I was happy with the appointment of Roberto Martinez as the new Everton manager, but I wasn’t expecting this. My thoughts were half a season of mid-table, with the team struggling to adapt, followed by a good second half, ending in a top-eight finish. Of course, it could still end up that way!

ToffeeWeb in the summer was interesting reading. Right now, we know that Martinez can keep good defenders as good defenders, he won’t send us down, and footballers really can pass the ball to each other and do it more quickly with practice and confidence.

He’s just done simple things very quickly. We’ve been crying out for a good centre-mid player for ages: he got us two. A quality striker, albeit on loan, has given the team an excellent spine. We keep the ball well, so it’s very hard for teams to score against us. I’m not Howard’s biggest fan, but he’s been much-improved this season a coincidence that Chris Woods is no longer his trainer? I don’t know whether another manager would have played Barkley this way, but it has been refreshing to see an Everton manager rebuild the midfield to accommodate such a young talent.

Off the pitch, I really like his attitude. Living up in the Highlands, I don’t get to games, but there seems to be a new lease of life around the club, a new-found vibrancy among the supporters is this true? It’s good to hear how good (???) the finances are; it’s good to hear the club being sold as place for good players to come and play, on loan or permanently. We know we’re not the richest club in the league... but we don’t need reminding every week.

Of course, he’s just lucky, isn’t he? Lucky to inherit a good back four and a decent squad, credit to Moyes for that. Lucky that Moyes was desperate to pay over the odds for Fellaini? Definitely. Other than that, I think he’s made his own luck. Selling Fellaini and Anichebe, bringing in McCarthy, Barry and Lukaku was, to me, good decision-making rather than luck.

Of course things need improving. Lukaku needs better service. We need at least one more striker, Barry on a permanent deal, more cover in midfield. Maybe he needs to buy players who don’t get injured straightaway?

For me, this is the most exciting time to be an Evertonian in years. If the people running this club don’t find money to invest in the squad now, I think we’ll all miss out on an excellent opportunity.

So my verdict is: so far, so good. It feels like my Everton is back, playing good football and getting results. But there are no easy games in this league, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I think we’ve got an excellent chance of top four and it’s down to one man, his decision-making, tactics and his attitude, plus of course credit to Kenwright for bringing him in the first place.

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Reader Comments (39)

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Jason Heng
1 Posted 24/12/2013 at 22:44:43
Surely the sale of Anichebe for that price is down to good fortune.

Merry Christmas to all.

Barry Rathbone
2 Posted 24/12/2013 at 23:15:11
If it's luck give me a lucky guy every time (it's not of course), Moyes not only had no idea he was an absolute Jonah.

I feel as delirious like Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life this Xmas with the "Ginge Grinch" gone.

Half term report top of the class!

Andy Crooks
3 Posted 24/12/2013 at 23:31:53
I really couldn't see a way forward for Everton. Although I never adhered to the view that we owed our safety to Moyes, I almost fell for the money argument, the glass ceiling etc.

Now we have an innovator in charge, a proper motivator, a man with belief and vision.

Happy Christmas.

Terry Murphy
4 Posted 25/12/2013 at 03:11:13
"We might lose Leighton, we might lose Ross, we might lose Seamus".... not my biggest worry. How long can we keep Roberto? How long is his contract again? My fear is that one of the really big boys will invite him back to Spain.... I can't see him heading off to manage any of our domestic competitors, but who could resist playing fantasy manager for real for Real or Barca? (forgive the puns it's the turkey talking)
Tim Jones
5 Posted 25/12/2013 at 03:19:01
The longer it goes on the more Roberto will prove that the 11 years in the wilderness with Disastrous,Deceitful Dour Davey should be seen for what they were. Not a "triumph' for a team that should have been relegated but 'treading water' under a tactically inept timid manager who reached HIS glass ceiling.
Harold Matthews
6 Posted 25/12/2013 at 03:49:34
Real good half-term report Paul. Found myself nodding all the way. Roberto was my slightly nervous choice and a top ten finish was my hope. The inherited players were quality but without the fear factor of Moyes I thought they might dip a bit. Indeed, initially they did struggle with the new philosophy but once they understood the requirements the School of Science was reborn. Helped, of course, by new faces who fitted right in.

Despite our lofty position, Roberto will still need time and several windows to get us to the strength he has in mind. He came with a long-term plan and it's still a long-term plan. The present run of success brings added pressure from fans expectations but it won't alter his strategy. He's far too level headed to allow it to effect things.

So, at almost half-way I'm pretty happy. Watching Jags control the ball, beat a man, run forward and slot a perfect pass was quite surreal. What's happening here? Maybe it's a dream.

Matt Traynor
7 Posted 25/12/2013 at 05:34:31
Good summation Paul. My one concern is a point you raise:

"If the people running this club don't find money to invest in the squad now, I think we'll all miss out on an excellent opportunity."

For all their faults, our Board has a track record in exactly what you describe!

David Ellis
8 Posted 25/12/2013 at 05:44:24
How will the board suddenly find money? Of course they won't. If we are going to win the league it is most likely this season, because every successful team we put together is going to have stars that are attracted to wages we can't match. Maybe Martinez can re-build with the proceeds every season, but that is very hard, and if he keeps doing it then he'll be the one cherry picked. Anyway I am not going to worry about such things, they are as they are, I'm just going to enjoy the present.
Kieran Fitzgerald
9 Posted 25/12/2013 at 08:21:18
I think the difference this time around may be the timing of some of the younger players coming through. Stones has huge promise, Lundstrum may have what it takes to be a decent squad player, Green, who has huge potential, may start to come good at senior level in a season or two, Barkley is turning into a beast of a player and I think he will stay with us for a couple of seasons at least. Throw in the fact that McCarthy is young and already an established senior player.

Martinez may need to do some wheeling and dealing but there is always some cash to keep things going. I am hopeful that we will be able to have a core of players to keep progressing.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 25/12/2013 at 09:37:08
One of the greatest achievements has been the transformation of our squad from rapidly ageing to young and vibrant.

Yes, we still have a number of over-thirties but the future is there for all to see with Ross, Seamus, James, Oviedo Baby, Stones and Superkev with RM showing his liking of youth with the young loan players.

We are still a work in progress but with a few million still to spend and possible sales of Heitinga, Jelavic and Baines (18M or more for a player of his age and I would take the money as Bryan is playing too well to drop anyway), RM can continue his rebuilding starting with the permanent signing of the excellent Gareth Barry.

The appointment of RM was inspired and credit should go to BK however much his detractors will deny it.

Andrew Clare
11 Posted 25/12/2013 at 09:40:55
Tim #662. My sentiments exactly! Everton a big club were allowed to wither under Moyes rather than grow. People only compare Moyes to his immediate predecessors rather than the great history and standing of the club. Martinez recognized Everton’s standing and is progressing accordingly.Yes there will be hiccups but the overall aim is spot on.
Phil Bellis
12 Posted 25/12/2013 at 09:49:25
Andrew Clare 690
Well said
I've had numerous "discussions" with posters who used the poverty card as an excuse for timid team selection and "start with a point" performances
"We can't compete" and "we were worse under Walter" seemed their only justifications

I understood to some degree those youngsters who had never seen a great Everton team but others...cowardly myopics who "know their place"

Us old-school arl arses, steeped in our history and experiencing the wonderful, occasional ups of post-50s Everton knew that the right manager could take decent players and create a team far better than the sum of its individuals

Moyes was a steady hand on the tiller, keeping us off the rocks but Martinez...it's like escaping from a bad marriage and finding there is life (and love) after all

Have a great day, fellow Twebbers and let's hope our team come out of the festivities even stronger - we could even be "safe" by New Year's Eve

Mick Hoban
13 Posted 25/12/2013 at 10:22:30
Phil (692) - ".it's like escaping from a bad marriage and finding there is life (and love) after all". That is the perfect description to describe what the last 4 years of being an Evertonian has done to me and how I'm feeling now. As an arl arse who has seen us parading the championship around Goodison, I'm enjoying watching us again for the first time in a very long time. Cheers and all the best.
Tony Cheek
14 Posted 25/12/2013 at 09:21:04
Excellent article Paul, and like Harold was nodding all the way. I too, am surprised at the form of Tim Howard who has been very good so far this season. I have stated on TW a while ago that there were two reasons why we would never win anything. One was Moyes, the other was Howard. But we have seen a greatly improved keeper this year. The reason, as you state, might be a change in both training methods, motivation and attitude brought in with Martinez. None the less, we are reaping rewards. Instead of costing us points, he is earning us points, and every one is like gold dust if we are going to make the top 4. Long may it last!
Tony Draper
15 Posted 25/12/2013 at 11:37:42
During May/June our discussions were based upon how good we might just be going forward and how vulnerable & leaky we'd likely be at the back
I can't hand on heart say that those thoughts didn't cross my mind repeatedly because they really did

I'd had my fill of dm's "justification football" and was not in the least sorry to see him go. I'd been very pro dm for a long time and genuinely believed that he had a "Blue Vision" and would be with us having created something immense, I even called him "The Blue Shankly" by way of description
I was wrong, he didn't and he wasn't

Roberto has not just papered over a few cracks and given us "a lick o'paint" and said "We'll that's a bit better, it's not ideal but, it'll have to do !"

He makes NO apologies at all
Instead he's made progress

Most importantly he's made Evertonians smile and look forward to the next match again with bloody relish

Half-Term Report:
Roberto is a very affable, genuine young man who's sunny outlook and disposition is genuinely infectious. His positive approach is matched with considerable leadership and intelligence, I suspect that we have not seen the very best of him yet and I hope not

Paul Ferry
16 Posted 25/12/2013 at 12:12:51
The best evidence if ever we needed it of how well RM has done is the complete absence on these pages for the last couple of weeks or so of - we know who you are and you know who your are - of those dour, dreary, drab, dried-up, depressing, disappointed, disenchanted, dismal, down, downbeat, downcast, dejected, despondent, dull, dingy, doom-laden, dim-witted handful of peeps on here who refused to accept the sunny sea-changes at Everton due largely to the gaffer who brought us sunshine.

Love the near unified optimism on these boards these days without the silliness of you know who. It's a great time to be blue. Drinking red wine, only fools and horses on, crimbo dinner brewing, boozer later, The Old Lady tomorrow 4-0.


Happy Xmas to one and all including the griping scrooges and esp. to our hosts MK and LL.

Kieran Fitzgerald
17 Posted 25/12/2013 at 12:28:01
I was a little worried about the change of manager. While Moyes' style of play was conservative in the extreme, there was a consistency to our league finishes that was good. I was worried that with a new manager implementing a new approach, if we dropped to mid table, we would very quickly fall away completely over a couple of seasons. Instead, Martinez' style of play has made us a better team, who are consistantly playing well and who have a very good chance of finishing in the top five.

We will now be far more attractive to a quality type of player that we would have been under Moyes. We are not only playing great football, we are getting all sorts of genuine plaudits and credit for how we are doing.

It is now up to the Board to stump up some proper cash to really help us to push on even further. If we do not strengthen properly while we are having this season, then it really will be criminal.

David Hallwood
18 Posted 25/12/2013 at 12:46:56
Completely random comment, but I've just watched the Christmas video again, and could you imagine OFM getting involved in anything like that, It would have to be a Hannibal Lector pastiche, or to a death metal track.

But the whole atmosphere has changed around the club, which is of governed by what's happening on the field.

John Crawley
19 Posted 25/12/2013 at 12:34:47
Good summary Paul. However you look at it we can all say that so far it's been damn impressive! Straight away he's got the best midfield two that I've seen since Reid/Bracewell. He's got rid of Fellaini for a great price and more importantly he's put Barkley in his place, which is where he should have got a number of games last season.

I love the comments by Pienaar the other day about Martinez, who said he's the most positive person he's met and his team talk before the Arsenal game: get over your fears and go out and enjoy yourself! Let's keep the momentum going and who knows where we can end up.

Matt Traynor
20 Posted 25/12/2013 at 13:07:41
David #718, if you go to the media links on the front page, there's a link to an article in the Guardian by Chris Bascombe (ex-Liverpool Echo) which basically states the same - a "club insider" suggesting that it would never have happened under the previous regime, and now people aren't afraid to be happy around the place (their day-to-day jobs aren't a reflection of what is / isn't happening on the pitch).

I remember someone suggesting that there were cheers when it was announced he was going - something shot down by others, but it wouldn't be a stretch to think that even office staff far removed from the football side would be affected by the general culture / demeanor put around.

Paul Tran
21 Posted 25/12/2013 at 14:05:57
Matt, sorry about the optimism re the board! I was just thinking/hoping that the inertia that has been lifted from the club may have spread to the biscuit tin being opened. Even the board might see that we could be on to something with this manager. I thought the last window was a good one. This one may show if the inertia was down to one departed man or a group of men who are now believers...
Brian Waring
22 Posted 25/12/2013 at 14:17:47
Harold (#668) "Despite our lofty position, Roberto will still need time and several windows to get us to the strength he has in mind. He came with a long-term plan and it's still a long-term plan."

Spot on Harold, I just hope the usual suspects see it as you do.

Steve Woods
23 Posted 25/12/2013 at 13:54:41
Roberto's half term report card shows nothing other than excellence and enthusiasm; a great work in progress moving the club forward with both mostly successful and delightful football.

BK and the board's half term report however is pending. The January window contains their examination. So far their report card should read, a steady job well done in appointing the new manager, however their true examination starts next week. Do they or do they not support the manager in January? Will it be a case of they showed early promise but failed to capitalise on the early good work, they could have done better and let themselves down! Let's hope not but I am not going to hold my breath.

I pray therefore that from next week BK will support our new manager in the manner which he has just proved that he deserves. That means actual money that he can buy additional players with if he feels that he needs to add to and improve the squad. The key words being "add to and improve" Bill.

One game at a time so, here's to a comfortable and card-free win over Sunderland tomorrow. Can't wait.


Dennis Ng
24 Posted 25/12/2013 at 15:35:28
Indeed, RM has been awesome so far. Now the ball is in the board's court. But I do not expect a spending spree. I hope to see RM operate his astute business again this Jan window with a decent budget. We still can't afford to bet a farm in this season yet. If this is anything, it should be the start of a new dynasty.
Matt Traynor
25 Posted 25/12/2013 at 15:45:54
Paul #731, the last window was indeed good from a personnel point of view. From the Board's point of view, we need to bear in mind that, depsite receiving the first tranche of increased TV monies as part of the domestic deal, and with increased monthly payments from the overseas deal, they still generated a surplus in transfer fees.

Now that money may or may not be still available but I suspect it's not. It's gone towards paying down debt. Laudable this would be, but I further suspect it's to make the eventual sale of the club more lucrative to the major shareholders, so that they may get the returns on their (small) investment they crave.

Sorry to be cynical. I'd like to be all happy clappy on this holy of commercial days, but where Everton, and our Board are concerned, bah humbug! (We don't even have Tiny Tim anymore!)

Kevin Hughes
26 Posted 25/12/2013 at 15:43:25
A record of W9, D7 L1 suggests a need to convert draws to victories. However, take out the 3 games before the squad was assembled and the record is an excellent W9, D4, L1 with the only poor result being the 0-0 away at Palace (which we deserved to lose).

The stand-out performance is the defence, not only conceding the fewest goals but also scoring the most of all defences in the league too - truly excellent. The signing of a striker who has delivered goals is also noteworthy too, whilst Howard has looked solid.

In the transfer market Barry, Lukaku and McCarthy have all been better than could have reasonably hoped for. Deulofeu looks a good arrangement, whilst Robles will probably be an okay bit of business. On the negative side, Kone and Alcaraz have been unfortunate - it will be interesting to see what Alcaraz contributes in the second half of the season and whether Kone will have a role next season or not.

Amongst the younger players, Barkley and Oviedo have come on very well. Stones is also being given some game time and looks promising. There seems to be a clear development strategy in place with Lundstram, McAleny, Junior, Garbutt, and Duffy all getting game time out on loan. Will be interesting to see how McAleny progresses when his leg heals, and what roles Vellios and Kennedy have to play. Does Gueye have any future at the club? There also looks to be promise amongst the slightly younger players, with another 7 or so players looking to have the potential to move on from the U21 squad and go out on loan next season/get a place on the subs bench.

If you look at our top 3 fit strikers - Lukaku, Jelavic and Vellios, it demonstrates the strength in depth the rival teams around us enjoy and will probably be a challenge to overcome at some point.

To be 2 points from the top of the league with two of our easier home games to go to complete the first half of games is remarkable. Whilst credit has to go to Moyes for assembling a lot of the players, everything is going a lot better than anyone could have hoped for at the start of the season.

Peter Mills
27 Posted 25/12/2013 at 16:32:45
Paul Ferry. Sometimes I enjoy your posts, sometimes they make my eyes want to bleed. However, you are clearly a very committed supporter, which is good enough for me. I hope you have an absolute blast being home and at Goodison over the next few days.
Linda Morrison
28 Posted 25/12/2013 at 16:53:19
Agree with all the enthusiasm of the various posts, even if we lose a few games as we will.

I think BK will adhere to his promise to back the manager, as he has done in the past so am not worried about losing Roberto any time soon.

Don't forget he now has a daughter and his wife may not wish to uproot herself from North West.

I just hope the team does not assume they only need to turn up tomorrow which was the mistake Liverpool made against Hull

I thought the Bring Me Sunshine exhibition was a laugh and I just can not see Moyes being involved with anything like it, he was too serious although he seems to have lightened up a bit since the move.Ever upward for the boys.

Does anyone know why Barkley shaved his hair off, he looks worse than Howard did with that silly beard

David Pearl
29 Posted 25/12/2013 at 16:52:09
My only disappointment is the selfish form of Mirallas. I have actually lost count of the amount of times he was able to slide someone in for a tap in only for him to either waste the opportunity or shoot himself. I counted 2 against Swansea. I can forgive Lukaku and Barkley for the same because of their age.. they are learning. Mirallas on the other hand...

Man of the season so far... it has to be Roberto Martinez. The confidence he has given the players and their improvement; and the positive changes off the bench. Fantastic.

Eric Myles
30 Posted 25/12/2013 at 16:33:29
"For me, this is the most exciting time to be an Evertonian in years. If the people running this club don't find money to invest in the squad now, I think we'll all miss out on an excellent opportunity."

We were saying exactly the same thing at this time last season when we were fourth, only for the board to let us down once again?

Will history repeat itself once more?

Over to you BK.

Wayne Smyth
31 Posted 25/12/2013 at 17:47:23
We won't get a spending spree because we can't afford one. Furthermore Martinez seems to think it's generally unnecessary other than to speed up our transformation, although I'm sure he'd prefer to have plenty of cash to spend than have to work with what we have. He's also said the right players are not going to be available in January so this kind of short-term thinking about taking advantage of our start this season is missing the whole point.

More and more cash was the mantra of OFM. He could never make do with what the club could provide and always wanted us to take on further debt. I'm quite happy that we now have a manager who will eventually get us into the champions league positions using his own ability and skill and actually justify his salary. This year may or may not happen, but I'm sure it will happen soon.

Kenwright may not put any money into the club, but he does give the manager space and time and control, which is more than can be said for most chairmen. Stability has always served us well and with Martinez at the helm with his progressive style of management, I think we're in a good position for the future whether we have 10M or 100M to spend next week.

Ian Tunstead
32 Posted 25/12/2013 at 18:19:48
Football fans can be very fickle and history seems to repeat itself time and again. One minute a manager is a hero or the messiah, the next he is the polar opposite. One moment we are riding on the crest of a wave the next we are left feeling at the bottom of a trough and let down, that is the magic of football. I try to keep a balance and not get carried away by the hype and euphoria.

My half season report would be:

Excellent loan signings have made the difference and McCarthy alone makes up for the other two if they don't come off, but still early in the day to judge them. A lot of luck involved with the Lukaku signing, but as they say, sometimes it's better to be a lucky manager than a good manager. However nobody remembers who was 4th on Christmas day after 17 games it's where the team is after 38 games. We have all seen many false dawns before and even when finishing 4th under Moyes the powers that be put an end to any optimism and hope we might have had.

Still, best to live in the moment and enjoy it while it lasts and it has been very enjoyable to see, but be careful not to get too carried away. In the short term, we are ready to compete against any in the league... but, if money is not invested and when the loan signings return to their mother clubs, Martinez had best have a back-up plan up his sleeve to maintain the momentum.

Michael Wylie
34 Posted 25/12/2013 at 19:47:24
Have been lurking on here for a long time.

I now live a long way away and for the first time in a long time I'm tempted to spend a vast quantity of money to see Everton play like the Everton I used to go and watch in the '80s and early '90s.

Thank you, Roberto Martinez, for giving Everton her self-respect and self-esteem back.

Thanks also I suppose to OFM for steadying the ship and steering a safe course, but you stayed five years too long.

Paul Tran
35 Posted 25/12/2013 at 22:04:19
Fair points Matt, I share your cynicism re the board. If they won't invest now, they never will. Deep down, I share your thoughts on this - I'd never describe myself as happy-clappy!

Ian, I was commenting on what has happened so far. Can you tell me why this successful loan signing is 'lucky?

I'll judge Martinez's season at the end of the season too, it's just that now is a good time for an assessment. Bear in mind some people made judgements last summer before he started, which look particularly odd right now.

I'd encourage everyone not to get carried away until we've won something, but you'd need a heart of stone not to be optimistic right now.

Mick Davies
37 Posted 26/12/2013 at 01:22:12
First half almost over at the Culture Club and its been a revelation, as the new master has shown bravery not witnessed here for decades. The cowardice of the previous regime led most of us to expect a laissez faire attitude with maybe a slow incremental addition of style and tactics over a couple of seasons: instead we've witnessed a sea change in the whole manner of how the club is run and it's infected everyone concerned. The positivity of one man has blown away over 20 years of stagnation and given us blues belief once again.

Getting £33.5m for 2 players who cost half that and were not good enough for EFC and replacing them with the best midfield in the PL was a master stroke; having the best defence while also having the most offensive defenders is incredible! And finding the perfect role for a young genius, who was stagnating in the rezzies or out on loan just tops the lot. What more can this man do?

A recent moronic article in the Daily Mail decried RM's good work and claimed all the credit was down to OFM!!! It stated that had DM had a striker like Lukaku he would have done last season what Roberto hopes to do this; all I can say to this crap is, why in 11 years couldn't he find one when Martinez managed it in 4 months? Anyhow, people scoffed when El Robbie said wed reach 70 pts, well we have 34 with 21 games left, so if we if we carry on at the rate of 2 per game that's 42. Take away the possibility of 6 less and we still get 70! God it's felt like Xmas for months now; Roberto is our Wizzard COYB

Steve Pugh
38 Posted 26/12/2013 at 09:12:35
Saying that our current success is all down to our former manager is just as moronic as saying it has nothing to do with him.

David Moyes took a sinking ship, stopped the rot and stabilised it in a decent position. Martinez has taken the ship, added wings and is now starting to fly.

Both men are partially responsible for where we are now. Moyes for gathering the talent, like Coleman and Oviedo, and RM for making them play,

Paul Ferry
40 Posted 26/12/2013 at 11:23:44
Jeez Ian - 763 - 'Football fans can be very fickle and history seems to repeat itself time and again. One minute a manager is a hero or the messiah, the next he is the polar opposite. One moment we are riding on the crest of a wave the next we are left feeling at the bottom of a trough and let down, that is the magic of football. I try to keep a balance and not get carried away by the hype and euphoria'


(1) We have a different gaffer

(2) There is an optimism and atmosphere that is new

(3) Our new gaffer has yet to have a consistently bad run

(4) There is an unusual unity on these boards these days

(5) Stop stirring with rollercoaster ride stuff; its not relevant now

(6) Stop stirring with let-down stuff; its not relevant now

(7) These comments are relevant for a former era not today

(8) 'Hype and euphoria'. 'Hype"! How grudgingly gingerish

(9) It is no longer 'hype' if it ever was; hint, look at the table

(10) Euphoria? Okay! Merited after last 4 years and last 4 months

You manage to misrepresent the mood of the last four months pitch perfectly Ian. Hey, climb on board, enjoy yourself, stop being a ginger minge-bag! It's over mate, these are fresh times with fresh winds of opportunity. Bobby has proved himself beyond all expectation in defence, formation, style, and the window, and there is no reason at all on this basis to expect continuing success/improvement here apart from your jaundiced jinger (sorry) jowls.

Enjoy the sunshine Ian

Right, off to the match

Paul Ferry
41 Posted 26/12/2013 at 12:00:25
Cheers Peter (Mills) 748 - happy xmas and all the best for 2014!
Paul Ferry
42 Posted 26/12/2013 at 12:01:42
agghhhh - sorry - 'to expect' - 870 - sorry, not to expect .....

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