One year ago this week, I sat down and punched out the first part of an article with this title in response to the sea of negativity that was swilling around our website then. It seems that Part 2 is necessary to keep our True Blue Suicide rate manageable as the new season looms up in six days time. here is plenty to be positive about too.
Last August we had eight positions locked down by quality players and we would go on to add Saha and Fellaini in the weeks ahead — not to mention Nash — particularly important because he lessens the scary threat of ever having to play Turner in goal again.
This time I believe we have nine quality players set to take their first team places and to these you can add Jo as cover for Saha not to mention our three long-term wounded stars — Jagielka , our best defender last season; Arteta — our main creative genius in centre midfield; and Yakubu, our main striker.
On the positive side that, gives us 13 players who, if/when fit, could be picked for any game we play this season — even if we do not add a single inward transfer between now and the closing of the window.
Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Cahill, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Saha and Jo are the ten which does not even take into account one of the most promising England players of his generation Jack Rodwell.
On the negative side general comment has our right side much weaker than the very strong left with Hibbert and Osman regularly coming in for savage criticism from various Evertonians.
How correct or even fair this is can, and no doubt will be argued but it is worth pointing out that the man who selects the team each week gave both of these players salary increases and long term contracts that have both at Goodison for at least another three years so David Moyes clearly has more faith in the abilities of both men than some of the fans.
Surely we knew five years ago when Wayne Rooney was sold that Premier Championships were hardly on the cards in Everton's future and right now Chelsea and Man U are well out in front of the rest of us in playing and financial terms while the 'second tier' of Man City , Arsenal and Liverpool will probably fight it out for the other two Champions league places.
Can we get ahead of a fading Arsenal or free spending City this time ?- we might know better after we meet both teams early in the new season but at worst we should be looking at another top six place and that would complete six years when we have finished fourth , fifth twice , sixth once and whatever we manage this time.
So we are stronger than last season - far stronger already - and after Christmas when Arteta , Jagielka and maybe even Yakubu are ready to join the fray , we look set to have a higher December to May points total in 2010 just as we had in 2009.
Again the bench is a young one with Gosling and Rodwell getting more playing time and young Jose Baxter maturing well.
Our young men can be used to good effect if we do qualify for the league section in the Europa and the two young Americans plus Coleman, Garbutt, Mustafi and Agard can look forward to some steep learning curve exercise.
James Wallace? — he just might be getting a regular 30 minutes in most Premier games by then.
Wallow in gloom if you like guys or, like last year, ask me what I've been smoking (same answer — nothing- but at my age I've seen a lot of seasons come and go and they are never to be judged on a crap pre...season or a poor first two Premier games) but I really do feel that we will be fine - a thought that is confirmed by looking at the sides that finished behind us last season.
Villa without Barry; Spurs clueless as ever... and even a Manchester City team that big old David Weir scored a winner against this week — is anybody around Goodison really scared of these sides over a season ?
Grant me just one wish for our squad and it would be a fast , young , tough right winger with an eye for goals but just about every top side in Europe wants one of these and Malouda is out of our price range.
We have a fine squad and before August is through it could be even better.
Now smile and enjoy 2009-10.
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1 Posted 10/08/2009 at 06:33:02
Just hang on to Lescott: upwards and onwards!
TY for the sunshine Glen. Although living in Florida, we’ve got enough of it to keep anyone in a fine mood and cheery. But nontheless, I concur.
2 Posted 10/08/2009 at 07:41:49
Any sensible folk learn from mistakes but Everton have failed to strengthen or even increase squad size with players — I don’t mean no-marks, I don’t mean reserve players, and I certainly don’t mean kids who are for future teams. BK has us shopping in the bins now, not even Lidl or Netto.
I just don’t do burying my head in the sand and ignoring the bleeding obvious, not having shelled out for another season ticket to some lying bastard again.
3 Posted 10/08/2009 at 07:56:36
Reading the negative drivel these past 3 months was just like reading last years, did those at ToffeeWeb Towers send the wrong info to their web hosting company?
4 Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:14:03
Idoubt that anyone comes on here and moans for the sake of it ,some people are just more realistic than others.
5 Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:21:58
As I’ve said before I don’t think we’re a million miles away from leapfroggong Arsenal or winning a cup but, we need more players who can come in and strengthen our first 11 and not just make up the numbers. I’m all for these young lads getting a chance, but only when the time is right.
Garbutt and Bidwell have both represented England in their respective age groups but they’re not ready to come in for an injured Baines in the Premier league. I think we play 5 games by the end of the month!
2 or 3 quality players every summer at the right age is what we need. DM knows this but getting the money is, and will continue to be our problem.
6 Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:55:12
7 Posted 10/08/2009 at 09:35:32
8 Posted 10/08/2009 at 09:36:12
I’d love to know how you come to this conclusion. Players out that weren’t out at the start of last season, still got Neville and Cahill in central midfield, we have got rid of our cover for various positions....
Can’t agree with the above assertion in the slightest.
9 Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:30:14
10 Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:48:53
At the back is where they are short. They had Luke Young a right back playing left back last season and at times Reo coker at right back.
Heskey and Carew also pick up a lot of injuries and they’re squad is a similar size to our own.
Difference is I suppose is that MON has the money to go and sign several players for decent fees whereas we may not.
I would love to see somebody like Ashley Young on our right hand side this season, wishful thinking however.
11 Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:38:36
Seriously, I am glad that a positive article has been published and there seem to be quite a few "glass half-full" ToffeeWebbers !
To all those who counter the positivity by saying "Fine, the starting XI is very good, but what happens when we get hit with injuries?" — the same thing that happens to other teams. Where would Liverpool be if Gerrard and Torres got injured? What would happen to ManU, if in addition to their existing injuries (Vidic, Nani, Neville), Rooney were to damage his cruciate ligament? Similarly, for Chelsea — Drogba, Lampard, Terry?
You can never be the same team, when injuries happen to key personnel. In my opinion, if we get a little lucky with injuries, and Moyes is able to inject some self-belief into the squad, we can end up having a shot at the Top 4.
12 Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:05:34
13 Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:07:26
You mentioned after Xmas about the cavalry coming back well we will need more than that with the African Nations Cup taking a good few of our squad. Just look at our bench the other night, we have a good first eleven but squad wise it’s shocking, an injury or two and we are goosed and stuck with grinding out results, we need some width and flair and we are going to have the usual problems playing Osman wide as he is not a wide player.
It’s just so annoying to see as we are so close to that top four and yet, year after year, we fail to grasp the opportunity and end up playing catch-up.
14 Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:23:54
We desperately need more width and creativity. Osman scored a few important goals last season but he should be a squad player, not starting on the right.
We have come close to winning a trophy and breaking the top 4 and this is why people are frustrated now, as they can see we are only a couple of quality additions away from making that extra step.
15 Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:32:09
Osman has been played on the right, which is not his best position. When Moyes has played him in a central role he generally has a better game. Over the season he was our most consistent player after Jags. Ossie has even pitched in with some vital goals.
Hibbert on the other hand scares the life out of me with rash challenges. His distribution is quite often poor, playing hoofball as a norm, which just frustrates the hell out of me, when he ignores the easier obvious square ball.
16 Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:53:40
By all accounts, barring some Spurs-like food poisoning episode, we can’t possibly field an inferior team to that which started against Blackburn last season. A starting eleven that had on dislay no less than 7 defenders and a bench with zero Premier League games between them, other than Turner who would probably prefer to forget that experience. So we are clearly stronger but it's not by a great margin, let's hope it's enough to get something against Arsenal and into the Europa League places.
17 Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:21:07
18 Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:15:24
The main issues are that the team has not improved since the end of last season and that is what needs to be improved. Hibbert and Moyes particularly were taught a number of lessons in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea and yet it would appear little has been learned or remembered.
We will get by without new signings and 5th / 6th spot can be retained; however, it will be an extremely tough ask without new signings. With new signings — right back and right winger particularly — 5th and maybe 4th is achievable.
Man City will take a while to get up to speed and may even not be together for this season — one of the very reasons I believe Lescott will not sign for Man City.
There are many positives for the new season and a few "presents" from Moyes and Kenwright would do much to add to those positives.
19 Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:30:36
20 Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:03:42
21 Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:04:01
22 Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:56:17
"We have a decent transfer fund" — Robert Elstone.
"We would like to get all our signings in early so that they can gel pre season" — A number of Everton hiearchy.
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