holding out then maybe we can take him in the January window for a cut-price figure when it's clear PNE aren't going to get their ridiculous appraisal of him.

The money would be better spent on the midfield (quality left-mid and central ball-weinner/play-maker) as well as full-backs on both sides. Some experienced cover for Tim and Turner as well along with a utility player or two and we should be okay. Right then, Bill... over to you! :)
Peter Hurley, Melbourne, Australia  (18/5/07)

Re: David Jones

Dave, I don't want to labour on it because it wasn't the point I was making but I will have to disagree about Kieran Richardson's ability. It's only the dazzling form of Messers Giggs and Ronaldo that are keeping him out of the first 11, He is also able to plug a hole at left-back, can play in central midfield and has had a handful of England caps. I'd say that was fairly versatile wouldn't you?

My point wasn't to directly compare Kanchelskis to Richardson though, Dave. As you rightly suggest, they are on different planets. I just wanted to say that certain fans seem to feel that any business done with United will be solely for United's benefit and that we're being duped in the process. Of course we should be looking for our own Ronaldo (Fernandes anyone?) but I don't buy into the idea that we're above approaching fringe players from the top 4.

And I'm still choking on my cornflakes over your Kilbane comment!
Ben Howard, London  (18/5/07)

Barclays and Barton

Thanks Dan (Moore) for that little piece of information. It's much easier for me now.

And I would like to point out some statistics for Barton that were mentioned by Mr Tosev from Wien. With 17 goals in 140 matches, his game/goal ratio should be 8.2 instead of 10.0, that puts him up there as the best of the four in term of game/goal ratio.
Daniel Lim, Malaysia  (18/5/07)

Spending vs League Position

Interesting feature in The Independent today comparing transfer spending by Premiership clubs between May 2006 and May 2007 to their change in league position from 2005-06 to 2006-07

Of the six clubs whose net spending (money spent minus money recouped from sales) totalled over £M, four out of seven dropped league positions (Chelsea, WHU, Charlton, Newcastle) and only Villa improved their league position.

Of the 8 clubs whos net spending was between £5M-£10M, five (Everton, Bolton, Man U, Boro, Portsmouth) improved their league placing and none were worse off (or were promoted teams).

Of the remaining teams who spent more than they received all (Wigan, Fulham, Blackburn) dropped league places.

Three of the biggest fallers in terms of league position were in the top seven spenders (WHU, Newscatle, Charlton) and three of the four biggest climbers were in the £5-10M bracket (Everton, Porstmouth, Boro).

Finally five of the top ten spenders finished in the top ten and five in the bottom ten suggesting money spent is a highly unreliable predictor of league position.

Obviously there are other considerations such as managerial changes and the fact the further down the league you are the more scope you have for improvement (and vice versa), this seems to show that whilst having SOME money to spend is important, having big money certainly isn't a guarentee of success. In fact it appears that carefully targetted signings for a few key areas of your team appears to work better than scattershot spending on numerous players who are not substantially better than those already available to you.
John Holmes, York  (18/5/07)

Or they might be "good players" on paper who don't fit into the team or disrupt the pattern of play, etc. It does tend to provide some ammunition for those like me who feel this whole "lack of money" arguement is sufficient reason for us to accept mid-table mediocrity as our lot, and to not strive for higher levels of achievement through improvement in the myriad of other factors that contribute to being a good successful club again. ? Michael

Barton issue

After reading numerous comments over the last few days about whether Joey Barton would be a good addition to the club, I thought I'd add my two pence worth.

In pure footballing terms, unfortunately I think we absolutely need players like Joey Barton. The reason that we have had to play 4-5-1 over the last few years is to fill the midfield area with more players to compensate for the lack of quality & strength in these areas. When you look at the top teams in the leagues, they all have one/two top midfield players (or in the case of Chelsea 4!) which allows them to play 4-4-2. If we had a strong midfielder playing alongside someone like Cahill we could revert back to 4-4-2 more often and play the attacking football we all crave.

Joey Barton has his issues, and on a personal level I am not a fan ? but for football reasons he would enhance our current First 11 and would be a good signing.

It brings back to my mind a few seasons ago when we were linked with the likes of Robbie Savage (a completely different type of tosser to Barton), who a lot of fans hate ? but I had numerous conversations with other Evertonians about the fact that, as much as it pained me to say it, we could actually do with him and his energy in the middle of the park, as we all agreed that the midfield pairing is the real issue at the club these days.

This is what Moyesy needs to address in the summer as it's the midfield that we need to vastly improve. If that means signing Barton then so be it ? I may not celebrate wildly that he's joined us but deep down I know that he will improve us as a team and take us forward.

Ultimately, I'd prefer a nice guy like Owen Hargreaves alongside Fernandes but seeing as this isn't fantasy football we have to be realistic about our targets, and Barton is very much in our price range.
Andrew Bentley, London  (18/5/07)

Football Fix

Sorry about the mix-up during the week lads. I just asssumed that with the season over you lads would be taking a well-earned break.

For selfish reasons, I'm glad your not. This part of the close season, just after the regular season has ended, is always hard ? especially when there is no summer tournament. You haven't been able to get your head around the fact yet that the season is finished. Your Saturday's feel empty without a game to revolve around.

Unfortunately for the Editorial team, and Michael in particular, this leaves us with the summer transfer window, and yes, fantasy football manager...

Sorry lads, perhaps you should take that break after all!
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (18/5/07)

Memo to self: I must introduce Michael to the joys and grace of All-Ireland Senior Hurling!!! ? Colm


There was a bulletin on Radio Merseyside last night that we are hoping to take Manny Fernandes on a season-long loan. This would be a good move so we can really see what he is worth. Does the first round of the Uefa Cup take place before the start of our domestic season?
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (18/5/07)

First round ties in next season's Uefa Cup takes place on September 20th. ? Colm

ref: Barclays on line banking

Hi, with reference to Daniel Lim's comment regarding transfering money to the Madeleine fund, I work for the bank in question, and as long as the account number and sort code are correct, it doesn't matter about the account name. Just thought I'd let you know :)
Dan Moore, Salford  (18/5/07)

Figured as much. Thanks, Dan ? Lyndon

Ben Howard RE Kanchelskis

Ben, it appears that time has clouded your memory, old boy. Comparing Kanchelskis to Richardson is utterly ridiculous. Kanchelskis was one of the stars of United's team and was only sold after he had a bust-up with Fergie. Richardson, on the other hand, is a steaming pile of shite who is absolutely hated by the majority of United fans and is lucky to get a gig in a few cup games. He's terrible, we should steer well clear.

If we are shopping at OT again, let's either get a versatile player who is worthwhile, like John O'Shea, or try and add some real quality with a Louis Saha or a Gabby Heinze. Kieran Richardson is one of the last players I'd like to see at Goodsion, I'd take Kilbane back before him and I'm not joking!!
David Jones, Warrington  (18/5/07)

Thinking outside of the box

Re Barton and Steve Green: Interesting analysis of Barton, apparently two very expensive strikers, Samuras and Carradi, failed to hit the target for City and that somehow is down to Barton?!? And of course City have a relatively poor season and that's down to Barton also!?! So what exactly are you saying? Do you consider the club a to be a one-man band? If so, isn't that something of a contradiction? Perhaps you can also explain why he was recently called up for England duty, given that he has had such a poor season.

When Moyes made a recent bid for him, exactly what position do think he had in mind for him? Left-back? Left-wing? Right wing? I tend to think Moyes believed he would would fill a void in the middle of the park; clearly you think differently. I'd be interested to know what role you think he had in mind when he bid for his services.

Read the post again; I've alluded to the fact he would be a risk, his footballing ability is not in question ? his temperament is. My belief is simply this: he would (in my opinion) be a risk, but I think he might be a risk worth taking. Incidently, I agree entirely with Tony ? to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't killed anyone. Though, to read some of the comments appearing here, you'd think he had. The phrase "judge, jury and executioner" has a certain ring to it, don't you think?
Gerry Western, London  (18/5/07)

Uefa thin

I lasted about 30 seconds on the Uefa Cup website before I came to the following conclusions

  1. I wish I could remember where my old slide rule is
  2. There was at least one good thing about the Soviet Union.
  3. The entire competition might just be a plot cooked up by the G14 to exhaust the also-rans so they never make it to their respective countries' Big Four.
I'm off for a lie down. Whatever happened to Ted Croker, marbles, and a felt bag?
Michael Coffey, Tripoli  (17/5/07)

Uzbeki Borat Impostor

I suspect that the Borat who contributed his opinions on Jailbird Barton is actually an Uzbeki impostor. Everyone knows Borat's last name is Sagdiyev and not Azamat...
Rory Brosnan, Los Angeles, USA  (17/5/07)

Yea... wasn't Azamat his naked wrestling buddy?


Interesting reading those Uefa rankings. It warms the cockles of your heart to see us 18 places below Leeds Utd and Fulham. Three places above Milwall though. Ha!
Tony Horne, Kettering  (17/5/07)

Barton or Fernandes?

Everyone can see, can't they, that Fernandes is just a lot better player than Barton?

I actually think we should be trying to buy better players than we already have to improve our squad. Barton is much of a muchness. Living amongst City fans they aren't arsed if he goes! His disciplinary record aside, I don't think he's good enough to play for us, especially not for £5.5 million.

Also how does Nugent's price rise to £10 million just cos he scores a tap in on the goal line for England against a bunch of part timers when the ball was going in anyway? Don't be held to ransom, Everton!
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (17/5/07)

Re: Uefa Cup Seeding

We are in the First Round of the UEFA Cup (as you know) ? the important question at the moment is whether we will be seeded or not. The present best estimate suggests we will be seeded (amongst the top 40 ranked of the 80 teams which will make up the draw.

  1. We are presently ranked between 13th-22nd of the 32 pre-qualifying teams (when all the teams are known this will be finite).
  2. Adding in qualifiers from prior rounds of the Uefa Cup (whether those teams with a higher ranking progress or the team that beat them will inherit their ranking for the next round's draw) ? we drop to a position between 17th and 34th (ie between 4-12 more places) of 64.
  3. Barring a huge number of shocks in the Third Round of the Champions League Qualifiers we won't drop more than a couple of places. The Seeding level for the Third Round of the Champions League is just above our current ranking so this suggests a significant majority of those dropping out will carry a lower ranking than us.
  4. Adding in the Fair Play winners rankings (unknown) and Intertoto Qualifiers (again unknown) we may drop a few Ranking places.
The 48 teams that join the pre-qualifiers are:
  • 2nd Qualifying Rd of Uefa Cup (32) - includes 11 Intertoto Qualifiers
  • Champions League dropouts (16)
Therefore it is likely we will be ranked somewhere between 17th and 42nd of the 80 teams ? it threrfore looks extremely unlikely that we won't be seeded and therefore won't be better placed to progress than the last time we had a go!
Daniel Miller, Salisbury  (17/5/07)

re: Steve Green

I don't remember saying that Barton is the type of player that can get hold of the ball and make things happen, but maybe you were refering to the other fella. Because I agree with you on that point, he's not that type of player, but putting together a midfield is all about balance and mixing different attributes. I feel Barton's particular attributes would definately add something. The question of whether he can drive a team on is were we really disagree, and if you cast your mind back to the season before this one, Barton was without doubt City's best player, and their season spiralled downwards when he got injured.

In the first half of this season, he picked up plenty of MOTM awards but his form did drop off in the second half, probably due to becoming disillusioned with life at City, but listen to Danny Mills's or Dickie Dunne's comments earlier in the season, he wasn't the only one. I firmly believe a move back home would be the making of the lad. Oh and by the way, Steve, I tend to get the train to come back for the match.
Ian Kearney, South Sheilds  (17/5/07)

Re: Barton

Connor Rohrer at no point in my post did I compare the players you mentioned to J Barton. I said that we need someone with their playing style and for me Barton fit the bill.

"It is true he will offer passion but to say he will dominate is wrong because he can't even tackle. The stats back me up: 11 yellow cards and 1 red in 34 games is a poor record." ? err lets see:

          Pl  Yell  Red  Goals        Yell  Red   Goals
Keane    372    75   11   35          4.96  33.8  10.6
Viera    325   108   10   32          3.0   32.5  10.2
Gattuso   34    10    1    4          3.4   34.0   8.5
Barton   140    41    3   17          3.4   46.7  10.0    
The stats for Gattuso are from his time in Rangers, I couldnt find his disciplinary record for Milan. Barton is tied with Gattuso in second for yellow cards, he receives red every 47 games, the average being 34, and as for his goalscoring he is second only to Gattuso. Barton, compared on stats, is in the same category as the above players. He has a lot to learn to became like them and be able to influence the games in their way but the incredients are here.

So with his poor tackling he is on par with all of them, did you get a grip?

"What the hell was Barton driving for the 8 games between New Years Day" - err, we scored only 1 goal for 8 games last season and nobody put the blame on a single player, Mikky for example. Its a bit stupid to say that because Barton played City haven't scored for 8 games.

I like him and I think that we have to sign him.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (17/5/07)

Okay, so if I've got this right, some people like Barton, want to sign him, don't care that he's a thug. Meanwhile, others think he's a thug, hate his guts, don't want us to sign him. My take on this is that we have now covered the full spectrum (hopefully) and can all agree to disagree. So let's wait and see what happens, shall we?? Michael

Sir Alex Young

I can remember the Burnley FA Cup replay where Alex Young ran to the front post and directed a gorgeous header into the far side of the net past goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw (his cousin?). We thought that goal was 1 in a million... but in the second half the Golden Vision scored again in exactly the same manner. What a class act!
Gerry Quinn, Houston, TX  (17/5/07)


I have to say that £10M is an obscene price for Nugent, to be honest I thought £6M was pushing it. He's completely unproven at the top-level and although 15 goals is a decent return for one season it's hardly setting the Championship on fire (I couldn't find out how many games he played admittedly).

Whilst he'd be good to have at the club and is obviously keen to play for us, can we really afford such a high fee for a player who may be no better than what we've already got? Vaughan clearly has what it takes and Anichebe is promising as well. I don't particularly see McFadden as a super-sub... more just a player to plug a gap but surely we can find an impact striker somewhere in Europe going on the cheap and focus our spending on the areas of the team that really need it ? ie, full-backs and midfielders.
John Holmes, York  (17/5/07)


"Cahill is a crap midfielder..." so what the heck does that make Joey Barton?!!! Jeez Wheez guys - theres some right crazy stuff being posted on here at the moment!

For the record, Cahill is class and a very good midfielder. Yes, he can play as a 'second' striker but he's primary role is definitely midfield.
Shez Khan, Birmingham  (17/5/07)

re. Kieran Kinsella

Wasn't a certain Andrei Kanchelskis also out of favour with (the then) Mr Alex Ferguson? I seem to remember him doing fairly well for us. Let's not be too proud to take ex-United players, but similarly not receive any old dross with open arms. I think with the right coaching and a good run in the first 11, Kieren Richardson could prove to be a great asset to our team. A season-long loan would be a great bit of business. Sorry for the FM but at least I was making a point too! In summary, 'Fringe' players doesn't necessarily mean players that aren't good enough.
Ben Howard, London  (17/5/07)


Could not agree more with Connor on Barton. He is certainly no Gattuso or Keane. I personally think £5.5M is quite a lot for a player who has created 3 and scored 6 this year in the league. To even compare him to Duncan is complete nonsense and a massive insult in my book. Duncan was a warrior, Barton's a shit house!

I think there are many players, Evertonian or not, who can show just as much passion and drive without behaving like a gobshite in the process (Scott Parker, Tuncay, Jageielka, Fernandes, Reo Coker, G Barnes etc)! Lets not forget his antics in Thailand. Any player who attacks 15-year-old kid loses all (if any) credibility in my book, the fact that the person in question was a blue on tour, is unforgivable!
Charllie Gofton, Liverpool  (17/5/07)

Madeleine Fund

I tried to donate some money to the fund. The problem is when I try to put in the long name of the bank account (''Madeleine's Fund : Leaving No Stone Unturned'') into the Barclays Internet Banking space, it's too long. So I can't transfer the money. If you have any idea what to do please let me know as I really want to help. Thanks.
Daniel Lim, Malaysia  (17/5/07)

If abbreviating the name to something like "Madeleine's Fund" doesn't work, let us know and we'll pass it on. If anyone else is having problems donating online or can't because they're based abroad, don't have a UK account, etc, then ToffeeWeb is taking donations online via PayPal. Details here


You have to feel sorry for a certain Mr David "Rhino" Unsworth, you've just saved your club from relegation by dumping your old club in the proverbials and then a few days later you find yourself out of a job.

Although he has been gone for a while now I still think that Unsy did great for us, he may not have been a tactical and skillful player but he gave his heart and soul for this club. I hope he finds himself a new club soon, he would do a championship club a good job I reckon.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (17/05/07)

Barton is no midfield general

I can't believe the things being said about Joey Barton. How can you compare him to the likes of Keane, Guttuso and Viera? People who say this need to get a grip and watch the lad. He is a good player in his own right but will never be anything like these long list of midfield generals. Even Man City fans I know say he is to inconsistent.

It is true he will offer passion but to say he will dominate is wrong because he can't even tackle. The stats back me up: 11 yellow cards and 1 red in 34 games is a poor record. And lastly to compare him to Duncan Ferguson is wrong. Ferguson was an honest brute whereas Barton is a shithouse who attacks his own teammate from behind.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (17/5/07)

Enough strikers

I may be in the minority here, but I'm mighty relieved that Nugent is not coming. As I said before, Cahill is a crap midfielder but he's a damn good goalscorer. He should play in the half-striker role in a 4-4-1-1 alongside Johnson and that should be our first choice partnership.

And then we have Anichebe and Vaughan, two excellent prospect that needs to be playing to improve. And then we have McFadden as a super sub. Where does this leave Nugent?? We need at least one defender, and two midfielder... and any money should be given priority to sign these three players.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (17/5/07)


I wouldn't class Neville as a fringe player during his time at Utd. He didn't hold a regular spot in the team but more often than not he was in the starting 11 be it at right-back, left-back or central midfield and he amassed 50 England caps so he was more someone who fell out of favour than someone who was a squaddie. Howard also was a regular for quite a while and wasn't a Utd player for all that long once he fell out of favour.

Luckily Howard didn't stick around at Utd long enough to become a broken dispirited man like Blomqvist, Gronkjaer, Bogarde, Ferri, etc etc.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (17/5/07)

Direct to Round One

Sitting waiting for the back-up to complete, I checked your link to the Uefa Cup site. The sixth-placed teams in Spain, Italy and England go straight into Round 1 of the Uefa Cup: no qualification, just straight in.

At the moment we are 13th seeds but that could change as some better seeded clubs have yet to qualify. If the lower seeded club qualifies in ALL cases we are 13th ? if the higher seeded qualifies in ALL cases we could drop as low as 22nd seeds.

There are eight groups of 10 teams and we would play one of the lower seeded teams in the group of 10. Matches will be mid- to late-September. Winners of the two-legged tie then go into the mini-league stage.

Better get back to work ? back-up has now finished.
Phil Roberts, Kelsall  (17/5/07)

I feel a ToffeeWeb feature page coming on... with you as the plagarised authr! Thanks, Phil. — Michael


I like... we should buy him... NOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTT.
Borat Azamat, Kazakhstan  (17/5/07)

Re: Joey Barton

I agree with Tony Marsh in his assertion that it is not a bad thing having a few hard men in your team. As a teenager I idolised the likes of Van den Hauwe and then later Duncan Ferguson.

But my definition of a hard man does not include picking fights with 15-year-old kids and stubbing cigars into youth-team players' eyes. I recently read an account of the Man City training ground incident from Dabo in which he described the attack from Barton as cowardly. Whilst it is not possible to know the exact circumstances without being there to witness it, the aforementioned incidents make me more inclined to agree with Dabo's viewpoint (or lack of, bearing in mind he was allegedly attacked from behind) of the event.

Quite frankly, as hard men go, I find any comparison between Barton and Pat van den Hauwe laughable. So Tony - 'Give me real men who fight, drink, spit, and care more about the club than their own image' - Couldn't agree more with the sentiment but Joey Barton doesn't come close to fitting the criteria.
Bill Sinnott, Leeds  (17/5/07)

not raB(id ) dog

So Ian Kearney, Gerry Western and others think that we need Barton so that he "can drive the team on from the centre of the park" and have "someone who can get hold of the ball and make things happen". Well will someone please tell me what the hell Barton was driving for the 8 games between New Years Day and the end of the season ? because he chauffered City's midfield and team to nil, nought, zero goals at home in all that time.

So ok that's a given, we don't need him for his football qualities. What other qualities does he possess? Cigar smoking / Thailand relaxation / Backside exhibitions / Training camraderie! That stuff is just in him you see. Always will be.

Just like having a dangerous dog as a family pet. You never know when, you never know why, but you always know that however nice it seems... somewhere down the line it will snap. It's in them. It's how they are. Everton do not need this particular pit-bull.

Oh and Ian, I hope you don't come down from South Shields to Goodison in whatever Barton drives, because guess what, you'll be struggling to make it for kick-off.
Steve Green, Southampton  (17/5/07)

Slow and steady

Firstly I feel for Roy Coyne and his posting yesterday. Your neighbour sounds like a right knobend and let's hope that Milan stuff them Gobshites so your painter can paint that twats door BLUE & WHITE! Secondly I think the posting by Kieran Kinsella also yesterday is the most sensible I've read on TW for some time.

I would like to add a few points/questions into the mixer. I have been called a Moyes 'apologist' for previous postings that's fair enough, I only want what is best for everything EFC like we all do. Getting rid of DM will set us back light-years, back to them good old days of instability of the 90s, he definitely needs a rocket up his arse from time to time aka Spurs at home and the bizzare substitutions, he's starting to listen to the masses.

BK is head of our club and he can see in DM somebody who is taking our club in the right direction albeit painfully slow and by playing woeful footie at times. Whether some of you may like it or not, BK & DM have brought stability to our ONCE great club, we need to push on to the next level agreed but how and at what cost do we do it? Chopping and changing managers ala Newcastle has won them fuck all, so they are not the shining example we should follow.

The 'Big Four' quite simply have more cash than sense at times and we don't so there's no good trying to copy the blueprint of any of them. The route the club are on is slow but going in the right direction, cherry picking the talent of the Championship is better than too many cast-offs from the Premiership. Anybody who has played footie at any level knows that if you're not playing regularly it's hard going, not just your confidence, your fitness/stamina, touch and reading of the game all slow down. That is exactly what happens to an even greater extent to players at the top level.

I for one would much rather have playing for EFC a player who has played more full 90 mins season in season out at a lower level (ie the Championship than Premiership bench-warmers) who may take a season or two in some cases to get going on all cylinders again if they ever do at all. Eastern European leagues have a wealth of mainly untapped talent at a much lower cost than the bench-warmers. More of an unknown quantity I agree but if you could buy three Eastern Europeans to let's say one Kieran Richardson, what makes more sense for EFC's thin on the ground squad? That is a complete no brainer.

We all crave sucess/cup runs/champioship titles but let's face it slow and sure is better than boom and bust? Have a great summer and keep it real and positive for the boys in BLUE, Were on the road again! The road to unknown clubs in EUROPE!
Brendan Fox, London  (17/5/07)

Joey Barton?

Would he be a good acquisition? Possibly, but at £5.5M forget it. We should test City with a cheeky £2M bid. If they're that keen to get rid then it would be certainly worth a punt, as he has undoubted class on the football pitch.

If we can't sign him at a reduced rate then we'd be better off putting the money towards Fernandes, who has a very bright future ahead of him; while Barton's is very much unclear.
James Newcombe, Oxford  (17/5/07)

Toffeeweb Trust

Before I'm labelled a hypocrite for not donating, yet, hear this idea out. Wouldn't a better use of this money, or indeed the investment of any other outside investor would be to buy players directly and 'loan' them to the club?

Instead of Everton spending £20M on players they cannot afford, this would be a great soloution. At the end of the day the club doesn't have to tell the FA about these players that aren't technically owned by the club. You at Toffeeweb could be the next Kia Joobercheatian. The upside of all this is that a high multi-million pound worth of transfers would only cost the club £5.5m with no fear of points deductions! Never been a better time to invest! (oh and THIS is meant to be tongue-in-cheek...)

And on a more serious note, does anyone know where Everton stand on the Tevez debate, are they willing to support Sheffield or are they going to keep their noses out?
Jack Calvert, Liverpool  (17/5/07)

Re:Bring In Barton

I never thought that I would share an opinion with Tony Marsh but for me the criticism of Joey Barton is unfounded. He is a branded thug, twat etc, everyone is citing his character and off-field problems.

His character is his main asset, the guy will offer us something every big team has ? a midfield warrior. Think about Keane, Viera, Gattuso, every good team needs such midfielder, they offer passion, they never give up, they are the most furious competitors on the pitch, they drive their teams. Rooney is also a thug but his manager channels all his aggression on the pitch and United profit from this.

We simply need such an enforcer, Moyes tried to bring Essien, Sisoko, Parker and I for one hope that this time he will get his man.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna,Austria  (17/5/07)

Stop whingeing about Moyes

The recent article stating a lack of trust in Moyes spending choices is OTT. We definitely got Johnson on the cheap, similarly Cahill and Arteta are looking very cheap buys now. Moyes has attracted quality players to the club at a cheap price. Look at Man Utd, buying Veron cost the club a lot of money and he didn't do anything but AF also bought Cantona for £1M (the buy of the century).

I know Moyes has made some mistakes, everyone does, but the fact remains that without the goals scored by Arteta and Johnson last season and quality defending from the likes of Lescott we wouldn't be in the Uefa Cup next season.

I totally trust Moyes to spend our money. Compare Kenwright with Peter Johnson. Johnson had more money but no passion for the club and we were awful. Under Kenwright's leadership we have less money but his passion for the club has driven us into the top half of the table.
Martin Chisslewit, Liverpool  (17/5/07)


Anyone know if Everton are seeded for next seasons Uefa Cup?
David Croft, Maghull  (17/5/07)

This page should give you all the detail you require. - Colm

Niko Kranjcar

As a suggestion, why dont we look at the Croatian midfielder, Niko Kranjcar, who would slot in nicely alongside Arty?

He is not a regular in Portsmouth because his technical style does not suit their physical game, and I would far prefer to see him in Blue, as opposed to the thuggish Barton.
Ante Brzica, Australia  (17/5/07)

Return Of Dutch

Eric Myles made a suggestion of letting Dutch Schaffaer post again and I personally would like to back that.

Poor Dutch spent all last season defending Moyes when Everton flopped out of Europe and struggled in the league.

I would love to hear his opinion on what has been a very good season. Let him post again, seems a bit unfair that he's the only one not allowed.
Ben Barat, Wendover  (17/5/07)

'Dutch' was never banned from posting. ? Colm


I was out the other Sunday afternoon, the boozer was crowded and I was struggling to get to the bar, I had to squeeze past a big bloke, with grey curly hair with an old EFC away shirt on. ?Excuse me, can get to the bar mate? I asked. The big fella turned around and let me through.

To my astonishment it was only bloody Mick Lyons. I was made up to meet him and had a quick chat about the good oul days. He?s out here in Perth, coaching a Premier side called Stirling Lions. I was asking him about his testimonial game back in ?78. He couldn?t remember much. I?m sure the ref scored one of the goals with a magnificent header from a corner, if anybody else can remember this please let me know if I?m right ? Mick couldn?t even remember the score.
Dave Gleaves, Perth, Australia  (17/5/07)

Crazy Transfers

It's our club but some of the players we have sold to other Premiership clubs over the past couple of years... Do other clubs take no interest in our club at all? If they did, surely Fulham would never have bought "The Rad" or "Pembo"; Kilbane is ok but £2 million, that's crazy! Anyway I'm glad we do not have to go through this anymore.

Oh yeah, and what about Simple Simon? ? now that takes the cake, that was Fulham as well wasn't it, yeah that Coleman was either a closet Blues fan or a complete Muppet.
Paul Momber, Thailand  (17/5/07)


I think Moyes has done a fantastic job. I would hope that Big Kieth would be working for a measure that surely would be supported by every club that isn't named the big four clubs. I can not think of any sport in the world where an elite exsist soley because they have more players. This is simple stuff, fellas. Address this problem and you begin to make the Premeirship competitive. A bit like the first division used to be.
Mike Dolan, New York, New York  (17/5 /7)

!?!!? WTF?


In Tony Marsh?s latest offering ?Summer of Love? he says in his book the jury is still out on Moyes. This is a radical departure from his previous stances of being judge jury and executioner and having Moyes publicly hung drawn and quartered. Are we seeing a transformation into a new mellower Marsh? Will he soon be asking for Dutch Shaeffer?s return and complimenting Dicky Dodd on his postings?

I for one hope not!!!
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (17/5/07)


Nugent: "I've been linked with them since I was first at Preston. I'd love to join Everton, the club I supported as a boy and wanted to play for," he said at the WKD Nuts Football Awards 2007. But I'm still young, I'm only 22 and could have 15 years left in football, and it could happen eventually."

This the type of player we need; a devoted blue who will give 100% every game!
Oliver Earlougher, Liverpool, England  (17/5/07)

Barton or Fernandes?

Couldn't agree more with Tony Marsh's sentiments on the Joey Barton issue. All these presumably whiter than white characters calling him a thug and saying they don't want his kind need to wake up. Personally, I don't care whether he's a thug or not. Every great team had a couple of thugs in them, having one on your side is not always a bad thing on the pitch. Besides, Barton can provide our midfield with the thing it's really missing, drive. I like Fernandes, and agree he is the more naturally talented of the two, but I'm not convinced he can drive the team on from the centre of the park like we desperatley need.
Ian Kearney, South Sheilds  (17/5/07)

Moyes's mistake

David Moyes feels that we will be able to attract fringe players from the top 4 clubs now that we are an "up and coming team." He may well be right but I don't think we should be trying to attract such players.

If you ignore last year and overlook Moyes's poor decision-making in the Spurs game, letting fifth place slip away from us this year, then you could claim that we are the next best thing after the big four. How would we close the gap on the top four if we sign players who are not good enough to play in their starting line-ups? Shouldn't we recruit players who are better than the Arsenal or Liverpool first 11 in order to surpass them rather than buy their subs bench?

A couple of years ago, Steve Bruce took a similar approach to the one Moyes is advocating now and he added a couple of Chelsea subs to his roster along with Liverpool's unwanted Emile Heskey. The next thing he knew he was coaching a team outside of the Premiership. Walter Smith decided to buy Stephen Hughes from Arsenal when it appeared that the only reason he wasn't getting first team football was because of Petit/Viera being too good. As we all know it turned out that Hughes was in fact complete shit.

The problem with buying big clubs' fringe players is that the good ones usually arrive having had their confidence shattered and are basically worthless husks of once good players. Think of Blomqvist, Gronkjaer, Jeffers, Richard Wright, etc all of whom joined big clubs as potential superstars and are now struggling to keep their careers alive.

Manchester United have made a lot of money from selling their youngsters. Fergie tells the Daily Mirror that it is breaking his heart not to give them first team football but his first 11 are just too strong. We all believe him and don't ever consider that playing for 15 minutes as a sub in a great team makes you look much better than you are. Remember Luke Chadwick the would-be England winger

Think also of Wallwork, Higginbotham, Mark Robins, Mark Wilson, Jonathon Greening, John Curtis etc etc. They all seemed good coming off the bench but turned out to be crap when they didn't have the benefit of having worldclass colleagues around them. Even Nicky Butt has been complete rubbish since he quit being Roy Keanes deputy and actually tried to be a star in his own right.

My fear is that Moyes' will get duped into buying a bunch of folks like Kieron Richardson, Carlton Cole and Justin Hoyte only to discover that the reason they happily joined us is because we paid them like first teamers whereas their old clubs paid them like the fill in squaddies they really are.

Our best players are people we signed who are on the way up like Lescott and Cahill. We should be looking at similar players now to continue our improvement which means taking a chance on Nugent rather than anyone Utd, Liverpool or Frenchnal are ready to offload. Let's not make the same mistake that Bruce and Walter made and sign a bunch of rejects.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (16/5/07)

Hmmm... I hesitate to say the names Neville (See Premier League Team of the Year)a and Howard, ace Everton goalie... Exceptions to the rule? — Michael

Re Everton Bayern Munich DVD

Hya Alan (McMillan), that would be fantastic if you could send me either of those videos/mp4s. My e.mail addy is bluescouse@sbcglobal.net

Thank you so much for your generous offer!!!
Tommy Davis, Sherwood, USA  (16/5/07)

Sugar Daddy

All personal vanities aside, do we all agree that Steve Guy's masterful contribution is the most measured, sensible and well-written article in the recent history of this website?
Rob Paterson, Birkenhead  (17/5/07)

The Barton Saga...

I'm not too excited about possibly landing Joey Barton. He is a quality player, but I am afraid that he will cost us dearly ? on as well as off the pitch. It is very hard to change someone's personality and I just feel that he will be disruptive to the team. I know Big Dunc was the same way, but I don't think we can be lucky twice, can we?

I would prefer that we sign Manny as he has shown exceptional ball skills. With Tiny Tim coming back and Arteta and Manny, this could be a great midfield. I would like to see our scouts find talent in eastern Europe. There are a lot of good players out there and I think that they would be on the cheap.
Roman Fedkiw, Columbus, Ohio,USA  (16/5/07)

Re: Luq Yussef

This guy continual writes drivel on ToffeeWeb. That's what people like you do not understand. Spurs have a richer group of owners who are and can afford to accept a short- to mid-term loss on buying new players every year in the hope this brings them a future return in prize-money and club value. Everton's problem is we do not have a backer, owner or investor prepared to take that gamble and put money in to get money out. That is what Levy et al are doing, they don't do it thinking "Oh, Spurs are a nice club, let's blow £30M on them and have some fun", they do it because they want the club to improve so as the asset they have purchased becomes more valuble.

Who is going to give Everton this money so we may "gamble a bit in the transfer market"?? Since we already have and are apparently using our £5M overdraft and we have a long-term debt re-mortgaged, our credit score isn't going to be too good and no bank is going to want to give us a cheap loan. Who said it the other day?? "Bury your head in the sand for too long and sooner or later your arse gets burnt"... "We should gamble" holds no weight because, whether you agree with 'gambling' or not, it doesn't matter, we only have to spend what we actually have made.

I think some Evertonians live in a world where 5 million quid is nothing. So, some of us moan about building a new stadium in Kirby and then moan about Kenwright not investing or not finding an investor to make the Levy style investment. Which do you want?? If Everton are to attract serious investment at the level Tottenham have done then we have to make more money annually and have a better stadium. We are pretty much at the maximum revenue we can produce season on season at Goodison and with current TV money.

I don't want to leave for Kirby, but I will if it gives us a chance of a new investor and a better team. Let's get into the Real World. Some of you live in cloud kukoo land: New Stadium = more attractive asset (the club) = increased revenue = increased potential profit = more chance of this 'investor' showing up. Come on You Blues.
John Carter, Warrington  (16/5/07)


Twice in the last week, while being out for the day, once in Wales and once in Sheffield, I ordered a pint and suddenly was joined (uninvited) by plastic kopites who, on hearing my accent assumed I was one of them, this despite my Everton tattoo being clearly visible.

I gave them some verbals as it turned out none had been to Anfield in their lives so I was beginning to think maybe it's as bad for the out-of-towners as us. But this morning in the post an invitation to watch a glorious night of football sent by a neighbour... then, later in the day I go to my car in my drive way in my fucking home and there is a Liverpool flag on every window and a fucking badge on rear window!

Now as there are only two keys, and sure as hell mine had stayed in my pocket I inquired where the other key was, only to be told "oh I lent Ron (redshite neighbor) the car this morning to go to the shops cos it was raining". So, no; unless you live here, you're lucky. I hope they get battered and when the fucking joker goes on holiday I've hired a painter to paint his front door blue and white ? the guy said he'd do it for a couple of pints.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (16/5/07)

Alan Stubbs

It's great to see Alan Stubbs sign a one-year deal. He has been one of the main reasons we have qualified for Europe. To be honest, I have never seen Stubbsy play so well. Yobo and Lescott are two great up-and-coming centre halves but Stubbs brings maturity, influence and passion to the back four.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

Bally's great FA Cup goal

Has anyone ever seen Alan Ball's goal against Liverpool in the 1967 FA cup game on video? I can't find it anywhere.
Paul Burns, Bootle  (16/5/07)

The curse

I know you hate the very mention of them, Michael, but as Evertonians our hatred of them is as much a part of most of us as our love is for Everton. We have all suffered from their almost freakish luck, especially in finals and in Europe and I always think the tide must surely turn but it never does.

I have tried everything from prayers and superstitions to ridiculous rituals to try and influence things but nothing works, and I sometimes think I'm being punished for my excessive delight and gloating when Michael Thomas scored 'that' goal.

I've decided on a new tactic for next week and have got a family member to place a bet...25 quid on them to win and 10 on them to win on penalties. I'm basically trying to psyche out whoever is responsible for my hideous luck when it comes to hoping against them and I'll never be happier to lose 35 quid in my life. If it happens I make a few quid and drown another horrific memory.

I know its childish but I'm desperate... the only good thing is that I dont have to suffer their vile supporters because Tony Marsh is right ? it is not as bad overseas. However, my delight at losing money next week would be just as sweet as anybody could possibly imagine.
Mike Price, Songkhla, Thailan  (16/5/07)

Ins and Outs

It's very encouraging that Nugent has once again stated his desire to join his boyhood team. I do hope we pursue the lad's interest in joining.

As for the Barton debate. I think he'd be a huge risk but nothing ventured, nothing gained. On the playing side he is ideally what we've been missing ? someone who can get hold of the ball and make things happen plus the added steel. Of course there is the temperament but Moyes having successfully managed Ferguson is perhaps as well placed as any to handle him.

Whilst the stories regarding Johnson just won't go away. Personally I think losing him would not be as big a blow as many think. We've continued to score in his absence and I believe for a while our game has been built around him and has become all too predictable. If we can raise decent money I'd not be too critical. It would enable us to bring in Fernandes. We could also push Cahill upfront if need be but Nugent and Vaughan would be a real handful.

Let's hope the board are prepared to back Moyes on this European venture. As for Beattie, I think it's fair to say he's probably played his last game but if he does move on I wish him well as he is perhaps the greatest casualty of all when we aim to play to Johnson's strengths.
Gerry Western, London  (16/5/07)

A few thoughts...

Lots of interesting stuff going on today. The question of whether Everton need a sugar-daddy particularly struck a chord with me. In all honesty, I'd rather stick with the kind of Board we have now. I know some fans have their grievances with Kenwright and I don't necessarily advocate him as the model chairman but do we really want to be like Portsmouth? A team built around mercenaries and veterans looking for one last big payday? The reality is, even with (to pick a random figure) a £30M transfer kitty, we still couldn't pull in the superstars. I feel a certain pride in Moyes's achievements with a squad featuring plenty of British talent, there's a soul still in evidence at Goodison, the players play for the shirt. Does anyone really believe the big money signings who will flock to West Ham, Portsmouth, Man City, Liverpool with have that same heart? Moyes has stated his goal as being to achieve success with or without the funds and, if he does it without, it will be all the sweeter.

On the commitment of the players note, God help those who seriously believe the Johnson to West Ham rumour. The aspect of it I particularly liked was "Johnson is homesick for London and, despite denials by the Toffees...". If anyone remembers the denial, it actually came from Johnson himself and went something like "If Everton put a lifetime contract in front of me today I'd sign it." But, believe what you will.

It's great there's such a positive atmosphere around the club at the moment though, Moyes seems fired up again and desperate for success. A far cry from the tired resignation that seemed to be setting in over the winter. Vaughan and Anichebe are like a couple of giddy hippies having a love-in and if Vaughan can continue to develop we have one hell of a talent there. The players all want to be at Goodison, the big stars have all committed themselves to the club and dismissed transfer rumours and nonsense. Moyes also believe he can lure in the men wants. It's fantastic to see!
John Holmes, York  (16/5/07)

Jonathan Meades: Abroad Again...

Just finished watching this programme tonight on BBC2, which revolved around the newest buildings and culture of the North West. Although it was a little above my head, my understanding as to why LFC are staying put near the city centre, whilst EFC are leaving for the outskirts matches my gut reaction that money is the sole reason. Those with the dosh shall be allowed to frequent the exclusive areas of the city centre whilst those of us who follow the 'people's club' will be shipped out to the outskirts or beyond.

Have a look around the already present exclusive places in the city-centre if you don't believe me. Gated alleyways etc etc. This tells me that the Kirkby stadium is already a done deal and it is not necessarily in the interests of Everton Football Club or Evertonians.
John Partick McFarlane, Lancs  (16/5/07)

1986-87 Season Review DVD

The 86-87 Season review DVD is on sale on the official site at £15.99 - it is only £11.99 on www.play.com, for those who are interested!
Alan McMillan, Dublin, Ireland  (16/5/07)

Re: Andy Lynch - Please God

I feel your pain, fella. Living in Dublin we are surrounded by Rooney-loving Mancs and "we won it 5 times" dickheads. Easily the worst night of my life too! Though this time around I won't be sending texts to mates at the game at half-time slagging them off. (Where did I put that AC Milan jersey?)

Now let's not speak of it again until we can rub it in their faces Thursday week.
Alan McMillan, Dublin, Ireland  (16/5/07)

Bring In Barto

Joey [Barto] Barton is taking some terrible stick on here and only last Sunday I heard some tit of an Evertonian waffling on that he was worried that the press would give Everton a bad name if we signed him. So what? Since when did the press start doing EFC favours anyway? The truth behind all the annomosity is really to do with his brother and his troubles. That's got fuck all to do with Joey Barton.

Some have already touched on the Keanes and Shearers of this world and their brushes with authority and there have been many more over the years. In fact, too many to mention ? but mention one I will: Which former Everton left-back who is a League Championship medal holder missed training more times than Moe Johnson because he was out on the piss? The same player also got him self arrested a few times once for smashing up his girlfriend's house and fighting in the street. Involved in a 20-man punch up at Loftus Road in 1987 which left many players on there arses from both Everton and QPR. Red cards were never far away just like his friend trouble. A regular in the pubs and night clubs of Liverpool and rarely spotted without a new shiner or a story of some one else with a new shiner. This guy would not of lasted 5 minutes in todayis Sky driven sanitized world but what a player he was. A great player regardless of his off-field activities and a hundred times worse than JB will ever be. Bad tempered, hard as nails, up for a fight, and us fans back then loved the man. Drinking in the Wilmslow after the Pompey game I had to laugh when the old song went up. "And we love our Psycho Pat." Yes, stand up, Pat van den Hauwe ?the meanest toughest son of a bitch ever to pull on the Blue Jersey. "The Oliver Reed of Football", I remember him being called. They are still singing his name now. You can keep your Mr Perfect Micheal "I play snooker and suck Malteesers" Owen. Never had a bevy in his life. Give me real men who fight, drink, spit, and care more about the club than their own image. Joey Baron will be a legend if he returns to his boyhood club. Once the fans see him in action, the Sky's the limit for the kid. Lay off the lad before you put him off coming here because have no doubts Allardyce or Keane will take him like a shot.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/3/07)

If the recent example of our adopted Scottish Hulk as a badboy is anything to go by, you are spot on with your prediction, Tony. ? Michael

Better than the reds?

I know I'm clutching at straws but according to the Actim Index on the Premiership homepage, we have two players in the Team of the Season - Phil Neville and Mikel Arteta. Even better than that, Liverpool have only got one! Like I said I'm clutching at straws. Come On You Blues!!!
John Kenyon, Harlow  (16/5/07)

Clangers & Loans

The problem is, next season, imagine we get a tricky Uefa Cup fixture and Tim Howard has an injury ? would any of us feel confident going into that game with Iain Turner in goal? More importantly, would the defence feel confident?

It would be better if Moyes could find a more experienced keeper for just such a problem. Turner would be better off spending a season away on loan.

Look at Scott Carson (player of the season at Charlton) or Ben Foster (player of the season at Watford), both have improved and developed so much for season long loans.

What chance has Turner got sitting on the bench, awaiting his big chance and then, when that chance comes, he goes all paranoid that he does not drop another clanger?
Ben Barat, UK  (16/5/07)

Jack Johnson & Joey Barton

Jack, I suggest you enter JOEY BARTON on Wikipedia and see what definition you get of this 'great' footballer. He's the only player (including Keane and Shearer) that has 70% of his career achievements referring to assaults and 30% about what he does ON the pitch.

He's a thug and I don't want him at Goodison Park. The only reason we will sign him is so Moyes can prove he can handle problem players and succeed where others have failed. Want to sign a decent midfielder? Sign Fernandes. NSNO.
Shez Khan, Birmingham  (16/5/07)

The family

I just thought I should relate a question I had in the pub: What is an Evertonian? I said it's a family, something more than supporting a club. It's once in your blood, never to be erased. No following a team for a season or two because they may be the Champs or have Euro success. The history, the pull of the club, to the ex-players who have been blessed with the gift of EFC, Never to be lost. And the most important: the supporters, where ere we may be, spreading the word because we love all our family no matter what! EFC Will be forever. I LOVE THEM!
Tony Cornmell, Perth, Western Australia  (16/5/07)

The family with a number of black sheep? And very argumentative siblings...

RE: Please God

Michael, you are right, and I am profoundly sorry for using TW as a vent for my selfish, self pitying anguish. I know we all feel the pain; it was a moment of weakness. I am very grateful for the sanctury that this site offers; you'll hear no more such talk from me.
Andy Lynch, London  (16/5/07)

Heheh... sorry to beat up on you; I just hate them so much, I don't even like to read anything about them if I can possibly avoid it ? especially on "our" website!

Barton IS a thug.

Any player who is capable of repeatedly punching a team-mate into submission is a thug. End of. If it happened in a pub or in the street it would merit a jail sentence. Still want him? Be prepared to wait 6 months.
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (16/5/07)

Silly Season Rumours and Ian Turner

Now I know that the summer is usually silly season for rumours and as Michael rightly says "90% are rubbish" but I just can't help getting wound up about it. Firstly, exits. It seems that if you have any players who have done well then in the summer any tat from London wants to buy them. WHY on earth would AJ want to go to West Ham? I'm waiting for Arteta to be linked to Spurs, along with Lescott, Cahill and Vaughan.

Secondly, incomings. Why on earth would Moyes want to spend £2M on a slightly rounded Sunday league keeper like Paddy Kenny, I mean Wretched was bad enough ? but Kenny?

Finally as for Mr Atress's attack on Turner, you really don't know much about goalkeepers do you mate? ? and yes I've played a bit. Wright is technically poor, no presence and made numerous clangers over 5 years and you're still willing to give him a fair appraisal? Well Turner has had three games, made 1 'mistake' and he's being crucified for it. He could do nothing about the goals at Chelsea and the handball was Stubbs's fault. So let's not shoot the lad before he's even played. For Christ's sake, I'd rater have him as 2nd choice than Kenny or Wretched.

Forza Milan!
Ste Boileau, Walton  (16/5/07)

In reply to Luq

Having read and digested Luq's comments, it would appear that his pessimism stems from too many years following Everton through both barren and fruitless times and a fiscal policy that was based on selling the family jewels.

Regardless of the progress being made in almost every facet of the Club, I must admit that my thoughts concerning Kenwright and financing any tansfer always seem to conjure up an image of him rummaging down the back of his sofa for loose change. Joking aside, we continue to be caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of being able to compete for major signings both in terms of financing any deal, paying wages and the overall appeal / image of the Club. David Moyes is undoubtedly prudent, he has made some good and some bad signings but who hasn't? I would also suggest in counternance to Luq that he feels comfortable operating within a defined budget and throwing money around certainly does not bring success.

In comparing Everton to Newcastle, our spending during the past 10 years would pale into insignificance compared to them, how much more success though in that period in real terms have they enjoyed? St James Park has been like a Manager's graveyard with an ever-revolving-door approach adopted by a petulant and impatient Chairman and fan-base devoid of objectivity.

The mantra of sustained growth and development may be a bitter pill to swallow for many an Evertonian, operating with stealth and a shrewd and business like acumen though seems like what lies ahead. Too many players brought in at once cannot and will not work for a variety of reasons, three signings as good as last year for me though this summer would bring with it optimism for the forthcoming season.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

In response to Paul Atress

Paul, three games for Iain Turner constitutes a career does it? Let's start with Chelsea, four goals conceded which were as much the defences fault as the goalies.

Then the Blackburn match, which I was at by the way (and I had an excellent vantage point), Stubbsy gave the lad the weakest header I have ever seen so not 100% blame there either.

The Man Utd match, fair play he was at fault for dropping an easy catch but these things happen, and they've happened a few times to Tim Howard this season too (so are you going to slag him off as well?)

Paul, mate, Iain Turner is a young goalie who has a good future at this club, so let's build him up, get behind him and support the lad, instead of knocking him down before he even gets off the blocks.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (16/5/07)


I'm sorry, but what is Luq whittering on about? Whether we can afford Fernandes for £8 million? Since when was that his price tag?

If £8 million is what it would take, and have us pay that rather than £5.5 million on a dodgy character from our past. But is the fee not £12 million, and if so what is with the arbitrary reference to £8 million?
Roberto Birquet, London  (16/5/07)

£8M (roughly ?12M) is what has been reported in the media ? Lyndon

Re:Iain 'Clamity Clanger' Turner

Nick Entwistle, I never actually claimed Turner was a poor goalkeeper, just that his Everton career to date has been calamitous.

I find it amazing that nobody ever stuck up for Dickie Wright, he was made a whipping boy but for some reason Turner, whose career so far has featured almost as many clangers, gets a let-off from such venom.

I'm not saying that Turner will never be a good goalkeeper, I remain hopeful that he will develop into a great keeper, but my point is that a season long-loan at a Championship side would be more beneficially then sitting on the bench and only being given an odd chance to impress (not easy when you're prone to clangers).
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

Tony Marsh

While I agree with some (not all) of what Mr Marsh says, I am beginning to fear for him. I really wish he would cheer up. His disposition is decidedly less than sunny. I do not think the garden is all rosey with our great club but perhaps I am just more of an optimist than Tony "doom & gloom" Marsh??
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (16/5/07)


Why does Tony Marsh think out-of-town Evertonians will suffer less than he on 23 May? My two bosses are both Liverpool supporters and we still have to endure yellowing newspaper cuttings stuck up on the walls from when they did the treble.

Me, as an Evertonian, I am only allowed to have a picture of one of the players up as long as its out of sight on the stationery cupboard door but they are not as clever as they think. All the computer screen backgrounds suddenly had Mikel Ateta in his tuxedo holding his Player Award mysteriously appear this week..... now I wonder who did that??

Keep everything crossed that LFC lose to Milan and then we can all have the last laugh.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (16/5/07)

Barton a thug?

"Why are so many people so quick to brandish Barton a thug?"

Because he gets arrested by the police every other month. I can't recall Shearer ever having been arrested (although he was a cheating fucker on the pitch).
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (16/5/07)

Er... What about rehabilitation? Oh, sorry... you're in the land of "Three strikes", aren't ya! — Michael

Please God...

I don?t know about anyone else but my lukewarm glow after Sunday has worn off with an alarming speed, as the build up to the CL final starts. I know I should be a bit more mature about these things at the age of 37, but I have a couple of weaknesses; one being the Rooney issue, the other being my hatred of all things LFC.

That night two years ago was probably the most miserable of my life. Having just contracted chicken pox I was woken from my sick bed by every red shite I have ever known gloating. I still have horrible flashbacks now, and they are far worse than any induced by LSD.

I can fully sympathise with Tony Marsh when he says that the out-of-town fans won?t have to endure what he will have to on 23 May, but that won?t make the pain any easier to bear. I can feel it my water, that they going to fluke a win and we will be subjected to endless streaming of that gurning twat Bellamy and his horrible twatty mates besieging my beloved home town on their ?triumphant return? to these shores.

I hope there is a God, and if there is, tell him I?ve been really good lately, and so there?s no need to me punish me further. I?m sorry for this irrational and largely incoherent rant, but in my office in old London town I?m surrounded by the pricks and it?s getting to me.
Andy Lynch, London  (16/5/07)

And I was quite happy not even thinking about it until you sent that in... Bastard! Isn't it bad enough without polluting our own little sanctuary?

I know I have the option of pressing the 'delete' key but I know also that most of us share your emotions on this point. I would ask you all, however, before you press the Send key on any piece that has more in it about Liverpool FC or Benitez or any of their players... Why? Do your fellow Evertonians really want to read shit about them? I know I certainly don't! — Michael


Why are so many people so quick to brandish Barton a thug? I mean let's be honest, if we want to take the moral high-grond we're gonna have to accept that the majority of Premiership footballers are thugs. Roy Keane? He wasen't bad was he. Alan Shearer? We've all heard about the time he knocked out Keith Gillespie and literally left him liying in a puddle of his own blood because he took the piss out of his baldness.

Football's a working-class game and it's followed by tradiionally working-class people, just like you and me. I'm not saying violence is right but what I am saying is that most lads ? Barton, Keane, Shearer, and the list goes on ? who are in the Prem have grown up in tough working-class cities and frankly know very little better than to attack as the first form of defence. It's quite simply just a way of life.

Barton's no angel but my god the lad would be good for our club. The fact that he's an Evertonian makes it even better and I'm sure the majority of Evertonians would love Barton in a similar way that we loved Rooney just a few years ago. I say get the lad on board and stop moaning about his discipline.
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (16/5/07)

Onwards and (hopefully) upwards

Just want to agree with the general sentiment expressed by most that we are making progress which hopefully will be continued into next season.

Our challenge as I see it is to replicate the success of Spurs and Bolton, both of whom have secured back-to-back seasons of European qualification. The current glow of Uefa Cup qualification will become very faint indeed should it come at the cost of mid-table mediocrity next season. Failure to achieve this and we are no better than a yo-yo club of a different nature. The mistakes of 2005 must NOT be repeated. P> I will leave it to Moyes as to who we should sign but for me we need a left-sided defender, left-sided midfielder, and a central midfielder as a priority. We could and should add a central defender and a striker to this list also. Asking for too much? Yes, but I always have, and always will as far as Everton are concerned.

The policy of raiding the Championship for its best talent is to me a tried and tested one which we should continue. This does not mean that we can't set our sets a little higher than in previous years and we should be competing with the likes of Spurs and Newcastle, as opposed to Wigan for players. I want to see 3 or 4 new, young, technically capable, preferably fast, and ideally British players stroll out at Goodison next August to bring us closer to the brand of football we deserve.

It is a summer which will test Davie's ingenuity to the full. Good players are few and far between and he has to sell the club as one which is going places. We seem to be making slow (but to me, welcome) progress on the stadium issue, are moving into a state-of-the-art training complex, and have in the likes of Vaughan and Anichebe some realy exciting talent in the traditional Everton mould.

Come on Davie, and Bill, pull the stops out this summer. Speculate to accumulate!
Brian O'Regan, Cork, Ireland  (16/5/07)

Re:Iain 'Clamity Clanger' Turner

Dear Mr Atress,

You are the kind of tit I hate. I feel no need to explain this further than saying three games does not, as you put it, make a career and if 'supporters' were dismissed for poor shows as quickly as you dismiss the boy Turner, you wouldn't be allowed back in Goodison.

I say Nuts to You, Sir!
Nick Entwistle, London  (16/5/07)

Now please... no name-calling!

Into the Rough

It was not an age ago when a proposed move to Kirkby golf course was muted and I curtainly don't remember any of the current objections being sounded. Why is this?

I don't mean to put anyone's back out of place but am very curious as to know why at that time no-one vented the least bit of anger. As I remember it, everyone was hoping and praying it would go ahead.

I myself would welcome the current move only if there was no suitable town-centre alternative, disregarding all the cost implications.
Harvey Shearer, Poulton-le-Fylde  (16/5/07)

I like Mark Viduka

Mark Viduka. I hope to God we sign Mark Viduka. I know he's at the wrong age but he's never relied on pace and I believe he has another 2 years in him (very bold assertion I know, but he shows no signs of tiring). The guy is quite simply a different class and would compliment Johnson so well. He's just what we need, someone who's comfortable with the ball at his feet and can bring our attacking midfielders and AJ into the game. Total class. Would be available for very little but admittedly his wages would prevent Our Bill from getting too involved.

We're gonna need more numbers next season so I ask Moyesy to genuinely consider Viduka, even though he may not fit into his long term plan. Go get that Fat Aussie shitehawk. For the love of God, go get him!
Jack Johnson, Knotty Ash  (16/5/07)

Look, isn't the silly season silly enough without us all spouting off about our own particular favourite we want Davd Moyes to sign? For the last time, talk about players we are linked with, if you must, but please, for all the rest, you know what... Just FM it! — Michael

Re Everton Bayern Munich DVD

Hi Tommy, I have this DVD, but not in US format. I could convert it to MP4 and make it available to you over the internet if you like. You could then watch it on your PC. I also have the final.
Alan McMillan, Dublin, Ireland  (15/5/07)

1960s DVD?

The piece in the Echo on Alan Ball's son tells of the time he got a DVD of his dad playing at Goodison. Does anyone know where you can get such a disc/ tape? The only 60s game I have ever seen involving Everton is the '66 Cup Final. Alan Ball left Everton when I was 10 months old, and I have never really found out what the School of Science was all about. Can anyone help or suggest where such DVDs may be found?
Roberto Birquet, London  (16/5/07)

For a laugh...

Visit www.football-rumours.co.uk There are some hilarious rumours for all clubs. It just adds some comedy to the silly season (transfer window).
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

The astounding thing to me is that rumour stories are invariably most popular for footie fans on t'internet, even though at least 90% are pure rubbish. — Michael

AJ Transfers To West Ham

This is why its so hard to break into the Top Four: everytime Moyes finds a piece of the jigsaw, a club with more money pinches it. Instead of finding another piece in the Summer, Moyes now has got to find a replacement piece. Just like he had to with Rooney and Gravesen.

Everton could break into the Top 4 with Gravesen, Rooney and AJ but thats not allowed to happen because the teams with the most money always get the best players. I wouldn't blame Moyes if he got so frustrated that a club with more money became appealing, maybe the Man City job for example. One step forward, one step fucking back.
John Cottee, Romford  (16/5/07)

Uh... did he go already? Oh yes, that's how we lost Yobo and Cahill and Arteta last season, isn't it...

I can understand your concerns, and to some extent losing key players could be viewed as setting us back. However, we have recovered from losing Gravesen, and Rooney was a special case that we would probably still have to cash in on if he had actually stayed. — Michael


I don't really understand what all the fuss is about over Moyes saying he has to work within certain constraints when trying to achieve more success and make progress. It was the sensible honest and obvious thing to say.

If he had come out shouting about magnificent support from the board and how Bill and Co are prepared to throw millions at him, we would have laughed and sneered him out of town. "Money, what money?", we would have said. The Board has made too many false promises before, why should we believe you.

If he had come out playing the poor mouth, whinging about a lack of resources and how his hands were tied, we would have rolled our eyes and muttered under our breath about how he was just the same old negative Moyes we had become used to.

He has some fire back in his belly, he obviously wants success badly but knows he also has to be practical about it. The extra money floating about this summer will have to be split by the looks of things between transfer funds, a new stadium and running costs for next season.

Fair enough, we have done well during the season just finished and I am on just as much as a high as other fans. And yes, my expectations and demands of Moyes have risen as well. (The bloke's a victim of his own success since the Spurs game in a way) But come on, we have a manager who actually seems to have a sense of perspective right now.

When you think about it, we have had to sell off the family jewels over the last couple of seasons just to keep things ticking over. A lot of this you can lay at the feet of the Board I know, but I do think it is heartening to see Moyes appearing to be this sensible about things.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (16/5/07)

At first gloss, my assessment is that what you wrote in mostly rubbish based on old thinking that may have applied 3 or 5 years ago but applies no longer. However, I'm not up for a point-by-point, Kieran. So take it or leave it! — Michael

Summer of Love

Its started early this year hasn't it? Joe Wightman's latest post Reasons To Be Cheerful is one of the many I have read recently telling us how brilliant Moyes is. I know we have finished 6th in the league and qualified for Europe's second competition, which is more than I expected, but its not that hard to do really. The league is crap outside the so called Big Four and newly promoted Reading were only a few points away from qualifiying for the Uefa Cup ? even though they didn't want to. A top-seven finish is the least Everton FC should be aiming for at the start of a season.

Joe's claims that Moyes has delivered everything we fans dream of is way off the mark also. We have won fuck all under Moyes and let's not forget we haven't made it into the Uefa Cup proper just yet. Theres a small matter of a preliminary round to over come first... GULP! We didn't make it to the group stages at two attempts the last time we entered European competition and it's no formality we will make it this time around.

Also, Moyes had nothing whatsoever to do with bringing Wayne Rooney through the ranks at Everton. He was here at the age of 10 and would have played for us at 16 regardless of who the manager was ? he was that good a player. If anything, Moyes helped ship him out more than anyone else.

To be honest, David Moyes has turned his and our season around since those horrible dark days back in January so I will give him credit for that. Where he goes from here though is another story. I don't think he has what it takes to move up that extra 15% we need to make an impact in Europe or challenge the big boys for the Champions League slots. Prove me wrong please. That's the level of ambition I set my sights on ? no lower. That's how it should be: not this "We nearly did it" culture you embrace, Joe.

On all known past form Moyes chokes in cup competitions and falls at the final hurdle when ever the race is there to be won. If I was you and many more like you I would reserve my judgements on the Moyesiah until August. The next step on the road to immortality for Moyes is getting the summer transfer policy right. [He failed miserably last time we were Euro bound.] And making sure we get through to the group stages of the competition.

In my book the jury is still out on Moyes untill he shows me he can perform at the top level on a regular basis. We start playing football instead of kick and rush and we go further than our first round in a cup competition. Thats the least you should hope for from The Moyesiah.... don't you think?
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

Big Four:- a Uefa Construct

Many ToffeeWeb contributors actually deny the existence of the big 4 and bemoan the fact that it's not the top 5 or 6. But there's a very good reason it's the top 4 ? the Champions League. The group stage alone is worth £20M, something that we narrowly missed last season due to some incompetent refereeing.

Everton's first eleven is a match for anyone on its day, but how often do we get them onto the pitch all at once? Even if we did make it into the group stages of the Champions League, we simply don't have the resources to secure a squad of sufficient depth and quality to maintain a realistic challenge for the Europe and the Premier League in the same season.

You may look to Spurs as an example of a team who were able to sustain good runs in Europe and the domestic cups with a challenge for the top four. But they have spent big in recent years and the fact is they still fell way short of a misfiring Arsenal. Whereas last season, the season when they played the least possible number of cup games, having been put out of the all knockout competitions at the first stage, it was only a suspicious dose of food poisoning that prevented them from beating Arsenal into 4th spot.

No-one is saying that the top four is set in stone; of course they can be toppled, but don't expect Everton to be doing it any time soon. And it will remain the big four (not a five or a six) until Uefa begin to realize (or maybe they just don't care) that, whilst creating an elite group of megaclubs may be excellent for sponsorship revenue, it is destroying football as a sport for most supporters, whose clubs have little or no chance of ever competing at the very top level.
Ryan Crest, London  (16/5/07)

New Shirts

Everton the worst in the Premiership for new kits. Since 2000, Everton have brought out 3 kits each season; in some seasons the 3rd shirt hasn't even been worn in competitive action (Puma Denim 3rd). Is there a need for 3 kits each season, or will Everton ever have a shirt for more than one season again?
Mike Fisher, Liverpool  (16/05/07)

Yes; No... "worst"??? ? Surely you mean "best"!!! — Buster

Barton ? need one say more?

Is Everton serious about taking this thug on board?
Bram Oliver, Windhoek, Namibia  (16/5/07)

End of season

Firstly, may I say a big thank you and well done to all the editors at toffeweb for another great year. May I also congratulate everyone who visits the site as they are Evertonians, and as a result, are the greatest living species on earth!

Enough of the cheesey compliments and back to the season that has been. I remember at the start of the campaign thinking that a top 8 finish would be a respectable position. I know that many on this site will disagree and be disgusted at my lack of ambition, belief or whatever you want to call it, but being a youngish blue (21), I am constantly paranoid of relegation ? I'm sorry, but its just the way I am!

So 6th it was and had it not been for some very wet refereeing at The Bridge it would have been 5th. I have to say I am delighted with this year. Next year, I will be gracing Europe with my pals supporting the Blues, and congrats must go to the players for that. I think Moyes has done well: C+. I totally agree that he is not the finished article, however I wouldn't want anyone else at the helm at the moment. I think we are currently one year behind Spurs in terms of development, so a season like theirs next year is what we should be hoping for.

I hope to God Moyes is backed this summer by the Board, as five or six players are needed. Having watched Vaughan at the end of this year, a striker for me is fourth priority (after a central defender, central defensive midfielder and a wide Midfielder). He really is a handful and mugged off the England Captain more times in 60 mins than Beattie has everybody all year. I know this is very much open for debate, however it would be a real shame to see Vaughan and Victor not playing reguarly next year. COYB and cheers again!
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (16/5/07)


All these rumours linking us with Joey Barton are making me a little sick. I see he's been arrested now, and the Beeb are still saying Everton are after him. Good player he may be, but I really really hope we don't sign the likes of him, he's a moron.

And well done Moyes and the boys on a Uefa Cup finish. Brilliant stuff - hope we don't have another yo-yo season next year.
Andy Rowlands, Hemel Hempstead  (16/5/07)

Iain 'Clamity Clanger' Turner

People claim that Dickie Wright's Everton career has been one calamity after another and that's not far from the truth. But in his defence do not forget that the season Everton finished 7th Dickie was in goal every game and played pretty well.

You want to talk about calamity, let's talk about Iain Turner's three starts: the first was awful, conceding four goals against Chelsea; the second was even worse, getting sent off after 9 mins against Blackburn; and the third was possibly the worst of all, dropping that hideous clanger and allowing a beaten Man Utd back into the game. That's what you call a calamitous Everton career.

I honestly believe that Moyes watched how well Turner was doing at Sheff Wed and thought to himself that there would be no problem shifting Dickie out and using Turner as back-up next season. Clearly the now infamous 'clanger' against Man Utd has worried Moyes into thinking that maybe Turner isn't up to the job and he may need to bring in a more experienced back-up. If he cant find someone else then why not Dickie?

Of course it doesn't have to be Dickie; in fact I'll be surprised if it is because he wants first-team football. But one thing is clear: Turner has alot of work to do to make Moyes believe in him again. It would make sense to have a more experienced goalkeeper sitting on the bench all next season and allow Turner to have a season-long loan at a Championship side.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (16/5/07)

Re:....and if ya know yer history

Nice one, Mikey, I see you posted my first posting of 1995 and not the one right after that, with the correct date of 1985!!! Of course the e-mail was recalling that great night in Rotterdam, not my myopic typing or wineinduced state!!

Speaking of the ECWC circa 1985, does anyone know of any DVD's available of the Bayern Munich game at Goodison, USA version???
Tommy Davis, Sherwood, USA  (15/5/07)

Oopps, I didn't spot the correction, sorry, Tommy.

Michael's devil's advocate...

...has a heavy bias more inclined to the anti-Moyes end of the spectrum......

"I read in the Echo he is disappointed at 6th place ? he wanted 5th!!! He's not moaning about his poor resurces ? he knows he has to get the best from them, and more."

Don't they all?

Moyes is disappointed about 6th place because he knows how close he was to pushing us above that, he's ambitious for his team and wants the best, so yes he's disappointed, I'd be surprised if he wasn't otherwise.

"He looks to the likes of Mourinho and Ferguson, not at their Big Four clubs, but what they did previously for much smaller clubs."

When did he say that? Ferguson did wonders at Aberdeen when he broke the old firm monopoly during a period of serious decline for both Glasgow clubs and had some great success. He then went to the richest club in Britain and took 7 years to fix it. Mourinho also did well at a club almost guaranteed champions league footy every year, meanwhile Moyes inherited possibly the worst squad in most Evertonian's living memory diving headlong into the championship, and long after the Premiership's gravy train left Goodison Park well behind. Where's the fair comparison whether his own, Michael's or anybody's?

We can all play the analogy/comparison game. The most pertinent is the league table. Incidentally, I also believe it is not impossible to break into the top four's private party, but to think it is an easy task, one that Moyes should be able to do simply by virtue of being Everton FC's manager with Nil Satis and a healthy though aging honours list to spur him on is barking. No one else has managed it recently, oh, except for him, however brief.

The lad's done well, accept it! The fact is there are some so called Evertonians that actually want him to fail to satisfy their ego's... What is it? does he live next door and plays his bagpipe records too loud? Don't know about Moyes apologists and Moyes sycophants, more like anti-Moyes Neurotics for much of the time on here.
Tom Hughes, Liverpool  (16/05/07)

Trust me: he said it. You musta missed it while in transit to your maritime adventures. If he made the comparison (actually, more the aspiration), who am I (or you) to argue with it?

"...is barking. No one else has managed it recently, oh, except for him,., " Err... is it me, the wine, or is that the most oxymoronic thing you could come up with?!?

There aren't many who have said they want him to fail... why is it always the pro-Moyesites who come out with this shit all the time? Calling us kopites, saying we're only happy when we lose, all sorts of utter bollocks. We want him to succeed better, play better football, get better results, not Fail! How hard is it for you to grasp that?!? — Michael

....and if ya know yer history

It was on this day in 1995 (15-05-1995) that we won the European Cup Winners Cup in Rotterdam, by destroying Rapid Vienna 3-1. What a wonderful night that was indeed, unforgettable to say the least, yet tinged with sadness, as none of us Evertonians got to witness that awesome team playing in the top European competition for many years to come!

This may have been mentioned already, but I apologise not, for bringing it up again... 'twas a glorious night indeed!! COYB!!!
Tommy Davis, Sherwood, USA  (15/5/07)

Another one on the Merlot/Syrah/Malbec/Cab/Sav... 1995!?! Tommy lad, FFS Get a grip!

Europe Schmurope

Why the big fuss about Europe? Yea, it's great etc, but we only finished 6th. Not saying we should have expected to win but come on. Before the World Cup there were the usual crass headlines. "We can do it", Lamps exclaims. "I have a feeling' Ferdinand muses. Bore blah blah. Let's sit tight and see what happens, no more fate-tempting predictions. We'll be ok ;).
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (15/5/07)

Okay, I guess everyone's on the sauce tonight...

Imoportant Summer

I feel this summer is the most inportant for many a year for signing players and boosting our squad. With Sunderland, and Birmingham coming up and West Ham, Villa, Newcastle and Man City certain to do much better, I get the feeling that if we don't get the players reqired and have a bad start, we could be in yet another relegation fight.

Paul Jewell having a 6-month break, I would say that's a good bet to be our new manager by Xmas. On a more positive note, thank god Graham Poll has hung up his whistle:- Hutichison, disallowed goal; McFadden sent off for doing what Rooney does every game, swearing at the ref; Gerrard's foul on Naysmith; Redknapp's foul on Cahill, plus many more. Anyway, I just hope im wrong about next season but I really do fear the worst.
Gary Norman, Alsager, Stoke on Trent  (15/5/07)

[Editor's note: hey fella, kindly don't post when you are wasted. That was a fucking bitch to edit, you illiterate twat!]

The Squad and Targets

British Players who could be targets:

Gavin McCann - Free, good signing.
Stuart Parnaby - Free, good squad player but i feel we need a new right back.
Joey Barton - £5.5M no doubting his talents, just don't want the team gettin depleted as a result of his actions.
Kieran Richardson - £? - Young, quick, hungry, we need a left mid, goos signing.
Dave Nugent - £5? whatever the fee I feel he'll be signing for us, good player, could be good foil for AJ.
Darren Bent - £? - If he linked with Johnson would be the quickest front 2 Everton have ever had, should have signed him when we had the chance for £3m.
Robbie Fowler - Free, would he take the ultimate step?

Mark Viduka - Free, worthy talent, obviously not a starter but experienced and quality.
Manny Fernandes - Loan deal could suit both parties, still has 5 years left on his contract and obviously doesn't start at Benfica.


Richard Mansell, Liverpool  (10/07)

Good grief, Richard. You'll send the Editor into an apopleptic fit with all that FM-style pondering. — Lyndon

Re: Eamon Byrne

I don't expect Everton to swarm into the top four sweeping all aside and condemning Liverpool and Arsenal to a life of subservitude. Breaking the top four and breaking into it are different things. You imply the former talking about dominating them, I'm referring to the latter, believing Everton are capable of getting in amongst them effectively rendering the top four a top five, or six depending on your views on Spurs. We may get there next season but find ourselves back in 6th the following year.

The thing to look at though is whether we are as inseperable as competitors from them as they claim to be from each other. I believe that gap, if it exists at all, is closing rapidly. If we are now feel established as a top 8 team our next aim should be to become Champion's League contenders on a regular basis.

You do need a squad to compete in four competitions but look more closely at the league. Take Liverpool, in the last four seasons they've finished 30, 28, 9 and 21 points off the champions. Hardly competing for the championship. You might as well claim we spent this season fighting relegation, after all the gap was only 20 points. Liverpool prioritise, when their championship bid fails (generally in mid-September) they focus on the cups. We will have to make those choices. I would advocate our prioritising the Uefa Cup (for the prestige and experience) and the league (for obvious reasons), playing second string in the Carling Cup and making a decision on the FA Cup in January in light of results.

It'll be tough but Moyes is making the right noises about aspiring to do so and filling out the squad to support that aim. He's already proved himself capable of getting the results and appears rejuvenated by the last few months. Danny Broderick noted that it's not the big teams we're struggling with, it's the smaller ones. He's right but the transfer policy of quality youth is increasingly lifting us above them, we go out expected to win.

At what point do we become officially another grouping in the league? Are we permitted into the top group or shall us and Spurs form a t'other two and omit Bolton, not because they don't get amongst us but just because we think we're better than them?

A couple of other things. Don't know what I did to upset Eileen Roberts the other day but I assure you I've never posted on the stadium debate, you got the wrong man!

Lastly, here here to Tom Edwards. ToffeeWeb and the mailbag are dragging me through my PhD. I thought it was overly negative at first but extended time has made me realise that it's largely a community of fans who just want the best for the blues, see moving forward as being equally important as celebrating the present and have entertaingly varied views on the route to take. Well done to all!
John Holmes, York  (15/5/07)

The Nolans

Just posted a note to the BBC Kevin Nolan column telling him it's the perfect time to join Everton now that Big Sam has left. Perhaps people power could sway him? Most probably not but worth a try! Come on now, bombard his in-box and get him to join us ? the Moyesiah commeth.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (15/5/07)

Dickie Wright

Are there actually people writing in to this site suggesting it would be a good idea to keep him and that he?s better than Ian Turner? I think some people need to wake up and smell the coffee! Dickie Wright has been nothing but a calamity whenever he has been between the sticks for us. The defence looks like it is on edge and lacks any confidence in the man's ability to command his area.

OK so Turner hasn?t exactly covered himself in glory with his clanger against United but that is hardly something with which to constantly beat him with. He is young and he was making his debut for us against the now Champions. Wright has had a number of chances at making himself our Number One (or even our Number 2) and has failed, its time to move on, if there isn?t any confidence in Turner as our No 2 keeper then someone else should be brought in, but whatever happens Dickie Wright should not be kept just because he?s available or we will finish up making the same mistake we made with the other waste of contract money, Pistone!!!
Paul Houghton, Preston  (15/5/07)

Cash Flow

Everyone seems to be getting carried away - excitement I suppose - but all I am reading is "expand the squad in depth"....what I would like to know is who or what is going to pay all the wages of all these extra quality players we will be carrying in order to play in the Uefa Cup and the Premier League? Perhaps we had better start the collection now!!
Pat Jones, Swansea  (15/5/07)


Now this is a knee-jerk reaction but of all the names mentioned, Saviola has to be the most exciting. A player of his class would definitely add to our squad and be a safer bet than Nugent.
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (15/5/07)

In reply Michael

I do have the faith that Moyes can do it provided the Board continue to back him at the playing level. But let's not ignore that those top 4 teams will probably spend £50 Million each this summer.

Money is not the only answer and why I am suggesting even though totally out-financed by those clubs there is a path to compete with them. If Moyes continues to make the right signings at an affordable rate then we in turn may start to beat Home and Away those teams currently positioned below us and Spurs. Excluding the top 4 there are 90 points to play for. Those teams will strengthen also. Now if any of the top four do not do this (win home and away) then they will find themselves competing with us.

Equally, excluding the top four, it isn't sufficient to win at home and draw away any more, you'll only get 63 points and Uefa Cup football. Whatever we get out of those top 4 games should be considered bonus. I for one really enjoy them, now.

Who we sign to strengthen our squad on the base we have now is obviously vital. Moyes has a good track record. Even the final actim stats show 7/8 of our players in the top 100. Without massive investment I don't expect Moyes to achieve success overnight. Like everyone else I want it now, but he is doing a good job with the resources he has. The new benchmark in his own words is regular European football. It is within grasp if he is backed by the Board.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (15/5/07)

... which he has been. At least he's said as much. But I forget: silly me... he's not telling the truth is he? He does want lotsa money and he can't make us great again unless he gets it. — Michael


Michael, I think you're being a bit disingenuous when you keep harking back to Moyes saying he wants to break into top 4 without all the financial resources they enjoy. In much the same way that you don't countenance discussing potential new managers as you feel that "David Moyes is Going Nowhere", as Moyes has no realistic chance of enjoying similar financial resources as the top 4 then it is fruitless him imagining breaking up the big 4 any other way than on a relatively small budget.

Repeatedly referring to such a stating-the-obvious quote just smacks of a cheap shot. It is clear you aren't as happy with Moyes as many of the posters here but points like this make you look daft, not him.

But anyway, best and most professional fan site I've seen. Cheers boys and let's hope for a better summer than last time we qualified for Europe.
Dominic Buckley, Manchester  (15/5/07)

Thanks for the compliment, Dominic. Let's examine the points you picked up on because I feel too many people pay lip service to the mantra that states "We must have lotsa money to be successful" without really thinking it through and understanding Moyes's position.

I'll admit I am prone to making cheap shots but I don't feel this is one of them ? certainly not intedended anyway. This really goes to the core of the parallel mantra that says something like "Support the manager, get behind him, give him praise for the success he has achieved, he can't do it overnight, he must be backed by the Board..." and yet I read in the Echo he is disappointed at 6th place ? he wanted 5th!!! He's not moaning about his poor resurces ? he knows he has to get the best from them, and more.

You see, it's about listeneing to Moyes and what he says rather than listening to the rabid rampblings of some of the more sycophantic so-called pro-Moyes "supporters" who bleat on that he's doing a miraculous job because he has no money to buy great players.

I believe Moyes knew what he was taking on when he took the job. If he didn't then he certainly found out pdq about the fincial constraints that bind him. But read what he says; he accepts those limitations; he is committed to working within them and making Everton successful again. I think it's much more than "stating the obvious" ? and that would make you the disingenuous one! He looks to the likes of Mourinho and Ferguson, not at theier Big Four clubs, but what they did previously for much smaller clubs.

It's not merely about getting a top-ten spot and calling it good enough. That is why I get behind him... and aim a good verbal kicking at his backside when he slips off-task. [But if they are his role models... does he really deep down view us a stepping-stone on the path to future greatness with a really big club...??? However, I digress.]

The last couple of games, incidentally, have largely vindicated many of the things we have been clamouring for as fans who are not totally satsified with where we are now and who want to see us continue to improve and to achieve better results with better play. Moyes has proved he can do it with Everton. It's his "supporters" who make excuses for his lapses that are the ones who are being truely disingenous... the mot du jour for which Eileen must pay dearly! ? Michael

The way it is/should be!

Respect Tom Edwards with your post, I agree totally and hence why I stick around writing and reading with TW. Excellent effort to all involved!
Luq Yussef, London  (15/5/07)

In reply John

Everton can compete with the top 4 again but I don't think it will happen the way some think it will. Indeed they did this season amassing 9 points from 8 games. Even though very defensive against these teams, we can give them a game. It is a mark of genuine progress that we can do this. Only Man Utd where able to overun us.

Moyes himself says the same thing but also adds over the course of the season we do not match their resources. Their resources being depth of squad. The depth of squad that not only allows you to compete but also make effective substitutions from the bench. Rather than having a bench mainly full of players to cover injury/fatique during the match. It also is the kind of depth that allows you to effectively compete in four competitions. That's where those extra £100 to £500 million come into play.

I do believe Moyes is on the right path though and if he can continue to add 2/3 decent signings a summer then a tip point will come. This is probably true for Spurs also. Ulimately it will come down to winning both home and away to the rest of the league. I see nothing negative in what I am writing, but obtaining dominance against the current top 4 is very difficult.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (15/5/07)

Moyes himself has also said on a number of occasions that he wants to be the one who breaks in without the benefit of the massive money these clubs have. Your seem to lack faith in his ability to do it... — Michael

Second-Rate Europeans

Paul Atress and others have commented disparagingly about the standard of opposition we may face in the Uefa cup. If a seeding system operates, Everton may well find themselves way down the pecking order once more. A very tricky tie early on could well be on the cards and it's good night Vienna/Turin/Cologne...
Tony Horne, Kettering  (15/5/07)

Magnetic Mikel

I'm not suprised that Arteta is the most fouled player in the league.

Michael made good point when he said that Arteta draws many of these fouls himself, I remember the Villa away game, where he quite literally goaded the Villa defence into fouling him by skill alone. It was the resulting freekick that produced a goal.

I'm probably stating the obvious when I say that any team playing Everton are bound to stick a man (maybe two) on Arteta.

Firstly this highlights the need for some additional quality to take the heat off Mikel, it's testament to the developing physical side of his game that not one of these 102 fouls have resulted in any serious injurys.

Secondly, how good is Mikel Arteta! He's won Player of the Season again, and I don't think it would be an understatement to say he's had a far better season than last, despite the opposition's best attempts he's taken his game to the next level.

The man deserves an olive crown.
Eddie Harrison, Peterborough  (15/5/07)

'Top 4'

In response to the top 4 article, I think where we need to progress as a side is when we play against so-called lesser teams, particularly at Goodison, where the onus is on us to break teams down. When we play against the top teams, we have a solid defence and are capable of getting a result in most of these games by being hard to break down and denying them space. I would like to see us sign a genuine left-sided winger to help us break down teams that do to us what we do to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea...
Danny Broderick, London  (15/5/07)

Uefa Cup ? Our Best Chance of Silverware?

I truly feel that we have a greater chance of lifting the Uefa Cup than the FA Cup or Carling Cup. I know in recent years a few clubs outside the 'top four' have won the Carling cup, but our recent record... well, it speaks for itself. In recent seasons, our luck of the draw has pinned us against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd in early stages of the cups. I believe we have a better chance of beating a half-decent European club, for example 'Lille', than a top Premier League club. Don?t worry about the prize money of the Uefa Cup, if it means seeing Phil Neville lift a trophy, that?s all that matters! It would bring a smile to my face, I would giggle for days on end.
James Hazlehurst, Wallasey  (15/5/07)

A bit of a laugh

Other than the fact the situation arose from a diabolical refereeing decision against us, Moyesy's sending off on Sunday did make me laugh!

Quite rightly, he wasn't going down the tunnel or to find a way into the Director's Box. He took advantage of a low wall and climbed into the crowd right behind the Everton bench. What made me laugh was the look of horror on the face of the Chelsea fan who now had Davey stood right in front of him, virtually in his lap and with no way of seeing past him! Presumably, he then had to suffer over half an hour of Moyes shouting, waving his arms, treading on his toes wearing football boots etc until the game ended. I bet he didn't expect that when he shelled out fifty quid plus for his seat. Talk about getting close to the action!

Well done Moyesy!
Karl Masters, Kent  (15/5/07)


I have just come back from a five-day break in Barcelona; whilst I was there, I got talking to a English journalist working over there. I know this could be bullshit but he said that it is almost certain that Javier Saviola will be joining us in the summer on a free transfer as he is out of contract.
Tony Gardner, Liverpool  (15/5/07)

Reasons to be cheerful

What a fantastic season! In fact, what an amazing 18 months. No, wait, what an incredible three years. Apart from the first few months of last season (the European disaster), the last three years at Everton football club have been the most succesful for 20 years.

Think about it, we finished 4th in 2005, and a dramatic turnaround in form in 2006 meant that we climbed from the bottom of the table to a healthy 11th. If it hadn?t been for the catastrophic start to that season, we would have been looking at a top 6 finish.

And then this season we have sat in the top half of the table all season, floated around from 5th to 7th throughout, and finished 6th. Looking above us, at the wealthiest clubs in Britain ? Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs ? it's important to remember that on our very limited budget, David Moyes has worked wonders.

When he replaced Walter Smith, he set about dismantling the old regime, ripping up the 7-defenders teamsheet (Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir and Pistone at the back, with a midfield of Watson, Unsworth, Gascoigne and Naysmith) and breathed new life into the club.

Is there any Evertonian who isn?t proud to see David Moyes in the dugout? Or doesn?t feel glad that he is doing the post-match interviews for TV? When I see Mourinho or Wenger giving their slanted views on the game, it makes me cringe. When Moyes talks, he gives it straight, and his opinion is respected. Moyes has brought in some fantastic players, and at affordable prices. Yobo, Arteta, Cahill, Lescott, Johnson, Neville for around a combined £20M. On top of this miracle, he has brought on some of the most outstanding youth products in the country, a list that includes Rooney , Vaughan and Anichebe.

Like the fans, he?s finally run out of patience with Pistone and Wright, and offerred sensible one-year extensions to the experienced Carsley and Stubbs, whose own contributions to our success should not be underestimated. On top of this, he actually made money on Kevin Kilbane and Marcus Bent!!! How many miracles do you need to witness before you become a true believer?

We wanted progress. We wanted to be competing with the top clubs, and getting into Europe on a regular basis. David Moyes has kept his promise.
Joe Wightman, Newbridge, Gwent  (15/5/07)

Wright or wrong?

What is Moyes saying? Wright is going but we might sign him again! Dithering Dave is at it again so expect to see Pistone signed for the 3rd time. That's two new signings already!
Alan Rodgers, Blackpool  (15/5/07)

Come on Eileen, rip his head off!

I'm with Eileen on the little rumble she's got goin on with Tommyboy. Tom's argument just doesn't sit right, I think Eileen is bang on the money and Liverpool does have the word 'poo' in it ? heh, heh, heh, that kid was a genius!
Darlene Landisforth, Yorks  (15/5/07)

Dream on

Anyone that thinks Barton will be allowed to leave 'on the cheap' must have been born yesterday. He's the type of player that the likes of Redknapp and Alardyce would kill to get their hands on ? a goalscoring midfield enforcer with a mile-wide crazy streak, crying out to have his energy channeled in the right direction by a stong-willed manager. So don't be fooled; the £5.5 million price tag is nothing more than a blatant attempt to arouse interest in the inevitable bidding war.
Ryan Crest, London  (15/5/07)

Top 4

Great article by John Holmes, if we are to progress we have to tackle the so called "Top 4". Is this a myth, are they so invincible, where are we ranked among then? Here is my answer:

            P   W  D  L  GF/GA  Pts

Man Utd     8   4  2  2  12-6    14
Arsenal     8   3  3  2  10-9    12
Chelsea     8   2  5  1   8-8    11
Everton     8   2  3  3  10-12    9
Liverpool   8   2  1  5   6-11    7
As you can see, we are doing pretty well against our richer rivals, moreover if some decisions would have gone our way ? Arsanal, Chelsea away ? and had we played Howard against Man Utd, the table would have been even more pleasant to read.

Moyes had assembled a good squad, which is capable of challenging our rivals and although there were a lot of ups and downs I do really believe that we will break into top 4 next season. It's essential that we bring at least 2 quality signings and 2-3 squad players, just to have depth in our squad.

There is a good article by A Melvin and it is obvious that the Uefa Cup is indeed a very demanding competition and we would need a bigger squad to cope with it.

As to what would be a successful season, for me either breaking into CL places or a cup final with European football on a plate would do it.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (15/5/07)


Not playing FM here or anything, just wanted to post a thought on Mark Viduka seeing as some others in the mailbag are suggesting he'd be a better option than Nugent.

While I agree he'd be good business on a Bosman, I think one of the main reasons he played so well this season is because he only had 1 year left on his contract so he was constantly playing in the shop window. I don't think it was a coincidence that the closer it got to the end of the season, the better he played. Would he be pushed to play that way on a regular basis on a 3-4 year cushy contract? I'm not convinced.

I've heard pundits in the past say that he can be lazy and hard to motivate ? is that the type of player we want?
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (15/5/07)

Uefa Cup? So What?

The problem with the Uefa Cup is that Everton will be playing some second-rate European side on a Thursday night, they will have to contend with all that travelling, extra injuries and the squad will undoubtedly be more tired by the time they get home and prepare for a difficult Sunday Premiership fixture.

Steve Coppell has said that he would rather Reading didn't qualify for the Uefa Cup because his limited squad would struggle to cope with the extra demands and he would not want it to become a problem for Reading's Premiership form. There's also very little money to be made in the Uefa Cup and many people claim that, unless a side makes at least the semis, the club may actually lose money.

And just when you think you might have a chance to win the UEFA a whole bunch of Champion's League losers enter the competition. That said, I am still looking forward to our Euro adventure. Regardless of the problems, it will be great to see the boys taking on European sides. There is still a prestige watching your team in Europe which will be worth the extra problems Moyes will have to deal with.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (15/5/07)

Not bad but not good enough

It's been a good but frustrating season. I agree with the opinions about negative football which should not always be a case now that we have some great talent in the team, but I also agree there is a need to get the job done too.

I feel hard done by for some decisions, the ones that stand out are the Chelsea game (Arteta foul and disallowed goal) and that stupid offside goal away to Newcastle. Not counting the 241 penalty appeals turned down.

Yes we've had our bad luck (as always) but I think we should rely on ability and quality of football instead of relying on getting a penalty to score. There were times this season we never looked like causing any trouble to opponents unless it's from a set piece and that side is not good enough.

I feel optimistic though that we have the makings of an excellent squad and in the main they're all fairly young too. If Moyes can lose the deadwood and keep the good ones (we all know who they are) and gets at least 3 or 4 decent players in I'm sure Europe won't be an embarrasment again. I just hope he doesn't rely on a long ball to AJ the giant and hopes for pens/free kicks/corners. We have quality players, use them to their strengths which is playing good football.
John Fowler, Liverpool  (15/5/07)

Re: Eamon Byrne

Hate to burst your bubble, mate, but I feel I should point out to you that fielding 16 players is technically illegal. Perhaps not up there with dodgy Argentine signings but nonetheless slipping an extra five players onto the pitch isn't permitted.

Of course we need to strengthen our squad and we will do so over the summer whereas those above us are struggling to achieve despite having already got such high quality squads. There's a distinct lack of faith on these pages in the ability of any club to actually lay the groundwork and build a top quality squad yet I don't know why. It's been done before, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd all did it. Their success didn't come instantaneously it was developed over a number of years before coming to fruition, why are you so convinced that Everton can't do this?
John Holmes, York  (15/5/07)

Phil's Blunt Message

Re. Uefa Cup qualification & club expectations, check out this article from Capn Phil on the official web site :-

?We have set a standard we can?t fall below next season, regardless of the excuses of playing in the Uefa Cup.

?Does the club want to go further? Does everyone want to take another step forward? If it does, the club have got to back the manager and we have got to bring in players like we did last year.

?The foundations are certainly in place and we want to make the next step.?

Brave words Pip but I'm sure they'll gladden Michael's heart!
Ciaran Duff, Sydney, Australia  (15/5/07)

Uefa Cup

Dimitris Armadoros, we all know that playing in the Uefa Cup has it's benefits, but the question is, is it worth it?

All three English clubs playing in the Uefa Cup struggled in the league this season. Middlesboro and finished 12th, and Newcastle 13th. So, while they are getting extra money through playing in europe, we will recieve an extra £3 million compared to them for our 6th plac finish. Like Coppell said, Europe it not worth it if you are going to struggle in the league.

We must strengthen considerably this summer, so that we still finish in the top 6 AND hope for at least that we reach the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (15/5/07)

Re: 'Ripped Off Again'

Chelsea were very lucky their goal stood. Arteta was fouled ? on first viewing I missed it ? so I will give the two nearby officials the benefit of doubt. The linesman was on the blind side of the incident while the referee, well he blew it, he had a better view. Play continued and we all know what happened thereafter. No point in crying at that time.... but to me after the 89th minute there was and my Bud Lite almost turned to water!

A neatly played throw-in led to Carsley hitting a thunderbolt toward Cech?s goal. Cech did his job; the ball came out to McFadden who drilled it into the far corner. 2-1 game over and I almost peed my pants jumping off the couch (US equivalent of sofa) ? all for nowt. Offside had been given. So not only did my pants have to be washed but I ended up drinking water.

Reviewing both goals, I feel the lads and supporters were hard done to. Let?s look at our disallowed goal:

Carsley hammers it toward goal; Beattie (offside but who knows with the current rulings) ducks out of the flight of the ball and to me this is CRUCIAL to my argument. He tries to avoid contact; he does not attempt to interfere with the ball. Cech stops it, McFadden scores ? BUT and a very BIG but, the linesman has flagged for offside! BUT and a small but here, Beattie DID NOT try to affect the path of the ball. Besides, how can a linesman on the periphery of the field of play determine IF Beattie was in Cech?s field of view? ONLY the REFEREE in the middle of the pitch has a clear view. So if Halsey blew for interference, even though the player attempted not to, good play to him I say. He made the right decision and I can live with that.

Now on to Chelsea?s allowed goal:

SWP crosses the ball into the Everton box. At THIS moment Drogba is in an offside position. I have reviewed this more than once; I know this to be true. The linesman did not raise his flag. Eventually the ball returns to Drogba and he scores. Fair enough ? IF only Drogba had not tried to control the initial ball into the box. Attempting to control the ball (within or around the six-yard box) surely amounts to ?interference?? That is, He DID try to affect the path of the ball yet the linesman did not flag for offside and Halsey did not blow for interference. So who determines what? I have no answer ? maybe you all do?

I know this is a case of ?what if?? Had Chelsea?s goal been disallowed would we have had the last minute opportunity? Nobody can answer that. When I read a team could have scored this amount of goals it all depends on decisions made earlier.

Maybe it is time to bring in a fifth (TV) official for events like these. Whilst Chelsea celebrated their dubious goal, the fifth official could say yea or nay. Yea and the goal stands. Nay and offside is given. The game progresses with a final decision.

Similarly, whilst I was peeing me pants?
Gary Sedgwick, Harlingen, TX, USA  (14/5/07)


When looking at our 6th place finish I believe it is progress but we must move on. Moyes must be backed and he must spend wisely. I think we need to buy like we did last season. Two or three quality signings like Lescott, Johnson and Howard who can just walk into the team. The squad also needs to be bigger so maybe a few bargain basement players. I still feel if we are going to compete in Europe we need some ball players. The likes of Viduka, Fernandes etc who can makes us play more attractive and effective football. On the Fernandes situation, if it was between £6M to £8M I'd snap him up but I would understand Moyes backing out of the transfer if it's £12M.

Joey Barton ? how much I hate his attitude, but he would be a good addition and in his case he deserves a third or fourth chance. Finally I would like to say thanks to the likes of Michael, Colm and Lyndon who have made the site enjoyable all season. It must be hard work running this site for all us Evertonians so thanks lads.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (14/5/07)

Respect, Connor. — Michael

Praise where it's due

I know some people will think this is arse-licking.... but I am going to send it anyway!

I came upon ToffeWeb by accident, about 3 years ago. How glad I am that I did. I regularly dip in to get the sane (ok, not always) balanced side of all things Everton. I sometimes make a contribution myself, though not as often as Dickie Dodd, Luq, Eileen and the rest!

I appreciate the fact that this site is run by true Evertonians who aren't obliged to do it. I know you all have other jobs and how hard it is to juggle the work-life balance, etc. It's great that you will let everyone air their opinions. (Although I am sure for every printable one there are several unprintable). Being an exiled Blue, it helps me get my fix of all things Everton whenever I need it.

Long may you continue and I hereby declare that no member of the Toffeweb team put me up to this and certainly didn't pay me! Let's face it, who would pay for these ramblings?

I have two sons, one of whom is a True Blue, the other one somehow fell into the Chelski camp. I blame the shitty cup final win against Villa for that one, but I don't want to go down that road. My little Toffeman and I will, when we can, get across to Goodison next season and I have promised him a European night; so let's hope it's a good one! Yes, I was at Tolka Park that night, so I know that successful Euro campaigns can take a bit of starting.

Good luck all and keep it Blue!
Tom Edwards, York  (15/5/07)

Nice one, Tom! Get in there!!! Much appreciated... Although the credit increasingly goes to the broad spectrum of fans who contribute and widen that diversity of views. — Michael

In response to Tony

I've got my memories, you've got yours. Some of my best were at Goodison; others were elsewhere(Anfield, Rotterdam, Villa Park, Wembley ? even Norwich). I want my kids to have their own memories though... and if it has to be away from Goodison Park, then so be it.

Anyone who suggests St Helens though should be tortured and dropped in the Mersey.;-)
Paul Johnson, Fazakerley  (14/5/07)

The economic dynamics of football

I just read the newspaper article that was referring in a way to Uefa Cup as if it was the Banana South Tenerife Beach cup (what bad and one dimensional journalism!)... and made some of our fans wonder if qualifying for the UEFA Cup is really beneficial. It is ? and our directors/financial managers know that as well!

Apart from the prize money for wins/draws and qualification to the next round, as well as the TV rights, there are nowadays other things that count, so please hold your breath: club-brand awareness simultaneously grows worldwide which brings better commercial deals for sponsoring and advertising, higher bonuses from sponsors (Boro was getting bonuses from 888.com because their brand was splashed around the globe more and more), new sponsorship deals, higher prices for stadium boxes (working for a SPORTS-GAMING related company, we were willing to pay 8 times more for the Stamford Bridge stadium box/hospitality than the Craven Cottage one!), higher gate receipts and higher income from hospitality, a lot higher merchandising opportunities and various other things (stronger fan base, fans pride, new-generation of fans, more imposing status in the local political scene, just to mention some) that can't be easily measured.

This bunch of things I mentioned could be summarized as the economic dynamics of football that certainly are a lot more important than the prize money...
Dimitris Armadoros, Chelsea, UK / Pireaus, Greece)  (14/5/07)

Have a good Summer!

For what its worth, I thought I would say well done to Mr Moyes for getting us into Europe again. I'm not quite sure how he did it but apart from slipping the one position on the final week he timed the winning run well. Hell, even the quality of football is improving slightly.

This is the closest I will ever come to praising Davie so I shall end now before I start sounding like an ungrateful sod. All I will say is that the one thing I want next season is some European performances to be proud of. I don't care if we don't win ? I just want to see Everton respected once more on the continent as it will be easier to attract players then.

ps: Hope Madeleine comes home soon.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (14/5/07)

Paul Artess & season review

I agree with pretty much everything he's said. I think he's rated Naysmith too highly, he looks way out of depth to me. The only thing he has going for him is heart & commitment, but at Premiership level this isn't enough.

D+ for Beattie flatters him as well, he's just not of the required standard. I'd give them both an E

C+ is a bit harsh on Cahill, he was playing well & scoring goals for fun before Carsley kicked him up in the air. In an ideal world he's best in a 4-5-1 formation, but these days managers swap players around all the time, so there's plenty of room for him in the team. While, Vaughan has been a breath of fresh air over the last couple of months, care needs to be taken not to overplay him ? hence there should be scope to rotate Cahill with Vaughan, AJ, Victor etc.

One final point about Osman, a "C" is accurate, he has been very patchy. Yet against Chelsea he was in the running for Man of the Match, he was always involved & his use of the ball was excellent. I'd agree he's not biggest or the fastest thing on two legs but, on his day, his technical & tactical ability more than justify a place in the squad, if not a regular spot in the starting 11.
Colin Smith, Hopewell, NJ, USA  (14/5/07)

Away Support

Well done to the team and manager on the performance at Chelsea. And well done to the magnificent 3,000 supporters who paid £45 - £48 for the privilege. I'd turned up expecting the away end to be half-empty but yet again the away support was phenomenal.

I don't know how much sentiment there is still amongst modern day footballers but the strength of Everton's continuing support may well be one of the telling factors that persuades a top player to join the club and Arteta to stay. If we could just cut out the facile "Gerard, the baby's not yours" type chants and concentrate on supporting the team, our backing would be even more phenomenal.

Still, all in all, well done to the travelling army. So many young faces in the crowd which bodes well for the future. And no hangers-on either ? all committed bluenoses.

Looking forward to next season already!
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (14/5/07)

End of the roller coaster?

Well done to Moyes and the players for delivering a good season ? not legendary (how small-time is that!!) but good nontheless.

However, to finally shut up the doubters, it has to be the end of the roller-coaster next season. You can already detect signs that the Moyes boys are preparing their excuses 1 the main one being that we are in the Uefa Cup. To that argument there can only be one response:- SPURS.

To re-iterate what they have done this season:

  • 5th, playing attacking attractive football
  • Quarter final in the Uefa Cup
  • Quarter final in the FA Cup
  • Semi final in the Carling Cup
And what's more, they were unlucky to go out of all three competitions.

See ? it can be done and there can be no excuses if we end up out of the cups before we have even started and in the bottom half of the league - if that is the case then it really is time to say bye bye...

However, for now, my enthusiasm is as high as everyone else's and, despite the rubbishing of the Uefa Cup, I find myself looking forward to it immensely. Now if Milan (please god) can crush Liverpool, it will be a perfect summer.
John Doolan, Liverpool  (14/5/07)

It's funny that...

Not in a laugh kind of way that two people like John Holmes and Paul Atress agree on so much but yet so little.

Let?s start with Paul?s end-of-season report on the players. Nine received better that C+; had I asked him which were the players to take us into next season and European glory? he might have dropped three players. Stubbs, Carsley and Fernandes? Fernandes isn?t signed yet.

Then John Holmes suggests that we should be breaking into the top four. Are we to do that when the top four can at least field 16 decent quality players? I suggest we have much further to travel before those cups come home...
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (14/5/07)

By your pathetic logic, because the Big Four have better players than us, shouldn't they be winning every game against us? So how come we were able to take a total of 9 points off them (actually denying them 12 points out of 24), with more results than not in an overall record of W2 D3 L3? I must say I honestly find the negativity of the pro-Moyes brigade quite appalling at times. ? Michael

A rock and a hard place

I agree with Tony Marsh's comments this time. I'm sure, though, that the reason the majority of Evertonians voted on here for a ground move is because we don't have another option. What do we do? Hope that someone turns up with more money than Tescos to help fund a stadium? Not likely.

Do we stay in Goodison whilst it slowly falls down in the shadow of the new Gatorade bowl? Staying in Goodison may seem like an option to some of the older sentimental folk but the next generation won't like it. The history will be so far in the past that they won't appreciate it, all they'll see is a dicrepid old stadium next to Liverpool's impressive new one. This would have a far more disastrous effect on our fan base than the 4-mile relocation.

If this site ran the poll again offering a hypothetical brand new stadium within Liverpool's City boundary as a choice against the choice of Kirkby, we know what the overwhelming majority, if not 100%, of fans would say. But it's hypothetical.

I don't live in Liverpool but I speak to other Evertonians at the game that do and all of them say we need to move. So, stuck as we are between a rock and a hard place, what do we do?
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (14/5/07)

The Move

I haven't commented on the stadium move before, but I have as many questions as opinions. And one big question above all. And some of the points may have you coughing blood; the nerve of the idiot!

So, on losing the fanbase. There are probably many reasons why each of us is a Blue. I'm from Birkenhead, but was brought up a Blue by my dad. I never had the idea that being from Birkenhead made me a Tranmere fan: to me, it was part of the area. My dad took me to see my first game when I was about five. Never forgot it. Vertigo, grown men playing football???, the noise, and HOW GREEN is that pitch? And Dai Davies saving a point blank shot while on his knees. It was v Spurs, about 76-77. I didn't need to be kicking a ball around the streets of Walton to feel a total Bluehead.

Now I live in London. And there are reds everywhere; Man Utd, Liverpool, and Arsenal ? at least the last one makes some sense. My worst moment down here apart from watching "Six minutes of madness", was the 2-1 defeat in 04-05 at Anfield. I was in a Brixton pub, heard some cockney divvy: "Champions League, yer havin' a larf". It's LAFF, not LARF, yer prat! or words to that effect. But, I digress.

There are loads of Reds out there, and it has nothing to do with where they play. Everything to do with success. Now, before you lose it, thinking I'm all out of touch, not living in the area anymore, let me make myself plain. I cannot believe there is nowhere in Liverpool where Everton can set up a new ground. What?s going on? Is everywhere taken? I'm not alone in having moved out of the area. What was once a big, international city has frankly become less busy, less populated and surely less desperate for extra space. And more accommodating for a big business arena that requires space. No??? Arsenal found somewhere around the corner in zone 2 or 3; North London, for Pete's sake; How on Earth Everton can't in Liverpool, God only knows.

But, if worst comes to worst; and there's nowt in the City and we move a couple of miles further out: Would we lose our fanbase? It's still Everton. Dixie Dean, The Golden Vision, Holy Trinity ? Kevin, bloody, Sheedy. I just can't believe that?s what would have us lose our fans.

Isn't the truth that we've already lost a lot of the natural fanbase to the other side? It's been trophies, and European football. I arrived late for the derby in September; just approaching Goodison Road as Cahill slid in. That roar got me pumping, but I looked in front of me and there was a kid, coming out of his house, a 1-minute walk from Goodison Park and St Luke's. He was about six... and he had a red shirt on.
Roberto Birkett, London  (14/5/07)

Players' report

Have just read quite a good report on this season's players by Paul Atress. Very good, Paul, but you forgot the twelfth man.

Yes, by that I mean the lads, the home and away boys who I think did us quite proud this year (as always) ? what do think their score is this term?
George Brooks, Sorrento, Italy  (14/5/07)

Club with morals

Although this point has just been made, I feel it's important to press the point on Barton. Mr Dave Boardman is right: Barton equals trouble that we do not need, but we should also consider the message we would be sending to the football world by signing an outspoken thug like him. Think of it this way, by NOT signing him, that's between £3M and £5M we could discount off the price of Fernandes. I think he's proved himself... who's with me!?
Viv Sharma, Northampton  (14/5/07)

You'll have to explain to me how NOT buying Barton discounts the price for Fernandes? "He's yours for £8M if you by that twat Barton... but if you don't, you can have our Manu for £5M, Deal or No Deal?" I guess it could be a kind of 'protection money' thing working in reverse:- Manu's owners don't want their player assualted/blinded/used as an ashtray, and they are willing to discount his price accordingly...???

No, I can't see it somehow. — Michael

Timmy in a 4-4-2?

Interesting comment in Paul Atress? End-of-Season Review regarding Tim Cahill. I like the energy that Tim brings to the game, he?s got character and a big heart and I admire him for those qualities, but I have to agree with Paul?s comment ? can Tim play effectively in a 4-4-2? We love his goal contribution and his fighting spirit, but can he excel in a four-man midfield with more disciplined responsibilities? Would we only play him if we going to play in a 4-5-1? That would seem be too much of a luxury. I can?t see Moyes letting him go though, Timmy is certainly one of his favorite players (or so he says).

Good on Moyesy for having a go at Halsey and his linesmen yesterday, I know that being a ref is about the hardest job in football ? as I volunteer as a local ref myself ? but sometimes Managers need to stand-up and tell it like it is. We?ve been done over way too many times this season and I commend him for sticking up for his players and the supporters.
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore  (14/5/07)


According to Sky Sports News, Mikel Arteta was the most fouled against player in the Premiership this season. He was fouled on 102 occasions.

I suppose Hackett will now tell referees to watch him as he is a diver! At least it will take some of the pressure off Andy Johnson!
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (14/5/07)

Tricky Mikky!... I bet he draws them fouls... by the fantastic way he plays. No easy job getting the ball off him, methinks. He is without doubt the best Everton player for many, many years. Now if only he could score goals like Andrei did for that one brief season... — Michael

Uefa Cup

I have just logged onto the website after a couple of days away from it. As a result a lot of how I feel about how the season has gone has already been said. Improved tactics and playing style, penny dropping after the Spurs game, the Moyes we loved when he first joined us back then ? all these things have been well stated and I agree with them all. The one thing I will comment on is the Uefa cup spot. I'm really delighted with it. As stated in another post, it's been properly earned this time. And when you look at it like that, it is all the more satisfying. Having read the Daily Mail article mentioned as a link in another post though, some of that satisfaction does get wiped off. However, I've given the issue a little bit of thought again since reading the article and to be honest I wouldn't be that insulted if we didn't do that well in the competition. Fair enough, I would love to win the competition but unless you do, it's cons do by far outweigh it's pros.

What I like about the competition is that it will make us more attractive in the summer. If Uefa Cup qualification gives us the edge in signing one or two quality players over the summer then that alone will have been a job well done for me. Bearing in mind that it will also help us keep the likes of Arteta, Cahill, Lescott and others, it really would be a case of a job well done.

A decent league finish next season, with qualification for Europe secured, will help bed these new signings in, as well as again hanging on to the named players above. An extended run in the competition, with it's well known negative impact on league performance, could well be the very opposite of this. It's why I wouldn't be overly bothered about an early exit.

So there you have it, my last tuppence worth on how this season has been, and it's effect on the club I love. I only found the ToffeeWeb site in August but have been well impressed with it. Well done the Editorial team, take a bow lads. How will I get my fix over the summer, Christ knows, but for now stay tuned.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (14/5/07)

Thanks Kieran... and, err... we're not going anywhere. In fact, look out for the new, improved ToffeeWeb (as Lyndon weaves ever more wonderful xhtml/db magic!) with added attractions, recognition and a higher profile for a number of our regular contributors.

Besides, something tells me there will be plenty to talk about over the next three months... — Michael

Credit where credit's due

Yesterday's match was a very pleasing way to finish the season. Against a full strength Chelsea team (of those available), we put up more than a decent show. At one time during the first half, we must have put a passing move together that involved at least 20 passes that went across the field and involved all the midfield players. It resulted in an opening being created which sadly came to nothing. The overall impression was of a team that could pass the ball and not just play hoof-ball. I never thought I would see it under David Moyes, so credit to the players and management yesterday.

I do however wonder why it only happened yesterday and not all season, so here's my take on it:

  • Firstly, Chelsea wanted to play football themselves so the players were able to express themselves and were not 'forced' into one-out football.
  • Secondly, Arteta and Fernandes refused to give the ball away cheaply and constantly passed to feet and not into the air. Other midfield players had to join in as they were constantly after give-and-goes. The two of them made us play the ball to feet and were outstanding. (Don't let anyone tell you that Fernandes is not a quality footballer that we MUST buy)
  • Thirdly, Terry, who was given a torrid time by Vaughan, was always likely to win most of the high balls so players looked for balls to feet and into the channels. The movement was good and the support was positive.
  • Fourthly, Osman had few real midfield responsibilities and thrived. His best game for me in a long long time. He linked up and passed well. He clearly works in a 5 but is this the way forward with AJ, Vaughan, Cahill etc?
  • Finally there was a air of confidence with 4 of the 5 midfield players feeling confident about their passes and the players around them's ability to retain possession. For me the one who struggled with this was Carsley who often played passes backwards rather than assume responsibility for the ball.
The only negative in the whole match was Hibbert:- he seems to be going backwards and I cannot think of a single instance when he got forward without Neville or others screaming at him to do so. The lad is beginning to look out of his depth, particularly when players around him start passing the ball.

So the players can do it; the manager, whilst he set out not to lose, (which I have no problems with at a place like Chelsea), can allow players to play that way... so why not every week? Answers on a postcard please because when I watch us play as well as we did yesterday, I want to believe it's not a single swallow of summer but a pointer to the future ? but I'm just not sure!!!
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (14/5/07)

When I watched the match later on, after listening to the EvertonTV commentary (rather mixed and disjointed it was too), I couldn't believe that passing session had not been mentioned. Come to think of it, it must have been when there was a break in transmission, or when those London/Chelsea numpties from God knows where were commentating. Such a pity, too that it didn't end in a goal, and that Chelesa more or less dominated the rest of the first half in that they picked off every ball we managed to get over the half-way line. — Michael

U Earn Feck All

Yes, the Uefa Cup is worth it. It enables us to retain our European-hungry players better and attract talent from elsewhere. It can also act as a good scouting exercise for the Moyesiah. Take into consideration the extra marketing and intangible factors and it's not as bad as people make out... If we get relegated, I'll withdraw my opinion gracefully!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (14/5/07)

It's only 10 points!

All this talk about the 'Big Four' has got my goat. It's basically lazy journalistic shorthand for the fact that the top 4 get into the Champion's League ? in itself an inaccurate title. If they gave one CL place to the FA Cup winners, presumably it would become 'the big 3'

In reality, to pretty well guarantee a place in this 'elite' EFC would need to get another 10 points. And the reality of this season is that you have in effect a 'big two' with 'smaller two' hanging on for grim death. This pattern has been repeated to one degree or another in the last 6 years, sometimes with two hangers on and sometimes with one trailing in the slipstream.

The hard fact is that in most of these seasons 68 points would have guaranteed a place in the top 4. This is a better yardstick than a spurious title dreamed up by the London media.

How could EFC get another 10 points? This season their performance was:-

       P   W   D   L   GF    GA

Home  19   11   4   4  33    17
Away  19    4   9   6  19    19
An extra 10 points could look like:-
home  19   13   3   3  36    16
away  19    6   8   5  21    18
Put like that it sounds simple, given the points we've thrown away or lost this season for reasons well discussed on this site. But (and it's a big but) the major issue is the size of the squad and the additional games we'll play in any remotely successful season. Yesterday was our 42nd game of the season. It was Chelsea's 64th. So say we play another 15 games if we have any decent cup runs. What do we need to do?

First get back to strength with replacements for Davies, Kilbane and Weir, preferably with better players. Almost on a like-for-like basis. I assume the cash we got in/saved on wages might still be available.

Secondly, replace Beattie and Van der Meyde ? effectively upgrading the personnel with someone who can score goals and who isn't a piss artist.

I suspect there maybe another Man Utd recruit either on loan or signed whever that may be. So three midfielders, one defender and a goalscorer. Add in Cahill, Valente, Victor and Vaughan who are a real bonus and that will probably be that.

Enough? I don't know but it will be interesting to find out. I just hope the lessons of our last little excursion have been learned. I suspect they may have but this is EFC so let's not hold our breath.
Chris Williams, Neston  (14/5/07)

Goalie needed

So Wright and Pistone have been given their P45s! No tears for the Italian who has taken the Club for millions since Moyes foolishly gave him another contract but I do feel that there is a need for another goalkeeper if Wright is no longer with us.

In all truth, the ex-Arsenal man is still a far better keeper far better than Turner ? even if he is the man we all love to hate. I shall be amazed if Moyes goes into the new season with `Careless Hands` as his No 2 goalie.
Ben Walters, Wavertreee  (14/5/07)


I can't see all the fuss about Barton. He'd be a blinding addition to the squad and I guarantee he'll be a fan's favourite in no time. The lad is a winner and will work his arse off to ensure he's never on the losing side. The Dabo arguement flaired up because of an earlier exchange in which Dabo suggested they could take their foot off the pedal as they had escaped relegation.

He's a hot head, but I bet he doesn't get any more cards next season (wherever that may be) than Tim Cahill, so I don't see the problem. With regards to his off-the-field activities, they're a damn sight better than the likes of Johnathan Woodgate, who's halo never slipped despite him (not his step-brother) being involved in a racially motivated attack.

He's an Evertonian, he's an outstanding midfielder, he's got what we're missing and we can afford him. That's the very definition of a no-brainer.
Dean Paton, Wirral  (14/5/07)


We've finished sixth and the icing on the cake was when it was announced today that Pistone and Wright will be leaving.

What a perfect start to the week.
Steven Claringbold, Carlisle  (14/5/07)

Let's Keep Moving On!

Whatever you think of our current set-up, and I'm certainly aware of Moyes's qualities and shortcomings, it's been a good season.

Moyes bought three good players and integrated them into the team, we started the season well and finished it well, despite injuries. The most important thing for me is that Moyes has, at last, started to show some confidence in his players and their ability to go and win games by playing football.

As Moyes and various players have said this season, Everton should be in Europe and that has to be the benchmark for coming seasons. We must move away from this mentality of onethe one hand calling Moyes a 'legend' and on the other, talking in terms of 'top-ten finishes' representing success. We can only be one or the other!

Regardless of the poor decisions yesterday, we lost fifth place because of our small squad and lack of genuine forward options. Tottenham made the decision to acquire more players who can make things happen and win games. That's why they finished fifth and had three good cup runs. I hope that Moyes and Kenwright bear this in mind when making their moves in the transfer market this summer. We'll only stay on this upward curve by constantly looking for improvements and adding to the quality of the squad.

I've been critical of Moyes when he messes up and I'm happy to praise him for his good work this season. But where does this legend stuff come from? In my book, good managers win trophies, legends build two or more championship-winning teams.

Moyes has raised the bar. Real progress means he has to raise it higher. Let's look forward to some good signings and some more positive, winning football next season!
Paul Tran, Kendal  (14/5/07)

Well said, Paul. You speak an awful lot of sense, fella! — Michael

New contract for Dickie?

It does make sense for Moyes to offer Dickie Wright a new contract for next season. If Howard gets injured, can we trust the clanger-prone Iain Turner to deputise?

If Wright is released, Moyes will have to bring in somebody new anyway. So it does make sense to keep Wright on the books until Turner or Ruddy start to prove themselves.
John Cottee, Romford  (14/5/07)

From my seat

Another good away point that could and should have been three. The lads warmed up in their Maddy T-Shirts and from the off the travelling Blues sounded like a real football crowd.

The first half I thought we shaded but if Drohgba hadn't snatched at a couple, who knows. It was pleasing for me as I thought we matched Chelsea for good football and pass-and-move. At the break, I hoped we would not suffer the poor second-half syndrome; to my great delight, we didn't and although they came at us all guns blazing as expected, within a few minutes from a Fernandes mistake, which was compounded by a Chelsea player, we saw the excellent Arteta beat a man and deliver a superb semi-reverse pass to Osman who had the forsight to look up and spot that Vaughan had pulled into space and delivered the perfect pass for the lad to rifle home with maturity, cue 'If you know your history' with gusto!!!

Within no time at all we break again and once more with Arteta the architect, he delivers a cross that is just behind Vaughan but he made light of that with a superb mid-air scissor-kick that brought a world-class reaction save from the keeper. I thought "Oh if only that had counted..."

It was to be a turning point as a poor descision from the ref in not spotting a foul on Arteta and waving play on saw Chelsea fashion the move that led to the equaliser. Although the Ref was at fault, I thought we should have dealt with their move much better than we did. The players reacted as though the Ref would change his mind. Moysie, apoplectic, ran onto the pitch and appeared to be doing a warming-up exercise before being ushered away by the officials.

Our heads didn't go down though and we continued to play decent football and Chelsea recognised the threat and were unable to dominate. Then, at the death, a Carsley special is only parried into the path of McFadden who slots home but the linesmsn deemed Beattie to be interfering with play so gave the offside, if he was interfering with play it was the only time in his brief outing...

I thought there were some good performances all over our team: Arteta as majestic as ever; Lesscot finding space and always available for the switch pass as well as his good defensive qualities; Hibbert (after being made the scapegoat for the second half grossout v Man Utd) was solid; but my MotM must go to Vaughan who ran Terry ragged at times and gave him an uncomfortable afternoon. Many rate Terry highly; now they will have to rate Vaughany. He limped off injured again, I really hope this undoubted talent isn't one of those unfortunate injury-prone players.

So, with the draw we finish sixth in class but nothing to pick up on presentation night ? except a map of Europe. Here's to the future and following footy on Thursdays and Sundays ? now there's a novelty! UP THE BLUES!!!
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (14/5/07)

Summer loving

Great day out yesterday and a sign of real progress that we are walking away from Stamford Bridge feeling genuinely hard-done-by with a single point.

Credit where its due to this team that is evolving game by game and a management that seems to be learning from its past mistakes really well. There is a justified sense of optimism amongst (almost!) all Evertonians and a feeling that, with a few well chosen replacements and some good luck with injuries, this team will be able to mix it with anyone both at home or abroad.

To this end, my priorities would be an alternative to Tony Hibbert, who was caught napping on a number of occasions yesterday, and James Beattie, who frankly looked like the kid who has to do games with his shirt tucked into his undies because he's forgotten his kit. The future's bright. The future's blue. COYB!
Neil Scott, Southport  (14/5/07)

Uefa Cup

It's been a good season with plenty of positives. In particular, the quality of the squad has improved a lot and we have a more positive attitude. We are not really afraid of any team any more. Definitely a team on the rise you would think.

The biggest thing that worries me is what Uefa Cup participation may do to us in the league next year. More games in Europe for little financial return and it will likely damage our league performance & position especially given our small squad. Have a read of this sobering article in the Daily Mail?
Ciaran Duff, Sydney, Australia  (14/5/07)

Sobering indeed. I think in our case it's a vital experience-builder that Moyes really needs to give him some better credentials in Europe and in cup competitions, and in the two-leg mini-league format. Since our squad is minscule, the inevitable injuries will likley prevent us from having much of an impact, but from Moyes's perspective, the opportunity is a vital next step in his personal growth as a manger, in exorcising the ghosts of Villarreal and Bucharest, and in the five-year plan (part deux) of making Everton great again. — Michael

Joey Barton, Evertonian?

Having looked at Joey Barton's treatment of his team mates, I'd just like to ask how everyone will feel about signing him if he attacks Mikkel Arteta, or other players start to leave because of his attitude? This man is a walkign disaster area and is more likely to destroy the team spirit Moyes has developed than to change his ways.
Dave Boardman, Hebden Bridge, West Yorks  (14/5/07)

Sixth out of Twenty

So that's another season over. Some Blues are happy and some are moaning about our manager and his 'defensive tactics'. Let's get things in proportion.

We finished 6th out of 20 teams in the Premiership (it could be argued that but for some dodgy decisions yesterday we could have been 5th). We were the sixth highest scorers and did not rely just on our forwards, but got goals from every position except Tim Howard and Tony Hibbert. We conceded the 5th fewest goals and had the fifth best goal difference.

Although we would all like to be in a position where we can win the title again, it is very unlikely given the way the money is ruling the game and generating more and more for the top 4 making the gap ever more difficult to bridge.

So I think we can be pretty satisfied with our lot. Now we have to hope we can move on and stay in Europe a bit longer than last time and not let it affect our league form.
Michael Phillips, Little Dunmow, Essex  (14/5/07)

Uefa Cup

The season's only just ended and the boredom of a long summer ahead had me thinking about what lies ahead in the Uefa Cup. From studying the format of the competition, it is all very confusing, fair play awards even offering entry to the pleminary stages along with Cup Final winners from each federation. It will be interesting to see who we are drawn against; however, the league system that operates in the competition has the potential to seriously stretch a small squad.

Martin Jol has recently alluded to the problems that Spurs have experienced in relation to their European conquests; couple this with Thursday night games then it's easy to see the trepidation that the trophy holds for many. My opinion is that it is worth a punt, certainly not at the expense of our Premier League campaign and mindful that the stronger leagues in Europe are likely to offer the stearnest of tests.

If anyone is thinking of reserving a hotel or flight for the final next year, don't bother ? it's just up the road at the exotic location of the City of Manchester Stadium !
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (14/5/07)

The One and Only British Club

The way it is going, we will be the only EPL club not a foreign franchise. The club badge will show Rupert?s cottage flying a union jack. Our anthem of THERE?LL ALWAYS BE AN EVERTON, sung with gusto from one end of the country to the other, would shame those who sold their souls for 30 pieces of silver. We could scrub arty farty Latin on our motto and in bold English say WORLD CHAMPIONS. Unless there is a law against it, we would be a rallying point for what is left of national pride. With proper marketing, children throughout the land would grow up learning that Everton is the one and only British club. All roads leading to Kirkby would be jam-packed with flag-waving patriots... Jeez! the possibilities are mind-boggling. I would go on but the nurse is insisting it's time for my tablets and a lie down.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (14/5/07)

Stop the moaning

Instead of congratulating Moyes and the boys for gaining a Euro spot or admitting he was wrong when claiming the season would undoubtedly fall apart, Tony Marsh has chosen to start moaning about the proposed ground move.

Of course it's an important issue but surely it's far off in the distance and we could afford to take just a little while to bask in the glory of finishing 6th.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (14/5/07)

I'm baffled Paul as to how and why you think the ground move issue is "far off". Behind the scenes I suspect it is anything but that! Still, as Mr Wyness stated back whenever, the fans will be kept informed every step of the way. Hmmm... ? Colm

As for "basking in the glory", you seem to be on a different planet from your MDavid "The Legend" Moyes, who states: ?I?m sat here really disappointed because I wanted to finish fifth." That's actually much more like what I want to hear from Moyes ? he knows we could and should have done better. — Michael

It's only four miles!

In response to Alan Clark's and Paul Johnson's latest posts.

I understand your dedication to Everton FC, lads. I have myself been travelling home away and abroad for over 30 years now, so I am no stranger to what makes an Evertonian tick. My question is this: How far away from our origins could we go before the supporters said "No, this is not on"?

Both of you guys claim it's only 4 miles so it's no big deal but to me it is. What if Kirkby fell through and Tesco said they had a plot for us in St Helens, which is only 5 miles away. What then? Are MK Dons still Wimbledon? I mean it's only 50 miles they have moved. Like many of us, I am still unsure what I want the club to do with regards to moving but, if it is Kirkby, which it looks like being, then I really do believe our fan base will suffer from it.

Yes maybe I will decide to carry on supporting the Blues when they go to the Tesco dome but it won't be with the same enthusiasim that I show now, that's for sure. The only way we can really mantain our fanbase and keep the fans coming to this out-of-town retail park is if we build a stadium that is the envy of the Premier League, which the fans fall in love with. The stadium we are being linked with is a replica of FC Cologne's ground in Germany and it looks like a bag of crap. It looks like some kids have been playing with their toys and knocked up a structure combining a Lego set mixed with a Mechanno set. Cheap and nasty.

No doubt our ground will have an MFI nailed to one end with a Tesco's on the other end and the usual Mcdonald's and fucking Carpet World thrown in for good measure. All these factors of moving away the gronud being crap and the headaches of getting to and from Kirkby will whether you like it or not put fans off.

Our fantastic history and all the great memories we have will still belong to the club and it's fans but it just won't be the same. How can it? Everton Football Club was born on the playing fields in and around the Anfield and Walton area of this city and in this city we should remain. We should put more pressure on the council ? brown envelopes stuffed with cash if that's what it takes ? and get them to agree to us building on Walton Park which is hardly used apart from scalies hanging around there at night. If Liverpool can build on one park then give us the same rights.

Anyway no point losing sleep over it all; we probably still be at Goodison for the next 10 years.

Well done to Moyes and his team for giving the fans something to celebrate. Qualifying for the Uefa Cup will give us all something to look forward to. Never mind the ground issues ? let's concentrate on which red light districts we can visit on our travels next season... Only Joking, girls!
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (14/5/07)

Amen Brother Marsh, on your opinion on all matters ground move. I've heard so many people pass comment on the atmosphere created at the recent home game versus Portsmouth ? an atmosphere that simply cannot be created in a new breeze block stadium adjoining a retail park for weekend consumers to wile away Saturday afternoons. Even Moyesy remarked how great the atmosphere was. We turn a blind eye to that, how will it affect Everton in future years? ? Colm

Were you there?

Michael ? have to pull you up on your match report. Vaughan was subbed as he was injured ? anyone could see that. We weren't playing for a draw either ? anyone could see that too.
Ryan Crest, London  (14/5/07)

In fairness to Mike, he had to rely on television pictures for his own view on the game yesterday. Vaughan was indeed injured. When he took that knock he should've gone down, ensuring a stop in play allowing for treatment. Instead he hobbled back towards the halfway line before attempting to burst into sprint the next time a ball was played in his direction. He'll learn!

Once level, I thought we were too deep, reliant in particular on Stubbs' experience, resulting in countless offside decisions in our favour ? so I can see where Mike believes we'd settled for a draw. Even if we did end up putting the ball in their net a second time! ? Colm

Where we want to be....

Well, I guess the only acceptable answer is that we 'want to be better than the previous season'! It was amazing how under Moyes we became a challenger for European football (and like my mate says, "at least we will be staying up to watch meaningful European games". My time zone is +8 GMT)

I became an Everton supporter in the 80s when I saw the 1984 FA Cup Final where we beat Watford for our second-last FA Cup triumph. Went through much of the 80s happily, cursed at Cottee's inability to propel the club forth, the rubbish left behind by Walker to Wally (with the exception of Royle's Dogs of Wars and the unexpected FA Cup) and then Moyes. I must say it is definitely looking much better now!

Moyes is good, the best we have had since Kendall MK I and that's a good decade and a half. He is not a legend, at least not yet, but if anything, the best bet for the next managerial legend as far as I can see. At the very least, we here can faced up to the kopites (which roughly consitute 60% of all the local football fanatics) and say that we scored three and you scored none, we got 4 and you got one!

So where to and how to? A bigger stadium will be nice (I don't care where, so long as it is either in Liverpool City or Suburbs), more players (seriously, we can't always say that we have a small squad), more money and more consistency. This will mean more favourable results and better strike-rate, better defense and eventually the league title, domestic cup success as well as success in Europe.

Are we getting there? I feel so and I'm sure every one of us can feel it too! I don't give a shit what other clubs have had, I just want us to win and keep winning while we are at it, forever if possible.

So leave the decisions to the manager, the directors and the club and enjoy whatever they achieve, especially when they had exceeded expectations. Cheer at the park for us here ? I have never had the privilege to visit GP before (but I'm trying my darnest to pay my homeage there sooner rather than later, hopefully at a derby no less!)

No matter what the results, the position (in the league), who the manager or players are, Everton is still the club for me and the Reds, Devils and whatever shits there are, can go to hell for I fucking care!
Peng Yong Cheong, Singapore  (14/5/07)

More bias!

I think the BBC are a disgrace! Not only for the extortionate license fee but for their shameful editing of yesterday's clash between Everton and Chelski.

Watching the highlights, Everton were torn to shreds and looked very fortunate to have got their opener. When in truth it was the other way round, well more balanced play at least. Is it so hard to have objective forms of media? I know the red tops are the damaged eye leading the sheep, but I am furious the BBC felt it necessary to portray the game in Chelsea favour. Who do we pay our license fees to again?

Paul Atress's season review is funny literature I must say, some of those grades are akin to the Government new marker system; high rewards for little effort. Amazing how that gets printed and other featured contributions get binned? Perhaps more bias?

And to the chap who called me a Sargent due to the TW vote poll on Moyes, I got news for you pal - the voting is rigged! Yes rigged! I voted SEVEN times on the same option and every time it appeared to have accepted each vote until eventually shutting down. Looks like New Labour has left Downing Street and moved to TW towers!

Alistair Campbell said what????
Luq Yussef, London  (14/5/07)

I'll leave the wardrobe malfunction stuff to Lyndon but in reference to your view on the Beeb's editing of our game yesterday - 100% in agreement. After tubes, trains, planes and one automobile I got home in the early hours of this morning and still on a bit of a high after enjoying the game I put on MoTD, in particular to view the Arteta foul and our disallowed goal. I was stunned to see not one solitary Everton attack from the first half shown. Surprised? Not at all! As for Moyesy, there's encroachment and then there's encroachment ? I thought he was going to end up in our penalty box at one point. TV only showed him gesticulating on the sideline! ? Colm

Silly Season

Andy Lynch asks about getting a decent sponsor on board and reminisces about getting shit about the Hafnia sponsorship in the 80s.

WTF? I remember when One2No - one sponsored us, and their original design was rejected as 'it had a fucking red stripe (quote: lots of Everton fans)'. Then when they released the replica shirts, they got the yellow and white stripes the wrong way round, and had to pursuade One2One to change the first team strips rather than face the cost of withdrawing and replacing the fans' shirts.

Oh, and then I remember the infamous 'salmon pink striped' shirts which mis-spelled our motto.

Andy ? the sponsor is a mere drop in our revenue stream. But one interesting thing is do you know why Chang sponsor Everton? They had a co-marketing deal with Carlsberg to do with expanding each other's presence in the European / Asian markets. Carlsberg allegedly fucked them over, so Chang initially wanted to usurp their deal with Liverpool ? they couldn't, so they decided the next best thing was to sponsor Everton.

It was only a one-year deal initially, but they grew to like the club. If the fat controller wasn't such an, erm, control freak, they could also have been a conduit in opening up new investment. This may or may not be a good think depending on your views on foreign ownership...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (14/5/07)

Season-End Review

So, eventually we came 6th with a total of 58 points. This is 3 points shy of our previous Premiership best of 61 (95-96 and 04/05) and one less than the "Magnificent Seventh" season ? Moyes's first season in charge. Our ten defeats represents the lowest number of league defeats in one season for us since the 87-88 season. It has also been our second best since since the 80s in terms of goal difference. So what do make of it? I'd say, so-so. The Big Four are tremendously hard to break into, but we should be amongst the 2-3 clubs with a fair, outside chance of doing this every season, the way David Moyes has lifted this club. And last year's 11th was and is seen as a major disappointment, so I doubt many fans could live with much worse than 6th, with Uefa Cup qualification being a key measure of a successful league season.

However, I would like to say that the lack (again) of any real cup run makes this season altogther "Okay" at best. If we are to lift the profile of this club further, and I also believe it will enchance our long-term league performances and position, we need some decent cup runs. Semifinals should almost be the norm for a top 6 side, finals a very realistic proposition. Next season, we are in three cup competitions in which making a final should not be beyond us (particularly given our fairly strong record against the Big Four).

Moyes needs to succeed in one of four competitions next season, either taking us to a final (and preferably bringing home a trophy) or winning a CL spot by breaking into the top 4 again. That's streching it a bit of course, but for our 6th-placed boys, going far in one of four competitions should definitely be within reach.

No matter how we fare in the cups, I'd still be disappointed unless we make top 8 again next season, and preferably I'd like to see an improvement on our Premiership best for points in a season ? it's been a long time coming, and something we so desperately need to see the gap close somewhat to the very best.

Here's hoping we can produce better results after the first goal in our matches next season (this season, our return from going the first goal up has been too poor, and our return from going the first goal down has been too poor) and that we surpass 65 points in the league and make a cup final.
Lars Eidissen, Tromso, Norway  (14/5/07)

Well Done!

The 2006-07 season has come to an end, and what a season for EFC! We had our ups and downs... mind you, every club experiences this. But, after watching most of the games in front of the tube far far away from the actual holy grail of GP, I have to say that we are moving in the right direction.

Yes, the team did disappoint us sometimes, but don't forget, they did entertain us as well. And with the core team players staying for a couple or more seasons, I really hope (and I think most of EFC supporters will too) we could see it more often than not. We've proved that we can play football and we should play like that week-in, week-out, season-in season-out.

The +16 goal difference is crucially the best thing that could happen to us (the first positve goal difference under Moyes). Having said that, thanks for this memorable season and this has definitely increases the fans' expectations next season. Roll on 07-08!
Azlan Deniel, Malaysia  (14/5/07)

Yes, that positive goal difference is indeed most welcome. Something I have been banging on about for a long, long time. In fact, the swing from -15 last season to +16 this season... that is pretty phenomenal. The boys scored 18 more goals, and allowed 13 fewer for a net swing of 31 goals in our favour. So it has been a combination of stronger defence but, more importantly in my view, a greater attacking threat. Let's see more of the same please next season!— Michael

Joey Yobo...

Quietly playing every minute of every league game this season, making much less mistakes than in previous years and probably our quickest player in the squad. Arise young man you have come of age as a world class defender and I for one am glad you play for us.
Rich Williams, Danbury, MA, USA  (13/5/07)

He's been solid. Although Stubbsy seems to have trained him to hoof it rather than push it forward to a midfielder. That would be my main gripe. — Michael

Congratulations all round

On this most joyous of days when we AGAIN qualified for Europe under our best Premiership manager, it is sad to note that correspondents are still referring to Moyes`s shortcomings. I know now that I speak for 90%+ of our following when I say that `Our Davey` has proved to have very few of those. The bright young manager of five years ago has now finished his apprenticeship with flying colours and must, ONCE AGAIN, be in the shake-up for manager of the year.

All at Goodison are to be congratulated for another splendid season but none more so than Chairman Bill for the inspiration that brought Davey to our door. A truly inspirational leader who knew a winner when he saw one!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (13/5/07)

Ah... bless. Isn't that just precious, Dickie boy. Did you know Tony Blair was finally stepping down after ten fantastic years of inspirational leadership? Go on... tell us how wonderful it was! — Michael

Face Off:? David Nugent vs Mark Viduka

Just been watching Match of the Day, seeing Mark Viduka doing the business again makes we wonder if he'd be worth taking a punt on. After all, he'd be on a Bosman and would be the perfect foil for Andy Johnson.

I'm just loathe to see Moyes spend £6-8M on the over-rated David Nugent (who, from what I see in our city centre every weekend, is far more interested in partying). Surely that money would be better spent on securing Manny Fernandes?!?
Ryan Jones, Preston  (13/5/07)

Ripped off again!

How many goals have we conceded this season that should not have been!

Dodgy Drogba's goal should not have been. First of all Mikel should have had a blatant free-kick, then when the cross came in I'm sure whoever brought the ball down was a smidge offside, then there were two Chelsea players stood next to Howard, one of which, Cole sticks a leg out at the ball, offside surely! Certainly no worse than Beattie for our disallowed goal at the other end.

I'm sure in the same fixture at Goodison at least two of their goals resulted from decisions that weren't given. It just seems sometimes we do not get the rub of the green.

Anyway congrats to the lads for a good season on the whole; fingers crossed for a good run in Europe. (Please keep hold of Manny!)
Pete Day, Portsmouth  (13/5/07)

I'm convinced now there is a ref conspiracy to maintain the top four and keep the plebs like us at arm's length. It's a bloody disgrace. Well done, Moyesey, for creating such a rumpus... not that it will do us much good... — Michael

Say what you see

It seems to me that too many people on here form their opinions on all things Everton in response to long-standing views on the issues with little room for manouvre. The likes of Tony Marsh are loathe to praise anything Moyes does because he doesn't like him, whereas the likes of Richard Dodd procliam that Moyes is a legend after every defeat. I, personally, would hate to be so rigid in my views as I feel it would prevent me wanting what was best for my club. Football fans have to be fickle; if something is going wrong then criticise and if something is going well then praise it.

When we were bottom of the league last season, I will readily admit that I called for Moyes's head. Evidently I was wrong to do so but at the time I couldn't see where our next goal (let alone point) was coming from. This season, meanwhile, I feel Moyes has done a great job and I cannot comprehend any calls for a managerial change.

Moyes may not have brought us stability but he has certainly brought us optimism. I will not excuse Moyes's current shortcomings with the fact that we finished fourth two years ago but I will defend him insofar as we have just had a very satisfactory campaign and have what I feel is our best squad for twenty years.

I would say this is the first season under Moyes where we have acheived our rightful placing. The 4th and 7th place finishes were above expectation and by the same token the 11th and 17th places were below expectation. This season I wanted us to get into Europe and we have done so. I am delighted we have done this and feel we now have the right nucleus of players to ensure next season isn't another trough after a peak.

I don't agree with comparing all subsequent seasons with Moyes' first season as that was five years ago and the league is entirely different. I only care about how we do in the season we are in. This season has been enjoyable but it is by no means the best we can hope for. We, ourselves, have proved that. The 'Big Four' is a myth. True, they are the 'Big Four' this season but that does not give them a divine right to be every season. The fact that we have lost only 3 of 12 games against the 'Big Four' (two of them unluckily I might add) is surely testamount to the fact that they are not infallible.

If you look at the number of points we have thrown away and the number of decisions that have gone against us this season then surely we are well capable of breaking into the higher echelons of the league in the near future. Michael rightly points out that it's not all about money, it certainly helps and can fast track your progress, but it can be done through hard work and commitment mixed with a certain amount of quality ? something I now feel we have.

Moyes is not a legend ? you can't be a legend without winning anything ? but he is promising us a bright future and has the potential to become a legend. He seems to be learning from his mistakes and the suggestions that he has taken us as far as he can are unfounded ? if it's one thing Evertonians should know it's to expect the unexpected. To me everything about the Club seems to be moving in the right direction at present and there is an indication that better times are ahead. I just wish people would look at what's in front of them and not judge the Club with such blatant agendas.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

Great post, Sean... My nomination for Most Sensible Letter of the Day! — Michael


I've worked out where we will finish next year. We have so far (full years only under David Moyes) finished 7th, 16th, 4th, 11th and 6th. The mean of these figures is 8.5 roughly. Fact! You do the math, we will finish 8th or 9th next year.
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (13/5/07)

Hmmm... I was hoping you'd come up with one of them weird numerical sequences, like the Fibonacci Series or such like, that might show next season we would be up there in among the top four! As it is the main trend of that sequence of the yo-yo... and since we moved up this season, next season means only one thing....!!!!— Michael

'Til next season...

Firstly, well done to the team and management. I feel that this year has been a real turning point for the club in that it has finally put us back where we belong in the reckoning.

We have been hard to beat. We have played the 'Fantastic 4' and given a bloody good account of ourselves. We have qualified for Europe, and more importantly I think the realisation has dawned that we the fans expect a succesful team that plays (or tries to play) good attacking football. I admit it has not been pretty at times but the penny seems to have dropped.

Let us continue into next season with swift, decisive moves in the transfer market and a move away from this negative shit about reaching the magic 40-point mark. We are not a relagation-battle team anymore and I would welcome a declaration of intent for next year from the top brass. 6th has got to be our target with a view to getting higher.

Nil satis...
Adam Carey, Berkshire  (13/5/07)

Amen to that!

What I want...

There's been a lot of talk about new players and new stadiums over the last few weeks, but what I'd really like to happen this summer is for us to get a decent sponsor. In the seventies when I was growing up it wasn't that Liverpool were so much better than us that made me embarassed it was the fact that I had HAFNIA emblassoned across my replica away kit. Every fucking PE lesson some red gobshite who say "Who fuck are they?" and I could never offer a coherent reply.

We always end up with minty sponsors and if we want to break into the 'Big Four' this has got to change. Please Everton, find a name to put on our chest that doesn't elicit quizical looks from all and sundry.

Finally, great game today, the boys did us proud: COYB!
Andy Lynch, London  (13/5/07)

In response to A Job Well Done

I am not a "Moyes Apologist"...what a daft phrase!, but I was under the impression that this season was the season which we could judge Moyes and his own team?

He has done okay in my book and yes, I agree, we need to make a better showing in Europe but what Blue can honestly say that the Collina decision did not wreck our whole season before it started? It took us 15 games before we could play again, and since them we have not looked back... figuratively speaking.

Are we to move the goalposts every season saying that the next one is what we should judge Moyes on? Not really a bad idea for progression and some posters would love that.
John Matthews, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

Do I really need to explain that? I guess so...

This season was arguably the first in which we could say that the players in Moyes's squad were really 'his' players ? in the sense that he had brought them in or (if inherited from Wally) he had agreed to extend their contracts. Conventionally, that represents a threshold (do I really need to explain this?!?), whereby the excuse that he is at some disadvantage by having to work with players not of his choosing no longer applies, and therefore the season (on that basis) is more representative of the manager's ability than previous ones as a platform for judging the manager's performance. That does not mean the judgement so made is then somehow definitive and everlasting! What a silly notion.

As for this "moving the goalposts" nonsense, isn't it the essence of progress that you hope to see some improvement (hopefully) each season? Nothing is going to stop fans who feel so inclined from making their own assessments and judgements of Moyes's performance as a manger, based on a season, three seasons, five seasons, his whole career, or whatever. That's the nature of the beast. If you have a problem with that for some reason (presumably because not everyone posting agrees with you), then might I suggest this may not be the best of forums for you to be a part of. ? Michael

A Job Well Done

Congratulations to David Moyes, the players and the Board on a very sucessful season. Finishing sixth is testimony to a lot of sweat and toil by ten honest grafters and the skill of Arteta. Personally, I'm not pro- or anti-Moyes.... I think he's limited tactically and his preference in going after workhorses in the transfer market rather than artisans is depressing. However, he comes across as a decent, honest man with a passion to see the club do well.

Without wanting to state the obvious, next season will be where the real assesment of Moyes's Everton can be made. Our European adventure two years ago was a disaster and an embarrassment. Our honest toilers were shown up to be guileless and painfully slow in body and mind on the European stage.

With this painful memory fresh in his mind, will Moyes try and get the right type of players in this summer ? players who can keep possesion for 60% of the game? Without these type of players coming in then I fear for our yo-yo league performances to continue. As one thing is for certain, this current group of players, hard-working and honest as they are, would be unable to chase, harass and hound on the continent on a Thursday and do it all again domestically on a Sunday. We need to attract ball-players this summer, Davey ? not ball winners.
Mike Whittaker, Bristol  (13/5/07)


For fuck's sake, please stop all this "Moyes is a Legend" shite! Apart from a 4th place finish and a brief flirtation in Europe, what has he won for us? The answer: FUCK ALL! How can you call someone a legend when they have won zilch???

He has presided over some unwanted records in his 5years with us, and I don't know the stats, but I bet he has got one of the worst cup records of all the managers in the Premiership. In my opinion, he is a half-decent manager, who has had a good season, which I will give him credit for. So can we stop all this "legend" shite, the man can not even (in my opinion) be called a very good manager.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (13/5/07)


I can say that I feel Moyes is the best thing to happen to our club for a long time. Is he perfect?... Of course not. Do we play exciting, skillful football?... of course we don't ? at least not often.

However, I read the posts on here and I am convinced that I am looking at a different team and manager to the ones being written about. Moyes is defensive and crap... the league is corrupt etc etc.

Yes, we should have had more points; and yes, Moyes has made some mind-boggling substitutions this season, but let's enjoy the European qualification with the best goal difference we have had in over a decade and lay off the manager who has given us European qualification twice in the last three seasons.
John Matthews, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

The selective reading ability of some of our fans is quite remakable. We are generally playing a lot better football, and scoring some much better-quality goals as a result. Just look at the Vaughan goal today as an example. We just need to show a lot more of that next season than we have this.

Just one thought: Do we start the season with the mindset that we are the 6th-best team in England? Or do we start neeeding to secure 40 points to avoid relgation??? ? Michael

Credit where credit is due

To qualify for the Uefa Cup from a genuine league position ie 6th and not the fluke 7th position that was not a qualifying position when we started the season is an undisputed fantastic achievement by the Blues. Having witnessed some very poor performances this season, undoubtedly for me the turning point was at the final whistle after the Spurs home game when I could hear the clang of the rather large penny dropping in Moyes's head. From this moment onwards, I felt that our voices had been heard and understood and Moyes began to realise that we were no longer going to settle for mediocre football and negativity.

It is no coincidence that we then began to start to play 4-4-2 once more with much more attacking flair and seeing Beattie relegated to 5th/6th in line was further evidence that Moyes was getting to grips with the situation. The fact that we have gone on to qualify and claim a place in the top 6th of English football is a superb achievement and I, as a Moyes doubter, have to concede the man has done us proud - and to be fair not for the first time in his reign. Seeing him sent off today for disputing their goal brings home just how much Moyes wants to achieve. I was proud of him ? and felt guilty for knocking him so much (although he needed it at times?).

Watching Unsie knock that penalty in today for Wigan made me realise how lucky we were to be out of all that and competing at Chelsea for a European spot. That Sheff Utd/Wigan game was a real blast from the past and reminded me so much of '94 when we hung on to our top-flight status by the skin of our teeth. Big congratulations to Unsie and Killer by the way ? great to see two of our old boys showing the type of spirit we were always grateful for.

Over the season, Moyes has made mistakes and yes, looking back, we probably could have had more points ? but for me most satisfying of all is that now, 5 years into his reign, Moyes seems to understand finally what the fans expect and of late he is delivering in buckets ? well, at least he has gelled a team which delivers on his behalf.

Fantastic achievement and we can all look forward to next season with great optimism and hold our heads up high as supporters of one of the top six clubs in English Football. What we want next season is consistency ? another top 6 finish has to be the target.

Well done the boys and congratulations to Toffeeweb for a fantastic season of humour, heated debate and the best platform to those of us who have to write these often long-winded pieces of nonsense to allow us to go to bed at peace with ourselves? until the next match, of course!
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

Good one, Steve. Cap doffed to you sir, as Colm would say! — Michael

Get in!

No matter what the moaners say, MOYES IS A LEGEND!! The man has achieved near miracles and apart from Spurs we have been entertained every game this year. Lescott is great and Arteta is the best there is, Cahill will also be back strong next year ? three players worth £25 million bought for less than £10 million. Moyes again ? genius! Even the sausage rolls have been great since Xmas.

I can't wait for next year because Moyes will get us into the Champions League (again!). So it's time all you "glass half-empty" fans got behind the great ginger master and the School of Science once and for all. COYB-UP MILAN!!
Paul Berry, Mold  (13/5/07)

Big Club, Small Club

Rafa Beneathus would have us believe that we're a small club. Mmmm.... They did finish 10 points better off than us. But does 21 points off the title make them a big club? I think not!
Phil Traynor, Chesterfield  (13/5/07)

It does make you wonder, though... us finishing just 10 points behind them... and them, being one of the Big Four... better players... better squad... more money... yet it's results that count. And just a few of those results going a different way...

Why do so many fans believe the Sky inspired propaganda that it is impossible for us to penetrate the top four, to actually see tham finish beneath us again? — Michael

Sign of things to come?

I have to say I was so proud to be an Evertonian at Stamford Bridge today. Nothing more than a place or two in the Premiership at stake, it was like a cup final. The players, manager and, above all else, the supporters sorrounding me, outdid Chelsea in every single department.

Little Leon Osman, who gets so much stick on this site at times, played superbly alongside the equally fantastic Arteta (he's the best little spaniard we know). The only dark spot of the day for me... Manny Fernandes. Had he already been told there was no chance we were going to sign him? On a number of occassions he was not paying attention to the game and reacted too late and put us at risk. Perhaps Moyes has been right all along about his work rate but, based on the remainder if games I've sen him in, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and still hope we sign him.

Was today a sign of things to come? Some of the passing was as good as anything I've seen from any team this season, and a lot better than Chelsea had to offer today. So well done to everybody connected with the club, but most of all, every one of you sat along side me in The Shed.

Now what the bloody hell am I going to do for the next three months?
Gary Joyce, Watford  (13/5/07)

Definitely a lot more joined-up football played today. I'm beginning to believe more and more in the Big Four referee bias, though... WE WUZ ROBBED! — Michael

Miraculous Moyes

Ok, so Beattie hasn't worked out. He was probably the most promising English striker at the time that we bought him, but the fact is that Moyes has opted to play deep and narrow which means that he's not getting the service into the box which he thrives on ? crosses from the byeline. I'm sure he'll go to Celtic, Spurs or wherever and regain his confidence and show what he can do.

Krøldrup was a cock up, but Moyes was trying to sign a 'footballing' centre-half, so he deserves at least some credit. I don't think that you can argue with McFadden for £1.25M. Osman hasn't cost us anything and he's probably scored as many as Arteta in the last few seasons. Van der Meyde didn't break the bank... it maybe that a good pre-season sees him put his troubles behind him and he shows what he's really all about next term.

It's totally unrealistic to expect any manager to get it right every time. Moyes should at least be given credit for signing ball players rather than Neil Ruddocks or Julian Dicks, which he could easily have done as we are a physical side.

Sometimes we don't have the craft and the guile to breakdown stubborn defences, but that is coming. Our football is attractive in parts, but then so is Watford's. The only thing that matters right now is that we're getting the results.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (13/5/07)


As I understand, the likes of Lampard, Cech and Drogba were brought back for the game today. Why did the Special Oone not utilise that strength on Wednesday? Given that, why didn't Ferguson move hell and earth to get the much sought after win at Stamford Bridge? Match-fixing ? my arse!
Simon Templeman, Gloucestershire  (13/5/07)

Err... What? You lost me there, Simon. Which match was fixed? Or supposed to be fixed?? Or not fixed??? Have you been at that cheese again? — Michael

Just the facts......

Before I get into subjectives in my season review, I thought I'd present the FACTS. These are indisputable, whether you're a Moyes apologist or hater. You CANNOT argue with the following:

  1. We have finished 6th and qualified for the Uefa Cup next season.
  2. We have the best goal difference outside the top 4.
  3. We have the best defence outside the top 4.
  4. We have the second best attack (losing out only to Spurs) outside the top 4.
Now come the subjectives:
  1. We have arguably played the best football in Moyes's reign over the last few games. This, arguably, is not saying much.
  2. We achieved the FACTS presented above without Tim Cahill, arguably our most influential player (in that he scores lots of goals and we tend to win more games when he plays) for less than half of the season (he started only 17 games, plus 1 on the bench). Whilst I'm sure other clubs also have various injury issues to point towards, it is arguable that few of our competitors have lost such a key player for so long in 06-07.
  3. The 'Howard Affair' was disgusting. But he is our player now, for good, and I for one am glad.
  4. James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe have emerged as two of the most promising young forwards in the Premiership. After losing Rooney a couple of years ago, the blow has been softened. At least Big Vic and Vaughan don't shag grannies.
  5. Arteta is one of the best players in the Premierhsip. And he is ours.
  6. All of the above represent progress under Moyes.
It has been postulated that Moyes's achievements in his first full season are the benchmark by which we should measure progress. That season, we finished 7th and didn't qualify for Europe. This season we finished 6th and did qualify for Europe. That is progress.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (13/5/07)

RE: Progress

I guarantee that our 2006-07 team would beat any other Everton team of the last decade, especially the 2002-03 team that was making 'a massive stride foward'.
Richie McAuliffe, Leeds  (13/5/07)

And I bet my dad could beat your dad... how fucking childish is that? How can you "guarantee" something that could never happen? Are you still in the playground or what? NEXT! — Michael


I don't think we can blithely examine the league table and say that we were 7th in 2003 and 6th now so we have made very little progress.

Our 7th place finish was largely to do with Rooney coming off the bench and scoring or making goals. Late winners like against Arsenal or at Leeds perhaps masked the inadequacies within our squad at the time.

Now, we have a younger squad, better players and crucially in my opinion a manager who now has five years Premiership experience behind him. Legend? No. The right man? Yes. More progress required for sure, but I think we are moving in the right direction.
Dave Southword, IOM  (13/6/07)

So that explantion is just about as stupid as saying we finished not 7th but 17th the following season because of Rooney!!! How absolutely ridiculous.

Yes, we have a younger squad and better players. The manager has more Premiership experience (hang on; I thought he was still a "rookie"?)... and we are one place better off in the table, 7 points better, and Uefa Cup place better. Certainly an improvement. Will Moyes and this team continue to improve? Or will next season be another down-swing. Waych this space...— Michael

Well Done, Boys!

I have watched many games this season, many of which didn't include Everton, and I can confirm that there are some very good sides in the Premiership and finishing 6th is one heck of an achievement. I want to congratulate Moyes and the boys for a very good season and look forward to next season and the Euro campaign.
John Cottee, Romford  (13/5/07)

Get it?

James Davies, I do get it. What you're saying is you're worried about handing Liverpool the greatest victory so you won't be going, your son won't be going, neither his son, nor his son. So is your family turning its back on football? Or will YOU hand over the city to them by effectively turning your kids and their kids against Everton? Get a grip, this attitude will deplete our fan base more than a 4-mile relocation.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (13/5/07)


I am very happy with the performance and attitude of the team today. Seeing them (TV) lining up as 4-5-1, I feared the worst. But Everton showed that they are capable of playing crisp and purposeful football, and it was a joy to behold!

Should we have won the game? Maybe, but not being among the top four referee bias, it will continue to be hard for us to get those split decisions. My only gripes are the two I've been saying all season long: Why can't Everton have that intent every game? And the team has to be more consistent if we are to be a force again.

Players-wise today, all (even agent Neville) were outstanding with the exception of the hopefully leaving James Beattie. Pathetic effort from him and another bizarre sub from Moyes at a time we could have pressed on! Osman and Arteta in particular were excellent, but in truth Chelsea were in second gear most of the game.

So we end the season in 6th spot and I have to admit that I am very happy with most of this season. Apart from the Howard affair / Man Utd debacle on and off the pitch and the negative tactics when it really mattered from Moyes, it was the best we could have hoped for. But next year should be better, ehhhhhhh?

My last message to the club before I sign off for the summer: Please sign Fernandes (make it happen Kenwright), and flog the dead horse Beattie! And if there is a choice between Jenas and Barton, Barton wins hands down.

COME ON YOUR BLUES! Lock up the china, we're going abroad next term, love!
Luq Yussef, London  (13/5/07)

The People's Club

It might just be me but, when I stand silent in honour of another Evertonian killed in Iraq or Afganistan as a member of the armed forces, or I hear that Bill Kenwright has donated funds for a missing child, or I hear that the members of the Everton squad are donating wages to a Nurses-in-Hardship fund, I know David Moyes had it right when he said we were "The People's club". It makes me so proud to be a Blue.
Vin Ferguson, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

RE: Miraculous Moyes

Saying it's Moyes's job to be successful is all very well. It's the same for all managers, but who is doing better? If you look at the past 6 seasons and take just one measure, where we have finished in the Prem, then Moyes is the joint second best manager. Martin Jol averages 8th (and will improve this year), Moyes and Allardyce average 9.75th.

You want trophies, but who else has won them? No one has won the Prem except the top 3 plus Blackburn, and only Moyes and the Barcodes have got in the top 4 recently. We are the last ones to win the FA Cup. Only Boro and Blackburn, Leicester and Spurs in the last ten years have won the Carling Cup.

We all want to win trophies, but slagging off the manager becasue he hasn't achieved something when hardly anyone else has is crazy.
Stuart Duncan, Parbold  (13/5/07)

So is calling him a legend. That's my point. — Michael


Moyes is by no means a miracle worker, and he has made some mistakes, but he has stablized our club and we are beginning to gradually move foward. You're very keen to point out his bad signings, but what about the good ones - Cahill, Arteta, Lescott and Johnson, who have all helped to transform the team from relagation contenders to qualifying for Europe. I am not a big Moyes fan but you people with such ridiculoulsy unrealistic expectations really frusrate me.
Richie McAuliffe, Leeds  (13/5/07)

"We are beginning to gradually move foward". What ARE you talking about? We moved forward massively the day David Moyes was appointed. His first season was a massive stride forward. I sometmies think you people have been asleep for five years! Moyes has been the Everton manger for FIVE YEARS!!! We finshed 7th in his first full season; we are going to finish 6th or 7th today. Sorry, but Everton were not relegation candidates when those players arrived. Fans talking rubbish really frustrates me! ;) — Michael

Our Old Stadiun

The council keep on telling us that they want to help Everton stay in the city, we are told we have little money so Goodison Park cannot be developed. Lots of Evertonians won't like this but just think.

Once Anfield was our ground, so let's have the council place a CPO on the place like they are doing with lots of property around that area, sell it to Everton for £2M we can rip out the red seats knock down the main stand rebuild it and we have a new stadium at the place where Everton first played, and the kopite gobshites can't moan because it was our ground first.

Also we could re-site Dixies statue and have the Alan Ball Gates and the Brian Labone Stand, This is what's called Thinking Outside the Box.
Joe Goodison, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

... or being well offside. (We've had this suggeeston before, so you are not the first. Anfield is slated for redevlopment as part of the New Anfield project. Look at the plans. Then swallow the message: we are moving away from Liverpool's long shadow... — Michael

The Envy of Others

As one who has gone back on and forth on Moyes, let me say I am now utterly baffled by the extent of the negativity of so many writing in here. We all agree: we would like consistently better football (like the Arteta / Fernandes interchanges in recent games.)

But let me ask all the doomgloomers a simple question: outside the 'top four', which club's supporters would not be in complete envy at Everton and their current position? Think about it. (Okay, I grant you Spurs ? I wouldn't mind Berbatov and Lennon and King for Everton either.)

There are others you might list but it's pointless. I speak to other fans. They would all take Moyes as their manager in a heartbeat based on his record.

The doomgloomers mantra now amounts to: we are not one of the top four (fair enough), and we don't play great football (partially true, but only Spurs below us are clearly superior on that basis).

On slender resources we are in effect just outside the top four with Spurs. We have Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Cahill, Arteta, Johnson, Vaughan. Really ? how is this SO bad?

(ps: Congratulations to Joey if he plays the full game today and equals Ratter's record. He's been a rock all season.)
Neil Pearse, London  (13/5/07)

Nobody said it was SO bad; just could be better. I guess what really gets on my tits is this 'Moyes Legend' bullshit. How any Everton manager can be a legend without winning anything is bollocks. Some people need to be brought back down to earth! — Michael

Our 'targets'

God why on earth do people still maintain the prices mentioned for several of our 'targets.' Depending on the outcome of Tuesday's meeting at Man City the chances are Barton will be told at the very least he won't have a future there ? so how can City justify asking for £5.5M for a player they want shut of? They can't ? Barton will go for less than £3M as City won't want to pay him to train with the reserves.

Same with Nugent, he wants to move and is out of contract next year. Therefore, again £2-4M will be the realistic price as they know that if they keep hold of him and do not get promoted next year he will walk out on them for free! PNE will accept any offer in that range once Nugent puts his transfer request in in a few months.

Manny's £12M tag was by GSA (Global Sports Agency), he was sent on loan by Benfica as he fell out with their new coach after Koeman left. Now that the GSA involvement with him is finished (when we loaned him), Benfica's real asking price is around £6M-ish.

Overall then three players we 'want' for around £12M ? a lot better than one (albeit an amazing player) for that!! And as for Jenas ? well the writer in The People needs an award for the worst story in the world - Ever!
Jack Calvert, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

Strange philosophy

Hi Michael, I just want to take issue with a couple of themes in your arguments.

One is the fact that you refuse to see Everton within the context of the current Premiership league table, and within the context of the modern game. While it is all very well to say: "I don't give a toss about the other teams in the league" and "I only pay attention to Everton", this is a completely bizarre standpoint. The very nature of competitive sport ? and the league table format ? is that your own performance must always be judged against those around you. If this weren't the case, the whole format would collapse. Comparison with other clubs is therefore essential and I'd suggest that the vast majority of football fans (Everton supporters and others) would say that Moyes has outperformed his peers by a country mile.

My second minor gripe is your argument that "results could easily have been better than they were". Name me a team in this league for whom this is not the case. In fact, name me a season in Everton's modern history that has seen us pick up every point we should have claimed.

I appreciate that Moyes has made errors but this takes me back to the point about comparisons. It is insane not to judge our manager against his peers ? it makes much more sense than comparing him aginst an historical ideal of scientific football ? and his strengths massively outweigh his weaknesses, in my opinion.
Paul Foster, London  (13/5/07)

My comment was that I have no interest in those clubs ? their history, their form, their status, their players, their manager. Where they are relative to Everton is of course determined by the league and that's why we play (see a previous response for exactly this point). But that doesn't require me to give a shit about anybody else, to be honest.

I honestly don't compare Moyes to other managers, or to some scientific ideal: I compare Moyes now to the promise Moyes showed in his first season. That is my benchmarak for Moyes. And on that basis, progres and results this season have fallen short, in my opinion. — Michael

I Need To Get Out More!

I think that I've been watching too much telly lately. Last night I dreamed that Bill Kenright went into the Everton changing room and says to one of our guys - Yobo, you... could be Joseph.

I'll get me coat on the way out.
Ron Joynson, Modbury Sth Devon  (13/5/07)


Pro-Moyes Brigade

The major difference between the majority of Everton fans and the likes of Micheal, Luq Yus and Marsh, is that we like to concentrate on the situation that the glass is currently 75% full rather than complaining about it being 25% empty.

We all want Everton to be in the top 4, but we also know that Rome wasn't built in one day. We are prepared to give Moyes time and allow him to make small mistakes, because we know that in the long run, he can make us great.

Come on Yer Blues!!!!
Tony Baxton, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

I won't be going to Kirkby

I totally agree with the sentiments of Tony Marsh. Whilst I welcome the views of blues from all over the country and further afield, I honestly feel they have either forgotten, or perhaps never had to live and work amongst the other crowd in this city. To move out of the city would hand them their greatest victory of all. As a season ticket holder of many years, I won't be going to Kirkby, nor my son, and his son, and his son ....get it?
James Davies, Liverpool  (13/5/07)

With the greatest respect to Tony Marsh...

...but surely people who are no longer going to support the club because they can't be arsed to travel a couple of miles more than they do now are a bigger threat to the future of OUR club than anyone else? By all means if you don't like it don't go. Send your kids to watch the other shower if you want. Just don't moan about people killing your club when you and your like are the biggest threat.
Paul Johnson, Fazakerley  (13/5/07)

That's telling him!

Boo hoo, Marsh

I like reading Tony Marsh's comments and I like the way he stirs things up on here but his latest offering is a load of crap. We won't cease to exist if we move to Kirkby, people won't stop coming to see Everton and I'm sure, Tony will be lured there anyway if we do move. I have always lived in Manchester and have always supported Everton. I've attended games since I was six years old and Sharpe scored the winner against Newcastle. My house has never been in spitting distance of Goodison but I am one of the most faithful fans.

The fact Tony can't be arsed getting his lazy arse 4 further miles up the road to watch Everton, I think, is pathetic. Supporting Everton is a way of life so why will dads suddenly not be arsed going to the game? The stubborness of this "not taking my kids" attitude is what wil deplete our fan base, not a move to Kirkby. My first child is due in July and I will be taking it with me to the games (once old enough) whether we're still at Goodison or Kirkby or hopefully somewhere within the city boundaries.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (13/5/07)

Eileen Roberts, 5 Stars

Come on, Michael - Stick Eileen's message on the main Toffeeweb Homepage as an article. Such a well argued view point deserves to be elevated (even if we don't agree with the views).
Tom Brown, London  (13/5/07)

It was good, wasn't it?

So to sum up...

I am writing this before the game because the result and/or performance of this last game will tend to colour the overall picture more than may be it should.

Overall Progress: yes, of a sort. Still room for improvement (isn't there always). The joined-up football quotient; A bit 'curate's eggish' but, seemingly since the Spurs game, there has been an ever so small trend upwards... More effort reqd. here!

Tactics and substitutions: Still tends towards the one-dimensional, with a marked reluctance to vere from the tried and tested... see above.

The Front Office: Have got to show controlled ambition on the transfer front (no Leedses), while playing hardball with the smaller/ desperate-to-sell clubs (Preston, City). And, maybe depending on your viewpoint, back Moyes to move the club on, or, give him enough rope to hang himself.

Timeframe: I don't buy in to this multiple 5-yr plan bollocks. This coming season can be seen as the Uefa Cup / mock GCSEs and the next as the real thing ? the actual exam, maybe the CL who knows, but in the old days after the final exam you left school and either got a job or were unemployed... 2yrs young master Davie... the clock is ticking.

The Ground move: "It's the only way forward" crew see it as a panacea for all ills... in decending order, Arsenal, Bolton, Boro, Sunderland, Southampt0n, Derby etc...one (in London AND with a quite decent team to start with) out of 7 or 8 doesn't to me actually shout its success to the roof tops.

Jim Potter's shallowish championing of the conference curcuit money that will supposedly come with the new ground forgets the fact that they only go to Old Trafford, or whereever to bask in the reflected glory OF THE TEAM AND IT'S RESULTS. GET THE TEAM RIGHT AND ALL ELSE WILL FOLLOW!!

ps: Forget Cllr Bradley ? he's just exactly what he is, somebody who will prostitute his opinions for votes.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland, New Zealand  (13/5/07)

Miraculous Moyes

Micheal, Everton have no devine right to be amongst the top clubs in England. Just look at the plight of Leeds or Notts Forest with all their tradition.

Post Kendall Mk I we were horrendously mismanaged which inevitably resulted in our perennial flirtation with relegation and a crippling overdraft. I seriously believe that before Rooney was sold we weren't far from being put into administration ? that's how bad our situation was.

To come from that to our current position with a rookie manager and limited expenditure is nothing short of miraculous. Moyes, Wyness and Kenwright have transformed the club from top to bottom. If you believe the word coming out of Goodison, we're now on a much more solid financial footing; our academy is coming on leaps and bounds with home-grown talent such as Anichebe, Vuaghan and Kissock as well as forward-thinking signings such as Spencer and Jutkiewicz; and on the pitch we're consistently beating teams who we should be beating. Not only that, but we've beaten Arsenal, United and Liverpool in recent seasons and we should have beaten Chelsea too. We've broken our White Hart Lane hoodoo and we've got our healthiest goal difference in seasons - stemming from a near-record number of clean sheets.

Yes, Moyes teams do tend to be safety first, but how could you possibly expect us to take players from the Championship and out-football the cream of the Premiership? We do play to our strengths, but Moyes has demonstrated through the acquisitions of Arteta, Fernandes and Van der Meyde that he has plenty of time for flair players within the team ethic.

It may take some time for us to grow in confidence and to truly believe that we belong at the right end of the table, in which case we should hopefully cease to play such desperate football. Moyes has stated that his intention is to get us playing football the right way ? flowing, attractive football like Man United or Arsenal. Moyes has a plan and everything has come up roses so far. Don't forget that Man Utd took long enough to get into their stride under Fergie and even flirted with relegation! We're undoubtedly on the right path.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (12/5/07)

I never said we had a "divine right".. why do you need to put words into my mouth? Leeds and Nots Forest?!? Phutui! So they fucked up. I'm talking about EVERTON! We have a tradition of playing "scientific" football... whatever that means. I know what it DOESN'T mean: fucking hoofball!

Then this nonsense: "and on the pitch we're consistently beating teams who we should be beating." We are not, though ? that's the whole point!!! Home defeats to Aston Villa, Spurs; oe draws to Man City, Wigan. It's not "miraculous" don't talk rubbish. It's his job to perform ? that is why he was appointed! He needs to be doing better. "Rookie manager" ... Give me strength! You people will be claiming he's young and learning the day he retires!

"Moyes has a plan and everything has come up roses so far." WHAT?!? What planet are you living on?!? Krøldrup, Beattie, McFadden, Van der Meyde, Osman... I don't think so ? certainly not "everything". And why do we always, ALWAYS have to be reminded of Ferguson and Man Utd? I don't a flying fuck about Ferguson and Man Utd. — Michael

Bill Kenwright

I was just listening to a representative of the News of the World on Five Live talking about the dissappearance of Madeline McCann and he suggested that the additional £1.5 million had been put up by a number of people including Bill Kenwright. Although I'm not the greatest of fans of our illustrious leader, I felt that we should at least acknowledge the gesture that he and Phillip Green (following discussion with BK?)appeared to have made for the return of this little girl.

I don't wish to turn the ToffeeWeb Mailbag into some sort of morbid forum for this kid, but as a father of a 5-year-old girl myself who has had her photo taken in her Everton top in the same way as Madeleine, it is something that has affected me more than any news items in recent years. I'm quick to criticise BK with a number of things but just wanted to express some form of gratitude as a father, of a gesture such as this. He may be able to afford to do it and some cynics (surely there can't be?) will say that he is chasing some sort of sick publicity opportunity, but for me it is a commendable thing to do regardless of her being from Blue stock or not.

Well done Bill, my perception of you has softened tonight. I'm not related in any way to the family of this little girl, but can only feel gratitude as a father that there are still people about who still feel compelled to make gestures such as this.
Baz Johns, Glasgow  (12/5/07)

Difference of Opinoins

This past week, I have raised my eyebrows a few times at some of the posts in the mailbag. The ones from London-based Blues aking for advice on pubs to drink in made me smile.

Nice peice by Eileen Roberts but I must take her and many others up on this idea they have of comparing Salford with Kirkby. Yes we all know that in a boundary sense Salford and Old Trafford are not in the city limits of Manchester but you can spit on Deansgate and Manchester city center from Salford. In fact, Salford borders the city center. Old Trafford is a similar distance to the City center as Goodison and really its pointless claiming its not Manchester. Ask any one from Salford and they will say they live in Manchester.

Kirkby on the other hand is miles away from anywhere and it this alienation factor that many Blues fans are scared of. Try spitting on Lime Street from Cherryfield Drive. You would need a very strong jaw, I'm telling you. Try walking home from town to Tower Hill, Kirkby, when you cant get a cab. Its easy to walk to Salford from Manchester city center. About 2 minutes to be exact.

As Eileen says, it's other factors that determine your loyalties as a football supporter and yes it is mainly dads who push you one way or the other. What happens when the dad stops pushing because he can't be arsed dragging himself to an out-of-town retail park where his club now play and it takes an ice age to get in and out of [see Reebok and the JJB]. Then you have got problems Eileen. I have got no intetion of going to Kirkby to watch Everton play in the Tesco Arena and so my kids won't be going either. I know plenty more who feel the same way as I do and slowly but surely the drip effect will take hold and our life blood [the fans] will drain away. Mainly to watch Liverpool in their new super stadium.

Thats the reality we face, kidda. Not motorway links or where you feel Old Trafford is in the scale of things. Losing our place in the city is bad enough... Losing our fans because of it will be a disater.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (12/5/07)

Re: David Mills

So, David's been to Wembley which has been redeveloped and has now lost its 'soul'. This leads him to the conclusion that we should (when we have the money) redevelop Goodison! I'm missing something, I know I am!
John Dooley, Chester  (12/5/07)

A better squad then Arsenal

Michael, you believe that Everton should have finished higher in the league given the quality of the squad?

You really think that the current squad is good enough to be a Top 4 side? Do you honestly think we have a better squad then Arsenal or Champions-of-Europe-elect Liverpool?

If so then you seriously have to give major priase to David Moyes for assembling such a talented squad.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (12/5/07)

Sorry, Paul but I know next to nothing about those clubs and have no real interest in them... do you? My only interest is Everton.

Based on the way Everton have played this season in Everton's games, the results could easily have been better than they were. David Moyes himself said as much on a number of occasions. Given the performances of the teams around us, that would have obviously put us higher up the table this season. If that means we have a better squad than the teams you mention, so be it.

But I think that is a meaningless non-sequitor, to be honest. Perhaps a part of the Moyes strategy you seem to be missing is his desire to put together a small but tightly-knit and extremely fit squad that may not compare very well with those you mention on paper but can achieve as much or more as a team.

However, if this was the case, explain to me why it is that the pro-Moyes Brigade like you who ignore this and instead want us to celebrate him as a legend and a hero ? for basically coming up short this season? I don't get it. You are supposed to be his fans, after all.

I just don't understand why it is the pro-Moyes brigade who question the ability and committment of Everton as a team to take on the top four, and who claim that it can't be done, citing money as the main reason. Yet it is exactly Moyes's stated objective ? to smash his way into the top four and to do it on a limited budget.

As one of his harshest critics, and recognizing as I have said many many timnes that he is going nowhere, I'm right behind him, urging him to change the way the team plays, to take advantage of the work he has done so far. I can only assume that you and your ilk are happy having these supposedly talented players spending most of their matches hoofing the ball around aimlessly while their manager adopts the saftey-first approach that might give us a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 win, rather than pumelling teams in a manner that his players are clearly capapble of, and that is more in keeping with the greater traditions of this club. — Michael


I only ever went to the old Wembley once, and that was to see my hometown team Kidderminster Harriers lose in the FA Trophy final in 1991. I just got in from seeing Kiddy Harriers lose in the FA Trophy final at the new Wembley. (We woz robbed by the way, but that's for another forum...)

I post this here merely to comment on the new stadium. Yes, the new facilities are amazing ? the legroom, the bogs, the food, the screens, etc (though the roof was leaking in one area!).

Yes, I imagine the atmosphere for the cup final will be amazing ? the mere 53,500 for today's game was pretty special in itself. Yes, all in all, the new Wembley is very impressive. But... there seemed a lack of... 'soul' to the place.

I have up until now been undecided about Kirkby. It's clear that a significant expansion of Goodison is technically feasible and that would be my first choice. The question of course as always is who's going to pay for it? And so, I have given serious consideration to whether a new stadium in Kirkby would be a positive step, on the assumption that it would be available now because we wouldn't have to pay much ourselves. After my experience today, I think not.

Like I said, the new Wembley is impressive, and I sincerely hope to see Everton win a cup in there in the near future, but, I think I preferred the old one! Goodison has got that hard to put your finger on special... something (I'm going to call it 'soul'), that comes with its history. The old Wembely had the something similar. I don't think even the most impressive new stadium out in Kirkby could ever match it.

If we can't afford to pay to redevelop Goodison now, then why not wait till we can? Who knows what investment might be available to us in the next 5 years? Andrew Lloyd Webber's got a few bob I hear! KEIOC!
David Mills, Coventry  (12/5/07)

re: Oliver McAdam

One thing I would like to pick up on, regards Oliver's piece, was were he say's "If we achieve 65-66 pts next season and finish 8th I'm happy" I'm just a bit confused, Oliver. If we get more points next season than this season, but finish 8th next season, how is that progress? I thought finishing higher than your previous season was progress, not getting more points and finishing lower in the table. Maybe I just haven't understood what you meant.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (12/5/07)

I was going to pick that bit apart too. It's somewhat unrealistic, actually, as points and position correlate fairly closely, so the hypothetical swings Oliver talks about are very unlikely to be realised.

But I agree with you: position has to be a better determinand than points because it automatically takes into account the quality (or lack of) in the teams above and below you in a given season. It's hardly rocket science ? that's what a league table is all about, and that's why comparing points totals from one season to the next could be slightly misleading. — Michael

In response, Michael

"Points & position, we did better in 2004-05":
Yes, we did well that season, totally unexpected result of fourth without a team that could compete.

"Need for more progress":
Of course there is, no-one is resting on laurels.

"By points & position, we have gone backwards":
Michael, one thing you must acknowledge: we have played nearly 18 months of consistent football. Not brilliant, but consistent, stuff to build on.

"Moyes's arrogance toward the fans": Why doesn?t he deserve some credit? If you accept that 35,000 Evertonians where right at the Spurs game, why where they not right v Portsmouth?

Then take people like me who see the progress on the pitch?

"Not sufficient progress for me. ? Michael":
Perhaps you have convinced yourself, like others do before a game, we will lose before it is played.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (12/5/07)

"18 months of consistent (not brilliant) football":
I thought one of the issues was that we lacked consistency. I certainly thought I saw some really good football (and results) at the start of this season. But things dipped quite badly really, considering what was clearly possible from the squad Moyes has assembled, and we slipped consistently down the table from 3rd to 10th.

Moyes got things in better shape into the New Year and we started to climb the table again... somewhat inconsistently, and finally (after Spurs) started to play some better football. If that is consistency in your book, so be it. It ain't in mine.

On your last somewhat idiotic jibe, one thing I never do is anticipate the result. For me, playing the game on the field on the day is what football is all about. That's what I fell in love with and will always enjoy, provided it's played with something approaching the excellent combination of spirit and skill shown in the second half against Portsmouth. Of course the crowd were over the moon, you numpty ? that's what they'd been wanting to see all season!!! — Michael

Blue Progress

A lot gets mentioned about how the blues progress? What is progress? Firstly, the important thing is in 5 years Everton have progressed, massively. This season is Moyes's best season too. When we finished 4th, we achieved 61 points, with victory on Sunday we can achieve 60points. However, the manner of achieving the points has improved massivly. Rather than clinging on to victories we have ATTEMPTED to deserve victories.

Two years ago, we could have finished 12th or 4th with that team, and we got the best possible out of it. This season, we have not got the best out of the team, there is more to come from Cahill (injuries), Lescott (play in centre), Vaughan, Anichebe, Johnson (should be dissapionted at 12, next season he needs 20+), Arteta. They can all have better seasons next season.

I won't put a final league target, as other teams will improve too, but what I expect from Everton next season is enjoyable football, ambitious and confident team and management and an overall increase in points. If we achieve 65-66 points next season and finish 8th I'm happy, because as a team we have improved (we can't help it if others improve too, nor blame management).

If we achieve 55 points and finish 4th, then as happy I will be at finishing in Champions League, it would be dissapointing to achieve it because others didn't improve. Points is what is important. More points = progress = contented everton fans (well that's debatable). BUT Moyes has achieved progess, he should get 3 years to achieve more. Barton, Fernandes, Nugent, whoever ? they are all good players. If they are right for Everton then fine, if not then no, those decisions are for Everton FC to make.

Our job is to openly criticise whenever possible, players, manager, board, fellow fans; give credit when due but credit does not create immunity from criticsim. For Everton to progress, the important thing is the fans. Atmosphere at Goodison, bar Saturday, has been terrible, a shoadow of past. Look at Milan and Liverpool to see the importance of the fans. The referee, opposition team, our team, all get affected by fans, always to be benefit.
Oliver McAdam, Lancaster  (12/5/07)

"This season is Moyes's best season" and yet "Points is (sic) what is important"? Yet you are comparing 61 pts and 4th place in 04-05 to 60/58/57 pts and 5th/6th/7th in 06-07? I've heard of New Maths and all that but I just can't quite figure that one out. You ask "What is progress?" Then you go in five different directions.

To cut to the chase, we've made some progress ? of course we have ? why are we even discussing the fact?; but we could have made more progress; and there is still more progress to be made.

However, it's a rollercoaster of forward steps and backward steps... and it all depends what you wish to choose as your metric ? something you are quite inconsistent with. If it really is points, as you claim, then we have actually gone backwards since 2004-05. No two ways about it. If it is league position, then we have also gone backwards.

If it is players, then we have moved forward. If it is Moyes and his arrogance towards the fans, then we have gone backwards from "The People's Club" of five years ago to this season not knowing what we are talking about and the backhanded insult of finally being told we "acted like a proper football club" last Saturday. [The key to last Saturday's atmosphere was the team finally playing joined-up football, which really got them going ? always has, always will ? not the hoofball shite Moyes has burdened us with for most of the season.]

I guess the plethora of "progress" messages meets a deep need to convince ourselves that the overall progression under Moyes is forward, when there are so many annoying little details that confound the picture, and give those like me (who have increasing reservations about Moyes) just far too many barbs to throw into the mix.

So go on if you must: keep trying to tell everyone of the wonderful progress we are making and how Moyes is a legend for finishing in the top ten and getting us into Europe. For me, that is somewhat below par because I know that this team and these players could have finished higher this season. And the obvious reason they didn't is poor management from Moyes for a large part of the season. I'm sorry but, within the overall context of Moyes's five years, that's just not sufficient progress for me. ? Michael

Joey Barton

After reading Anthony Evans's article about this combative midfielder, and receiving abuse from one man under the impression that being a professional footballer allows you to act however you want, I'm still in two minds about Joey Barton. As a footballer, he'd be fantastic for our team, and if I believed that Moyes could tame him I'd love us to buy the man, but has he not had too many chances already?
Xan Wesson, Southport  (12/5/07)

Stanley Park

I am not sure whether this will help clear up the confusion or add to it but my recollection of the Stanley Park issue is this. Many years ago in the John Moores days, the idea of Everton acquiring a new Stadium was first mooted (at least in my lifetime). It was around the time of the World Cup in 1966 because I remember it was in my mind at the time and I recall a conversation I overheard in the old Goodison Road terrace during the Brazil/Hungary game when Everton supporters were proudly asking a group of Brazilians what they thought of our 'ground' (these were the days when Goodison WAS the bees knees). Part of that conversation entailed the Evertonians telling the Brazilians we were moving to a stadium over the road, in the park.

Nothing came of a stadium move but the Main Stand was built shortly afterwards. However, the possibility of moving into the park was 'live' at the time but I have no idea what the reaction or attitude of the City was or whether the possibility was real or imagined.

The second occasion the possibility was switched on was during the Peter Johnson era when a potential move to a new stadium was again raised. I think the idea of a move into the park arose out of a media 'conversation' (argument!) between Evertonians, perhaps the older generation who remembered the previous suggestion of such a move and I think the City eventually heard the conversation and via a statement scotched the idea... then the Kings Dock was eventually to become the primary issue etc, etc.

What precisely happened in the sixties I don't really know except the idea was raised but went nowhere. In neither case did the suggestion of such a move progress to a FORMAL application. Nevertheless, in the Peter Johnson example, the City Council let it be known in no uncertain terms that they would not allow EFC to build a stadium in Stanley Park on the basis that this was land set aside for public enjoyment and leisure. But it is possible (in fact likely) that the City was responding to the supporter's conversation rather than to EFC. When the City deny this, it may not be 'lies' as such but because there is no public record of these events as it never became a formal application and may well have been something created by the supporters rather than the Club.

I certainly recall, when first hearing of Liverpool's application to build on the park, being absoluely certain it would be rejected and my reason was the fact that, formal or not, the suggestion was well and truly poo-pooed in the past with respect to Everton. The question the City have to answer though is not why public parkland could not be given to Everton but rather why it was given to anybody for a football stadium. Personally, I think it is a disgrace... but there you are, politicians can never be trusted!
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (12/5/07)

Anderson da Silva

Interesting line on the OS from Moyes regarding Da Silva. Moyes suggests playing this season was "too early" for the Brazilian. The best interpretation of that I could offer is he lost some of his fitness in the slower Spanish league and is still adjusting to Moyes's fearsome fitness regime. However, it bodes well that Moyes sees there being a time when he will be ready for the first team.
John Holmes, York  (12/5/07)

That would require a new contract, I believe. He is only on a short-term (six-month) contract. ? Michael

Warren Bradley's e.mail

Warren Bradley stated: "I still believe the options presented to Everton FC are achievable and deliverable, if Everton FC decide for commercial reasons Knowsley is the best, then that's for Everton FC. I can provide information that clearly indicates the offers made and how they could have been achieved if there had been the will."

Can someone please ask Warren for this information that clearly indicates the offers made?
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (12/5/07)

I think you'll find they're offers of potential locations that could be purchased. No financial offers, no partnering offers ? which are the main reasons the Club is looking so closely at the Tesco/Knowsley offer... although no-one is actually saying to us fans and shareholders of Everton FC what Everton are atually being offered in that case either. — Michael

Madeleine & Celtic

Yes Lyndon, you are correct. Yellow arm bands will be worn today at this SPL game by both teams. A magnificnt gesture of solidarity. Given the prominence of Madeleine's photo wearing the Blues home jersey, I am disappointed that, we, as a club are late in expressing solidarity. We should really be looking after our own much better. After all, we Evertonians pride ourselves on being one big family.
Liam Wilson, Ireland  (12/5/07)

Goodison for Ever-ton

Listening to a Spokesman for GFE on Radio Merseyside a few months ago. He clearly stated that EFC had nevver officially applied to build on Stanley Park, although it was rumoured under the Johnson Regime.
Paul Furlong, South Yemen  (12/5/07)

A point to be made

Get my nerd quotient back up... but are we not 5 points behind LFC so far this season based on the 2 pts for a win system. Our red friends will have to wait at least until next season for the inevitable to happen. Considering we are a provincial northern city, I think these tables show a remarkable record for both teams.
Andrew Bulmer, Liverpool  (12/5/07)

I couldn't quite figure that part out either. The inevitable will happen... but not until next season according to those tables. Actually I shouldn't say that. Since David Moyes is going to contuinue his progress by breaking into the top 4, then there is a distinct possibility that Everton will gain more points than Liverpool next season and put off the dreadful day when we surrender the place we have held for so long at the top of this table. — Michael

Alex Ferguson on Howard

"'Before the deal, Tim Howard was not able to play against Manchester United. After the deal, the same would have been true. It therefore would have had no effect on the integrity of the competition whatsoever. The FAPL rejected the inclusion of this in the contract."

In other words, Howard couldn't have played whether we signed him or not. The gentlement's agreement is no big deal, as if we were not to agree, they Man Utd would continue the loan, and we still couldn't have played him.
Tony Baxton, Liverpool  (12/5/07)

Your initial conclusion is wrong. According to FAPL rules, of course we could have played him after he had signed for us! That is the whole point of this saga!!! By agreeing not to play him, we accepted a third-party influence on our team selsction, and that is illegal under the Rules.

The key part of what you quote is the last sentence: 'The FAPL rejected the inclusion of this in the contract.' Ask yourself why, if it was no big deal? The answer is because it would have flouted the rules of the FAPL. That is the issue here: that a third party (Manchester United) was able to influence the selection of players in the game, when this is clearly not allowed by the rules.

Rules is rules... unles you happen to have a 'gentleman's agreement', apparently ? the most disgraceful part of this story to me is that the FAPL turned a blind eye to that aspect of it, after persuading Man Utd that it could not be written into the contract. — Michael

We Must Help Madeleine McCann

A little child is lost, afraid, helpless. We must help! We've all seen the photos of Madeleine McCann in the papers and on the news broadcasts over the last few days wearing her Everton shirt. As Evertonians we have a particular bond with her and her family. She's one of us.

A reward has been put up by a businessman in Monaco of £1m for anyone providing information that leads to Madeleine's return. What a magnificent gesture. Could Everton not do the same? Or put up say £0.5m at least? Money motivates people ? the possibility of receiving such a huge sum of money might just persuade someone who knows where she is to contact the police. We spend endless hours contemplating the club spending millions on this or that player. Let's spend the money now on trying to save a child's life.

Bill, you particularly have the opportunity with the Joseph programme to make an announcement on the live broadcast that the club will pay this money to anyone with information. This would immediately be seen by millions of people and making such a public statement would gain publicity in Portugal and elsewhere.

Perhaps the players could do something on Sunday:
-wear a yellow armband for Madeleine
-all change the names on their shirts to say "Madeleine"
-have a minutes silence to pray for Madeleine.

We've lost too many Evertonians recently,great players and great young men in Iraq. We cannot stand by and do nothing! Please, Everton, let's try and save this lovely child, this little Evertonian.
John Partick Simpson, Liverpool  (11/5/07)

I believe that the Celtic and Aberdeen players will be wearing yellow armbands this weekend ? the McCann's have ties to Glasgow ? but don't know of any plans for the same at Stamford Bridge. As far as what we can do... as you say, only money would talk in this situation but I highly doubt the club would be in a position to make any such gesture from a business perspective. Individual board members? Another story.

For the rest of us, we put the word out and hope for the best. As the father of a three year-old who bears a passing resemblance to Madeleine, that photo in her Everton shirt struck me to the core and my thoughts and hopes are with her and her family ? Lyndon

Solid progress

We have made solid progress this seasona with a UEFA Cup spot and 60 points is still possible. So John Holmes is spot on that the Top 4 is not a closed shop. It should be our next ambition, plus the Uefa Cup group stages next season. It won't be easy, but three facts give cause for some hope.

Firstly, older & wiser, Moyes will be looking to add early, quality aditions to the squad, not a last minute mixed bag. We were already out of the Champions League when Valente, VdM and Ferrari arrived. He has realised the benefits after last Summer, I believe.

Secondly, we have a much better team.... Andy Johnson rather than Marcus Bent; Lescott rather than David Weir; Arteta rather than Simon Davies; Yobo having played every minute of every game rather than getting dropped every 3rd game ? the list is endless.

Finally, David Moyes seems to be more positive belief and prepared to take a few risks. A good indicator is that we were winning games one-nil, often scoring early and then virtually just hanging on. This season, there have hardly been any one-nils. All four of our away wins have been 2-0 or 3-0 and we have won 3-0 at home on three occasions. We have been dominating games more, going for the win, rather than hanging on. We have also been pegged back on a number of occasions meaning quite a few 1-1 draws, but the signs are good.

Anyway, I'm hoping for another good performance against one of the Top 4 (only one bad one so far - at Man Utd in November!) on Sunday. I would love to see us really go for it from the kick-off like we did at Old Trafford last season and catch Chelsea napping.

On balance, a promising season. Work to be done still. Players to be bought, tactics getting there eventually, perhaps after the Spurs 'epiphany'. Other plus points like Vaughan & Anichebe. Our players seem to love the Club and us, we have a top-drawer taining complex about to be completed, European football to come. I am proud to be an Evertonian, looking forward to next season... it might be even more memorable than this one!
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (11/5/07)

Points deduction?

Here's a thought...

Teams who play inelligble players are often deducted the points that they earned while that player was playing for them as a punishment.

I think we should now be pushing for Everton to be punished by being awarded the 3 points we would have earned if the apparently-elligible Tim Howard had played for us against Man United!
Dave Annal, Watford  (11/5/07)


Top 4? Do the maths

I am getting tired of all this top 4 rubbish which seems to slip off the tongues of all the lazy journos who never bother to take a good look at the league table. There is a Top 2, full stop, end of, who are a massive 17 points ahead of the next 2. If you listen to the likes of Alan Green (not recommended) you would think that the "Top 4" had been battling it out between them in a close-run race.
Colin Nolan, Preston  (11/5/07)

Don't you think the 10-point gap between 4th and 5th has some significance too. Whereas among the rest of us making up the numbers, the biggest gap is only 6 points. Personally, I think that tends to only reinforce the current reality of the Big Four. — Michael

Kirkby ? no but...

I agree with nearly every argument made against the move to Kirkby. So will I vote against it in the near future? ? probably... but I am no longer as certain as I once was. The whole way this issue has been run by the club is a classic example of how to use power and information to get what you want. As time goes by we are faced with a stark choice ? stay at Goodison, as it is now, or move to Kirkby, as it is clear the club are unable or unwilling (probaly both) to develop any other proposal.

When the inevitable 'world class' artists impressions are splashed across the Echo, Goodison will look even worse and that doesn't take into account the shithouse Mark 2 they will be building across the Park.

I still think deep down that Kirkby is the wrong move but hope that I have the courage to vote against the shiny new toy ? I would urge others with the same doubts to go with their gut instinct and forget all the hype.
John Doolan, Liverpool  (11/5/07)

ToffeeWeb poll

I just hope the results for this month's ToffeeWeb poll are concluded shortly so that, if the powers that be read the site, they will see the general concensus of the fans before Manuel has chance to seek pastures new.
Craig Walsh, Lancashire  (11/5/07)


How we can be remotely associated with this animal is beyond belief. The bastard should be kicked into the cell alongside his brother.
Kunal Desai, London  (11/5/07)

Lovely to see the unity and jovial camaraderie among fellow Evertonians... NOT! — Michael

Dare to win!

With Europe more or less assured, I feel that Moyes should wheel out some of the fringe players like Andy van der Meyde and Anderson da Silva against Chelsea on Sunday, see them in competitive mode for 90 minutes. With Moyes calling for a bigger squad next season, it will be intriguing to see who he will keep on/let go.

Without the FM remarks, these are those who I think he should let go this summer: Beattie for £3 Million; Pistone and Richard Wright for free!

I hope he will keep Da Silva as he looks very good and composed, and Van der Meyde owes Everton a good season before he departs. I saw him in action recently in Euro 2004, real shame seeing him now! But it is common sense to keep the better players to buff up the squad.

On players coming in, wouldn't it be great to see Ferrari back at Everton! A player who can play anywhere along the back four will be vital for our European adventure. Reckon he wouldn't cost more than £1.5M now.

Let's see... but if we are to sign Barton, please make it a double with Fernandes as well!
Luq Yussef, London  (11/5/07)

Joey Barton

Steve McBride, don't get me wrong. Joey, who I have no personal knowledge of whatsoever, may well be a thug, a lout and a gobshite etc. but why? Are you the same and if so, why not?

Do you not think it possible that he's had to take a lot of bad mouthing , simply and solely on account of his brother's action in the past.

When I read these columns, I notice how quick many fans are to condemn David Moyes, Phil Neville et al. I understand there were many in the ground that gave Joey a real hard time largely on account of his brother's record.

I just think that if we, as fellow Evertonians, were prepared to give the lad a chance with the club he once supported, we might be suprprised. I don't know but why not try to take Joey on loan to give him that chance?
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (11/5/07)

Perspective on Lescott

After a good debut season, Lescott has undoubtedly been a fantastic signing and value for money. But I'm a little worried that we might be getting a bit carried away... I myself instictively worship him. Mr Harris's posting suggests Lescott is knocking on the door of an England call up.... but... He is not yet the finished article.

In several different games this season, I have seen Lescott losing his position in the back line and needing to be yelled at by Stubbs or Neville in order to get the shape back. I have also seen Lescott struggle one-on-one a few times, particularly when at left back; a good example I saw first-hand was the first half away at the Hammers where he had a shakey time with Tevez and his gang.

I do think he is a good player and he will get better but... I'm worried that if we get ahead of ourselves in our estimation of him, then we will over-react when he falls a little short of the perfection we are imagining. Maybe I am being paranoid in finding something to worry about here... I just hope we keep supporting him and keep having patience with him and give him the time he needs to develop into a very good defender.
Tom Brown, London  (11/5/07)

The next target?

I see that the loveable Robbie Fowler is being released by Liverpool. How long before he turns up on our wanted list?!!! God help us.
Tom Edwards, York  (11/5/07)


I noticed a few people suggesting to sell Cahill in the Mailbag over the last few days. Everyone's entitled to their opinion an' that but this would be a terrible idea!

His injuries are worrying and a few aspects of his game may be lacking but the lad is top class, you only have to look at how well he was doing before Carsley effectively ended his season (I realise he played a few games after this, but was in fairness still regaining full fitness before getting injured again).

His goalscoring at the start of the season along with Johnson's was incredible for the club. I wouldn't have thought people needed reminding what a great job he's done for us since joining but perhaps they do.

Nugent, fair enough looks exciting and is a blue but at £8M is surely a luxury. Use the money on Fernandes and play Cahill off Johnson next season ? we know Vaughan and Victor can step up as well. I know there's a lot of mainly pointless letters coming in about transfers but this had to be said.
Gav Jones, Liverpool  (11/5/07)

The rule will be this: discuss the merits of players we are strongly linked with, if you really must, and the merits of selling players we have. But please do not come up with your own transfer targets. It's basically infantile and drives me mad!!! — Michael

Tim Lloyd ? Joey Barton

Tim, do you work in Social Services? For years now we have heard that the behaviour of all the louts, thugs and gobshites is not their fault but that of their parents and apparently Evertonians need to take a long look in the mirror for the part they have played in making Barton the type of person he is.

Please accept my apologies Joey and if you are looking for a foster home I will gladly take you in and do my best to make amends.
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (11/5/07)


Just wondering is thre any meeting point for all us Eertonians before the Chelsea game on Sunday?Love those few hours before the game, having a good sing song and chat about all things Everton. Blackburn and Charlton are great away games.

ps: Let's hope we have a long stay in Europe... Come on you Blues!
Tom Hayes, London  (11/5/07)

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

What a fickle bunch some of you lot are. I've seen a few letters now calling for the sale of TIm Cahill to finance this deal and that deal ? mainly Fernandes. If Timmy had been back from injury and hitting those trademark late runs of his, chipping in with the odd goal now and the,n you'd be screaming for him to be given a longer contract.

I hark back to the World Cup where all Blues were beaming that he was doing us proud out there. I, for one, look forward to the return of Timmy to the first team. He gives us that extra bit of grit and attacking strength we'll require to make a bigger and better challenge for next season.
Ross Trotter, Scotland  (11/5/07)

We were in 16th before Fulham game

Tommy Davis is right. Michael gives us a link to the league table after the West Ham game (Walter's last league game), but forgets that Blackburn got a mid-week win on Wednesday 13 March to take them above us in the table, pushing us down to 16th.

Did Moyes get appointed on the 15th? If so, we were in 16th when he took over. Which ever, we were certainly in 16th before the start of the Fulham game.
Peter Hughes, Bradford  (11/5/07)

What ever! We certainly were NOT in the bottom three. Whch was where all this bollocks started. ? Michael

First and Last

Seeing Chelsea this weekend will be the first game I have actually got to this season, and it being my first live game, and our last game of the season put me in a contemplative mood.

As I take my seat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, we will have a chance of fnishing 5th in the league and, barring a humiliation similar to loosing 7-0 to Arsenal (which I also witnessed ?hope I am not a curse!), we can fall no lower than 7th.

Some people see this as a successful season (even though we haven't actually won anything tangible), whilst others see qualification for Europe as the bare minimum we should be expecting. I perosnally would have taken Uefa Cup at the start of the year, and barring a few nagging doubts about points dropped here or there, am a contented fan.

This club has got some major changes and decisions looming, with a ground move and certainly new players all on the horizon. Of course we should be passionate about these issues, and the motives of Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes, but if we take stock of where we are with an improving young squad, reasonable financial health, a well-respected manager and passionate chairman, I for one wouldn't swap with any of the teams above us, and will be wearing my blue with pride on Sunday.

ps: Anyone know any decent boozers nearby that are Everton friendly!?
Andrew Humphrey, London  (11/5/07)

Feeling for the Family

The photo on the Official Website of Madeline, who is missing in Portugal, hit me like a hammer last night. For a parent to have a child go missing must be the most awful nightmare imagineable. The statement from Phil Neville on behalf of the players and the club is surely echoed by everyone, not just those of us who also wear Blue shirts old and young alike. Not all of us may believe in prayer or a greater force but I'm sure all our thoughts are with that family and that she may come home safely.
Lue Glover, Buckley  (11/5/07)

Osman's England Career?

Its great news for Joleon Lescott, hopefully the B-Team call-up will give him chance to impress and go towards his eventual full England recognition. Fantastic player and another great Moyes bargain.

It makes you wonder though, how close was Leon Osman to getting a B-Team call-up? He's not had his best season but I still think he is an important member of the squad.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (11/5/07)

Good grief! Has the concept of reality totally abanded you, Paul? Leon Osman in the England B team... this is getting ridiculous. — Michael

Everyone else has money too

A very good point has been made below about how all the other clubs in the Premiership will have the extra money we're pinning our hopes on over the summer. I think that as a result, it will add even more to the debate about whether or not Moyes truly has turned the corner, and by extension that next season may be the big one in terms of progress.

If Moyes has changed for the better, his hard-sell approach to potential recruits should more than compensate for everyone else having the extra cash. You only have to look at some of the remarks passed by Craig Bellamy about Moyes once he had signed for Liverpool to understand what a club's ambition, vision and so on can mean to a player if presented in the right way. True enough, Liverpool could offer more in the way of trophies at the time but I am presuming here that Bellamy, who enjoys taking side swipes at people, had enough reason to justify making the remarks.(I know the fella's not a great example to use given his record but it was the only example I could think of to make my point.)

With some of the fire seemingly back in his belly, and a more positive approach on the pitch for all to see, I think Moyes could be more than capable of competing in the transfer market this summer. But I do think it it will come down to how positive his vision and plans for the club are.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (11/5/07)

Great comments, Keiran. Spot on. — Michael


"£5.5 million is halfway to Fernandes."

So any idea where the other £5.5 million is coming from? Is Fernandes really the best utilisation of £12M? Personally, I think not. That is a fair wad of cash and surely that can buy us two quality players instead of one who has a bit of flair but no engine. Maybe it is just a fitness thing and this could be improved but still I'd rather see two good players than one.

On another unrealistic note, Shaun Wright Phillips has been bandied about as a potential target or on some armchair managers wish lists. In all seriousness now, guys, do you really think that SWP will be winging his way to Everton anytime soon, he's just broken into the Chelsea team proper and starting to hit some of the form that he was on for Man City before his big move.

Personally, I'd rather not speculate as to who could come because I find that pointless really. I'd rather wait for them to come and then discuss. But that's just me.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (11/5/07)

Oooo.... my finger was itching over that "Delete" button! — Michael

More wishful thinking!!

If Bayern Munich being in the UEFA Cup is a sign then so too must the possibility of Rapid Vienna also qualifying for the Uefa Cup. They're currently 1 point behind Sturm Graz with 5 to play. Already booking my train tickets for... Eastlands!!
Craig Heywood, Leeds  (11/5/07)

Official Programme

Today, I received an e.mail from Alan Jewell resposable for EFC Programme content, apologising for the incorrect description attached to the centre picture in last week's official programme.

It was in fact after the FA Cup victory against Liverpool in 1967 rather than the semi final of 1966 as printed... Blue Hawkeye rules!
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (11/5/07)

The best little Spaniard we know.....

Great to see that Wyness is pulling out all the stops and gone public in hopefully what we will see a swift conclusion to the long-term future of Mikel Arteta. Also refreshing to hear his comments on any likely transfer business, it would appear that last year's strategy of acting with stealth early on in the window will again be the strategy.

Two players already mentioned on here Distin and Sidwell are available on a Bosman, with either Barton or Fernandes as a possible target combined with a shrewd policy in the transfer market then we may yet see less spent this Summer than last year as Colm has already alluded to. Without going overboard it would appear that Everton are finally operating with business-like acumen, we may even be able to rest easy this Summer with the prospect of a European tour to look forward to.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (11/5/07)

Football Manager

Any chance of banning all this Football Manager crap until we at least hear about the club sniffing round players please? I mean if we keep going at this rate it won't be long before we start seeing "I hear Eto'o/Ronaldinho/Henry etc are unhappy and we're in Europe next season..." type comments.

Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (11/5/7)

I'm with you there, Declan, 100%... but I think Lyndon likes the speculation... so it'll be race to see if I can get in first and delete it!!! — Michael

A sign of progress

If we're to buy Nugent and Barton, which looks a possibility, we could (if Lescott is capped, which looks like it will happen) have 5 England internationals next season. This would be remarkable considering where we were five years ago and the money we have spent over that time.

People slate Moyes on here but I think most of it is crazy talk considering the progress he has made. EVERY footy person I have spoken to thinks highly of him and when I mentioned some of the comments posted on here they call them and our supporters fickle.

I think signing Bridge, Barton and Nugent would be fantastic and would give us a great chance of top 4 or 5 next season.
Gavin Harris, Bristol  (11/5/07)


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

Judging by your answer to my letter and the following (John Holmes,Alan Woodhouse etc) I think you have forgotten to insert [Sarky] to all your answers ;) Lets do it the proper way and you will see the color of my money.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna,Austria  (11/5/07)

Well nevermind mailing here.....get in touch with Blankstones or anyone else prepared to conduct the sale of (a) share(s) privately! - Colm

Fifth Place-Success?

I have been an Evertonian from afar for well over 40 years, first in Belfast and for the last 30 years in Australia. I have my concerns about the anti-Moyes brigade who hold on to this dream of the glory days. Football is about business these days, success must be achieved at any cost and if you happen to play entertaining football along the way that's a bonus.

I hanker for the great teams of the sixties and eighties also but we simply don't have the resources to compete with the big four anymore. I say give Davey the support and time he needs and maybe one day we'll be back in that top four. Europe is good and I look forward to watching the boys through bleary eyes next season.
Gerry Rutter, Failford, Australia  (11/5/07)

Don't Think Twice it's Acceptable

Another measure of the increasing success that David Moyes has brought to Everton is in the current transfer value of the players that he has signed. What do you think a players like Lescott, Johnson and Arteta are worth at this moment? They three alone offset by millions the disaster signings like VdM and Krøldrop. As for Beattie, he is a 'streak' player ? always was and allways will be. It would not break my heart if he was retained for another season. I think he just might just shock everyone.

I think Joey Barton is a great iron man of a midfielder. He reminds me a bit of Norman Hunter, Tony Kay, Chopper Harris and that hideous goon dwarf Nobby (Soprano) Stiles. Everton have these games when they just roll over and get pushed off the ball in midfield. Joey has the intensity to win. He is a player that we might not want, but sometimes you get what you need.

I have watched the second half of last Saturday's game four times now. Arteta is a player of genious, I can't believe what a great player he is. Total Magic. Fernandes is magic too his passing with Arteta was at times sublime. He would be a record signing but he is a complete player. Maybe sell Cahill (what's he worth) to help finance the deal.
Mike Dolan, New York, NY, USA  (11/5/07)

More trust

I was interested to see that the experiences of Stefan Tosev ? bringing up the issue of fans? trusts?, only to have them dismissed out of hand ? pretty much mirrored my own experience with Toffeweb. In response to my post on the same subject, I got a terse ?Fans trusts? ? interest among Evertonians - zilch? .

Perhaps if an influential website like Toffeeweb took up the issue rather than indulging the endless Championship Manager generated fantasies & transfer speculations, then maybe the issue could be discussed. If Toffeeweb deems it a closed issue because the collective wisdom is that Kenright has the voting blocs locked up, then that is a point of view.

The idea of a hostile takeover ? by fans ? is also a point of view. Is it more of a fantasy to imagine Evertonians acting in unison than what seems like the in-built defeatism expounded by your correspondents ?fans trusts, that?s hard stuff, let?s just speculate about Joey Barton?.?

Isn?t an INDEPENDENT website supposed to be doing the hard stuff?????

Oh, and apropos to dismissive replies ? it is right and fair that everybody who writes in should give their name, e-mail etc. I noticed that on some of the snippier comments, the Toffeeweb commentator doesn?t always leave their name? maybe you gentlemen should play by your own stated rules.
Paul Daly, Dublin & New York  (11/5/07)

Oh dear! Paul ? you're welcome to act as a proxy for myself at the next AGM if you like. You'll then get an idea how things work when being granted a peep at the inner sanctum! Going on previous personal experiences, time spent on the Everton Shareholders Association Executive Committee, I recall a letter from Philip Carter, in reply to a request for the Club to look into the possibility of creating a Fans Trust (even to raise funds for the Youth Academy) and basically being told where to shove it, albeit not in those words exactly! ? Colm


Man City can keep him. I wouldn't want that guy anywhere near the Everton dressing room. Let some other team who's desperate pony up the £5.5M. As far as I'm concerned, that £5.5M gets you halfway to Fernandes.
Bill Hawker, Houston, TX  (11/5/07)


I have been fortunate to have witnessed the best of the best from Finney to Maradonna and just about all the greats in between. They not only possessed sublime skills they also had a tremendous work ethic. Artistic poseurs unwilling or unable to produce for a full 90 minutes would not find a place in my team.

Because of Physical demands in the premier league talent spotters look at a player's 'engine' and only then at his skill level.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (11/5/07)

Summer Targets

I believe Moysie has a strong youngish nucleus in our beloved team. Quality additions are a neccessity and mine would be - Barton £5.5M, Nugent but only up to £5.5M and I would scrap the impressive and overpriced Fernandes in place of Shaun W Phillips who would possibly be available for similar money and is proven class in a position we lack desperately. Baines or Bridge would complete my realistic wish list. UP THE BLUES!
Shaun Cook, Bedford  (10/5/07)

Full of Goals this Season

A couple of weeks ago I heard Alex Ferguson talk about the number of different players in the United squad who had scored this season - basically he nominated this as one of the reasons they were headed for the title.

It occurred to me the other day that we are pretty well off in this regard too. Think about it - all five of our strikers have scored (AJ, Beattie, McFadden, Vaughan & Anichebe). All five of our regular midfielders have scored (Arteta, Cahill, Osman, Carsley, Fernandes) and pretty much all of our defenders have scored (Lescott, Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith, even Phil Neville!)

By my reckoning, that's at least 15 different scorers (and I'm probably missing one from Hibbert), which has obviously contributed to our strong goal difference this season.

I think it's a strong position for us to be in, and hopefully something to build on next season with the addition of a couple more attacking players!
Zac Stephenson, London  (10/5/07)

Some wishful thinking!!!

No, not transfer related wishful thinking! Instead, I have been pondering the what ifs of our next Euro adventure. And no, "what if we get dumped out 1-5 in Rnd 1" is not what I mean!!

But my stats browsing revelaed an interesting coincidence which I shall take as a good omen. Due to their shoddy league form, we are joined in the Uefa Cup this year by none other than the mighty Bayern Munich!!! What price a semi-final repeat of '85!!

"Yeah right," I hear you cry ? and you're probably right but it's a nice thought, isn't it????
Tom Hadley, Hampshire  (10/5/07)

Lescott for England

I just wanted to be the first to say well done to Joleon on his England B call out. Hopefully he can play centre-back and get full recognition soon after. Think he's better than Dawson and King, could be better than Ferdinand, so his got a great chance. Joleon, well done, son, and fully deserved!
Trevor Tannenbaum, Haverhill, Suffolk  (10/5/07)

Smell the coffee Michael

Paul Atress claims that a Top 10 finish and a good run in the UEFA Cup would be a decent attempt next season and but Michael demands that nothing less then a Top 4 finish will do.

Are you serious Michael? You expect Everton to break into the Big 4 despite the UEFA Cup curse?

Let's not forget that the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool (now armed with the Gillett fortune) will easily spend David Moyes entire transfer budget on a single player.

Arsenal are probably the only team in the Big 4 that could be caught but thats going to be very difficult.

Personally I would be happy if Everton got past the group stages of the UEFA Cup and managed to challenge Spurs and Newcastle for the best-of-the-rest (5th) Premiership title.

Yo're asking for the impossible Michael, you expect Moyes to break into the Top 4 when he's not being given a level playing field. Those four clubs get richer every season and further away from the likes of Spurs and Everton.

Imagine a league where every single team had £20 million to spend every season, no more no less, an equal playing field, I would back Moyes to capture the Premiership title in three seasons.

That's a dream world though Michael just like your unrealistic ambitions for a Top 4 finish next season.

At least we can claim to have had one Top 4 finish in recent years, something poor old Spurs are desperate for and unlikely to ever get.
Barry Barnaby, Warsop  (10/5/07)

Just great to see the Moyes apologists shy away from the challenge of even partial greatness for the new legend. Note: I didn't even challenge him to win anything! Just show some more progress... You say it's impossible... yet he already did it! So why is that a dream world? — Michael


Some time ago I aired my view about the need/possibility of Fans Trust, and it was promptly ridiculed by Michael. However, since then 2-3 other posters have come up with the same idea and every time you dismissed it with the words that there is a lack of interest among us Evertonians.

What if there is such an interest? What will happen if this interest is structured? ToffeeWeb is powerful tool, maybe if you show some interest as well, something can be done. It won't be easy but it is possible.

I am fed up with the way this club is run and will be more than happy to invest in something like this. There are a lot of small shareholders and to consolidate them into one block will be hard, but if we can do this (to get more than 25% of the shares), the fans would have some influence on the board and at least we will have some transparency about club affairs.
Stefan Tosev, Vienna,Austria  (10/5/07)

Michael is, sadly, right in being "dismissive" (though I doubt very much he's as dismissive as you suggest of the idea). With Mr Kenwright getting his mate to secure the Gregg family shareholding in Everton, it now gives him a massive block vote should the shit ever hit the fan, so to speak. Back when he was wheeling out that goon Samuelson, the "lifelong follower of Everton", before that particular AGM, he knew that he hadn't a cat in hell's chance of getting the Fortress Sports Fund takeover through as the maths simply didn't add up in his favour. However, Kirkby looming, the goalposts have shifted overwhelmingly in his favour. We have been warned, vote or no vote! ? Colm

Stefan, back in January, I made the hugely generous offer to found and single-handedly operate the ToffeeWeb Trust. Guess how may Promisory Notes I issued to share-hungry fans who wanted to be part of this fantastic new venture? Which reminds me... I don't remember seeing the colour of your money (note: Euros gladly accepted). ? Michael

Stay positive

I find all this Moyes criticism amazing. We were on the verge of relegation on at least two occasions and looking pretty sick when he arrived. Maybe it has taken five years to get to where we are now but nobody in their right mind would say we weren't better off player-wise than for many years.

We do need at least three quality players to push on from here but I think we know Moyes is aware of that. We all know the restrictions he has worked under. He has made mistakes in signings but these are outweighed by his succeses.

It's very easy to sit and be critical but its a damned sight harder to turn a festering club into the one we have now. I believe he has every right to expect our support and not the "well let's see where we are next year brigade". Do you not believe after everything we have seen that he shares our desires?

Maybe the football is not "school of science" as yet but I believe that he can deliver that. If not, get rid and start all over again!!
Tony Lea, Tideswell  (10/5/07)

Good points made. Some of the criticism of Moyes I feel is a bit OTT from time to time, borne out of frustration as much as anything else. I believe those who willingly want Moyes to fail do their cause no favours whatsoever. If he ends up making an arse of himself in the years ahead, then so be it, they can come out and give us all the great "I told you so...."

On the other hand, there's areas aplenty where Moyes has rightly earned the wrath of many Evertonians who've been reared on better than what's often been served. Perhaps that night against Spurs at home will indeed be a pivotal night in the tenure of Mr Moyes after all? I can only speak for myself but I want him to succeed at Everton. There's times he drives me up the friggin' walls and other times I'd tuck him in if I found him in bed with my missus!

Big summer ahead for him though, mindful of Everton continuing to give feck all away regarding the impending move out to Kirkby and the need for squad strengthening upon the back of this, a successful season. ? Colm

Re:Paul O'Hanlon's statement ........

Michael, I do believe your reply to Paul O'Hanlon's comment of EFC being in the bottom three, when Moyes arrived, was also incorrect I believe. If memory serves me correctly (uh oh) I thought Everton were only out of the bottom three by goal difference, or by one point and I believe we were 16th in the table, not 15th prior to the game with Fulham. Don't mean to be pedantic at all Mike, just trying to clear a point up..... also e-mailing Toffeeweb for the first time in three years, this was a relatively an easy one to start with!

Unfortunately, I too still live in the 60's and 80's with my beloved Everton Football Club, (when we truly did live up to our motto).

At this moment in time, 5th place in the table is the best we can hope for, if we ever get an influx of money, then indeed the top four should be beckoning, but will it be with Davey Moyes and/or Bill Kenwright?

As always Lyndon, Michael and Colm, still a great website, cheers lads!
Tommy Davis, Sherwood, TX, USA  (10/5/07)

Bloody hell! Tommy Davis!!! Walton's finest! How the bloody hell are yer Sir! Drop you a line when I get a chance Tommy at the addy supplied. When are you next over? Tommy, y'know in days of old when you were rightly appointed as Patron Saint of the Everton Optimists Society....well, there's this fella on here by the name of "Richard Dodd", and.... - Colm

Tommy, you old dawg, we were 15th. Trust me. Or click here! ? Michael

4th and a good Uefa Cup?

Michael, I share the optimism in your response to Paul Atress' "Uefa Cup Problems" but I think you're demanding it to be "a need" is a little much for Moyes.

It would definitely prove something to push into fourth and maybe make the semis of the Uefa but just making top six and making steps to finding some silverware or maybe grabbing one would be an appropriate step.

The funds we have are clearly lacking and I think progress at all would be a good step for Moyes. Ending the yo-yo season placing and achieving a consistent top six would be good for a season or two and then we can look above. I don't quite think we have broken that Big Four just yet. Unless Moyes wins a lottery.
Joey Brown, Athens, GA, USA  (10/5/07)

Onwards and hopefully upwards. Can't see us making that breakthrough though in the current climate. Them goalposts are forever shifting, forever in the favour of our lovable G14 chums. ? Colm


Ok, so we've apparently got £20 million to spend this summer. We're unlikely to raise much extra from selling players, as Wright and Pistone are out of contract and we'll get comparatively little return on Naysmith, Van der Mayde or Beattie.

We do desperately need to fill out the squad with a European push in mind, so we should be looking at free transfers to boost numbers outside the starting eleven. I'd definitely take Micheal Ball, and Silvain Distin would be an asset too. He may well compliment Lescott and Yobo and, if he doesn't settle in, we could always flog him for a fee. Either way, we can't really go into the new season with Stubbs and Yobo as our recognised centre-back pairing and Lescott as the only cover.

Our midfield does need strengthening as, if we have a four of Osman Carsley Cahill and Arteta and we don't have either Andy VdM or Fernandes available next term, we've got nothing in reserve. I'd hold out for bargain fee for Barton, with Jagielka also a favourite of mine. Same with Fernandes, we look like a good side with him tucked in on the left as he has all the flair of a winger, with the strength of a more withdrawn midfielder. We should get him if we can at all knock them down.

So, knock City down to £3.5m for Barton, snap up Fernandes for £8.0m (I haven't heard of any other takers for either)..maybe offer Beattie in part-exchange for Nugent? Or if we can get about £3 mill for him, put that towards the Preston man. Distin and Ball on frees...maybe that would leave a couple of million for us to gamble on a lower league midfielder or right back.
Simon Birdsey, Northwich  (10/5/07)

On behalf of the Editor of this veritable website may I shout from the rooftops, "Football Manager ALERT!" - Colm


What do you guys think about this EvertonWay initiative? Are we not giving away our trade secrets to competitors for 50 quid a year?

Some shite small Premiership club with no decent academy can rip all our techniques off no?
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (10/5/07)

What's that then ? teaching them how to play hoofball and head-tennis!?!

What a crosser

I had to smile at Colm?s reminiscence about Davey Thomas, a better crosser of the ball would be hard to find ? not just lumping the ball up into the box from deep but taking it to the byline and whipping it across box ? scared defenders to death. I have to wonder though if a Thomas-type winger would fit into style played today by our beloved Blues? Not only would the expectation of defensive workrate and ?compact? defensive shape tend to rule out such a talent, but do we have someone up front without corners on their head to put the ball away when it arrives? How many headers did our forwards actually score this year?

An interesting summer ahead, plenty to speculate on. I haven?t a clue who young David will in bring in, but his stated preference for young British talent (is that code for ?Scottish? or ?high-workrate? or ?knows-how-to-hoof-it? perhaps?) might mean we aren?t that surprised by who he ends up buying. Available money will clearly dictate who he can afford, which sadly might preclude any hope of keeping Mr Fernandes. Hopefully, he has learned his lessons from the past few years, and brings in players early so they can integrate with the team before we have to play against the plumbers from Lithuania or the bricklayers from Slovakia.

All in all, lots to look forward to, ?Up the Blues!? (copyright KB)
Greg Dawson, Not in Walton anymore.  (10/5/07)

Paul O'Hanlon's piece on Moyes

Michael is right to say that Everton were not in the bottom three when Moyes arrived. But surely, there are not many who believed we would not finish in the bottom three. We were one point above it, if my memory serves. But on form, we were bottom two along with the Black Cats.

I thought I'd seen my worst Everton performance (and, boy there have been a few) that season on Boxing Day. We went down 3-0 to Charlton, and we played Unsworth and Gemmill in centre mid. Does that make you wince? The Echo was full of "Gravesen threatens to leave". He'd had enough ? and so had most of us.

Over the next three months before the Moyes appointment, Everton won one league game. It was at home to free-falling Sunderland (1-0). Walter was in the job purely because we were still in the Cup. Then we went down to a very poor 'Boro side, 3-0. I saw it on TV and remember Hansen saying at 1-0 down "you can't see Everton scoring; they're just not scoring goals".

And thank God we didn't score. In came Moyes and we win 4 of the next 7 games, and stay up. And, yes I did love the attacking team he had, which seemed to go away in his second full season. But, I think it is coming back.

Without Moyes, where would we be today? I don't even want to think about it. But I do remember hearing one Radio 5 commentator saying: ?In recent years, I?ve always thought that Everton had enough to get out of trouble, they were not one of the three worst teams. I don?t think so this time, and I think they will go down.? I felt EXACTLY the same. Surely, we were not alone.
Roberto Birquet, London  (10/5/07)

WRT Paul Hanlon

When was the last time we had a semblance of consistency in the management team and club? Royle cracked; Walter was lied to; Kendall (according to reports and rumours) loved the bottle a bit more than Everton during the second and third phases, and was the reason Speed left.

Moyes went in with his eyes open, knew the limitations and we are seeing the signs on the pitch a dynasty is in the process of being built. There are times I bemoan the substitutions tactically etc, and have been critical at home, but I believe we are onto a decent side. Bear in mind that Everon are not the attraction we once were, and even then we struggled to get players eg Lineker when he came back to England. It took Fergie a few trophies before they were destination of first choice for most good players coming to England and Chelsea have the money! nuff said on that.

BTW, there were a couple of postings where people have referred to comments from PNE supporters stating that he could not take them to the next level. He has been gone from PNE for 5 years ? Davis couldn't take them to the Premeiership, jumped ship for Derby where he has almost failed again, and Simpson the same.
Damascene Taylor, Cape Town South Africa  (10/5/07)

Yes, fascinating history lesson... but what bearing does it have on whether Moyes will deliver next season? Or will we crash and burn in Europe (again) and spend a good part of the league season at the bottom of the table (again)? On second thoughts, no, don't answer that. — Michael

Anyone but Owen

Just read Paul Quinn's suggestion of Michael Owen as a possible transfer target and nearly spewed coffee all over my computer screen. OWEN??? Granted, he's a good player when fit, but I would have thought the fact that he only plays two games a season and spends the rest in the physio room would preclude any bid for him. Still, if he did sign, there would at least be some company for Shandy Andy and our other terminally injured players.
Neil Humphrey, Oldham  (10/5/07)

Official Programme

Anyone notice that the centre pages of the Everton Official Programme "Golden Shot" feature, for the Portsmouth game last week, shows the Everton team of 23 April 1966 celebrating the FA Cup semifinal win against Man Untd.

Right in the middle is Alan Ball, who did not sign for us till the following August ... you couldn't make it up!
Ron Joynson, South Devon  (10/5/07)

''Moyes's Big Chance'' ? ???

You have failed to mentioned Moyes has created this chance for himself. Turning this club around from relegation club to European qualifiers.

Also 'Finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel?' What a load of bollocks, the majority of Everton fans have seen all season; we are only a couple of players off a very good starting eleven.
Gary Johnson, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

Well said, Paul O'Hanlon

Well said Paul, and I remember the 80s, and the 70s and the 60s and, oh dear, the 50s!! I too hate to think where we would be now if David Moyes had not been appointed Manager ? and my name isn't Dodd!!!
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (10/5/07)

Joey Barton

I can't honestly say I have heard comments myself but I have been led to believe that certain sections of our crowd of supporters have given Joey a very hard time. We all know about his brother but that is the point. It was his brother who has finished up in jail for murder. As a consequence, Joey has been the target for the great unwashed in our band of supporters.

It is not surprising then that a lad, naturally aggressive, will lose his cool from time to time? It's not something to accept but is understandable. If we sign the lad, I hope the management and all our Evertonians will do everything to make Joey feel he's among supporters who do just that... support Joey Barton. I suggest we may then find we have got an acquisition we can be proud of.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (10/5/07)

Now, now... play nice

Come on gang, lay off poor Doddy; he's as entitled to his quirkiness as much as anyone who sits next to you on the bus. I think he needs to find something which which to occupy himself over the Summer; perhaps as head honcho at one of the new pressure groups? We All Need Kirkby and Keep Everton In Our City are taken but, as mentioned in a previous post, the chair of Keep Our Club Successful Under Kenwright is up for grabs. If Doddy has an opening in his agenda, I'm sure Mr K could oblige him with something to fill it.
Phil Bellis, L8  (10/5/07)

David Jones's article: ''Moyes's Big Chance''

I'm sure some of my fellow Evertonians still live in the 1980s. Maybe it's because I only started going the game in 1989 and have spent more time watching our club fighting at the bottom of the league than the top, that I can see what we've now got... a good manager who's built a solid, young, promising team on a very modest budget.

"This summer is David Moyes's big chance to prove to myself and his many other doubters that he is indeed 'learning'...and that he may actually be 'up to the job' after all."

When Moyes took over the club we were in the bottom 3 and going down. We hadn't just fallen there that season from our title winning glory days, we'd been in and around the bottom 3 for the majority of the previous 8 seasons! That isn't my opinion...that's fact. We were there because our team was woeful and we belonged there. I'm fed up of reading articles on here about how we should be expecting more from Moyes because of our history and club motto...that means nothing on the pitch! A manager can only work with what he's got, both quality on the pitch and money in the bank and Moyes didn't have much of either when he arrived.

"I still think it has maybe taken longer than it should have but getting there is what matters"

Can someone answer me this (maybe even David Jones)... How long should it take a manager to take a bottom 3 side and turn them into a top 6 Premiership side with little to spend? Most managers couldn't do it, a lot have tried with more money to spend.

I don't call Moyes the Moyesiah, but I am grateful he's our manager.

To sum up I read an article the other week in one of the nationals which talked about our failed Kings Dock bid. As we all know the deal collapsed because we were unable to guarantee our share of the money for a project that would've created a stadium on one of Europe's prime available locations. In my opinion the reason we couldn't attract such a small investment in modern day football was because we were a relagation threatened club. The journalist of the article obviously shares my view as he then posed the question... "Where would Everton be now if Moyes had arrived a just few years earlier?" Couldn't put it better myself.
Paul O'Hanlon, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

It doesn't bode well for the realiability of your judgement on David Moyes when you can't even get the most basic of facts right. Everton were NOT in the bottom three when David Moyes took over. They weren't even in the bottom five: they were 15th. — Michael

I Agree!

With Cahill, Arteta, if we added Fernandes and Barton I think there would be a few envious teams.

But we must still play two upfront and, as good as Carsley has been, we need to do away with the totally defensive-minded midfielder... to this we must lose Stubbs in defence so we can have two decent and PACEY centre backs.

Let's wait and see!!!
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (10/5/07)

"Wait and See!!!" You're in the wrong place for that, Sonny.

The Art of Moyes

I must admit to being neither pro- nor anti-Moyes. We all know that we've enjoyed/endured a mixed bag of performances and results since he took over. I just don't see the point in each of us assigning ourselves to the pro or anti lobby and then defending our position with each win/loss whilst berating fellow supporters in the opposite camp. I think every blue would agree that he's done a good job (not brilliant) with the limited resources available and if it were a school report he'd get a 'good effort but could do better'.

My biggest criticism of him, however, would be his emphasis on work ethic which often results in route one high efficiency football; the way he has handled Fernandes demonstrates his underlying beliefs.

I don't buy this argument that flair players are a luxury which we can't afford to have. If you think back to the decent performances and goals over this last season, all the memorable bits were when Everton actually decided to play the ball on the deck, attack the opposition and show some ability, Arteta's goal against Bolton, Tottenham away, Liverpool home, Portsmouth at home, Fernandes against Utd etc. etc.

A previous poster said you don't win anything with 10 Arteta's which is certainly true but neither do you win anything with 10 Phil Nevilles. I'd just like to see Moyes take a gamble on Fernandes and try to produce a footballing team.

My biggest wish would be for us to get back to our stylish roots playing decent football which this club traditionally stands for and who knows, we might just achieve consistency and a cup run because of it.

Keep up the good work with ToffeeWeb. It's far and above the best site for blues fans and the mailbag is the best way of hearing the views of other bluenoses.
Craig Walker, Leamington Spa  (10/5/07)

Thanks, Craig. And if only yours could be the last word on this fractious subject until next season... now wouldn't that be a nice Summer Holiday!!! — Michael

Everton on the move...

Do you think he's after a way out? I hope so. If that were the case, why doesn't he look at letting the fans buying in a la Barca?

My fear is that he probably wants the investment as well as staying on as Chairman which means he'll continue to put his ego before EFC.
Ravo Stanley, Walton  (10/5/07)

The move to Kirkby could indeed be a part of an exit srategy for Bill Kenwright. The incredible silence on any money angle for the Kirkby deal (or any substantive aspect of the deal, for that matter) makes it difficult to do anything other than speculate, but getting Everton out of the City, out from under the looming shadow that the New Anfield will cast across Stanley Park, is apparently seen as a crucial step in bringing in major new investment... investment that would likely see ownership/control of the club change hands and Bill make a nice tidy profit on hisshares.

To answer your first question, why don't we become a fan-owned club? This would have to be a top-down decision, and the club's major owners have never shown any sign of being interested in disbursement of shares to the unwashed masses. Likewise, there is a distinct lack of interest among the Everton fanbase in anything like a fans trust or other model to bring about fan ownership of Everton FC.

Having said that, Everton shares are usually available for purchase by private treaty... they are just rather expensive, the going rate probably being in the range £1500 to £1800. Perhaps someone who has bought a share recently could confirm? — Michael

Dickie Dodd

I always wonderd where "Comical Ali" got off to when we got into Baghdad... Well you're here mate aren't you, living under a nom de plume. He put out some shit propaganda but you, lad, you just put out shite.

Dont mention Moyes's name in the same breath as Big Joe until he wins something. You would not find one of Royle's teams getting beat 7-0 by Arsenal, Dickie.

Your comical value is now starting to wear thin on this site for me, do me a favour over the Holidays: get a life, you sad boardroom propagandist.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (10/5/07)

Statto Correction

Re: 2006-07 away games defensive record (18 goals in 18 games), the 1987-88 season I mentioned in my recent post was of course the campaign immediately FOLLOWING our last Championship success.

Chelsea goalfest permitting, this season could be one of the five best in our entire history! Other sub-20 goal seasons:

  • 1987-88 (18 goals in 20 games)
  • 1969-70 (15 goals in 21 games
  • 1914-15 (15 goals in 19 games)
  • 1910-11 (19 goals in 19 games)
  • 1890-91 (17 goals in 11 games)
My anorak is now folded away until August.
Alan Chadwick, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

Owen anyone?

Owen appears to be uncertain to stay at Newcastle. Given our previous 'interest' in him, will we show interest this time?
Paul Quinn, London  (10/5/07)

Optimism a 'Breath of Fresh Air'

Dave Jones's comments are bang on the money. Some flair midfielders will improve us no end. Barton and Fernandes I think are a must, and the Wayne Bridge suggestions are also great. These are the type of players a club in European football should be attracting. If Moyes pulls it off then I belive we are well on our way.

Just to add, I am seriously wondering where we can fit Cahill into all of this. With him in the team, we almost have to play 5 in midfield. Would it be worth cashing in on him to fund say Fernandes? Discuss.
Craig Taylor, Leicester  (10/5/07)

Eeek! We need goalscorers. Yes, we've done better this season than anyu other under Moyes, ut we are still not scoring enough goals to trouble the big boys. Cahill should give us the option to mix things up. But he doesn't because Moyes is so poor at changing a game. — Michael

Uefa Cup Problems

Next season could be tricky ? and not just because, under Moyes, Everton seem to have a good season followed by a bad season. The Uefa Cup can make things difficult for teams; this season, West Ham have struggled, Newcastle and Blackburn have failed to make any impact lazing mid-table, and even Spurs never really got going in the Premiership until they were knocked out of the Uefa Cup.

Our brief adventure into Europe a couple of seasons ago more or less was to blame for that season's awful start and resulting mid-table finish. Let's hope Moyes has learned from that and next season will see Everton have a nice Euro campaign and retain a Top 10 Premiership place.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

As usual, you place the bar too low. We are now a top 5 side, surely to god, and yet you would accept being anywhere in the top 10? Here's the challenge, if Moyes really is a good manager, and really is making progress in the league since finishing 7th four seasons ago: He needs to push us into the the top 4 AND make significant progress in the Uefa Cup. Nothing less will do.

Showing he has the antidote to this all-too-common Uefa Cup maliase really would convince me that perhaps he is a good manager. I think it's a massive challenge, as history and examples show repeatedly... but it is not impossible. Is he up for it? — Michael

Building a squad

So many gaps, so little money! If (and it's not certain yet) we get into the Uefa Cup, it's obvious we will need to bolster the squad and I think it's defence that needs the most attention, not midfield or attack.

Tom Brown points out that Yobo will be away for a month at African Cup of Nations (and come back either knackered or injured knowing our luck!) so cover is needed at centre-back right away. Left-back is also a big problem. Valente is class but unlikely to stay fit. Pistone should be gone in summer and Naysmith is worse than useless. Play Lescott? Not for a period when Yobo is away as he will be playing centre-back alongside Stubbs.

This is a real situation looming that needs planning for, so instead of wasting money on Nugent or Barton (vastly overated as a player and a real shit of a person who trails disruption and problems wherever he goes) we should be buying/loaning at least two defenders ? an experienced centre back and a left back. Silvestre and/or O'Shea from Manchester United may be two on Moyes mind?

Let's also keep in mind that young Vic might also be called up by Nigeria. It's nice to play FM and dream who we can get in but the reality is that most of the transfer budget will be needed to fill gaps rather than fund an expansion of the quality or numbers in the squad.
Ray Said, Liverpool  (10/5/07)


Speaking of full-backs, what about going back for Michael Ball before he signs long-term for Manchester City? He's BLUE, better than any of our current options, could even play as a centre-back (remember the good old WS days?), of a good age (27 I reckon) plus, he'd probably cost next to nothing.

Oh yeah, if he had the cheek to stamp on Ronaldo at the Manchester derby, he'd probably do the same, or worse, to Rooney when he showboats again at GP next season.
Ram Gurung, Exeter  (10/5/07)

With supporters like you...

"I hope we do get points docked and kicked out of Europe because we fucking deserve it. Everton Football Club and its history are dead and buried and that twat Moyes and his shitehouse boss are to blame. Some fucking leaders we have got."

Mr Marsh, this says it all about you! I need add nothing.
Chris Mckenny, Huyton  (10/5/07)

Sometime poor Tony just goes way over the top. It's sad in a way that he is so willing to neutralise all the sensible things he writes with nonsense like this. ? Michael

Thanks for the reminder, Peter Fearon

While Peter states in his article that he does not support a move to Kirkby (who does at an emotional level?), I thank him for raising the issues as he did. These are pretty much the same arguments I have been using for what seems like months and which did not make me too popular on this website!

I used the same example of the Manchester clubs and I painted the thumbnail scenario of potential investors arriving in Liverpool to visit Goodison and doing a U-turn outside the old Blue House once they saw the new Anfield on the left and we all know what on the right. In fact, in reality, I do not think investors would get even that far.

This is not a case of 'Oi! I said that first', but rather a thankful recognition that the obvious may be starting to sink in. I did not have the benefit of inside information and I have no idea what the Americans do with their Stadia but football has changed and it is no longer the case that successful football clubs can be maintained with the local mill owner, the butcher and gate receipts paying all the bills.

Football today is big business and big businessmen will not invest if there is too much risk and to illustrate this I have also used in previous posts the example of Tesco never considering building (or investing in) a Supermarket a mile away from an Asda and Vice Versa. You invest where you are assured of the largest customer base and where there is the minimum of competition. In business, competition is what you avoid and if you can't avoid it, you kill it off. It is ruthless but football, whether we like it or not, is now a part of that world.

A few days ago Charlton Athletic were relegated. The following day, the likelihood of a £50 million investment/takeover was announced. If it was remotely about football does anybody seriously think that an investor would go for a club like Charlton while ignoring a club like Everton? But it is no longer about football it is about business whether or not the investment comes from somebody with a passing interest in the game. Charlton is an attractive proposition for no other reason than it is in London (largest possible customer base) and the local competition is minimal. The fact that they are relegated does not matter a jot as that can be fixed in time, while the traditions and history of Everton Football Club are meaningless to them (investors) as that means nothing in terms of profits. Profits are made in the future, not in the past, no matter how glorious it was.

I am as sad as anybody that football has come to this but that is the way it is and there is no way back. We have the Premier League, Sky TV, greedy players and greedy investors and to some extent ourselves to thank for it. We have to move or the competition could kill us off. It is as simple as that. If this process had been happening in 1985 it may well have been us rebuilding on Stanley Park and Liverpool moving on. But it is happening now and we are not in a position to kill off the competition.

Anybody interested in previous posts could look at 'Stadium Blues' 12 March and Convenient allies... etc (by my husband) 5 May. In the Fans Comment archives.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (10/5/07)

Moyes without peer

In reponse to Ron Marchant, nobody has said that David Moyes is the greatest manager who ever lived ? only that he is without peer in Everton`s modern (Premier) history. I know Joe Royle has his advocates on this site but although he won us an FA Cup (does that count for much, anymore?) his very un-Everton Dogs of War style never endeared him to the masses who were glad that his tenure was not extended.

No less than 90% of us feel we are in good hands so Marchant will have to continue to suffer ? in silence preferably!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (10/5/07)

You're getting quite chirpy now that the elections are over... more time on your hands?

Never Mind.....

Sidwell, Barton, Nugent whoever and ever amen.

Mikky Arteta has said on numerous occasions this season that he wants to stay at Everton. So why, pray tell me, are we not signing him up to a long term contract? At least if there were teams to come in for him it would take a great offer from them if he was tied up in a longer contract.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (10/5/07)

... Or would it? Word is the Spanish wizard (or more probably his agent) is looking for a new contract with Everton, and they are asking for £60k per week. Hence that little statement "It's for to the club to decide what they do with me." If Everton decide to play hardball, look for Arteta to rapidly go from hero to zero in time-honoured PR spin fashion... — Michael


In response to a previous e.mail, I will NOT change my tune about Joey Barton. He might come in and do okay for a couple of games but he will not produce for the entire season ? just look at his stats for City. When I think of Barton I think of the odd decent goal but primarily his thuggish type displays, which he is famous for.

In my opinion, signing Barton over Fernandez is a disgrace. It shows Everton are miles away from the 'big 4' ? not only off the pitch but also the thinking on the pitch. The top 4 clubs would happily sign Fernandez and not even bother to listen to Willy McKay's messages... DISGUSTED.
Shez Khan, Birmingham  (10/5/07)

Car Boot Sale

There are some jokers on here, la.

How can we not afford Fernandes? It's a joke! We could easily afford him with the money off players we could sell in the summer! Considering Moyes seems like a good salesman when considering the moolah we got for Kilbane an Bent, how about this:

  • Pistone - £18k off the weekly wage bill.
  • Beattie ? £4M and at least £20k off the weekly wage bill.
  • Van der Meyde ? £20k at least off the weekly wage bill.
Those three alone would more than compensate for the finance to buy fernandes. Would we miss those three players? Would we fuck! They have hardly played this season anyway... If we don't get Fernandes then Moyes is a bigger tosser than I thought.
Rob Muldoon, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

Another big season ahead

Just reflecting on the salient points raised by Keith Gibson in his post and on the season as it draws to a close and I would agree that stability is the key to continued progress.

Moyes's tenure to date has been both equally frustrating and rewarding, almost schizophrenic-like in parts with some highs and huge lows. I'm not a Moyes apologist, in fact I was one of the knee jerk brigade that wished for his dismisal following the humiliation away against West Brom.

However, Moyes has worked within a budget, assembled a more youthful squad and advocates a sustainable period of growth and stability often referred to as his five-year plan. The days of chopping and changing our manager have long gone, which has coincided with an upturn in our fortunes and it remains interesting to see those like Newcastle adopting this gung-ho approach and suffering the consequences.

This close season will undoubtedly be interesting, no major surgery this time required to the team but some crucial decisions also needed in terms of player acqusition and squad strengthening. The attraction of Uefa Cup football along with the draw of a new training facility will hopefully serve to sweeten any potential transfer prospects.

I would have to admit that, although the brand of football under Moyes has been at times agricultural, is there anyone else out there ? given the task that he faced ? equally measurable? Evertonians quite rightly expect huge strides in progress, but a lesson learned as this has to be earned in the modern game.
Peter Laing, Liverpool  (10/5/07)

Barton or bust

Just writing to say something about this whole Barton issue. Do we really need him in our squad?

He's disruptive, he's been at the centre of attention surrounding his transfer from Man City over the last couple of seasons, he fights with fellow players. What if he gets upset with us? Is Moyes going to have to him make excuses for him, like Pearse? I think Diop from Fulham would be a better player than Barton for us. Conclusion: NO to Barton.
Allan Williamson, Ashbourne, Ireland  (10/5/07)


Sylvain Distin is out of contract this summer. We're set to lose Yobo for teh African Nations Cup. I don't want to get all FM on your ass but does this not seem like a great potential signing and a player of the kind of calibre we need so much?
Xan Wesson, Southport  (10/5/07)

Tim Howard Fuss

A quick look at the original announcment of the Tim Howard transfer deal seems to clear up the fuss. It states he signed a five-year deal starting from the 2007-08 season and is currently still on loan until the end of the current season under the original loan terms. Premiership loan rules state that he couldn't play against Utd. Seems fairly straightforward - he's still on loan.

Of course, if I can seemingly solve the issue in ten minutes you have to wonder why its taking the combined might of the Premier League, FA, clubs and press so long to figure it out.

I don't think we should have had to drop him mind and the fuss has raised a few good questions over the fairness and transparency of the loan system.
Steve Murray, Birmingham  (10/5/07)

Only one small problem: it wasn't true. He is not still on loan.

As trumpeted elsewhere on the Official Website, Tim Howard was transfered to Everton as a permanent player, ending the loan arrangement with Man Utd on 14 February 2007. He is no longer on loan, and he was not on loan when Everton played Man Utd on 28 April 2007. The rule prventing him from playing against his former club no longer applied.

The reason he did not play was because of a "gentleman's agreement" between Everton and Manchester United to the effect that, if United were still in with a shout of the title, Everton would elect not to play their new goalie. That constitutes what is known as "third-party interference" in football and is illegal under Rule U18 of the Premier League.

However, because it was not part of any written agreement, there was no proof (even though both David Moyes and Ian Ross have referred to the arrangement) and the Premier League were happy to drop the issue minutes before United were crowned Premiership Champions last Sunday. Hope this helps. ? Michael

Full back?

Just reading on the BBC website and it appears the Wayne Bridge may be unsettled at Chelsea. Why not sign him? He's quality and better than what we've already got. We could get him for what ? £3M?
Michael Cummins, Sussex  (10/5/07)

Always rated him myself. Saw Davey Thomas introduced to the crowd before the recent Man Utd game and the groans that went up by myself and those around me "of a certain age" who recall Thomas down that left flank whipping in ball after ball after ball. Quality. Sheeds was the only player ever to compare. Thinking of modern-day players with the skill to do likewise, it was Bridge's name who kept popping up amongst the few of us still salivating at the sight of Davey Thomas out there! ? Colm

Bring me the head of David Moyes??

In our manager, we have a perfect example of how building a successful team in the premiership is not a two-season job. Just take a look back in Toffeeweb's mailbox (and articles from its so-called learned writers) to see how many people were crying for him to be replaced at the end of the disappointing 2005-06's season.

Personally, I like his determination and perseverance, and I like his unwillingness to spend money on players just because people and the media expect him to. Take a lesson, Freddy Shepherd, and well done to the Everton powers that be. The foundations are definitely there, we're attracting a better class of player in the transfer market, and I'm feeling strangely positive for a life-long Evertonian who is used to disappointment.

Happy days!
Steve Irving, Southport  (10/05/07)


Sure I read it somewhere at the time, but even if I didn't, wouldn't it be fair to say that Real bought the wrong midfielder when they bought Gravesen (who would swap Carsley for Gravesen now?). If anyone wanted a solid ball-winning midfielder, who do you think they should have chosen at the time, of the two baldy Everton players?

Get Barton but sign up Carsley as cover and, dear I say it, as a mentor to Barton, assuming he is signed. He'd have 4 / 5 years start on the great Peter Reid to carve out a truly great Everton career.

Hard to know the price for Fernandes but if Barton can be signed for £5.5M it looks cheaper than any quoted price for Fernandes.

We'd end up with midfield choices from Carsley, Arteta, Barton, Cahill, Osman, Neville, AvdM and at a pinch Naysmith (even Lescott could play on the left side of midfield, although see final comment below). Could be better I guess but not bad for a further outlay of £5.5M.

We could then focus on what I belive the real problem to be ? another centre back for the future / cover for Stubbs, Lescott & Yobo.

Final point ? been reading this for years from work. Now we have the computer at home I'll probably become a pain as I can now join in.
Andy Crossen, Auckland, New Zealand  (10/5/07)

Welcome aboard, Andy. One thing though, yer man Barton's not fit to even lace Carsley's boots. ? Colm

Think Big

Now that Moyes is restored to his position as the greatest manager who ever lived, I wonder what excuses his followers will have when he fails to come up with the goods this summer? Whilst people continue to rave over the `bargain` that was Andy Johnson, the little man has hardly broken any scoring records and it is again the defenders and holding mid-fielders that have caught the eye.

With rumours abounding that Kilbane and Ball are amongst the bargains being lined up, I can see little hope of our making an impact in Europe ? let alone breaking into the top tier. Everton need to think big... something impossible under the current management.
Ron Marchant, Wirral  (10/5/07)

Don`t speak too soon

I see David Jones feels that Moyes may have turned the corner. My take on the situation is that only the drubbing we gave him after the Spurs game ? and probably a few carefully chosen words from Blue Bill ? has led to his change of attitude in the closing weeks.

Like Jones, I have found the Moyes of late to appear arrogant. Perhaps there are too many Richard Dodds writing in to tell him he`s a genius but, in any event, there has certainly been a change of attitude and demeanour since Spurs.

Can ? or will ? he sustain this positive approach next season? I doubt it. A couple of early season set-backs and up will come the drawbridge as we fight to get the sacred 40 points.

I don`t rate Moyes; never have, never will. Back to mid-table next season.
Ben Towler, Skelmersdale  (10/5/07)

Enjoy summer, Ben! ;-) ? Colm

A Bit Late...

Just got back to Singers after a trip to UK, the highlight being the Pompey game. What a great day, meeting up with the old gang for a pint at "The Sally" before the game and reminiscing over the glory years of the 80s.

Then moving up to GP, the place has seen better days for sure, but with a full house the old lady still has more character and impact than any new stadium.

Then the match, well the second half anyway, what a performance once we dropped the long game and started to play it on the floor ? there was never any doubt about the outcome. The one thing about the performance that sticks with me is the link-up play between Arteta and Fernandes, they looked class and capable of opening up any defence. We've got to buy Fernandes, even at £8M.

So, having been back to GP and reaffirmed my allegiance, it made me reflect: irrespective of the ups and downs, never forget that we are lucky, lucky to have been born a Blue. Everton ? a way of life!
Steve Parry, Singapore  (10/5/07)

Amen! ? Colm

Moyes's Big Chance

At last it's good to see the anti-Moyes Brigade start to realise that maybe the club is going in the right direction ? it has taken some time. If David Jones's letter is a good example of their views then there it at least some hope, albeit a grudging acceptance littered with caveats.

If the objective is to have a side in the top 6-8 year-in, year-out, then Moyes will have achieved this in 3 out of the last 5 years, winning manager of the year twice!!! From where we were pre-Moyes, this is a remarakable achievement. I am not a Moyes apologist but I have to say that he has had the cards stacked against him in terms of his ability to compete financially to attract the best players. This has meant gambles on players (in the same way the writer advocates a gamble on Joey Barton ? I remain to be convinced) ? some you win some you don't ? this applies to managers at all levels. Moyes has in general a good record operating with the mid-range level of player he has been able to afford or keep.

The crux of the point is that Moyes is not happy with a 6th- to 8th-place routine position and his long-term strategy is to break us into the the top 4 (and beyond). When financial backing is in short supply, the only way to achieve that goal is to adopt a carefully planned long-term strategy.

OK Moyes has made a few mistakes, but we have yet to see anywhere the perfect manager who is faultless (ie, the world that Moyes's critics appear to frequent). OK the football has not been in the Everton tradition ? yet, but this is a direct function of the quality of player you either attract or can develop. There is no magic wand, we cannot be hit by a car and go back to 1973 (not that '73 is the year I would choose for Evertonians!).

We have Moyes, he is learning and developing and improving the squad year on year. I for one will support the current manager, the alternatives are too difficult to contemplate ? you only need to look as far as Leeds or Newcastle to see the effect of lofty ambition not backed by a long-term plan.

Good to see the critics starting to come round, but I fear nothing would ever please this sort of fan.
Keith Gibson, Ponsonby, Cumbria  (10/5/07)

Good post, Keith. - Colm

Splurge a little?

Does anyone actually know what the estimated transfer budget is going to be? I remember reading something like £25M and I think that is plenty enough to secure Manny (£8M), Barton (£5.5M), and Nugent(£6M-£8M), and have spare change (£5.5M-£3.5M) to pick up a cheap winger and some cheap defensive cover. I mean 2-3 million can still buy some quality back-up. And if we can offload Beatttie and VdM that'd be at least £5M-£8M right? I'm just saying if there's money to spend why not spend it?
Joey Brown, Athens, GA, USA  (10/5/07)

Might it be needed to finance... The Move!!! — Michael

FMs ? Don't Forget African Nations

Fair bit of the old FM going round but haven't heard any mention of the old African Nations Cup - Yobo will be away for quite a while and we have little cover.... Top priority must be a quality centre-back.

This is not the glamour we normally like to think of when dreaming FM, but absolutely essential...
Tom Brown, London  (9/5/07)

Carsley? Plodder?

Did someone call Carsley a plodder in a negative way? Have they watched Everton this season (not the highlights)? Do they understand the first thing about football?

Sorry to be extreme in my reaction - had a beer! But... If there is any Everton fan who cannot understand the massive contribution that Carsley has made this season then I despair for them.

Sure, he is not many people's favourite player. Arteta for instance is a far better watch... but 10 Arteta's will win you absolutely nothing.

Sorry to be patronising, but football is a team game. Different folks for different, erm, roles. Carsley has done an outstanding job in his role this season and deserves a little respect for it. I hope Carsley is with us next year.
Tom Brown, London  (9/5/07)

Well, said, Tom Brown. It's amazing how the massive contribution from Carsley this season has been overlooked. He has actually looked at times more like Gravesen (with thankfully less arm-waving and exposed genitalia (Eeek!)) in that critical midfield stopper role. Good call, Sir! — Michael

My tuppence

Been watching over a few issues in the mailbag recently and decided to throw my tuppence in.

First of all is the "gentleman's agreement" between Everton and the Mancs over Timmy Howard. I seem to recall a similar agreement Liverpool and Man City last season which never so much as raised an eyebrow! How does that saying go? "One rule for one ..."

The second issue which seems to be drawing alot of response is the Barton issue. Personally I'd love to see him at the club; reputation or not, the boy is class. You sometimes have to take the good with the bad. Also Michael Ball is a free agent at the end of the season. What about it, Davey ;)
Paul Price, Toxteth  (9/5/07)

Summer signings

I remember it was not so long ago we were always looking at players way past their prime, the likes of Chris Sutton and and other players in their last couple of seasons at the top. It is no doubt indicative that the players our club brings in can tell you if Everton, as a big club, are moving forward or content to stay in 10th to 5th place. We have a massive opportunity to kick on next season with Europe and big TV money. If we sign young, hungry and talented players to go with our present squad, I believe we can mix it with the big boys next season. COYB.
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (9/5/07)

You've gotta admit it is really funny how everyone talks about how the sqiudzillons of dosh coming in are going to make US great... but nobody else is going to benefit. Okay, some have mentioned that player prices and wage deals are going to go through the roof... As I understand it, all the Premiership teams are going to have more money ? with which to compete for the already limited supply of half-decent players potentially available. Yet another reason to get off this FM thing now, while you still have your sanity!!! — Michael

Response to Rumour Mill

Interesting to read The Rumour Mill! Not sure I can agree that our full backs are sound, and I would put Leighton Baines on the nice to have list, especially if Wigan go down. Alternatively, what about Luke Young? I can't agree with those who think Barton would be a good addition; in my view he's a liability even at £5M which might represent one third of our budget. Koumas might represent better value and he too is an Evertonian. He could be available if baggies aren't promoted! My preference though would be to keep Fernandes at the right price. However I relly would love to see Nugent at Everton with AJ. What a partnership that might be. Must remember to put an extra pound on the lottery tonight!
Les Golding, Evesham  (9/5/07)

Okay, please just tell me now, so that I know and can prepare myself: are we going to get everyone and their mother chipping in with the "I like/don't like [delete as appropriate] Barton/Nugent/Baines/Coracciolo [delete as appropriate]" contributiuns? Coz if we are, I'm going on vacation until it's all over! And I'm going to smash every copy of FM I come across... Honestly, we have no impact on DM's thinking whatsoever. Can't we just let him do his thing and then let's discuss what he manages to deliver? — Michael


I just thought I'd inform you about Joey Barton's agent telling Talksport that his ideal move is a move to Everton. The reason being, we are 5th in the league and Joey and his family are all Evertonians. Seems funny after the way he has said we're not big enough for him on previous occasions.
Danny Jones, Liverpool  (9/5/07)


I find it amazing some of the things these anti-Moyes folk come up with! So, you think he's made more poor buys than good? Let's not dispute he's made some dodgy ones ? Koldrup, Beattie, etc ? but name me a manager who hasn't. It's the nature of the game. But please! Timmy Cahill, Nigel Martyn, Yobo, Arteta, Johnson, Lescott, Tim Howard, and bringing Fernandes in on loan has worked out well even if he doesnt sign permanently. So he will blow all the money, will he? I thought it was 'Dithering Dave', too hesitant in the transfer market by half (see Mikel Forssell)! You cant have it both ways.
Nick King, Pleasantville, KY, USA  (9/5/07)

Statto Alert

With all the talk of "gentlemen's agreements" / Kirkby etc ? of which I congratulate all concerned on their pertinent comments) I thought I would 'lighten' the mood with a statto alert: Should Chelsea's reserves fail to bag a hatful on Sunday, we will record our best defensive away record since the Ratcliffe-inspired Championship-winning days of 1987-88.

My guess is we will take a 3-2 beating, but, even so, a small achievement to be righly appreciative of. All this & 50-plus goals scored... nurse - the screens!

ps: ? Look out for this info soon on Pravda (you know the place...)
Alan Chadwick, Liverpool  (9/5/07)


The comparison between Moyes and Ferguson is futile. It is a very different game these days, in fact it's worlds apart. Ferguson built a team of youngsters into virtual world beaters (yes, they were that good). Today, money talks, fans and ambitious chairmen want success fast, as success on the field equals money in the bank.

The so-called Big Four in this country with the help of the G14 virtually run the game, hence the Howard fiasco and the other lot being allowed back into the CL when in effect they didn't qualify for it. Football is fooked to the extent that if you don't have mega millions to throw at the transfer market then success is very rare.

Look back over the last 5 years at the Prem, FA Cup and to a certain extent the Carling (or whatever it is called these days). Speaks for itself really.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (9/5/07)

Without breaking the bank

There are three players I would like to see us sign that will make a difference to domestic and Euro adventures:

  • Ferrari. Can play anywhere accross the back four, injury free this season and plenty of Euro CL experience. Welcome home, Matteo.
  • Fernandes, this lad will be class.
  • Darren Bent, perfect for what we have now.
That is about £22M ? worst case. Sell BT and Faddy for £6M (not each!). The Everton Bank is not broken. I'll throw you Sidwell in on a free and Barton on a tight contract.

This management lark is easy. A small team that can accomodate any formation. Keep adding to that and we might win something!
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (9/5/07)

Ah... two months of increasingly mindless optimism, combined with an unhealty dose of FM unreality. Don't ya just love the close-season? — Michael

Office joker

Just had a thought around Beattie. He's always laughing and joking on the bench which Moyes gives him credit for being a team player. If I were him, wouldn't you be extremely pissed off if you're the club's second biggest signing and two 18 year olds start games ahead of you? I'd be busting a gut trying to re-gain my place (quite literally in James' case). They say every office needs a token joker, it's a pity ours cost us 6 million quid!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (9/5/07)

Barton for Everton!

Do me a favour. It says everything about Everton's lack of truly forward thinking that we could contemplate signing Barton (someone who really unites a dressing room) and let Mannuel Fernades leave. Maybe if he assaults someone (a kid who supports EFC would be best) and shows his arse to the crowd, we will sign him. Besides Manny and Arteta we have little or no class or creativity in our team, watching them in the same team has been refreshing.
Eddie Falco, Beverly Hills, CA  (9/5/07)

Hear, hear...

Caution required

I've always thought that "home spun" managers such as Moyes always blow it when they are given huge amounts to spend. In my book, he's made more poor buys than good ones and Kenwright will do well to "keep an eye on the shaker" this summer. Fans always assume that if you throw money at a team they'll be successful ? there's plenty of evidence to show it rarely works out.
Matt Douglas, Wavertree  (9/5/07)

Ouch.. the cold hard reality that few here could bring themselves to contemplate. They faithfully believe that spending money is the way to future suyccess... and the more you spend, then natuarally the more success you will bring. Newcastel, Tottenham, and countless other examples notwithstanding! — Michael

You'll love him if he turns it in

I?m no fan of Joey Barton, he?s an outright thug who can't control himself. However, if he does sign for Everton and puts in a string of man-of-the-match performances at the start of next season, you can bet everyone slagging him off now will change their tune pretty damn quickly. Fact.
Jon Berry, Bath  (9/5/07)

If he signs, turns in the kind of performances you describe AND shows himself to be a reformed, well-behaved character (on and off the field) then, yes, I will change my tune ? Lyndon

Moyes versus Ferguson

Eddy Elton's letter comparing Moyes with Ferguson was quite interesting. Just one thing, though: Ferguson won the FA cup in his fifth season which, if I recall correctly, actually saved him is job. Maybe that says something about the ambition of both clubs.
Christopher Woodhouse, Liverpool  (9/5/07)

Money on the line

I totally agree with earlier posters. Kenwright should back Moyes to the tune of £35M-£40M. That way we can really determine if he is up to the task. Arteta and Fernandes should be secured AT ANY COST and Barton should be brought in as well.

In my book we also need a proven goalscorer, a left-back, central defender and a RELIABLE second-string keeper. I'd tell Van der Meyde he was playing in every game and HAD to be fit whilst relegating plodders like Carsley and Osman to fringe status. Only by putting the new money on the line will Everton ever be more than bridesmaids!
Joel Leeman, Ormskirk  (9/5/07)

Sadly, some sources are suggesting that there will be even less money to spend this summer than there was a year ago. We shall have to wait and see but Moyesey has already trotted out the "shopping in the bargain basement" line and the transfer window hasn't even opened yet ? Lyndon

Good Times Are On The Way

This is the time for our great club to decide if we want to progress to the Next Level. If we finish 5th, that makes us the 5th best team in the best league in the world. We could attract quality players to play with our main men. PLEASE SIGN MANNY. I will chip in the first tenner!

But seriously think of our team next season, if we buy right:

Howard *
Yobo *
Lescott *
TBA (or Valente)

Manny *
ahill *
Arteta *

Johnson *
I have put a * next to our quality players. Good times are on the way, fellow blues. COYB ge ya passports out: We're all going on a European Tour. (Unless we loose 15-0 to Chelsea!)
Michael Cummins, Sussex  (9/5/07)

Arrgh... last game of the season... under Moyes... Don't flippin' joke about it! ? Michael

I will say this only once...

I have just thought of a cunning plan! If we all want Everton to pull the stops out and sign Fernandes, why don't we all swallow our pride and register with the official website? Then we can bombard the Club with our demands and they will have to take notice! Won't they? 50,000 e.mails plus all the Aussies, New Yorkers, Singaporeans and Kirkbyites just couldn't be ignored could they?

Even if it WAS ignored it might crash the site and that would be something of a victory in its own right. Follow me lads and lasses. I'm going to send mine to Graeme Sharpe and while I'm at it I'm going to ask him to tell Davey we pupils of the School of Science would be displeased if he chose Joey (psycho) Barton instaed for the sake of a paltry £2.5M quid!

Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (9/5/07)

Tim Cahill to the Toon

It is being rumoured up here that Fat Sam has tried to buy Tim Cahill before but that, IF he comes here and with some real money behind him he will make another big money offer for Tim Cahill. Can anyone confirm or deny?
Paul McFarlane, Toon  (9/5/07)

That's a new one on us. Usually it's Manchester United and Arsenal who are in the hunt for everyone's favourite "box-to-box" midfielder ? Lyndon

It is time to move foward...

According to speculation, Moyes has around £25 million (half of the new television rights money) to invest in the transfer market (player wages also need to taken into account). This is a great opportunity for the club which cannot be wasted.

When we qualified for the Champions League we failed to invest in any decent talent, bringing in the likes of Van der Mayde, Valente, Davies and Krøldrup, who all failed to make any impact. I really do hope that we have learned from our mistakes and will invest in a manner that will help to propel the club foward.

We all know how Moyes operates in the transfer market. He generally targets players with a real work ethic and is also very keen to keep to our wages boundaries. This is all well and good, and has helped to stabalize the club; however, in order to move foward and compete with the 'big clubs', I think we need to re-assess this to a certain extent.

For example, take the Fernandes situation: it seems unlikely that we are going to pay the £8 million that Benfica want. There is no doubting the player's ability, he is of absolute class, though clearly doesn't fit the bill of a 'Moyes' type of player, but he gives the team that something we have been missing ? pace, skill and excitement.

All season we have been overly relying of Arteta, and if he is not performing, Everton don't perform. The introduction of Fernandes to the midfield was nothing short of refreshing and added a whole new element to our play. It was unfortunate that Manny got injured during the loan spell as he did not get to fully establish himself in the team. But from what I saw of him, the £8 million that Benfica are demanding is a risk we should be willing to take.

There is a great chance that this boy could will go on to be a truly great player. But we are Everton, we don't take risks on players, we are too sensible to gamble. Just look at Man Utd and the purchase of Ronaldo, 12 million they paid ? huge risk, but it has paid off. I do understand Moyes' situation and by no means am I saying that Fernandes is the finished article but, with the right coaching, I have no doubt that he could be a top player.

I read today that Preston want up to £8 million for David Nugent, a ridiculous price for a so-called 'England International', and we are strongly linked with coughing up this amount. Nugent is clearly a talented player, but he is unproven in the Premiership, and a player that we don't really need.

And as for Joey Barton ? do we really want idiots like him wearing our shirt? Do we not stand for more than that?
Richie McAuliffe, Leeds  (9/5/07)

Who's laughing now

A couple of years ago, I was at a Spurs away match talking with a couple of fans at half-time. They were saying how we missed Gravesen badly; I said how I thought Arteta was potentially a much better player. They both pissed themselves and told me to get real. Who's laughing now, Eh? Eh?
David O'Brien, Southend on Sea  (9/5/07)

Go for it, Bill!

Everton should give Manu anything he asks for and do the same thing with Fernandes. Pissing around with second-rate players will never see Everton great again and with untold riches coming in from Sky, the club should show its intent.

I know 90% of Evertonians agree with me ? sod the new ground ? we`ll be happy to see all the investment put in the team. That way, Kenwright can be sure of his place in Everton history.
Nigel Downes, Speke  (9/5/07)

Go for broke, I say!

I`m with Andrew Whiteman: Kenwright should `do a Ridsdale` this summer and go all out for glory. Moyes has proved a veritable genius in the tranfer market and needs backing all the way. Of course, you have to realise that it`s not only transfer fees to be found; Mel Stein said "decent players won't get out of bed for less than £50k a week next season" and we shall need at least six of those if we are to make a mark.

Kenwright said that he feared much of the new money would end up on the players` car park ? but who cares as long as we can break into the elite. If it goes tits up, debt no longer holds the fears of the past as you can now walk away with a ten point deduction and become Everton AFC before the last game`s over.

Fabulous game, this New Footie!
Cammie Mac, Bamber Bridge  (9/5/07)

Straight swap

So Man City want to offload Joey Barton, valued at £5.5M. As Man City's strikers couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat, why not offer the prolific Mr Beattie as a straight swap? If he was to bury another two penalties for them he could be top scorer and resurrect his flagging career. Everyone's a winner, methinks!
Lee Jones, Rugby  (9/5/07)

Wrong end of stick

So James Vaughan won young player of the year. That makes a lot more sense.

I probably should have read the page more carefully but why the official web-site chose to name Arteta this season's player of the year and then add a link to last year's winners is beyond me. It confused me. That will teach me to post early morning comments before my first cup of tea.

Anyway how good is Arteta? He's probably the best player to play for Everton since the 1980s. It's hard to believe that David Moyes found him for only a couple of million. What a fantastic bargain. Deal of the century. For the Arteta deal Moyes alone he deserves to be worshipped as the Moyesiah.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (9/4/07)

Re: Six more goals...

It is indeed frustrating that so few goals could have had such a drastic effect on our season. Although I suspect that conceding six less (in the right matches) could have had a similar effect. I prefer though to look at the positive side of this. As Moyes said recently, we've been there or thereabouts in nearly every game this season. I can only think of three or four games where we were deservedly beaten and you could honestly say we didn't deserve anything out of the game. That's got to be a good sign for the future.

However, I disagree that the cause was a lack of fire-power up front. We perhaps could do with a top-class partner for Johnson. I'm still in two minds over Nugent. I worry his presence will limit the development of Vaughan and Anichebe. But maybe that's a small-time mentality and we need to see leaving quality out of the side as a positive also. However, I digress. The root cause of any goal-scoring ills we face is a lack of creativity in the midfield. Prior to Fernandes's arrival, we relied almost entirely on one man: Arteta. He's a gem but with Cahill injured he can't win every game for us. I suspect our strikers' shots/goals ratio is actually very respectable but they simply haven't had as many chances as we'd like.

That said, the seemingly impending arrival of Barton shows Moyes is only too well aware of this deficiency in midfield and we can hope for at least one other to remedy it.

Have to say though, personally I (for once) completely agree with Luq Yussef. Please, Davie and Co, do as much as you can to bring Fernandes to Goodison permanently. Every young player needs working on, not every young player can make Premiership midfielders fall on their arses in packs.
John Holmes, York  (9/5/07)


I know we Scousers are supposed to be thick ? a statement I hotly dispute!! Can't Paul Attress read? It wasn't James MacFadden who was voted Young Player of the Year but Vaughan [and rightly so]

Can we drop the discussions on whether or not we could play Tim Howard against Man Utd? ? It's all getting very boring and I think everything has been said on the subject.
Pat Beesley, Carmarthen  (9/5/07)

And here's James McFadden showing off his well earned accolade! ;-)

? Colm

Uneasy summer

I hear on the grapevine that Arteta`s price for staying at Goodison is a new £60,000 a week contract. That`s the same figure as agents of young Fernandes are demanding and only coppers more than Joey Barton is looking for.

If that`s the new going rate for Premiership quality, Kenwright & Co have an uneasy summer in prospect.
Miles Corner, Wirral  (9/5/07)

`To help yourself`

Slow morning at the office so time to address one or two items in the Mailbag.

First, the ooh-ha about the Howard signing. As I understand it, the only deal on the table ? for any club wishing to sign him this season ? was that Tim would not play against the Mancs. As we could hardly have expected to get much out of the game, Turner was pencilled in to play, anyway, so no doubt Davey thought it a small price to pay. End of.

Official Club Poll on ground move. As it happens, I do know the Club are thinking along the lines that Paul Pritchard indicated. For the vote to mean anything, it must have integrity and it is vital to ensure that all those who register votes are, indeed, Evertonians.

Nothing the Club does is ever right in some people`s eyes so perhaps we should have a `supporters` consultation exercise to determine how the poll should be conducted!

As one who has much experience in conduct of local elections,I have offered my services to Mr Ross free gratis. Help, not hinder, is MY watchword!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (9/5/07)

"As we could hardly have expected to get much out of the game, Turner was pencilled in to play, anyway, so no doubt Davey thought it a small price to pay." Hmmmmmm... small price to pay? Hardly expect to get anything from that game? Tell us "Richard", who inside Goodison Park that day, on the hour mark, felt we'd not get anything from the visit of the Mancs? Well, "Richard"? ? Colm

Six more goals?!...

Been looking at the table... it just struck me that we've drawn far too many games this season. Only two other teams have drawn more of their matches (Villa and Fulham).

If we'd managed to score one more goal in say half of the 12 matches we've drawn, we'd be up into 3rd ? 6 more goals this season is all it would've taken. (I appreciate it's not quite as simple as that, but you see my point...)

This little fact leads me to believe that we need to stop talking up the signing of both Fernandes and Barton and focus on our main issue of firepower up front. We aren't going to have the finances to be bringing in two £5M+ midfielders as well as a decent striker and defensive cover.

I only hope we don't go into next season with hopes resting on Johnson and our two teenagers up front, whilst we have a dozen midfielders fighting for match time. I trust Moyes to make the right decision ? he has more often than not. Just don't think people should be entertaining the thought of seeing Barton, Fernandes, Arteta and Cahill playing together anytime in the future.
Scott Milne, Melbourne, Aus (Originally Dundee)  (9/5/07)

What the fuck?

How did James McFadden win Young Player of the season?

McFadden is 24, not exactly a youngster. Plus he's only scored 3 goals this season. Surely one of the teenagers Vaughan or Anichebe would have been a better choice? They have the same amount of goals as McFadden and have developed a lot more of the season.

Young player of the season: James McFadden, what a bloody joke.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (9/5/07)

Reply to Martin Samuel

Mr Samuel, you have a point but this is not like other examples of third-party interference. This was a loan signing that became a permanent transfer. It's generally accepted that loan signings do not play against the club they were loaned from.

OK so the loan became permanent when Everton bought Howard in February. From then on, Everton could have played him, but Man Utd allowed that transfer on a 'gentlemans agreement' that he wouldn't play against them. This is third-party interference, granted, but it's no big deal in my opinion and it's a total exaggeration to say Man Utd were picking the Everton team etc. Turner is a good prospect. Apart from two errors he played well. Moyes was realistic in thinking he could hold his own as the goal keeper in that match.

Mr Samuel, your argument depends too much on the outcome of the match. The strange second half of that game gives oxygen to your conspiracy theory. As a West Ham fan I think you'll find more convincing evidence of corruption closer to home...
Chris Davies, London  (9/5/07)

I don't think Mr Samuel reads our mailbag unfortunately! However, do you genuinely believe that Moyes would opt to select Turner in such a fixture ahead of a fit and available Tim Howard? If we finish seventh instead of fifth then we don't earn as much money as we possibly could have, through a higher finish. Mind you, with one eye on an incoming £500,000 you could argue that one offsets the other! Football? Pffff! All about the money. ? Colm

Contract Buy Outs and Parking

Declan Critchley yesterday asked why Everton couldn't buy out Nugent's contract a la Andy Webster from Hearts to Rangers. The fact is that that rule only applies when the player is moving to another country. Hence the speculation about Lampard going to Barca by buying himself out of his £9 million (!) remaining on his contract.

Webster was technically 'signed' by Wigan I believe, and then 'loaned' to Rangers. What Wigan got out of it one can only speculate (Go on Michael - Football is Fooked!!!)

So maybe we should tap up Walt and ask him to sign Nugent for us, and then loan him back. But that'd probably set Kenrick off on another rant about feeder clubs...!
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (9/5/07)

Maybe I've had too much Merlot but that went wooosh... 12 inches over! Guess I need to pay more attention to clubs other than Everton. But there's this website, you see. And it just doesn't update all by itself, ya know. I spend far too much time already... Please, if you must talk about non-Everton stuff, then provide full context, back-up, links and references. On second thoughts... perhaps not. I'm just not that interested. — Michael

Politics and Déjà vu...

So the Premier League decided to announce their findings of the Howard deal just prior to MUFC being crowned PL Champions. What a good time to announce/bury bad news.

Hmm, didn't some government, somewhere do the same in recent years? 9/11 anyone? Maybe the PL leaders follow politics: "This is bad news but Man Utd crowned Champs will bury it in the press. Announce it right before they are crowned ? it will be buried on page whatever!"

Michael wrote:

So explain to me this: why couldn't they have just had a "gentleman's agreement" between Everton and Manc Utd that Howard would join Everton in the Summer? Thus avoiding a massive slice of this nonsense... or could the Mancs not be trusted???
He made a very valid and solid argument. If a "GA" can be in place for ONE game, then why not for X number of games until the season ended? Or, as suggested, MU cannot be trusted? The buyout by the Glazier family probably had a hand in this.

Afterall, MUFC is now a franchise rather than a football club. Believe it or not the owners can and will move a franchise to pastures deemed greener (Los Angeles lost two NFL teams; Cleveland, Houston lost theirs.)

Martin Samuel provides some very astute, albeit obtuse, observations in his Columbo diatribe. If the loaning of players continues as is, be prepared for more Howard, Tevas, his compatriot (whose name I cannot recall but went to some other lesser club), controversies. And as Samuel wrote, Italian League-style repercussions.

BTW. FTP ? I read the mailbag everyday and I love all the differing opinions, sarcasm, silliness and the whole website. It gives me a real feel for how all Evertonions think/react to success and mediocrity. I was privvy to be able to follow the Blues from 1984 (Rob Wakenshaw v. United!) thru 1994 (home to Coventry - 2-0 up only to draw 2-2 at Goodison! First and only game I watched after my move to the US, not my best memory of the grand ol' stadium).
Gary Sedgwick, Harlingen, TX, USA  (8/5/07)

Two sides to every story

Having just read Ray Robinson's post, I feel compelled to comment (I have previously abhorred people who write to newspapers and websites). Logically, loan players should not play against their employers for obvious reasons. However, any teams that loan out players should not benefit by playing sides that are handicapped agianst the loanees while their competitors aren't. The whole system is flawed. I wish I had the answer/answers. Can anybody help and save my sanity?
Peter Jones, Wirral  (9/5/07)

Turn the clock back: no loans to clubs in the same division. It reduces the scale of the problem to the odd cup encounter, which is in any case a very low probability occurence, rather than the twice-a-season certainty you face for intra-division loans. ? Michael

White Lies

With an FA investigation in the offing, was it not within the realms of possibility that both clubs merely covered their respective arses. Had they admitted breaking the rules, they were faced with a huge fine or heaven forbid, loss of points.
Dick Fearon, Western Australia  (9/5/07)

Moyes V Ferguson

While reviewing DMs performance in his first full 5 seasons I decided to compare his record with Alex Fergusons first full 5 seasons at Man Utd. The record is :


Average Position 9th


Average Position 9th
Moyes record is equal or better in his 1st 3rd 4th and 5th Seasons. However Ferguson's record for his 6th and 7th seasons was 2nd then Champions. Does this mean we have a great couple of years to look forward to? COYB
Eddy Elton, Liverpool  (8/5/07)


Paul Pritchard - the latest in a long line of self-important Toffees that post on this site.

Listen mate, I'm not gonna go into the reasons why you are talking shite, I've said it all before.

Although mate, as you're making all the decisions around Goodison at the moment could you do us a favour? At the Blackburn FA Cup game I clearly asked for a Scouse Pie at half time in the Top Balcony. I couldn't fucking believe it when I got back to my seat only to find it was a bleeding cheese one!!!

Thing is, I dont have a season ticket, any chance you could have a word... I've still got the pie.
Francis Porter, High Wycombe  (8/5/07)

No such loyalty

So someone thinks Barton and Nugent would take great pride in wearing the Everton shirt? Real diehard blues like Franny Jeffers and Wayne Rooney are they?. Don't kid yourself, pal ? once the novelty wears off of having played a few matches for their boyhood team they soon get bored and want away.. Rooney and Jeffers were prime examples of that and I would bet that if Nugent and Barton had began their careers here they wouldn't still be at Everton now. That's football mate get used to it.

Gerrard only stayed at Liverpool because they are on endless trophy hunts, you think he would still be there if they were shite? My arse he would..

ps: I don't want that shit Barton anyway.. Over-rated battle bot with limited skill.
PJ Maxwell, North Wales  (8/5/07)

"Battle bot"...??? Guess I need to stay in more!

More cynical nonsense....

Peter Fearon says we should offer Benfica a fraction of Fernandes's worth paid in staggered increments over a indefinite period likw we got for Rooney, blah, blah, blah....

Maybe if he only had 18 months left on his Benfica contract and was refusing ever to play for their manager again. And we were the only (real) club in for him?
Tom Morris, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Desperate plea!

Forget all the mistakes, all the blunders, negativity and deals with the devils in red! This is a impassioned plea from me to you David Moyes/Bill Kenwright: PLEASE SIGN MANUEL FERNANDES!

I know money is tight (£60 million from Sky next year isn't a lot nowadays), but I believe strongly that Fernandes is within our financial scope. He is young, eager and still has a lot to learn. Some may draw the same parable to you Moyes, but his quality is in no doubt. You, Moyes, want to build for the future, surely players like Manuel has to be part of it. You admitted to liking him, and the reality of finding a class type like him is remote, especially at his age. Part of success is to gamble, I would wager this option is a sure winner!

Ultimately any transfer may not be in our hands, if Benfica don't lower their £8 million figure, it may be difficult to secure him and other targets admittedly. But Everton are experts in being prudent/stingy, with haggles over Arteta (over £0.7 million) and Lescott (£2 million) taking almost all summer long. Surely the money men can manage to negotiate again to our benefit, and shed this short arms/deep pockets image. Benfica are there to be reasoned with, so at least make an concerted effort Everton.

Speaking of Arteta, what would of happened to us without him? His transfer almost collapsed beyond repair because of the fee, and you know Moyes, he has been a shinning star ever since. Yes the first few games he was poor, neither did he tackle back or defend much, but with your help you helped develop his all-round game. Look deeply at Fernandes and see what the fans see; a potentially world-class pairing of Fernandes and Arteta, developed and disciplined by one David Moyes! Would be excellent for PR ey Billy?

Barton is not the answer either! He may be cheaper, but I think he is insane! His qualities are good, but you don't want the dressing room a battle ground Moyes. Even if you believe he is a better option or you can calm him down, is risking the harmony of the club worth Joey Barton!?

So please Moyes/Kenwright, sign Fernandes and drive us towards glory and success. Our future is in your hands, don't let us down again!
Luq Yussef, London  (8/5/07)

Damned if they do, damned if they don't

You know, I'm beginning to wonder if certain contributors to ToffeeWeb are more interesting in finding fault with the club and those who run it than in actually supporting the team.

As soon as the club adopts a business-like approach over Tim Howard in order to early secure his services, those who have previously accused the club of not being run on proper commercial grounds are up in arms.

Yes, the whole episode is slightly distasteful but what cheeses me off more is the whole loans system per se. Any system that allows players to be loaned between clubs in the same league is quite clearly open to fundamental abuse.

Perhaps that is where the Premier League should be directing its attention?
Ray Robinson, Warrington  (8/5/07)

Surely the solution is to re-introduce the rule whereby loaned players can't play against their full-time employers? Or does that contravene some other EU freedom-of-contract/employment law? ? Lyndon

Er... that is the rule as I understand it. Extendable by gentleman's agreement (once a player inherits new full-time employers) on an ad hoc basis, all in the interests of business as usual... ? Michael

Vince, get real

What is the deal with the complaints about Howard? It is Vince and Co who aren't living in the real world! Without that gentlemen's agreement, Howard would have remained a loanee and subject to the official clause. So we get the player early and at a good price (our benefit), and we had to give on the issue of playing him against Man Utd (their benefit). That's called a sensible business agreement and it happens in the 'real world' all the time.

Secondly, can we please have these wild allegations of players getting £200k and the Man Utd game being investigated by the police substantiated. If you can't substantiate it, best to leave that sort of tosh to Bluekipper et al!

Lastly, I would love it if we signed Barton. I've been banging on to everyone how, in terms of his footballing ability, he is exactly the kind of player we need. Just to get that personality problem sorted... However, a manager should be able to cope with one rogue in the team. And one would hope that coming to his boyhood heroes might give him the kick up his ('peachy'[sic]) arse he needs.
Duncan Morton-Stanley, Leeds  (8/5/07)

And I also have this bridge in London for sale...

We can't afford Fernandes's price tag? Why don't we offer Benfica the same deal we got for Rooney from Manchester United: a fraction of his real value, paid in staggered payments over an indefinite period, dependent on appearances and winning trophies and with a side deal for them to take our cast off players in lieu of cash with the understanding those transferred players will still score for us when the chips are down - and we get to choose their goalkeeper if we meet in the Uefa Cup as well as taking first dibs on anyone talented they produce in the future. What's that? No sensible management would agree to such a deal? Er....
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (8/5/07)


As I sat and watched the second half on Saturday the most pleasing thing was the passing and the movement. The result might have been the most important short-term goal but clearly not our most important long-term goal. Our long-term goal has to be to compete on a regular and consistent way with the teams around and above us. We should not settle for 5th or top of our mini group of clubs, I want to see us beating the top sides more frequently and beating the rest regularly. The top 4 have beaten us 3 times so far, twice in games that we could have won. We've won 2 and drawn 2 of the others but significantly have lost more to teams outside the top 4.

The second half on Saturday showed how to beat teams outside the top 4 ? pace, movement and passing. The first half showed how we couldn't beat them ? long ball, enthusiasm and effort alone. The same attacking attributes will also beat the top 4 and the same 'enthusiasm only' attributes will lose to them.

So who were the key players in the second half to transform us? Well I would suggest the 2 outstanding players were Arteta and Fernandes. Light at the end of the tunnel for me, players who can control a ball with their first touch, keep possession under pressure, pass to players in their own team, see openings and attacking options, provide pace and above all class. Then what do I hear and see? A manager who questions his work ethic, supporters who question his value and generally a lack of ambition and foresight from far too many people. Fernandes is not the finished article ? he's too young, but he's the genuine article folks believe me. People talk of Barton being a better option... a better option for what? Running around like a headless chicken? Or a better option at destroying team spirit?

And who else would we get? How many players have we seen at Everton this or last season that have shown Fernandes's ability and don't play for one of the top 4? If you have seen any what price would they be and are they available? less than £10M-£12M? Somehow I doubt it, so what is the club's ambition? buying more journeymen players who can run all day, hump it 60 yds, kick the opposition but can't control a ball or pass effectively. So we buy two of these and what do we get? more defeats by the top sides, more frustrating matches against mediocre teams because we don't have enough skill and class, but most of all no ambition to challenge the top 4. Is that the 5 year plan? - BUY FERNANDES, whatever he costs and move the club forward by buying young footballers with skill and ability but most importantly potential to become even better.

Perhaps those of you who would like to hear a neutral view on ambition and where it leads, should read the article by Sid Lowe in the Guardian today, and just to make it even more interesting as you think of DM, Benitez comes out of it badly.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (8/5/07)


"Ah, yes. The old 'We're fifth and that's all that matters' mentality..." Hahahahahaha, Michael, you do make me laugh!
Paul Carroll, Stockport  (8/5/07)

Sorry, Paul, that was me in my Michael disguise :) ? Lyndon

Barton or Fernandes

When you look at both Barton and Fernandes, you see two talented players. Take away Barton's attitude and Fernandes's so-called laziness and they are two good footballers who would move Everton forward.

From what I have seen of Fernandes, he is a great player and has a great future ahead of him. I think he adds more than flair. He can pass, shoot, tackle and he reads the game well. Barton is also a good player but in the different mold. He likes to break from midfield, similar to Steven Gerrard. He has a good workrate and likes a tackle.

If we could bring in both players then great but Joey Barton on his own I would not agree with. It would give the football club a bad name because of his past and also his brother killing Anthony Walker. For me, it is Fernandes hands down. He offers us a cultured way of playing which would suit us in the league and European football. £12M is expensive but £8M would be a bargain.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Okay, now help me out here. I might not particularly like Joey Barton, but what the fuck has his brother got to do with it? Should Joey Barton stop being a professional footballer because his brother is a murderer?

I can see this whole "Right and Wrong" thing is totally fucked up among us Evertonians. Third party influence is okay, but woe betide you if your brother is a murderer! Astounding! — Michael


I don't know who gave the reply to David Haimes' recent letter, but I think you may be stepping into the realms of libel a bit too far. The implication that the players are involved in some grand scheme to throw the Man United game might have been forgiveable as a knee jerk reaction when we were all pissed off at throwing away the 3 points ? smart-arse comments like this some 10 days after the event sound like a smear campaign, and as I said, might be considered actionable if someone from the club decided to drop in. Are you really accusing the club of throwing this game?
Bob Turner, Runcorn  (8/5/07)

I'm not, no. The implication of Mr Haimes' comments, though, were that if anything underhanded were to happen that someone would be there to blow the whistle. It's not a given, however, that anyone would blow the whistle... at least not until years later when they write their memoirs :) ? Lyndon


Michael thinks I wouldn?t make a good jury member, I wouldn?t fancy our chances if he was judge. If he was, though, I would be grateful that corporal punishment had been abolished. The real jury found Everton and Man Utd not guilty. QED.

Now it won?t be the first or the last time we see terminological in exactitudes, but perhaps there are wider issues of massively more importance to focus on. Investment in the team for one.
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (8/5/07)

Barton v Fernandes

I find it hard to believe we are having a debate on whether to buy Barton or Fernandes this summer. Barton has just "driven" his side to fail to score at home, despite two penalty awards, one he took himself, since they played us on New Years day!

Fernandes danced around almost the entire Arsenal midfield, scored one of the best goals I've seen against the red Mancs and makes things happen around him every time he takes the field.

Fernandes hasn't stubbed out a cigar in anyone's eye, beaten a colleague into A&E, or attacked an Everton supporter.

Barton is reported to be available for £5.5M and Fernandes possibly for £8M. I know where I'd rather spend the extra £2.5M. If it's more, get negotiating Bill and chuck in some drfitwood we've got laying about in the dressing room. If anyone from the club ever reads this mailbag, please tell Davey to buy him.

Day after day, people write into this site complaining about the quality of football played by Davey's team selection. Alongside Arteta, Fernandes can continue to develop into one of the most creative midfielders in the Premiership, he is still only 21 remember, and both put a shift in when we loose the ball. The boy has class along the lines of Martin Dobson (for all you olduns like me!). The only thing I've seen Barton show us rhymes with class.
Gary Joyce, Watford  (8/5/07)


Anthony Kelley from Aintree: Pride and Joey Barton don't go in the same sentence, mate. Were you not there when Barton snubbed us in January or called Man City a TEN times bigger club than Everton? The only thing Barton takes pride in is being a prick.
Jon Atherton, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Howard deal not corrupt

We were all calling for us to get Howard signed as soon as possible and we were happy when that deal was done. The reason it was concluded so quickly was that we agreed (gentlemen's agreement) not to play him against them. Had we not agreed to that, then Man Utd could have just said wait until the summer to agree the permanent transfer and in accordance with loan rules he would not have been allowed to play.

It's not uncommon for these agreements to be in place, particularly before the transfer window.

As for the game being fixed... come on, who really beleives that? Anyone think that one of the players or staff would have blown the whistle if that were really true ?
David Haimes, San Francisco, CA, USA  (8/5/07)

I don't know. None of the players or staff blew the whistle on three certain members of staff for allegedly greasing both Rooney's passage out of Goodison 3 years ago and their palms ? to the tune of a rumoured £200,000 ? at the same time.

Howard Transfer

Michael, why couldn't the gentlemen's agreement wait until Summer? Because Man Utd would have to have taken a higher bid if one arrived, because Howard may have accepted a better offer from another club or because his agent may have persuaded him to take one. Remember Sissoko was "ours" until Liverpool stepped in.
Stuart Duncan, Parbold  (8/5/07)

Why? If there was a gentleman's agreement in place, surely that would have been good enough. After all, you can agree to anything you want, apparently, in a gentelman's agreement, the whole point being there are no rules pertaining thereto. Or am I missing something here... — Michael

Onwards and Upwards

I had not accessed the mailbag since the day before the Portsmouth game and therefore upon checking in this morning i was looking forward to a celebratory vibe following qualification for the Uefa Cup. I should have known better!

It was great to see the boys knocking it about in the second half on Saturday and the players and manager were truly deserving of their end of season lap of honour. Nice also to see the beaming smile on the face of David Moyes as he lapped up the vocal appreciation of the knowledgeable home crowd. Keep up the good work Davey boy.

Also nice to see Bill Kenwright wearing his Everton scarf with pride on prime time television later that evening.

Whilst in such celebratory mood i could not therefore care less about the Tim Howard (non-) story. We have signed a quality keeper on a permanent basis for 5 years and if the flipside of that was an agreement that he could not play against Man Utd, then so what? In a process of negotiation both sides will always look to secure the best deal for them. We got a quality keeper for 5 years for a reasonable fee and they retained the position as it already was within the loan agreement that he could not play on 28 April. No big deal.

So for me it is congratulations to the Blues for a job well done this season and lets hope for more of the same next season. My joint players of the season would be Joleon Lescott (labelled as the new Krøldrup after 45 mins against Watford by one contributor!) and the tireless Lee Carsley.

Roll on the Uefa Cup draw.
Dave Jeanrenaud, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Ah, yes. The old "We're fifth and that's all that matters" mentality...

Casual Support

I have been attending Goodison Park for over 50 years and have only had a season ticket for 2 seasons in the 90s. This was because I could not afford the full amount up front (especially with constant price rises). According to Paul Pritchard I have no right to cast an opinion in a vote. What a load of bollocks. I am as much an Evertonian as anyone. So are people who cannot go because of illness or disability.
William Fletcher, Kirkby  (8/5/07)

I guess what we should have really hammered Paul on (other than the ridiculously divisive concept of his e.mail)is this new construct: the Registered Everton Supporter. The club maintains a database of megastore customers... surely something they are far more interested in than whether you merely claim to be a 'supporter'. — Michael

I know nothing

We were all just a bit annoyed at the "small team" talk from a few months ago. We all want to be up there with the top four or at least snapping at their heels yet several posts have said, Fernandes is not worth it, he doesn't deliver.

On Saturday for the first time in YEARS, yes YEARS, my heart sang on seeing a man in a Royal Blue jersey playing FOOTBALL. Read that word carefully. Football, not "kick it in the air and hope for the best" ball. For once we have been treated with some rare talent, a talent that could sit alongside Arteta and is on the great little fella's wavelength.

Cast your minds back to the game on Saturday. When exactly did you last hear a rockin' Goodison roar to the sound of ole, ole? It's those exchanges between Arteta and Fernandes that lifted us all and got the place buzzing.

We have players in the squad that are indeed hard workers who merit their place but all season long we have been aching for some good football to grace our hallowed turf and raise our spirits. Now we're moaning that "mmmm, don't think he's worth £8 million, he doesnt perform all game"... I don't care if he performs for 10 minutes. If he can play in midfield with the flair and skill he has only had a few games to show then for heaven's sake let's not be defeatist and sing to the tight fisted BK/DM song. "we ain't got no dosh".

I know that in the real world the purse strings have to be managed but if we are serious about moving on from here we need to get used to the idea that we need to spend some money on talent, not just on hard working lads who come on the cheap or Man Utd rejects. Maybe talking down Fernandes's move is DM's way of flushing out any other interested parties and if it is then hats off to you Davey. Maybe he wants to see two 'Blues' playing in the team Nugent and Barton, yes, not bad either. I obviously know naff all about football but for me, Manny is a must buy.
Lue Glover, Buckley  (8/5/07)

'The game's a whore!'

Walter Price and others should not be surprised that there is "something rotten" about football these days. It's 25 years since I earned a living in the game but even then it was all pretty shady, particularly where transfers were concerned. I well remember a well-known scout saying "If it was all in the contract we`d need to buy Kalamazoo" (For youngsters, they were pioneers of business systems software) "The game's a whore," he'd say, "but we`ve all got our addictions!" How right he was!
David Hall, Taunton  (8/5/07)

Casual? I'll give you casual!

How would Paul Pritchard like to fork out over £100 everytime he wants to see his beloved blues play ? a team supported for 50 years by me ? this goes on ticket, petrol and food. And how would he like to spend 8 hours sitting on his arse in a car to do so ? four hours there and four hours back over the mountains in all sorts of weather - the only reaosnable time to travel being during June, July & August when the nights stay lighter.

Don't you tell me I am a casual supporter and therefore should not be allowed to vote on anything.

I wonder if you "would go off the boil" if you had to spend money like that and travel for such a long time [and believe me it feels worse if our lads lose]. Oh yeah, you have one hell of a long journey from Bootle and back to Bootle from the Walton Road. I know ? I've lived there!!
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (8/5/07)

Howard.. Oh and 'casual fans'

Firstly on the Howard issue and Man Utd. Personally I don't think the game was fixed in that Everton gave Man Utd 3 points. The game on the pitch was fair, both teams went out to win, they did, we didn't...

As for the agreement, I think that is pretty simple, when given the choice of being able to tie up a permanent transfer in Feburary on the basis Howard continued to act as if on loan, or sign him in the Summer, Everton opted to get him now.

If Everton hadn't agreed, Howard would now still be a United player on loan, and couldn't have played in the game anyway. Personally, the problem lies for me in the idea that Premier League clubs can loan to each other at all, that is where the fault lies, this situation was bound to come up, unfortunately it has and with us. Turner dropped a clanger, and Phil messed up, nothing sinister, just part of the game. Or at least it is for me...

As for this "Casual Fans" nonsense. I was a season-ticket holder for some 4 years; since moving here it became not practical to have a season ticket, I could not afford at the moment to go to every game, I still get to as many as possible, at great cost in both time and expense. Does that make me a casual fan? What about other fans of the same who make great sacrifises to get to games?

But just to nail my coffin shut in the eyes of "Real Evertonians" I am also not originally from Liverpool, being a Yorkshire boy. As far as the ground move goes though, I am not convinced by Kirkby, I think you will find the split in the Yes/No vote is pretty similar for those of us away from the city, as it is for those within it.
David Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (8/5/07)

Anyone know?

I was going to rant about the whole Howard situation but frankly I can't be arsed ? typical bullshit and silence from 'The People's Club'.

Anyway, what I want to know is isn't David Nugent coming to the end of his contract and therefore buy it out a la Andy Webster at Hearts meaning we would pick him up for a nominal fee? All this Championship Manager shit in the mailbag bugs me but does anyone know if this is the situation regarding signing Nugent?
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (8/5/7)

In response to Michael

I agree that this could have been avoided but Heignsight (sic) is a great thing! Instead why don't you try to enjoy Saturday's result and the prospect of Europe instead of getting yourself down and miserable? If we can't enjoy a bit of good news, then what's the point? I am becoming increasingly bored of your comments regarding Howard. Not the posters' opinions, but yours! This is an Evertonian website, not a grumpy old man's club, dictated by the grumpiest of them all!

I feel I also must defend my Mourinho comments. I meant if that Portuguese twat hasn't kicked up a massive fuss when ultimately Chelsea have suffered the most from the agreement, then why are editors of this site not letting it lie? What good are you trying to achieve? What do you want the club to do now?

I hope this relationship with United means we can buy O'shea, Fletcher, Smith and Richardson in the summer! (Joke)
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Michael may weigh in with his own reply but the point, Charlie, is that if you believe that this "gentleman's agreement" was under-handed ? while I personally don't think it's that sinister in and of itself, I agree that the club's insistence that he was "ineligible" makes it seem pretty dodgy ? then we, as the fans, have to make our feelings known rather than merely shrugging our shoulders and letting the club behave badly without any responsibility to the fans and the traditions of the club. If we at ToffeeWeb have to be the only ones trying to "keep them honest" then we'll take all the flak and labels of "negative moaning twats" and soldier on. As I intimated before, sticking your fingers in your ears while crowing about Everton's current position in the Premiership table is fine and dandy now, but you can't ignore the off-field shenanigans just because things are going well on the field ? Lyndon

Money Back, Please

I reckon seeing as Everton Football Club decided to throw the game against Man Utd last week we should all get a refund. It's only fair don't you think? Our football club is in such a shambolic state I can't help thinking there will be plenty more shit to hit the fan any time soon. This new ground deal will no doubt be riddled with shadey clauses.

Who is it at EFC who has the power to make decisions to not play players against their former clubs? Wyness? Kenwright? Moyes? ? someone's to blame. Let's have his head on a plate, that's what I say. Wyness will no doubt have played some part in this murky deal, just like all the other dodgey deals he has brokered. It's disgraceful that the catering staff inside Goodison Park are slowly being replaced by Polish workers just to save a penny or two.

Some of these girls working in the lounges have been at Everton for years and they are just cast aside like a stale meat pie. All the security staff on the doors and entrances at the ground are being replaced by a firm from Manchester from next season as well. Won't that be fun? Doormen with Manc accents trying to tell Scousers what they can and cannot do in side Goodison Park. Great idea that is! Can you imagine Man Utd employing security staff with Liverpool accents at Old Trafford? It's a fucking joke.

The whole Everton experience is now starting to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters ? myself included. This latest Howard fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg. We are being conned left right and center by the muppets who run our club.

The Kings Dock debacle was just the start of what was to come and all these years later we are still getting fucked by BK and his cronies. Last week we had all the arguments over the new kit which is identical to the last one. "More money for the club, though," one lad said.

"I thought Wyness sold off the rights to JJB so we don't get a penny anymore from kit sales," I said.

"We don't own Bellefield, we don't own Netherton, we don't own the training ground in Halewood either," I said. "The catering has been sold off and I am not to sure about Goodison Park."

"Fuck me, I didn't know that," the lad said. "No wonder we keep getting had over by Kenwright and Co. when our own fans don't realise whats going on."

If we are at the stage now were we will throw a game for the big boys — and make no mistake, that's what we have done — then what's the fucking point in carrying on?

This ain't no cricket match in Pakistan we are talking about here, it's two clubs in the richest and most powerful league in the world who are at the bollocks.

If Ye Know Ye History, my arse. It's the fucking future that we should worry about.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

World of its own

From what I understand, the powers that be have given a clean bill of health to the cosy arrangement over Howard `because nothing was written into the contract`. If this is to be the only criterion, what is to stop `extras, bungs, agent`s incentives` et al ? all subject to monitoring by the Quest inquiry ? being seen as perfectly legit?

It`s as though football is no longer part of the real world and exists in a vacuum of its own!
Vince Watling, Crosby  (8/5/07)

In praise of Bad Boys

The proper name is Protests & Disputes committee, players know it as the Punishment & Discipline Board.

After 6 years as chairman of our regional P&D committee it became clear to me that most of the ?bad boys? to appear before the P&D were those who were passionate about the game. For years, those passionate blokes journeyed hundreds of miles to attend association meetings, returning home in the early hours. They marked pitches and in some cases single-handedly kept outlying clubs afloat. Their wives sold cups of tea and washed the team strips. Rarely did the Board have to deal with those others to whom the game was merely just that and nothing to get worked up about. Left to that sort and Football in the Bush would have withered. As it is, and thanks entirely to the ?bad boys?, we now have a very healthy competition with three mens and three womens divisions plus thousands of kids in hundreds of teams.

I suppose this could be looked upon as some kind of support for the Paulo Rossi's and Bartons of this world.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (8/5/07)

In response to the 'Fix?' claim...

I have a sneaky suspicion that if the Merseyside police were indeed looking into the Man Utd game, I am pretty sure that it would be in the papers now.

Also, what irregularities? 11 men against 11 men... maybe it was one of those remote-control balls, which was being manipulated by a bald man with a scar stroking a white, fluffy cat.

Please get real.
John Matthews, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

Rotten at the heart

Evertonians should not be surprised that our European qualification has been over-shadowed by the Tim Howard scandal. The Kenwright era has seen many similar examples of lying, dissembling and general dishonesty ? and those are only the ones we found out about!

It grieves me to say it after 50 years as an Evertonian but there is something rotten at the heart of my club these days.
Walter Price, Bickerstaffe  (8/5/07)

Manuel Fernandes

Since it appears that Everton are having second thoughts on forking out an estimated £12M for Manuel Fernandes, may I suggest that Blue Bill hire the same lawyers (or agents) that Manchester United used to purchase Wayne Rooney from him. It could work out something like this:

£3 million paid out immediately
£3 million paid out in the summer 2008
£500,000 if we qualify for the Uefa Cup
£1 million if we qualify for the Champions League
£1 million if we win a domestic trophy
£2 million if we win the Premiership
Blue Bill thought the Rooney deal was good for Everton. Why shouldn?t a similar deal for Fernandes be good enough for Benfica?
Brendan George, Walthamstow, London  (8/5/07)

Moving Ground

I think the Kirkby proposal is a knee jerk reaction to the '...must have a new stadium' lobby - Bill Kenwright thinks we must move, but seeing Goodison bathed in sunlight last Saturday and the great atmosphere, made me ask "Why the rush?

I travel to the ground from the Wirral direction and moving out to Kirkby would not be much fun. I also think that vacating the city would be like leaving Saigon to the Viet Kong! Why did Liverpool get planning permission to build on Stanley Park and why didn't we get permission to build on Kings Dock ? a fantastic location ? reasons to do with Liverpool fans spoiling tactics I think...??? However, I suppose there are lots of reasons, not least money, but I think once we are outside Liverpool, we will be marginalised as a big City club.

Frankly I would prefer to see Goodison redeveloped and there is no real hurry. I have seen the Liverpool City Council leader's suggestions on this and I think they should be seriously looked at, Goodison and Liverpool are our spiritual home ? not Kirkby!
Martin Anderson, Wirral, Merseyside  (7/5/07)

Transfer speculation

I read this morning that PNE will be asking an unbelievable £10M for David Nugent following his dubious elevation to England status. With at least six signings to make ,I can`t see David Moyes blowing upwards of £20M on Nugent and Fernandes so it`s more likely to be Barton and Leeds`s David Healy for us next season.

Incidently, Wednesdayites are taking it as read that Iain Turner will move to Hillsborough ere long so we can expect a new goalie to be arriving, too.
Alan Danter, Sheffield  (8/5/07)

Overpriced fliar

I think we can all agree that Fernandes is a skilfull player and would no doubt be a useful addition to the squad. Given time, he could develop into a very good player but at present he's not worth the £8M-£12M price tag. I see him as a luxury player, if we had some spare money and his price tag was a bit lower then I would back Moyes to purchase him permanently if only to add a bit of extra flair to the squad. Unfortunately, Everton do not have any spare money. As usual Moyes will be given a limted amount which he will have to spend wisely.

David Nugent looks set to be Everton's big summer transfer and Moyes will also be hoping to add a few more reasonably priced players to the squad to give us numbers for next season and the Euro campaign. As good as Fernandes is, would you rather Moyes signed him or Nugent? Would you rather Moyes spent all his money on Fernandes or three or four good players to improve the overall squad size? There's definately potential to Fernandes but his price tag is too high for a club of our means. That said a season long loan for Fernandez would be a great idea if Moyes could persuade his club.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

£50M TV windfall, £500k bonus (£650k, perhaps?) from our Manc sponsors, and Paul Atress states "Unfortunately, Everton do not have any spare money." Do tell: where's it all going then, Paul? [Editor's note: FernandeS ? Not Z!!!!] ? Michael

No vote for `casuals`

In my view, the only people who should be given a vote in the official Club Ballot are those who are properly registered as supporters. Clearly this includes shareholders, season-ticket holders and `members` but excludes all those who have not registered their allegance to the club.

Merely to distribute ballot forms to all and sundry would be corrupting the result as I know many Liverpudlians who are just itching to vote us out of what they now view as THEIR city. Tough on the casual attender, I know, but unlike me they have not backed up their support by paying a fortune in advance to see the club through the summer.
Paul Pritchard, Bootle  (8/5/07)

Ah.. them and us: Real Evertonians and 'Casuals'... How to unite The People's Club in peace and harmony... — Michael


What a turnaround on Saturday. The second-half performance was fantastic by both players and fans alike (Arteta is God). The posibilty of Europe is now reality. The eastern european bars and women had better watch out as the "Everton Boys are in town".

Just to add my opinions on the Howard nonsense. I personally don't care that we had a "gentlemen's agreement" not to play him against the Mancs. We have secured his signature for the next 4 years and in doing so have secured him playing in Europe next year. One man you would exspect to have a huge say on this scandal is Mourinho. The fact he has said nothing should show it's not all that bad.

Imagine if we hadn't signed him. Villa, Sunderland, Birmingham, Newcastle etc will all need to strenghten their keepers next year (with them all being shite and Given being a massive sick note). Imagine the misery guts on this site if we had missed out on him! Christ Moyes and Kenright would be lynched!

Let's move on and stop the United feeder club nonsense. I'm bored of reading their name and Michaels mad obsession with them! Cant wait to let the Chelsea fans know where we're going next year. EUROPE!
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (8/5/07)

God forbid my value should be determined by the ractions one Jose Mourinho! Now I've herard everything!

So explain to me this: why couldn't they have just had a "gentleman's agreement" between Everton and Manc Utd that Howard would join Everton in the Summer? Thus avoiding a massive slice of this nonsense... or could the Mancs not be trusted??? — Michael

Why Nugent?

Why are we even looking at Nugent when he is going to be massively overpriced? I'm not even sure if he could add anything to the party! Is he really any better/more proven than Vaughan, Anichebe, Beattie or McFadden?
Danny Gorman, Ormskirk  (8/5/07)

Is he The Moyesiah?

In five years, David Moyes has spent £53M on new signings. This close season, the Sky riches may well see half that amount put at his disposal. Clearly, how he uses the money in a quest for European glory as well as domestic success (a cup final would be welcome!) will finally determine if the Scot really is The Moyesiah. No more prevarication on the verdict will be permitted!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (8/5/07)

`Moving to the next level`

Working in the Charlton heartland, I have found myself commiserating with workmates this morning as the Addics drop out of the Premiership. Most of them were Curbishley sceptics believing `he had taken them as far as he could`. Boring football, safety-first tactics, poor cup record all cited as reasons he needed to go. `We needed to move to the next level`. They have! All sound familiar?
Brian Carbury, Greenwich  (8/5/07)


Everton simply cannot afford Fernandes. I believe it would be better to sign Nugent and Barton ? two Evertonians who would wear the Everton shirt with pride and fight for the club. Fernandes has not showed enough commitment and work rate on the pitch for me and he often goes missing for long periods in games.
Anthony Kelley, Aintree  (8/4/07)

Re: They Think It's All Over...

Tony, I was pretty content with your rant about the skulduggery within the club until the last paragraph where you directly lay the blame for the so-called demise of our club (and it's history?) at the feet of Moyes and his bosses.

If you wish to be anti-Moyes that's fine, there are reasons not to like him, but when this dislike manifests itself in such bollocks then you need to take a reality check.

Moyes has hardly been responsible for a downturn in the club's fortunes, no manager since Kendall, first time round only, has offered us the football we crave but maybe we believe Moyes is actually capable of doing that, 'cos we saw it early on, and he's not, which is why we judge him more harshly I don't know.

One thing is for certain: if EFC are 'dead and buried' it's not because we don't play attractive football often enough. If you want to blame anyone for the demise in standards of the club, it shouldn't be 'that twat' Moyes but the men (his bosses) whose dealings and expertise in transfers and other 'projects' create 'laughable' situations (Rooney, Howard).

As we now know, we will not be deducted points or kicked out of Europe and I, unlike you ('cos I'll still be going to watch them regardless), am extremely glad, because it would be the fans who suffer most and we've done nothing to deserve that.
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (8/5/07)


I'm starting to wonder if we're all just being a little naïve about the whole Howard transfer and the gentlemen's agreement. Like a lot of fans on this site, I'm not overly impressed at the idea that our chairman, manager and board could operate in such a way around transfers. In my own mind, it does lessen the club's soul, it's image and in a way my perception of it. After all, all fans want to think that their club is above what the Premiership has become.

But that's just it. In order for a club to do business in the Premiership today, you get the impression that it has to be prepared to get it's hands dirty. As a result, I don't think that we should be so surprised when stuff like what happened with the Howard transfer hits the media.

With regard to our relationship with United, I was at first happy with the way the whole Rooney agreement had panned out. I thought the whole deal at the time was a sound piece of business for both clubs. They got Rooney's signature before anyone else and we got a lot of cash when we needed it plus what seems first refusal on the likes of Neville and Howard. Now, with what has come out in the media about the Howard deal, I am a little put out that this type of arrangement is what we have to make to facilitate the finer points of the Rooney deal, and our transfer dealings in general.

Does the Howard deal make us United's bitch? I don't know. Is it symtematic of a lot of our transfer dealings? I, like most Evertonians, will never know with the current administration in situ. Is it symtematic of how most clubs in the Premiership do business? I'm starting to think so.

I don't like any of this but in today's world of football, I might have to start telling myself that maybe I shouldn't be so naïve.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (8/5/07)

What fascinates me is the repugnance with which the apologists react to the thought that matches could be fixed. Reading the above, ask yourself, "Why not?" ? coz once you're on the slippery slope, it's only a matter of time... But, hey, if it's part of doing business in today's Premeiership; we don't have a choice, do we??? — Michael


I have always read with great interest the mailbag but never felt compelled to write on here before. I feel now is probably the right time.

I am aware that the Everton v Manchester United match is now being investigated by police due to irregularities in the game and that both clubs have been contacted. The match referee, Alan Wiley, has also been contacted.

I am still expecting the whole thing to be kept quiet and swept under the carpet.
Christopher Jones, Birkenhead  (8/5/07)

Where d'ya get that from? Come on, fess up. — Michael

First Stone

I like Joey Barton. Fair enough, he stubbed a cigar out on someone's eye... but haven't we all? And I know he recently put a teamate in hospital... but that was self-defence.

Okay, he showed his arse to the Park End, which I personally found sickening, but the man in the seat behind was clearly excited by the sight of such a perfectly peachy rear end. And that incident in the hotel when he punched a teenaged Evertonian was merely drunken high spirits ? quickly forgotten after a simple shake of a hand.

In an age of monotonous, footballing 'professionals', give me a player with a bit of character any day.
Padraig Inishshark, Castlebar, Ireland  (8/5/07)

Just for the record: No, I've never stubbed a cigar out on someone's eye. Hope this helps. Now, as for showing my arse...


With European qualification all but assured, following a fantastic second-half showing against Pompey, it?s unfortunate that the discussions on the site today revolve around Tim Howard?s absence from the Man United game, but for once, I agree with Michael. I cannot understand the Premier League's stance on the Tim Howard issue against United. Everton's website clearly states that Howard was 'unavailable' to face his former club; however, the statement from the Premier League maintains that he was ?eligible? to play and that they were satisfied that neither Everton nor United, broke any rules in their team selections.

Even though I still believe that Turner had a strong game, there is little doubt that he would NOT have played, had this game been against any other Premier League side. The club has a responsibility to football to clear up this unpleasant dispute and define Howard's ?unavailability? from the game.
Liam Reilly, London  (8/5/07)

Jorge Valdano tells is like it is

"Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion - and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable. Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it's a work of art. It's not: it's a shit hanging from a stick."

He's not impressed with the Mourinho or Benitez take on how football should be played... I think he would slit his wrists if he came to Goodison. He does make a good point though, we all love to follow a successful team and will support a boring team as long as they are successful, but when we start losing or drawing a few more than usual we very quickly turn on the team.
Iain McWilliam, Reading  (8/5/07)

Fernandes or Barton?

I would really like to see Moyes gamble on Fernandes. It would be a massive step towards proving he has the balls to make decisions that could make Everton a real force, in Europe and the Prem. I feel Manu would give us an extra dimension in Europe, his ability to keep hold of the ball will be priceless, last time around the emphasis was long ball play to Big Dunc. Manu has the ability to look for the 'right pass' other than any pass.

I personally wouldn?t like to see Barton at the club, but admit he may offer more during Prem games which involve scrapping and slogging out results. It's a tough decision and I truly hope it's the right one; this season has given Evertonians new aspirations and expectations ? to see us make a step back and get some thug as a cheap alternative would feel like getting a cigar stabbed in my eye.
James Hazlehurst, Wallasey  (8/5/07)

'Allo 'Allo / 3rd place place off

'Howard was free to play' ? both teams confirmed... Shouldn't that have been preceeded by 'You stupid woman' in the manner of cafe owner Rene when denying with a spurious excuse what he was obviously guilty of doing?

A verbal non-agreement is worth, no doubt, even less than the paper a verbal agreement is not written on with the added bonus of being a negative, which we all know is even harder to prove. This 'knobhead Evertonian' will just have to settle for suspecting but never knowing for sure.

The Champions League 3rd place play-off (aka the FA Cup Final) featuring the bigger two of the Big Four: for those two at least, ze war is not over. The biggest question for us is how well the M & M's motivate their respective teams. Will CFC'S 'fringe players' flood the team? I would rather be Chelsea's feeder club than the Manc's if just for one Mr Shaun Wright-Phillips. Or will our half-time dressing room contain a number of Rooney ? 'I'm out of here' imitators.

I, like a lot of people, blanched at the £12M price tag that was put on Fernandes, which added insult to the injury of Benfica giving him a wage rise, that we had to pay as his temporary employers and agian like some thought £6M deffo; £8M mmmm... Now we hear its Euros not Pounds, so what's the problem? With Davey's try-before-you-buy policy, we have had a glimpse of the potential (which is more than we ever got with Beattie for a similar ballpark figure) and if a combo deal that mixes a Lescott pay-per-play type with a year's extended loan, they can even throw in a "gentlemen's non-agreement-agreement" if they like and we will swear to be their feeder club as well if that's what it takes. Sometimes you have to take a chance....

Essien anybody??... BUY CHEAP, BUY TWICE... ello ello!!! Can you hear me, Moyesie??, this is shite-hawke calling... I will say this only once. Re: Mr Strachan... now THAT'S a column!!
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (8/5/07)

Small club mentality

It seems just a few short months ago that Rafeal Benitez stirred up the angst of us Evertonians by cheekily suggesting that we were a small club, oh how we howled with derisive scorn at this impudent Spaniard upstart. What does he know, has he never read his local history books that clearly shows that we were the first club in this city? The trouble is; the more I try to get my head around this ?gentleman?s agreement? bullshit, the more I become convinced that the fat Spanish waiter made a valid point.

Our board, negotiators, chairman or what other names you care to give them (and believe me I can think of a few), clearly acted with a small club mentality when they let that minor detail slip through. I don?t believe any of this conspiracy theory twaddle that has raised its ugly head on here regarding throwing matches but, if we want to be seen as a big club again, then for god's sake lets start acting like one.

I just want Everton to give us a simple answer: Why didn?t we play Tim Howard in goal against Manchester United? The Premier League said we could, but it appears that Man Utd said we couldn?t. Its not a difficult question to answer Mr Kenwright, are you going to answer it? I suspect not.

Finally, for any of us who are left undecided on whether we should vote in favour of a move to Kirkby, just ask yourself one question. Do you honestly trust Mr Kenwright to get the best possible deal for Everton given the way he has made us a laughing stock over a simple player transfer? God help us when we move to our Tesco stadium, who knows what clauses he will negotiate.
Shaun Sparke, Prescot  (8/5/07)

The answer you seek Steve will lie most definitely behind two simple words: "commercial" and "sensitivity". - Colm

Great expectations

Before the opener against Watford, a Poll was done by ToffeWeb: the question ? How will Everton fare this coming season? These were the results:

Top 4		 3%   
Top 7		50%
Top 10		40%
Bottom 10          5%
Relegation battle	 1%
It didn?t say what the other 1% expected.

This indicates, according to my maths, that 96% of fans who entered the poll should be satisfied and almost half would be pleasantly surprised with how we have done this season.

Reading a few postings over the past months, Moyes has come under a lot of criticism from various people. As with all footy teams, the manager takes the responsibility when things don?t go as planned even when factors are out of his control, and the manager should take a lot of the credit when things go well. It?s been a good season for us and hopefully we can get behind the team and the manager next season and again move forward.
Dave Gleaves, Perth, Australia  (8/5/07)


Our two targets:

Barton:- "The pitbull" Could be a great defensive midfielder for us. Only 24 years old and could develop into a Keane/Gattuso type player in the future. All of the top teams have players like him.

Fernandes:- "The dribbler/magician" Silky skills and mercurial genius and still only 21 years old. In Portugal he is on as high a pedastal as Ronaldo in terms of ability. In a few years he could be among Europes elite.

In my opinion, we should sign both players. With 50 million quid rolling in from TV money and also our higher league placing this year, we should take the plunge. It's all very well talking about beefing up the squad etc but look at Chelsea ?they have two players for every position as we 'almost' do. With a 4-4-2 formation what team (including the top 4) would have a better midfield than Arteta, Barton, Cahill & Fernandes?
Mark Cassin, Singapore  (8/5/07)

Lyndon nails it again

Nothing more to add here. Just wanted to give the great Lyndon a virtual clap on the back. He only ever comments with pure truth. Love ya Lyndon. thanks mate.
Stig Meacham, Honolulu, HI, USA  (8/5/07)

A lot ot pay though

Michael, in regards to your comment about £8M being a lot to pay for Fernandes? surely it?s only a lot to pay for us because of our probable expenditure or maybe lack of it. From what I have I seen of him from limited TV/PP streams I have been very impressed indeed. There is no doubting his ability and he seems to always want the ball.

Of course, who knows what his head and attitude is like. But if we can get him for £8M then I personally think it will be a bargain. I mean Man Utd paid £18M for Carrick, which still astonishes me when I think about it. There is also the small matter that the player wants to stay and sign but I certainly hope we do sign him. In today?s game then £8M is fuck all... unless you can?t afford it. If we can?t then it just sums up where we are at really.

I am going to miss not being in Euroland this year as, regardless of the result, going to watch Everton v Villarreal in Spain was just superb. Brought loads of memories back from the 80s, pre-seasons in Europe (Howie's first season in Holland) etc. So another summer of transfer dealings looms. Not very enjoyable at all!
Gary Russell, Taiwan  (8/5/07)

I don't usally agree with David Moyes anymore ? I used to a few years ago, when his whole ethos and demeanour was Everton to the core... but I digress.

On this issue of Fernandes, I have to agree with what he has said about Frenandes, and I (like a fool) believe he is being honest, rather merely posturing in order to bring the price down. In the latest game (v Pompey) at least Manu (that is just far too close to "ManU" for my liking!) did his best at the headless-chicken workrate demon impression that Moyes is looking for...

But I fear it wasn't enough, and there were key moments when he just stands still, or fails to do what's needed. Don't get me wrong: I love flair players, and the way he beat three Pompey statues was brilliant, but he has to deliver the full game; he's just not doing it yet. ? Michael

No, not Benfica

Mikel Arteta is by far the best player we have who pulls on a blue shirt every week. He is the key to putting our beloved Everton into Europe but there is no 'I' in team: Fernandes, in such a short time at the club, has proved himself to be of great value to our team. Imagine the fear we could put into other teams with Arteta, Fernandes, Cahill, Neville, Carsley, Osman, and Van der Meyde who are all dynamic mesmorizing mid-fielders we have at our disposal.

I have never in my life known a team that has managed on a budget to form such a skillful and threatening midfield. Arteta is Fantastic but even he can't not do it alone. In my opinion, Fernandes is a must-have addition to the squad. Look at what he has achieved already; imagine what damage he and Arteta and Cahill could do to other teams defences. All three of them have exciting talent and wonderful distribution. The three of them together could tear teams apart with their flair and finishing skills.
Gareth Smith, Auckland, New Zealand  (8/5/07)

That seven-man midfield had me worried for a moment... [Editor's Note: Jaysus... don't you guys do sentences in the antipodes!]— Michael

The voice of reason

Nicely said Lyndon in your blue box reply to Matt Sweeney, the most sensible thing I?ve heard on the issue. Would there still be all this fuss over the deal if we?d have won the game with Turner in goal??

And what if Howard had made the same mistake? Wouldn?t that be more likely to bring into question the game was thrown with TWO ex-United players gifting them goals?
Eric Myles, Pattaya, Thailand  (8/5/07)

The issue is about Howard being our player and his selection being dictated by another club, in the interests of their title pursuit. And the club being just a little coy about the whole thing, including lying to the supporters. Those bad tastes still linger... — Michael


After watching Everton at home and away for many years (and football in general), ALMOST all sucsessful sides where built around a great midfield ? a midfield with a talented but lazy player. Man Utd with Beckham; the Everton 80s side with Sheedy...

What they brought to the team outweighed their lack of team work. That's why I believe Fernandes would be a great addition. Also, with time, We could work on his shortfalls but without such players we will struggle to take the next step. Good defenders defend; good forwards will score. But a great midfield can and will make all the difference.
Neil Farrell, Springfield MI, USA  (7/5/07)

To say nothing of a solid defence!

RE Mr Strachan

Well said; I agree may be us old arses are out of date but at least we have our pride.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (8/5/07)

Is it just a dream?

  • Big Sam to Chelsea
  • Moyes to Newcastle
  • Mourhinio to Everton
  • Everton to Kirkby
  • Tesco money to Everton
  • Everton to a Cup Final and Champions League...
Is it just a dream?!
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (8/5/07)

What would Sir Alex say???

The Next Level!!

I have heard this mentioned a few times, especially by the anti-Moyes brigade: He will never take us to the next level... he is not adventurous enough... he won't buy Fenandes as he is too skilfull!!!

What exactly is the next level?

Let's us go back to 5 years ago when Moyes took over, we were annual relegation battlers:

  • the next level then would be to stave off relegation.... check.
  • The next level after that would be to get Premiership security... check.
  • The next level again would be some kind of silverware or Europe.....check.
Do you see where I am going here? The next level is to break into the top four: for one shining season in 2004-05, we did, due mostly to a great start and teams below us not producing their normal football. However, we are now breaking into the top six and, let's be honest, to break into the top four we need ? you've guessed it ?lots and lots of mullah!

Moyes has stated he feels £12 million is too high for Fernandes and I agree, not that he doesn't want him. Granted, the blip of 17th will always haunt him but we were never in any danger of being relegated. We have moved on from the dark days of relegation fights and although he has a lot to learn still, Moyes is certainly taking us in the right direction.
John Matthews, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Shooting the Messenger!

It has been interesting to read the range of comment on Howardgate but it is disappointing to see some foolish comments like the accusation that no 'REAL EVERTONIAN' could ever doubt the integrity of our players.

That just makes no sense at all, nor does the idea that the 'whistle-blowers' are somehow bringing shame to the good name of the club. Right now the good name of our beloved club has been ripped up by the actions of the Manager and his Chairman.

Stop and think for a few seconds about the following:


Everything that followed was utterly circumstancial but looks quite damning only when viewed alongside 'THE BIG LIE'

Only young Iain Turner could know the truth behind that horrible mistake but he has been placed in an impossible position by his manager and chairman whom we already know lied to the fans about the Man Utd game ? they have admitted that much!

I promise you this... I will never trust the lad in our goal again... and I readily acknowledge that could be absolutely unjust and fully understand that it could simply have been no more than a piece of incredibly inept goalkeeping. Either way, I do not ever want to see him back in the first team.

Phil Neville could easily have been trying to clear the ball and in an awful display of defensive technique this veteran defender perhaps simply made a mistake ? like the keeper did minutes earlier.


If these two guys simply made honest mistakes, they have been placed in an impossible position by the foul actions of a manager and chairman - any alternative scarcely bears consideration for all who love our club but we have been badly let down by the highest-placed figures at Everton.

With that in mind, how many of us could reasonably put hand on heart and say that we are happy to see this man Neville ever lead the lads out to the sound of Keating and the Z-Cars theme? A new skipper ? maybe we should give the ball to Tim Howard ? one figure who was certainly beyond doubt and one can only guess how he felt about being left out and presumably lied to just as we were ? the loyal supporters who shouted themselves hoarse last week and then repeated the performance at the start of Saturday's second half.

To the apologists, a plea: blame us if you like, disagree with us if you felt it was all above board, criticise us if you think we are making up a conspiracy theory surrounding a blameless, truthful, misunderstood Billy L and Davey M... but please DO NOT EVER MISTAKE OUR CONCERNS ABOUT BEING FED ALL THAT SHIT WITH OUR NOT BEING REAL EVERTONIANS.

I go back to our days in the old Second Division, the rebuild by the Catt and on to our Dome years. You want to know why Sir Alex has a real soft spot for the Blues... think about the best team in England when Alex arrived at the shambles that was Manchester United 20 years ago and consider how he re-built that team. The blueprint for that rebuild was based on the job that our superb boss Howard Kendall did at Goodison. Even the recovery timeframe was very similar and the two men became good friends.

Think about the fee we collected when we unloaded the little shit Barmby to Liverpool and the part that Alex played when Liverpool were teasing us with a low offer. Shooting the messenger is just plain dumb when these EVERTONIAN messengers are telling nothing but the truth.

Moyes and BK left us with a bloody nose on this deception but check our blood: YES, IT IS 'ROYLE' BLUE!
Glen Strachan, Oaxaca , Mexico  (7/5/07)

Moyes's Tragic Flaw?

David Moyes?s success in taking Everton from being perennial fighters against relegation to perennial contenders for Europe is an achievement but it should be tempered by the knowledge that there?s a bigger gap between fifth and top than between fifth and the relegation zone. So there?s a lot more work to be done.

Frankly, I am beginning to doubt that David Moyes, whom I have always supported with varying levels of enthusiasm, is the man to take Everton to the next level. The whole scandalous surrender to Manchester United has made me question what is going on at Everton. Anyone who watched that debacle and bollocked Fernandes but exonerated 'Wrong Way' Neville from any responsibility needs his head examined ? yet that?s what Moyes did.

Now we are discovering that Fernandes, with his free-spirited skills, isn?t wanted ? while a player of Osman?s skill-set starts week-in, week-out. Moyes seems to prefer hard-working, predictable players of average ability to exuberant, creative, but harder to handle players. That?s how we end up with affable clowns like Beattie. Maybe Rooney ? and I'm no apologist for him ? also got that vibe.

That?s not what we need if we are going to take the next step forward. Managers of the top Premiership clubs have to learn to deal with some independent, but talented, individuals with big egos and learn to let them play their game. I wonder if Moyes is up for that. It may be time to look elsewhere to build on the foundation Moyes has laid.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Assuming Moyes's public comments aren't being used as propaganda in any potential battle with Benfica to get the price down, I think you've hit a few nails square on the head there, Peter. Moyes does deserve praise for bringing stability to the club and delivering what may well be two forays into Europe in three seasons but the doubts about his ability to take us to the next level ? and handle the type of player that that will require ? that nag many people who don't buy into the Moyessiah hype is encapsulated in your thoughts above. The biggest problem there, though, is where exactly do you look for a potential successor and at what cost to the stability Moyes has brought? ? Lyndon

Very Little Helps

As the conspiracy theories continue unabated I started to wonder if we also had a gentlemen's agreement with LFC to leave the city as soon as possible, after all we did take 4 points off them this season.

On a more serious note, the cosy relationship with United is not a comfortable one for me as an Evertonian. I also think that TESCO may have something to do with this cosy set up. They after all want to expand into Asia as do United and I would think that Tesco see Everton as a way into United's hierarchy. This may also explain why "24/7 Kenwright" is in no hurry to relinquish control of the club. Maybe when we go to Kirkby we can rename ourselves Everton United. Mortal enemies Leeds also had many dealings with Man Utd and look where they are now. I shudder to think of what life will look like with Kenwright in charge for the foreseeable future.

I also note that neither United nor Everton are refuting their current relationship. And to add insult to injury, the same United have just won as many titles in 15 years as we have in our entire history.
John Partick McFarlane, Lancs  (7/5/07)


I am totally disgusted that you have so tarnished the team's achievement of getting into Europe by concentrating on the minutiae of the Howard deal. If Kenwright and Moyes were as corrupt as you have made them out then all they needed to do was invent a minor injury to preclude the American's selection.

By playing it straight (because they had nothing to hide) they are rewarded with allegations of corruption. I bet I know which way they'll play it next time! Sometimes this site is a disgrace!
Sebastian St Clare, Harrogate  (7/5/07)

Gosh, if you call lying to the fans about Howard's status "playing it straight"... so be it. Clearly from this mailbag, as with all things Everton, there are them as see it and them as don't. Personally, I'm disgusted that you should defend such behaviour as being even remotely acceptable. — Michael

What if?

If we had beaten the Mancs I am sure we would all agree that Turner had a brilliant game and the deal done for Howard was a masterstroke by all concerned. As far as EFC being a feeder club for United, this has got to be the biggest load of horse shite I have ever read. We might be skint but we are still a massive club. Roll on Europe and well done Blues!
Kevin Tully, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Lied to again

"Everton were free to play Tim Howard in their fixture against Manchester United had they so wished — and this has been confirmed by both clubs."

This one statement by the FA Premier League and published on the official website needs full explanation by the Club. How dare they not play a full strength team against Utd for possible financial gain by Utd winning the league? This is a disgrace and I hope that all those who were mugged and paid the price of a ticket for that game will be reimbursed due to being conned by the Everton hierarchy.

This stinks and just goes to show how low we have sunk — no 'gentlemen's' agreement is worth letting down your own fans in such a pathetic way. Everton's board and Kenwright specifically have shit all over their own fans in keeping Howard out of that team on that day. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the next AGM — I do hope some of our shareholders who contribute to this fantastic website take them to task over this and demand an explanation and establish what other 'gentlemen?s' agreements between the two clubs will mean us putting out a weakened side in the future. Un-fucking-believable — that just takes the biscuit.
Steve Callaghan, Liverpool  (07/05/07)

A Thank You to Mr Moyes

This Marshmallow chap, the one who tends to hog the Mailbag on a regular basis. He seems to know a lot about the goings on at EFC headquarters. With this in mind, through your website, can I ask him the date when David Moyes gets his deserved reward of his salary doubled combined with a 5-year extension to his contract so that I can send him (David Moyes) a Congratulations card?
Frank Carse, Bury  (7/5/07)

OK, you win

Just read your comments on my thoughts on Barton for the Blues and, of course, you are right in many ways. However, you compared him to Big Duncan and I reckon your memories of Dunc would easily be footballing memories and not the baggage issue. Give the lad a chance he could make us great again. [By the way a great site with some excellent views on the Blues.]
Frankie Burrage, Northwich  (7/5/07)

Thanks, Frank. Duncan did leave us with some great footballing memories but, for me personally, his baggage constantly detracted from his talent and was always a sense of frustration. I don't like what I have seen of Barton; as much as I think we need someone with his ability I don't think he's an "Everton-type" player because of his temperament. ? Lyndon

Michael is right

Michael is quite right to strongly condemn the Howard deal. The worst possible thing that could happen in football is corruption on the actual pitch. We can all have our own views as to whether we preferred football before the Premiership, on Moyes's tactics or money in football. However, we must have total confidence on what is happening on the field of play.

But that confidence will be eroded once you start having gentleman's agreements between clubs about who can play or extra payments to clubs depending on whether they win the league. And that of course is what Everton and United have done. And it is only when we start to question the very integrity of the game that conspiracy theories like Neville's own goal, start to rear their ugly head.

And make no mistake, no-one on this site has any idea however strong their views, whether that own goal was a deliberate act or not. The very thought that it was is too appalling to consider but once these smaller deals, which are against the rules, are allowed to go unpunished, then such scenarios as Neville's become that much more likely. I can understand United being desperate to win at all costs but I would hope that Everton are a cut above that.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (7/5/07)

Unfortunately, as we have seen, there are enough "pragamtists" who seem quite happy with this kind of thing, which is a pity. As a note: I very much suspect that no rules were actually broken, which the pragmatists offer as justification. It kind of misses the point about intent and ethics, which are the real issues to my mind. There is no "rule" that says the club should be honest with its supporters. I would hope it was something, however, that most supporters would expect as a minimum. — Michael

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln......

So Eamon Byrne thinks Iain Turner played a blinder against Man Utd - apart from THAT slip!That`s a bit like saying `Apart from the incident, Mrs Lincoln, what did you think of the play?`

Those of us who watch reserve team fixtures regularly will know that Turner is no better than Wright or Ruddy and I suspect that there are 20 keepers in the lower leagues of better quality than all of them. One of Moyes`s urgent needs in the summer is surely that of a new goalkeeper!
Brian Ashton, Widnes  (7/5/07)

Get the Bluenoses in

Catch-22: we need European qualification to attract good players, we need good players to gain Europen qualification, thankfully it is the former that applies currently.

Like my title states then, pull out all the stops for Nugent he's the right age ? just what Moysey wants ? good brain on him a bit like Fowler actually. Similar age thing with Barton as well, if Man City want to chuck him out then bring him home. His ability to change the course of games in a positive sense will out-do those he changes in the negative, numerous red cards etc. Moysey may turn him around a bit and at £5m he is most certainly worth a gamble. Stubbsy for another year while Everton help put him thrugh his badge, but keep him as a defensive coach anyway, mandatory!! Fernandes, yes; Kirkby, NO!
Brian Foley, Cardiff  (7/5/07)

United feeder club

Just been reading the article with regards to us being United's feeder club. I recieved this e-mail last October from a Manc fan dated March 06. I was reluctant to believe it but it's becoming more and more plausable.

Source: Redcafe.net
March 15th, 2006

The rumours gaining credibility about the feederclub to Manchester United.

There is continuing stories linking Everton FC becoming a feeder club for Manchester United. These stories have continued unabated for approximately 12 months without either Manchester United or Everton wishing to either confirm or refute whether they are true or just malicious rumours.

It is certainly true that the presence of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and his assistants are a regular occurrence at Goodison Park. Even recently at Goodison, United manager was spotted in the directors box for the Everton home game versus Tottenham Hotspurs, also in attendance was the United manager?s skipper Gary Neville.

The agreement for Everton to become a feeder club for G14 giant Manchester United was apparently forged during negotiations for the transfer of Wayne Rooney from Everton to Manchester United in 2004.

Ferguson is believed to be making in-roads into formulating the transfer of Mikel Arteta to Old Trafford. Arteta was a guest of the Manchester United for the disappointing 0-0 draw against relegated Sunderland. Arteta was spotted in the directors box sitting next to Manchester United chairman David Gill.

It has also been reported on numerous occasions of Ferguson?s admiration of Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, a United swoop for the classy Everton midfield maestro should also certainly not be ruled out.

Obviously to become a feeder club for one particular club also needs to benefit the feeder club on the field of play as well as financially and this has been put into place, to allow Everton to have first choice of United outcasts.

This allowed Everton to have first choice in signing England international Phillip Neville, and is also why Everton have asked Ferguson on more than one occasion on the availability of United goalkeeper Tim Howard, a deal for the United keeper should not be ruled out in the near future.

Many figures have been mentioned but it is rumoured that Everton Football Club are receiving in the region of £4.5 million a year for the arrangement. This figure represents a paltry sum for the Glazer-run football empire but for a club in Everton?s finanacial predicament represents an absolute financial godsend ? and Kenwright knows it.

Everton supremo David Moyes has also asked Ferguson on the eligibility of John O?Shea, but at present Ferguson is loathe to conclude a deal, but is willing to offer Everton first choice when he is made available. It has also been reported that Moyes was very keen on midfielder Paul Scholes, and was surprisingly not discouraged by the United Boss - watch this space. Manchester United have for approximately 12 months been watching Oldham Athletics prolific under-19 goalscorer and fanatical United fan Scott Spencer, and Ferguson has reportedly given the go-ahead for Everton FC to sign him to bring him along until the time comes for United to sign him from the Toffees for a nominal fee.

Everton and Manchester United will eventually refute these allegations but like most things in life the truth will out, and then it will be very interesting how the powers-that-be react and punish the two parties.

United?s footballing empire under the guidance of new owner Malcolm Glazer continues to grow unabated, with footballing feeder clubs across almost all the continents, Europe with clubs in Belgium and England (Everton), Asia, Australasia and they are now in the process of successfully setting up feeder clubs in the African continent.

The puzzling question that does need answering is how did Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright agree to once English giant Everton become a laughing stock of English football, Everton once known as the Mersey Millionaires are now nothing other than a down and out also-ran and for Everton Football Club in particular the future looks decidedly bleak.

Bill Kenwright: Everton saviour, more like Kenwright the traitor.
Craig Walsh, Lancashire  (7/5/07)

Sounds like bollocks to me. Quite apart from anything else, any "agreement" forged during the Rooney negotiations involving set payments to Everton to act as a feeder club to United would have had to have been made public because back then they were still a PLC. Furthermore, the geographic proximity of Liverpool to Manchester means that it's not far for Gary Neville to come and watch his brother play for Everton or Sir Alex to take in a game or assess future opposition.

I don't disagree that the two clubs enjoy a closer relationship on the back of the Rooney sale than do most Premiership clubs ? the Howard and Neville deals might never have happened otherwise ? but I find it very hard to believe there is any formal arrangement between the two clubs ? Lyndon

Disillusioned of London writes...

I think, from the events of the last few days, including the 'Howard' affair and the 'Kirkby' daily update (sic), that it is fairly evident that Everton FC, its board and management have little or no respect for its supporters. Its manner of carrying out business is also fraught with problems.

Many here perceive these latest difficulties as nothing more than 'business as usual' but I disagree. The things that are happening here concern me to the point where I ask myself ? do I really want to associate myself with this club any longer?

Many here recognize the problems and give intelligent analysis of what's going on. Maybe you need to ask yourselves the same question. I do not want to support something I see as acting in an unjust or illegal manner, in a way that compromises my values, in a way that is as stupid as it looks. Everton FC in its present incarnation leaves a lot to be desired and I, like Tony Marsh, have had enough.

I would suggest the board and the management are acting in a way that borders on being corrupt. They act in a way that makes me question their desire to operate within the rules and spirit of the game. I do not think Everton FC is honest and I do not want to be part of it anymore.
Peete Stewart, London  (7/5/07)

Strong stuff indeed, Peete. Part and parcel of football these days, though, I'm afraid... ? Lyndon

New Kit

Don't know what the big deal about the kit is. They're way better than the horrific "One 2 One" kits a few years ago! The changes are so subtle each season recently I didn't bother buying last years and kept the one from the season before. Looks pretty much the same!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (07/05/07)

It's fine apart from that ridiculous zebra-stripe effect down the sides — Lyndon


I'd be rather shocked if Moyes signs Joey Barton. It is exactly the wrong sort of player in terms of character he goes for. It would be a huge risk and could provide a spark in the dressing room to break our team spirit. He's a good player but not for us thanks. Send him to Newcastle, he'd fit right in with the mercenaries there.
Dan Parker, New York, US  (07/05/07)

Alan Irvine

I've just flown back from Nice, and I met Alan Irvine waiting to get on our flight. Lovely chap by the way! He said that everyone at the club is absolutely buzzing about Europe, unsurprisingly! I had a decent chat with him and he said that Moyes was out to buy at least five new players this summer. When I mentioned Fernandes he said that Manu has fitted in really well and that everyone wants him to stay. He said the club would not pay £12m and was cagey when I asked him if we could afford £8m.

He'd been to see Monaco vs Marseille the night before — I didn't ask who he had been checking out on the pitch, though in my head I thought "Please, not Djibril Cisse!" He added a wry chuckle when I asked him if he hopes we're going to be playing Chelsea reserves on Sunday!

Fingers crossed the Blues are toying with Benfica via the media over Fernandes' fee. He'd be very useful to have on the books permanently!
Nick Tierney, Liverpool  (07/05/07)

Thanks for sending in details of your chat with Alan, Nick. And, yes, fingers crossed re: Mr Fernandes... — Lyndon

Getting ridiculous now....

I can't believe the amount of shit on this site about the Howard deal, especially about handing Man United the title and all that. If Everton didn't agree to the "gentleman's agreement," Man United wouldn't have sold him to us, so HOWARD WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PLAY ANYWAY. Under no scenario would we have been able to play Howard, so why are people acting like we could have? Unless people think we should have backed out of the agreement, which is wrong in a business and a moral sense.

So what the hell are people on about saying we handed United the title? Us signing him made no difference apart from making sure we have him for next season. Remembering this fact, I'd like to ask Michael what he's on about saying we just let United win.
Matt Sweeney, Wallasey  (07/05/07)

It's all a storm in a teacup for me. Like you say, the gentleman's agreement was probably made to smooth the deal and it doesn't say much for anyone's confidence in Iain Turner that in hindsight his inclusion is being seen as giving the game to United. Howard's not immune from horrible gaffes either and it could quite easily have been an error by him that turned the game had he played — Lyndon

Barton next Monday

Joey Barton will sign for the Blues next week on monday. The deal was agreed in February, it is concrete information. He will be a great addition to the squad and I think we should forget "the baggage" issue and hope his football does the talking.
Frankie Burrage, Northwich  (07/05/07)

Yes, we tried forgetting the baggage issue with Duncan Ferguson but we were still affected when he ended up in Barlinnie for a few months and when he assembled a nice collection of red cards over the years. From little curly Alan Ball to little thug Joey Barton... what a come-down that would be.


I have to say it'll be a great shame if we don't sign Fernandes. I can see where Moyes is coming from feeling that £12M is a bit steep, if that is the asking price. I also agree he needs to work harder but very similar accusations could have been levelled when United made the move to sign Ronaldo. Ok for them such money is not as big a risk as it is for us but Ronaldo was equally raw and selfish. Yet with some good coaching he is now begrudgingly one of the best in Europe for all he's a cheating scumbag. Why can't Fernandes improve in the same way?

There are of course other considerations. Rumours have surfaced of Fernandes not being the most team-spirited individual off the pitch as well as lacking effort on it. There's also his complicated ownership issue. Who actually owns him now? Priorities also have to be considered. Moyes has a squad-building mission to complete in the summer alongside his usual quest to add one or two quality under-25s to the team. How big a proportion of our funds can be allocated to one player?

That said there seems to be some confusion over the price. Are we talking Euros or Pounds? If the former then £8M, just £2.5M more than the expected price for Barton; I'd happily see both at the club but given the choice I'd take Fernandes. He's younger, more skilful, more versatile and has never been caught ripping the heads of teddy-bears in Toys 'R' Us.

I won't be criticising Moyes too heavily if he backs out of the Fernandes deal, that will only come if Fernandes goes on to be a world-beater or Moyes fails to find an adequate substitute. Moyes sees behind the scenes and has the benefit of advice from those adept at judging the potential of youth. From my limited knowledge though I think we should take the gamble. Everton need to take the next step and if that means accomodating a mercurial talent at the expense of all out work ethic then perhaps that's something we have to accept.
John Holmes, York  (07/05/07)

It seems as though the price is £8m (roughly €12m — we've altered the poll question accordingly) but word is that the only way he'll be at Goodison next season is on another 12-month loan with payment terms that suit Everton — Lyndon

Weekend ruined

It?s been a sad weekend for this mailbag. Hysterical purists of the beautiful game have had their say. It?s not enough that Everton have shown more consistent football this season to propel us forward. Now we have another ?crisis? to deal with. One of my best days day has been ruined by some puritanical hypocrisy that beggars belief.

Are you going to moan if Chelsea field their reserves next Sunday? Where you up in arms when Sheffield Utd fielded not their best XI in a cup game. Where you horrified that the shite fielded two weaker teams in their last two fixtures because they want to concentrate on European football? One of those games affected us. How do the Clubs at the bottom feel about the shite?s line up V Fulham. What about Man Utd line up V Crewe? What about Arsenal fielding their kids in the Carling Cup?

So what did Everton do? They failed to decide on bring Howard in in the transfer window? Why, because after 5 screamers flew past him there surely must be some doubt? After a steady January they decided to make the deal permanent. So if they formed an agreement, so fucking what? If Everton made a verbal agreement then I am happy they stuck by it.

Under the rules of the game they have been completely cleared. I won?t disagree it has a bad whiff about it. Some of the reaction to this though is ludicrous. Get you head round this: ?EVERTON broke no rules?.

There is in any case no certainty that with Howard in goal that we would have won that game. In my eyes, Man Utd dominated the game. We scored two goals and Turner bar one mistake played a blinder. We only have about 7 really first team squad in any case, two where already missing. So what is the beef? We never had a strong XI to even make this debateable. Anyone who suggests we threw that game needs their head examining by a professional.

However the club does not come out clean, it told the fans that Howard was not able to play that game. Doesn?t bode well when there are ground moves ahead and the club ?expect their trust?.

Now can we pleas get back to, "We?re all going on a European tour!"
Eamonn Byrne, Shropshire  (7/05/07)

You seem a bit confused there, Eamonn. There was nothing wrong but it was bad. Hope I don't get you on jury duty! — Michael


"Everton were free to play Tim Howard in their fixture against Manchester United had they so wished and this has been confirmed by both clubs." Hmmm...
Oliver Ferns, Brighton  (7/5/07)

Fernandes ? not Barton

If the rumours are correct that we will not go in for Fernandes then I think the club are making a big mistake. If we go for Joey Barton instead, we will be getting a less talented player with a very bad attitude. He is not a player who can keep hold of the ball. He lacks technical ability. The only thing he would give us would be a drive from midfield, which from what I have seen and heard from Man City fans doesn't come enough. £12M for Fernandes is quite alot of money but we will be getting our money's worth? He is a talented player and if he is sold in the future, we will get a lot of money from him.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Sold in the future!?! Who to??? Oh no... don't tell me... ? Michael


Wanted: 21-year-old centre-midfielder with the ball skills of a Ronaldo, tackling ability of an Essien, passing ability of a Scholes and shooting ability of a Shearer. Must cost no more than £3M. Applications in writing to Everton FC, Fantasy Land, Liverpool.

Not buying Fernandes and going for someone like Barton sums up for me why we'll continue to oscillate between 5th and 15th ? yes, the kid has some raw edges but at times he is simply sensational and I remain convinced he's going to be one of the leading midfielders of his generation.

£12M is a lot of money but, when you consider that we're going to spend that on Barton (over-rated) and Nugent (simply not needed), I think it can be justified. Gripe over ? well done lads for Uefa Cup qualification; fingers crossed we can hold onto 5th!
David Lloyd, Nottingham  (7/5/07)

It might only be £8M (= ?12M) ? still rather a lot to pay, though... — Michael

Keep on bangin on all you want

Mr Clarke. My main point was that the atmosphere at the Manchester game was nowhere near that witnessed at Portsmouth. Moyes stated that the crowd was the biggest influencing facor on the game, for once I am in agreement with him. You seem to be suggesting that we threw the game? I dont believe that for a minute but it doesn't help having your first-string keeper ruled out on a nod and a wink. On every other point I am in agreement with you.

At no point have I abused my fellow supporters, I simply said we could have given more. Let's drop this now shall we, I am beggining to feel a little stalked...
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (7/5/07)

New Strip

Is anyone else a little disapointed with the new home kit? I mean c'mon ? its virtually identical to the one we're currently wearing! I know our strip is traditionally quite rigid and I love it but surely some decent changes could have been made for next season (a la the black n blue socks in 1996). Personally I was hoping for something more along the lines of our kit in 03-04.
Neil Sullivan, Dublin  (7/5/07)

I thought it looked really nice to be honest. I dunno what yer all moaning about. Do your bit to support our Club ? Get out there and buy your XXXL relplicas NOW! ? Michael

The Howard Deal

Is the bigger issue Man Utd insisting on this agreement as part of the deal? The gulf between the haves and have-nots is already massive in the Premier League. What if similar deals where done for Huth, Lauren, Parker, Warnock, Butt, etc? Would anyone be able to take points from the Big Four?
Davrd Rodaway, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

The Strangest of Seasons

Where to begin? I can honestly say that the start to this season has been the best I have ever experienced as an adult (I am 27). The excitement of finally having a forward, AJ, who looked like he was going to score goals for fun, and a solid keeper, and a quality defender Lescott. I have to congratulate Moyes on his purchases this year - about time too!

However, I have seen a worrying lack of ambition and winning mentality in this Everton side too - Any odds on us getting hammered by Chelsea 7-0? I'm not sure that this is down to the manager or the players, but the manager must take responsibility. I think when we want to win a game, we play better football, but when we're sent out to draw we have failings in posession. Mainly because possession isn't our gameplan, disruption is.

Personally, I think the only way this mentality can be changed is from the top - Mr Kenwright, your lack of ambition was clearly shown by the "Gentleman's agreement" fiasco. What I wouldn't give for a chairman who would have told Man Utd to go fuck themselves! The whole deal smacks of desperation on our board's part... "let's capitulate to the Red Devils demands AGAIN" (Rooney, anyone?)

We're bigger than that kind of deal. Why should we be the ones getting mugged? Kenwright, move aside please and allow a chairman with ambition to dictate the mindset of our manager and players, and hopefully source the funds for team building.

Although we're in Europe next year, the teams from 5th to 17th are much of a muchness, and it's a lottery to some degree where we will finish next year. Would anyone completely rule out us finishing 17th next season, and West Ham finishing 5th?
Richard Jones, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Why did we risk it !?

Everton's reasoning for the Howard deal makes no sense to me. Losing those 3 pts could have cost us £2M in league placing, a Uefa Cup spot plus a public embarrassment for the club. The latter has certainly been applied and I ask myself for what? So we could sign a player 2-3 months in advance! What was Moyes thinking of!? There really have been some shit decision making at our club and I think this beats them all and I cannot wait for the Moyes/Kenwright era to end.
Tommy Coleman, London  (7/5/07)

I think they actually were very careful to make sure what they were doing did not breach any rules and threfore carried no "real" risk of punishment. The nub of the matter, I suspect, is the absence of a written agreement... I'm very sure the lawyers on both sides will have made very certain of that. Meanwhile, verbals are fine, apparently.? Michael

Irony, irony....

Just in case anyone other than dear old Dickie mis-interpreted my earlier posting, can I base my repost on the meaning of just one word - as Dickie did on Saturday.

IRONY: A deliberate dissembling for effect or to intensify meaning. An example is subtle sarcasm or language meant to be understood only by the initiated.

God forbid that anyone else should have taken me literally!
David Hall, Taunton  (7/5/07)

And you've had me searching the wires for this story that says "No agreement ? verbal or otherwise"... — Michael


The guy certainly appears to be a headcase. BUT. Let's say Moyes signed him and was able to manage him effectively ie, got him to cut out the mental stuff. Would he on that basis be a useful addition to our squad? By that I mean, would Barton's footballing abilities (is he actually any good, I don't know) add something the squad currently lacks OR give solid backup in an area we already do OK in? Either would be good assuming we get into Europe (remember we technically aren't there yet, said the pessimist!).

I think we need some younger, quicker defenders (I wish Stubbsy was 10 years younger) and a couple more midfielders (preferably one that can deal out the rough stuff and one with good skills). The ability to do both would be lovely but I doubt we've got the cash for such premium commodities. Unless Everton can spot a lower league bargain who makes the step up almost instantly.

On that note can anyone think of any lower league players who might just boost our squad with minimal outlay so that we wouldn't be taking a big financial gamble. I don't like to be too pessimistic about cash flow but the whole Leeds fiasco has got to put a bit of a shudder through you.
Stuart Kelly, Newcastle  (7/5/07)

Why all the fuss?

I have read with interest the many, many pieces on the "Howard Situation" and am still amazed with the comments being raised. Yes, the situation with the Howard deal could have been handled a hell of a lot better by Everton, they could have told us that there was a "gentleman's agreement", but they don't have to.

As many others have said, it is just a shrewd bit of business to make sure there were no competitors for his signature at the end of the season, which would invariably push his price tag up.

Onwards and upwards, we're all going on a European Tour!
John Matthews, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Lies, lies, more lies!

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Howard business, people at Everton have once again been shown up as liars. Was it not the lies rather than the original offence that saw West Ham fined £5.5M?

Perhaps a similar penalty might see Kenwright, Moyes & Co become a little more cautious when they next seek to stray from the path of righteousness!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (7/5/07)

Hoof Ball 2

Congratulations to Lue Glover. Nail on the head. Now that I've got the Howard affair out of my spleen to some extent I can more easily comment on Saturday's game.

Two things changed it. We came out at half time a different side! If that was down to the manager then well done, Davey. I didn't notice any tactical changes particularly, it was more about attitude and workrate. The penalty certainly opened the floodgates. But from my season seat in the top right hand corner of the Park End (looking from the Gladdy) some of the stuff that was happening there between Arteta, Manny and McFadden right under my nose took me back forty years! It was beautiful stuff.

It might only have been for 20 minutes but why the hell can't we at least try to play like that every week, never mind in both halves of one game? We have seen enough this season to show that we can play decent stuff, sometimes very good stuff ? occasionally great stuff. Maybe all we need is a change in 'Management' philosophy to allow the players the opportunity and the confidence to do it.

There is a transformation happening here (maybe even in spite of the management!) and long may it continue. I was so 'made up' with the second half on Saturday that I dragged my mates to the beer garden of the Royal Oak (before going home) for a celebratory glass of orangeade (with a touch of Vodka ? but not much)

We could be going somewhere now... but we need the support and the commitment of the Club. Do Ya know what I mean?
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (7/5/07)

Know exactly what you mean, Eileen. It's most definitely been one of those seasons where we've, on occasion, played some top drawer footy yet the overriding memory seems to be of the dross and thrown away points! That's Evertonians for yer! ? Colm


I just cannot believe that there are so many people condoning this so-called gentlemen's agreement. Thankfully, I don't know any of them, one certainly couldn't turn your back on them, it could be a painful experience.

The thing is, it is cheating, and those pair of shithouses, Moyes and Kenwright have let it happen. Moyes should have the decency to resign, because, as far as I am concerned, the pair of them are dragging Everton's name through the mud, and mud sticks, or didn't you apologists know that!
Colin Potter, Wavertree  (7/5/07)

Ouch! Mind those knees Colin! A touch OTT there perhaps??? ? Colm

The truth, the whole truth, and......

I am indebted to David Hall for bothering to look deeper into the `Howard Affair`. The explanation he provides is exactly that given by David Moyes to Sky Sports BEFORE the game so we can be certain that there was no agreement of any kind in place.

Clearly, Davey needed to see Turner in action and how better to judge his merits than against the nearly champions?

Now we have put that to bed, perhaps we can concentrate on looking forward to next season when the No.1 British manager (sorry Fergie!) will steer us to glory in League, Cups and Europe.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (7/5/07)

Congrats, Richard!!! That's the biggest load of bollocks submitted in some time, Sir! May I ask that you ask Mr Moyes, on our behalf of course, to select Iain Turner in our very first away game in Europe next season. Just to judge his merits, like, in European battle... - Colm

Crossing the line

I have two important points to make. Anyone who paid good money to watch the game against Man Utd last week will be disappointed that we had agreed to 'rest' our best keeper in what was always going to be a crucial end of season game. We should have told the Mancs where they could shove their gentleman's agreement, and just said 'look, there's the transfer money, take it if you want but once he's ours we'll play him whenever we want.'

We needed to show backbone and we needed to stand up for ourselves. We didn't. Many people on here have rightly declared their unhappiness about this.

However, my second point, literally two or three people have crossed over the line of 'anger' and into the realms of sickening, jaw dropping, narrow minded slander by raising questions of Everton FC football players 'throwing' a match. Any person who, without a shred of evidence, can (even discreetly) question a professional sportsman's desire to win a match should be treated with the utmost disdain and forcibly made to put up or shut up. Whether you are a fan, a journo or a website editor, you either back yourself up with more than 'he played badly, he scored an own goal, he dropped the ball' - or you SHUT UP.
Phil Hamer, Cardiff  (7/5/07)

I concur with your belief Phil (and Pat's in the previous post) that in no way shape or form did Everton throw away (deliberately!!!) that game against Manchester United last week. As Pat pointed out, you could clearly see the joy etched on Moyes' face when 2-0 up.

However, it still fails to excuse the moral bankruptcy of the agreement reached by both clubs. Would Everton have been wiser as a club to have issued a non-story on the Official website early that week citing Howard as being a potential absentee due to a training ground mishap? Okay, the cynics (myself included) would've read that with raised eyebrows aplenty and possibly laughed at the timing of such an "injury" but nonetheless it would've covered Everton's arse big time! Not that any lies are ever told on there of course! ;-) ? Colm

It's not what it looks like!!

All this yakking about a contoversery and conspiracy over Tim Howard. If the FA had found there were underhanded dealings between Man Utd and EFC it might well have resulted in a very heavy fine plus docking of points at the start of next season. Has anyone thought that the two Clubs might have stated that Tim Howard could have played to avoid that consequence?

There is no way I believe that Everton would not have played Tim if they had been able to. The sheer joy on David Moyes face when we went 2-0 up against United tells me that he truly wanted to win that game and I won't believe otherwise.

I would like to say well done to the team for proving to me that they love EFC as much as I do and I would remind Tony Marsh that at the beginning of the season when he was slagging them and DM off, as he did throughout the season, that I said I would expect him to eat his hat when they finished in the top 6. Sprinkle salt and vinegar on it Tony, it may be a little more palatable!
Pat Jones, Swansea  (7/5/07)

Who should we get?

Just like to say well done EFC on a successful season. I was also wondering what players are on people's wish-list in the summer. Barton, Nugent, Billy Jones? Anyone else got anyone in mind. COYB
Rob Burke, Worcester  (7/5/07)

The first two names you mention appear to feature quite highly on Moyes's shopping list indeed! ? Colm

Same Old Howard confusion

I am just a little confused here!?!?

We play Turner (IMHO very good keeper who still has a lot to learn) because Howard can't play due to a "gentleman's agreement". Turner then makes his mistake that leads Man Utd to beat us and secure the title thus we receive our payment of £500,000 from the potato head deal... ok, ok ? I get it so far.

Now it starts to confuse me. All of a sudden we COULD have played Howard (a better keeper at this point in time) but did not! No reason given so I can only presume the 'gentlemans aggreement' is a fact and the £500k we receive is worth more than the money we would receive from the Premier League for the 5th-place finish we would surely have wrapped up if we had another 3 points on the board!

Assume we went on to hold on to the win and that Spurs don't get all 9 points available to them.... Sod it, I'm confusing myself again
Mike Newhouse, Manchester  (7/5/07)

Not entitled

It appears that Everton were forced to accept an agreement that is not allowed under Premiership/FA Rules in order to complete the transfer of Tim Howard. The suggestion that Howard should not play against his old Club must have come from Manchester United. The threat that the transfer would not be completed early unless Everton complied with the request must also have come from Manchester United. It is the suggestion/threat that is contrary to the rules and Manchester United are therefore guilty of seeking to gain an unfair advantage contrary to the rules governing the Premiership.

Everton are guilty of nothing other than being supine and gormless in their dealings with United but that is nothing new. People who are asking why a fuss is being made about this issue are missing a major point of principle. The Premiership/FA would not be so forgiving if the Club seeking to gain an unfair advantage came from the second division of the Premiership. One rule for the Big Four and another rule for the others who make up the opposition for the fixture lists.

As Everton supporters, we should insist that the Premiership/FA take action against Manchester United for this clear breach of their rules. If we do not, then the wider footballing community will suspect that we (the Club and its supporters) were willing partners in this fraud (for that is what it amounts to)... after all our Club benefits materially from Manchester United becoming Champions.

In mitigation it could/should be argued that by finishing 7th (likely now) rather than 5th (if Howard had been in goal) Everton stand to lose about £1.2 million and that is where the word gormless comes in. Sup with the devil and gain £500,000 whilst losing £1,200,000... when will we ever learn?
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (7/5/07)

Look on the bright side, we'll be rooting for United in the FA Cup! After all, "every little helps" and a Cup winners medal in young Rooney's hand ensures an extra £150,000 for US!! Come on Yernited!!! ? Colm

They Think Its All Over

Micheal, you are so right on this Howard deal shenanigans and those out there who can't see it should hang your heads in shame.

Basically, Everton FC have acted no better than a male prostitute with a Tory MP on Wandsworth common... We took it up the arse. Man Utd have taken the piss out of us and we the sucker fans have been well and truly mugged.

We have all known for years now that football is corrupt and as bent as a whippets back leg [Collina, Villarreal] but it's shocking to think that we Everton Football Club are getting dragged down with this scandal. That's it for me they can fuck off. I refuse to renew my season tickets ever again. When your club becomes a lackie for the big boys and in the process stabs the fans in the back, it's time to say enough is enough.

The worst of it all is that we let Man Utd ? the most horrible shower of twats ever ? to win the league at Goodison Park. Rooney, Ferguson and the all those fucking Cockney Reds must be laughing at us now. "Silly Scouse Bastards ? we done them up like a Kipper."

I am totally digusted by all this skullduggery and if ever there was a time to boot out a shithouse chairman then it's now. I only wish we had another home game left this season so as I could give Kenwright the traitor the full verbals.

I hope we do get points docked and kicked out of Europe because we fucking deserve it. Everton Football Club and its history are dead and buried and that twat Moyes and his shitehouse boss are to blame. Some fucking leaders we have got.

EFC RIP. No more dough from me.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (7/5/07)


'Man of the People' Fernandes

The Manuel Fernandes situation reminds me very much of the situation David Moyes had a few seasons ago early on in his Everton career.

The Scot was chasing a young prodigy in the French leagues, playing his trade at the time with Bastia. Faced with the opportunity of facing the top prospect, Everton could not afford the asking price, he was immediately snapped up by French champions Lyon where he played a pivotal role in placing them amongst the greats of French football. Chelsea noticed what a talent the boy was, and paid a phenomenal £24M to bring him to Stamford Bridge, where he went on to aid Mourinho in winning the Premiership title.

Of course I'm referring to midfield maestro Michael Essien. If Chelsea spend £24M on him then, I have no idea how much he is worth now.

£12M is a lot for any club to spend on a 22-year-old, let alone Everton. I truly hope we don't face the same situation as with Essien and something can be done to keep the boy, he's a breath of fresh air and the type of player Evertonians crave in order to reinstate the type of football synomymous with our 80s pomp.

Forget what Dominic King says, he, along with Arteta is the type of player you build a team around. I just hope it is made a possibility this coming summer at a more sensible price.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Wallasey  (7/5/07)

Can't see it happening, Dominic, sad to say. Fully expect to see the "gentlemen" custodians of our club bringing in a Mr J Barton instead. ? Colm



Seriously are you just trying to wind people up with your responses to the mailbag. I'm beginning to wonder! I thought Colm was the revolutionist but recently your comments have made him look like a diplomatist! You actually seem genuinely upset that the FA didn't sanction us over the so called Howard affair.
Anthony Green, Perth, Australia  (7/5/07)

Revolutionist?????? Lost me there! - Colm

I'm upset that we allowed ourselves to be put into that position by a far bigger club ? a club we pretend to be competing against ? and that we, the fans, were lied to. Again. - Michael

Howard deal

Look guys, this is very simple. They had a deal that they could buy Howard now but he couldn't play. Fine.

Then when the Premier League say, "Oh you can't do that if we find out you have such a deal then we may dock you points or fine you a few million £'s."

Then both clubs say, "Oh no there isn't any such deal!" Come on guys it's not rocket science!
Anthony O'Sullivan, Ireland  (7/5/07)

Mountain out of a Mole Hill

So it's okay that Manchester United can influence our team selection as long as we secured Tim Howards services for the long term? That's what a lot of us seem to be suggesting on here.

It's morally bankrupt thinking my fellow blues and it says a lot about the people running our club if found to be true.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (7/5/07)

Agreed. - Colm

Looks like Fernandes is off...

"Stubbs will almost certainly also be kept on for another season, while Everton will make a new deal for the talismanic Mikel Arteta a matter of urgency. However, Saturday was perhaps a last Goodison hurrah for several squad members. Midfield reinforcements are a priority given Everton won?t be taking up the option of buying the on-loan Manuel Fernandes, while few would be surprised if James Beattie begins next season elsewhere, Moyes again keeping tabs on Preston North End striker David Nugent yesterday." ? Quote from Ian Doyle in the Post
Mark Cassin, Singapore  (7/5/07)

Bang on?

Sorry to bang on about this but Steve Lyth how can you be bang on? In the first part of your statement, in reference to Tim Howard, you say "we may as well have rolled over last Saturday" - we did! The theories on this site now show the crowd had nothing to do with the result of that game. For whatever reasons the team capitulated not the crowd. My point was the atmosphere was fantastic against Man Utd, we did our part and shouldn't be criticised. The people in charge of the club have let us down big time and as a season ticket holder I feel cheated.

Again, Kenwright has demonstrated his mis-management of our club and as fans we need to start holding him to account.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (7/5/07)

A lot has already been written on the matter and though both clubs can smile through gritted teeth, citing a "gentleman's agreement", what transpired was morally wrong. Possibly open to accusations of paranoia (from some quarters!) I'd think aloud that it confirms Ferguson's continuing belief that Everton ? great name, great club, great people, proper club ? are firmly squashed under his big size nines, or whatever. We're simply not perceived as a threat to his club. He's forever praising us when it suits and we wonder why when we accommodate him each and every time? As his club were openly tapping up a young Wayne Rooney did we shout "FOUL!" Did we hell!

Howard's Way??? I'd like to think that if Howard Kendall was Everton manager and confronted with a similar situation during his tenure he'd have responded by telling the other club EXACTLY what he told the Bayern bench on that famous Goodison night when Everton stood tall on and off the pitch. The whole episode stinks no matter what way Everton want to spin it. ? Colm

Satellite Club

If Moyes is now saying that there was no agreement of any kind not to play Howard then perhaps he left him out because he thought he might `trow one in` like the other Manc did! This whole affair stinks ? we are now no more than a satellite of MUFC!
Peter Whiteley, West Derby  (7/5/07)

Conspiracy, What conspiracy?

The simple fact of the Howard saga is the seller called the tune and though we bought the goods, the status quo of the loan deal was allowed to remain. Nothing underhand, did us a favour, he was already ruled out of the game! It's a non-story being allowed to overshadow our success.

By the way, the fella who took notice of his kopite mate must be made of simple stuff, all you have to mention to those cheating gits from across the park is the rule changes that happen for them but not others... It has been said that Liverpool get treated differently, if you want to look into conspiracies, look over the park!
Paddy Thomas, Merseyside  (7/5/07)

Feeder Club?

Does anyone else think that Everton are a feeder club to Manchester United? We just seem to get messed around by them. The Rooney deal was a joke, the Howard situation is a joke, the fact that we always seem to be linked with United rejects is a joke. Who is Moyes trying to impress when he wore his suit for the first time this season against United? Is he trying to impress the United Board so that he can be their manager after Ferguson? I honestly believe we are a feeder club to them.
Shaun Ferguson, Maghull  (7/5/07)

I'm Happy

Everton have made themselves clear enough for me, We were not allowed to play Howard under the loan agreement, and while we would have prefered to play him, we agreed to this gentleman's agreement not to play him in order to sign him up before the end of the season in case other teams came in for him. Short-term pain, long-term gain so I accept it.

I dont like it but accept it. We have more or less qualified for Europe so right now I am happy and would rather concentrate on that than the Howard affair. So let's just enjoy a season were we did quite well and look forward to a summer of transfer activity to boost our squad so that we have another good season next year.
John Martin, Bootle  (7/5/07)

Howard again

I think people are still missing the point with the Tim Howard fiasco. It?s not a case of us throwing the game, that shouldn?t come into anyone?s thoughts; however, we have made an agreement which has allowed another team an advantage before a ball was even kicked.

This is a case of 3rd party influence and there is no way of getting away from it. I wonder if this had been an agreement between Everton & Watford would it have had the same outcome. The fact that it was the Prem superpower that is Man Utd means everything is brushed under the carpet in less than 48 hours!

It?s fair to say we have got the goalkeeper we wanted before any other club had a chance to gazump us, leaving it until the end of the season may have seen Howard going elsewhere, however could Everton have not simply made a ?gentleman?s agreement? with Tim Howard?

In today?s game, the player usually gets what he wants and should Tim Howard have stuck to his guns for a move to Everton in the summer, then I believe that?s what would have happened, ok he still wouldn?t have played that game but we?d be smelling a whole lot rosier now.

This whole thing leaves a bitter taste as it shows us telling a bare faced lie. Both Everton and Man Utd are telling the Prem that the player was clear to play the game. However Dave Moyes says otherwise before the game, so from the Prem's point of view Howard was simply not selected for the squad and they can?t prove otherwise.

Believe what you will, look at it from whatever angle you want to look at it from, but you can?t hide that our club have been shown to be telling a massive porky to the Prem and to us the supporters. We the supporters will let it fade away as fast as it came out; however, don?t expect the Premier League to do the same.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (7/5/07)

Well said, Dave... although I suspect your conclusion might be ass-backwards. Some Evertonians have long memories and one thing they really don't like is being lied to by their club. Whereas the Premier League will be more than happy to slam the casebook shut on this one. — Michael

In the land of the blind....

When certain individuals said Everton were playing pawn position to the mighty Mancs, other individuals said it was lunacy and utter anti-Kenwright stuff. Funny the reaction now the proof came out! While it is nothing to gloat about, it is sickening the reality of our spineless and back-stabbing board ? coupled with some innocent, other nonchalantly ignorant Toffee fanbase.

I've said it all along; our transfers, ground and business are only to serve our board?s greedy purpose, not for the pride and consideration of our club or fans. I again find it equally amazing that some fans will believe the club spin and BS even defend the club for this traitorous behaviour!

More fool you!
Luq Yussef, London  (7/5/07)

Congratulations to the blues...

... on a great finish to the season. Top 6 was always going to be a major achievement given the dominance of the big 4, but we've pulled off a Uefa Cup spot, and we've done it with a smaller squad and no bigger budget than any of our competitors. Moyes has made some good acquisitions, and both he and the players have really put their heart into this campaign. And after our demolition of Portsmouth who can say that we don't deserve to be where we are?
Nick Wall, New Brighton  (7/5/07)

New Signings

Here are the new signings I would like to see: Baines, Barton, Fernandes, Sidwell and Nugent. If we are getting £50M of TV money then I'd expect us to be able to sign all five of these players for half that.

I would also expect Moyes to bring through youngsters - such as Irving - into the first team along with some free/cheap signings.
Mark Cassin, Singapore  (7/5/07)


Only if you are seriously suggesting that Turner deliberately threw the ball down for O'Shea to score can you even begin to believe in conspiracies here. That by the way is about the most unlikely suggestion since the X-files finished! We were 2-0 up FFS with two thirds of the game gone when a fluke got Utd back into it. Shit like that happens sometimes!

The fact that we then capitulated had little to do with who was between the sticks and a lot to do with some woeful defending by others ? but I don't see conspiracy here, just our lads losing concentration when it mattered and so allowing a Utd team scenting a Championship to capitalise on our (honest) failings!

That said, I'm not happy about a "gentleman's agreement" not to play Howard ? no "gentleman" would make such a demand before agreeing to sell a player, and no "gentleman" could expect such an outrageous demand to be honoured. As such, if as the Premier League suggest Moyes was free to play Howard, he should have played him ? end of story. A bad, but no doubt honest, mistake of judgment on Moyes's part ? but no conspiracy in my book.

As for this season, I am delighted with the overall outcome to the season. Yes, of course we could and should have been better in certain games, we threw some points away and we need more consistent quality in the middle of the park. Fact is, we need more strength in the squad too. Moyes knows all that. He's made mistakes, but he's also shown he can learn from them. Saturday, the second half in particular, showed that.

So forget these peevish suggestions of some bloody conspiracy and instead delight in the fact that we've got a much improved, youthful team who can get some experience in Europe next season, and a manager who had his faults but has clearly made substantial progress in his time in charge at Goodison, and shout the Blue boys on to one final flourish at Stamford Bridge next weekend!
Jim Percival, Nantwich  (7/5/07)


In all matters of this nature, i.e. the bottom line, always remember the 'Golden Rule'. 'Them wot has the gold, makes the rules'... always has been and always, I fear, will be. That doesn't mean I condone it. But the chances of 'Them' changing or ammending or self-regulating or doing anything that upsets the cash cow is up there with the likely-hood of turkeys voting for Christmas.

This is one of the few times that the hated 'get real' is spot on. We may not like it but we, however reluctantly, have to deal with the world how it is and not how it ought to be and just hope that the wheel of karma will grind out, ever so slowly its eternal retribution.

If the moral compass of the cheats was reset back to how it was 40 years ago, then all you would get is a raft of doctors notes duly signed by the clubs tame quack. Maybe that might ease the minds of the 'delicate' but the end result would be the same evil smelling rose by another name. Be happy we occasionally get the option of the vaseline ? of which the upcoming proposed vote will be well slathered.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (7/5/07)

Keep 'em coming, Derek! You are definitely getting a column next season! — Michael

Bert says we're in the Uefa Cup!!

I think a lot of fans would be interested to look at this website run by Bert Kassies which has all the stats on European club competition. He already has Everton (Coefficient points 24.618!) in the draw for 1st Round proper of the Uefa Cup, which is surely right despite some doubting comments elsewhere on the site. It doesn't matter at all what Tottenham do, only a massive swing in goal difference between us and Reading could hurt, and that ain't going to happen.

So we're in! And Bert will tell you everything you need to know about the Uefa Cup (plus a lot more).
Peter Hall, Wirral  (7/5/07)

What on earth??!!

Please explain how on earth Howard not playing is us helping Man Utd?

Scenario 1:- We keep him on loan until end of season. Ineligible to play Man Utd.

Scenario 2:- We sign him permanently but the stipulation is that Man Utd don't want him to play against them. If this is written into the contract then we may well be breaking rules so a gentleman's agreement is made.

Why would Man Utd choose to sell him to us knowing that would enable him to play against them. They would of course wait until the summer. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree ? so please explain what the problem is.
Mark Cassin, Singapore  (7/5/07)

You can always make a good case for something but at a certain level (one which I would agree could well be irrelevant in football now) it is wrong and unethical for one club to dictate which of the players on the team should play against them. That is just fundamentally wrong in my book. The fact that this was tied to United winning the title, and that Everton thereby benefit to the tune of £500k makes it not just wrong but corrupt. But because we are Evertonians, and we just qualified for Europe, then it doesn't matter? — Michael

Arteta best in Premiership?

This can probably be taken with a pinch of salt but I thought it was pretty interesting...

I know Arteta has been playing really well this season, but I rarely watch Premiership games Everton aren't involved in, so didn't know how he was doing compared to other players in different teams. I was having a look at the Sky ratings this season for Everton players, where they have a players average score over the season. Fernandes was given an impressive average of 8, but he has only played 7 games. Arteta had an aversge of 7.3. Comparing this to other teams in the Premiership, only Cristiano Ronaldo got the same score as Arteta (out of players who've played more than a few games). No-one scored higher.

So, according to the Sky "experts", Arteta has been joint best player in the so called "best league" in the world this season. Fancy that!
Matt Sweeney, Wallasey, Wirral  (7/5/07)

Brilliant! He is such a joy to watch. And not just his skill and vision, but the determination he showed on Saturday, giving some of them Pompey players a really torrid time. It was great! — Michael

Faith restored?

Martin Samuel and all Evertonians can now rest in their beds. I have it on excellent authority that both Everton and Manchester United have assured the authorities that there was absolutely no agreement ? verbal or otherwise ? in place over Howard playing last week. The inclusion of Turner was a decision taken by the manager in order to `take a look at a young goalkeeper on whom he had received good reports`. Clearly, Moyes liked what he saw and duly rewarded the kid with an extended contract. Now we know the full facts, our faith in the integrity of the game is resored. Or not.
David Hall, Taunton  (7/5/07)

re Hoof Ball

You're spot on in your response to this earlier post Michael. The crowd got going before the first goal and yes, it was because we had started playing FOOTBALL. At one point in the first half I shouted 'it's not called bloody football for nothing, keep it on the ground' after what seemed like an interminable exchange of head tennis and long balls lost to Pompey's defenders. It was incredibly frustraing to watch it over and over again.

It didn't bode well if we carried on like that but then in the second half Mikel and Manny seemed to get a grip of the game and played some lovely stuff ? enough to get us going. I sit in the Gwladys Street, right in the thick of it, and all of a sudden we just started buzzing and the atmosphere was electric. I often come back from a match unable to do anything other than squeek because I'm hoarse from shouting but Saturday I couldn't even squeek.

The crowd did lift the team but the manner in which we started playing lifted the crowd to start the chain reaction. If only we could play like that every game? A big 'if' but why should it be out of our reach? Surely David Moyes knows now what gets us results and gets the crowd going. Howard conspiracy ? gentleman's agreement ? how sad that we are Man U's lapdogs. £12M for Manny ? That's Euros so more like £8M sterling. Joey Barton - would DM put up with his antics? Not keen on the fella from what I've heard but without the baggage? Barton, Cahill, Manny and Arteta in midfield. That's a midfield with plenty of 'bite' and plenty of skill. Dream on! Upwards and onwards... COYB
Lue Glover, Buckley  (7/5/07)

The grassy knoll

Conspiracy theories are great. We can pick out little twists and turns in any dubious event to prove almost anything. Not playing Howard... Neville own goal.. Neville not appearing to be disappointed at the result... half a million quid? Pity is though, nobody told Stubbs and Fernandes about the fact that Everton had to lose.

There was no throwing of the game; just watching the bloody match made that clear. Ridiculous suspicions about match throwing are not the issue here. The issue is that Everton Football Club were bullied into not playing Howard ('gentleman's agreement' my arse) and in allowing that to happen the Club proved that what Benitez said may be true... we are small.

The Club should have told Manchester United to fuck off because Everton is bigger than that and if Everton buy a player it is up to Everton whether or not they play him, not the opposition.

I can imagine Manchester United reminding Everton how the system worked. We let them buy our best players when they decide they want them and they send us their shite for a reasonable adjustment to the price. If, on the other hand, we want to buy a half decent player from them then they tell us he can't play against them that season in case it interferes with their God-given right to win the league.

Is that it? Is that how ir works these days?

I am as pleased as anyone that Everton have (short of an absolute catastrophe) met a tangible pre-announced target this season and reached Europe. But I am not going to be blinded by that achievement to the point where I can forget what has happened within this Howard saga. The Club owes itself and us, the supporters, more than that.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (7/5/07)

A conspiracy theory too far

Its absolute nonsense that the Man Utd game was thrown. As has been said ad nauseum, there was a gentlemans agreement in place which suited both clubs. Turner has done well, Wright was leaving, it made sense to play Turner. That's it!
Chris Davies, London  (7/5/07)

No to trouble

Will these people please look at the history of Joey Barton before they really think that he would make a good signing for our club. Do we really want fights on our training ground next season or an atmosphere in the dressing room? Do we want our young up-and-coming players being bullied by Barton as he did at City by stubbing out a cigarette in a young lad's eye? ? what a really grown up thing to do, Joey, same as attacking a team mate from behind and putting him in hospital.

Trouble has followed Barton around throughout his short career so it won't be any different at Everton and we all know it. There will be problems on the pitch, in the dressing room, the training ground and away from football. Not to mention the usual wage demand hike and ransom as he did at City because he thought of himself a international class player. Moyes shifted a lot of players with baggage when he first came here, let's not go back to bringing more in now just when we are getting things a bit more promising.
Steven Harkins, Merseyside  (7/5/07)

Getting it

Today, I am still pleased with my club getting into Europe. I must have my head in the sand. That's two days.

I am missing all the issues of morality, business ethics, conspiracy, Moyes tactics, player revolutions, Kirby, Kenwright's TV career, Walter Smith, when LFC were founded and finally who was right at the start of the season with their predictions.

I am not some kind of amateur investigative journalist.. salt of the earth stock... taught real values and able to get immediately to the black and white heart of every issue. No, I am a supporter of EFC who play in a corrupt league but have nowhere else to play.

Also as season ends... worth saying, great website even if you do occasionally have people on it who talk absolute crap and coincdently don't share my views!
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (7/5/07)

Congratulations, Everton!

First of all I would like to congratulae Everton FC on what has been (overall) a sucessful season with European football next year! An idea never considered possible a few years ago!

Then I would like to go on to say for fuck's sake, are Evertonians never happy? No I don't think 5th or 6th is good enough for our club! No, I don't think we play nice football! But European football is something to be happy about, but no, you have to find something else to moan about!

So come on, support your team!
Gary Richards, North Wales  (7/5/07)

Thing is, we didn't do any looking. It was there all the time... just that our club chose not to tell us about it. — Michael

We acted like Evertonians

Tim Howard is on a season long loan and is unable to play against Man Utd this season. Then, outside of the transfer window, Bill Kenwright secures the permanent registration of the player in a move that surprised everybody (including the media) but certainly delighted Everton supporters everywhere.

Three months later and it appears that one of the prices we had to pay to secure the deal was to agree to the original loan arrangement whereby Howard did not play against his former club. A small price to pay for a quality keeper, particularly considering that the alternative was to delay the deal until the summer and Howard still would not have been able to play anyway.

Utd agreed to the deal being made permanent outside of the window and we stuck to our side by not playing him against them. We acted like gentlemen. We acted like Evertonians.
Frank Linford, Ellesmere Port  (7/5/07)

Congratulations boys

Overall I think we have had a very good season, we do not have more money than any of the clubs around us but we have managed to assemble a decent squad of players and more to come over the close season by the sound of it. I'm glad I'm a blue and not a Newcastle/Boro/Villa/Blackburn fan, it's so important to have a tight defence and that's one thing Moyes has achieved. Well done Moyes on achieveing his goal of European qualification for the season.
Paul Momber, Thailand  (7/5/07)

Howard, pikeys and Euro Question

From the official sire:"Everton were free to play Tim Howard in their fixture against Manchester United had they so wished ? and this has been confirmed by both clubs."

Unbelievable. Although it makes perfect sense. I'm only surprised we didn't play a reserve team to guarantee the £500k due to us from the spawn of pikey's transfer.

Anyway, enough already. Does anyone know when the Euro fixtures are out? Is there some kind of structure to the draw or is it all 6000 teams into the hat!?
Alan McMillan, Dublin  (7/5/07)

Coefficients and seeding!!! — Michael


Seems to be conspiracies floating about regarding our game against Man Utd last week and I quote: "our club clearly had no intention of actually winning the game?"

Just a few questions about this though: If we had no intention of winning the game would we not have played Richard Wright? Would it not be more believable that he would produce a gaff or two and throw the game? His contract is up so why would Moyes play Iain Turner who will be Number 2 next season?

If we had no intention of winning the game why did all the players look thrilled to bits when both goals went in. They were all right by me when Fernandes scored and I doubt our players can act that pleased unless shock horror they were actually made up to be beating the potential champions 2-0?

If we had no intention of winning the game why did these same players look gutted at the end of the game? Some of you might not have seen this having only watched the game on SKY but most of them looked gutted to have lost. Did they again give Oscar worthy performances in front of 40,000 people? Maybe instead of traning that week Moyes had them all in London with Bill Kenwright and his band of Josephs getting some acting lessons for the game ahead?

If we set out to "weaken" our team would we not have made it more obvious? Would James Beattie not have started? He weakens our team so why was he on the bench? He had started the two previous games so not many people would have batted an eyelid had he started against Man Utd would they?

Why on earth did we field a full strength team (apart from Howard) and go 2-0 up. If you are going to throw a game surely the best way is to rest players like Arteta and Lescott to save them for games that we are actually going to try and win?

All these people that are questioning our players integrity and saying that they threw the game should be ashamed of themselves!! Could yourselves Evertonians???
Steven Mills, Knotty Ash  (7/5/07)

This is football. Football is business. Anything is possible. Part of the scam is to make all the fans believe we are actually striving to be the best, while the club makes agreements that make good sense at the time, but effectively make us part of the greater Manchester United support system. Where do you draw the line? There is no line anymore. Just whatever is deemed to be expedient at the time. — Michael

Spell it Out

No inuendos please - these are very serious allegations. Is anyone suggesting in terms:

  1. That we 'threw' the Man Utd game i.e. we deliberately lost it
  2. If so, is it suggested that we did so in order to trouser the extra £500,000 connected with Rooney's transfer deal.
  3. If so, who was a party to the the throwing of the game, naming please players and officals? And in particular ? do you suggest that Turner deliberately dropped the ball? Do you suggest that Neville deliberately put the ball in his own net?
  4. Do you suggest that David Moyes played a part in the deliberate throwing of the game?
  5. Did Bill Kenwright?
If you do, and have any evidence to back up the suggestion, then I agree it is of the utmost importance that such serious allegations (which include offences under the Fraud Act 2006, by the way) be ventilated and guilty parties dealt with firmly and without mercy.

And if you do not, then how about a little moderation in this Howard thing. If a 'gentleman's agreement' secured a deal which might otherwise have been left uncertain and left open the spectre of Richard Wright signing another contract, would it really have been so awful? At least until Iain Turner had his moment of madness? Believe me if you start scrutinising deals governing the transfer of professional sportsmen you will never stop. Let's just buy our European road maps and plan for next season.
Rob Paterson, Birkenhead  (7/5/07)

Yes, sure, let's sweep it under the carpet and pretend our club is not actively supporting Manchester United in their dominance of the league, and whatever else. We'll just turn a blind eye, a nudge and a wink. That's how they're done, you know. These gentlemen's agreements... ? Michael

Conspiracy theories

This is getting out of hand. There is no alien spacecraft in Roswell, Elvis is definitely dead, The Illumati do not control the world's governments and Howard's transfer was not some grand scheme to win Utd the title at our expense.

This agreement allowed us to get the deal done now and not at the end of the season. What if we had waited and then got gazumped in the summer? It would've been "Dithering Davie" all over here.

Signing in February sorts out our goalie spot for 5 years. If we had not done that then Howard still would not have played under the terms of the loan, so we have not lost out. We have gained a bloody good keeper and Man Utd didn't lose out by agreeing the deal early. Think about it, Howard saves a Ronaldo penalty in the last minute giving us a win and they lose the title by a point - just how stupid would Utd have looked then?

Are we all just whingeing about this because we won on Saturday? Not only that but Moyes sorted the team out at half time, settled the nerves and got them playing football? How about the 3rd goal being an assist and a finish by two of his substitutions?

Nothing to complain about, so look for something? Come on people, rejoice ? we are going on a European tour!
Dave Southword, IOM  (6/5/07)

If you don't geddit by now, nothing you read here is gonna help you, fella. — Michael

Lee Carsley

The unsung hero. We've got you. Man Utd are after Hargreaves. Where were we when you were injured, when you were out for the season? Enough said. Well done, Lee Carsley.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (6/5/07)

Uh?... Oh yes, I guess we need to set up a Man Utd section now, carry news of their transfer targets and all that shit. (I think I'm having an identity crisis!) ? Michael

A little betrayed

It seems a few of us are quite willing to accept the so-called ?gentleman?s agreement? between the two clubs regarding Tim Howard. However, I think people are missing the point, our name will be dragged through the mud a bit here.

No one will look too much at Utd in terms of where the blame lies, however, fingers will point at us with accusations of throwing the game. I don?t agree that the game was thrown, of course it wasn?t, but we severely handicapped ourselves by leaving out our Number 1 keeper.

How would we have felt if we were in Chelsea?s position? Even though Utd have now won the title, Chelsea will have a little something to play for next week ? a little revenge maybe.

Until we hear what has actually happened from the horses mouth (and if we choose to believe it), we can only assume there was this ?agreement?, if so it was morally wrong, professionally wrong and unsporting to say the least.

I myself feel a little betrayed that a club with our tradition could be caught up in this kind of scandal.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (6/5/07)

Grassy Knollocks

I don't believe it. We qualify for Europe for the second time in three seasons and instead of celebrating that fact, a significant number of mailbaggers get involved in conspiracy theories initiated by that lard arse Martin Samuels; who, by the way, has sniped at Everton all season and concluded today in the News of the Screws by slagging off Andy Johnson for no other reason than he could.

If he was a consistent and unbiased journo (which he isn't) he would have focussed today on why, for the second week running, the red scum were allowed to field their reserves in matches which had relevance to both us (Portsmouth) and the relegation battle (Fulham). There are rules about that too you know, but it doesn't suit the media to disparage their gobshite darlings.

Whatever happened during the contract negotiations (and we will never know), it is now history. All this bollocks about fines and points deducted is bollocks serving no one but lardy Samuel's ego. Get over yourselves and move on.

Start celebrating the fact that we are in Europe again with a team that had the balls to get us there. Yesterday made me proud to be an Evertonian yet again. The crowd were great as were the players once they got over their stage fright in the first half and just blew Pompey away. I was much more impressed with Fernandes and at £8M he might be worth a punt if he could be consistent.

Arteta is simply a genius.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (6/5/07)

I dunno about you but I'm celebrating yet another title for the all conquering Manchester United. They don't let little clubs like Everton stand in their way. They just walk all over them. Yes, Everton can play in the Uefa Cup, if they want to... but that hardly counts, does it? We know where the action is and we're there again next season, in the Champions League. Meanwhile, the pretenders to the hallowed places of the Big Four are quetly kept in their rightful places, to celebrate being Champions of the Also-Rans. — Michael


OK, let's go and sign Barton. No? Why? He cheats, nasty piece of work ? not what is wanted at our club...

Well, I'm sorry but he fits in perfectly. Everton cheated me last week and every one of us who paid to see the best available team take on the title leaders. Then the dishonest Chairman allows blatantly lies to be told to us. I among others paid £35 to get the full use of the side ? not to be treated as a moron.

Any one still believe we'll have a real say in the Kirby debate? I can remember when Rioch committed a bad foul and the manager was told this is not the Everton way. How times change but not for the better, it seems. How can there be a gentleman's agreement when no gentlemen were involved?
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (6/5/07)

The Howard saga

The latest that this was a gentlemen's agreement, and there was no clause, has got my fucking blood boiling! I would rather have waited till the end of the season, and signed Howard then, than give in to them Manc bastards. My brother rang me tonight (he is a kopite) and what he said to me was "you're just Man Utd's lapdogs and this has made you look a fucking joke" and do you know what? I fucking agree with him!

And to the fans who say "It's is being blown out of proportion" need to think again. Because it won't be long before we're being called cheating bastards, and as my brother said "Man Utd's lapdogs" by fans of other clubs. I'll probably be told I'm going totally over the top with this. Well,I don't give two fucks. The people who run our club are fucking shithouse's because they should have told Fergie & Co to fuck off.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (6/5/07)

Howard's Way

Did we also have a gentlemen's agreement in place to go two goals up, get the wink for Sir Alex and fall to pieces to seal the title for them?

If yesterday hadn't gone our way, we could well have wasted the whole season of the back of this verbal agreement costing Everton millions. They didn't seem to mind Phil Neville playing did they!!

Perhaps if we sell Beattie to Spurs we can work a gentlemens agreement out so he plays against us, forcing them to field a weakened team!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (6/5/07)

At the risk of sounding like Doddy...

I believe the loan rules relating to loanees not being played against their permanent employers, make sense - so that they can't be lent upon to make up a 12th man for their employers.

Obviously this wasn't the case with Tim Howard due to him becoming our player in February. But, as I say at the risk of sounding ridiculously pro club and like the love child of Richard Dodd and Ian Ross, the fact is that Howard wouldn't have been able to play if we had seen out his original contract. And before the game, who wasn't in favour of giving Turner a chance? After all, we appareantly have high hopes for him for the future and need to blood him sometime.

I think we should let this lie. It would be different in my opinion if we bought a player outright and a gentleman's clause was imposed (as some have suggested Cole's transfer from Newcastle to Man Utd had). But we would have had Turner pencilled in for the tie at the start of the year so all we really gained/lost from the bargain was the early capture of Howard.

Battening down the hatches...
Andrew Humphrey, London  (6/5/07)

It's incredible. You people would rationalise murdering your own grandmothers, as long is it "made sense"! — Michael

Two fingers up to the fans

This Howard thing smells wicked and any true fan of EFC would want to get to the truth.

That game was equally important to us and if we tacitly agreed to field a weakened team, it's two fingers up to the fans. We all pay our money, we all expect the best, shame on the club and all who agreed to such a disgraceful deal.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (6/5/07)

If I had been one of the 35,000 Evertonians inside Goodison last week, I would now feel cheated at best. What were we doing cheering on the Blues against the Red Devils, and giving shit to our most famous protege when our club clearly had no intention of actually winning the game? ? Michael


After reading the statement about us not playing Howard verses Man Utd on the Everton website, I couldn't belive it that we were allowed to play Timmy Tourettes last week. What a load of shite! I mean the points were ours if he played. We should have just played him, gentlemen's agreement or not, maybe they shouldn't have played Rooney because he use to play for us.

It's laughable the way the offical website has made it out to be a good thing because there will be no action taken against us and maybe I should shut up in case they take points off us but if we could play him, why was it all in the media leading up to the game as if it was plemier league rules we couldnt include him...

Oh well, roll on Europe.
Frankie Miller, Huyton  (6/5/07)

You shouldn't be too confused, Frankie., As far as the Head of Communications (ha!) is concerned, we're all just "drunken knobhead Evertonians" anyway, and we hardly deserve to be told the truth about anything.

Anyway, get your red & white scarf out... Our Team Won The League!!! Rooney, Roney, Rooney... ? Michael

Throwing the Game

In response to my previous post, Michael, you inferred that I was happy to see us 'throw' a game. I find this to be a ridiculous assertion on your part. In no way did we throw that game. Regardless of who played, we played to win. You go on to say ask how a player like Stubbs may have felt when discovering Tim Howard wasn't playing. Do you really think Stubbs didn't know the score?

In response to David Jones' post you state that one of the requirements of playing in the Premier League is that you field your strongest eleven. This is simply untrue and a precedent for this has been set. If you remember several weeks ago Middlesboro fielded a youth team against one of the relegation candidates a few days before a cup tie and duly lost. Next day Neil Warnock was on Sky Sports News calling Gareth Southgate for everything for weakening his team to the detriment of other relegation battlers. Warnock's rant was acknowledged but resulted in no action taken.

Similarly, those from over the park fielded a reserve team against Pompey last week, again, they duly lost. That result could have affected us amongst others. Again though, there has been little fuss made about it. It is impossible for the Premier League to tell a manager that he did not field his strongest eleven. The manager could merely insist he felt he picked the best players on the day or wanted to give some other players a chance and whilst that motivation can be questioned, it cannot be refuted.

I agree that the whole affair is silly and shouldn't really be part and parcel of the game, but unfortunately the rules do not prevent it and you can rest assured Everton are not the first club to do it. I actually think Everton showed some initiative in accepting this deal with United and thereby preventing any other clubs from sniffing around when the loan period expired.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

Normally I would scoff at the idea that we would deliberatly throw a game. But you have to agree that the Howard/Rooney business and our coziness with Manchester United does lead ot a lot of questions, and that second-half captulation was so uncharcteristic of the defensive solidity Moyes has instilled into his players. Now go on and read some of the e.mails below... it makes ya wonder, does it not? We really didn't have that much to gain by beating them, after all... ? Michael

Neville conspiracies

He wanted his brother and his team to succeed, I don't give a fuck what anyone says. Not to play Howard showed our intentions. Neville's heart is in Manchester. I've always said it. When I see him leading our beloved blues out and see Stubbsy our natural leader with blue blood behind him, the fucking teachers pet.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (6/5/07)

Err, see below: Our beloved blues are simply a part of the larger Manchester United support structure. Enjoy! ? Michael

Won't necessarily disagree with your overall sentiment, Colin - but "blue blooded" Stubbsy (la) is the same fella who when captain of EFC, and with himself a financial stake in ProActive Sports Management, opted to say that he thought it for the best that young Rooney moves away. Which he did. And then, lest we forget, Stubbsy (la) himself opted to go for the better personal deal up at Sunderland. Cut him in half and yes he's as Blue as Blue can be - but remember too he knows how to look after number one. - Colm

Pragmatism and the Blues.

So we 'gave' United some points that we did not actually need... where is the problem? They leant on us... so what? They are a bigger team than we are. They have money... we are skint and know that there will be times when we will need to look to United for help like Richardson and O'Shea if Alex wants to shed them, like he decided to be rid of Phil Neville and Tim Howard.

With any luck, we could become a sort of 'United Reserves Old Boys' in future and that would probably be good enough to take fifth place. We scratched their backs and now we collect some money after their title win and build up favours owed. Makes sense to me!

Think we can 'do it on our own'? ? that was yesterday and yesterday's gone. So did we play a major role in the title race for the first time since the days of Howard Kendal Mk 1 and do poor old Jose down? What has Mourinho ever done for us, save insulting our club and the blameless Andy J?

Alex Ferguson has always treated our club and its managers, past and present, with respect and kindness so does it hurt to give a little 'tribute' back when they needed that? Ethics?... In football today? A wee joke, yeah?

I cannot believe a single Evertonian who saw that game against United last week at Goodison or on TV truly believes we lost that game any more than the Mancs actually swallowed the fact that they won it. It was a gift of three points ? we know and they know it and (through his clenched teeth) even Jose knows it too.

The proof of the pudding? A bigger, extended contact for Iain Turner who dropped the points, warm praise from David Moyes in the media when speaking about his goal-scoring skipper Phil 'The Red' and, sharp words for Mr Fernandes who made the embarrasing 'mistake' of scoring a wonder goal to put us 2-0 up in a game that we somehow 'had to lose'.

We did nothing illegal and I choose my words very carefully. There are no ethics in footy and as supporters of EFC we should not be naïve enough to look for honesty from the club that I have followed for over 50 years. I hate like many other Blues to have to cower at the feet of 'The Godfathers from Old Trafford' ? a team we used to hammer for fun ? but such is the reality of today's corporate game that we need to eat shit and smile!

On the brighter note, great to see the vastly under-rated Carsley commit himself to EFC for another year on the week that the two young strikers who can be the future of our club signed up long term. More loans from that big red house up the road next season? Fine by me! One good turn deserves another!
Glen Strachan, Oaxaca , Mexico  (6/5/07)

Well, since you put it like that...

It's not rocket science

We want to sign Howard. United don't want him to play against them. The only way they'll allow the deal to become permanent before the end of the season is if we agree not to play him. We agree because we're worried about losing him to one of the big boys. Not ideal but at the end of the day that's the way the market we're in works.
Lee Waldron, Kirkham  (6/5/07)

Oh, that's fine then. Carry on!

Its Not Ethical but its legal.

I'm not saying I agree with the gentleman's agreement, in fact I think it sucks that the club would agree to something like that but I don't see it being the business of the Premier League or the FA.

It's not illegal to make an agreement like that, it's happened before when a player has transferred and both sets of managers have agreed not to play the player because the situation is too hot.

Like I said, it's totally wrong that Everton would agree to it but it's fuck all to do with anyone else. We wouldn't even be having this conversation if Moyes had played Dickie Wright or Turner had kept hold of the bloody ball.

The only punishment the club should receive is scorn from the disappointed fans.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

There are a lot of angles to this ? not least being the dishonesty from the club regarding the entire affair. The lies they quite happily perpetrated on theier website. The empty responses given to fans asking the direct question "Can Howard play against United or not?" ? "He's ineligible." Yes, but why is he inelligible? You told us he was a permanent Everton player in February, then people asked about him playing against Man Utd, and were told "He's ineligible." Then you said he is still a loan player, and that the permanent deal didn't kick in until the summer (clearly a total lie) ?a deliberate campaign of obfuscation to hide the embarrassing truth of this gentleman's agreement. And note: this entire question arose, and was never properly answered, long before Turner dropped his clanger. — Michael

In the mire of platitudes...

Everyone sick of hearing the "first priority is to get 40 pts" line? Hopefully this might brighten a few days:

"I would love it to be the Champions League but whilst we don't have that level of finances, the next best thing is to try and get the Uefa Cup. Don't get me wrong, every season starts and I want the Champions League and it is not impossible, as we have shown, but every year we have to put the money to use as best we can and see where that takes us."

Yep, that is David Moyes speaking. Good to see I'm not the only one who doesn't see the Champion's League as an impenetrable boy's club and good to see Moyes seems to finally believe we can be something more than making up the numbers with a vague aspiration for success in the future.

As for the Howard thing, now we're resigned to the truth of the matter being a gentleman's agreement to help United on the way to the title (in exchange for a player we would have signed in the summer anyway); how depressingly small time does that make us sound? I'd like to believe United knocked a few pounds off the transfer fee in return but that's probably wistful thinking. I don't know what's more sickening ? us accepting the arrangement or United having the sheer arrogance to demand it as if our aims and aspirations are an irrelevancy in their exclusive little world.

One brief glimmer of sunlight in the G14 gloom. Did anyone else enjoy Owen Hargreaves public cognitive therapy the other week? "Bayern may be fourth but we are the best team in Germany". Here's to the delusions of grandeur tour coming to England in the near future.
John Holmes, York  (6/5/07)

Happy Days are (Nearly) Here Again

Over the last few months I have become and avid reader and occasional contributor to this website. Reading it, I had come to believe that as a Moyes 'apologist' 'cultist' etc I was in a minority in thinking that he has done and continues to do a remarkably good job.

At the end of last season we needed a minimum of 4 new players. A new goalkeeper to replace Martyn, a central defender to replace Weir, a striker to score goals and a box-to-box midfielder. Three out of four is not bad and there was good business done for Kilbane and Davies.

For the most part the defence looked good and Arteta produced textbook performances week-in, week-out. And yes, of course there is room for improvement. But there is genuine reason for hope too. Watching the reception DM received at the end of the game made me realise that we 'cultists' remain the majority and most supporters recognise that his achievement in transforming this club from serial relegation battlers into proper European contenders alresdy affords him a place in all our hearts. But I agree it is not yet enough.

But mark my words: he is about to take this club up to the next level. And when he does, I know like the true Evertonians you all are, you critics will savour the moment and give credit where credit is due. And if I'm wrong I promise I'll learn from my mistakes.

By the way ? credit where credit is due ? this is a great website and you boys deserve wholesome praise for keeping the debate going in as balanced a way as you can (and it's not even your real job?)
Rob Paterson, Birkenhead  (6/5/07)


Fix, fix fix fix!

I'm sorry, but this exoneration stinks to high heaven. AFC Wimbledon field an ineligible player and get docked 18 points, West Ham field a player with a third party agreement and get docked £5.5M (as opposed to an effective £60M if docked points and relegated) and Everton don't play Howard against Man Utd and both teams get a pat on the back. Are they really trying to suggest that Everton chose to rest their first choice keeper in a vital home again against the league leaders as a matter of choice????

It stinks. I'm sorry, but this is about one rule for the big boys and one for the minnows. It's clear to everyone except the FAPL that Howard was "ineligible" to face his former employers because of a deal arranged. Everton aren't big enough to tell the truth and the FAPL are loathe to upset their biggest TV draws. FIX!
Mark Wynne, Bury St Edmunds  (6/5/07)

In honour of our newly defined role in the Premiership, we're remaning the website ToffeeMancs. This will involve the inclusion of red in our colour scheme, and that might upset some purists, but hey, business is business! Pip pip! — Michael

Tim Howard

So why didn't Tim Howard play against Man United? Something smells bad and it's not just SpongeBob Squarepants onion-peanut sundae breath
Ron Wilmington, San Francisco, Californa, USA  (6/5/07)

The Peoples Club??

I have just read on pravda that we were free to play Howard against Utd if we so wished. No explanation to its most loyal fans on why they chose not to, thereby leaving us to make our own mind up.

Bearing in mind how important that game was toward Euro qualification on top of how beating the likes of United is to us fans at any time, this whole affair stnks to high heaven and is compounded by the deafening silence from the club. This will take a long time to go away and leave a bitter taste in many mouths.

I would urge the club to make a statement or the People's Club will be no more than Man Utd rezzies.
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (6/5/07)

Howard again... a response to Michael

Having read your last response to myself and other subsequent responses it is clear that you have a real bee in your bonnet over this deal!! I think what you need to remember is who the main beneficiary of this transfer is ? Everton FC.

A season-long loan deal was already in place for Tim Howard that, under Premier League rules, barred him from playing against Manchester United. We got the player for a good fee... United have done US the favour... not the other way around. Why on earth should we have expected them to potentially jeopardise their title aspirations by allowing us to field a better goalkeeper against them than they need to?? I repeat again, the transformation of the loan deal into a permanent transfer is of sole benefit to EFC.

United could have easily refused us that option and waited until the summer, comfortable in the knowledge that the player would still be worth a fee of at least £3M.

As I said in my first post on this matter when the story broke, far from being a 'corrupt' deal I believe this to be a simple case of the application of common sense. All United are guilty of is protecting their own interests and their own, ultimately successful, title challenge.

In a day and age when every fan you meet will tell you 'football is a business now', how is it that some people still seem to think these businesses should be run more in line with some sort of pro bono old boys club??

Manchester United are in it for Manchester United and Everton are in it for Everton. Clearly this was a mutually agreeable and satisfactory deal for both clubs and, officially, no rules have been broken.

I say we kill the overreactions now and concentrate on enjoying our confirmed qualification for Europe and pushing on next season. If we have to hamstring a few clubs over transfers along the way then so be it, I don't leave my doors unlocked anymore and neither should anyone else!!
David Jones, Warrington  (6/5/07)

I really thought it was a requirement of participation in the League that you play your strongest team. Maybe that is no longer the case, which is a bid thing in my opinion. But a gentleman's agreemmnet, surely has nothing whatsever to do with the business world, and a lot more to do with old boys clubs, so I don't follow that bit of twisted logic at all.

"Why on earth should we have expected them to potentially jeopardise their title aspirations by allowing us to field a better goalkeeper against them than they need to??" ? Why did we bother playing them at all? Why not just play the reserves? After all, we have a financial stake in them winning the league. If you're comfortable with that and you can't see it being fundamentally corrupt, unethical and totally agianst the spirit of the game...

Well, some say we only get the football we deserve as fans. And if we tolerate this kind of nonsense, then you can be fully assured that the likes of Manchester United will only get bigger and stronger, while 'little' Everton will never, ever be a great club again. ? Michael

Howard Affair

What no-one seems to be mentioning in the context of the so-callled gentlemen's agreement is the fact that Everton gain substantial revenues as part of the Rooney sale as a result of United winning the title (close to £1M I seem to recall ? I know it was £1.5M if they won the treble!). I also wonder if the PL body looking into the affair were aware of this angle? Rules definitely need to be tightened to prevent this sort of thing happening. It stinks in my view and not something as a life-long Everton supporter I like being associated with.
John Ballinger, Wirral  (6/5/07)

The Howard Deal

The title page makes out that Everton were stupid to not play Howard when they didn't have to. But that's a bit short-sighted? I mean, leagally we could have done it, but had we played Howard, what are the odds Man United would ever do business with Everton in terms of buying/selling players again? I think it would be unlikely, and was best to keep to the gentleman's agreement.

Also, if Man United wouldn't sell Howard unless we agreed on the deal, maybe it was the right thing for Everton to do. So, I dont blame Everton for any of this stuff really.

With regards to the actual agreement though, I do think it's ridiculous. I've thought the whole loaning players from the same division was a bit dodgy too. I mean, what stops Chelsea from buying an even bigger squad then loaning them out to teams on the condition that they can't play against Chelsea. Chelsea get to play reserves every weak, and making it harder for rival teams. It's something the Premiership should really look into.
Matt Sweeney, Wallasey, Wirral  (6/5/07)

One man one vote ? think again

To all those bleating on about the various poll results on the website, let them just try something:

  1. Launch the current vote and make your selection
  2. Close the window
Repeat ad infinitum.

It's not rocket science and it's very difficult and costly to code a simple website poll to stop multiple votes from the same person over and over. Statistics are just the result of captured figures, they can be made to show anything you want. So who is to say the pro-Moyes people didn't just select their response over and over or maybe the anti-Moyes didn't vote as many times or maybe again its just a reflection of a few thousand votes not exactly the entire Evertonian community either.
Gavin Ramejkis, Upholland  (6/5/07)

Lyndon!?!?!?! I'm pretty sure he told me it logs IP numbers, and when he processes the results, he tosses out any duplicates. I could be wrong... — Michael

A gentleman's agreement?

So the premier league have now had their ?urgent? response from both Everton and Manchester United, both clubs apparently confirming that Tim Howard was after all available to play against Man Utd, thus satisfying the PL & FA.

If this is the case then the whole thing stinks even more than any shit Martin Samuel could muster (and I think he?s full of it).

If this is true then EFC have a case to answer to its own supporters, why did Moyes not play the best team he had available to him, which would undoubtedly have included Howard, why would Moyes have felt the need to recall Turner from loan?

My take on it all is that once again we have let Man Utd and Ferguson bully us into something that was far from our own best interests. They dictated the Rooney saga and now they have dictated the Howard transfer for their own greedy gain. There is no doubt they knew at Goodison we would provide them with an obstacle after seeing us fair well against the other top teams, even Chelsea almost went home with zero points. Taking Howard out of the equation was their best move of the game even before a ball was kicked.

It seems obvious to me a ?gentleman?s agreement? had been reached here and once again the Everton supporters were the ones to suffer most, losing a game we may well have won had Howard played.

Would it have been unreasonable for us to insist that Rooney could go to Utd so long as he never played against us? Of course it would. Utd called the tune and we danced along.

Taking away the possibility of a points deduction or massive fine, I believe that we would have been better off if the premier league had found that something underhanded had taken place, as now Everton and its manager need to explain this to us the supporters.
Dave Moore, Kirkby  (6/5/07)

Queue prolonged and uninformative (and hopefully embarrassed) silence from Goodison Road... ? Michael

Harry ''now that's what I call a manage'' Redknapp

Tony Marsh really is losing the plot; he claims that a year ago he was making a case for Vaughan and Anichebe to start ahead of Beattie and McFadden. You haven't been proved right at all, Tony.

Forgetting the fact that Vaughan was injured a year ago anyway, but a year is a long time in a young player's career ? just because they are good enough now doesn't mean that they were good enough a year ago when you were making your silly demands. Vaughan and Anichebe still have a lot to learn; Anichebe went through a bad spell this season probably due to being played too much and as that golden opportunity against Portsmouth proves, Vaughan still lacks a bit of composure.

A year ago, Vaughan/Anichebe would not have been good enough to cope with the Premiership demands. It's only now, after Moyes has done a fantastic job developing the youngsers, that they have both gained just the right amount of experience to start for Everton. They still have alot to learn and even next season I hope that they will continue to be used sensibly.

If Tony Marsh had his way, both of them would have been rushed into the first team before they were ready. Moyes knew when it was right to start them, that time is now, not 12 months ago when they were still kids.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

Let the Howard thing lie now

We've just qualified for Europe and all people can talk about is the Tim Howard non-story. The Premier League have confirmed that they are satisfied with what happened so can we not just let it lie now? The way transfers work nowadays is far too complicated and should be addressed by Uefa but we haven't actually broken any rules so I don't really understand the massive reaction. If anything, the reaction should be directed against the rules, not against the teams involved. Sadly, I do get the impression some of you are eager for our Club to be punished.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

By which you are saying you were quite happy to see us ? Everton Football Club ? effectively throw the game? Imagine you're a defender, like Stubbs, playing for the club you love, and you ask the boss why we are playing our biggest game of the season without our best goalie? And he tells you about some gentleman's agreement to weaken the team. How is THAT going to affect your game??? Kinda puts that second-half collapse in context, dunnit?

But as long as you, and fans like you, are happy with the club throwing a result in favour of the Champions, I guess that's just fine. It's not about punishment, you numpty, it's about upholding standards. About wanting US to be the best ? not fucking Manchester United!!!? Michael

Tim Howard

This mystery gets curioser and curioser. So now the word is there was no deal done to prevent Howard from playing against Manchester United. So why wasn't he played? There is a strong likelihood that Everton would have won that game if he had been playing and if I was Mourinho I would be asking if there was any possibility that Everton had done United a 'favour' for services rendered. That would be ridiculous but no more ridiculous than the silence emanating from Everton at the moment. The whole episode stinks and the supporters deserve an explanation from the Club. But I won't hold my breath.
Eileen Roberts, Runcorn  (6/5/07)

Expectations and Abilities

Firstly our squad is not good enough to be in Champioms League on a regular basis. Moyes and BK have to sort that out come what may. But as of today our squad is good enough for 7th to 10th.

Secondly about passing football, whenever we did for example in the Pompey game, we hear a lot about the first half whereas it should be mostly about second half in which we recovered from the muck of the first half.

Finally, defensive-minded is not a sin; yes Brazil and Arsenal are fun but then Italy and Chelsea are just as successful specifically of late. Also Premiership survival? We are 5th surely not survival stuff!
Varun Rajwade, Pune, India  (6/5/07)

The context of my comment was the body of teh sesaon during which Moyes's only target was Premerishp survival. It's what he said ? not me. And it explained why we were playing that awful barely effective defensive-minded football, rather than going for the jugular when we were ahead. If we had gone for said jugular at the right time, there is every possibility we would now be in the CL places. — Michael

This Howard affair stinks

Just like the hierarchry at Everton FC. As the main ToffeWeb homepage lead story says, if he was available to play why didn't he? Of course we agreed to their requests, we may as well have rolled over last Saturday. What a disgraceful act.

On another point, the atmosphere was fantastic Saturday, I think Mr Clarke you will find my comments on it being a major factor in winning big games to be bang on. I can only think you were sitting in your armchair when we played United mate because you certainly could not compare this Saturday's to last.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (6/5/07)

Tim Howard

Only fucking Everton would agree not to play someone. Can we check that James Beattie doesn't have a "Can't score" agreement?
Dave Rodaway, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

It can be done with class...

Well done to all the lads. The second half showed that it can be done with football and with a base of those players for the future plus those on the sick!... I realy do beleive that it was the kick up the backside (being polite for the grandkids) from the Spurs game that got us there. Lets hope that Moyes learned his lesson and remembers it...

However, there always seems to be a problem creeping in: The Howard situation, do`nt think anything will come of it.. but why do Everton always seem to get involved in theses stupid problems?? Yet Liverpool are allowed to sign one of the "dodgy deal" players after the closing date & play him not only in the Prem but in Europe as well. It all takes some working out.
Jim Jameson, Cheshire  (6/5/07)

Fernandes Fee

As far as I recall, the Fernandes fee Benfica were after was 12M Euro ? not Sterling as a lot of writers seem to be saying is he worth. £12M - probably not. £8M is more like it...
Mark O'Brien, Wirral  (6/5/07)

Goal Difference

First of all: Congratulations to everyone! A great season and a great achivement to secure European fotball.

Regarding the Moyes critisism: I agree that he has made a couple of mistakes and that we have lost a couple of points in the dying minutes because of that. But let us not forget that we have a goal difference of 16+. Far better then all of the teams right below us. How on earth would that be possible if we threw all of our players in defence every time we got a 1-0 lead??
Hakon Raustol, Bergen, Norway  (6/5/07)

plus ca change

End of season navel-gazing, I've supported the blues for 30 years and nothing ever changes. Football is all about moments in the sun, the higher up the leagues you get, the less you actually appreciate them.

On the whole I like what Moyes has done, and for the most part I'm pleased with his signings, no manager is infallible on that front. His decision-making is strange at times but listen to any national phone-in station and every manager gets slated for their bizarre decisions, one man?s coffee etc. But you have to admit the team spirit is tremendous and as long as we keep Arteta happy we?ll be ok.

Hopefully in the summer we?ll make some positive signings: another first choice striker to be used alongside AJ while Vaughan and Anichebe continue to develop; another two premiership class midfielders (bye bye Ozzie, VDM) and although I may be alone in this I?d still like to see Michael Ball come home.

Ultimately I think we?ll continue to develop and this time next year we?ll be bemoaning the fact that we could only finish 5th.
Lee Booth, Helsby, Cheshire  (6/5/07)


Seeing as 90% of people in the latest Toffeeweb poll voted in favour of Moyes continuing as Everton Manager for the foreseeable future, I think I change in nomenclature is due by all when referring to fans who are either against or for Moyes.

"Moyes apologists" is a rather negative term. European football delivered, great goal difference and a much improved squad are things that do not need to be defended. "Pro-Moyes majority" seems more accurate.

"Anti-Moyes brigade" - seeing as a brigade refers to a very substantial number of troops perhaps givcn the poll results "Anti-Moyes platoon" would be more appropriate? That would make Luq Yussef a Sergeant instead of a Brigadeer-General, which also seems wholly appropriate.
Dave Southword, IOM  (6/5/07)

Hehehe... good one, Dave!


I'm getting sick of your comments regarding the team, when it's obvious you shoot from the hip and have nothing to back up your words.

You evidently never go to Goodison, yet feel free to comment on the games and tactics from your armchair when your view is dictated by the cameraman. The ridiculous assessment of our 3rd goal shows this. Portsmouth had 5, count em 5 players in OUR half as the corner was to be taken. What did you expect the players to do, send everyone forward? You can't see this from the 3 mins of MOTD shots, but at least research your facts first instead of using it for another rant against Moyes's tactics.

You remind me of those lads on Grafton Street, holding up the placards shouting "the end is nigh".
John Middleton, Dublin, Ireland  (6/5/07)

Howard deal ? storm in a teacup

I wonder if all those who were guilty of buying into Martin Samuels utter nonsense about this transfer ? maybe even adding to its credibility ? will now be sitting slightly uncomfortably with the news that the Premier League plan to investigate the deal??

Personally, I stand by my view that this was never a story of any merit. This scenario is completely different from that of 'dual ownership' and is by no means a unique ocurrence. There is a precedent going way back to the mid 90s when Andy Cole transferred from Newcastle to Manchester United and was subsequently missing from games between the two clubs in accordance with a similar agreement.

You could also extend the debate to look at the current loan transfer regulations. Whilst Premier League rules bar players playing against their 'parent' clubs there are still cases where players are barred from playing cup matches as the club who owns their registration does not wish them to become 'cup tied'.

This was a non-story from the off and I am disappointed that a site such as this, one I consider to be run by people with a good deal of common sense and intelligence, chose to give it any credance whatsoever from the very outset.

Martin Samuel has an agenda all of his own and I believe this story has it's origins in one of his rants in defence of West Ham - a team I believe Samuel is actually a supporter of.

Fat, ill informed, overly opinionated journo scum. End of.
David Jones, Warrington  (6/5/07)

You could well be right. Ian Riss says it was all above board. A gentleman's agreement to weaken our team. How do you feel about that? I guess we could have just ignored the story completely... I never thought of that!

I certainly ignore and refuse to link to anything Mark Lawrensen writes in the Echo, but that's coz he's a kopite twat. Has anyone figured out why he writes about Everton? Sadly, the two columnists they also emply who do have some justification for writing about Everton ? Howard Kendall and Tony Cottee ? also seem to write complete rubbish most of the time... so I guess the commom denominator is the Liverpool Echo & Daily Post. But I digress... ? Michael

One rule for Everton......

All the talk in the pub has been about the possibility of Everton getting docked points over the Howard deal. I had to remind one cockey redshite that if we suffered they would too because of that Argie they signed from West Ham. He laughed and said `they don`t treat us like they do the others!` How true, how bloody true!
Alan Instone, Speke  (6/5/07)

Hoof ball again!

A half-decent second half saw us take all 3pts. But what a fucking dire first half. I can't understand why we persevered with the hoof-ball all the time, when Pompey were winning everything that came their way. This is when Moyes get's on my nerves, when he doesn't seem able to change the way we play. At the end of the day we were only playing fucking Pompey! Who, by the way, made us look better than we really were in the second half. They were woeful.

But I will give Moyes a bit of credit for getting us into Europe. For me though, with one game to go, Moyes gets 5 out of 10 for the season. because, at the end of the day, he is just an average manager in my opinion.

ps: credit to the fans yesterday, who were amazing in the second half.
Brian Waring, Wokingham  (6/5/07)

I re-ran the tape to figure out just when the crowd came alive. It wasn't the goals. It was just after half-time and two or three absolutely top-class footballing moves ? joined-up football with the ball being played out wide, down the flanks, to feet, passed with accuracy to players running into space off the ball, and then seeing that ball whipped in at pace to create top-calss chances ? all of which seemed to then get fucked up by poor little Leon Osman! Every time, it seemed, he was perfectly placed. And everytime, he mis-hit or missed the ball. The "dummy" to Carsley being the worst but most exciting moment in this crucial spell, which culminated in two excellent goals.

The second factor was Mikel Arteta, who was not only absolutely brilliant on the ball, but who had the tenacity of a tiger. It's that kind of committment which Goodison loves to see, and that's really what got the crowd going ? which in turn got the team performing even better.

But the catalyst was, and always is, decent exciting attacking football on the pitch. That's what needs to happen for Goodison to have that fantastic kind of atmopsphere. — Michael

Turner`s historic boob

When Iain Turner inexplicably dropped the ball at the feet of John O'Sheahe could well have made the most expensive error in the history of Everton Football Club. For certain it was only this mistake which set Martin Samuel on the trail of Howard`s tranfer agreement and the inevitable linking of it to the `unusual` clauses in the Rooney deal.

With virtually every newspaper calling for `further enqiries to be made` into the apparently cosy relationship between the clubs, Everton will do very well to come out unscathed. On the back of their treatment of West Ham for a similar offence re `third party influence`, a £5M fine seems inevitable whilst we cannot rule out a points deduction, apparently, which would see us out of Europe before we are in.

All this calls into question the professionalism of Wyness and Moyes in agreeing to such an arrangement without thoroughly checking out its legality. Even if the club gets away with just the fine, it will rather put a hole in our Prem prizemoney ? or make Howard look a most expensive goalkeeper!

Will this club ever do anything right?
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (6/5/07)

Apparently they did do the "right" thing and made sure that this "gentleman's agreement" not to play one of our best performers against his old club ? thereby deliberately weakening our team ? was "above board". And the Premier league (surprise, surprise) have apparently confirmed that.

I am just totally astounded. Really, what is the point anymore? We are supposed to be competing, and here we are essentially gifting the game to Manchester United ? just like we gifted them our best player and took on a financial interest in their future success. Utterly dispicable. ? Michael

The laugh`s on us!

How we`ve laughed at Daft Dickie Dodd over the winter. At times I`ve pitied him, believing that his love and admiration for Moyes would surely bring him heartbreak at the end of the season. But now the laugh`s on us ? Moyes is a genius; Dickie was right, after all! Anyone who can wake the sleeping giant that Everton had become before his arrival MUST have something special going for him!
Lawson Tremaine, Wirral  (6/5/07)

Dropping a clanger

Read all the Sunday papers and I do think we could be in trouble over the Howard deal. Moyes is saying it was merely a gentleman`s agreement with his friend Fergie that Howard wouldn`t play and didn`t have to be put in the contract. I hope he didn`t also promise that the repacement goalie would drip the ball if our £500k was at risk!
Paul Hartley, Litherland  (6/5/07)

The whole business stinks. How could it be acceptable for us to agree to weaken our team? In a critical match? Football is definitely fooked!!!— Michael

Ken Bates... not ready yet

Earlier this season, I read an interview with Ken Bates. The venerable old man of football was reported as saying that having sorted out Chelsea, he was in the process of putting Leeds on the road to recovery. He then went on to say that he had no intention of retiring and that once he had got Leeds back on track, he fancied the challenge of reviving Everton's fortunes (or words to that effect). You can imagine my dismay at hearing of Leeds' relegation to "League One" (what we all in fact know to be the Third Division). I presume that this means that that our knight in shining armour may be somewhat delayed in coming to the rescue of the Blues!
Gary Leonard, Southampton  (6/5/07)

Not again, surely?

I have to admit to being slightly worried by this morning`s news of Premier League probes into the Howard transfer. Surely we could not be robbed of European entry as we were 20 years ago ? this time by the deduction of points for malpractice?
Colin Tunstall, Neston  (6/5/07)

Seems unlikely. The only one rattling the sabre is Martin Samuel, and he is a West Ham fan, apparently. Go figure. I expect the FA/Pemier League to do nothing. — Michael

Bill Kenwright

I dont know if anyone saw MOTD2 this morning but Gary Lineker mentioned that he watched the Everton game in the BBC studios with Bill Kenwright. I can only presume Bill watched it in London, and not at Goodison, because of the more pressing engagment of his role as a judge on BBC1's Any Dream Will Do.

Strange, how chairman are suddenly avoiding their own clubs' big games. Only this week, Roman Abramhovich missed the Chelsea game at Anfield due to 'unavoidable business problems'. I wonder if he is also a judge on the Russian reality show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Olga?


ps: I dont watch it like, me bird does; I've just heard of it, honest.
Franny Porter, High Wycombe  (6/5/07)

Seems like we've made it

What an up-and-down season we've had. Beating Spurs and Liverpool well and truly but then throwing away points against Wigan, Man City and West Ham. The Man Utd debacle clearly demonstrated the pressure the players were under. In that game, being without Tim Howard, the inexplicable error by his young replacement had the team suddenly lose all confidence. The team captain, on whom lay the responsibility of rallying the troops, committed an equally heinous error and that seemed to be the end to all of us watching.

One could see blind panic beset normally confident players and the eventual result surprised none of us. That situation must never be allowed to happen again. They will play Chelsea in a confident relaxed frame of mind and hopefully give us all a really good result.

Now a few words to Michael. I really cannot understand your comments at times. You decided to have a real go at John Scully 6/5/07 when he had the temerity to compare David Moyes with Walter Smith. What on earth brought that on? David Moyes did not arrive at Goodison as a sort of latter day Jose Mourinho. He had had some success with Preston, I do not recall ever reading about him as some vastly superior Team Manager whereas Walter had led Rangers to I think five Scottish Premier League titles.

Personally, I think David Moyes has done better than we could reasonably have expected. Sure he has made a few mistakes, so has the great Sir Alex who never had to take over Man Utd in the same dire straits that Everton were in. David is a young Manager who, of necessity, has to make mistakes to make progress. As the old saying has it, the man who never makes mistakes, never makes anything!

The one thing I would like him to do, is to insist that the number of occasions the ball is booted down the pitch from defence is drastically reduced. The number of times this is essential are really minimal. If we retain the services of Manuel Fernandes and with the superior talents of Mikel Arteta, a pass to either will result in the ball being used intelligently from that moment onwards.

Season 2007-08 is one I am looking forward to with great expectation. COYB
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (6/5/07)

Some of us saw Walter Smith for what he was something like two years before the penny finally dropped for Blue Bill. But it seems now that no-one here remembers the great spirit of expectation that surrounded the club back then, after Walter had finally gone, along with his dour diappointments.

Moyes was an instant hero from "The People's Club" onwards. We hung on his every word, revelled in his battling performances that turned the club around, literally, from heading for relagation to climbing the table and finishing a "Magnificent Seventh". There was no Anti-Moyes Brigade back then. No-one would say a dickie bird against the Moyestro, the Moyesiah... Why do you think that was?

Or, more pertinently, why do you think a vocal minority of critics has slowly developed, especially over the last couple of seasons? Maybe because Moyes has not been delivering on those expectations, and has had us playing ale-house hoof-ball, when we could have been playing proper joined-up football all that time, as the second half yesterday clearly showed.

We're not talking about 'mistakes' here, but pre-determined tactics that are saftey first at all costs to ensure first and foremost Premiership survival. As was demonstrated all too painfully for most of the season, if you play for Premiership survival, then the best you will achieve is Premiership survival. It took a massive kick up the arse to get Davie Moyes out of that rut. I hate to think where we would be if the fans hadn't reacted en masse at the Spurs game...

Credit to Moyes, at least for responding to that positively and curtailing to some extent the negative football he had been cultivating. Still leaves a lot more work to be done, though! — Michael

Game Of Two Halves

Once again, I am proved right by yesterday's performance. The likes of Paul Atress and Co can come out and have a pop at me but its me who is on the ball once again. Who was it 12 months ago calling for Anichebe and Vaughan to be included ahead of Beattie and Mcfadden, only to be shouted down by the non-believers? Fantastic performances from both of them yesterday. Well done, lads ? and well done, Moyes, for being brave enough to play them both together.

Yesterday's performance in the second half was also what I have been banging on about for years now. Passing the ball to feet and keeping the ball on the floor. No one can deny that the first half of yesterday's game was as miserable as anything seen at Goodison for years.

The second half being a complete transformation, all of which has me asking "Why and how is this possible? Was it another players revolt against Moyes and Irvings tactics, like the one that we witnessed at White Hart Lane earlier in the season?"

Everything I have said over the years about our style of play and what we can really do if we tried was there for all to see yesterday. Terrible, shocking football for 45 minutes then looking like world beaters the next 45. How can that be so? All I ever ask is that we try to play proper footie and that's what we did yesterday in the second half. Keep playing like that and I will be well happy ? Europe or no Europe.

The fans played their part also yesterday and it's no suprise that the change of attitude and style of play helped pump up the crowd in the second half. Football can be a very simple game to play when you get the basics right and we look a different side when we play the game properly. It can be done as yesterdays game proved. Was that down to Moyes? Well that's hard to tell because it would go against everything I have seen from the man thus far regarding tactics and style. Let's hope and pray that next season's European adventure will not be ruined with the hoofball approach and we go about it in the same way we did in the second 45 yesterday.

As for the Phil Neville conspiracies. which I thought were pathetic. did any one else notice him yesterday after we scored and after the game had finished? Not the actions of a man who doesn't have the club close to his heart, were they?

So we finally made it in the end and it has to be congatulations all round to the players the manager and the fans for all doing their bit. Please let's not waste our chance in Europe this time around and let's show the world that Everton football club can send out a team to do us proud.

Plovdiv, here we come.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

The Howard Saga

If the Premier League does investigate the Tim Howard "deal" I'll bet my last fiver that ? if found guilty ? both ourselves and Utd will merely be fined. Just imagine the outcome if points were docked from both clubs, resulting in Chelsea as champions instead of Utd!

On a more serious note, why should there be any restrictions on loan players being used in matches against their "owners"? Moreover, I am still at a loss to understand why Liverpool have not been penalised for playing Mascherano when he was clearly in the same predicament as Tevez.

Football seems to get murkier and murkier but on a positive note congratulations to The Blues. We've had a great finale to the season and we've even got two contenders for Goal of the Month in MOTD; can't be bad!
Tony Waring, Frogmore, Devon  (6/5/07)

Don`t celebrate yet!

Just when we thought we were home and dry, along comes Martin Samuels to piss on our parade. Now you have to understand that Murdoch Publications` Chief Football Writer is a confirmed fan of West Ham and the real point he is making is that if it`s appropriate to fine or deduct points from HIS club`s tally then it should bloody well be happening to Everton and Manchester Utd!

Obviously, the Premier League chieftains are loath to get into deduction penalties for fear of long drawn out litigation but I am afraid that if the "basement" clubs' action against the League is successful then you could well see Everton denied European entry (again) and the Mancs stripped of their Championship.

After a lifetime of dealing with `the fourth estate`, I know a Press campaign when I see one and Samuels is an expert at it, believe me!
David Hall, Taunton  (6/5/07)

Andrew Cole

Didn't Andrew Cole's move from Newcastle to Man Utd have a similar clause to that of Howard's? ie: him and Gillespie couldn't play in the forthcoming match between the pair.

Point is, in my opinion, clauses like this are nothing new so why all the fuss over it now?
Thomas Surgenor, Northern Ireland  (6/5/07)

They are fundamentally wrong, corrupt and unethical. That surely is reason enough. — Michael

Too Much

Is the value of Fernandes at £12M just too much? We are in Europe now, we need a bigger squad, but £12M? Sorry, no thanks. Don't get me wrong ? I'm a big fan of his, but for £12M we could get Barton and Nugent with change. £8M maybe, £6M sure, but £12M? Sorry, your havin' a laugh.
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (7/5/07)

The next step and an apology

Firstly it seems I was well wide of the mark with the Howard 'conspiracy'. With Ian Ross coming out to explain the club's position (they don't have one, the bigger boys made us do it) questions of evidence based on the whys and wherefores become less a matter of proof and more of seriousness. Apologies for my rather vehement criticisms ? I was clearly in the wrong.

The Moyes debate... I lie somewhere between Michael and the Moyesettes. I do think that Uefa Cup qualification (if the Premier League let us keep it) is an achievement. I'm not really convinced by the running to stand still argument although I can see where it comes from after no real improvement from Moyes first season in terms of finishing positions.

Moyes has spent the previous four of his five years battling the odds to achieve and largely has done a decent job. This season was the first where I thought "this squad is definitely good enough for a top six finish". Previous seasons it's been more of a case of "maybe Moyes can lift us to a top six finish".

There are different skills required at different times and, I think we can all agree, Moyes has proved himself adept at getting good performances out of solid pros and making the whole better than the sum of it's rusty parts. Now he needs to prove his mettle at a different skill; taking talented players and turning them into a dominant unit. This season I'd say he struggled at times to come to terms with that task. He certainly didn't fail, but at times he seemed to forget the progress he'd made in transforming the playing staff and treated them like the rag-tag bunch he was presented with in 2001.

This summer will be something of a watershed, he's built most of HIS team, now he needs to start building a squad. Then when August comes, it's time to start properly on the road upon which his reputation will be decided. Either a skilled 'fixer' or a genuinely great manager.
John Holmes, York  (6/5/07)

Good comments there, John. I'm more in agreement with you that I might appear... — Michael

London stadium perspective

I was at Goodison yesterday, for the first time in about 4 years. Unfortunately, living and working in London and the expense of travelling up means getting to games is a rarity. The games I have been to in the past have not had as much riding on them as yesterday's did, and I also take into account the fact that last home games of the season are always well supported, but I have to say the atmosphere at yesterday's game really got me thinking about the stadium issue.

Reading the articles/letters about it sitting in London, it's too easy to be detached and assume that the equation is simple: new ground = extra revenue, so we must move. But now I'm not sure it's as easy as all that. Yes, there are restricted views at many points; yes, the seats aren't particularly comfortable; and yes, the service and facilities leave a lot to be desired ? but I have never, anywhere, felt so much passion in a football ground. The place was literally shaking and there's no doubt it spurred the team on to new heights in the second half.

The chanting and singing was constant and you couldn't help but be consumed by it. Of course, this may all be academic since the club does not appear to be considering expanding Goodison, and other city centre sites are at a premium, but I would urge those pressing ahead with the Kirkby plan to think back to the atmosphere yesterday and ask themselves if something so important to the team and so linked to the soul of Goodison Park could really be reproduced anywhere else?
Mark Boulle, London  (6/5/07)

I can't imagine

the premier league will deduct Utd points, especially if it costs them the title, so it's unlikely they will deduct us either. Having fined West Ham £5.5M for a full season of transgression I can't imagine the fine for one match would be that great.

Also, it would appear that Wesr Ham were charged with lying about the details of thier deals while if you believe what you read in the press neither Utd or EFC were coy about our dodgy clause, which was included in the transfer contract that must surely have been ratified at the FA. Surely as the games governers, they should have noticed this clause at the time and had it removed.
Barry Bragg, Birkenhead  (6/5/07)

And another positive!

Saw that we had 2 goals in Match of the Day's goal of the month competition (Faddy & Manny for those who missed it) as many as any other team! Again testament to the improving nature of our football in the second half of this season!
Andrew Humphrey, London  (6/5/07)

Level Par

Before I address yesterday's game and Everton's virtual qualification for Europe, what is Dominic King babbling about? Please shut your mouth and stop being an obvious club mouthpiece. Your Fernandes dribble is so transparent and silly I refuse to even challenge it. icLiverpool.co.uk should simply cease to exist!

Yesterday, Everton were the better team but as usual made things hard for themselves! First half by all accounts was terrible. Second half Everton sprung to life and grabbed two well deserved goals. Okay, Portsmouth were ordinary and were there for the taking, but Everton finally showed a killer instinct distinctly lacking all season. Until the second goal went in and Everton decided to sit back and invite Portsmouth to attack. Even with such a vital game Moyes still employs cautious tactics, tactics that invite pressure not relieve it.

The proof is in the pudding ? how many players were in the Portsmouth box when the third went in? Three! THREE! We won but only the scoreline was convincing to me.

Which brings me back to certain players and the foolishly simple Dominic King. If Mr King wanted to write for the fans truly, he should have questioned Moye'ss use of tactics and players like Osman and Neville, not make more excuses why Everton won't sign Fernandes! Yesterday, Neville and Osman played quite well, why? Because Neville was at right-back and Osman was out of the line of fire at right-wing. Any fool (except Moyes) knows that Neville is the best right back at the club, so playing him there will get better performance from him. Its logical! Never saw Mr King writing about that!

Then you have Fernandes, the scarificial lamb/excuse for Everton saving money. Moyes on Friday was bleating about getting better players in and beefing up the squad. In the season we qualified for the Champions League, we did do that! So why not start with the players who have been the stars for the team already? Fernandes should be made to stay, but Everton will go for the cheaper, yet more disruptive influence of Barton, who most of the fans don't want, and is a vastly inferior player! Sucks, doesn't it? ? except for Mr King, Moyes and Kenwright. Jokers the lot of you!

So, unless Reading go goal-crazy or a meteor crashes in England, Everton will be in the Uefa Cup next season. Something which is par for the course, a course which Moyes has severe difficulty getting round most of the time! If not then prove me wrong!? My biggest gripe is consistency, and until that is established, Moyes will never succeed! Let alone Dominic King with his laughable propaganda!
Luq Yussef, London  (6/5/07)

Fear of the Future

"...the fear and trepidation of another European "adventure" will be palpable come August... "

Michael you sum up an attitude that holds this club back. Never never celebrate anything. Just find something to moan about. Sit smugly back and mock fans who are happy, giving some praise and, yes, support. Support.... get the link? Support from supporters.

Rather just make negative comments so you run no risk of optimism and can say "I told you so" if things don't go well in Europe.

At the same time you say we should be in Champions League. Imagine your fear with that. You'd be in a locked ward.

So to all the others like me who cheered and celebrated something yesterday... hold your head up and keep cheering and dreaming. It was us who created the atmosphere and backed the team.

Michael and others may get to say "told you so" next year but there is one thing we know : we enjoyed the 5th May 2007.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (6/5/07)

I'm not one who ever says "I told you so" because I don't make predictions. I'm pleased when we win; I celebrate when we win trophies. — Michael

Moyes is our best chance

According to the Toffeeweb Poll of 3,355 people, an amazing 63% say Moyes is the right man to get us back with the Big Boys.

It proves what I've anticapted all along, that the Anti-Moyes Brigade is only a minority.
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (6/5/07)

I don't think so!

Multiple posts lauding 'the magnificent acheivement' are a little bit over the top. The Moyes-o-meter has moved only very slightly out of Kneejerk and back, just, into 'Realist' and hasn't, for the last 3 or 4 yrs swung anywhere near 'Apologist'.

I was lulled into a false sense of euphoria by the dual endorphines of a good Gravesen-inspired start and the mistaken idea the the Rooney money would prove to be the catalyst to kick Everton on into the supposed top 4. To quote Capt Mainwaring... 'stupid boy'

I see 5th as no more than a break-even position, given the very excellent squad that the apologistensia tell us we have, that's without even factoring in the fact that Spurs still have NINE points to play for. 8th would be 'Fair, must try harder'.

I'm sure the Spanish finalists of the Uefa Cup are, even as I write, busy ordering a large supply of 'Brown Trousers' at the prospect of our 'Knock it down the channels hoof-ball'.

The Squad, additions to (bearing in mind, in my not in any way humble opinion, that the game is won and lost in the midfield...):

  • Fernandes ? is the price right? Can we afford not to? Will he improve and get a bit of prem 'attitude'? Ronaldo did, can he??...
  • Barton, is the price right and can he lose some of the attitude??...
  • Sidwell, all of the good points of the above, or so it seems, with none of the drawbacks, but can we, will we or even should we, try to match the silly money that Newcastle will no doubt throw in his direction??...
  • Nolan (my own choice in the FM stakes), now Big Sam-less, which brings us somewhat full-circle, coz if said Big Sam goes in with Ray Ranson at City, all will be up in the air, and that's without Barton kicking anybody.
Moyes; still not convinced, Spurs mini change of heart not withstanding that he won't, in racing terms 'fail to quicken' in the final furlongs. As to predictions, it will never change, we will always wish and speculate, forever playing 'what if' in our mental copy of FM, while all the time ignoring / failing to see, that as long as we choose to worship at the Everton branch of those triple Madonnas, 'Our Ladies of the Utterly Indifferent'...luck, fate and football, we are only going along for the ride whilst pissing into the wind at the same time (a good trick if you can do it).

And I for one wouldn't have it any other way!!
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (6/5/07)

Derek, I think we should give you your own column!

Extra Cash

OK. Forget Europe for a few minutes. What effect does the extra Premier League cash have on EFC next year? Will it mean that we are now out of debt? Is it being earmarked for new players or is it the equity for the new stadium? How much is it exactly anyway?

Is it simply going to result in transfer fee inflation and wage hikes or is it going to give the Premier League an increasing competitive advantage vis a vis the rest of the world?

ps: Let's keep Beattie. Sure, he didn't score many goals but I get the feeling that he could come good. He seems to have lost weight and he has borne up well under the pressure. Keep him. We won't get value for him in the transfer market. He is not a bad sub to bring on in the last twenty.

As for Fernandes, it's a little difficult to tell. Certainly worth £8M, not sure about £12M but in the context of all that extra cash next season he could blossom at EFC into something really special.
Andrew Gaule, Ft Simpson, Canada  (6/5/07)

And so say all of us

In saying we should have finished higher, Michael paid a huge compliment to David Moyes. It will be 5 more years before Moyes plans reach fruition and already Michael believes we are good enough to dislodge one of the top four mega rich clubs? Moyes is a bloody genius and so is BK for appointing him and so is Michael for recognising it.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (6/5/07)

We have enough fucking strikers

We have Johnson, Cahill as the first choice partnership, Anichebe, Vaughan who's just signed new contracts and McFadden who if being played upfront has a ratio of 1:3 goals per appearance, and let's not forget his assists. So, we have 5 brilliant strikers, enough for having a go at all 4 fronts.

Why then do we need to spend another £6 million on Nugent, when we should be spending any money we have to sign three midfielders and another centre-back??
Muhammad Amin Azman, Malaysia  (6/5/07)

David Moyes

Michael, you rightly point out that Everton are no longer managed by Walter Smith. Thank God. Can we all cast our minds back to Boro away 3-0 down at half time in the FA Cup and look at our squad. Gascoigne, Ginola, Blomqvist, Gemmill, Gerrard to name but a few and compare it to now.

If, at the time of Walter's sacking, we were offered this position i'm sure would have thought it was a bit of a joke, having been 7th, 4th and who knows where else.

I am not a Moyes lover, I must add. He has made some bad mistakes. But I think he is the best we could have of got at the time, and can hope for now. Whilst walter was in charge did we ever go into a season really thinking we could get into Europe? Of course we didn't. Although I think we did spend a similar amount of cash on players. Now, Europe seems to be the minimum we aspire to, and whether our fans like it or not, that is down to David Moyes.

In four years, that is an unbelievable shift. Moyes's big challenge now is to turn us from a club who are apparently over-achieving (although I dont think we are), to a club who lives up to expectations. So let's give the bloke a break, stop vilifying him for every mistake he makes and appreciate where OUR club is now.

Or would some people prefer another Wimbledon/Coventry situation?
John Scully, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

I'm sorry but it's this mindset I am a million miles from. That's what I meant be pointing out the bleeding obvious and I'll try again: WE ARE NO LONGER MANGED BY WALTER SMITH. Comparisons to Walter Smith, his era, his teams, his results became irrelevant on 10 March 2002. Moyes wiped the slate clean and started afresh. Yet here we are still blathering on about them. Why??? They are ancient history. DAVID MOYES IS THE MANAGER NOW. HE HAS BEEN FOR FIVE YEARS! And in that time there have been plenty of awful players to forget, and far, far too many absolutely awful FA Cup ties to forget... only I for one can't forget the likes of Shrewsbury Town and Blackburn Rovers.

You talk of an "unbelievable shift" but surely that was exactly what we all expected after Moyes the Moeysiah was appointed!?! Walter Smith was sacked, remember! I don't understand this desire to make Moyes into a legend... He has won nothing. Most of what he has done in his five-year plan is make us run faster just to stay where we are ? 7th, or thereabouts.

And what utter stupdity to suggest that anyone would prefer "another Wimbledon/Coventry situation". Are you certifiably mad? — Michael

Howard's No Way

Well, my reaction to The Times article that you linked to was that if there is any truth, the Premier League would have to investigate. It does beg the question of why did the Club's lawyer not flag this up? If in doubt, ask the FA Compliance unit.

I was never comfortable with payments in the Rooney deal linked to Man Utd's success, by all means include appearances, goals if you must - but not trophies. Although the £500k for Man Utd winning the league is similar to the £500k per place, a situation could've arisen whereby Everton couldn't move up or down a place, and then what?

If rules have been broken then sanctions are to be expected. Ironic that it could still bugger up our season by way of points deducted, or depletion of the summer transfer kitty. Is the CX of the Premier League a Red or something?!?

The only saving grace is it involves Man Utd, and in my opinion the lion's share of blame lies with them. Wonder what Mourihno makes of it? Sure we'll find out after they play Arsenal...
Matt Traynor, Singapore  (6/5/07)

5-year plan achieved

I don't know what Moyes's plan was, but he has certainly achived all the targets I envisioned 5 years ago:

  1. To bring down the overall age of the squad - CHECK
  2. To inject top-class quality players - CHECK
  3. To finish thrice in the top 7 and once in the top 4 - CHECK
  4. To have an average finish of 10 or lower: CHECK
Moyes has done spendidly in his 5-year plan, I can't wait to see the progress in the next 5 years.
Micheal Thomas, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

Moyes's Achievement

"You say with current squad, we should the very least be expected to finish with a Uefa Cup qualification and we certainly have the ability to finish among the Champions League places.."

First of all, if your say our squad is that good, then that is only a testament to Moyes's good dealing in transfer signings. A pat for him there, aye?

Secondly, I think you're the only person in the world who thinks our thread-bear squad containing players like Osman, Hibbert is good enough for a top 4 place. Apart from Lescott and Arteta, none of our other players would make the top 4 line-up.
Joey Baxton, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

First, not really, because he's failed to fulfil their full potential.

Secondly, the skill of a really good manger is to get more from a team than the sum of its parts. Moyes has shown in the past that he can do that. But not consistently. If he's going to be Manager of Everton, he needs to be held to a high standard. — Michael

'Leagues Apart'

Any chance of the league table on Toffeeweb vaguely resembling the premiership league table? I used to trust you lot, now I'm not so sure.
Ste Blundell, London  (6/5/07)

Oops... not sure what happened there... it's never been the same since Colm 'updated' it!

Fxed now, hopefully! — Michael

Congratulations to the Boys

As an Everton supporter currently exiled in Japan for the past 2 years, i have had to endure both last and this season by reading the BBC sport site obsessively and catching the odd goal on You Tube, but yesterday's achievement makes it all worthwhile. I will be back in England from July to cheer on my beloved boys in blue in Europe.

However, I agree with the other poster in that our summer signings must be chosen with care to ensure our European tour doesn't fall at the first hurdle again. All this Nugent talk un-nerves me, I would look for a permanent Fernandes deal, a young sweeper/defensive wall to learn from Carsley and a winger (surely Wright Phillips could be tempted away now after another season on the bench at Chelsea).

The reserves can also play their part next season in stepping up to the first team, I'm sure many of us would like to see whether Vidarsson can cut it in the Prem. Thanks for a great season, Moysesy and the Boys! COYB!!!
Matthew Walker, Tokyo, Japan  (6/5/07)

Now that's more like it !

Just a quick mail to congratulate the supporters for playing their part in our 'must win' match yesterday. If we could get that going on a regular basis then Goodison really would be feared by most sides.

I have to also say at this point David Moyes deserves a pat on the back for the way he has responded since the Spurs debacle. I am not his greatest fan but at least he has played a positive line up since that defeat. The Uefa Cup qualification should be celebrated as its not too long ago we where not even in the top half.

Two final points. Firstly, I would welcome Joey Barton in our midfield as his energy would make a massive difference to us. I accept he can be problematic but I feel he is worth a go. Secondly, I spoke to David Nugent outside the ground before the Portsmouth game and he said he hoped to sign for Everton! Now that would be a good signing and another good striker to go with AJ, Vaughan and Anichebe.
Barry Cass, Liverpool  (6/5/07)

Well done but...

I can't be complimentary about Moyes's comments post match about the season being over. Its NOT over. There is the small matter of playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. There is also the milestone of fifth spot, which is financially more rewarding than finishing lower than that.

A win there breaks a lot of hoodoos (first Premiership team to win at the Bridge, getting past the psychological 60 point mark). 57 points last year would have given us EIGHTH spot, to be regular top six contenders we have to look at producing 60 points consistently.

We have broken a few hoodoos this season, why not one more?
Nigel Gregson, Sydney, Australia  (6/5/07)


Great second half performance today from the boys, the catalyst being the superb support from the Goodison faithful. I have been to many games as a young Evertonian, but today's atmosphere is up with the best of them and really made the difference.

The players have to realise that if they all intend to be a success in the Uefa Cup, we need to see more of the football we saw in the second half, fantastically orchestrated by messers Arteta and Fernandes.

However, the fans must also take note, if they want more of the football seen in the second half, they must make more match-winning atmospheres next season and show Europe what the Goodison crowd is capable of.
Dominic Fitzpatrick, Wallasey  (5/5/07)

From my seat

Another three points and Euro bound. First half was dire with just two decent chances, one for either side, which were spurned. The game resembled an end-of-season affair where the neutral would never have guessed the importance of three points to both sides.

From our point of view, we lacked woefully in midfield which gave our willing teenagers little meaningful to work with except their own willingness to chase and harrie to try to make something for themselves.

Half-time and we all wondered where this game was going. Was it the half-time managerial talk or the resurgence of a packed Goodison that fired them because we got quite a different second half with the Blues growing by the minute and Pompey declining at the same rate.

The midfield started to function and the play that much more joined-up. Goals came, the first via some excellent work in the box by Vaughan to get himself free and then, taking a leaf out of the very best of Euro strikers books, he knew just when and how to fall to ensure a nailed on penalty. Arteta kept his nerve and its 1-0.

Quickly a second followed via a corner taken by Fernandes that had pace and swerve that ensured any solid connection would yield a goal and Yobo duly obliged. Game over and this week from 2-0 and no Man Utd type pressure we saw out the game with ease and to such an extent that a Beattie flick was finished in best Lineker fashion by that ace poacher Naysmith from all of three yards.

All were happy, the managers name was sung out, this time in praise, from all sides and Pompey's raucus fans were drowned by full throat renditions of our songs. Final whistle and the big screen flashes up the final scores, the ones that matter quickley confirming passport-dusting time and the vast majority stayed to salute the parading players and their offspring.

Today was a day for rejoicing but the serious work for both club and manager starts now with a Euro base to build on. I wish them well in using this point in our achievements to build in quality so that we may progress as a force and not fall between stools.

Chelsea next to round it off and I always think we have a chance against them so this time I hope we take it. See you there --UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (5/5/07)

Moyes has delivered

Michael, your abiding memory for this season is that Moyes almost fucked it up??? Are you crazy? My abiding memory for this season is that Moyes didn't fuck it up and Everton qualified for Europe... AGAIN.

Michael, you do a good job moderating this site and messageboard but as your latest poll showed, the vast majority of your readers still heavily support Moyes. You simply cannot stick your head in the sand and claim Moyes almost fucked it up because he didn't, he delivered and deserves the credit.

The Premiership is arguably the best league in the world, there are only four teams above Everton and three of them have just reached the semi's of the Champions League. That's not almost fucking it up, that's an amazing feat considering what Moyes has to work with.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

Well, that's what you say, but I don't agree. Given the players we had and the ability they should have to play decent joined-up football AND get results, the very least we should have all expected is Uefa Cup qualification. Moyes has the ability, and these players certainly have the ability, to finish among the Champions League places. We didn't because of failures in the coaching and management of the team that dragged us down (from 3rd to 10th) over a large part of the season, with improvement only coming in the New Year, and only any real difference showing through after the dismal Spurs debacle. If we'd all been meek and mild and said nothing that night, and withheld any and all critiism of Moyes and what he was doing, I hate to think where we would have finished...

I could understand people going gaga if we were still being managed by Water Smith... but we're not. Do you know what? It has been over five long years since he was the Everton manager. The way you talk, it's like this is Moyes's first ever season managing Everton. It's not. In that time, we've our new manager was fully expected to take us forward; he had us finishing 7th in his first full season, and if we do well next Sunday, we might just finish 7th again this season. And like this season itself, that Moyes era has been a roller-coaster of highs and lows.

If you think Moyes deserves credit for getting us back to where we were four years ago, have at it. Just don't demand that everyone else should have the same low levels of expectation as you do or that they will be willing to join in the chorus. — Michael


Thank God it is all over. We are in Europe David Moyes and the players can be proud. Having to rotate between about fifteen players all season must be hard but we managed it and have achieved something in the process. I was suprised to see Vic and Vaughan starting but those two boys will never let anyone down. Hunger, pace, power, what else do you need from two promising 18-year-olds?

First half was dull with to much long ball football but second half was completely different. Arteta and Fernandes ran the show and we dominated. Let's hope we can build on this next season. We're all going on a European Tour!
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

Fernandes £12 million...

If Manny is worth £12M, what price Mikel Arteta? Class. It's time Everton got him settled on Merseyside instead of in an appartment in the city centre. Somewhere on the Wirral or Formby. As I have said before, it would break my heart if he left. Well done our spud; go and enjoy yourself against Chelsea ? and thanks!
Colin Malone, Wirral  (5/5/07)

Magnificent Supporters

A great second half performance today ? we looked a very good side with the play going through our midfield.

What really made the difference though, was the fantastic atmosphere generated by our supporters from about five minutes before the first goal. It's a long time since I've heard such a brilliant support for a side, and it gave the players an extra couple of yards pace and confidence to play. It just goes to show how great support can make all the difference to the outcome.

Let's hope for more of the same next season in Europe! Well done to ALL blues.
Karl Jones, Woolton  (5/5/07)


Been to the game today and enjoyed a second half of good football. Seems we should all rejoice at the attainment of European football. I hope that the detractors and followers of the management can all unite and celebrate what has been achieved as we all support Everton and want the best for the club. The Uefa Cup is not Champions League but it's progress and if we can be realistic the money the top four have has put them a long way ahead of the rest. So to be top of the rest is at least knocking on the door and to add to that we have at least half a young energetic side that will further evolve. We have Tim, Joey and Joleon, tiny tim, Arteta, and AJ who would fit in to the top teams; add in a few who we rely on but are not quite top then we have a future being crafted by the Manager

We should all rejoice tonight and look at the glass being half-full and trust that we can add some prospects for the next few years and develop the likes of our two under-20-year-old strikers, who played so well today. Playing FM, I think we need Manny and Nugent and would also buy Barton. Wow we could be right up there next year but in the meantime I will get a map of Europe.

Well done Bill and Davey, circumstances are that we are not quite up with the top four but we are right behind them and battling to replace them. Nil satis etc...
Ian Smitham, Wilmslow  (5/5/07)

Europe, Beattie and the future!

It was never really in doubt was it?! Phew, half way through, I could see a nil-nil or worse, although I wasn't at the match but working for a news organisation and had access to the TV pics live ? sweet! One advantage of this is that you get to see a lot more than MOTD will show (although still a poor substitute to being there).

Apart from the star performers, I thought James Beattie played as well as anyone could expect in a 5-minute stint. Chipping in a dangerous ball having chased a long, lost looking ball to the by-line, and getting the flick-on for Naysmith's header. Just a thought about getting rid of him, a swap (minus a load of dosh of course) for Nugent wouldn't be bad, but certainly isn't my priority.

Fernandes looks a much better use of any money we have, rather than a Barton-Nugent double for the same(ish) money. In my opinion, we need to spend on midfield and defence, the strike force looks strong enough to me.
Andrew Humphrey, London  (5/5/07)

Over to you, Bill

Moyes has done what myself and many others had demanded at the start of the season and that's European qualification. Well done, Moyes and the lads; great second half performance.

However, signings are needed ? our squad is nowhere near strong enough and I want a European tour not a one-of ftrip to an Eastern European shithole.
Dan Dogan, Telford  (5/5/07)

Time For A Change

Now that Uefa Cup football looks sealed I now think it would be s good time to say thanks to Moyes for five years of reasonable progress but tell him it's time to bring somebody else in who can take us to the next phase. We don't want to make the same mistake as 2005 and spend the whole summer singing our own praises about getting into Europe only to see it go up in smoke by the end of September.

The football we play under Moyes's and Irvine's coaching just isn't good enough to make any impact against even an average European side, you need to be able to keep the ball for more than a few seconds and not just lump it to the stikers and say "Chase that!" No, for me, we should be looking for a European coach now if we want to move on. Remember 1996, when Arsenal pipped us for a Uefa Cup place, they then went and replaced Bruce Rioch with Arsene Wenger.
Colin Hughes, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

Wow, Colin, that's bold. I just can't help thinking it's too bold for the masses who are clearly cock-a-hoop at the great European achievement. I have no doubt the feeling will be that Moyes needs another chance to prove himself in Europe. Proving himself in the domestic cups might have been better training to be honest, so the fear and trepidation of another European "adventure" will be palpable come August...

Hopefully that thought would temper the wilder optimists from gushing too much but, if today's mailbag is anything to go by, we will have three months of self-congratulation and mounting expectation and to look forward to... — Michael


Great result; let's hope Marsh and Yussef have the good grace to give credit to Moyes and the team. Great support too, and something like the old Goodison atmosphere of our glory years.

I hope that Barton doesn't come to Everton, we have a fine team spirit and one bad apple can ruin it. Instead of Cahill boxing the corner flag, it could be seconds out with Barton. Spend the money on Fernandes.
George Carroll, Bramhall  (5/5/07)

Hate to admit it, because I love flair players, but Moyes is right about Fernandes. At least he was trying his best to defend today but I think that may be spoiling his game. He seems just to be lacking that something. The time he got beat by someone and reacted by grabbing him and getting a yellow card kind of summed him up somehow. I'm not convinced. — Michael


No sauce required, it's the elan of victory in the air. Looking forward to the summer and a few handy signings!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (5/5/07)


Can I just say, having seen the new season kit worn by the boys against Pompey today, how 'offside' the whole thing looks?

I can? Well, can I ask, again, what is that white line down the shirt's sides is? Looks like something Robbie Fowler can sink his nose into! And that gooish, dark-yellowish trace under the neck?

On another note: EUROPE!!
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (5/5/07)

Europe here we come

Well done, Blues. Congratulations to Moyes apologists and skeptics, to the pessimistic and optimistic among us. We are in Europe.

About the game, whisper it quietly but maybe Spurs really was the turning point. Some brave decisions by the manager, he took the risk and started from the beginning with Vaughan and Anichebe, Hibbert was dropped and our midfield consisted from no less than 3 creative players, with Carsley providing some steel.

I have been left disappointed on more than one occasion with our second half performances, but today we came out with all guns blazing.

We can start planning for the next season and I really hope that all incoming transfers will be done in time for the pre-season, like last year. We need depth, good to hear the same from Moyes, it's now up to BK, to provide some cash and back the manager. Far too many times we failed to build on our achievements (under Moyes) and I only hope that this time will be different.

Congratulations to all blues around the world; let's get our European nights. COYB
Stefan Tosev, Vienna, Austria  (5/5/07)


Completely agree, Michael, nobody would watch it if you knew the results in advance. That's what makes it the game it is, the tension built up over 90 minutes to be settled by the odd moment of magic.

Buckle up Marty, we're going Back To The Future!!

The Blues return to Europe once more just as Nostradamus predicted a few hundred years ago ahem:

"The Moyesiah will return and embark on a succesful European campaign watched eagerly as talk of movings with kermit unsettle the mob."

No imagination you say?
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (5/5/07)

Imagination.... or sauce?

Well done, Bill and David!

Now that we are virtually certain of European football, can Tony Marsh, and all the other serial critics of Kenwright, Moyes & Co give credit for a job well done? We may not have the resources of the Big Four but we don`t have their debts either and we are only marginally behind them in the table. I think I can speak for the vast majority of Evertonians when I say we can be proud of what our club has achieved this season.
Seb St Clare, Harrogate  (5/5/07)

Oh wind yer neck in. Given the resources David Moyes has been provided with, and the players he has managed to sign, this achievement should have been well within his grasp. The fact that he came so close to fucking it all up is the abiding memory I shall have of the season, and it is hardly an occasion for all this pro-Moyes crowing. ? Michael


Never one to go over the top, I will base my post-match comment on just one word:- Genius, mastermind, virtuoso, expert, Moyes.
Richard Dodd, Formby  (5/5/07)

Having trouble counting now, eh, Richard?


Bally must be smiling!
Barry Butterworth, Solihull  (5/5/07)

Well done the blues!

Well done Everton FC and David Moyes in particular. We won easily today by all accounts with a great second-half showing of passion and flair when we most needed it. Moysie has all but got us into Europe again ? something that we certainly aren't used to. The result today, and the majority of the season, has been done without two of our best players in Johnson and Cahill. We also have a goal difference of +16 which is the best bar the top four. I am chuffed my faith even through adversity has been rewarded by the lads! WELL DONE, MOYESIAH !
Shaun Cook, Bedford  (5/5/07)

Just A Little Credit?

At the start of the season, Tony Marsh made a big case for Harry Redknapp, his quote was "now that's what I call a manager".

Well, where is Harry's team now? They cannot catch Everton, that's for sure. The Pompey Euro dream is hanging by a thread while David Moyes's Toffees can already look forward to European football next season.

That's the second time in three season's Moyes has qualified Everton for Europe, any chance of just a little credit for our manager... go on you know he deserves it.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

Joey Barton

I can't believe anybody in their right mind would entertain the signing of Joey Barton. The lad is a head-case and a liability. People who cannot control themselves cannot be relied upon to control the outcome of matches.

What exactly would he add to the current team? He has limited ability in my opinion and we would be as well to avoid him. He is certainly not the player Fernandes is or can potentially be. The only arguments presented are that

a) He would have put Rooney into touch; and
b) He is an Everton supporter.
What good would putting Rooney into the crowd have done, eh? Made you feel a bit better for a little while? This is the kind of mentality that would have someone kick the stable-door off its hinges after the horse has bolted, while shouting "stupid fucking door" at it, instead of accepting that had the door been locked in the first place the horse would never have had the chance to make its escape.

It's mindless and sums up the kind of people who believe Joey Barton's arrival would be a sign of 'progress', rather than confirmation that Davie Moyes has taken leave of his senses! As for the second claim. This logic would give us a team full of Hibberts over a team comprised of Artetas. I know which one I'd rather pay good money to go and watch.
Grant Rorrison, Manchester  (5/5/07)

Humble Pie, Mr Marsh?

For all the "informed" opinions we have had to hear this year from Tony Marsh:

  1. Everton won't make Europe ? we have;
  2. Moyes is a "average" manager ? Europe twice in five years on our budget is hardly "average";
  3. O'Neill and Coppell are better managers than Moyes ? where are they on the Premiership table?
Ahhh... the joys of victory. We just won, so all quiet on the western front until next time we need a defeatist viewpoint, hey Marshy?
Kevin Morris, Sydney, Australia  (5/5/07)

Interesting point

"I will never understand this need to foresee the result, and then worse, base your perceptions on that foresight. Can someone explain to me just what that is all about?"

It's human nature I'm afraid. Going down to the bookies, who's going to win the next election, who's going to win Big Brother (tosh), will it kick off in Iran or will we get our sailors back....

For me personally, I'm desperate for Everton to return to where they belong and looking at potential results gives me a tool for assessing how realistic these hopes are.

Are you telling me when we were going into the last day of the season and potentially getting relegated that you didn't look at the options out there?

As with anything, history plays a part in the future. Historically, Everton have been shit in the last few games and the two results previous indicated that we were going down the same path.

I don't usually predict games unless it's a critcial point in the season though... You've made me feel like a right stato now!!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (5/5/07)

Hehehe... yes, of course you go through all the options and you are aware of the possibilities at critical moments. But I get the sense people go further than that. They decide on the outcome ? and I guess I've seen enough to know that most times predictions are usually wrong, which is why you don't see bookies going broke or on the dole! But then they take if further, and the projection actually colours their judgement or view of things. That makes no sense to me. I'd much rether wait to see what actually happens... isn't that sufficiently interesting? ? Michael

Well done, Blues

After a nervous first 45 mins, great to see the team come flying out the blocks in the second half inspired by another great performance by Arteta. With European football almost certainly back next season, we can all look forward to hopefully a summer of spending (hopefully not like 2005 though: Krøldrup, Davies, AvdM...)

Let's hope the boys don?t turn up to Stamford Bridge on Sunday still pissed like 2005 v the Gooner ? with our record at the Bridge, a goal down there would be nice for starters.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

Europe here we go again !

Despite some pretty poor football in the first half, the Blues were just excellent value for the 3 points in teh end! It is not often to see the team improve in the second half, but they did just that and deserved the win.

A marvellous site btw ? I have hugely enjoyed it in the past few years, and happy to see other supporters from Asia, especially Hong Kong. Come on your Blues !!
Raymond Choi, Hong Kong  (5/5/07)

Thanks, Raymond. We need a long rest now! — Michael

Well done, Moyesy

Well done to the blue boys, back in Europe and Mr Moyes carries on the progress we deserve.
Franky Burrage, Northwich  (5/5/07)

Europe Blues

I think we've done it haven't we ? providing Reading don't score more than 6 in their last game? Only Bolton and Spurs can finish above us now?

I must admit I thought we would lose the remaining two games. Well done Everton for proving me wrong!!!
Dan Parker, New York, USA  (5/5/07)

That's what I can't understand. Surely the thrill in football is watching the game unfold, watching your team get the result? Or the downside, watching them fail. I will never understand this need to foresee the result, and then worse, base your perceptions on that foresight. Can someone explain to me just what that is all about? "Are we gonna win next week?" ? for me it just epoitomises the limited imagination and conversation of yer average fan. What matters is that we won today. As for next week, wait and see... — Michael

On our holidays

Putting aside questions about quality of football and the way forward, it's great to see us back in Europe barring bizarre results next week. Let's hope for a better showing than last time!
John Holmes, York  (5/5/07)

A great way to finish our home campaign. Just what was needed. And some good results elsewhere that everyone who wrote in, predicting scores and imminent doom, got totally wrong. Why do they waste everyone's time and energy on that nonsense? I'll never understand that one. The only thing that matters is what happens on the day. — Michael

Told you so...

... see you in Europe, guys. Have a nice day, Blues, you've deserved it.
Srdjan Sekulic, Novi Sad, Serbia  (5/5/07)

Thanks, Srdjan!

Us and Them

I should point out from the outset that I think David Moyes has done a fantastic job in turning Everton around. We are not there yet but slowly, step by step we are becoming younger. There is more talent and potential in our team now than at any time in years. We now have five or six players who would not embarrass themselves on any squad in the world.

The inequity that we suffer from is one that all the clubs in the Premiership suffer apart from the 'big four' is the fact that the 'big' clubs have more players in their first team pool. If every football team in the increasingly inequitable league had the same amount of players (sounds odd to even have to say that), I believe you would eventually begin to see that, in spite of all of their money, the 'big four' perhaps would not have quite so huge of an advantage. It would also put an end to the odious practice of loan players. Football unfortunately ceased to be an eleven player game years ago we should change the rules of registering players to reflect that.

If great clubs like Everton, Villa et al have to enter every season as mere makewieghts for the Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea show, we will die of meaninglessness.
Mike Dolan, New York  (5/5/07)

Two Of Our Own

Keeping this short and to the point; if we go into next season with the same squad, minus Beattie and Carsley, but in their place two local Evertonians in the form of Barton and Nugent... then that is progress in my opinion.

These two lads are from Huyton; whatever your opinion of their off-field character, they will do well for the Blues. They are just the type of players we need! Don't worry about Barton's history, coz ? if there's one thing I will say about Moyes ? it's that he doesn't take any shit.

Coooome oooon yoooooo Bluuuuuuuuez!
Robbie  Muldoon, Liverpool  (5/5/07)

1-0 to David Moyes

David Moyes appears to be winning his battle over the allegations that he was complict in Wayne Rooney falling out of love with Everton. Today`s Daily Mail publishes a retraction of his article on 25 July 2006 in which Rooney alleged that he had been forced out by Moyes picking on him and divulging confidential information about his brothel creeping.

`We accept that these allegations were untrue and apologise for the embarrassment caused.` So it`s 1-0 to Moyes. Let`s hope he`s as successful later today!
Sean Milroy, Little Barrow  (5/5/07)

Not in today's football

Barton is nothing more than a thug. Tony talks of him standing up to Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard et al, funny I don't seeing him do that for City, so why would / could he do it for us?

Yes, he could have put Rooney over the stands and then he's out for a minmum of 3 weeks and we play with 10 men. What would he have achieved? He's not clever enough to do anything other than kick, get sent off and Rooney (or anyone else), get's the magic sponge treatment and pisses his side laughing at Barton as he trudges off.

Yes, he can go around throwing his weight about but how long will he last with today's referees? Constantly getting booked and suspended is of absolutely no value to any team in the Premiership. Even Moyes's limited tactics would be disrupted and then what on earth does he do with 10 men, he can't cope with a full team ? how will he cope with 1 fewer?

Finally, it's not tabloid gossip, it's not some jouro out to get him, the truth is far more sinister. His behaviour within the club and outside shows him to be a mindless moron. He has been protected from other incidents coming to the public's notice by his club. I for one do not want to see a thug like this at Everton, he is a throwback to an era in football that has gone and (right or wrong) will not return.
Jim Hourigan, Preston  (5/5/07)


It's been reported that Everton will take supporter's views into consideration over the move to Kirkby. How will they determine who is a fan? Holders of so many ticket stubs? Just season ticket holders? I believe it will be a farce like all the other ballots of fans' views. For the record, I used to live in Kirkby but I shalln't be watching Everton there.
Robert Balmain, Waterloo  (5/5/07)

Directors should direct

Surprise, surprise, Doddy`s finally got something right. It is the job of Kenwright and his Board to make the decision about the move to Kirkby ? Evertonians never agree about anything! At least that way, if it all goes tits-up, we shall know who to blame!

As far as Howard is concerned, Fergie out-thinks Moyes on every issue-transfers, tactics and comments. That`s why he always speaks so well of his fellow Scot!
Glen Franklin, Ruthin  (5/5/07)

Lust for Glory

Today, Everton are literally in a play-off situation. Will Moyes choke as he invariably does in Cup-ties ? and twice did with my hometown team ? or has he learned his lesson and will go all out for glory?

I suspect I know the answer but still hope to see Neville at full-back (left or right `cos he couldn`t possibly drop him!) and Van der Meyde on the wing in place of Osman. If it`s the same old same old then perhaps all Evertonians (except Kenwright!) will finally come to see Moyes for the pusillamimous bore he has always been.
Trevor Dyson, Preston  (5/5/07)

Osman plays; Van der Meyde... the Great Dutch Hope... one part-game in four was too much for him. — Michael

Undue Influence

I don't think that Samuel's article was actually accusing anyone of dishonesty ? he would hardly dare make such an allegation ? I believe however that he made a valid point about the way in which wealthy clubs can affect their less well-heeled neighbours.

It is scandalous that Manchester United were able to prevent Everton playing Tim Howard; a player who belongs to Everton. It is also unfortunate, to say the least, that Everton should be put in a position where United's success has a bearing upon Everton's finances (the terms of the Rooney transfer), particularly in circumstances where Everton have an (arguable) opportunity to interfere with that success.

I do not think for a second that David Moyes or the players would be influenced by these considerations. Nevertheless, these contractual terms do nothing to enhance Football's reputation. Indeed, they are the result of financial bullying that has no ethical place in the sport. Surely it is time for the FA and the Football League to step in and ban these kind of arrangements.

And while they are at it, they can also sort out the agents.
Gary Leonard, Southampton  (5/5/07)


A line in John Doolan's piece below, 'Ambition and Belief' really caught my eye. He writes that "Obviously, the ninties left scars which will take years to heal..." This line really struck a cord with me and got me to thinking.

I can't really remember the glory days of the Eighties. For those a generation older than me, what happened in the early to mid-ninties must have been an absolute nightmare. Unfortunately I can remember only too well what happened in the ninties and it was horrible for me.

While I can't write for other people, what has made it worse for me since is the amount of false dawns we have had, the amount of times I have said to myself that this is the return of the glory days. The cup final in '95 was great but the following season the european campaign fizzled out and finishing sixth got us nothing ( I can't remember why). Walter Smith arrived down as the Alex Ferguson of the North and it all fizzled out. Then of course we have had all the peaks among the troughs with Moyes, last summer's CL disaster being the most painful.

The result of all this is that, while I get as excited as any other fan when we are doing well, I still have that nagging feeling in the back of my mind. That awful feeling that somehow we're going to mess things up. Add to this a mild dose of cycnism and I wonder if these are the scars that John was talking about.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (5/5/07)

Mr Barton

I would want Mr Barton at Goodison if I felt he could confine his aggression to the pitch. Mr Marsh makes some fine points in JB's defence, but for me all the plusses are pitchside ones. Whatever people think of his tactics, Moyes has forged an excellent team spirit and ethic. A couple of weeks of JB in the dressing room could unravel that very quickly.

Going round punching team mates is inexcusable and the outcome divisive as camps subsequently form around the individuals involved. Quoting Roy Keane is no comparison as a) he was a far better player than Barton and b) Keane was a player of the 90s and, in general, football has moved on. Incidentally, look at how much Keane has mellowed since becoming a manager. He's even admitted he was wrong with some of the things he did as a player and I think that was reflected in his style for his last few playing years too.

There were also plenty of stories about JB's introduction to the England squad not being a raging success, as he apparently went round bossing everyone about. No bad thing you might say; however, I say that, if true, it shows the social skills of a chimp and one thing you need in a team is social acceptance and understanding.

This might all sound terribly PC, but I think that JB is an example of the class bully who also happens to be good at football; but still can't help being a bully even though he's not at school anymore.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (5/5/07)

Yet more mis-management

This Howard deal is another piece of mismanagement by Kenwright. It absolutely stinks and the club shouldn't be party to this kind of crap. "Blue" Bill is ruining our club.

I can't bear to think about where we'd be if the Kings Dock had gone ahead, it sickens me that Bill fucked this one up. He sold Rooney, the greatest talent the club's ever produced, for a knock-down price that included clauses which prove to be a conflict of interest when we play Man Utd.

Kenwright is depriving the club of any income or investment so as to retain absolute control. He is the rotten core of our club and for all those who want Moyes out, get Kenwright out and Moyes will follow. All those that want to keep "Everton in our city", get Kenwright out and we'll stay. All those that feel sick when you see Rooney kissing his badge, get Kenwright out. Let's hold this bastard to account.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (5/5/07)

Re: Barton

To Tony Marsh, there is a difference between aggression and pure thuggery. Have you seen the pictures of Dabo's facial injuries? He's got a bloody eye wound, for fuck's sake. Couple this, and the other incidents involving Mr Barton in the past, and you have to wonder if there's something wrong with this man not just professionally but personally and mentally as well. It stops being about how he is going to conduct himself on the pitch and more towards how he is going to self-destruct.
Mikhail Ridhuan, Singapore  (5/5/07)

They're having a laff!

I see that it's being reported that the Premier League have joined a lawsuit in the US against the YouTube website. Apparently, they're upset that it features Premier League matches but "without payment or license to the owners of the intellectual property."

They're joking aren't they?? There's nothing intellectual about the Premier League! It's a developed into a dull, predictable and mind-numbing competition in which only an exclusive cartel of rich clubs can win.

The rest get themselves in lather as they fight over the scraps and whether they can finish 7th. 7th!!! For goodness sake, what have we come to? Oh, well, at least it's almost over for another year...

Having said that, I'll no doubt look forward to the new season with some optimism before it all settles into a familiar, frustrating pattern again.
Paul Kish, Adelaide, Australia  (5/5/07)

The thing about Samuel's article

that bugged me was his inference that the club might be influenced to throw the game against United in order to benefit from the £1.7M windfall if United completed the treble. Someone should perhaps explain that the league portion of the Rooney deal was for £500k and that by dropping a place in the division 5th to 6th we have potentially forfeited £650,000 or whatever it is these days.

For what it's worth, I think there is a point to his piece although I think he is making a mountain out of a molehill really ? especially as Howard couldn't have played under the loan deal anyway. For all we know, Everton may have insisted on the codicil that Howard would only be ineligible 'if United were still involved in the title'. That way, if they were not involved in the title he could have played and helped our Uefa Cup bid.

Who knows, if Turner hadn't made that clanger, we probably wouldn't be having the debate anyway.
Barry Bragg, Birkenhead  (4/5/07)

Big Bad Barton

What's going on with the TW hordes? Why are they up in arms at the mention of the name Barton? So JB is no alter boy and has a bit of past history... so what? Roy Keane was the same when he was that age as well and look how he turned out.

Another thing: don't believe all you read in the tabloids either because that's the only place any of you get your info concerning Barton. We have got too many Mr Nice type players in the squad and lack any real leadership out on the pitch. We need someone who can get stuck in and stand up for himself. These Leon Osman / Simon Davies types we end up with are not worth a carrot in the heat of a battle. Joey Barton would be a real handfull for anyone.

I am sick to death of our spineless midfield being overran and players like GerrardLampard, and Rooney taking the piss at Goodison. They wouldn't be so keen with JB breathing down their necks. I would like to think JB would have put Rooney into Row Z last week when he was making our team of wimps look silly down the Park End. Hibbert and Stubbs stood there admiring the little runt. We need some steel and we need someone who will run through brick walls for this club ? not players who shun 50-50 challanges and hide when the big boys come to town.

I like Fernandes and wish we could sign both him and JB but it wont happen. Everton FC cannot afford to pay £12 million for a midfield player.. end of story. With that type of cash, we could buy Nuggent and Barton and still have change for some chips on the way home. As much as we all want the best, we can't pay silly money for players and £12M is silly for Fernandes when we need numbers in.

Joey Barton is a tough kid who takes no shit and stands up for himself. He gets himself i to bother and finds trouble a lot but that doesn't mean the lad can't play football... He can and that's all I care about. If you want to watch choir boys go to church on Sunday or, better still, watch Leon Osman playing for us in midfield.

It takes all sorts to make the world go round and which one of you lot out there is perfect. Give JB a chance ? you never know, you just might like the lad when he pulls on the Blue shirt, starts scoring goals, and starts putting the Rooneys and Gerrards of this world on their arses.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

The Time is Now!

Forget 'Exclusivity Periods'!
Forget badge-issing Judas Potato Heads!
Forget Tim Howard conspiracy theories!
Forget 'New' Kits!
Forget Joey Barton!
Forget Moyes In / Out / Shake it all about!

All that matters this weekend is getting 3 points against Pompey tomorrow! I'll be setting off around 8am with the one intention of getting behind our Team, getting us a step closer to a better future with a higher profile, and making a season of much promise worth something. I suggest you all do the same.

Get behind the Boys, shout yourselves silly and be the difference in what promises to be a tricky game! We keep saying it's Our Club ? now is the time to prove our worth once again! It's occasions like this that Football is all about ? Enjoy! COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
Karl Masters, Chatham, Kent  (4/5/07)

Ambition and belief

The very painful events of the last week have got me thinking about the negative mind-set of Everton fans and sadly how it compares with the kopites.

When the paranoid Frenchman became their manager, he improved them massively compared to the Evans years ? I'm sure that sounds familiar. And yet when the fans first and then crucially the Board decided he could take them no further (even after winning 4 major trophies ? now that doesn't sound familiar) they waved him goodbye and got in that smug Spanish bastard. Lo and behold, they improve again (see it is possible) and end up with the nightmare scenario of 2 Champions League finals in 3 years... Why can't we take a similar approach with Moyes - "thanks for what you've done and goodbye"? Why do so many fans delude themselves into thinking Moyes is anything above average when the football he produces is truly awful (the Wigan away game was almost physically painful to watch and we won!!!). I think it has got to the stage that some Everton fans not only believe it is impossible to get into the top 4 but that we no longer deserve to be there... "10th is fine with me mate ? in fact we are bloodly lucky to have that".

Obviously the 90s left scars which will take years to heal and the constant Sky dissing of all those outside the top 4 has also had a massive impact.

I would however implore fellow blues to have some belief and ambition. The idea that the club can't attract a better manager than Moyes is an absolute joke. I fervently hope that next season is dour Davey's last and finally, two seasons overdue, we can genuinely move forward ? yes, it involves a risk but, deep down, everyone knows this makes sense.

If, as I expect, he implodes yet again tomorrow, we should bring forward his departure immediately. Belief and ambition ? on 23 May, watch in horror and you will see what it can achieve...
John Doolan, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

Oh dear...

Richard Dodd

Richard, read the Samuel piece carefully rather than getting angry and missing the whole point.

He does not blame Everton, indeed, he went out of his way not to blame us. Pay attention, here is what he wrote:

As a condition of the deal, United insisted that Howard could not play against them when the teams met on April 28. Everton had no choice but to acquiesce because David Moyes, the manager, wanted the player signed as soon as possible to ward off interest from other clubs (Howard has had an excellent season).

Had Everton not consented to the April 28 clause, United would not have allowed the loan to become permanent until the summer, running the risk of a rival bid, and Howard would still not have been able to play against United last weekend. Over a barrel, Everton agreed, which on Saturday meant that a third party (Manchester United) materially influenced the selection of a player who contractually belongs to Everton.
Get that: Over a barrel. It is a very good article, and we were over a barrel. He goes on to point out that the deal effectively won Utd 3 points as, up until the mistake, Everton looked safe. And United only went into action at 2-1. Does anyone remember the speed with which the Ronaldo substitution was made?
Roberto Birquet, London  (4/5/07)

Paid to make decisions

I hate to agree with that sycophantic prat, Richard Dodd, but he makes some good points. After all, we do pay Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes to make the decisions and as one who does not buy in to the sentimental twaddle about staying at Goodison, I`m happy to say if it has to be Kirkby then so be it.

On the other issue, if Turner hadn`t gifted that goal we should never have heard of the Howard contract vagaries. Don`t get me wrong, I don`t rate the men at the top but until the revolution...
Miles Corner, Altcar  (4/5/07)

One minor correction: we (EFC) do not pay Kenwright. Wyness and Moyes, yes. But not Kenwright. — Michael

Doddy`s right-for once!

I hate to say it but Doddy`s right on both counts ? this time!

The Kirby deal is too good to refuse ? and what the hell else is on the table? As far as Howard is concerned, he`s worth the three points the useless Turner gifted to them because we`re going to sew up Europe anyway!
Trevor Norton, Bentham  (4/5/07)

Make or break?

I am starting to think that this could be a make-or-break summer for us in terms of the transfer window and how the club can push on.

A high league finish will give us a decent cheque. I have it in my head that last summer we spent the TV money due for the season nearly finished in advance on transfers. If we do the same again this summer, with huge TV revenue promised, there will be more cash. Throw in getting rid of some of the fringe players, and the last of the Rooney money, and there could be quite a pot of cash to be spent.

If the Board and the manager have the right ambition, I think we could use this money to develop even further what is a fairly decent squad. In spite of Moyes's inconsistent and at times downright baffling approach to tactics, the team has done fairly well this season. An improved squad could, by extension, do even better.

I know that some of the cash will be spent on transfers that don't work out, it's par for the course. And I know there is a strong possibility that any spare cash floating around this summer may be put aside for the whole Kirkby thing. But still, I think this could be the most afluent we have been in quite a while going into a transfer window.

On the other hand, though, the "will we, won't we?" talk about Fernandes and Barton at the moment doesn't exactly fill me with hope. (IMO Barton's an absolute tramp and I wouldn't have him darken the door.) The fact that we are pretty much potless in the day-to-day running side of things doesn't fill me with much hope either.

I just think the old addage about speculating to accumulate could work out very well for us considering the cash potentially available.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (4/5/07)


Firstly, I have to agree with Tony, it is much easier being 5,000 miles away from Liverpool when the spawn are gloating in their own inimitable way. Believe me, I hate them as much as anybody and I still have to deal with it... my Dad is one of them and that's one of the reasons we have a crap relationship and live on opposite sides of the world.

I have to say I'm not bothered about the Uefa Cup. I'm in the Coppell camp and think our resources would be too stretched; not to mention the Moyes style of football, which is a total embarassment in Europe. The ridiculously named Champions League is a boring money grab too. Liverpool have never won the Premiership, they haven't been champions of England for nearly 20 years, yet laughingly refer to themselves as champions of Europe!

Having said that, that is the only European competition worth playing in, but with Moyes and his 'anti-football', anti-skill approach it won't happen anytime soon. Until he goes, there just isn't anything to look forward to. I think he may resign, that's my hope anyway, because he won't be sacked anytime soon.

My fear is that our few skilled players realise that he is a dinasoar and will want away, inevitably being replaced by his favoured limited workhorses. Moyes, coupled with Liverpool's unbelievable, bizarre luck, makes me thankful that I live in ice-hockey land.
Mike Price, Vancouver  (4/5/07)

Keep It Simple

Whatever the rights and wrongs in the transfers/loans of Howard, Tevez, Maschareno et al, there is one simple solution: whilst a player is on loan to whichever club, he deemed able to be selected for any match his 'new' club play, for the period of the loan. This may deter the big 4 from having so many players and reduce the possibility of picking rivals teamsheets.

I happen to believe that the journalist responible for the piece regarding West Ham used the Howard situation as a smokescreen. Tevez has undoubtedly influenced West Ham's results. While Maschareno has influenced two clubs domestically and in Europe. The FA and Premier League should ensure that whatever rules are in place are stictly adhered to by all clubs at all times. But I doubt this will happen anytime soon.

As an aside I notice that our favourite Italian referee was at Anfield on Tuesday ? was he there in an official capacity? Or was he specially invited for services rendered?

On Joey Barton, I mentioned sometime ago that he was bound for Anfield ? maybe they have realised that Fernandes is a better prospect? Without a huge investment there is no way that we are going to spend upwards of £9 million on a midfielder when we could buy Barton and Nugent for the same amount.
John Partick McFarlane, Lancs  (4/5/07)

Why not do a Bates?

With the news that Leeds United have gone into administration to wipe out £25M of debt but will carry on under the same leadership as though nothing had happened, would it not be a good idea for Blue Bill to do the same thing immediately we know Europe is not to be? That way he can wipe the slate clean and fill his boots by offering the club at a knock down price to the Sultan of Bankok or some Yankee shyster.
Bill Edwards, Maghull  (4/5/07)

My team for tomorrow

With the crunch game coming up tomorrow, I would go 3-5-2 and try and apply some pressure early on and get the couple of goals we require in the first half.

If we get at least two goals up, then we can think about bringing Stubbs on to sure things up a bit. This is probably Shandyboy's last chance to impress before he is shipped out for the summer to IT'Vs new celebrity detox show, so I would give him the first half to see what he can do against Lauren.

Up front I am assuming AJ will play some part in what I think will be his last game of the season (providing we get the result), else Anichebe should step up with Man-tits Beattie on the bench. I think McFadden also deserves a go - I would tell him to drop behind the front two and try and make some runs in (Cahill style) or take some long shots. With a shout for Uefa Cup footy themselves, Portsmouuth will be up for it but I think with the right mentality and approach we can push on and win (prediction 2-0, Vaughan 17, AJ 39, Luvlly Jubbly!)

        Hibbert Yobo Lescott 
Arteta Carsley Fernandes Van der Meyde
          Johnson Vaughan

Subs: Turner Stubbs Valente Anichebe Anderson
Turner Stubbs Valente Anichebe DaSilva

Naysmith Wright

Cahill Pistone

Beattie Osman

Marc Rogers, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

Any line-up that does not feature Osman and Neville is just a waste of everyone's time and effort. Get back to FM!— Michael

Don't blame me...

Just so you know, I'm a non-Merseyside born Blue, who has lived in Manchester for the last 8 years, and been a season-ticket holder at Goodison since 1989 and I have no desire for Knowsley to be known as the home of such quality brands as Lambrini, QVC and Everton...
Tom O'Brien, Manchester  (4/5/07)

Sorry, but you are excluded ? you are not one of the "majority".. apparently. ;)

To buy or not to buy!

I have to say that I believe this Howard deal situation has been blown totally out of proportion. I do agree that there might be fundamental flaws with the current loan system and that there will always be issues when a player has more than one owner, but this does not mean that we have allowed Man Utd to shaft us like it is being suggested in this mailbag.

United loaned us one of their goalkeepers and his contribution has helped us to one of our best seasons in years. While on loan he could not play against Man Utd, which is a Premier League rule. While we might not agree with this rule, it makes sense to a certain extent and any Club that accepts to loan a player from a rival Premier League Club also agrees to and accepts the fact that this player can not play against his parent Club.

In relation to the permanent transfer of Howard, I personally think this has been read into far too much. According to the Premier League rules (and yes, I have checked) a player on loan can be signed on a permanent basis at any time during the loan period, even if this is outside the transfer window. So, when Everton were (finally) able to sell Simon Davies to Fulham (rumour has it for approximately £3 million), Moyes was able to utilise this cash to make Howard?s deal permanent. This would to a degree certain explain why Howard was signed just after the transfer window.

Everyone says we have been shafted by United, but again I don?t agree. Everton went to United to ask to sign Howard on a permanent deal, which they agreed to subject to one thing? That Howard was not to play against Everton this season (which he would not have been able to do if he was on loan anyway!). From this the Club would have two choices? 1) Accept the agreement and Howard would not play or 2) Decline the agreement and risk United not selling him or him going somewhere else.

People seem to forget that the selling Club sits with all the cards in a deal like this. They did not need to agree a permanent transfer. They could have kept Howard until the summer and made him available to any Tom, Dick and Harry!

For me this is a no-brainer? Secure Howard for another four years in exchange for him not being able to play one match! The Club has done the right thing on this one and hopefully we can enjoy Howard?s clean sheets for years to come.

This all seems to be one for the conspiracy theorists to speculate on and discuss in all perpetuity.
Jim Ranch, Everton  (4/5/07)

There is an underlying principle that you are missing which is a cornerstone of the league system and FA rules: non-interference by third parties. That is the thrust of the Martin Samuel article, and it is a very important one for the future of football if corruption is to be kept under control. While there were mitigating circumstances for Everton, just as there were in the murky add-ons to the Rooney deal that made us de facto Man Utd supporters, both represent a serious erosion of values and an insidious form of corruption that is being allowed to creep into the game. — Michael

Mikael Forsell

I notice that Birmingham are to cut thier loses on Forsell after a couple of injury-ravaged seasons where he has failed to impress. Looks like our tough medicals / Davey's dithering (delete as applicable) saved us a few bob there. Mind you probably still better value than Beattie overall (sorry for the cheap shot, James).
Barry  Bragg, Birkenhead  (4/5/07)

Poll Response

With regard to your reply to my last comment, then maybe yes you could exclude non-Merseyside Blues from this particular poll as, after all, the majority of Evertonians are from Merseyside and I feel this move has more to do with identity of our city than the club itself, this is not meant to cause offence to any Blues. I would just like a clearer picture from the majority.
Steve Wolfe, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

I was being sarcastic, you numpty; just how do you imagine we go about excluding non-Mersyside Blues from influencing our poll? And sdo you determine (a) what constitutes teh "majority" and (B) whether they are in favour or not? Well, you hold a vote! Two matchday votes held a few years ago both produced majorities in favor of a move, and I'm sure the next one will too. Maybe there just happened to be a lot of out-of-town/non-Merseyside Evertonians around then too, sawaying the vote away from "the majority". Face it, if the club decide to do this, most fans will support it. There will be a vocal minority who scream Blue Murder but if the club want it, it will happen. — Michael


For information regarding the Howard deal look at this Football News story on the Everton website . That is dated 14 February 2007.
Ian Thomson, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

If Howard is still not a permanent Everton player, then the rest of the Everton website is wrong (since it says he is) and Martin Samuel's story is a complete tissue of lies; the club should sue or demnand a retraction, since it is hugely damaging.

If he was made a permanent player, and no longer a loan player, in Feruary, as Everton's own story states, then Martin Samuel provides the only plausible explanation as to why he did not play against Man Utd. It is confusing, which is (I an convinced) part of the official stratgey to hide the existence of this clause through the 'sin' of omission. ? Michael

Ignore the tinpot polls!

Of course Everton will move to Kirkby - regardless of what some tin-pot poll has to say. For the Board to run the club by referendum would be akin to asking the Toffeeeweb Selection Panel to pick the team! After a 15-hour stint at a polling station yesterday, I`m totally brassed off with democracy, anyway!

On another point, Martin Samuel should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for his outpourings on the Howard signing. All true Evertonians will realise that, in signing any player, you make the best deal you can get and the American would not be ours at all if Davey had not agreed to the barring-out clause.

Just when are some of your readers going to realise that ALL decisions taken by the Club are made with goodwill and the long-term in mind ? not just to appease a carefully orchestrated minority?
Richard Dodd, Formby  (4/5/07)

I'm getting a new tattoo: "ALL decisions taken by the Club are made with goodwill and the long-term in mind" ? it's not exactly snappy or pithy, but it is obviously something I keep losing sight of. Thanks for that Richard. I feel so "grounded" now! — Michael

Conspiracy Theories ? Part 2

Sorry, Michael, I think you may have misunderstood my meaning.

I agree wholeheartedly that Man Utd and Everton agreed to some sort of clause with regards to Howard not playing. I also agree that these sorts of deals are corrupt and is almost tantamount to a bribe. "Well you can have Tim Howard but you have to do us a favour...."

I also agree that this is a situation that we should not let lie and is not "boring and in the past" but is actually an interesting debating point.

Carry on the debate, Michael, sir.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (4/5/07)

Thanks, Steve, and sorry I misinterpreted your e.mail! Cheers! — Michael

I give up

So it looks all over in terms of Fernandes coming to Everton and he will be replaced by that thing from Man City... Joey Barton. An average run-of-the-mill dirty toiler and a complete utter twat of guy. I for one will not pay good money to watch Everton FC if they pursue this choice.

All the times while Moyes has been at Everton and we have turned our nose up at class players because they either don't have the work ethic or the right attitude ? now it looks certain we will be bringing in one of game's most horrible vulgar men. What a joke!

We have Fernandes ? a Portugal international there who would cost just a few million more than Barton but we have snubbed it... Sick joke!!
Ron Stephenson, Aintree  (4/5/07)

How does it go again? ? Nil Satis... Nah, who gives a shit anymore. — Michael


This Tim Howard discussion is getting very boring. It's in the past and its time to move on. Turner had a howler and Neville scored an own goal against his old club, which was in no way deliberate. Anyone who believes that it was must be completely mental! We conceeded two more against the Mancs and the rest is history.

Let's move away from the Howard saga, perhaps we could only sign him a couple of weeks after the deadline as we waited for the funds of the Simon Davies transfer to go through, who knows? whatever the reason, there is a huge game tomorrow which could determine many factors for next season. Let's stop dwelling, and get behind the lads.
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

It's issues like this that those involved want us to just accept and move on. Can't you see the damage this sort of thing is doing to football? it goes way beyond the result of last weeks game. It further cements and braoadens the massive gulf we (in our simple naïvety) think is a gap we can close with the likes of Man Utd. Yet they are shafting us at every turn. And what is more, with the Rooney deal, and with the Howard deal, we are willingly and ably abetting them. I trust you were suitably saddened when they failed to progress on Wednesday? — Michael

Re-run the Kirkby Poll

Could you please do a re-run of your poll with regard to Everton's move to Kirkby? Now people have had more time to digest the repercussions of this move, I myself find it hard to see how anybody would support a move out of the City to Kirkby basically to suit Tesco. A football team represents its City ? this would no longer be the case, and once you have gone, that's it! I feel it's the out-of-town blues/non-merseyside-born Blues who have influenced your last poll.
Steve Wolfe, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

Tell you what: we won't let them vote this time. That should give us a better answer, eh? — Michael

Conspiracy theories

I agree with Michael, the wording of the official comment on Everton's official website does clearly state that he is an official and permanent Everton player as of now. Therefore, why could he not play against Man Utd unless there was some sort of clause put in place?

This must be the same sort of clause that was put in Phil Neville's contract when he signed for us, if at any point we are beating Man Utd in any game this season then he must do everything possible to make sure that the outcome of the match turns in Man Utd's favour. This clause runs out at the end of the season so next season Phil should be well up for those Man Utd games.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (4/5/07)

Nice snow job, Steve. Paralleling the two issues as lame "conspiracy theories" when one (Neville) clearly is while the other seems to have a little bit more to it is somewhat disingenuous to the work of a professional journalist, methinks. I don't know how reputable Martin Samuel is, but he is the only one saying anything remotely sensible to explain what was, on the face of it, a very odd, unusual, inexplicable occurrence.

Are you saying there was no such clause? How else do you explain why Howard did not play? When will Everton start legal proceedings against Samuel? When will they tell us to remove this story and my comments? I'm waiting...



Dave Kelly of KEIOC claims to have: "... cast-iron insurance from Wyness and Kenwright that we will hold them to" Who is he trying to kid? Does he have it signed in writing? Of course not. Does he for one second believe that Kirkby, Everton FC and Tesco would enter into a legally binding agreement whereby a multi-million-pound regeneration project could be scuppered by a vote that they aren't required by law to have, or one they thought they had even the slightest chance of losing?

Why waste everyone's time with such a non-issue? Who cares? The boundary between Liverpool and Kirkby is a purely arbitrary one. Why get so worked up about it? Until this issue was raised, I for one honestly had no idea that Kirkby in fact wasn't covered by Liverpool City Council, and I used to live there!

Are KEIOC worried that their council tax rates will be affected? Do they object to Kirkby's progressive wheelie bin policy, or maybe they think that the library in Walton has a better drama section?

I just don't get it. Why would you make yourself look like an idiot, fighting a losing battle against something that nobody really cares about? Liverpool City Council themselves don't even seem that bothered.
Gavin Sale, Hoylake  (4/5/07)

Colm needs to answer you ? I happen to think you actually nailed it good (Sorry, Colm!), although I understand Cllr Bradley is still trying to do what he can... or did the election results change that? ? Apparently not: ?This result means we will still have a Lib-Dem council running the city for the next five years.? Michael

Why the Howard Confusion??

Bit perplexed by the confusion over Howard.... I thought it was common knowledge that Howard was signed outside the transfer window so his transfer, inline with Premiership rules, cannot begin until the next window opens in the summer. In the meantime, Howard remains on loan and as such Man Utd retain the right to allow us to play him or not as they see fit. One conspiracy theory too far?
Tom Brown, London  (4/5/07)

Okay, just to make this crystal clear, I wrote something like that previously in my personal effort to rationalize why Howard could not play against the Mancs. Turns out I was WRONG on three counts:

  1. Premier rules allow loan deals to be made permanent outside of the transfer windows.
  2. Howard DID become a permanent Everton player in February; he is no longer a loan player. The no-play rule governing loan players did not / does not apply.
  3. The ONLY reason Tim Howard could not play against the Mancs last weekend was because of a clause agreed (reluctantly?) by Everton that Man Utd wanted in his transfer contract, saying "If we Mancs are still in with a shout come April 28, then he shall not play in goal for Everton against us."
No confusion; No conspiracy: just fundamentally corrupt. — Michael

Location... location


  1. Everton is now a Liverpool club
  2. Liverpool's boundaries have expanded since the club's inception (but not as far as some people would have you believe)
  3. People who "come from" Liverpool were born and/or raised in Liverpool
  4. Evertonianism is a way of life that has bugger-all to do with where your mother was when you were born.
Confused? me also; I just think we will be committing slow fanicide if we don't remain as the premier (I mean first/senior) club in the City of Liverpool.

By the way, I hear Doddy is starting his own pressure group, Keep Our Club Successful Under Kenwright. Make `em have it on Saturday, Blues!
Phil Bellis, L8  (4/5/07)

I think the Club has made its decison (to move); that it did so ages ago and has just been looking all these years for the "right" deal. The Club conceded long ago they they are no longer the premier club in the City. The Club understands and accepts (quietly) that some diehard locals will dig in and not go along to Kirkby. They know the rest will follow along, and that new fans (with greater mobility and incidentally MORE MONEY) will be drawn in over time to more than compensate for the Luddites. Voting will commence soon... Watch this space! — Michael

The Howard Thing?. Again

I was under the impression that the full signing only takes effect from when the current season ends. And finally, the 2nd stipulation that he may not play if they where chasing the title, maybe that should be read as a positive stipulation, that if United had already won the title by then, he could play.
Kevin Kendall, Bootle  (4/5/07)

No. Both stories clearly state that Howard became a permanent Everton player in February 2007 ? so the no-play rule regarding loaned players simply no longer applied. Samuel revealed that a clause was insterted into the transfer contract which would preculde the Everton player from appearing for his club against his former club, if it could affect the title race. I find that throughly egregious and dispicable... don't you?

[Sorry, I took out all your other stuff and cut to the chase because (a) we all know it already (b) it's not really relevant to this unique issue, and (c) the key point is as you stated above ? when did Howard become a permanent Everton player?] — Michael

Tim Howard

Didn't somebody on here already establish that Premier league rules do not permit a loan player to play against his registered club? This leaves one question:- "Why was the deal not made permanent in January?"

Maybe EFC were not paying 100% of Howards salary as part of the loan agreement with MUFC. Maybe only 75% or even 50%. Maybe, then, EFC wanted to save some dough! ... Possible?
Lee Spargo, Wallasey  (4/5/07)

Samuel does mention "cash flow" as the reason. Although why that would improve sufficiently two weeks after the window closes is a mystery to me. For me, it boils down to this: if he was still officially a loan player, then okay, I can accept the rule... although I think it is flawed.

If, on the other hand, as EFC state, he became a permaneent player in February, and, as EFC state, league rules allow loans to be made permanent outside of the transfer window, then the no-play rule simply would not apply anymore. The astonishing conditional no-play clause inserted in his contract is in that case fundamentally corrupt and should never have been allowed. But the FA did allow it, with no penalty; it becomes just another illegal and immoral step in helping the big clubs to advance their grip on the top four places. — Michael

Look at it this way!

Reading the Everton websites, Moyes has gone from hero to hate figure (in some eyes) and I have to admit that, on occasions, his decision making, tactics and style of play has had me cursing with the best of them. But having recently read many comments that Moyes needs to go and we are not achieving anything, I have been amazed (and shocked at times) at how small-minded some people are.

Since Moyes has come in, we have finished 4th in the countries best league, played in Europe, had a steady financial ship (compared to recent history) and signed some very talented internationals. Now I agree, our style of play is at times painful, but we are 6th in the league, 1 point off 5th, and we have a very talented, if thin squad. We have spent a total of £55.4M in the last 5 years ? we spent 15million on two players alone ? that is not bad at all!

It is fine to want to be the best, and get there as quick as possible, but I look at Leeds Utd, they chased the dream by throwing money at it? and thank my lucky stars we are where we are.
Si Harwood, Bolton  (4/5/07)

Joey Barton

Like many Evertonians, I would be disgusted if this indivdual signed for us. Indeed, if Moyes does sign him then he is a hypochrite. He talks about bringing in fresh, young talent that will inspire confidence and create team bonding... then declares an interest in Joey Barton?!

This guy is trouble with a capital T! Not only has he assaulted an Everton fan in the past but he's also claimed Manchester City are a bigger club than us! Moyes et al talk about taking Everton to the next level. Well tell me Davey ... if you offered Wenger, Ferguson, Benitez and Mourinho a choice of Fernandes or Barton who would they choose?

This a genuine test to see where Moyes and in particular this Board is taking Everton FC. Potential world class midfielder or local thug? NSNO
Shez Khan, Birmingham  (4/5/07)

That Dick, Barton v Dunc

There's a very big difference to what Dunc's 'off field' activities were in comparison to Barton. Dunc's usually revolved around bars and burglars not physical and media attacks on team mates.

You don't shit on your own doorstep.
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

And several other things won't happen

I appreciate that Michael is probably correct in that Moyes isn't going anywhere so there is no point in going on about it. Well here's a few other things that aren't going to happen:

  1. Goodison Park will be redeveloped.
  2. A ballot of supporters will turn down the Kirkby move (the club will already have done their research).
  3. Moyes will change his style of football.
  4. Moyes will drop Phil Neville.
  5. We will sign four new players in the summer.
So maybe we shouldn't talk about these things either.

Also as regards Dan Barton saying I live on Mars, I hear that Seville's manager Juande Ramos is keen on a move to the Premiership. It is unlikely he will go to Chelsea but failing that we are probably the next available 'big' club. Incidentally Seville are owned by the fans and they seem to be doing okay. Maybe a lesson for us and their style of play is certainly way superior to ours.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (4/5/07)

Ah... you hold up the prospect of a nice quiet summer in the ToffeeWeb Mailbag. We can all take a well-deserved break aand come back in July ready for more fun and games on the EFC-Moyes roller-coaster. — Michael

The Howard thing... Still!!

After reading Michael's response to myself and John Holmes, it does appear to me now that something is not right here. If the club did allow this 'clause' to be inserted, espesially if it was dependant on how Utd were doing at the time, then they have a lot to answer to.

I think that if the club had come out and said that Howard had signed etc, etc but added at the time that he would not be playing against Utd then no problem ? he wouldn't have played had he been on loan so (to a certain extent) fair enough.

It's this bollocks that 'if they are challenging for the title' he can't play that bothers me. What constitutes challenging ? had they been 6 points clear would he have played?

The other question has to be how the fuck did the league allow this to happen? It is my understanding that the contracts have to be registered with the league so they must have been aware of this clause? If it was a gentleman's agreement then we should have played him anyway just for a laugh after all they got Rooney for peanuts!

Let's just hope that the league don't look into it and dock us points!!
Paul Smith, West Sussex  (4/5/07)

We'll simply never know what truly lies within the small print, or possible agreement between the clubs. Commercial sensitivity, Sir! ? Colm

Howard Deal..

Apologies if I am going over old ground (been away and just catching up) but could the most simplistic, or cynical, reason for the deal starting in summer rather than in the window, or at any other time in the season, is because we would have to make a down payment at the start of his permanent deal? Look after the pennies....

Oh and in response to Paul Houghton's response to responses to his article (phew), you don't appear to have used the same criteria of exclusion on the EFC internationals for your table, which you keep as 14. Vic and Turner went for a jolly and Dickie had two caps so where are we in terms of expected achievement with 11?
Steve McBride, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

That Dick, Barton

Although he comes across as a right prick, I have to say that, IF Barton can do a decent job for our midfiled, which is sorely in need of an injection of skill and steel, and IF Moyes can work with him, then I don't understand the objections to signing him. Footballers on the whole are no angels and some of our stars of the past have had their share of bust-ups and scandals off the pitch.

How many Blues who are up in arms about the possible signing of Barton chanted Big Dunc's name whenever he put in the odd cameo? If Barton puts a tatoo on his arm, he'll be a hero after 2 games!
Mark Murphy, Horsham, West Sussex  (4/5/07)

And if my aunt had balls, she'd be.....!!! ? Colm

The Stiffs

Most premiership clubs now play their reserve team games at local non-league grounds ? in our case Halton Stadium in Widnes.

Would anybody else prefer to see the games return to Goodison? In this day and age I don't think the extra games would affect the quality of the pitch, especially considering the number of reserve team games we have played this season.

It would be a great opportunity for youngsters in Kirkdale, Walton, Kensington etc to watch games at this level for free.

I think it could only be a good thing for the younger professionals at the club also. It would allow them to get familiar with playing at Goodison despite the lack of a large crowd.
John Coyne, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

One for the groundsman perhaps! However, Goodison at present is looking pretty damn fine so I think you make a valid call. I remember as a kid being taken by my father "to see the man about a dog", on the occasional Tuesday night; ending up instead watching our reserves playing! As well as the ability to slowly introduce the next generation to games at Goodison, becoming familiar with the surroundings, there's the added concept of feeling you're more in touch with the Club as a whole, following not only the first team. ? Colm

No Barton please

I have been reading scary stories of David Moyes moinitoring Joey Barton's current situation at Man City... For Christ's sake, man, what is there to monitor? We are talking about a player here who brings trouble everywhere he goes, I don't know if you can print this but yes Barton is scum, let's face it. What possible dressing room harmony would Barton bring to Everton?

At Man City, he has put one of his team mates in hospital, stubbed a cigar out in another's eye. Caused the club he is at all sorts of problems with wage demand threats and transfer requests. Not to mention the catalogue of off-field junk he is involved in.

Do we really want this aggro playing for us? He is NOT better than Fernandes or Arteta and if we sign him one of them will go that's for certain.

Derek Mullins, Merseyside  (4/5/07)

A lot of Evertonians will indeed be disgusted if Everton choose to bring him to the Club. ? Colm

How to suffer the Reds

Tony M: When all around you is Red and every lampost etc has their flags, you can just stand there and remember the fine qualities of Walter Smith and remind them how he enabled Moyes to get us into 4th place.

Then I would join those reds and laugh my fucking socks off at you.

I am out of town thank God... not thank God becuase I am so small that I cannot bear a Red celebrating but becuase I cannot bear our own fans who are so bitter that they have forgotten how to suppport our team and just spend all day searching for those to hate and blame.

If we ever win anything you and your like would still be the laughing stock of Red fans as you sat there and debated how to celebrate, who celebrates best and moaned that the Echo printed one line less about us than Liverpool.

As you sit spitting your vitriol the thing that really makes me laugh is the way it is presented: "Coz I really care. Coz I speak out. Coz I see what you don't."

If you do, get a balance between criticism and support. Otherwise you do far far more damage than good. And then you will have a true link with Walter Smith.
Ged Simpson, Northwich  (4/5/07)

I'm an out of town Blue myself? yet where I reside is absolutely full of plastic kopites, most of them not shy in passing my way to let me know either! The way I look at it... it's a missed opportunity if you don't remind them of their history, their creation ? our bastard offspring ? and perhaps more poignantly remind them that they wanted to call themselves Everton Athletic but the League ruled that there can only be one Everton. Here endeth the helpful sermon! ? Colm

New Kit

Can someone explain to me why we have changed our kit again after just one season? I was of the opinion that we would keep kits for at least two season so that families did not have to fork out money year after year.
Adrian Francis, Oxford  (04/05/07)

Let it be made C-L-E-A-R oncemore ? if you don't want to buy the kit, then simply do not purchase. Yes, the fans are being fleeced, paying over the odds for a tacky bit of material, a blue shirt with our crest adorning it, some ridiculous stripes and your child becomes an advert for a Thai beer! Harry Catterick would've loved it!!! ? Colm

Reading about Reading

Thanks for the complimentary words about us. We recognise that we are a small team and have done well this season with a clever manager. Nark Lawrenson tipped us as a certain relegation side at the start of the season. No retractions as yet, but he will hope we fail next year so he can say "told you so".

However, I was impressed with Everton when you visited us at the Madjeski. More, so than the Reds who were poor. Full of underperforming star names.
Dave West, Basingstoke, Hampshire  (5/5/07)

Re: The Howard Deal

It is quite possible to have a deal "in place" with a start date sometime in the future, (which is perhaps why it ends in the 'summer' rather than February when it was, presumably, signed.

That's all.
Steven May, Bracknell, UK  (4/5/07)

I saw Samuels on television last week arguing his point that, in effect, there's little difference between a club like United loaning out keepers with the proviso they don't face their parent club when the two sides clash and the debacle surrounding the registration of the two Argentines who ended up at West Ham. I happen to agree with him. Actually, a lot of what he says, on many levels, I would say I wholly concur - he's a "voice of reason", if ever. If Everton were so keen to get Howard signed sealed and delivered then why chould it not have been done before the transfer window closed? ? Colm

Reading about reading

To a point I agree with the writer of this piece. I don't want to throw insults around, but I would say that the caricature of an Everton player simply hoofing the ball up, is just that - a caricature.

It has only come in patches I agree, but we have played more passing football in this season than previous seasons ? and it would be nice for that to be acknowledged.

Come next season I expect to see more people comfortable with the ball at their feet.

Coppell, a more experienced manager, has found his dream team. It would be interesting to see our contrasting fortunes next year.
Ajamu Mutumwa, London  (4/5/07)

DVD Mystery

I was perusing the Amazon website the other day checking out what Everton DVD's were available and I came across this - notice the release date...

Has an over-optimistic Evertonian hacked into the Amazon site or was it one of those lovable Reds who pass their time leaving one-star reviews of Everton DVDs?

You have to admit it's very curious. Is it a mistake or just a wind up? Can anyone shed any light on what's happened here?

While on the subject of DVDs, I notice one covering the highlights of the 1987 Championship winning season has just hit the shelves. Perhaps David Moyes could show it to the players before the Portsmouth game!

Finally, a quick comment on Vaughan & Anichebe. I was glad to see they have both signed new contracts, not that that prevents Man Utd or others prising them away in future if the price is right. But the real plus is they are players who have come through the Everton ranks and actually look like they can make it. I don't know about you but I can't remember the last time we had two home grown strikers on the books with such genuine promise at the same time. Would it be too optimistic to hope that there may be one or two more players in the younger ranks who might make the grade ? Rodwell, Kissock, Agard perhaps ?

Here's to 3 points on Saturday!
Richard Ewart, Melbourne, Australia  (4/5/07)

Pressure Groups

I'm starting my own pressure group demanding our immediate relocation to Kirkby. I am the founder member of We All Need Kirkby or WANK, if you prefer. Our main aim is to abandon our heritage & history & our rightful standing as the first club in the city of Liverpool. I feel surrendering our city & generations of future supporters to the ther lot would be a really great idea.

Is it just me or does anyone else fuckin' hate Everton almost as much as you love them.
Gary Hughes, Liverpool  (4/5/07)

We offer our righthand in mutual support of your motion, Garry, and we fervently hope success comes all over you sometime soon... Gary. I'd like to see your now group get a mention in the Liverpool Echo. - Michael

I can see it now, the 16 page pull out in the Echo, detailing, "A Load of WA....." ;-) - Colm

Bulls Eye, Luq!

Can't agree more with Luq Yussef... All those top brasses in the club made me feel ashamed as an Evertonian for the first time in my life. Kenwright and Wyness are disgracing all of us Evertonians in so many issues: be it disregarding the thoughts of re-developing Goodison or transfer sagas like the Howard one... Moyes serving up shitty football week-in, week-out... magnifying by his ever-inclusion of his loyal knight & "captain" Phil Neville... Put them all together and it appears that the time machine brought us all back to the days of Peter Johnson!
Dupont Koo, Hong Kong  (4/5/07)

Uh? This is a sarky wind-up, right?

When Saturday Comes

How will we do? Will we get the points? These questions will only be answered once the ball is rolling. All I can hope for is that the manager has prepared well and the players play to their full potential because you can be sure Pompey aren't coming for an end-of-season jaunt. I have heared it said by some "Just get the result ? the performance doesn't matter." In my experience, the better the performance the better the odds for a result so I fervently hope for both.

I really would like some Euro nights next season to look forward to but I am a bit worried about my most unscientific method of predicting our finishing position, which is taking the end of November league table which I have noticed for many years is, in our case, a good indicator give or take a place or two up or down. Under this unique method, we are on for a ninth place finish. I really hope my method is well and truly off-beam this time around. Looking forward to Saturday, See you there. UP THE BLUES
Ken Buckley, Buckley  (3/5/07)


Tom, I think you're in for a fearsome kicking on these pages for daring to air such views, but I applaud you for your stance even though I really don't want to go to Kirby myself. I think the approach of the KEIOC campaign is misguided to the point of jingoism.

I was born in Kirby (Knowsley) and brought up in Litherland (Sefton), but if anyone dared to tell me I wasn't from Liverpool then they'd have a real problem on their hands. However, Everton as a football club and a business does need to be central to the city centre to avoid losing identity, and to enable its ground to remain a city landmark close to the others; a site just off the M57 will fail to acheive this.

The KEIOC campaign is causing division with its current stance as the people behind it are preying on geographical prejudice to gain support. The reason I don't want to go is cos it won't fucking work and nothing else.
Andy Lynch, London  (3/5/07)

Some fine hair-splitting there, Andy. You don't want to go, but you disagree with the campaign to stay...? I guess that isn't the contradicton it sounds like at first glance...— Michael

And another thing.....!

I can fully understand Mr. Marsh when he say's it will be much worse for those living in the immediate Liverpool area, it will be the equivalent of having sulphuric acid poured down your throat in the lead up to the CL final. It will be even worse if they bloody win it again (playing some of the most boring football ever witnessed at that level). I work in London and there are thousands of them down there hanging on to the reflected "glory". Great wind up is to ask them how many games they've attended (even away ones in London) the excuses as to why they haven't attended are squirmingly bad and great fun.

However, Mr Marsh, you state that Moyes 'only' achieved 4th a few seasons ago with Wally Smith's players. The implication being that this was somehow achieved in spite of Moyes. You can't have it both ways, matie... if the team was that great and it was just a crap manager, how come Wally never got us to fourth? Or is there some deep irony in your comments I am missing?

And another thing... re the Howard transfer 'scandal'. This is no scandal as the rules allow it. The problem is that the rule is a bad one. Neither side of the argument should be using it to castigate Everton's management. It's another case of hanged if they do, or don't; by which I mean that, come the summer, if they hadn't done the deal as described by Samuel and we had subsequently lost Howard to another club (or had to pay a higher price for him) the Board would have been hauled over the coals for that instead.
Steve Guy, Harrogate  (3/5/07)

Final Verse

I apologise in advance for taking liberties with a classic poem, however, I was inspired by the son of the late Alan Ball, who recited the correct version at his father's funeral. I have altered the final verse.

IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: 
If you can dream ? and not make dreams your master;
If you can think ? and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can please the crowds and keep your shirt blue,
Ignore the taunts of Reds and other such,
If other clubs and agents cannot tempt you,
If all men count in Blue, with skill and touch;
If you can fill the unforgiving season
With moments of pure magic and good fun,
Goodison is yours and everything that's in it,
And ? the team you?ll play for is called Everton!

John Partick McFarlane, Lancs  (3/5/07)

Goodison's atmosphere

Steve Lyth, stop being silly; our support was fantastic on Saturday, we didn't let the club down as your inference seems to be. Your opinion from your arm chair doesn't entitle you to shout about generations of Evertonians at the game on Saturday.

Phil Neville and the rest of the capitulators let us down on Saturday so aim your abuse at them rather than the Goodison faithful.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (3/5/07)

Team Selection

I wonder whether Moyes will keep faith with Turner this weekend rather than reinstating Howard. I only ask because Osman has a 'mare every weekend but still keeps his place each week. On this principle Turner, has a good chance.
Mike Whittaker, Bristol  (3/5/07)

Er.. No. Not even Moyes...

Buy Barton ? now!!!

What we lack more than anything else is leadership and mobility. Joey Barton would provide both, he is a nasty bit of work but perfect for what we need. He is a winner, much like Gerrard. In our squad I can only think of Cahill who is an out and out competitor, a winner and always with the stomach for a battle. We have some talented players, but a decent percentage are bottlers whose heads go down when things go against us.

Although I'd love to see Fernandes signed, we all know he will be sold in a couple of years for a profit. Barton would be the cheaper option ? get some hungry, aggressive Evertonians in the team, Nugent too. Would love both to sign but we need a wide player too. Time to start buying only players who have a strong mentality and the ability to pass the ball ? No more Naysmiths or Hibberts please!!

Gamble time, more money than last summer needs to be spent, the TV deal should help with that. The only way to break into the top four is to be the 5th best team consistenly and improve. Putting aside the shortfalls of their twat fans and away form, Spurs are the transfer model we need to follow ? young hungry preferably British players.
Stu Henderson, Everton  (3/5/07)

Let Me Explain

Out-of-town Blues don't suffer as much as local Blues when the Reds are winning trophies. How can they? In the coming weeks every Pub, Shop, Cafe, Bar, Taxi, Bus, Club House and fucking lampost in this city will be decked out in red or be full of Gobshites in red tops. It won't be like that anywhere else.

We all know the only reason most of these 'fans' claim to follow these clubs is because they are successful most years. I hate these wankers more than the original brand of Red Gobshite. At least if you come from another part of the world and support Everton, you can't be accussed of glory hunting or being a bandwagon merchant can you? Definetly not.

One more thing this notion that under Moyes we now have a far better squad than the one he inherited ? I agree, but what good has it done? The only decent season Moyes has had since he came here was the you know what season [4th place finish] and most of that side were Smith's players. The two big wins that season at Goodison Park were against Liverpool and the Mancs 1-0 wins for the Blues as I remember with Ferguson and Carsley scoring the goals. Thanks Wally, you star.

Although Moyes has spent money and brought in better players we have not moved on from what Wally Smith's side with Moyes as manager achieved back in 2004-05 season. Just about says it all for me.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (3/5/07)


Why didn't we just pay the rent?
Andy Hegan, Liverpool  (3/5/07)

Wot? Back in 1892? Bit late to be asking that methinks...


In an effort to counter the increasingly vociferous KEIOC, I'm forming the 'What's Wrong With Kirkby' pressure group, henceforth known as the W3K (website under construction).

It might come as a surprise to the self-appointed custodians of Scouseness that, if we apply their strict criteria and count Scousers as living only within the city boundaries, then they are actually in the minority at Goodison Park. So rise up people of Ormskirk, Kirkby and Rock Ferry. Stand proud the burghers of Bootle, Birkenhead and Bebbington. Tell these KEIOC postcode fascists that they don't speak on behalf of Evertonians. Tell them that you refuse to be excluded and marginalised by a bunch of inward-looking snobs.

Kirkby may not fit into some people's narrow view of Liverpool, but Evertonianism is a state of mind; it knows no boundaries. Liverpool might be your city, but Everton belongs to us all. And no matter where we play, together we can make it forever Everton.
Tom Sanders, Birkenhead  (3/5/07)

Oh dear... cat kicked out of the sack and placed firmly among the pidgeons...

MOYES ? byword for mediocrity!

John Holmes, who is obviously getting addicted to seeing his name in print, highlights the players considered `not quite up to it` by most discerning Evertonians. I think a total of 13 in all, whom most of us think need to be replaced. Clearly that ain`t going to happen ? not this summer anyway ? but the fact that there is so much `driftwood` (most of them fall just short of `deadwood`)a bout the place may well hold the key to Everton falling away as crunchtime comes around.

Like Holmes,I suspect that most will get yet another reprieve but, were a new manager about to be brought in, the feet of most of them wouldn`t touch the ground. That, my friends, is the price we pay for Kenwright sticking with MOYES ? a byword for mediocrity!
Harry Meek, Worcester  (3/5/07)

And to think we were celebrating not longer ago that this was finally "Moyes's Team"!

Worst Ever

Rather that moan about the new ground or Moyes, I would like to have a rant about the new kit. Quite simply it is the most disgusting home shirt I have seen us wear (okay maybe the One2one yellow-band effort was right up there with it). Please from now on keep it a basic Royal Blue design.
Paul Sinclair, Liverpool  (3/5/07)

Howard Conspiracy

The way I see it is that we had Tim Howard on loan, therefore he wouldn't be able to play against Utd in either game this season. As I understand it, we 'signed' Tim outside the transfer window with the deal going through at the end of the season when the window reopens. He is, therefore, still on loan to us from Utd until that time and is thus unable to play against them under Premier League Rules.

The only valid argument I can see in all of this is why didn't we sign him during January - the answer to this is simple; Utd didn't want to sell him as he would then be able to play against them. The question is why did we allow this to happen, were we bullied into it - The answer has to be no, Tim is a quality keeper and we wanted him, Utd knew that and also knew that they could hold out till the end of the season as we would still want him, all we did was protect our interest by signing him on a pre-contract agreement therby guaranteeing the transfer. It was fair enough business for Utd and we really had no other choice; if we wanted to retain Howards services, we would have to wait until the end of the season to do it. All we have done is announce the deal before it comes into effect.

As for the game on Saturday, nothing but a win will do. I live on the South Coast with a load of 'Kopites' and Pompey fans ? Please boys, let's put on a show!! NSNO
Paul Smith, West Sussex  (3/5/07)

That's pretty much what I thought originally, and posted here some time before the Martin Samuel article. What I couldn't figure out is why the club could say he was now (that is in February) an Everton player - not in the summer but NOW. Remember, the club said nothing about a pre-contract agreement. But it didn't make sense because the deal was occuring on outside the window... unless it is an option you can have with loan players, and convert them to permanent players at any time by mutual agreement? I didn't think it worked like that but Samuel clearly says he became a permanent Everton player.

The only thing was this little clause... and worse in my mind is the rider "only if Man Utd still have an interest in the title." It's that bit which is the clincher. It makes this something that is surely well beyond the Prem loan rules and is indeed something they negotiated from a position of strength that we accepted. The point is such things are fundementally corrupt and should be illeagal. The entire spirit of the game is compromised, as it was by those terms on Rooney's contract. ? Michael

Alan Ball

Have just attended Alan Ball's Memorial Service at Winchester Cathedral. Very moving service with thousands in attendance. A smile crossed everybody's face when they saw Bally's famous flat cap on top of his coffin. Both Nobby Stiles and Frank McClintock spoke wonderfully of their memories of the great man. A great Evertonian! Truly missed. Oh for his like again!
Simon Woolfenden, Winchester  (3/5/07)


Firstly, I like the new kit, it looks smart, but this is somewhere where we very rarely mess up as a club. Our kits are usually quite decent.

Secondly, The Tim Howard article. I understand the guy?s argument, but that is merely one side of a rather important coin. Surely it would be more corrupt if Tim Howard had played and made a mess of a simple cross as Turner did?

Thirdly, I don?t believe Phil Neville truly meant it. If it had been Naysmith, people would simply have said it?s because he?s shite. But so is Neville. He is not as reliable as Moyes makes out. He IS committed to the job, so he must be applauded for being big enough to take the blame and try to forget and move on. But he is not good enough to be our captain.

Finally, I?m pleased the 3 young lads have signed new deals. It will also come as a huge and timely boost for Turner, and is the right thing for the club to do.
Kev Kendall, Bootle  (3/5/07)

It`s the Prem what counts

Good to see that one or two Evertonians have been posting in support of Moyes. I never feel the sycophancy of Richard Dodd furthers the cause of a manager who has done more than ANY of his predecessors to bring Premiership stability. Quite a few of us will shed no tears if we miss out on Europe this year believing that comparison with the other lot will show us in bad light. To us, the Premiership is what really counts!
Dennis Watts, Wavertreee  (3/5/07)

Sorry, so to paraphrase, if I might: we're not going to do very well in Europe and that won't look too good in comparisoon to the other lot, so we'll just concentrate on the Prem!?! The Tony March defence! I'm sure David Moyes would be most impressed to hear that from his supporters... NOT! — Michael

Sign on the clowns!

We can only hope that the re-signing of Turner is by way of making sure that we get a decent fee from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer. Moyes would be truly mad to persevere with this clown who is surely more accident prone than Dickie Wright!

In my view, his TWO boobs on Saturday will have cost us a European place and he should never be seen again. Perhaps the next good news we can expect is that Pistone has been offered another season!
Malc Proctor, Waterloo  (3/5/07)

Would you really want Allardyce?

We`re down to sixth in the table so it`s `Moyes Out` time again! I would ask all his critics would they seriously want Allardyce, Coppell, Jol or Redknapp as a replacement? No, of course not, but these are the managers who head the clubs challenging us for Europe.

Lower down the league, Hughes might get a shout but, in all honesty, he`s about three years behind Moyes on the learning curve. Now I don`t think he`s perfect but Moyes is among the very best we`ve had in my 30 years and I`d back him against any of the names mentioned to bring the glory back to Goodison!
Terry Darrell, Childwall  (3/5/07)

I just find this SO tiresome. David Moyes is going nowhere FFS! It's not worth talking about! NEXT! ? Michael

Howard, an attempt at evidence

Sorry Michael but I have to disagree with you. My previous point was not that I didn't want to believe The Times' story but that the author offered no suggestion as to why he knew all this information that nobody else did. Does that not strike you as somewhat strange in any way at all? We are used to 'insider sources', 'seeing documents that reveal...' and 'rumours within the club' but NOTHING in that story indicates where the journalist has gained this information from.

When the transfer story was reported on the BBC, that story clearly states that Howard's contract with Everton would not come into effect until the summer. To me that suggests he is still officially on loan at this time. Therefore under Premier League rules he cannot play against his paymasters.

That is backed up by the fact that, unless there is a Premier League rule I am unaware of allowing for the transfer of loaned players outside the transfer window, the transfer simply could not have taken place.

If someone can produce further information that shows where I'm misunderstanding the rules then I'll happily believe the story but until then I'm afraid I don't buy it.

I agree entirely that had the offending clause been inserted by United it would be scandalous and a incompetent negotiating by the Everton management. However, in this instance, I simply believe The Times story is nonsense.
John Holmes, York  (3/5/07)

Now that is is where it gets very strange, becasue compare what was said on the OFFICIAL Everton Website:

"Howard has committed his long-term future to the Blues signing a five year deal that is in place now and will run until the summer of 2012.

"Although the transfer window is currently shut, Premier League rules permit domestic loan deals to be made permanent outside the window."

Somedody is being just a little economical with the truth here. Probably because they have sonmething to hide, See if you can find an explanation on teh Everton website as to why a permanent player the clubs owns is precluded from playing in one of their fixtures. ? Michael

Management of Expectation

I'm currently undecided on the Moyes question but just to help us get some perspective:

Since the Second World War (and that should cover most contributor's life times), Everton's average league position is 11th.

Since the war, the managers that have been "above average" are:

Catterick (6th)
Lee (10th)
Kendall Mk 1 (4th)
Harvey (6th)
Moyes (10th) (and I've assumed 7th for this season).
So there you have it: Moyes is only as good as Lee.

Based on the last 60-odd seasons, to expect Everton to be regularly top ten is to ignore history. So we can all stop arguing, can't we?
Steven May, Bracknell  (3/5/07)

Surely in order to maintain an average of 11th, then 17th-place finishes need to be balanced by 4th place finishes, and so on? Or would you have us finising 11th each season in perpetuity? You silly man! — Michael

Surprise, Surprise

Yet more moaning from Luq. Your constant ramblings are ridiculous ? would you rather we be left with Moyes' 2nd choice target in the summer or worse still be forced to offer Wright a new deal? Howard was ineligable regardless so we lost nothing by agreeing to the clause, Turner or Wright would have played anyway, and we simply signed him at a time when his value was lowest before other clubs tried to sign him. No doubt you'd be complaining if we signed him in the summer and his value had upped a million or so.
Craig Hennessey, Liverpool  (3/5/07)

If we'd got our act (and some money!) together and signed Howard in the transfer window, could/would such a clause have been possible? What about Man Utd games next season? Is he excluded from them as well? The whole thing stinks ? especially the coy silence from the club on this issue, which suddenly becomes all too clear. — Michael

A few points

Boys, can we please lay off Phil Neville. I thought at first it may be a knee-jerk reaction to the Man Utd defeat but it seems to be ongoing. You can't seriously believe that he did it on purpose, he is too much of a pro to do that and to think otherwise is plain daft.

As for scousers only having to live with Kopites, get real. My wife is Irish and we go to deepest darkest Co Offally a couple of times a year and believe me the place is chocca with the little darlings. They are everywhere and only too willing to impart their twisted wisdom upon you if you care to listen.

Aussies being a force in world football? I seem to remember South Korea reaching a World Cup semi-final not so long ago. I wouldn't call them a force in world football on the back of one decent tournament.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (3/5/07)

A good season

I have to say that, whether we qualify for Europe or not, I have really enjoyed this season. We have seen the introduction of some more quality players and, all in all, this has meant better quality football.

We can all find aspects of the Club and team to complain about but I see the stewardship of Kenwright and Moyes as "work in progress" and the time to pass judgement as being a few years ahead of us.

I thoroughly enjoy the vast array of views expressed on this site and although most seem critical, you do allow the likes of Richard Dodd (always a bit too camp for my liking!) to balance the books.

Like all at Everton FC, keep up the good work!
Kolbien Anderson, Iceland  (3/5/07)

Another satisfied customer... We'll all hold off with the analysis and critique, then, until you give us the good word, Kolby. At least I'd have a bit less to read each day! — Michael

Who shot JR?

I love the mailbag! After days of hibernation where I couldn't bear to face anything even remotely to do with football, I turned to ToffeeWeb for consolation. Thankfully, I found a whole lot of other miserable people!

Great post, Hugo Kondratiuk. I'm with you mate! Now it takes all types, of course and I realise that as a club we have our fair share of turkeys but I really felt I had to comment on the conspiracy theories flying around, regarding Phil Neville.

I turned off the TV when we went 2-0 up and I really feel for those of you who had to watch in the flesh or even worse, listen to Radio 5 with probably Alan Green gleefully describing the debacle. But guys, some of you have been scarred to the extent that you are losing your minds. Even the normally sane and balanced Peter Fearon has submitted to the screaming abdabs.

Was it Turkey Lurkey who went running around with false information, upsetting a lot of people who had never done him any harm? I think some of us are in great danger of doing the same. We are calling into disrepute the character of a player who, whilst he is no Alan Ball in terms of ability, is an honest pro.

Now let me remind you of that concept, because there aren't many of them left in the game. Here is a player who actually holds some affection for the club he grew up supporting and which gave him his break in the game. He spent 11 years at Utd and, although I can't stand them (thank you, Milan), he is a human being and I can appreciate his feelings.

Are we really saying we would rather have Carlos Kick-a-ball types at our club? Do we want a whole crowd of badge kissers or would we rather have players who retain their principles and play with honesty?

Before you say it, yes, I know we want both but sadly the likes of Alan Ball don't grow on trees. Think about Tim Cahill's muted celebrations against Milwall and cast your mind back to Paul Power scoring against Man City. Both of those are great examples of respect and honour. Be really careful amidst your anger and frustration that you don't pillory a man for simply having principles and for those of you who honestly believe he scored agaist us intentionally... grow up!
Andy McNabb, Melbourne, Australia  (3/5/07)

Well said, Andy. — Michael

Rubbish Backup

First if all, the comment about out of town blues don't get stick: Well, as we speak, I am sitting next to a Rednose and a Manc who abuse me on a daily basis, I wanted to hang my self on Monday...

Secondly, we have thrown away so many points this season due to fucking about ? prime example on Saturday. But what else we have done is won games when we've got behind or it looks like it's been heading for a draw, which to me shows slight improvement because we DO want to win games.

We have thrown them away because we have too many below-par players in the squad, which we're finding it so hard to get rid of as we've held onto them for so long their value has dropped, plus the small size of the squad. With a couple more additions (defenders; Manny or Barton), and another striker (Chopra or Nugent) we could have a really impressive starting 11, but the bench wouldn't be great. It's going to take time to filter out all the shit and have good players in all positions and on the bench.

3 points Saturday please blues. And I for one will be standing screaming "If ya know ya history" to get behind my heros in blue. COYB... Europe, please!
Mike Cummins, Sussex  (3/5/07)

Slipping standards

My god, what is happening at Toffeeweb? Yesterday you informed us of the reserves slipping to a 3-1 derby defeat at the hands of Liverpool, only to present the scoreline as a crushing 3-1 win to the Blues! And now today you have spelt ?corrupt? incorrectly!! What on earth is going on?!?!?

Kenrick out!!!
Barry McHale, Liverpool  (3/5/07)

Best suggestion in months! — Michael

RE Tim Howard story...

I'm puzzled by the editors summary of Martin Samuel's piece on Tim Howard. The game is 'fooked' is it... because of this?? I don't think so, not at all.

Players under dual ownership is another matter entirely, completely different to the Howard situation and I would agree that that scenario is very bad for the integrity of the sport.

The clause Manchester United had inserted though is surely no more than plain common sense, I would have done exactly the same. The player was on loan til the season end, hence ineligible to play against them. The deal was presumably made permanent at our request. I'd love to know who amongst us wouldn't have said 'ok, but he doesn't play against us'.

Maybe that is what sets Manchester United apart from us as a club... at the top they are sharp, insightful, cunning and determined to win. I see nothing wrong at all in what they did.

Meanwhile we need our two-time 'Manager of the Year' (least irksome best of the rest) to tell us how brilliant Phil Neville is whilst slagging off the most talented player at the club in Fernandes.

I lost any respect for Moyes long ago when he started mugging off the fans and the club's history when we were in a bind. Comments like this just further convince me he needs removing though... utterly clueless. Hard work and organisation can take you some way nowadays in most leagues, especially if you have spent over £50M on players too!! What it won't do is win you anything.

Whilst he may outperform other managers short term, what people seem to be missing is that they are trying to build something. Our anti-football will take us nowhere other than more of the same 'boom and bust' nonsense we have become accustomed to.
David Jones, Warrington  (3/5/07)

I believe it is fundamentally corrupt to transfer ownership of a player with a condition that he does not play against you. The problem here is not really of Everton's making, it is the FA / Premier League who allow this nonsense to be perpetrated. — Michael

Surprise, suprise...

An excellent piece by Martin Samuel, exposing Everton for the puppets they are! And like I stated for the last two seasons that Manchester United are the ones pulling our strings.

Just reading the article blew away all the fools who believe Everton are still a big side when in truth, we are cannon fodder for the elite teams. It is utterly disturbing and disappointing especially that we haven't got the balls to have told Man Utd to FUCK OFF because of a chance that Howard may go elsewhere in the summer.

I, for one, am embrassed to be an Evertonian, for the first time in my life. And you have no pride unless you feel the same!

The unholy alliance of MOYES, KENWRIGHT and NEVILLE, OUT!
Luq Yussef, London  (3/5/07)

Try? no try there is... only DO (Yoda)

Why wait until the end of the season to assess it (as mooted by some). Over the last 5-ish years I have seen enough to get the gist. Though the two games left might change the look of the table, for good or ill and we all know the table doesn't lie(?) but it can flatter to deceive.

The assessment: aka the gist of the Moyes era. He (and his teams and you can't seperate the two) have never put in more than 'half' a good season. In the macro type season; 04-05 we had the perfect 50/50 split, even the 2nd half 'whimper' ended in a whimper of it's own.

This season we have had the good start, the bad section, then another good section, plus the obligatory whimper. Then there was the one with the bad start, then the 'good' bit (but don't forget the whimper).

There is then the 'hardly ever put two wins back to back seasons' where we have, which, when totalled up end up being a good half and a bad half shuffled like (none-)playing cards... G B G B G B G.

Tactically, he is only half the deal and sometimes not very good at that. Napoleon wanted lucky generals, Moyes is not lucky, Kendall Mk 1 was lucky; prior to '84 nobody got more than 3 games out of 5 from Reid, Sheedy and Gray ? he got a whole season from all three. Kendall was one game away from his P45 on Boxing Day 1983 with his replacement (Mick England) sat in the Directors Box... now that is luck!

Even when Moyes trys to do the '(W)right' thing in Turner it backfires on him.

I refuse to get wound up about the last 2 games and how it affects our Uefa Cup placing, or the season as a whole. It's all a bit Zen-ish quantum... we either will or we won't, we've either got it or we don't and if we 'fail' it won't be coz we lost the last game, or the one before that. But more a result of the games that 'they' (Moyes and his team) stuffed up all through the season.

Two years Max and out he goes ? none of this 10 yearsr plus bollocks.
Derek Thomas, Torbay, Auckland  (3/5/07)

Tickets For Pompey Game

Does anyone have a spare ticket for the Pompey game? Preferably in the park End. I have a mate coming up from the big smoke who would love to come along.
Chris Jones, Manchester  (3/5/07)

Chris's e.mail is cdjones@mmm.com. Please note the departure from our "no e.mail addresses for direct requests like this. If you don't want your e.mail showing like this on a webpage that can be spidered, then let us know and we'll remove it. Similarly, Chris, when you have secured the spare ticket. Thanks. — Michael

In response to Alan Clarke

Can't let your comments go unchallenged Alan, "who the hell do they think they are"? Well mate, were part of the same family of supporters as you and as such, are entitled to an opinion. If you dont like it, fine say so but don't hold your fellow supporters up as being something outside of the norm.

There was certainly a lack of belief at Goodison on Saturday once United pulled a goal back and I mate, am a fellow supporter who believes a lot more could have been given from us on the day.
Steve Lyth, Ellesmere Port  (3/5/07)

What new kit??

So the new Everton kit is unveiled... Can anyone tell the slightest difference to the one we have just used last week?? It's exactly the same apart from the collar shape and it's a complete rip off in my opinion.
Paul David, Wales  (3/5/07)


Re: Mick Wrende

Mick ? what planet do you live on? If you think creating an anti-Moyes atmosphere to get him the boot will actually benefit Everton in any way, shape or form, I'd like to understand how?

Apart from the millions of pounds we'd lose in compensation, name me any available managers that could do a better job of stabilising a debt ridden club and turn them into a top 4 side challenging for Eurpoe - whilst playing champagne football on a shoe string budget? (and don't even think about Big Sam!!). This is without the turmoil it would cause in the dressing room, which could well be the deciding facter in the likes of Arteta and Cahill (who Moyes bought by the way!!) leave for pastures new.

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't think Moyes is perfect, and I would prefer a more attacking / passing style of football to watch, but if you can't see the signs of steady progress then you really do live on planet Mars.

You can't tell me were not playing better football than 10 years ago ? I've seen 5 or 6 world class goals this season, and some decent football to boot. 3 or 4 more astute signings this summer (hopefully with some full backs who can pass the ball rather than put their foot through it at the first sign of danger) and Moyes has built a good platform to challenge the top six for real ? and I would never have thought of saying that five years ago!!
Dan Barton, Wimbledon  (3/5/07)

We don`t do gloom and doom!

Since when was defeat by Manchester United the end of the world for Everton FC? Granted, it was a disappointment after taking a two-goal lead but hardly the portent of disaster so many posters are indicating.

Football is all about the here and now and the little table on the left of this page shows Everton in sixth position. What`s to be glum about? David Moyes has established our club amongst the top performers and from this morning`s news is developing ? and securing ? some cracking young players.

True, our neighbours may have stolen our thunder with their European exploits but there is every chance our club will be on the adjoining stage next year. So let`s hear it for the Boys in Blue ? true Evertonians don`t do gloom and doom over Liverpool and Manchester United!
Sebastion St Clare, Harrogate  (3/5/07)

Who are Liverpool?

So Liverpool are in another Champions League final whilst we attempt to get into the Uefa Cup.

To be perfectly honest, I don't give a toss about what Liverpool do, and before anyone says anything, I live in the city, my father-in-law is a red, plus I get stick from my brother-in-law who doesn't even follow football! So, yes, I've had to put up with them all my life ? but I still couldn't give a toss about them. They can win all the trophies they want and I still won't be bothered.

Why? Well, for a kick-off I'm an Evertonian, which means I support Everton, end of. Plus, as your erstwhile statto for ToffeeWeb, I've delved many times into the history of English football ? all the way back to the Victorian times ? and, no matter what Benitez says, in the history of English football we are one of the biggest clubs. We may not be one of the biggest at the present moment, but football at the moment is all about "brands" and the rest of that corporate bullshit. We are a football club, not a brand, and when all this "franchise" crap comes finally crashing down, we'll still be there.

So, for all you poor souls who are getting stick from your red colleagues, just remember the following:

  1. We won the League championship before they were even a glint in the milkman's eye.
  2. They originally wanted to call themselves Everton.
  3. Their current ground and their new ground are two of our original grounds (maybe we should try and sell them Goodison Park in about 50 years time!)
To be perfectly honest, Brian Labone actually got it wrong when he said one Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians, we're worth much more than that. As the saying goes:
Evertonians are born, not manufactured.
We do not chose, we are chosen.
Those who understand, need no explanation.
Those that don't, don't matter.
And the loveables across the park certainly fit into the bottom category!

Keep the faith; no matter what your personal feelings are about Kenwright, Moyes or the players, let's cheer the boys on this Saturday and look forward to, hopefully, a few more European nights.
Steve Flanagan, Liverpool  (3/5/07)

Nice rant, Steve! ? Michael

Born to suffer

Like Harry Meek, I don`t post regularly anymore believing that mere repetition of my distaste of the current regime is as boring and ineffective as they are. However, it does concern me that so many Evertonians genuinely believe the club is in good hands and although Richard Dodd goes way over the top, I do accept that he echoes the majority view.

Some weeks ago, a student reported that Moyes was enjoying a 90% satisfaction level amongst students in his college. Now granted this was only based on the views of 70 or so students and on the back of a particularly good run of results but it totally echoed the response I, Marshy & Co were getting to our critical postings. Amongst the `Premier only` generation of supporters, I do accept that Moyes is God. They compare our league positions (3 out of 5 seasons in CONTENTION for Europe!) with those achieved by Smith and rejoice at our good fortune. Perhaps they are right. It`s just that some of us (The Few) want and expect so much more from OUR Everton!

Just as we came to see the truth of Tony Blair, we look behind the bullshit emanating from Goodison Park. Based on past evidence, we believe NOTHING Blue Bill utters and even less (if that`s possible) from `this increase is actually a reduction` Wyness. When Moyes says Fernandes is only half a player and the heroes are Carsley, Neville and Stubbs we know what kind of Everton he`s got in mind for us.

But, as Harry says, it`s all been said before and only about 10% share our view. So what`s the bloody point? Us Evertonians must have been born to suffer and we sure get plenty of practice!
Brian Noble, Ince Blundell  (3/5/07)

Howard's contract ... Part 2

The Times article is interesting but one thing confuses me about it. Why is this journalist magically privy to the details of a contract which nobody else seems to have seen? Is it not equally plausible that he has simply jumped to the same conclusions as many contributors to these boards but given his role as a journalist on a leading broadsheet his opinion has a vestige of authority?

Some questions: If, as alleged, the transfer was made permanent in February, how were the Premier League's transfer window rules circumvented to allow this to happen?

Why has the Premier League rule (brought in after Chelsea started farming out their squad to other teams in the Premiership) that states no loan player can play against their pay-masters been written out of existence in this article?

It is alleged that United threatened to sell Howard to someone else if Everton didn't comply. It is my understanding that in most loans with a view to a sale a 'first refusal' clause is placed in the contract to prevent this conduct. Was this in place and if so why would Everton acquiesce to United's demands?

My personal suspscion is this is simply a thrown together conspiracy story. There may be questions about the Howard deal but I don't think this journalist has any more evidence than the rest of us. He lays no claim to special informant, it all appears to have come purely out of his own head. We await further comment from more informed sources...
John Holmes, York  (3/5/07)

That's a brilliant response to something bad you don't want to hear, John: basically equivalent to plugging your eys, squeezing your eyes shut, and going "Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah"

If there is a shred of plausability in your conspiracy theory, I await the Club's legal response to Martin Samuel with interest... — Michael

Re:Auzzie Auzzie Auzzie, Oy Oy Oy

No offense mate (Have to say mate right.. ozzie). I saw the Italy match, and yes Australia went out of the WC in a harsh manner. But I can bet, even if the match had lasted 10 hrs against 10 Italian men, it did not seem they would have scored a single goal. Because of that, I do not really pity them for going out.

What Aussies really stand for, I can say see watching our little Timmy week-in and week-out, when he is fit that is and Moyes does not get fancy ideas like playing 2 forwards leaving him out. Phew. That's too many rants in few lines.
Arun Puri, Singapore  (3/5/07)

Attacking football

I can?t say we don?t still play defensively but I can say Moyes has moved into a more attacking style of football. The only thing that kept us from fielding two strikers against United was injury. The games up until that have been positive, in the stating line up and the substitutions. Even after things went to hell on Saturday, Moyes sent on two strikers, not his fault they couldn?t make a difference.

Next season, I see us acquiring a consistent left-back who will actually play games and that will allow Lescott to play centrally, and with the lack of pace gone I don?t see how we won?t be moving forward. I just don?t see the point of knocking a man when he is doing what we wanted him to do, playing a little more risky and going for wins. You praise him in victory and boo him in loss. I don?t see the point. Hibbert, Turner, and Neville lost the game on Saturday, not Moyes.
Joey Brown, Georgia, USA  (3/5/07)

I'm not so sure... when you focus on one games, people always want you to look at the big picture. The bigger picture here is a team selected, purchased, and coached by David Moyes, and drilled first and formost in defensive tactics, coupled with the grab-a-goal mentality. The fear and trepidation of what would happen if they let a goal in seems to have been their collective undoing as a team. Yes, individual errors led to the goals but how much of the psychology has us in awe of United, in the pay of United, and in the case of Howard, in a corrupt deal with United? It stinks, and it goes well beyond Hibbert, Turner and Neville. — Michael

Auzzie Auzzie Auzzie, Oy Oy Oy

Bram Oliver, where did you get this nonsense that Australia is not a power in world football? In recent years, by every comparable yardstick, Australia is streets ahead of England. Should that fact alone not place Australia among the super powers it is more of a sad reflection on England.

After earlier beating England on it's home soil, it was generally agreed that Australia played far better football and was more successful than England and about 150 other countries that competed for the recent World Cup. But for an Italian diver getting a dodgy last-minute penalty, the Aussies would have reached the semi-final. At international level there is a vibrant innovation about Australia that is lacking from the England game. England will not make real progress until it fully accepts the fact that it is no longer a superior football nation.

Anyhow Bram, on more urgent matters closer to the heart, let's join hands across the waters etc and pray that the Blues have a successful weekend.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (3/5/07)

Vaughan and Anichebe

'The strikers both put pen to paper this week on contract extensions that will keep them at Goodison until 2011.' (Official site.)

That's it then. If they're not going to Kirby, neither am I.
Hugo Kondratiuk, London  (2/5/07)

Absent-mindedness of Moyes

I find it quite bizarre that our idiot of a manager would find it within himself to remind us (is it really necessary) that we need players such as Carsley, Neville and Yobo. I remind our absent-minded manager of how 'reliable' the above mentioned players are!

I did also try to find the clip of the fuckin' useless Carsley taking out of action one of OUR better players during the Villa game at Goodison earlier in the season, but could not find it.

I find it astonishing that he felt it necessary to draw this to the attention of the fans as if we know absolutely nothing about football!! We all know the players who should have praise well and truly heaped upon them are the likes of Lescott and Arteta. Two players who I fear (and believe) will not be wearing the Blue of Everton into their latter 20s as their ability must surely be more better suited to bigger stages and within teams who play football the way we all want to see it at Goodison.... except one particular person.

I'm getting sick and fuckin' tired of this tripe that Moyes trots out at an increasing speed.

As for the shit that Tony Marsh trotted out earlier.... I live 250 miles away.... and it still hurts like fuckin' hell and I'm sick of being questioned with amazement "Why you can't possibly be pleased that the Kopite shite are through to another fuckin European final?" You may be within the Granada region, mate, but the same old shit emanates out of every corner of the UK where they're concerned.
Baz Johns, Glasgow  (2/5/07)

Recipie for Success

I reckon that winning things in this footy lark is a lot easier than people make out.

  1. The men behind the scenes like the Chairman and that, need to run a tight ship. Keep the books straight and constantly explore new avenues of income.
  2. The manager needs to stamp his authority, show 'em who's boss. Anybody takin the piss or actin' up are soon sent packin by the gaffer. The manager also needs to be pro-active, by this I mean have some tactical nouse! He needs to be able to make decisions from the dug-out which work for the better on the pitch.
  3. A world-class player who loves the club as much as the fans. Yes these are few and far between, and come around once in a blue moon. Our one's a Manc now.
  4. A blindin' keeper and a rock-hard defender at the back.
  5. On top of this, the weak links of the squad should be replaced by better versions every summer!
Throw all these into a pot a mix together and I guarantee silverware within a few seasons!

I think we possess some of these features. For example, a "take no shit" gaffer (unfortunately with no tactical nouse), a potentially rock-hard defender in Lescott. The finances seemed to have been steadied over the last year or two, but obviously because of selling our world-class player. Another thing I think we have got going for us is a team spirit. Quite a few of the current squad have been playing together for a few years now, which can only mean they understand each other's game better.

Obviously we fall short in a lot of areas and, until they are adressed, we won't be winning anything soon I fear.
Robbie Muldoon, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

There you go again

There you go again Michael, as soon as someone suggests that Moyes should go (Joe McMahon) you put him down by saying 'Moyes is going nowhere' and 'Luq loses it again'. If Kenwright had had his way, Walter Smith would still be here but the fans had simply had enough. Now some of us are fighting to shift Moyes, especially after his rubbish comments tonight about Phil Neville. Why not get behind us?
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (2/5/07)

A) I get enough abuse as it is!
B) I really don't think it is even a remote possibility while Moyes delivers top-ten football... never mind top six!
C) I do fear the "ramp-up" time (after the obligatory short-lived honeymoon period) any new manager would require simply to establish himself sufficiently to get us where we are now.
D) Any new manager coming in who would actually effect improved football is likely to sacrifice our defensive solidity in the process. I know I'm stupid to still hope for this, but I hope Moyes is going to one day build on that defensive solidity (stop laughing, Phil, Iain, Tony) and get us attacking more, with the foundation of that defensive solidity behind them. I know, it's a rather feint hope... but it's the only realistic possibility of progress left to consider.

It's that or following Tony Marsh down the path of depression and despair! — Michael

Poor old United !

What a difference tonight. Wayne and his mates faced another 0-2 scoreline but how much they missed Phil Neville and Iain Turner. We so should have 'had' United on Saturday and I think they bloody know it! Still leaves a nasty taste.... we Blues were 'had' again... sickening! Skipper Phil??? ... Joke Phil!!!
Glen Strachan, Oaxaca , Mexico  (2/5/07)

Re: Paul Houghton's Squad Analysis

While Paul Houghton's article held my interest for a little over 120 seconds, I couldn't help thinking that his half-arsed analysis could also be applied to Tottenham, Blackburn, Newcastle, Villa etc... and where are all those teams? I'd imagine that even Portsmouth, Wigan, Fulham etc stand up to scrutiny.

In short, almost every frigging team in the Premiership is packed full of "international level" players (whatever that means). Maybe all the clubs should be fighting it out for the top European places.... oh, hold on, wait: they are ? it's called a league.
Glen Anderson, Huyton  (2/5/07)

No abuse?

Out-of-town blues don't suffer at the hands of Liverpool fans? Utter tosh; my Brother is a Liverpool fan, mates from Uni are Liverpool fans, and they taunt me every time they phone or e.mail.

Bunch of English guys sit here in New York who support Reading, Spurs, Newcastle.... I just don't get it from Liverpool fans, I get it from the lot! Here's the latest excerpt from a cockney Manc fan: "Thanks for your words of encouragement on Rooney the other day. Looks like your toffeenose mate has ensured he scores important league and champions league goals on a regular occurrence. Let's hope there's another 1 or 2 tonight. Hopefully you caught the Everton game on Fox at the weekend... Once a Red always a Red for Phil Nev."
Dan Parker, New York, NY, USA  (2/5/07)

Defending Valente

When people talk of offloading players such as Osman, Pistone and the like, do they think clubs will be ready to pay anything substantial for them? Surely if we can't get money for them and they are willing to be back-up, hold onto them.

We all know we need better players, but why should Valente be offloaded? He has had injury problems but, when fit, I remember some good performances ? particlarly Newcastle at Christmas. His years may be advancing and he didn't have a lot of competition for his place but he was the first-choice left-back for the fairly impressive Portugal side that reached the final of Euro 2004 and the semis of the World Cup. That suggests some ability. He can put a decent cross in also.

On another note, it maybe stating the obvious but is anyone terrified at the prospect of Arteta leaving this summer? Our reliance on him for the little creativity we possess is scary.
Gav Jones, Manchester  (2/5/07)

Man Utd

Cheer up lads, at least Everton exhausted Man Utd so they got a trouncing in the Champions League!

Unlucky Wayne!
Dan Parker, New York, US  (2/5/07)

Sean`s Rant

Read Sean's article about our once-great club and it touched a raw nerve with me. I am sick and tired of being in the shadow of that lot across the park and being the butt of the jokes, with a chairman and manager who seem content for this to contiue. How is that lesser clubs can get sugar daddies and we cannot? With our great heritage and fanbase...
Robert Bruce, Birkenhead  (2/5/07)

Who the hell are you?

I am sick of reading idiots harp on about the goodison faithful. Who the hell are Shaun "embarrassed at the atmosphere" Ferguson and Steve "lack of belief all round" Lyth to criticise the fans?

Considering the crap served up by Moyes this season and our uninspiring style of play, Goodison is still an intimidating place to play for opposing teams because of the fans. Unlike other contributors on here, most fans attending the game still hold Nil Satis Nisi Optimum as the standard our play should adhere to, so try and understand, when Moyes is content to play out a 0-0 at home to Boro, the place isn't exactly rocking.

There's far too much wrong with our club to deal with before you start criticising the fans and certainly, Shaun, never compare us to that load of shite across the park. Arsenal fans were chanting at Anfield this season "where's your famous support?" and they only started singing at 4-1. What's more embarassing, Shaun, is how far away from ever appearing in a European Cup semi-final we are...
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (2/5/07)

No place to hide

The latest posting of mad Dodd can not go unchallenged. Surely this twat is a kopite as there can be no other explanation for his goading and piss-taking of those who actually care for the club. Michael, it is up to you, but surely a ban is in order.

If he actually represents the majority of fans then Christ help us. I challenge the Moyes cultists (that includes you, Mr Atress) ? beat Portsmouth on Saturday with an exhibition of free flowing football (after 5 years!!!) against an inferior team and I for one will take the summer off from moaning. If he can't deliver that, shut the fuck up and let real Evertonians get stuck in to Moyes and Kenwright.

Christ, give me strength ? Moyes is the managerial equivalent of Phil Neville ? can anyone seriously doubt that.
John Doolan, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Chill , John.

  1. We don't do calling each other 'kopites'; you're not in the playground now...
  2. Doddy's only real crime is sycophancy... which isn't really a crime ? it's just a state of mind some of us find hard to identify with. But apparently, he is not alone in his adulation and glorifcation of our great and worthy leaders.
  3. I hope it's the players who will play Portsmouth on Satdee and not our Moyes cultists (is that more or less offensive than "apologists"?)

Three Cheers for Andy Lynch

The most sense on here in 4 days. I could not agree more. Moyes needs to change ? be a bit more attacking, better subs, better timing ? we don't need to change the manager.
Stuart Duncan, Parbold  (2/5/07)

Blind faith

I almost fell off my chair when I read this! It is a depressing week so far regarding football, but this officially takes the piss ? the praise of Phil Neville! Read on and weep... Taken from the official Everton website:

David Moyes has paid tribute the consistency
of some key Everton players.

He also praised skipper Phil Neville for
his regular good performances.

"What you need in your squad if you want
to be successful is a number of players
who can be consistent," said Moyes.

"Phil Neville has done that this year and
we have been really pleased with him.

"Along with the likes of Lee Carsley and
Joseph Yobo, he has been really steady 
and while they may not be the type of 
players who do really flashy things, 
they never let you down."
This confirms what I have said for a long time that Moyes doesn't like skill (not be the type of players who do really flashy things, they never let you down!), nor does he have any idea about football.
"He has been really steady and while 
they may not be the type of players who 
do really flashy things, they never let 
you down."
Are you taking the piss? Never let you down? How about last year's derby and this year against his side Manchester United? You praise him and Yobo, yet ignore player of the season thus far in Lescott and blast Fernandes in public! FOOL!

How is this good management? How could anyone justify the praise of Neville and in the same breath call Fernandes lazy? These quotes only expose Moyes as a negative dinosaur of the Howard Wilkinson mold. I am seriously very upset about this and have lost total faith in Moyes and this football club. Moyes you are a disgrace and a failure!

Luq Yussef, London  (2/5/07)

Oh No!... Luq loses it again!

Out of Town Blues

In response to Tony Marsh, saying out-of-town blues don't have to suffer Liverpool fans. Can I just add I live 50 miles from Liverpool and it's fucking full of them. There are more so-called LFC fans around here (Rossendale) than Blackburn, Man City & Bolton. And they ALL look like Tossers.

Also how do they manage to win so much on penalties? And yes, as our season (once again) dwindles, they go on to glory. Presuming we don't finish in the top 7, will it be the end for Moyes?
Joe McMahon, Rossendale  (2/5/07)

How does it go? Superb Sixth, Satisfactory Seventh, Envigorating Eighth? Not-very- impressive Ninth... But, wherever we finish now, I feel confident in saying... [let's see if I can still get this right]... Moyes is going nowhere... [Hmmmm... the double-entendre just struck me!] — Michael

Any Silverware will do!

I can't thank Tony Marsh enough. Each week he puts into words exactly what I'm thinking and saves me the job of untangling all that's wrong with Moyes.

What should finally sink in with the Moyes brigade is that we are never going to get close to winning anything while Moyes is in charge. Although I think Benitez is lucky (nice to have yet another second leg at Anfield last night) our farcical effort in Europe two years ago shows the gulf between Moyes and Benitez and surely everyone should now know we need to get someone who will move us forward. No more humiliating defeats, no more awful football, no more unbalanced teams and useless tactics. A chance of winning something should be a must.

Yes, it was nice to have beaten Liverpool 3-0 this season but we now need to compete with them for silverware, even if it's only the League Cup! Finding the right manager is the difficult part but it should be on the agenda.
Ged Dwyer, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Trophies? See Five-Year Plan Part II, Section 145. Hope this helps... ? Michael

Joey Barton

Whilst obviously there are questions of finance, priorities and suchlike regarding the possible transfer of Barton, on a purely hypothetical note, I personally feel he would be worth the gamble.

Whilst his temprement is questionable, he is a leader and plays with his heart on his sleeve but also mixes this with quality. Who else in the current squad can take a game by the scruff of the neck and drag his team-mates out of reveries? There are organisers within the team, Neville and Stubbs and the odd player who tries to lead (Cahill), but none of these have the "grab the opposition by their bollocks and fling them out of the way" mentality to drive the team forward by sheer force of will.

Barton has this quality. This is something we need in the team if we're going to move forward. All the best teams have a born leader at their heart be it Bryan Robson, Keane, Viera... even crap teams have one... like *spits* Gerrard. Much as I hate the guy, he is the biggest difference between Everton and Liverpool and if Barton can offer us something similar then I'd take the gamble on his temprament. After all, Moyes tamed Gravesen and decked Ferguson ? Barton's a pussycat in comparison.

Incidentally, Michael you referred to my epistle on potential clearouts and then didn't put it up! Oversight or a bit too long?
John Holmes, York  (2/5/07)

Far too bloody long. ;) I had it in line as a Fans Comment feature article but there were a few ahead of you. I decided it wasn't too time-critical, but if you want stuff up in the mailbag lickety-split, then please keep it short and sweet and to the point. The other option is that I ditch half of it but I'm sure that would not be appreciated! It should be up late tonight/in the morning... ? Michael

''And the winner is...''

Seeing the short-list produced by Moyes of players deserving of his praise tells you a lot about our esteemed leader. I have no complaint about Carsley's name being on a list (but not a short list of three) for his efforts during the season but he is hardly star material.

Yobo (under Moyes) is turning into a yard dog obsessed with booting the ball as high and far as he can. Presumably this metamorphosis from a very talented young super Eagle to ale house player is what our Davey is applauding.

As for Neville getting an honourable mention, as well as the Captaincy and a nice retirement wedge from the boss for ineptitude of an order that would not have been tolerated by that misery from Govan, almost blows my mind. When the likes of Lescott (who should be Captain), Arteta and the two young lads are not on the praise short-list then I know this man is not right for OUR Club.
Brian Finnigan, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Top of the poll

I`m busy tomorrow with the local elections so just a hurried posting to say how glad I am that Harry Meek has seen the light and now accepts that my positive views are, indeed, those of the vast majority of Evertonians. I shall dwell on this thought with a great deal of pride as I wait for hours in my little polling booth tomorrow for the next voter to appear. But really the pride should not be mine but that of Chairman Bill, Top Dog Keith and Davey the Moyestro. They`d top any poll of great Evertonians!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (2/5/07)

Are you sure you work for Sefton Borough Council and not Everton Football Club? Maybe they sent you out to spike the Bradley vote! — Michael

Jesus, Harry Meek!

What side of the bed did you get out of this morning mate? After reading that, we all may as well give up. C'mon, mate ? keep your chin up, things can only get better... can't they ?
Steve Lyth, At home, slightly improved...  (2/5/07)


I feel embarrassed that a ground full of foreigners have a better atmosphere than us scousers. Obviously the atmosphere intimidates Liverpool's opponents so why don't we give it a try for one game? Just one game ? against Porstmouth, this vital must-win game ? surely we can sing our hearts out for the entire 90mins?

You ever wondered why you hear away fans singing "your support is fucking shite"? This is because the only time we sing is when we score a goal. Why don't we stand before the kickoff and have the entire stadium singing "And if you know your history" again and again?

Come on ? we are the People's Club ? let's start showing it and singing our hearts out and encouraging the lads on!
Shaun Ferguson, Maghull  (2/5/07)

RE: Over-achieving?

I happened to read Paul Houghton's article, where he claims that, as we have 14 full internationals in our squad, being 6th is the least you could expect. I have to say I find the argument rather silly.

One reason is that no Premiership team (bar Sheffield Utd and Watford) has less than 9 full internationals in their squads ? I can't give you an exact number, as I refuse to look up every team page and player profile and check whether a player has a cap or not, but a quick scan of teamsheets tells me that 9 seems to be a minimum. But more importantly than numbers of internationals is the questions of 'which country?' (it's easier to get capped by Scotland than Spain, for instance), 'how many caps?' (more caps is generally an indicaton of a good player, at least if it's for a good country), and finally 'when was he capped' (if he's regularly capped now, that's a quality sign, whereas a cap or two some six or seven years ago might not say much).

All in all, IMO, a rather simplistic and meaningless argument in a rather interesting debate.
Øystein Lemvik, Oslo, Norway  (2/5/07)


How can anyone say we need to get rid of any players? All these so called deadwood will be useful next season. If you look at most of the players that have been mentioned, the likes of Beattie, Avdm, Valente, Mcfadden, Turner and Osman, they are all decent squad players.

Nuno had a good World Cup but has struggled with injuries. Osman has been in the starting eleven all season and although I don't agree with Moyes selection he is a good squad player. Turner is Young and will get better with experience. Van der Meyde has come in for some stick but he has been around for most of the season and when he has played he has put in some good performances all he needs is a pre-season. McFadden is useful because he is versatile on the wing or as a forward.

The only one I would be looking to sell is Beattie. We know we could get more money for him than any other players on that list. He lacks quality as well as versatility which would help us next season. I think we have to get real and look at our squad. It is to small for the Premiership and if we are going to compete in Europe we need to keep hold of as many as we can.
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Good Football

I'm sure many of you watched the game that proved there is no God on TV last night; whilst not wishing to dwell too much on Liverpool getting through to another final without actually scoring more goals than the opposition, I feel I must comment on the manner in which the game (and the previous one for that matter) was played.

The supposed second- and third-best teams in the country conspired to produce 210 minutes of some of the most heinous, despressing football I've ever seen. I'm not normally one for commenting on the quality of football because I'd rather see Everton do well but this did prove that the way we play is actually not that bad. I've heard countless times we are one of the worst teams to watch, a sentiment I have always disagreed with and on that evidence I am certainly right to do so.

There are two teams that play better football than Everton in the Premier League: Arsenal and United (and I, personally, hate the way Arsenal play). Fancy football doesn't seem to get you anywhere these days, it's all about making sure you get a result that gets you the money and unfortunately, I don't think it would be wise for Everton to try and buck this trend.

I'm in no way advocating serving up dross like those two teams did last night (I want us to actually pass the ball to each other and on the ground, something neither side had any interest in doing) but last night showed that this high-efficiency type of football currently gets you where you want to be.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Two new signings!

Well, in club-speak at least! Just read on the official website that Vaughan and Anichebe have both signed contract extensions to keep them at the club 'til 2011. Good bit of business as they've both done well this year in the first team, with Vaughan in particular being a recent revelation.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (2/5/07)


I can?t remember a more frustrating season than this in spite of the few glorious highs we?ve witnessed. However, each of these have been counterbalanced by far too many occasions when we?re left aghast and head in hands having thrown away a seemingly trouble-free victory.

I?ve said before that Moyes is the main the architect of our shortcomings, and I stand by that, but the increasing calls for him to go are really getting on my tits. Only a dickhead would say that the squad he has assembled is not immeasurably better than the one he inherited, and only an even bigger dickhead would say that the club has not progressed under his leadership.

The way I see it is that Moyes needs to make the next step up in his own development in that he has shown he can grind out results with an average side; he now needs to show he can consistently win with flair and style, and not bottle it when he?s on the vinegar strokes. I believe he?s got the players to do it; he now needs to show he can lead them.

In his defence I believe he listened following the Spurs palaver, and we should give him massive credit for that. He deserves time, our patience, and when necessary some constructive feedback. Having said all this, if we have a further improved side in two years time and we?re still frantically defending one-goal leads, then I?ll leading the calls for head.
Andy Lynch, London  (2/5/07)

Good call, Andy. I'd agree with that. — Michael

Not underachievers

Paul Houghton's article, wherein he suggests that Everton are underachieving, due to the number of internationals in the side, is widly off the mark.

For starters, virtually all Premiership teams are littered with internanationals, even those lower on the log than Everton. Take Newcastle for example. Internationals falling out of every nook and cranny. Or Middlesborough. You name them. Also, some of the players he calls internationals, e.g Beattie or Van der Meyde can't remember the last time, or in JB's case the only time, they last trotted out for an international.

Fernandes is basically a youth international, and the likes of Cahill are internationals for the likes of Australia, hardly a world power. McFadden, Naysmith et al feature in a pretty average Scottish team, a country, with all due respect, not renowned for footballing greatness.

For the quality that is in the side, 6th position is a decent enough return. That doesn't excuse the quality of the football but, given the stiff opposition in the league, this Everton team can hardly be seen as underachievers.
Bram Oliver, Windhoek, Namibia  (2/5/07)

Joey Barton

There is no way we are going to sign Joey Barton today, tomorrow in the summer ? ever. The fellow likes to speak his mind and have a go when things aren't going well, sometimes it isn't always constructive, but it does show passion.

The reason he won't sign is because Moyes won't want him, because of the above; he has a mouth and says what he thinks, and Moyes simply won't put up with shenanigans like that. Remember Jesper Blomqvist, when he disagreed with a substitution, and they had that spat in the dug out.

Moyes is king, there is no room for any other egos in the Goodison Park dressing room, especially not for Joey (Gobshite) Barton!
Mark Hill, Bradford  (2/5/07)

Ste McBride, Sorry

... for any personal upset, mate, just tellin' it from my own perspective.

You think your life's bad, my Mrs is a red season ticket holder and the Champions League Final is on my best mate's birthday, a bigger Blue you could not meet. You have to wonder what any of us have done to deserve this. Hey ho, this progress thing is great ain't it?
Steve Lyth, In work with a hang over  (2/5/07)

Vacate City 23 to 26 May

I agree with most of what Tony Marsh, has sent in regarding what happened last night at Anfield. As from 23 May until at least a week later, this city of ours will be taken over by the foreign red army, and our Chairman and directors who don't have to put up with it all will see nothing as they don't reside in the city.

Our result against Portsmouth is a must win game, but it will be insignificant to the local and national press, as they will be in gear up mode for Athens.

Mr Kenwright, according to reports, has the use of his mate Philip Green's private jet to wiz him off to London for the live TV show so, when he vacates his seat on Saturday, let's all give him a great fucking send off.
Norman Merrill, Everton  (2/5/07)

What? Liverpool... Europe... Directors... Portsmouth... Athens... Philip Green's private jet... Maybe there is a tiny thread of logic connecting them, but is there any point to it? Are we blaiming Kenwright for everything now??? — Michael

Europe Reserves The Right

Yet another sickening night and the possibility of another one, in three weeks time. But what else did we expect? I wonder if Alex Ferguson and the media would have complained had LFC played a reserve side at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea so late in the season; I think so! Now we have the Reading manager Steve Coppell stating that if they make the Uefa Cup he will play his reserve team. What on earth is the game coming to? Why do we even bother to turn up? Any chance that Mourinho will leave Chelsea and come to a small club like us? Ah well... must be the sunshine!
John Partick McFarlane, Lancs  (2/5/07)

New Song

I was as gutted as the next man on Saturday, but I?m feeling a little better now. (Actually, That?s a lie. I watched a penalty shoot-out last night that confirmed to me that Evertonians are destined to suffer, but anyway?)

I have had an annoying patriotic Yankee song in my head recently, and can?t get rid of it. It has now morphed into an Everton chant and I thought I would share it.

It?s not the most original or intelligent, but hey, at least my post isn't suggesting either flogging or beatification for Moyes, Neville, Turner, Hibbert etc, so it should be a refreshing change.

To the tune of ?I am proud to be an American? (which is pretty damn catchy):

I am Proud to be Evertonian,
Be Evertonian,
Be Evertonian,
I am Proud to be Evertonian,
Blue until I die ? EVERTON!
[And repeat.]
I think we could do with a new song, and that is simple enough to get everyone involved?

Anyway, we definitely need to make Goodison a cauldron against Portsmouth, so some on and lets get behind them! We can still hold on to 6th if we show some spirit.

Ludwig van Beethoven, aka...
David Mills, Coventry  (2/5/07)

I tell you this: if we adopted the American National Anthem (which I have to admit is quite a nice tune) as our "anthem", we'd have no trouble whatsoever attracting billions of dollars of investment ? they go ga-ga for that sort of thing. — Michael

Why are they so useless?

Think about it ? it is the same when taking penalties. Tell me how come Callagher and Gerrard miss glaring penalties when playing for England, but never miss one for Liverpool?
Pat Jones, Carmarthen  (2/5/07)

Moving Forward

I think that everyone realises that the present squad of players constantly needs refreshing, and there will always be the ones both supporters and probably the club would like to transfer out.

The recent games have highlighted some of our weaker players who are asked to perform at the top of their game, but they just can?t do it every match. Hibbert is a right-back, not a midfielder, just a right back, (we used to have a left-back like that called Michael Ball & he was cashed in). Stubbs is getting older but still manages to do a reasonable job providing the opposition aren?t too fast, and Carsley is the same. Neville is trying to be a midfield general, but can?t last more than 70 minutes before he?s knackered. Osman is a lightweight and probably is only playing because Cahill is injured. As for strikers, apart from AJ, Vaughan, and Anichebe the rest are Championship standard.

I know we can?t just get rid of them overnight, and don?t get me wrong: we are getting there slowly but to me we need runners urgently in midfield who are willing to bust a gut every match to play alongside the likes of Cahill & Arteta. Surely we must have someone in the club who can do that, or if not I would suggest that Mr Moyes cracks the whip over the scouts and gets them out there to find one or two before next season starts.
Ron Potter, St Helens  (2/5/07)

Here We Go Again

Another Eueopean Cup Final for the Reds and another summer of despair for us Blues. There's not much point getting upset with what Liverpool always seem to achieve anymore because, as I am constantly being reminded, Everton are making progress under Moyes and Kenwright. While those lucky Red Gobshites enjoy what will definitely be another European Cup Final victory, we can look forward to maybe an InterToto Cup qualifier. Why is it that whenever Liverpool manage to make a go of things, we are always ? always going in the opposite direction?

Right back to the 80s up until 2 years ago, we always fuck up just as the Reds are moving up a notch. This season is no different. Just as we begin our seasonal slide in to mediocrity they go and do the buisness for their fans once again.

You know what the real worry is about all this though? I was listening to those 2 yanks who have bought out Liverpool FC and they come across as men who have actually know what this football thing is all about. They have got a better grasp of what is required and demanded by the people of this city regarding there football club than most of our fans and board put together. I listened to Tom Gillet talking about him and his son sitting and watching hours upon hours of old LFC European videos to get a feel for the club and how wonderfull it is being apart of it all.

Our Chairman, on the other hand, scuttled past me on Saturday afternoon and fucked off out the ground after 65 minutes. No doubt more important matters to attend to than our biggest match of the season so far. It looks to me as if LFC is more important to two yanks than EFC is to True Blue Bill.

I feel sick to the stomach this morning knowing what's to come in 3 weeks time. This is where those out-of-town blues don't have to suffer the full extent of the misery we locals endure. One guy posting on here reckons this season has given him some kind of bragging rights over the Kopites and some pride back in our club. Put those silly notions to bed, mate; this season is going to be just another small blip on the football radar as far as anyone else is concerned regarding us. We dont matter anymore.

No-one gives a fuck about Everton FC. Not even our own chairman. He is more interested in finding a Technicoloured fucking Dreamcoat for some thespian tosser to wear.

You know what? This "progress" malarky is killing me I can't take much more of this "improved" Everton. Depressed and Distressed ? that's me....
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (2/5/07)


Everton should definitely move for Joey Barton. It is clear he now wants to leave City and he is a player that would fit in well with Everton's set up. He is within our price range and is a hard-working player wih drive going forward who is not afraid of a tackle. A midfield of Cahill, Arteta, Barton and a (new) decent wide man looks good to me.
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (2/5/07)

Why do they appear useless?

What is it about playing in the Premiership?

I watched Naysmith play for Scotland against Italy recently. He did a pretty useful job. How come a bloke who looks as if he should be playing for Port Vale or Hamilton Accies can turn out against Italy and make a really decent fist of it.

Nuno Valente had a very good World Cup. Didn't set the world on fire but if you watched out for him you'd have seen that he didn't put a foot wrong. Unobtrusive, safe, and reliable.

We have a small squad and these blokes are fringe players, and some would suggest should be among the first to go in a summer purge. But they can match it with the best on an international level.

Maybe someone can enlighten me.
David Hamilton, Melbourne, Australia  (2/5/07)

Far be it from me to suggest that the mana... No. I won't say it. Too easy. — Michael

Get rid

Looking through our first team squad, it's easy to see that we are carrying quite a bit of dead wood. We should be looking to sell Pistone, Naysmith, Van der Meyde & Beattie, to mention a few. Use whatever funds we raise from these sales towards new better players!
Graham Nolan, Dublin, Ireland  (2/5/07)

John Holmes has written an epistle on the subject...

Behave Yourself

I'm already getting enough shit from the Cockney Reds at work, without my (so called) fellow blues laying in the boot. I'm looking at you Mr Lyth.

And do you think any of the loveable reds are ripping the back out of their manager after last nights Alardyce-esque route-one slugfest? No, they're all too busy sending me hillarious texts and e.mails to worry about how ugly the football was.
Steve McBride, London Branch  (2/5/07)

Michael Roberts

Michael, sorry to piss on your parade mate, but I think we are looking at our final points total already.

Given our penchant for shitty finishes to the season and the fact that we have already managed to chuck away 3 vital points at West Ham (not to mention gifting the Mancs at least 2 of the points last week), Pompey and Reading are gathering pace and Spurs have a game in hand.

To be honest, I think we will be lucky to finish higher than ninth. I hope I am wrong and will be willing to hold my hands up and admit it, should it happen.
Tom Edwards, York  (2/5/07)

We've blown it .... again

In response to Michael Roberts's article, sorry but I have to disagree. I'm reading a lot of stuff about Saturday's "must win" game against Portsmouth, yes it is a "must win" game but I'm afraid unless we can get something from the Chelsea game I fear we're sunk.

Reading are on fire at the moment and I'm giving them maximum points, so they'd end up with 60 pts; Spurs are also doing well and have a game in hand, I would say they'd get at least another 6 points to finish with 59 pts. Then there's Bolton, I'm hoping they lose on Saturday at West Ham because I'm sure they'll beat Villa at home, that would leave them with 58 pts. That brings us to Everton, by beating Portsmouth that effectively finishes them off but leaves us with 57 points... which means a draw at Chelsea sees us over the line on goal difference. Steve Sumner, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

RE: Satisfactory Seventh of Superb Sixth

Not to be pedantic but wont Reading also have 57 points not 56? They currently have 54 points and are behind us on goal difference, so if they beat Watford (which I agree they should) then they'll have 57 same as us if we beat Portsmouth.

Personally, I'm just focussing on us beating Portsmouth at the moment, and I'll look at the other results and permutations after that as beating them guarantees 8th, but we'll need to beat Chelsea or have other results go our way to finish in the top 7.
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (2/5/07)

Weirdos R us

I've read Michael's comment about football manager many times now over the course of the season. I've just read it again this morning checking the last couple of days' posts. While I would agree with his sentiment behind it, as a football fan I would think that I, along with countless others just can't help myself.

Football gets into your blood. Twenty two blokes kicking a ball around a field becomes as important as family, beer and getting your end away. And like all of these things it makes you compleately irrational where you normally wouldn't be. Being a football fan makes you part fantasist, part whinger, part eternal optimist, part miserable git and a complete child. Basically, to anyone not a fan, your'e just a big weirdo, there's just no figuring you out.

And, as a result, we come onto websites like this one, and give out, daydream and generally get up Michael's nose.

I'm not having a pop at anyone here. The post isn't even much in the way of self-defence for all of the behaviour I've exhibited as a fan. But in truth, as a football fan, I wouldn't have things any other way.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin  (2/5/07)

Hehehe... I guess you're right, Kieran. We are what we are! — Michael

Local Elections

I don?t care how many times my bin gets collected and I don?t care about ?The Big Dig?. What I am interested in is where we will be playing our home games in a few years time. So, does anyone know which party would be most helpful in keeping Everton in the city, as then I will know who to vote for?
Adam Bennett, Liverpool  (2/5/07)

Fear of flare

There is one reason why Fernandes will not be at Everton next season. He has too much flare and in the last decade that is something that you are not supposed to have if you play for Everton FC.

Work ethic is all well and good if you have actually got some skillful match winners in your team but if we fail to qualify for the Uefa Cup then I really fear we will lose both our flare players, Manny and Arteta. There WILL be bids for Arteta this summer, there's no doubt about that and that will suit Kenwright to rake in a fair amount and knowing Arteta will want European football, EFC will come out smelling of roses saying "We did everything in our power to keep him." The script is written.
Jonathan Sullivan, Merseyside  (2/5/07)

What`s there to say?

I note that a correspondent has mentioned that I don`t post as often as of yore. Simple reason is that if I ain`t got nothing new to say, I holds my water! Perhaps others could consider doing likewise!

`Having said that`, (just to annoy Mike Wrende) I came to see a little while ago that nothing I say will ever change anything. As you endlessly repeat, Bill is in charge of the train-set and is totally happy to leave Bunter to balance the books by flogging the family silver and Moysey to `do a Curbs` and keep us in mid-table respectability ad nauseam.

So what`s to get excited about? Turner and Neville gifting the Mancs a win? Moyes slagging off publically one of the few really talented players we have? Wyness putting up the price of my season tickets but telling me he`s actually reduced the cost? The prospect of the club saying farewell to the city of its birth? Failing (again)to qualify for anything when push comes to shove whilst that other lot glory in another Champions League Final? Lay off! We`ve done it all to death and I just can`t be arsed to stick in my tuppenneth.

Anyway, Doddy talks for the masses so what`s there to say?
Harry Meek, Worcester  (2/5/07)

Some good e.mails today!

Joey Barton

Now that Joey Barton will apparently be off-loaded on the cheap by Man City after his latest attemt at assualt, we might as well say bye bye to Fernandes. £10M on a young foreigner or £5M on an "established" Premiership midfielder? Personally, I'd take Fernandes any day because trouble and Joey Barton seem to go hand in hand, but who do you think Moyes would rather have in his team.

a) A classy skillful midfielder, with maybe not as much work rate?
b) An over-rated midfield workhorse going cheap?
Ooooh... tough one that!
Ryan Jones, Preston  (2/5/07)

Steve Guy

Well said, more or less my feelings. I like Neville, I like his attitude and his commitment ? but he's no midfielder; he's not got the skill nor the passing ability.

My only quibble with your well-written and cogent piece is that, if I'd have been Rooney on Saturday, I'd have done exactly the same re the badge kissing. You Rooney haters are a bunch of muppets... no... performing seals feeding on the fish that Blue Bill, Wyness, the Liverpool Echo, Stretford, even Rooney himself have fed you.

Those in power at Everton were desperate to cash in on Rooney ? and equally desperate to avoid the flack. It worked... you lot get wound up and throw insults, invective and coins, he gets wound up and scores goals and kisses his badge. Sure, he's got no class apart from with the ball at his feet, the biography proved that ? but I'd have him back tomorrow.

Enjoy your fish, muppets.
Kevin Sparke, Nothumberland  (2/5/07)

Gotta say, spot on, Kevin. Well said. — Michael

We must fight to get rid of him

Fans on here are right - if you want to see decent football then it won't be under this manager. I believe that most of us know that. But suggest getting rid of him and Michael goes on a rant about that will never happen and don't keep suggesting it. However, if you strongly believe, then you have to keep fighting and then just maybe change will happen. I, also, don't want to be battling for an Intertoto spot against Portsmouth and what happened across the park last night was sickening so come on lad's lets fight for what is right, however, unlikely that may be.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (2/5/07)

I think you're making a big mistake... That's all I'm going to say. — Michael

Misery and Despair

Ten games into last season, we looked like certainties for relegation but we pulled ourselves together and finished 11th. With two games left this year we could end up 10th and I have to ask Mr Moyes if he sees that as progress?

I am pretty tired of hearing posters on here suggesting that we give AvdM a chance. He has had long enough and needs to go. We also need to get rid of Pistone since all he does is lay on the sick bed between contract negotiations. James Beattie should actually just be fired because he is so crap. Wright and Naysmith are complete rubbish as well and should not be paid for playing football since they are no better than I.

Moyes needs to go. I try to kid myself that he is improving but in life there are winners and losers and everything is predictable and history always repeats itself. Moyes never wins ? he just makes teams almost decent. His continued failure in the silverware department is as predictable as Chelseas inability to beat Liverpool on penalty kicks.

Get rid of Moyes and Kenwright and Goodison. All of them are crappy, old and overrated. Find a new owner and a new manager, even if it is someone crap like Joe Royle who wins one trophy and then turns us shit again. I can't deal with another end-of-season collapse and I can't stomach the idea of having six pointers with Portsmouth ? frigging Portsmouth!?! ? to decide our Intertoto fate. I am sorry about this rant but I hate Liverpool and I hate seeing us go down the same sorry path to failure over and over again.
Kieran Kinsella, Gainesville, FL, USA  (1/5/07)

Vaughan and Anichebe

Like a lot of other Evertonians, I am interested in the Summer transfers that the club might make ? inward or outward ? but surely the first thing to do would be to get young Vaughan's signature on a long-running contract and to follow that up by securing big Victor for the next few years.

Fernandes looks like a decent player but never at the money that is being mentioned in the press and might it not be more important to secure the hard-working Lee Carsley after a season when he has clearly been the outstanding holding player at the club.

The other fellow ? no captain by my reckoning ? should be accomodated at right back if Moyes has to play him at all - and it seems that David thinks a lot more of Phil the Red than we do.

If the Fernandes price is neither a 'try-on' from Benfica or a mis-print, maybe we go in with a low bid. We have just bought another young striker from Swindon and with AJ and the two lads we have, what would be the role for Nugent?

A speedy right winger who can cross a decent ball? That might be nice. Another year for Stubbs? He has earned it! The free transfers virtually pick themselves: Osman, Beattie, Turner, Andy van der Meyde, Valente and sadly the sometimes interesting McFadden will not make the grade in the Premiership and should be sold for anything we can get. Even taking them off the wage bill would allow some space for Bosmans to come in as squad players.

I have no fears of relegation next season but unless some spectacular improvement in tactics and attitude are seen, The School of Science that many of us grew up with will be no more than a dream to tell our grandchildren about.

Ground building or team strengthening - this game in the Premier is all about money. We have nothing like enough money to compete at the top and that is simply being realistic rather than negative. It would still be nice to see the players performing with a wee bit more joy than they seem to manage at the moment.
Glen Strachan, Oaxaca , Mexico  (1/5/07)

Joy!?! Skill is what I wanna see. They're doing what they love, for lots of mullah. That can be their joy. I want to see some skill. — Michael

Lack of belief all round

I have resisted writing about the Man Utd game until now because emotion normally grabs a hold of me and I don't really get my point across as well as I would like. Michael has also suggested that we should wait until the season's end before we comment on the club's progress or lack of it; I am in agreement but think my first post of last year predicting that we would finish eigth wont be far from the mark.

Anyway, back to Saturday, "from my seat" as our learned friend Ken would say, United were not at the races for the first hour. We cruised into a 2-0 lead and the fans (up until then and for a wee while after) were magnificent, Goodison was rockin.

However, once young Turner made the mistake, how many of us mentally said we would settle for a draw? The first thought through my mind was we need to score another!! We backed off as a crowd after that goal, United's fans conveyed the fact that Bolton had got an equaliser and their team was galvanised from that point.

We should have been screaming the lads on at 2-0, irrespective of United pulling one back; we didn't and I think our lack of belief had a lot to do with what went on the pitch thereafter. That's no exscuse for the players' individual errors, they are supposed to be professionals and should have got on with it but they also lacked belief and the ultimate collapse (not for the first time under Moyes) ensued.

I think we badly need players who are mentally strong (somebody brought this up recently) and can identify with all things Everton. We don't have a leader out on the pitch at this moment, we have some flair in Arteta and Manny and a budding hero in Vaughan but we lack a leader. We also lack direction from the manager upwards IMO but I will save that subject as Michael suggests. Belief my friends is what I witnessed over the park again tonight, from all quarters, and we are a long way from emulating that.

On a final note, whoever that person was who spat at a lady, you're spineless lad and your everything that's wrong with this world. On a brighter one, Eileen I thought your last post was great, girl; respect. Best wishes to my fellow Moyes denigrates, The Tone of Marsh, Sir Luq of yerself, Gav Ram, not too sure on Ste Mcbride and Mr Meek who we have not heard from in a while. Thank you ToffeeWeb, you do us all a sevice.
Steve Lyth, Pergatory  (1/5/07)

In, Out, Shake it all about

To listen to some mailers, football is easy: just get rid of this player or that one, which is fine if you're Chelsea but we are not. Only a fool would sell their car without having the cash to buy a better one, yet they would sell Osman, who is not great, agreed, but an acceptable squad player.

Likewise Captain Marvel and Hibbert; to sell them and exppect to replace them with players as good as is not reasonable. My worry at the moment is that, now Barton is in trouble again, his price must drop and to Moyes he may appear to be a better option than Manny.

With Wright and Beattie certs for the chop, we need quality replacements. Our last foray proved to be Moyes best: AJ, Howard and Lescott all improved the squad. Let's hope it continues but let's be realistic: we can't sign superstars without superstar money and we are still Bill's toy.
Roy Coyne, Old Swan  (1/5/07)

Deadwood out!

One thing that has become apparant is that we need a more reliable squad. We have proved that we can give anyone a game with a full team although our back-up players are completely untrustworthy. Ridding ourselves of these wasters will allow younger, hungerier and more talented players to challenge and push the first team. I propose we expel Osman, Hibbert, Pistone, Beattie, AvdM and Valente. These 6 losers haven't contributed anything of substance to our cause and have all let us down.
Shaun Cook, Bedford  (1/5/07)

Once a Red...

I notice that in his eloquent defence of Phil Neville, Manchester United's sure-footed 12th Man on Saturday, Michael refers him repeatedly as "Captain Marvel" - why I can't imagine. It certainly isn't for anything he's achieved at Everton. Didn't Captain Marvel also wear an all red kit? I imagine beneath his shirt is the motto: "Once a Red - And still A Red!"

You would think sheer embarrassment would prevent him taking the field for Everton again. If only United had something to gain from Portsmouth's losing next week, we could hope for some contribution from him.
Steven Hero, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

''If you can keep your head...''

I don't quite feed into this conspiracy theory of Neville purposefully putting it into his own net but he has demonstrated now that he can't cope with the pressure of the big occasions:

  • 0-0 going into half-time at Anfield and the donkey rises unchallenged at the near post to head past our keeper;
  • 2-1 up against Man Utd, simple clearance required with his left foot, the donkey wacks it into his own goal with his right foot.
Neville obviously has no bottle. These are our two biggest rivals and at crucial points in both games he scores past his own keeper. On Saturday, he was our captain, the one the team needed to look to to provide some grit, to say "come on lads dig in, we can do it." He didn't deliver for us, instead he bottled it and let us all down. For all this "hard work ethic" crap his performance on Saturday against his old club was unforgivable.

He's no captain ? and not much of a player either.
Alan Clarke, Manchester  (1/5/07)

Defined flack!

Excellent response, John Holmes, to my post, no flies on that so can't argue against it! But I feel Tony Marsh summed it up best! Both blogs got me thinking, and while I turn the sound up and pray for Chelsea to crush Liverpool I looked up the definition of progress. And its very different from what the pro-Moyes apologists think!

Definition of "progress" from the Cambridge dictionary:

noun [U]
1 advancement to an improved or more developed state,
or to a forward position.

2 FORMAL in progress happening or being done now.
verb [I]
1 to improve or develop in skills, knowledge, etc.

2 to continue gradually:
So you see, while things have marginally stabilized, there has been NO REAL PROGRESS made by Moyes in his five years.
Luq Yussef, London  (1/5/07)


That nice kid Barton has been suspended by City for smacking Dabo in training. Sign him up, Davey ? we need a midfield maestro with passion and a bit of class!
Andy Lynch, London  (1/5/07)

Top ten finish? ? give me a break!

I don't think anything below position seven is having a succesful season. Ok if we finish at eight then we get into the Intertoto but anything below that is a disastrous season in my opinion. We've been sitting there or there abouts for most of the season and then to piss it all away at the final hurdle and for some fans to say that finishing in the top ten is alright with them is indicative of the lack of ambition of some people.

With regards to AvdM starting on Saturday, I wholeheartedly agree, Osman or Neville should be dropped and AvdM given a run out at least. Oh and whatever happened to that young lad that everyone was raving about Anderson da Silva (will he ever play for us?)

Top eight for me and nothing less.
Steve Claringbold, Carlisle  (1/5/07)

We are making progress

Okay, so I had a rant in the last post. Act in haste, repent at leisure and all that jazz.

Dave Lynch quite rightly says :"he has had 5 years to put it right and we are no closer to a trophy than we where when he took over". We aren't going to win anything this season. We aren't world beaters and we aren't likely to dazzle European opponents with our craft and skill. It doesn't mean we don't have a squad and manager who are more likely to win silverwear than 5 years ago.

The team is better because of Moyes rather than in spite of him. He has had a positive effect on the club and it is churlish to lambaste him for erratic results and less than glamorous football. He has made us a brawler rather than pugilist, but we still win fights. I can't see how we could ever become silky with such a decrement of technique in our team. We need not just money (£15 mil per season won't buy you Arsenal type flowing football), but available quality players to improve the skill base of our team. These are factors Moyes cannot control or influence.

I except that supporters may think he has achieved as much he possibly can with Everton and we need someone new. "Tactically a one-trick pony" just doesn't do the man justice.

This season we will win nothing, we have played less than attractive football, we have capitulated too often and we might miss out on a Euro spot. We still have an improved squad from last year, we will finish higher up the table than last year and we have bloodied and promising youngsters.

We are making progress, slow progress, but progress. Moyes is the driver behind that. I am proud of Everton this season and proud of what Moyes has done so far. I am happy to just have a chance of being in Europe rather than being bum-tickled by the spectre of the Nationwide.
Callum Rimmer, Waterloo  (1/5/07)


I'm a bit of an optimist and I strongly believe that under Moyes we are making some progress. And I do believe finishing fifth or sixth, now I know that we finished fourth the other year, but that was as much down to other teams performing woefully in the league as it was us performing well. Take for instance our form after Gravesen left, we were there to be overtook, just no-one was either good enough or any better than us.

I had a great feeling about the Utd game (prior to it anyway), as I'm sure many of us did, and I haven't been that gutted following a result since Everton's Rooney left the Portugal game injured in Euro 2004. So many bloody 'what ifs?'. Before then I was certain we'd be fifth and definately be making progress. However, as someone mentioned Moyes set the bench mark in his first season with 7th. So while I remain an optimist, I am tinged with pragmatism, and anything less than 6th cannot be considered progress by any stretch of the imagination (even if we have replaced Scott Gemmill with Arteta).
Eddie Harrison, Peterborough  (1/5/07)

Good Football

I am writing about Michael's insistence on seeing us play good or even decent football. In some ways I agree but how do you teach good football? I actually played Sunday League, youth team for Tranmere and amatuer football and all the coaches I trained under never taught us how to play good football. The training I experienced in my youth was individually taught.

If you have a quick winger, you play in the style of having a winger. So in my opinion, It is our players. We do not have someone like Gravesen who could put his foot on the ball and spray passes. Arteta is a ball player who likes to take people on. If you look at all our midfielders, he is the only one who comes near to the sort of player we are looking for.

On Fernandes I think it was wrong for Moyes to question his game and then you have got people like Dom King who works for the Echo who questions Manuel's attitude. He is still young and learning the game but he is very much advanced compared to rest of our midfielders including Arteta. Moyes has never questioned Tim Cahill's game which badly needs inproving or Leon Osman's which needs to step up a gear if he is even going to be a squad player
Connor Rohrer, Toxteth, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

I'm only looking at basics here. Passing the ball to a teammate rather than the opposition. When does that crop up in training? The ability to trap and control a ball in one deft movement.. but I guess that is something you are born with as most players who can't do it never appear to learn. The confidence to take commend of the ball rather than indulge in my pet hate: head temnnis (and I know they do head-tennis in training ? they even manage to injure themselves doing it! The ability to play a ball into the space a few feet ahead of a player. I guess these things are all so simple and obvious that all our opponents know how to difuse such obvious skills, whereas they have simply no answer to the big hoof forward. ? Michael


Michael, I don't like to keep on about this but...

Your last response also warned that the "dumb and dumber" were attempting, for some reason, to "pass off failure as success."

Why are they trying to do this? Which particular failure is it that they are trying to fool us regarding, and what success do they claim has been achieved?

I have to admit to finding this all deeply troubling.
Steve McBride, London Branch  (1/5/07)

I thought I already explained, "pass off mid-table medicrity as success" I therefore find you a bit troubling... but only a bit. What's the point of all this? I wish I knew... — Michael

Give Shandy Andy a go!

Hopefully on Saturday the boys will come out looking to banish the memory of the United game and start at the same frantic pace. Saturday is a must win game for Everton but Portsmouth will also be saying that as they are fighting for Europe.

I would like to see Shandy Andy given a go out wide, at least he can run at people, beat a man (how many other players in the current squad can), whip a good ball in and put teams on the back foot, especially as Osman seems a little out of form. With hopefully AJ fit to partner Vaughan lets give Portsmouth something to worry about, it all too often to me seems like Everton go for the safety first option and start with a team that?s difficult to breakdown.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

D[akfd e4wuf -- that's me spilling coffee all over the keyboard.... What did you just say?!? Shock horror. Safety first... difficult to breakdown... funny, no-one's ever mentioned that before. Now, as for the Shandy Andy joke... Michael

Beats Me

Sorry Michael, I didn't get what you were attempting to say:

"Someone has to maintain standards against the dumb and dumber"

Are you the someone in question? What standards are being maintained exactly, and why does this someone feel the need to maintain them? What is "the dumb and dumber" and why are they attempting (presumably) to lower these 'standards'?

This sounds like an issue of the utmost gravity. Should we be concerned?
Steve McBride, London Branch  (1/5/07)

It was a reference to the dumbing down of Everton to the level where mid-table mediocrity is defined as success. But no, it's hardly an issue of the utmost gravity. You should not be concerned. — Michael

Top ten finish

It's been a long day, I've worked hard reading about sexual solicitation on the internet, I never get out in the sun and have no window.... Nope, I can't find excuses I actually agree with Tony Marsh.

A top-ten finish is not a good enough standard for this Everton team. With the players available to us, the acumen Moyes has shown previously and the positions we've got ourselves into throughout the season, to simply aim for top ten shows a disappointing lack of ambition.

For me, top six should have been our aim at the start of the season and top six should remain our aim with two games to go. Those who read my comments will know I'm not in the "sack Moyes" brigade but I still have ambitions and expectations and want them to be fulfilled.

Debates about performances, style and progress aside, this team is good enough to finish in the top six and I expect it to do so. If it does not then my view on Moyes will shift. Not lurch to knee-jerk calls for the sack but, should things show a similar pattern by January next season, then I will be starting to edge further in that direction.

For now though we are in sixth; I would take that at the end of the season with some definite markers for improvements to be made and I'd accept a sixth place finish as solid if unspectacular progress and consolidation.

On a positive note, for those who haven't done the maths, if we beat Portmouth on Saturday, they can't finish above us. If Reading lose, they can't finish above us (barring a goal difference calamity). Therefore, if results go our way we could easily be in Europe by Saturday evening... Unfortunately, Reading are home to Watford... bugger.
John Holmes, York  (1/5/07)

Reply to Rimmer

Callum you state in your post: "I will settle for having some pride in my team." ? Where exactly is the pride in finishing the season potless by playing what at best is un-imaginative and predictable football?

You also state: "Given the resources and foundations inherited by Moyes, no-one could have done better." Sorry mate, but he has had 5 years to put it right and we are no closer to a trophy than we where when he took over.

I won't go on about early cup exits at the hands of lesser oposition year after year, but after finishing 7th in his first year he was found out to be tactically a one-trick pony.

I also have immense pride in my club, but let's get one thing straight. You play football to win! Not to go out and not be beaten, this is the philosophy he has had since he came to Everton, and it is this philosophy that has also been our failing.
Dave Lynch, Merseyside  (1/5/07)

Summer Signings

If Benfica as rumoured are asking for around £10-£12 million for Fernandes, wouldn?t Everton be better off signing Barton from City for £5.5 million (he has a release clause for that fee)? I know we got knocked back with our approach in January for him but, with his criticism of players and Board at Man City, there seems some unrest there and he has that drive and strength we are missing from our midfield. That would hopefully give us some money to sign Nugent and then maybe someone like Koumas, depending on what Moyes has got to play with.
Ian McDowell, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

An Extra Winners Medal for Phil?

Michael, of course players switching clubs after a lifetime allegiance is nothing new ? but usually professionalism overcomes divided loyalty. That Phil Neville is still emotionally entrenched in Manchester Utd and invested in their success is meaningless for all but two matches every year. Perhaps he should have recused himself, perhaps Moyes shouldn?t have played him. But the fact remains he and his family will be celebrating Manchester United?s title win in a week or so ? a title in part secured by an own goal he scored at his own club?s expense at a crucial moment. That has the appearance of impropriety written all over it.

Perhaps they should strike an extra winners medal for him. Examples as tragic as Neville?s don?t come up very often. There?s a famous story of Denis Law scoring a crucial goal for Manchester City against Manchester United ? one that had dire consequences for his old club. He turned his back on goal, back-heeled the ball and left it to fate to decide whether it went in. Players probably shouldn?t be put in such invidious positions but once they have been put there and they fail catastrophically, there should be consequences for them.

It?s amazing to me that Neville, who showed zero leadership on the field when the chips were down, is being given a free pass when Fernandes, who scored an immaculate goal, is being pilloried for not trying hard enough.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Funny, I thought about the infamous Dennis Law goal when reading your orignal e.mail. My take is it's just part and parcel of football, and has been since transfers were first mooted. Methinks your feelings in this case are a bit stronger because you don't rate Captain Marvel, and I can understand that. — Michael

Europe? I think so!!

Ok firstly I'd like to express my total dissappointment after loosing to the Mancs... but chin up: look forward.

I think we'll finish exactly where we are: 6th. 2-0 vs Pompey and a draw out of Chelski because they'll beat Liverpool tonight and have one eye on the Champions League Final ? and don't forget about the FA Cup final, plus we're good enough to beat anyone with our best side out there.

Okay we messed up big time on Saturday but I think we'll get there and we can all enjoy a European tour next season. COYB.
Mike Cummins, Sussex  (1/5/07)

Isn't part of our current problem due to not having our best side available? Timmy, AJ, Howard. I don't think all of them will be back on Saturday. — Michael

Manuel Fernandes

I really couldn't believe my eyes when I read that David Moyes delivered a sharp rebuke to Manuel Fernandes after the game against Man Utd.

The view has been expressed that he did so in the hope that Benfica will read and maybe adjust their asking price down, but frankly I don't buy that. Unless he gave Manny a very good reason to express, in public, his disappointment at his contribution, I can't help but feel Manny is not going to be much impressed.

I feel, as many of us do, that there will be Managers queueing up to acquire his services in the close season. One who we desperately want on our side is the lad himself. Let's hope that this matter has been blown out of proportion.
Tim Lloyd, Stockport  (1/5/07)

Top 10 Enough

A 3rd Top 10 finish in 5 seasons shows continued improvement. The relegation days are well and truely behind us and now the objective will be to get Everton into Europe as often as possible.

Something I still feel can be gained this season. Victory over Portsmouth and a draw with Chelsea should be enough.
Bryan Budmartin, Aldermaston  (1/5/07)


I never knew that Tony Marsh was such am expert on seamen... Ahem!
Ryan Jones, Preston  (1/5/07)

Oooooo.. I missed that one! Good call, Ryan!!!

Professionalism In Moyes

Just have to say about the way Moyes conducts himself. I find it hard that he would comment on individual player's performeces. Apart from Everton, my other love is the Adelaide Crows. The manager here (or 'coach' coz it's in Aus) gets paid a couple hundered thousand but his profressionalism seems in a differnt league to Moyes. He never blames the ref, he never singles out a player, as it's a team game ? one player can't lose it for you, and he never searches for excuses for a loss ? it's only "We didn't play well enough".

Since he took over, watching a game has gone from cringe-worthy to actually enjoyable. He's made the players accountable and since then there are no bad passes, no ill-timed challenges and more importantly no fucking mistakes. We have a second rate team but because the players don't stupidly give up the ball we constaly finish in the top 4.

I support Moyes but surely as a professional instead of blaming someone he should get out on the track and teach the boys how to use the ball so it doesn't happen next time. Carn the Blues!
Sam Lister, Adeaide, Aus  (1/5/07)

Oh dear... where to begin? No; I can't say a word! — Michael

Changing kits

On the Kit subject, I also remember that we used to keep our home hit for two full seasons with only maybe changing the away shirt after one year.. People used to have a pop at Man United and Liverpool for bringing out so many kits but neither of these two change their home strips after one season. The last time we did this was when we had that Birmingham lookalike one on 2000-2002. Its not as though we are changing sponsors or kit suppliers so it is really only a money making thing that they have tapped into recently.
Tony Shaw, Wales  (1/5/07)

New Arrivals?

Anyone considered who might be worth purchasing in the summer other than the obvious targets? We have all heard about Fernandes possibly making the move permanently, as well as mention of David Nugent. However, with a couple of decent teams going down, maybe it might be worth trying to steal some of their players. e.g. a decent right back?

  • Luke Young at Charlton (Hibbo works hard but doesn't have the quality to warrant a first team place week in week out in my opinion)
  • Kevin Nolan might be on his way out now Big Sam has gone, he would be a good addition to the squad.
  • Depending on West Ham's fate, what about Dean Ashton? He was looking good before the injury, he's an alternative to Nugent.
Obviously we don't know what the transfer kitty is like and we can speculate all we like but just thought it would be interesting to know who people think will fit in at the club and who they would like to see besides the obvious?
Mark James, High Wycombe  (1/5/07)

Oh gawd no! Let me buy you a copy of Footballl Manager instead, please! — Michael

The Power of Positive Thinking

What is going on amongst us Evertonians? It is becoming quite depressing that nearly everyone it seems expects us to miss out on Europe this season. I until recently was exactly the same always expecting the worst case scenario for the Blues whilst wondering why everything always seems to fall nicely for Liverpool. Then speaking to my kopite mates it started to dawn on me! They are always positive, they alwayes expect to win and more often than not they do even when its unlikely or impossible (Champions League 2005)!

On Saturday, when United got their first goal, you could sense that everyone thought we would lose the game and we did. So here is something to try: let's all be positive and use a bit of our "neighbours' arrogance" and ensure we back the team this Saturday and help guarantee European football. I for one am sick of hearing about these great European nights at Anfield, so let's have a great Saturday afternoon at Goodison. We may not have many more there!
Barry Cass, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Taking Positives

I was as gutted as everyone else about the manner of defeat against Man Utd. Let's be honest none of us thought we'd score two against them let alone win! If we'd had Howard, I think we'd have won because he'd have organised the defenders better and would not have made the error that let them back into the game.

The positives I refer to are finding out for sure who can take the team forward from the progress we have made this season. We have to do better than Tony Hibbert at right back, he's a decent squad man but not quite good enough to be first choice. Likewise Leon Osman has qualities but he is not strong enough as shown against both Chelsea & Man Utd, which we lost. Too early to say about Turner. Vaughan looks the real deal to me.

So in the summer I hope David Moyes signs a stronger right back, Fernandes if the price is realistic, another midfielder, and another striker ? hopefully Nugent. Overall we've done well this season and moved forward, David Moyes must now consolidate. I just wish fewer fans would jump to criticise instead of keeping everything in perspective and staying positive.
Dave Roberts, Wirral  (1/5/07)

Talking of staying positive, I'm sorry but I have to take you to task on this negative and presumptive nonsense "none of us thought we'd score two against them let alone win!". I may be Old School, but I still cling to this quaint notion that you go out there and play the game with at least the possibility that you can score goals, and score enough to win. No matter who the opposition. I reject your negative assertion absolutely. — Michael

Out of the woodwork!

Steve McBride's piece entiltled "Glorious Summer" is absoulutely bang on. Influenced largely by ToffeeWeb's editor Michael, who changes sides more often than Les Ferdinand, Nigel Quasie and Nicholas Anelka put together, the cynics are out of the woodwork again.

From last weeks Results, Results, Results to January's "Performance, Performance, Performance" to himself believing that it was him and the other 35,000 people at Goodison on February 21st changed the season and Moyes mangerial expertise... Michael and others have to stay cool and leave it to the professionals!

I'm not trying to slate Michael and others as I agree with some of his/there opinions; however, two defeats against a club fighting for their Premiership survival and a windfall of £40+miliion and arguably the best attacking side in Europe, were never going to be easy.

Moyes has done not bad this year, C+ for me. Lets not lose sense of reality and claim he is a legend; however I certainly wouldn't write him or us off yet either. Let's wait until May 13th before we get the knives out yet.
Charlie Gofton, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

I agree that any post mortem on the season is two weeks too early. Let's hold off on declaring it a success/failure/in-between until we actually have a finishing position to argue about. ? Michael

Moyes on Fernandes and Beattie

Perhaps Mr Moyes is being very shrewd in his relative treatment of Fernandes and Beattie. After all, it makes perfect business sense to talk up an asset one wishes to sell, whilst talking down an asset one wishes to buy.
Paul Quinn, London  (1/5/07)

At the End of the Day

"At the end of the day" I fucking hate that expression but everyone uses it, on television, in the papers, everywhere. And here are a few others I also hate:

  • The jury is still out on Moyes.
  • We are making progress under Moyes.
  • We just need a couple more players to be a good side.
  • It's results that matter ? not how we play.
  • Beattie just lacks decent service.
Every season, the pro-Moyes brigade bring out this same tripe. Yet again we have been treated in the main to a load of garbage at Goodison this season.

Looking at our side, we need a right-back to replace Hibbert, a left-back as Valente is always injured, a defensive midfielder instead of Carsley, and a wide man up front as Osman is awful. That's four... so if Moyes gets his usual two we can still say this time next season that we are two players short of a good side.

I sense that most of the Goodison faithful are getting restless. My neighbour is a Bolton fan and he is pleased Allardyce has gone. "Perhaps Bolton will now be worth watching," was his first comment. Maybe, "at the end of the day" we need a change too.
Mick Wrende, Macclesfield  (1/5/07)

Well, what I hate is this talk about swapping out Moyes for someone else, about who could do any better... it's pointless. David Moyes is the Manager of Everton. Full Stop. That situation is unlikely to change (although I can see him one day dropping a thunderbot of Big Sam proportions and just leaving us cold...).

When the situation does change, we'll have ample time to discuss a replacement.... although such discussion will also be moot becasue the decision will be made by others and our input will be irrelevant. By all means, run the scenarios in Football Manager if that floats your boat. But here in the Real World, David Moyes is the Everton Manager, and he's still learning... at least I hope he is. 'Coz if this is the finished article... we're doomed! — Michael

Another New Kit!!!!

I see on the offical Everton homepage that we are to release yet another new home kit and presumably another away and goalkeeper kit also. What ever happended to the rule where clubs could only relase there new kit every second season? I wrote to Everton regarding this but was just ignored. I got my new (not anymore) home kit at Christmas and now I have little under two months left of wear in it until its outdated. Another thing Umbro: if your going to change our kit then try harder than just changing the collar and adding a few diamonds to the shoulder.
Darren Spencer, Shannon, Ireland  (1/5/07)

These letters always make me smile, but then I'm not one of yer shirt-buying brigade and can afford a wry smirk at the silliness of it all. First off: No complaining! It is a prviledge for you to be able to buy and wear replica shirts. You must not write to the club and complain about it! They'll just ignore you.

Then, think of the revenue stream! Every shirt you buy helps the club to increase turnover; more money means better players, means more success, means happier fans. So the club has to sell more shirts. Simple as. This idea that they would get the kit to last two full seasons fell by the wayside a few years back. They thought bringing out a third kit would do the trick but I just can't imagine very strong sales there...

So, if you are going to buy the shirt, don't begrudge them the money ? instead, look upon it as your little contribution to the future success of Everton... and Get Behind The Team! — Michael

Too much money

Does Moyes even have £12 million to purchase Fernandes? I'm not sure what his transfer budget will be but that's a lot of money.

Don't forget there's the Howard deal to finance and everyone will be demanding Moyes brings in Nugent, how's he going to do all that and still find £12 million for Fernandes?

Maybe the latest comments by Moyes are an attempt to drive down Fernandes's valuation? Either way, he's not worth £12 million and I would rather Nugent be Everton's big summer transfer.
John Cottee, Romford  (1/5/07)

Heads or Tails

Thank you for an excellent reply, Colm. There was not much I could disagree with there, we all know other little pieces of gossip to add to the story. There is no denying we got Rooney for nothing and his sale helped turn the club's finances around quicker than we could have hoped.

Regarding his manipulation by others, I'm not too sure. I know none of the Rooneys went to Oxbridge but they are nobody's fools. Irrespective of the money (that was gonna come anyway) Wayne could not wait to get to Man Utd. Once it was mentioned, he never ever showed anything but enthusiasm to get to Old Trafford. How all the others behaved!! I expect that, even at EFC once a player makes it clear that no matter what, he's off. They have no choice but to get the money, he made it clear he was only going to Man Utd.

Me, as an 18-year-old, wild horses could not have dragged me away from Goodison and anyone who said I would show no respect to my city but kiss the feet of the Mancs, I would probably of chined them. Now, as a 43-year-old, I'd take the £5M a year but as an 18-year-old it was about heart, love and passion. No matter which way the coin falls, Wayne's behaviour has left a bad taste and a broken heart. Onward Evertonians.
Gary Rimmer, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

If you are going to judge the merits of Rooney's move by putting yourself in his position, I just wonder if you can really do it justice without knowing, without actually experiencing everything that was going, on, and without actually being Wayne Rooney himself, with his personal history, background, make-up etc. I certainly couldn't. — Michael

Bar Being Lowered Again

Paul Atress in his latest post claims... most of us agreed a top 10 finish is what we expected. Who are this "we" mate?

The likes of Jim Hourigan, Joe Walsh, Luq Yussef, Myself all expected a lot more, I think you will find. In fact, I don't know any Evertonians who said to me at the start of the season a top 10 will do us lad. It's pathetic to claim most of us agreed to this ridiculous notion. Personally I expected a top 6 finish because after all we are supposed to progressing under Moyes arent we??

How easily you Moyes Apologists drop the baton when it suits you. It was not that long ago you were having a cyber orgasm at the thought of Moyes leading us in to Europe next season. Some of us were not so sure... Now that the reality of what Moyes is really all about is starting to hit home ? ie, the wheels coming off again ? you want to lower your expectations for the man and his team, our club and its fans.

Well its grovelling and snivelling of the highest order if you ask me. You got it wrong: Moyes is a dud and now you want to bail out with this latest nonesense. Is it any wonder we as a club never get anywhere when fans are so easily duped and so easily pleased? For fuck sake man grow a spine and stand up for your beliefs. Don't change them just because it's not going to plan. I reckon you are the type of guy that would push past the women and children to get on the lifeboats once you knew the ship was sinking. Well the SS Moyesitainia is well and truely holed below the water line and is sinking fast. No amount of time in dry dock or change of ship's crew can save her as the Captain is Jonah.

Face up to the fact that your Skipper is about to scuttle the ship yet again and send all your dreams and aspirations down to Davey Jones's locker. The sharks are circling they smell blood... and, as usual, the rats desert the sinking ship.
Tony Marsh, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Er.. that's about five seafaring analogies too many there, Tony!

Get real

I am getting bored of the same negativity day after day on this great site. A lot of the posters on here are so score-reactive and never seem to see the bigger picture or remember the miserable past. Ok, so we lost on Saturday in a way which was nothing short of a debacle but let's not forget that at home we've been a match for all of the top 8 teams if not beaten them. I can't remember when we've realisticly competed at this level and the reason for this is a massive increase in quality of squad members from previous years.

Apart from the top 4, none of the rest of the clubs have the funds to buy top-notch players and therefore don't play the style of football they do. Look at the facts big money buys your Ronaldos, Henrys, Essiens, Berbatovs etc. We don't have these funds available so have to battle it out with the rest and hope for value miracles a couple of which we have picked up. This isn't Moyes fault just a fact of life ? I would love a Ferrari but I can't afford it so i have to have the best I can afford its the same with EFC. So for heavens sake get behind the team for the most important home game in years and support the team we are supposed to love!
Shaun Cook, Bedford  (1/5/07)

Me too. I'm getting bored of the same old "Big Picture" and "Get Real" bollocks about us not having lots of money, and therefore having to put up with watching highly paid professionals play hoof-ball rather than try to retain possession just a little. Is it really that hard to do? We supposedly have the best squad in donkey's years, yet people keep telling us we can't expect them to play proper joined-up football.

Some of us (and most importantly, David Moyes himself) accept the constraints of our financial situation, and still want to see us do well against the big boys. Go read what Moyes has said on the topic. He doesn't take this defeatist attitude that we can't take the game to them: He's proved we can... just not consistently.

Oh, and as for being score-sensitive... well I guess you must have missed the lengthy discussion we had on here recently that rammed home the fact "It's results that count". Are you telling us now we can't even react to a really bad result? — Michael


This barrage of criticism aimed at Fernandes is unjust. He has just missed 5 games through injury & sickness. He is then thrown back into the starting 11 at left midfield, even though he's a central midfielder. I thought he had a decent game against aguably the best team in the country, if not Europe at the moment. To criticise him after one average game, which produced a wonder goal is out of order.

When has Osman ever been critised? I have never read or heard Moyes criticise Osman despite him being the weak link in our team, and playing badly week after week. We should all get behind Manny as he has the making of a very good player and Everton should do all they can to keep him.
Andy Unsworth, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Looking forward with relish

As a blue in the north east, I read with interest the comments of my fellow supporters. I am in agreement with all who say that Saturday's game is do or die. Also, I believe that the squad is carrying players who appear to crumble when faced with a tough test. However, the likes of Osman still deserve to hold their heads high at the end of the season. European football or not, we are moving in the right direction.

Of course it will hurt if we don't make Europe, but we are a damn sight better-off than clubs such as Newcastle United. It seems the whingers complain about the possibility of missing out by one league place. That's better than fininshing 16th ? something we all remember too well. Have some belief and relish the build up to the weekend. I'm sure Moyes and all those involved in the game will be. Negative vibes from the Goodison faithful will bounce around the ground and hang like a rain cloud.

Instead, the team Moyes picks should feel spurred on by a sell-out crowd willing them on. Yes, we've messed up results - three points lost against West Ham recently - but so do most teams. I'm looking forward to the Portsmouth game ? let's get a win and cross our fingers.
Alex Taylor, Newcastle Upon Tyne  (1/5/07)


You may get the impression that I might be fearing the worst from this question but it isn't the case. I still feel we can get into Europe anyway but here goes... Isn't the Intertoto now only played against one team? If that is the case then I doubt it would affect our season too dramatically (as some seem to think). Two games (home & away) with the prospect of Europe at the end can't possibly be bad can it? Ok, sorry that was two questions but you get the idea!
Tom Emanuel, Oxford  (1/5/07)

Yes, that's exactly why Moyes and Everton have put their name in the hat this year. We enter at the third round with a two-legged tie against a team from Poland, Lithuania, or Wales. And a win overall will get us into the Uefa Cup... qualifying round. Both are "in Europe" although, with a lot of work to do to make amends after the previous debacle, I can't imagine anyone will claim it is Europe proper, until we reach the group stages. — Michael

Re : Over Reaction

"Boring, boring ,boring. Don't you think we've heard it all before a thousand times?"

Why do you think that is Michael? Perhaps it is because it is what a lot of supporters think. You haven't got a veto on what's worth saying.

You know what progress is? It is be able to give a bit of stick back to all the Red's that surround me in everyday life. It is being able to have pride in my team again. It is not being the butt of every other Premiership team's jokes.

We have made progress because of the other teams respect us, we have a best squad in 10 years, we have a Uefa Cup spot resting in our own hands and because Ste Repeater and I and many other think we have.

I don't give a fuzzy duck if we are inconsistent or have a "rollercoster" season. At least there are highlights and performances and quality in patches. I am enjoying this season. I haven't anything to moan about because with the resources and foundations inherited by Moyes, I firmly believe no-one could have done better.

"understand what could have been achieved this season with better management of the squad Moyes has assembled"

Oh please educate us. In your hypothetical world of what could have happened. Which more able manager would have come to Everton with the meagre resources we had? Is it ludicrous to think the only reason we have more resources now is because of Moyes?

"7th in his first full season, which set the benchmark."

Who says? Why is 7th a benchmark exactly? We are better than we were 5 years ago - whether that means we should be one of the best 7 teams in the country is totally arbitrary. I would like us to win the treble every year but I will settle with having some pride in my team.

Where we are and where we should be will never be the same. I am sure Chelsea fans aren't content with their lot even though they could win the Quadruple still.

You can disagree all you like Michael but it doesn't make Ste Repeater's opinion or anyone's else boring, boring, boring.
Callum Rimmer, Waterloo  (1/5/07)

I'd just like to see the Moyes apologists come up with something a bit more original than "five years ago, we were relegation candidates" and the multiple variations thereof. Five years ago, we finished 7th ? under Moyes, in his first full season. Moyes is still our manager, which is why that forms a far more meaningful benchmark to me than these tedious comparisons to the awful regimes that preceeded him (Joe Royle apart).

For me, this season was really the first when he had finally established "his" sqaud, and he's done a good job with that. But coaching them to play defensive football has prevented us from closing out games, much to our cost. And when all the defensive training he emphasises falls apart at the seams, we really look simply awful. If that's something you have enjoyed watching, so be it. Not me.

As for where we finish in the league, there are those who take your view; and there are those who take the view expressed below, that it is a product of 38 games played, and the table never lies. — Michael

Manny & The Blues

Firstly I agree with the comments that Moyes public comments could have been made to drive down the price. After that goal, the Sky commentator said Manny might be out of our league. If Moyes meant what he said then he faces the wrath of our fans because Manny is much better than Osman, and most of the other Everton team.

All players need criticism; however, to do it in public, there needs to be some other reason. I am sure Moyes has told Manny the real reasons he made the criticism public and I wouldn't be suprised to see Manny sign in the summer for much less than this £12 million being banded about. One thing is for sure: the Everton team need to play like it's a Cup Final on Saturday because it is.

If we win we make Europe, if we lose then we are out of it. Its a simple as that and they need to put in their best performance of the season. I'm sure they will be nervous and I think we have had a mentally weak team for many years now. This is something Moyes needs to sort out in his future purchases of players.

I think Osman, Hibbert, Turner, Wright, Neville, Beattie, and our flying dutchman are all mentally weak players who fold under pressure. None of them need be in the team on Saturday because it's a game we can't afford to loose. If we do lose then the players only have themselves to blame because they threw it all away. Oh and I would have Lee Carsley as my captain on Saturday!!
Paul Coleman, Kettering  (1/5/07)

Come on, anyone who seriously suggests David Moyes is going to drop Captain Marvel really is talking rubbish. — Michael

Chelsea Lying Down

I don't think we should be depending on or expecting Chelsea to lie down and make it easy for us on the last day. Cast your mind back to the dark days of near relegation. When we needed Chelsea to do something against Bolton and Sheffield to ensure we stayed up they had nothing to play for but they still displayed ultimate professionalism and won both games.
Eddy Elton, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Infectious Negativity

I just can't believe the negative outbursts that appear here day after day. Negativity seems to be spreading. It wouldn't be so bad, but most of the negativity surrounds potential events: a potential move to Kirkby, a potential failure to acheive European football, a potential lack of transfer funds. And the most annoying thing is that these opinions are always presented as fact.

It makes my blood boil when people seem to be more eager to say 'Well if you look back, I actually said this would go wrong...'. It makes you seem more pleased that you were right than anything else.

The interpretations of Moyes's comments about Fernandes have been very inventive to say the least. Moyes was asked a question ABOUT Fernandes. He answered that the goal was great but a better all round performance was needed. He didn't just come out and start slating Fernandes unprompted as many of you seem to suggest. Moyes' comments were accurate, you will know this if you watched the game. It seems that many of you are just very easily taken in by a few flicks and skills. So am I, in fairness, but you can't ignore the rest of his game.

Ronaldo was criticised in his first season at United for only being able to do the flicks and skills but after some coaching and work on his all-round game look at him now. I really hope we sign Fernandes but to try and take everything Moyes says to suggest something negative will happen is just daft and frequently desperate.

I feel I must also comment on Michael's assertion that 'we will be lucky to get Europe now'. No we won't. It is in our own hands. There is no luck needed. If we do our job we cannot possibly miss out. People keep posting their versions of the Premiership predictor and it's boring. You don't know what's going to happen more than anyone else so leave it.

Luq Yussef's amazing 'Moyes and Neville Out' tirade also has to be singled out. Don't know if you've heard the phrase 'pissing against the wind' Luq, but the chances of Moyes and Neville exiting are non-existant. Kenwright has blind faith in Moyes and similarly Moyes does in Neville. I can't complain because I think both Moyes and Neville are doing a great job but to insist on their removal with two games of a season left is just plain ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm so far immune to the negativitis and hope I remain so. I'll criticise when bad things happen, not before they've been given a chance.
Sean Rothwell, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Moyes on Fernandes

Moyes has got it spot on. The lad has great skill and vision but no engine. I know he was playing out of position on Saturday to make way for Captain Marvel but he needs to up his work rate for the benefit of the team.

I remember we all used to rave over the likes of Duncan McKenzie when he'd have his ten minute spell of genius, what did we win? Nothing.

So I agree with Moyes 100%.
Colin Malone, Wirral  (1/5/07)

Glorious Summer

Oh no. Michael's back with his blue boxes of doom and damnation again.

After a couple of defeats, he's once again brave enough to start expressing his anti-Moyes sentiments. Safe in the knowledge that he'll be backed up by the usual malcontents, buoyed up by the first back-to-back defeats in the season. Well congratulations lads! We lost. Hurray! You were right all along.

Never mind the fact that we lost against currently the best team in Europe! Never mind the fact that the team is minus its two top scorers. Just ignore the fact that we were in a deserved 2-0 lead until our stand-in 19-year-old striker had to go off after he'd ran his heart out, and our inexperienced keeper handed the opposition a goal, and our should-have-known-better captain smashed the ball into his own net. Oh no ? none of that had the slightest bearing ? it was all Moyes' fault.

And don't give me any of that tired old 'could be better' bollocks. Yes, we all could be better. This website could certainly be better. The fact is you're only happy in other people's misery.

Unfortunately, an opportunity to say 'I told you so,' is the best some poor inadequates can hope for in life.
Steve McBride, London, Branch  (1/5/07)

You'd better believe it, Stevie. Someone has to maintain standards agianst the dumb and dumber who are happy to dumb us down and pass off failure as success. It doesn't wash with me, sorry. — Michael

No chance of Uefa Cup

We're gonna blow this. Honestly. Intertoto Cup here we come and that's only IF we beat Portsmouth. It will give us a maximum of three more points this season and then take a look at the others' fixture lists ? everyone of them a gimme.

The scenario of beating Portsmouth and still missing out on Uefa Cup is the most likely. Fail to beat Porsmouth and it won't even be the Intertoto.

Good old Everton.
Jon Sellick, Crosby  (1/5/07)

Finishing Places

After studying the league tables, who each team have to play in the final couple of games of the season, I suspect we may even finish about 9th.

I come up with this by the fact that our beloved team, in recent seasons, have notoriously struggled to come into real form toward the end of the season. I suspect that we may not get anymore points, given we still have to play Chelski, and Pompey, both of whom on paper (certainly Chelski) have stronger squads.

Given the small squad Moyes has to play with, does that fact come into play at the end of the season, tired legs, and no alternatives to put in the side to freshen it up. This could explain our miserable form at the end of the last 5 seasons or so... apart from one where we managed a fantastic 4th!
Mark Hill, Bradford  (1/5/07)

Even in 04-05, we lost three of the last four and got only 4 pts. Three points is our lowest haul from the last five games under Moyes. — Michael

In Reply to Jim Hourigan

Quote "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." Unquote..

In two games time we will find out the position we deserve, after all the disputed points droped, disputed points gained, penalties for and against etc etc. The league table does not lie, the position we end up is exactly what we deserve.

Why do fans back Moyes? Because, rightly or wrongly, we cannot see looking at the present situtation the club finds itself, on the back of all the history it has, how any of the other managers often put forward, would have done better. The club is exactly where it is on the basis of everything that has gone before, not just the last match.

I know there are those of you who think that maybe if this had happened here, or if so-and-so was in charge we would now be in a title chase. I personally cannot see it, I think rebuilding will still take time for that.

But the simple truth is, we are exactly where we are, is it progress? I would say so, not as fast as some would like but in the scheme of things it still is... Have we gone backwards under Moyes. My simple answer to this is no... Will Moyes take us to the dizy heights of the top4? My simple answer is I don't know.

Can I think of any other man who could do that as quickly as certain fans would like... No...

As for being told to live in the present, I think I do, not some "alternative fantasy present" which doesn't do so well when reality hits home. Just the normal one.
Dave Turner, Edinburgh, Scotland  (1/5/07)

Jim Hourigan

Jim, I'm afraid you're well off the mark with your ridiculous Bullet Point predictions (do you really believe they will come true?). Since when did the teams around us become more consistent than us? Come on, get a grip.

If we beat Portsmouth on Saturday, we will finish top seven. So let's get behind the team and ensure we get the 3 points. KEIOC.
Michael Johnson, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

So was the failure to get three points on Saturday down to the fans NOT being behind the team?!? — Michael

Vicious Circle

Nobody forgets the Stretford scum. We all know Kenwright done some dodgy dealings. But the fact remains, his naïve youth should have been a factor in stubborningly wanting to remain a Blue! Against all advice!

He has showed no remorse, from the tail end of his last season with us, right up until today. The vicious circle is set in motion now, and nature's law means it will remain forever so. We dislike him, and he dislikes us.

I don't know if there is such a precedent on such a dramatic scale as the Rooney saga with any other club!
Bob Muldoon, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Re Dominic Fitzpatrick and Rooney

I've got to agree with Dominic's point, if we ignore Rooney his impact may well be negligable against us ? worth a shot surely?

Failing that a sliding tackle that breaks his leg would do either ? we could get Neville to do it, then he'd be sent off and couldn't score any more own goals in important games....
Declan Critchley, Dublin, Ireland  (1/5/07)

Re: Nick Harrison

Well said, Nick Harrison. Many posters seem to make the presumption that what gets told to the media is exactly what gets told in the dressing room. As far as I am concerned, most managers use the media as a manipulative tool. Mourinho uses it to draw attention away from his team to himself. Maybe Moyes is using it to knock Manny's price down (or bumping Beattie's price up).

Or for that matter different players have different personalities and maybe Moyes feels to get the best out of Manny, he requires an extra push in the media. Bottom line is, I dont know what the truth is but neither do the rest of us (unless we have a poster who is an insider of the club).
Nigel Gregson, Sydney,Australia  (1/5/07)

Ah ha! I knew it!! Step forward, Richard Dodd!!!

On Fernandes and Howard

Manuel Fernandes is no more vital to the future of Everton than was Ferrari a year ago. I have no doubt that if David Moyes feels he can find more value for money in a midfielder elsewhere he will come up with the goods. His proven brilliance at unearthing the Cahills and the Lescotts should be assurance to us all that the man knows where to look. At £12M, Fernandes would wipe out the entire transfer budget and that just makes no sense at all.

As far as Tim Howard is concerned, Premier League regulations kept him out of Saturday`s game, not any agreement with Ferguson although I do agree that it was a great pity that cash flow considerations prevented his signing being completed in the January window. If Everton are to miss out on Europe it may prove to have been penny-wise and pound-foolish. But that`s with the benefit of hindsight, don`t forget!
Richard Dodd, Formby  (1/5/07)

Interesting, Richard. That piece of information about cashflow in January is nowhere to be found in the public domain... so just what is your relationship with the Club heirarchy? — Michael

Can you hear the drums Fernandes?

While I can't disagree with Moyes about Fernandes's performance on Saturday, I can't believe that he'd single him out for criticism, unless of course he was asked a direct question about that player in particular. But even then, it doesn't match what Moyes normally does when asked to comment on a player, ie, basically ignore the question or give a partial nod to an impressive performance and instead waffle on about the team.

His defence of Beattie is baffling, even taking into account trying to get as much money for him as possible. His refusal to mention Neville in terms of letting the team down on Saturday is equally astounding in my book. I've calmed down since and I'm not leading a witch-hunt against T-Bag (although I did like seeing that he's on Neil Warnock's wishlist for next season!), but he was our captain and I didn't see an ounce of leadership in him on Saturday, and if Moyes is going to single out Turner and Fernandes, why not mention Neville's og? Or Beattie's non-impact?

I hate to say it but it definitely looks like he's already building up the excuses for not signing Manny on a full time deal at the end of the season ? I wonder would he have said anything about him if he hadn't scored THAT goal?
Robin Byrne, Dublin, Ireland  (1/5/07)

Re: Luq Yussef

I think one of the problems with this Fernandes quote, and others like it, is it's divorced from any context and it's also being overstated. To suggest he was given a public bollocking is rather exaggerated. Presumably in response to a question about Fernandes's performance in particular Moyes simply said he liked the goal but wanted more from his all round game. It's hardly a dressing-down. It's no secret that Moyes places workrate as one of the key tenets of football. You can agree or disagree with that but it's what our team is built on and if Fernandes is going to sign then he will be expected to work a bit harder and he certainly has it in the tank.

What was Moyes's alternative in the interview? Later on, he criticises Turner and the team as a whole for their capitulation. Had he responded to questions regarding Fernandes saying he was a class apart that would have suggested to the squad and Fernandes that he was blame-free in the defeat (which he wasn't, the general agreement seems to be he didn't work hard enough). So personally I think the mild rebuke Moyes gave was appropriate to the context.

I agree it's frustrating that the under-performers such as Neville, Osman and Beattie (I exclude Hibbert because I still think he's a good defender if not footballer, just mercilessly targetted by Rooney on Saturday on a bad day for him). I maintain, however, that Fernandes is young and what Moyes is asking him to improve is certainly doable. Whereas, satisfying for the fans as it may be, public flogging of players who try hard but simply don't have the talent will achieve little.

I say public flogging because of course this is the lack of context I refer to. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors. We don't know which players received a private dressing-down for their performances. It would be nice if Moyes, Kenwright and the players always spoke fully and extensively on their true views but that's simply not realistic.

I do agree with you, Luq, that there are questions about the Rooney transfer, particularly what's happened to the money since, and FSF was a questionable incident. But the crazy conspiracies I refer to are the kind that were propogated in the last transfer window. Many, many people on these boards hatched a bizarre theory that the Fernandes loan and it's protracted negotiations were simply a smokescreen to make it look like the club were doing something when in fact they were sitting on their arse with no money. Whilst the management were in fact working to the last minute to get the transfer through, fans here accused them of deliberately trying not to sign players. Of course if we were Liverpool we could have just done it after the window closed but we're not.

It's this kind of nonsense I refer to and I maintain that any suggestion that Moyes's quote was part of a PR campaign to not sign Fernandes is pure fabrication which ToffeeWeb is helping to pass-off as fact with it's bi-lines to stories. As for the evidence you request, well the above is one example, another example is when Moyes released Ferrari he said he had other things in the pipeline and lo and behold the Lescott transfer ground into gear a couple of days later.

Other instances include the clutch of players who came out after the transfer window admitting Everton had approached them backing up Moyes claims he was exploring every avenue. There are certainly incidences when things have been spun by the club but in general I think there's excessive suspicion and paranoia surrounding their public statements.

As for Ferrari, I simply don't accept that Moyes did not make a straightforward decision that he wasn't right for the club. For me, there is a player that strange questions hang over. If he was so good why did Roma want rid of him so much? If he was so desperate to play in English football why did no other club want him even on loan? Why did his injuries always seem to take so long to heal? As it is we saw little of him, those inside the club saw far more. I would say without a shadow of a doubt that Lescott is a better signing and I may be wrong on this one, but as I understood it, Roma weren't interested in a second season-long loan.

All-in-all I think there's not much evidence of real conspiracies of the kind you refer to. Financial ones perhaps but ones involving extensive PR campaigns to lay the ground for non-signings I think are purely dreamed up on websites such as this.

I'm not going to enter the Moyes out debate this time. I think Michael summed it up when he replied to someone he disagreed with saying "boring boring boring". The debate was to be had in the weeks following the Spurs game and the semblance of change that followed. Positions now are simply entrenched. Some want him out, some want him in, some want him to stay but change, others just resent him for being ginger. It probably says all that needs to be said on the subject that the last group have the most compelling and indisputable case.
John Holmes, York  (1/5/07)

Top Player? Top Price?

It strikes me what Moyes is doing, aside from publicly declaring Fernandes overall performance must improve, is that he's also positioning the clubs negotiation stance prior to close season. Fernandes has plenty to do yet before being the finished article. If Fernandes's agents want a top price we should expect a top player. This was one of his chances to shine against a the league leaders; great goal apart, he didn't. Where do you draw the line with paying for potential?
Andrew Gilbert, Manchester  (1/5/07)

Lies, its all LIES!

Christ there's some negative paranoia on here sometimes! The best EFC website for sure but sometimes the letters beg belief!

Why wasn't Howard signed during January and whose fault was it? Man Utd's. They wouldn't put the deal through until February knowing we had to play them again, Howard was our number one so take him out the equation.

Moyes said 'Davies isn't going to Fulham', why? To try and drive the price up a bit, see if you can get a few more quid out of Fulham.

'If we finish 7th again then it's no more progression than his first season in charge'. Please. Look at the squad, look at the placings, look at some of the performances etc. It IS progression.

It seems to me that the only people who don't see progression (albeit baby step progression) with Moyes are the people who, respectfully, remember the eighties. I don't, I was just a kid so my main memories are of the awful 90s. We ALL want Everton to be top four and we ALL have done since Kendall Mk II but no manager since and including Mk II has come anywhere near as close as Moyes is.

In fact, I'll lay down the gauntlet now and ask anybody to name someone whos taken a team from outside the big 4 and taken such great strides they're genuinely treated as threat to the premiership title within 5 years of management.
Ben Houghton, Reading  (1/5/07)

Well I remember those 80s and also those 70s and I'd be lying if I said I remembered much about the 60s. We have made progress under Moyes, of that I have absolutely no doubt, but it's incredibly frustrating, knowing we can be doing better, with the squad at his disposal. I've seen some good football this season and some God damn awful football. Consistently inconsistent, that's Everton! ? Colm

We Can Still Do It

It will be sad if Everton miss out on Europe but at the start of the season most of us agreed a Top 10 finish is what we expected. That's been delivered. Complaining about Moyes this season is like expecting a man to climb half a mountain and then complaining when he narrowly misses the summit.
Paul Atress, Liverpool  (1/5/07)

Speak for yerself. He could and should have done so much better than he did, and he'd be the first to admit it. — Michael

Fernandes, Neville, My Uncle Tom etc and Moyes

I'm trying to bite my lip before launching in to expletives about some of the comments I've read since the Man Utd game. I wonder what would have been the comments about the same players had Turner not dropped the ball exactly when he did, letting the enemy in and putting us psychologically in the "Oh crap, here we go again!" mode. Probably, there would be unanimous cries of "heroes", praise for Fernandes's brilliant goal, Neville's cool professionalism and Moyes's great coaching.

I watched the game live on Fox from here in Australia and OK, we pressed the self-destruct button and I was really peed off, but give it a rest guys, get your brains back in yer bonces and really support your team.

We've come a long way and I'm sure we're pleased with that. We want more, of course. Oh, as for Uncle Tom, a great Evertonian... maybe we'll leave him to RIP.

Up and at 'em! Let's go beat Portsmouth and Chelsea.
Bob Parrington, Adelaide, Australia  (1/5/07)

Oh give it a rest yerself. This is a mailbag for exchanging views on the match and all things Everton... although I do get a bit bored of reading the same stuff people have already said. — Michael


I was a little startled at Moyes's criticism of Fernandes but maybe there's an ulterior motive. The world's just seen Manny hit a screamer against the will-be Champions. Maybe to ward off bids and the like Moyes is trying to play things down a bit. Perhaps not. Some players need motivation from different techniques and I guess only Moyes and the people around Manny will know what motivates him.
Nick Harrison, Liverpool  (1/5/07)


Luq Yussef - How can you possibly be so negative towards Moyes? What a ridiculous over-reaction to losing to possibly the best team in Europe.

The club is in the best shape it has been for years. The team is the 6th best team in the league, not only in league placing, but realistically in terms of players we have playing for us. There are only Tottenham and the Boring 4 that I would swap our squad with.

Moyes has done this, inheriting Walter's ageing cronies, without huge financial backing of the sort Newcastle and the aforementioned teams have had. Give him a break and realise that what we have is good and that we are moving forward. As for your comment about Fernandes, I agree completely with Moyes. He has bags of potential, but, other than a great goal on Saturday and a some lovely touches in various games, there is nothing to suggest he is worth the massive price tag being quoted. I think the majority of fans would agree that for £12M we could improve the team a lot more with three quality acquisitions. I doubt we even have £12M to spend!

One final point - Phil Neville. An agent?? Are you joking? This guy's attitude is first rate, he works his arse off for the team and he tries his hardest every game. He was genuinely upset by what happened on Saturday, you only had to look at him post-atch to realise that. He is not the most technically gifted player we have at the club but I am glad he is there and I think he is a great captain. Get off his and Moyes'sback.

I think you and most ToffeeWeb posters have to take a reality check and realise where we were when Moyes took over and where we are now. Progress has and is happening, just enjoy it and stop moaning.
Ste Repeater, Ormskirk  (1/5/07)

Boring, boring ,boring. Don't you think we've heard it all before a thousand times? The reason none of what you say matters a jot is that it is ancient history. Try moving yourself into the present, instead of living five years in the past, and understand what could have been achieved this season with better management of the squad Moyes has assembled. This season under Moyes has become a microcosm of the previous five years under him, a roller coaster at best, with lack of consistency and a failure to capitalize on good progress made being the enduring themes of his management ? along with some of the most dreadful football imaginable. Bouncing up and down the league is hardly progress within Moyes's tenure. Remember, we finished 7th in his first full season, which set the benchmark. Looks very much like we'll be very lucky to finish seventh or above this season. — Michael

Is he worth it? I say no

I saw the United debacle on Sky then a bit later my own recording of it and later still I had a third look. The second viewing confirmed my earlier opinion that Turner was culpable not just for the first goal but also the second plus a number of other errors that created confusion among his team mates. Communication between him and his co defenders was so lacking I wondered if they had even trained together.

Moyes's words about Fernandes jogged my memory and echoed a vague impression that, marvellous goal apart, he had contributed very little to the team effort. My third viewing confirmed that impression and showed he was missing in action for most of the game.

Puny little Osman, a player I cannot stand, put in more challenges, attempted more passes, had a far higher work rate and generally put himself about far more than Fernandes. The proposition that Manuel is only 20 and will get better is not in question; what Moyes correctly criticised was his effort. At 20 years of age, that part of his game should not be in any doubt. Unless Fernandes shows a far higher work rate, he is not worth anywhere near 12 million quid.
Dick Fearon, West Australia  (1/5/07)

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