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Season 2011-12

The Mail Bag

November 2011 Archive
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Births, marriages and deaths as an Evertonian

The recent tragic death of Gary Speed has brought many reminiscences from Evertonians on Toffeeweb, including myself.

The day Gary scored his hat-trick against Southampton was my grandson Liam's debut at 4 years old at Goodison for a Premier League game; he had been to a pre-season friendly. I remember saying to him "now you are an Evertonian". He is 20 now, goes every game, home games with me and he loves The Blues.

It made me think how our lives are linked to Everton and how events in the club history run alongside events in our personal life.

I remember when Alan Ball was signed and sold, when Kendall made his debut, Latchford's 30th... I was at Anfield when we won 4-0, the 8-0 Southampton game was on my birthday 40 years ago. I remember when my daughter Helen was born and a few weeks later we drew our first game of the season 2-2 with Arsenal.

The famous Thomas disallowed goal, my dad died that week and I couldn't go to the game. After several games the 5-1 away game at Sheff Wed when Sharpy scored 4, I had a ticket but my Mum died that day. The day my daughter got married and we won 2-0 against Coventry at home. Believe it or not my sister got married on the Cardiff 8-3 day and I moaned all day at the wedding. My brother died on the day we played Newcastle a few years ago.

Throughout all these days the constant is obviously family, but also Everton and Evertonians. We go to The Dark House (have been for more than 28 years now) every game, before and after the game, we talk all day about Everton, memories and recall often what was happening in our lives and how it affected our attendance at games or what was happening at Everton at the time of births, deaths and marriages and everything else in-between in our lives.

I got married to a wonderful Polish woman, Gosia, 11 years ago, I wanted to show her my Club and my friends, so I took her to the pub and the game. We won 4-0, I do a £1 bet every single game for that score, I won. Later in the pub she asked what a "Spot The Ball" was, I explained and she won it ? she said "It's great being an Evertonian, isn't it?" Too right.

Thank you Gary for being one of my memories and forever being linked to my grandson Liam. No matter how tough things get, it is "A Grand Old Team".
George McKane     Posted 29/11/2011 at 09:35:59   Comments (78)

Royston to Reds?

There was a little piece I read somewhere recently suggesting that the kopites were taking a closer look at Royston Drenthe, who will be available on a free transfer next season. It brought a lump to my throat and bile to my belly!

I for one think Royston has been somewhat of a revelation since he arrived. Not perfect by any means but clearly talented, brimming with confidence and with the rarest of commodities in an Everton team... pace. I believe he already has something like 2 goals and 4 assists. At only 23 he's definitely got a decent career ahead of him if he keeps working hard.

The sad truth is that, the better he plays, the less likely he is to stay. There is no way we can compete financially with Liverpool or any other of the top 6 teams and it would be a lot to ask of Royston to turn down a bigger wage for the sake of one years loyalty to the club (for most players loyalty is a dead word anyway).

I wouldn't be surprised if Moyes kept him out of the spotlight until January and then tries to get him to sign a pre-contract agreement as soon as possible. Sadly I fear that we may be a quick stepping-stone stop for Drenthe, but I for one am enjoying having his type of ability at Goodison... (Cue him getting a straight red for headbutting within 10 minutes this Saturday!)

Sam Hoare     Posted 29/11/2011 at 09:44:59   Comments (38)

Is Defoe the answer?

Silly season is fast approaching and the rumour mill is in full flow, first on the list is Tottenham's Defoe.

Defoe has a top record of scoring goals, a goal-scoring machine who tends to go hot and cold during the season; when he is hot, he is hot... and when he is cold... well, he offers little to nothing.

My question is: Would Defoe suit our set-up at Everton? Is he a Moyes-type player?

Firstly, Defoe has always played with a partner, so for me, Defoe is the wrong man for Everton!! Moyes will never play 4-4-2 not matter what players we have ? how on earth could he fit in his lovechild of Osman, an off-form Cahill?

However, if Moyes decided to grow a set of balls, our line-up could look something like this:

Coleman      Jagielka       Distin          Baines   
Donovan      Rodwell       Fellaini        Drenthe 
                    Defoe          Saha
Scary looking team, isn't it? Will it happen? No chance!

Sean Mckenna     Posted 28/11/2011 at 19:17:14   Comments (20)

Speed's back-handed compliment

Gary Speed is dead and it is a shocking event. God rest his soul.

A lot of people, including many Evertonians, are saying how honourable he was when he left us.

He said he wouldn't say why he was leaving "because it would bring down the good name of of Everton FC".

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

By saying that, he has left a question mark hanging over the "good name of EFC".

I don't pretend to know what the dispute was about, but it seems to me Gary got his retaliation in first without ever having to explain what he was talking about.

The club, to my knowledge, never made any comment... saying they wouldn't reveal the reason for fear of damaging his good name.

Does anyone know what this "controversial reason" was?

Domino Darkley     Posted 28/11/2011 at 17:11:41   Comments (143)

Bringing the Game into Disrepute

Whilst reading a review of the weekend's action on the BBC website, I was confronted with the picture with which the BBC have chosen to lead the stories of today and the Man City v Liverpool match report.


This photo shows Lescott being held down by a defender, and Kuyt attempting what looks to be a superman type dive in front of a (presumably) goal bound header.

Now, leaving aside for the moment that the team in the photo cheating is Liverpool, the interesting point for me is that there is absolutely no mention of the fouling of Lescott or the attempted Superman block appearing in the article. Is there any other sport in which there is such clear evidence that cheating is endemic within the sport?

Can any of you recall seeing photos of similar cheating in other sports? This level of cheating is clearly tolerated and accepted by the FA and the Media which write about the sport.

Yet, despite this 'evidence', no action will be taken, and the only action that continues to be taken by the ruling body is when managers are fined if they voice a negative opinion over a referee.

Surely it is not only the clubs, players and managers but also the FA who bring the sport into disrepute by tolerating this sort of behaviour?

Rupert Sullivan     Posted 28/11/2011 at 07:59:37   Comments (49)

You gotta minute, Guv?

Although stated that Everton have been for sale for the last few years, there has been no positive interest that we know of as such.

However, if an opportunity ever came up whereby you were able to approach a mega-millionaire, and you were able to have 5 to 10 minutes of his/her time, how would you go about trying to sell them Everton FC?

I know that this is an extremely short and possibly strange request, but I am sure that the majority of TW readers would also be interested in reading some of the more positive views of those with the ability to string words and sentences together coherently.

Come on, let's hear some positive stuff about our club ? we always seem to have a lot to say as to how we can do things better... and you never know ? that elusive millionaire may well cross our path in the not too distant future!

Gerry Quinn     Posted 27/11/2011 at 17:09:16   Comments (6)

Glass half-full?

I was worried about Wolves at home and Bolton away. I feared our confidence was shot and that failure in these games would see us in free fall. I'm glad to be wrong. After a scrappy win against Wolves, I thought we played well today. Coleman was good and Vellios looks a top prospect. His finish was confident and clinical.

I've seen us survive twice on the last day so, being a natural pessimist, I admit I fret quite a bit about relegation. This is no road to Damascus conversion, but whether I or the many who share my views like it, Moyes is going nowhere.

Therefore, I'll take three points and hope that confidence will grow and the football will improve. The glass seems half-full tonight (actually I've just emptied it). A thumping for Liverpool tomorrow will make it quite a nice weekend.
Andy Crooks     Posted 27/11/2011 at 00:43:46   Comments (10)

Best of the Rest

Amazing isn't it? Two weeks ago, 17th in the table, Moyes is a toss pot and we are going down... doom and gloom!

One dodgy win against poor old Wolves and another against 10-man Bolton and suddenly we are where we should be, Best of the Rest, 8th in the league, top of the the no-money teams, and things are all rosey and good!

Amazingly, without Rodwell, Distin and Drenthe, we produce an acceptable performance and the pro-Moyes boys are up in arms again.

Once more, no subs before 72 mins, Barkley and Gueye getting about 10 mins between them. Vellios once more shows he can do more in 15 mins than Louis Haha can do in in 75.

So, what will Moyes do next week against Stoke? What should happen is that the absolutely dreadful Osman and Saha should be benched, Vellios and Rodwell (if fit) should start.

Will this happen? Will it fuck!

Wouldn't even surprise me if Distin and Drenthe were back in favour! I don't know why but I still get a buzz about Bily in the starting line up. Give him a chance now, he did well today and should be in the eleven next week!

Heitinga looked good too! Think he should be given a run now. We did keep a clean sheet today!

Baines was absolutely magnificent today. What a player he is. Coleman was great too, a real threat every time he got the ball, even though he was up against a really good left back.

So, come on DM, get Rodders and Velli in next week and we will cruise past the RS in no time! ... Anyone think this will happen?
Tony  Cheek     Posted 26/11/2011 at 23:55:17   Comments (23)

Goodison template

Template for Goodison Park! If any one has a doubt about what can be done with stadium redevelopment, check out Poznan stadium in Poland, redeveloped for the Euros.

Barry Hughes     Posted 26/11/2011 at 20:42:37   Comments (16)

Defensive masterplan

As an expat blue who's fortunate enough to call Australia home, I feel I must comment on my beloved blues.

Now don't get me wrong... I believe David Moyes has done a wonderful job from were we had been before he joined, but the dreadful stuff being produced by the so-called Moyesiah has got me worried for the future, and to listen to the players stating that it's time to start winning ugly leaves me in despair. Football now, like it or not, has become part of the entertainment business, and what we are producing surely cannot be described as entertaining... and surely can't get get any uglier.

With the wonders of satellite telly, 99% of Everton matches are shown live on the box down here, but due to time differences, kick-off is usually around 1am, and, like a drug addict looking for a fix, I find myself sitting in front of the box at that ungodly hour. I've tried to record it & watch it in the morning but how can you sleep when you know that one of the loves of your life is about 20 feet and a push of a button away? So I sit up hoping for a semi-attacking performance, not gung-ho all-out attack, just a bit of width & creativity & players looking to find space.

The thing that pisses me off the most with this defensive attitude is when we are defending a corner... For fuck's sake, leave at least one man up front! Wolves last week left Doyle there & the number of times he acted as an outlet holding up play from a clearance & bringing his midfield into the game was amazing compared to us, just handing possession over from a hoof upfield.

So I find myself hoping beyond hope that tonight's team selection does not have square pegs in round holes, does not have 6 or 7 defenders in the starting line up. The defensive masterplan from Moyes is strangling the life out of my passion for football & maybe scaring away impressionable young supporters as what's on offer, entertainment wise, is like watching an Oprah Winfrey show; as Evertonians, we deserve better.

David Moyes, your job is to get the best out of what you have to work with & if someone is not performing, you need to be big enough to drop your favourites & give someone else a go.

Rant over and 9 hours till kick-off. COYBs!!!!

Gary Lawler     Posted 26/11/2011 at 05:21:33   Comments (13)

What can we expect from Everton?

What can we expect of Everton now that Fellaini finally has signed, and we won and got 3 points against Wolves? Is it likely we will go on a run of form just because Fellaini has signed a new contract?

I think the mess we are in is because of two things: Firstly, having sold Pienaar, Arteta & Yakubu and not getting any permanent replacements in for them. I think Moyes has no idea about what our current best eleven players is. He has altered the team too much in midfield plus not giving Barkley and Gueye a fair chance to show they are better than Osman, Bily or Neville.

Secondly, a lack of any creative minds in the squad, plus the form of each player this season has not been good to date, only 2 or 3 have shown ability and form and they are Baines, Drenthe and Vellios. The form of a player can tip a game in our favour, but as only 3 out of 11 players have shown the form needed, the rest of the team are dragging these 3 down.

Cahill and Saha should be allowed to leave after this season, because of their age and their huge salaries, £50k and £55k a week for this crap showing is hardly worth commenting on. For the sake of our future, they should be phased out of the first team, and should only come on as second-half substitutes, at least until they have hit form and start scoring regularly.

I doubt we will se them score more then 15 goals between them this season, I would even suggest they are not able to reach 12 together. Knowing their past performances are NOT good enough to get us the points we need now. Some changes have to be made and I would start with these two, plus they can only benefit from this being shown that they do not have automatic spots in the first team.

That is my view on how things are and what needs to change... but, looking towards the end of season, where can we expect Everton to end up?

I think it depends on how Moyes reacts to their poor form. At the start of the season, Moyes said to the media that there was a real competition for first team places and that he would only pick those who he deserved it. He has gone back on his word many times this season, allowing players like Neville, Saha and Cahill to play regardless of their performances on the field. I am sick of it, and I hate the fact that he has lied to our faces while doing so,; it is an insult to the fans as well as the players.

The old saying that Moyes breeds youth better than anyone is a myth at best as I have hardly seen Barkley, Vellios or Gueye, even though Moyes warned us not to put to much pressure on the young new team he was thinking of forming. Seems he has changed his mind on both these things. Vellios has been our best striker and looked most dangerous of all our forwards so far... why is he not being handed a few consecutive starts as Saha has been given?

No matter what argument I may think of, I cannot defend his decision making, and it will get even worse when Anichebe and McFadden are match fit again. Why Anichebe is even paid to be here is a miracle as Moyes must be seeing visions or seeing things others can`t.

For those who call em a Moyes-basher I submit I actually want Moyes to change and then stay, as I know he has ability; it just seems like it has gone into hiding since the beginning of last season.
Jimmy Soerheim     Posted 25/11/2011 at 17:04:17   Comments (14)

George Green... Take a bow son!

I've read a lot of good things about our new wonderkid, but haven't seen any footage of him. However, I've come across this clip of him showing some outrageous skill and confidence. Not sure who its against but its definitely in a recent youth match. Enjoy.

Ryan Jones     Posted 24/11/2011 at 12:28:44   Comments (41)

Financial Fair Play

Can anyone tell me when the new Financial Fair Play rules kick in?

I was reading an interesting article in the Daily Mail yesterday by Martin Samuels regarding this, in which he discusses a number of clubs including Everton.

One point he makes is that it already may be too late for us to get a benefactor...

Peter Barnes     Posted 23/11/2011 at 14:58:16   Comments (26)

Away game memories

Today I got the 10 into town and then the number 19 bus down to Goodison to buy a couple of Under 18 tickets for Saturday's game against Bolton from the Park End box office. I?ve been wanting to go to an away game for a while now, but there never seemed to be any available, due to our famous travelling support! However this time it was different; in fact there seemed to be more than plenty available. A sign of the times maybe? Are people falling out of love with the club? Or have they just not got the money they once had? Who knows, but I wasn?t going to ponder it for too long as I snuck out of sixth form early to get the tickets.

For me, it never gets old. Once the 19 goes past the other stadium in Liverpool, loops around Stanley Park and Goodison comes into view, it always brings a smile to my face, remembering good times, bad times and plenty of indifferent times too. My greatest Goodison memory is beating Newcastle to qualify for the Champions League in 2005, now I know that probably seems like nothing to most of the older, well-travelled Blues on here, but to me as a young 11-year-old, it truly felt we was on top of the world. That was when Moyes was at his peak, and I guess it?s just all gone slightly downhill ever since.

But on Saturday it will be an altogether different affair when me and my mate get on the train from St Helens to Bolton via Wigan and then from Bolton to Horwich armed with a few cans of Strongbow. Now as a 17-year-old (almost 18 in fairness) I guess I?m a late starter to away games but, listening to my Dad?s memories (they all come out when he?s pissed!) of his first away game against Preston with my Uncle and Grandad; of travelling down to Brighton on the back of his mate's bike for a midweek League Cup tie with work the next morning; of having a bit of a tear up with the London police after a game against Arsenal, then having to explain to Nan why he was late home; and finally of getting the ferry over to Rotterdam for arguably the greatest night in Everton Football Club's history ? really do send shivers down the spine.

So two question?s for my fellow Toffee Webbers;

1) What?s your favourite away day memory?

And (arguably most importantly!)

2) Are there any decent pubs in Bolton for a couple of lads to do a spot of (slightly) underage drinking before the match?!

Adam Cunliffe     Posted 23/11/2011 at 13:58:49   Comments (52)

Why have we stopped doing the simple things well?

Something I've noticed over the last couple of years (and a lot this year) is the lack of understanding and organisation at throw-ins and set pieces.

When Moyes was building this team, it was built on the foundations of being well organised and disciplined, everyone appeared to understand their roles in the side and what each other was meant to be doing in certain situations in the game.

At the minute, whenever we get a throw-in, people are looking at the floor and wandering around instead of snapping into action and knowing exactly who should be doing what... at times it's verging on embarrassing! The throw-in will be thrown to someone's head with no-one in behind, or no-one offering to take the ball, etc, etc.

When we are attacking down a flank, instead of the whole team moving across one position to cover, there is a void getting left for teams to counter-attack. I watch MotD and I see even shite teams like Wolves pulling off well-worked free-kicks and corners, I can't remember the last time I've seen us utilise a training ground move. It just seems to me we've stopped doing the basic/simple things that can be coached and practised well ? things that in my opinion make a big difference.
John J Malone     Posted 22/11/2011 at 23:13:39   Comments (15)

Managerial Instructions

I know this has been mentioned in the past, with different angles and opinions, but I thought it was interesting. In today's 'Times' Mickel Arteta pointed out how surpised he was at the simplicitiy with which Arsene Wenger sent his players out to do their jobs.

He is reported as saying: "Players aren't weighed down with 40 different instructions..... six or seven clear ideas and that's it."

Compare and contrast with our illustrious manager. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that Moyes has lesser quality players to work with in many cases – surely a good reason for keeping instructions more simple rather than making them more complex!

Tony Pickering     Posted 22/11/2011 at 09:02:17   Comments (51)

Landon Donovan

Just back from the MLS final. (It pissed down with rain, which I know is not a big deal in Liverpool, but it is in LA.) It wasn't much of a game, but Landon scored the only goal. He scored with the type of movement and finish we have not seen at Everton for a while. I still think that he can do a job for us, and I hope the next time I see him scoring he will be wearing a blue shirt.
Gerry Morrison     Posted 21/11/2011 at 06:46:28   Comments (55)

What is wrong?

Wolves are a very poor side. They play poor football and staying up will be a triumph for them and a disaster for football. How much better are Everton? Not much it seems. There isn't a player in the squad who should be anything other than utterly embarrassed by their performances this season.

Bereft of ideas, incapable of showing any sort of quality, lacking in the basic fundamentals of opening up a poor side. I think there are two possible explanations. First, lack of funds has led to us having a squad that, no matter who is at the helm, simply aren't good enough footballers.

Or, the squad aren't that bad but are simply lacking in motivation, confidence, belief and a game plan that enables them to defeat poor teams.

I don't think it is churlish to say that this win only papers over what is wrong. David Moyes, in my view, is not getting the best from this squad.

Andy Crooks     Posted 19/11/2011 at 18:54:26   Comments (49)

Everton's (lack of) wage structure

I'm as pleased as most Evertonians that Fellaini has recently signed a new five-year contract... until I heard we were paying him £70k p/w.

Now I know that:

a) Fellaini probably wouldn't have signed if the Club offered him a 'mere' £50k p/w.

b) Everton would have lost him for free or next to nothing if his contract had run down.

However, does this club's management not learn from their mistakes? The club admitted after selling Arteta that they took a gamble to increase Mikel's wages to £75k p/w. The Board gambled on getting into the Champions League at the time and told Arteta they could afford his wages once in the Champions League, which ultimately backfired. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a gentleman's agreement with Arteta that they would sell him if they didn't get into the Champions League.

Now, it looks like they have taken the exact same gamble with Fellaini, except there is even less chance now of qualifying for the Champions League.

Either our Board are completely incompetent by paying wages we simply can't afford, or Fellaini's new contract is just a reason to get his full transfer value when we sell him within the next 18 months.

Or both.

Matthew Lovekin     Posted 19/11/2011 at 07:31:05   Comments (22)

The turnaround team

OK... so after what seems like an eternity off, finally we get to go back to Premier League action with a winnable game that sees us kick-off an enticing run with no games against the current top 6 till Tottenham on the 11th January. I am sure it will not be as simple as that but what team do we play to give us 3 points to start with against Wolves at Goodison tomorrow?

My pick would be as follows:

Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Coleman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Drenthe
Vellios, Saha

Unlikely i know that we suddenly adopt a 4-4-2 but I feel that the team above has width and balance... solidity and also creativity. And as much as possible the potential for goals and ? more importantly ? 3 points.

I would like to see Drenthe and Coleman swapping wings, Rodwell and Fellaini playing box-to-box, and Saha coming into the hole to pick up the ball or running off Vellios to receive the inevitable flick-ons from the 6'-3" youngster. Jags should be boosted by his performance against Spain and in my mind Distin has been our best defender all season. Hibbert just about pips Pip and Baines is a given.

If all else fails, then we will have Cahill, Ossie, Ross and maybe even Denis on the bench to come on and add extra firepower.

3 points please, maybe a clean sheet to boot. 2-0?

Sam Hoare     Posted 18/11/2011 at 11:19:08   Comments (27)

Investment for the long term

As a 21-year-old Evertonian my first memories of this great club are the days of makeshift strikers, eg, Steve Watson; consistent bottom-half finishes; and the last-gasp survival game against Coventry ? one of my first games at goodison.

I consistently read post of member?s critising the current state of affairs. Granted our financial situation is poor but clear progression, stability and stature of players at the club has improved over the last 15 years.

I agree that substantial investment is needed to compete. Many of you will disagree but I believe Kenwright is truly trying to find a suitable investor and hopefully will soon deliver.

The real point I?m trying to make is that it would be detrimental to see the same mistakes made as other clubs such as Portsmouth, Blackburn and even that team across the park. We don?t want an investor who mismanages the club, turns us into a commercial gimmick and doesn?t understand true Everton values. And, when the novelty has worn off, leaves us in a fragile state.

Even the likes of Man City are reaping the rewards of a huge cash injection ? surely this is not a sustainable business model. What happens when the owners no longer want to endlessly pump cash into the club?

As much as I hate saying this, I believe we need to take an example of how the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd have achieved success through progression and development ? not just a temporary success.

We need a long-term investment solution with investors who adopt our ethos and truly understand this great club and the Blue way.

Scott Phelps     Posted 17/11/2011 at 23:44:16   Comments (35)


Something to discuss - You may remember the case of Dave Sibson (a good friend of mine)? Dave is an Everton fan who was fined £400, bound over, and banned from every football ground in England for 3 years ? all for calling Louis Saha a "fucking lazy French bastard". This is a racist comment according to the letter of the law . (This ban would have been 5 years if he had not plead guilty.)

So here is a question: IF Suarez and John Terry are found guilty of racist abuse, should they also be banned from football grounds? And IF found guilty, should the ban be 5 years as both have denied the charges?

It seems the precedent has been set ? why should racist abuse on the pitch be treated any differently than racist abuse in the stand?

And as for Blatter ? what a knob! So you can say whatever you want, racially abuse/insult other players on the pitch in the heat of the moment but as long as you shake hands afterwards all is forgiven. The man's an idiot.

John Kelly     Posted 17/11/2011 at 09:35:40   Comments (188)

Spare a thought for poor sad Everton

I would be curious to hear some Everton fans weigh in on the following article about Everton that appeared on the Untold Arsenal blog:

Obviously, this is written from an Arsenal perspective, but if we're going to be discussing another club, I think that the perspective of fans of that club would be very valuable and add to the discussion. Thanks.

Anne Thompson     Posted 17/11/2011 at    Comments (39)

Bily fits best in a central role

I remember the goals this guy has delivered, especially the ones against Wolves and United. Now in all the games where he has played AND looked dangerous is when he has been allowed to go inwards from the left to the centre and then wait for the perfect shot, with a bang he can hit a shot better than anyone on this team. Baines is the only one who can compare.

Knowing that, Moyes has chosen to play him at his left side all the time despite knowing that he plays best when he is in an attacking central role. His goals have told us that, but Moyes pehaps had other things to worry about and didn't bother watching.

There is a lot of things Moyes misses these days, and next player out of here, being a top player in my opinion, is Bily. Moyes and the way he plays does not go along with any of the good players here. Clearly Billy first came here full of hope and form, he proved that, but both Heitinga and Bilyaletdinov have been allowed to rot away on the bench, where their good form upon arriving here was fading away and in my opinion has never returned.

The sad thing is, if you look at both these players, they are good players indivdually but Moyes has allowed their form AND confidence to rot away on the bench. Next will be Vellios... and perhaps even Barkley. The two suffering the most for this are Bily and Heitinga, each playing for their country with top internationals. I just can't believe it. They would both be first-team players in this ribbed team, but they need to play regular football, and to play in their best positions.

Sick and tired of watching Moyes destroy this team. He needs to adapt and try something new. Why not build on Internationals, including U-21? ... Pretty basic that, isn't it?

Jimmy Soerheim     Posted 14/11/2011 at 00:24:00   Comments (41)

A pause for thought

Reading about Jags and Rodders playing for England had me musing about the number of full internationals Moyes has at his disposal.

Being a person person not full bottle on cold hard facts, my list was huge and I was surprised at the total. Can a cold hard fact-finder come up with the complete list?

As an extra, how many other than in those full internationals have represented their country? Then it would be interesting to know, at least to me, how many international players have passed through the club during Moyes reign.

Dick Fearon     Posted 13/11/2011 at 21:33:33   Comments (38)

A Lack of Confidence throughout the Squad

It seems that, this season, the Everton squad has been rife with doubt and uncertainty. Players such as Jagielka and Baines, who would usually be expected to be the ones holding the team up and providing defensive security, have been suspect so far this season.

Especially over the last few weeks, it seems to be confidence that is getting the team down. Seamus Coleman is not getting the service he was used to from Arteta and his game is suffering because of it. The players on the outskirts of our squad are not up to standard because we never see them. Players like Gueye and Stracqualursi surely deserve a chance?

It is obvious to see that players that have confidence in the team; Rodwell has been consistently solid all season (despite Moyes evidentally telling him to stop the surging runs that we were used to a couple of years ago), Distin has been a gem in our defence this season, holding our team together some matches, and Drenthe seems to be a new addition to the squad who has fit in extremely well, and looks like the flair player that we are desperately short of.

Adam Jones     Posted 11/11/2011 at 18:55:01   Comments (8)

Is Moyes secretly trying to save our club?

I was reading various posts...

Blah, blah, blah... crap/boring football,
Blah, blah, blah... no money,
Blah, blah, blah... crap board,
Blah, blah, blah... Moyes/Kenwright out,
Blah, blah, blah... £150 - £160 million valuation???

I just find it hard that a guy with such passion and drive for the club a couple of years ago could look so defeatist now. I know a lot of people have said that the writing has been on the wall for a few seasons; I however believe that the ?this is the best squad we have ever had? quote from the start of last season was the turning point. Once we got off to the bad start at Blackburn, and we weren?t challenging for anything, the dour demeanour began to raise it?s ugly head. It seems to have been downhill ever since!

Then it hit me like an epiphany: Could Moyes actually be helping to sell the club by playing dour uninspiring football and thus pushing down the value of the club? Surely he must know the value Kenwright has on the club!

Could he be risking short term losses for long term gains?

Is he secretly sticking two fingers up to the guy upstairs?
Danny Biddle     Posted 11/11/2011 at 17:09:15   Comments (99)

A new Kevin Campbell...

I believe we are in danger of being relegated.

We have as useless a collection of strikers as have ever graced the club. Saha is finished as a 90-minute striker. Vellios is not good enough yet. Anichebe is not good enough ever. Denis... well, I doubt we'll ever know.

The best striker at the club ,Yakubu, was sold for reasons that can't be explained. The failure to attract a decent striker in recent years has cost us dear.

Somewhere, anywhere, there must be a striker with something to prove. Someone, perhaps, who has been written off. Someone who can come in this January and score twelve goals before the end of the season.

Someone who, like the great Kevin Campbell, will save us from relegation. Anyone got any ideas?

Andy Crooks     Posted 09/11/2011 at 18:15:30   Comments (99)

Well done, Jack !

An England call up maybe a little premature but it is deserved reward for Rodwell who has been the unsung hero for Everton so far this season in my opinion. And he has probably coped with playing with the unorthodox Fellaini better than Arteta did.

He has pace and is the best ball winner we have in midfield, remember that textbook tackle v Liverpool! His passing has been good and he has an eye for goal too.

Incredibly some Evertonians still want to knock him but they seem to be moving on to Coleman now, who is also doing a good job, despite being played on the wrong wing by Moyes who instead of keeping to the basics thinks playing our wide men on the wrong flanks so they can cut in is a good idea forgetting that it can mess up the rest of their game. Can you imagine 84/85, Sheedy on the right, Steven on the left. Thank god Moyes wasn't around then!

I thought we played very well in the second half against Newcastle but it was crying out for Barkley to come on for Ozzy but Moyes brought on McFad and ended our chances at that point as we then had two Ozzy's on the pitch! I would say the oppositions secret weapon is Moyes.

Keep it up, Jack.
Ged Dwyer     Posted 07/11/2011 at 19:24:00   Comments (39)

The moment has come

There is an old Woody Allen joke which goes, "most of the time I don't have much fun and for the rest of the time I don't have any fun at all". Now, Woody is probably not a Blue but the gag sums up how Evertonians feel right now.

This is my 60th season and I have not felt so pessimistic since the 1950's when only my youthful enthusiasm kept me going. Fortunately, John Moores arrived to save us from from a mediocre (or worse) future; without Moores it is difficult to imagine where we would have gone.

Which brings me to the presnt day. Everton played a big part in John Moores' life and in turn played a big part in Everton's history. The Moores family are still shareholders and I cannot understand why they do not become involved again during these dark days for the club. They would be perfect benefactors who like Sir John before could change our history.

Does anyone know why they remain on the outside while the club slowly crumbles?
Brian Keoghan     Posted 07/11/2011 at 18:28:22   Comments (28)

Xbox... or the game?

Saturday lunch was a new one for me....and a new low.....

I normally start reading and viewing as much info as I can when I know Everton are on live. I dislike Sky as a concept but cannot bring myself to cancel subscription as it's first class as a production. Love the build up and love the questions that build to a peak 15 minutes prior. Who will we play, in what positions, who should we be scared of, how will the game progress, what incidents may occur.......All part of the day.

And an early kick off starts my weekend off good.

Suffice and sad to say but Saturday didn't happen for me.

I recently purchased the fine Batman: Arkham City for my Xbox..........and I decided that would be more interesting....

As the game approached I found myself thinking "Ah ok, just a few more minutes and I'll turn it over and watch game".

To my horror as kick off time passed I found myself more interested in what I was playing....and less interested in us playing......

What amounted from just a few more minutes....became "Ah I'll catch 2nd half of first half".....then "I'll see last ten minutes of first half, set me up for 2nd".....then "right 2nd half in it's full".....then "last half of 2nd".

In total, I watched the last 5 minutes.........and regretted stalling my progress on the Xbox.....

Afterwards I was questioning myself..... Why would an Xbox game do this to me?

(For those of that persuasion, it is a quality production).... However the conclusion was that I just wasn't excited by the alternative.


I'd say that's pretty damning on the leadership of our once great club that a form of entertainment is no longer...........entertaining.

Mark Yeomans     Posted 07/11/2011 at 12:31:43   Comments (77)

Peter Principle Proven

If anyone wanted to prove that the Peter Principle was more than just a satirical theory then they could well point to Everton as evidence of its validity. The Peter Principle states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence", meaning these individuals are promoted to positions in which they are doomed to fail. This would seem to be the case at every level of Everton FC. Working from the top down, as chair, BK is without doubt a successful entrepreneur and impresario and in the past helped to steer Everton through some financial stormy waters into calmer times but it is clear that he doesn?t possess the business acumen or competence needed to bring in the investment needed to take Everton to the next level and ensure regular European football and therefore more income to buy and attract proven talent.

Equally, Moyes is without doubt an excellent manager but he reached his ceiling of competency in the Premier League in the 2004?05 Season. You have to ask the question, if he was really that good a manager, Why has no other club made him an offer he couldn?t refuse? Perhaps they know that even if he had a pot of money to buy players or managed a City, Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal or for that matter Barcelona his managerial culture and approach would be fundamentally the same as at Everton, defensive and void of any creative philosophy.

As for the squad it?s all been said on TW before; Howard, Hibbert, Coleman, Osman, Anichebe, Jagielka, Saha and Neville are all good journeymen and have done well in the Premier League, but this season, they are quite literally out of their league.

So there you have it: Everton ? proof that the Peter Principle is more than a theory.

Sam Fitzsimmons     Posted 06/11/2011 at 20:17:03   Comments (16)

Gwladys! Call a taxi ? and ask Dave to meet me outside!

Whenever a thread appears expressing dissatisfaction with David Moyes?s management ? we are now one point above the drop zone with the upcoming matches against Wolves and Bolton crucial to our season ? you can bet there?s a response from one of his diminishing band of diehard faithful asking, "So who would you get in his place?"

It?s a trick question in a way, designed to push the debate away from the merits of David Moyes where it belongs and on to the merits or otherwise of other managers. Proposed managers are easy to scoff at ? the good suggestions wouldn't take the job, say the Moyes Brigade, the obvious suggestions wouldn't do any better.

However, aware that I will be ridiculed by some, I can?t resist. These are the first half a dozen calls I would make if I was chairman and about to fire David Moyes, not necessarily in this order. Each is realistic in my view. Each would probably value the challenge of the Premier League and all but one cut his managerial teeth on football?s attacking virtues.

1. Marco van Basten. He resigned from Ajax as manager in 2009 after finishing third. He is currently a television pundit but has made it known he wants to return to management.

2. Bernd Schuster, former manager of Real Madrid (for ten minutes). He was fired from Besiktas last season for his supposedly reckless attacking tactics. That would make a change.

3. Roberto Donadoni, former manager of Cagliari, fired in August after a disagreement with the chairman over the transfer out of a valued player.

4. Slaven Bilic, former Everton defender, currently managing Croatia. Great tactician. May be available if they don?t qualify for Euro 2012 in play-off this month.

5. Frederic Antonetti, Corsican born, currently manager of Rennes ? his teams are fully committed to scoring goals.

6. Gary Speed, I never believed he was a Judas. Not the most experienced, it?s true but he?s has great footballing intelligence, he knows the club and the culture and he?s a True Blue. Yes, let him keep the Welsh job too if he wants it.

Each of these men would out-coach and out-think David Moyes. All but one has had to work with relatively limited resources.

Yes, of course each of these choices can be picked apart. The point is there?s talent out there. You have to act at the right moment to secure the services of the right man. While I?m certain these men would like to manage in the Premier League, I doubt if they?re much interested in managing in the Championship. So hurry, Bill! The time has come for Dave to go!
Peter Fearon     Posted 06/11/2011 at 18:02:01   Comments (66)

Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu

This is a Japanese proverb I was once told, it means, "If you do not enter the tiger?s cave, you will not catch it?s cub."

To me, David Moyes and his Everton set-up do not ?enter the tiger?s cave? when faced with a tough challenge. Under Moyes, Everton have never won at the Emirates, never won at Stamford Bridge in the league, never won at Old Trafford, and hauntingly, have never won at Anfield.

I would not expect much, but it has been a decade. Not once have Everton caught one of these teams off guard. Not once have Everton out-thought one of these superior teams in their own patch. Not once have Everton managed to punish one of these teams in their own Tiger?s cave. In 40 attempts.

Moyes must be aware of this but, year-in, year-out, he shows he has no other ideas than to ?keep it tight and organized, and hope for a set piece or lucky break?. A great manager is cunning, shrewd, and ruthless. Can Moyes claim to be either of these?

I am not completely anti-Moyes. He has been a successful acquisition; I recognize that under his tenure Everton have improved in infrastructure and on the pitch, since the dour days of Walter Smith. However, the reason above, along with many others, shows me that it is time for him to go. I hope he does not sign a new contract, and Bill Kenwright should have a shortlist of young, bright, Championship managers (we cannot afford anything better) of men to replace him.

Robbie Carew     Posted 06/11/2011 at 12:36:27   Comments (32)

A little too comfortable

David Moyes is one of the few managers in the Premier League who could start as badly as he has, once more, and avoid the dreaded vote of confidence. He has a safe hugely paid job. Even if the club could afford to sack him, Kenwright never will. Although I wish he would go, I'm prepared to accept that many Evertonians want him to stay... in fact they nk he does a great job. So, no pressure from the supporters and no pressure from his chairman; athi comfortable cushy number.

Bill Kenwright has mostly been lauded by the press, he lives the dream on the cheap; Moyes keeping him as a Premier League chairman will do just fine.

The players: well... it seems to me to be pretty difficult to get oneself dropped from the first team. Safe, highly paid jobs with the knowledge that the manager will pick most of them no matter how consistently poor they are.

The supporters: well... Moyes turns it round every year, of course he'll do it again. Deep down we know that we'll soon move up the table and all will be well. It's all a little smug (I include myself in this)... all a little bit comfortable.

I think this is going to change. We are playing without confidence and belief. Too many defeats, no matter who against, are slowly draining morale. The supporters of David Moyes probably believe that a couple of wins will turn it round. I believe that we are a couple of defeats from disaster.

David Moyes is too often praised for turning around a situation that he has helped to create. Come May, October and November seem to be forgotten. It is time for this comfortable alliance to be shattered. If Moyes won't resign, then no talk of a new contract should be countenanced.

In the absence of Kenwright's departure, we need something new on the pitch. There can be life without Moyes.

Andy Crooks     Posted 05/11/2011 at 21:53:50   Comments (58)

Blues fans succeed in removing owner!

My other favorite blues, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will finally be relieved of the burden of owner Frank McCourt.

This is a story of a proud franchise that was brought to near ruin and real bankruptcy by an owner who used the team as a personal checking account while letting the grounds deteriorate and star players leave.

A solid year of fan protest and the intervention of the commissioner of baseball have finally removed the tyrant. Think Kenwright's a bad owner? He's got nothing on Frank McCourt.


Check here for an independent fansite's take on the Dodgers:

Steven Sturm     Posted 05/11/2011 at 17:31:19   Comments (13)

How many want Moyes out?

Just as a direct result of our poor displays and tactics, I wonder how many of you want David Moyes to resign? I would like the editors of Toffeeweb to start a poll and ask "Do you want Moyes to resign?" and show us the result. Because it is getting very hard to watch Everton play these days.

His pick of the day was McFadden instead of Stracqualursi, I don't know his reasons for bringing in Stracq in the first place but, since he has, he should be afforded the chance to play himself into some kind of good form, like Saha last year was allowed to play the first half of the season so should Stracqualursi.

The Argentinian has said himself that he needs to play in order to get fit again, and at this point in time I don't see what there is to lose. We have seen that Saha is struggling in front of goal so I say the hell with it and go 4-4-2 rest of the season.

The fall in attendances should give Moyes a sign that he needs to change things around, but he is too stubborn for his own good. Well, I say sack him, unless he transforms and starts playing more aggressively and starts using Stracqualursi and Vellios upfront along with Saha on the bench.

This overly defensive bullshit cannot go on, as we cannot keep a clean sheet even if the players lives depended on it:

Jimmy Sørheim     Posted 05/11/2011 at 14:42:38   Comments (190)

Here we go again ?

I see that Seamus Coleman has expressed his hopes that our very own Sideshow Bob, Fellaini, signs a new contract and stays.

If I remember correctly, this was the line taken last year with Pienaar and about the same time of year too.

Added to the noises from Moyes et al that a deal is "not too far away" this has the feeling of déjà vu. Or a recurring nightmare. I just hope the Bank doesn't want all of the cash this time....

Steve Guy     Posted 04/11/2011 at 18:59:08   Comments (37)

Moyes out but Neville in!

I predict that Moyes will leave the summer after this, if not before.

I believe that his increasingly defeatist attitude betrays his former contact with an/other club/s. His sights are on his new project. I suspect that his agent has told them that he his loyal and wants to hold on a little longer in the hope of a change of fortune. It may sound conspiracy theory-esque but perhaps Drenthe will sign for his new club?

Phil Neville will step up to the manager's position. He says all the right things about the board, Moyes praises him with sickening regularity, and he will be more than able to continue Moyes's great tradition of boring workman-like football. Maybe this was a factor in his staying with us rather than leaving for Tottenham last season?

He will also save the club a few quid as even the great Phil Neville cannot claim to deserve £65k a week in his first managerial position.

The glory days are coming back!

Anthony Jones     Posted 03/11/2011 at 22:50:54   Comments (35)

2012: Doomsday?

No, not the popular prophecy of destruction that will fall upon the earth next year, but 2012 is going to be a watershed for Everton FC, I fear.

We all know that we don't have a pot to piss in. That's not so much of a problem this season (although it's looking precarious, we have enough squad quality to be outside the bottom 3 by the end of the season), but next season, 2012, is when the doom falls. The following players' contracts end before next season begins:

Sylvain Distin
Tim Cahill
Phil Neville
Louis Saha
Jose Baxter
Royston Drenthe

How many of these realistically will want to re-sign? How many can we afford to re-sign?

Looking at the list, it's not inconceivable that most will either no longer be with us or not first-team choices (ie, Cahill and Neville, another year older). That's going to leave a larger vacant gap of quality than normal, that currently we cannot afford to replace.

In addition, there will be the normal to-ing and fro-ing of closed season transfer activity and players moving on. The 2012 season will be a vastly different team. Without significant funds, that resulting squad is unlikely to have the quality to remain in the Premier League.

2012 ? it's time to hide in your closet and stockpile beans and Stella.
Jeremy Benson     Posted 03/11/2011 at 07:54:47   Comments (34)

Bring them all on!

A poor start to the season and in some quarters the daggers are out for Moyes. The fears of relegation play on people?s minds...

I love nostalgia, me. Each and every year this happens. Makes you feel all warm and cosy... don?t it?

Four defeats out of five in the league conjure a very false position. About as false as Newcastle sitting pretty in third.

Those four defeats came when the red half visited Goodison (10 v 12), and the others against the almost unbeatable City, United and Chelsea. Among the best in Europe, they occupy 2nd 3rd and 4th in the betting to win the Champions League.

These three teams are tough. Verses the rest of the Premier League, they?ve picked up 76 points from 87. Only Chelsea have lost when two men down to QPR.

Now I?m not excusing the losses. I didn?t like the results or performances... but, come the end of the season, many teams will shout "Snap!" Their only benefit is not to play them all in a row. And look what?s happened to us. A number of fans have come to realise they don?t own a pair. Grow some.

We have Newcastle to play this Saturday and I?m expecting us to go to St James's Park and win. Newcastle have not played one of these three. In fact, they?ve had the easiest set of fixtures a team could hope for. Royston to rip them apart. We win by three!

And here?s what will happen this season. We?ll surge up the league. Wolves, Bolton, Stoke, Arsenal, Norwich, Swansea, Sunderland, West Brom, Bolton, Villa, Blackburn ? all to be swept aside. February... a little trickier.

By then, the kids will have put their toys back in the pram, they have something else to play with. Singing the name of the Ginger One, the Moyesiah, the good times are sure to follow.

And you know what? We?ll do this all again next season. Only we?ll all be going on a European tour.


Nick Entwistle     Posted 02/11/2011 at 21:44:05   Comments (51)

Drenthe & Vellios, joint top scorers

Drenthe and Vellios have found the net and, looking back, it is only when they both play together that we do well, create chances, and score a couple of goals. Now I don't believe in coincidence, and I have been watching these two guys closely when they have come on.

Needless to say, Drenthe is the one with the biggest impact this far, he has been the creative spark we need. Vellios also seems hungry to score goals and fights really hard to get to good chances and positions. It would be very wise to start with both these two as they started against Fulham and we ended up winning that match; also, the Wigan match showed that these two can give us the little extra that Saha and Osman can't deliver.

Saha and Osman are both over 30 so I think we are currently better off starting with these two younger players. We can call them from the bench or incorporate them into the team by changing our tactics. Saha could play in the Cahill role, as Saha tends to hold up the ball well and likes to be involved in the passing.

Now, tell me you disagree with the point I am making, and then give me an alternative to these two. We currently have none. Outsiders would be Barkley and Stracqualursi but I think they should be used as late subs for the moment, until they reach some kind of form again.

I am hoping Moyes puts out the same team that beat Fulham away, as we need to build on the good games.

Jiimy Sørheim     Posted 02/11/2011 at 18:18:34   Comments (25)

Where has the final ball gone?

Can someone explain to me why we are not putting first-time balls into the box!!

For anyone that's ever played football, you will know that the 'early ball', 'first-time cross' is the hardest to defend. When we were at our best under Moyes we would be a solid unit at the back and would build attacks which would end with a decent cross / well-worked shot. Now I know full well Pienaar and Arteta were at the centre of creating the attacks but Baines or HIbbo were more often than not the ones supplying the first-time balls/crosses/pullbacks into the box, so why has we stopped playing it early?

I'm really lost as to what Moyes's tactics are to score goals... as far as I can see, we've lost our best attacking footballers in Pienaar and Arteta so there goes the nice triangles we used to use to make a crossing opportunity or for a shot. In my opinion, our best way to get at teams is to get the ball out wide early and get a first-time delivery into the opposition's danger zone, give them some quality crosses to deal with and I guarantee the likes of Saha, Cahill, Vellios will score goals.

So often lately Baines, Hibbert, Neville, Coleman, Drenthe are checking back inside instead of lashing the ball in the danger zone; we've all seen what happened when Drenthe finally did it at Chelsea.

I'd love to know what attacking drills are we practise in training because, from what I can see, it's "make it up as you go along"... there doesn't seem to be any understanding, belief or fluidity to our attacks it's side to side, let's not give the ball away ? even when we're on the edge of their box!!!

Moyes needs to be more direct from the off to start getting results. I'm not arsed if it's not pretty as long as we're scoring ? otherwise we are in a relegation battle!

John J Malone     Posted 01/11/2011 at 18:32:11   Comments (29)

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