Martinez: Next 12 games are crucial

, 15 November, 85comments  |  Jump to most recent
Manager speaks at BlazerCon in New York
Roberto Martinez says that he believes Everton's hopes of finishing in the top four rest on the next dozen games.

With that gruelling first 10-match start to the season that featured all of last term's top eight out of the way, the Blues are hoping to capitalise on what is, on paper at least, a more favourable run between now and the New Year, by which point the manager expects his side to be well into its groove.

Speaking yesterday at the inaugural BlazerCon event presented by the US-based "Men In Blazers" duo of Roger Bennett and Michael Davies in Brooklyn, New York, Martinez indicated that he expects his team to reach peak form in January to coincide with the heart of the Premier League season, the start of the FA Cup campaign and a possible place in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Leading into that is a twelve-game stretch that the manager feels will define the season. The Catalan was asked by Bennett if he dreaded the congested fixture programme around the festive period and he responded in typically optimistic fashion by saying that he sees opportunity.

"I would prefer to see a winter break," Martinez said, "so that we [in England] are more in line with much of Europe."

He continued, however, by saying that while it exits he relishes the winter period in the Premier League, saying that, "it is a chance to win 21 points in a short period of time," that can really transform a team's season.

Martinez explained that Everton's top four chances rest on the next 12 games and that the club's strategy is to get to the last third of the campaign with enough points to reach the final goal of around 70 by season's end to get into the Champions League.

Europa League qualification would be an acceptable consolation prize, though, should the Blues fail to bridge the significant gap in resources between themselves and the clutch of monied clubs who are far more fancied to retain their lock on the top four.

Martinez disagreed that the Europa League was a poisoned chalice and pointed to the vital experience his younger players gleaned from playing in the competition last season, despite it's perceived impact on the domestic front.

"The Europa League is a must [if we can't make the Champions League]," the manager continued. "It's a phenomenal competition. Players like Ross Barkley, John Stones and Romelu Lukaku are better players for having played in the Europa League.

"Now we would be more prepared to [handle the extra load in Europe and] maintain the same intensity in the Premier League."

Most Boards would say you have to sell for £40m [but] from a football point of view, we had to keep John Stones

Roberto Martinez

Martinez was asked further about the Stones saga that dominated the lead-up to the start of the current season and the 42-year-old re-stated his belief that it was vital that they stuck to them in the face of increasing bids from Chelsea for his star defender.

He credited Chairman Bill Kenwright for backing him on the issue, saying: "Most Boards would say you have to sell for £40m [but] from a football point of view, we had to keep John Stones.

"[Everton are a club with values and] I was delighted to be able to say that money can't buy you everything."

Given the event's location and its American audience, the topic of Tim Howard inevitably came up and it gave the manager another opportunity to reiterate his continuing faith in Tim Howard's ability as Everton's first-choice goalkeeper.

The USA international, who was an unused substitute in his country's World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines the evening before, has come under scrutiny again for his performances of late but Martinez remains unmoved in his respect for him.

"When I come into the dressing room and I see Tim Howard sitting there, I feel safe. I know he'll control Phil Jagielka, I know he will control John Stones, I know he will control Leighton Baines."

Martinez was the only manager to speak at the BlazerCon event but the Premier League was represented by its Chief Executive Richard Scudamore as well as the likes of Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn, Crystal Palace head honcho Steve Parish, and Liverpool's Ian Ayre.

Thanks to the efforts of EvertonUSA, the club's official umbrella organisation in America, the Blues were the only club with a vendor's table at BlazerCon selling club merchandise and raising money for Everton In The Community through the sale of raffle tickets.

Martinez stopped by the EvertonUSA table at Blazercon to sign autographs and take pictures with supporters. Everton was the only club represented in this fashion at the event.

World Cup-winning USMNT star Ali Krieger also stopped by the EvertonUSA booth for a quick photo opportunity

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Reader Comments (85)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 15/11/2015 at 19:44:50
I don’t know about the Europa League. Although it does give players some European experience, I think it has a big effect on Premier League performances, and that’s our bread and butter.

Personally if we don’t make the top 4, I’d rather not be in the Europa league. Catch-22 though. No European exposure, less chance of attracting better players.
Paul Commons
3 Posted 15/11/2015 at 19:51:17
I take it that the event was named in honour of the disgraced Chuck Blazer so not surprised it received little support!

As far as the next twelve games are concerned, I would bet on us taking 20 points – not enough to threaten the league leaders but enough to see a decent end of season place.

The manager's continued reverence of Howard is moving but, I fear, misplaced.

Tony Hill
4 Posted 15/11/2015 at 19:54:35
This is heartening stuff because it sets out a clear plan for the season and has no ambiguity. I am delighted that we are aiming in such a way for the Champions League.

I am also pleased that Martinez went out to the USA and sold our club. Well done to him.

Alex Kociuba
5 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:00:18
I’d rather us play in the Europa League than scrape a top 4 position and collapse in the Champions League. A realistic aim for a club like us is to maybe get to the final of the Europa League, and/or a domestic cup and/or top 5 position.

Once we establish ourselves at a realistic level, that’s when we can start attracting real quality to take us to the next level. There is no shortcut to a good, respected and successful side, especially at Champions League level.

I’m all for the Europa League because I want us to win something. Getting anywhere near the quarter-finals of the Champions League is a million miles away.

Geoff Risebrow
6 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:03:13
Never mind the next 12 games. Let's focus all our energy on making sure we smash Villa on Saturday. One game at a time. We need to make Goodison a fortress. Two wins from six at home simply isn't good enough. COYB
David Greenwood
7 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:04:02
Our club captain must be thrilled to read what his manager has just said.

The weakest and poorest performing member of our first team squad controls the captain. Surely the manager controls the captain?

Who is the leader in the dressing room?

Trevor Peers
8 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:17:50
Generally upbeat and why not, we do have all those easier games to go at. I'm looking forward to some good performances and lots of goals, fingers crossed.

Worst thing he could've done, mentioning Howard though for TWebbers, wonder if he did it on purpose?

Joseph Terrence
9 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:22:07
Paul, I believe the conference is names Blazercon because the ’hosts’ are Roger Bennett and Michael Davies who make up Men in Blazers – thus blazer.

They’re both pretty funny and they made a name for themselves over here during the World Cup and now have a weekly show about the week’s Premier League action. One of them is a Blue as well!

Paul Commons
11 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:45:26
My apologies, Joe! I wouldn't have been too proud if you had said the infamous Chuck was a Blue. But good luck and thanks to all concerned with the event.
Denis Richardson
12 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:29:44
’it is a chance to win 21 points in a short period of time’.......well, I’m glad our manager can do the maths, just hope he can remember how we did last December......when we also had the ’chance to win 21 points in a short period of time’...

I’d add that EVERY 12 games in the season is pretty important to where you end up finishing, it’s almost 1/3 of the season ffs! I’m also looking forward to peaking in Jan, just in time to we play Spurs (h), Man City (a) and Chelsea (a)... how about just focusing on the next game.

Tbh I wish our manager spent his spare time watching matches and scouting players rather than focusing on his own PR. Didn’t read of any other top flight managers at the shindig. What about casting an eye on the players who aren’t on international duty or the reserves or youth teams, rather than swanning about in the States.

Comforted to know Howard controls our Captain as well as the Baines and Stones – it’s obviously reflected in the goals against column!

Darren Hind
13 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:30:16
Proof positive ! Roberto reads ToffeeWeb

Cant wait for all these "easier" teams to start surrendering the points to us.

Top four ? . . Na, I think we'll win it

Steve Carter
14 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:33:42
Ok, so Tim isn't indecisive and doesn't flap around in the dressing room. Can Roberto encourage him to replicate his dressing room form in the 6 yard box and thereabouts, please.
Ian Riley
15 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:49:17
At least the manager is aiming high. All credit to him. Yes he is right about Stones, how many clubs outside the sky four could refuse £40 million!

Is the Champions League unrealistic? It might be but if it fails, Europa League here we come! This gives the players belief that top four is not unrealistic.

If you think the manager is aiming too high. I think we are going to win the league every season... Just get my pills!

Kevin Tully
16 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:53:15
Much prefer to hear the manger of one of the biggest clubs in English football stating: "Let's get to 40 points and see where we can go from there."

Is fucking right Bobby, set the bar at top four. These multi-millionaire players are happy to want a move to a "top four" side. It's about time they paid back the fans who support them through tick and thin. If they don't believe they're good enough, they shouldn't be playing for us.

Sick of a top 7 finish being hailed as a successful season. It's upper mid-table up to 5th place. Let's get some pride back in this great club of ours. 20 long years without a trophy. Goodison Park is not fit for purpose. Too many fans are prepared to accept bluffing liars running the club. WAKE UP BLUES!!

Kunal Desai
17 Posted 15/11/2015 at 21:57:28
Martinez should be saying we should be aiming to get back to competing for those Europa League places. It’s like running before you can even walk. We won’t get into the top 4, simply don’t have the quality or the adequate strength in depth to compete for a side challenging top 4.

5th-7th is still achievable and realistic and should be the aim.

Paul Andrews
18 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:01:53
Last season's Champions are below us.

We are in a good position to attack the top four now.

Great to see a manager with positivity.

Mark Rankin
19 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:23:14
I can’t stand all this top 4 stuff, our aim should be to win the league and any other competition we are entered into. As #5 says, that starts by taking it to Villa on Saturday
Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:33:10
Geoff (#5), I see where you’re coming from but Everton are 7th in the home table, but only 11th in the away table which surprised me a little because we have done fairly well away from Goodison. It’s those darned draws that seem to hold us back all too often.

Arsenal are fifth in the home table but top of the away table with Man City top of the home league table and fifth in the away table.

Home and Away Tables

Paul Hewitt
21 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:51:28
Kevin, a top 7 finish is a successful season for us. Only when we get the big investment can we hope to challenge the top 4.
Paul Tran
22 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:57:31
All well and good being so positive and aiming high. We need to start showing some authority and conviction on the pitch, rather than talking about it. Until then, any talk is empty for me.
Nicholas Ryan
23 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:24:05
We must AIM for a Champions League spot, even if we're not convinced we'll get it!
Jim Bennings
24 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:30:12
If we don’t win our next two matches against two relegation candidates, and then safely navigate past a Championship side in the League Cup Quarter Final, then we can expect nothing more than mid-table.

As has already been said on this thread, talk is cheap; what we really need to see is solid proof that this Everton team can go on a winning run.

If we can win 3 games on the spin or even something like 5 out of 7, then I might allow myself to get carried away.

It's hard to get excited because there are too many draws in matches we should be looking to win if we are serious about challenging the top clubs.

Beat Villa, Bournemouth, Middlesbrough in the Cup then take at the very least 4 points from the home game with Palace and the away trip to Norwich, I’d regard that as a decent haul in the build up to Christmas.

Mike Hughes
25 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:40:38

Please just turn the microphone off and win the League Cup.

That’ll do for starters.

Geoff Risebrow
26 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:50:33
Well said, Kevin (#14). I disagree with Kunal (#15). Why can’t we make the top 4? I’m not saying we will but we have a lot of quality and decent squad depth.

Man Utd are still in transition, Spurs and Liverpool are distinctly average, and we may be able to take advantage of Chelsea’s problems. Let’s have some positivity!

Colin Glassar
27 Posted 16/11/2015 at 00:05:48
Nothing less then the treble will do for me this season. Now that's aiming high.
Harold Matthews
29 Posted 15/11/2015 at 00:30:46
I’m with Geoff and Paul T. One game at a time and let’s start playing like a fast tempo quality outfit which doesn’t keep giving the ball away.

Silly to think of Howard controlling Jags, Stones and Bainsey. His mouth always stays tightly shut till the action is over. I’d be more than pleased if he managed to control his six-yard area.

Howard has driven me crazy over the years but he has also played some great games. Unfortunately his days are now numbered. Klinsmann has put him on the bench but the people who gave him a long and lucrative Everton contract will try to justify their decision by praising him to the hilt and playing him every week. Happy days.

Aaron Underwood
32 Posted 16/11/2015 at 02:06:50
Martinez isn’t an idiot, he knows Howard hasn’t been great lately, but he’s over there promoting our club so slating Howard probably wouldn’t go down well in a room where I can assume he’s pretty popular. I seriously doubt he believes that about Jags and Stones.
Jim Hardin
33 Posted 16/11/2015 at 03:15:48
Harold, take a break from the Howard bashing. Have a drink or six. Your comments are incredibly ridiculous. Is your comment about talking aimed at being deliberately offensive or just showing an ignorance of Tourettes?

Also, get your facts straight or read something else besides TW. Klinsmann said he is rotating both Guzan and Howard. Thus Guzan played our first qualifier and, now try to do the math: 2 GKs minus Guzan = 1, which is Howard for Tuesday’s game.

Craig Fletcher
34 Posted 16/11/2015 at 08:19:36
Nothing really ground-breaking in Roberto’s comments here. And his praising of Howard is nothing new – he has always "praised in public" with his players. I’m sure in private though he gets the message across if required.

And of course the next 12 matches are vital..... It’s one-third of the league season, after all! First up: Villa on Saturday – COYB

Rob Hooton
35 Posted 16/11/2015 at 08:20:31
I'm quite chuffed that our manager is ambitious, clearly loves the Club and respects our history and is keen to bring some form of success. Sometimes Roberto drives me crazy and sometimes I think he's brilliant but I think he has a plan and is here to fulfil it. COYB
Eddie Dunn
36 Posted 16/11/2015 at 08:45:40
I seem to remember that last season, the manager was announcing on a regular basis how the next bunch of games was going to be pivotal to our season.

I recall that the words had little effect on the actual results. If we can’t find a way to despatch the likes of Villa, then top half is going to be difficult to get, never mind top four.

Christopher Dover
37 Posted 16/11/2015 at 09:35:11
I don’t get some of the criticism? Many on here at the beginning of the season said we have ten tough games; if we can get through them with a decent points haul, we will be in a good position.

So the manager says the next 12 games are pivotal to our season, I do not see many disagreeing with that, it puts him in the same frame of mind as most on here so why criticise him for saying what most think?

The next game is very important, of course, we need to play well and beat Villa to gain the three points. Each "next game" is the most important, but he has put on record what most think about the up and coming games and as some on here have said it shows he has a target.

Best to aim for the top than go into the dressing room and say we will aim for sixth place isn’t it?

He is the manager, like him or not. I am not his biggest supporter at times, the way he sets the team up, but we all know what he is looking for. After the next 12 games, then the judging on his performance will take place; until then we should all support him and the team.

John Hodgkins
38 Posted 16/11/2015 at 10:21:35
Jim Hardin #27, don't be such an apologist for Howard. He is so far over the hill he is halfway up the next one.
Don't allow your undoubted patriotism to cloud your judgement.
John Daley
40 Posted 16/11/2015 at 10:42:32
"Is your comment about talking aimed at being deliberately offensive or just showing an ignorance of Tourettes?"

Totally unnecessary (and, in your own words, "incredibly ridiculous") to try and twist a perfectly innocent and reasonable comment about Howard coming over all Chief from ’One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ when his team is under the cosh into an ’offensive’ Tourette’s sleight, simply to continue your one-man crusade against claims that Howard has been absolute gash for a good while now.

Harold is merely pointing out the disparity between Martinez’s declaration that Howard dominates his defenders behind closed doors and the total lack of demonstrable control over those same defenders when it actually counts: ie, when said Everton players are out on the pitch, not pissing about on their phones in the confines of the dressing room until Top Dog Tim threatens to confiscate them and, totally exasperated, probably tells them to pull their socks up and ’stop acting like a pack of fucking kids’ or something.

The fact you construe his words to contain even the slightest whiff of malice says more about your mindset than it does Harold’s. You’ve made it perfectly clear over recent months that you won’t let any criticism of Cabbage Patch Gloves get past you without pointing out how ’unfair’ and ’uninformed’ his critics are.

I particularly liked the recent one about the mass misunderstanding everyone else was operating under when they erroneously claimed Howard made mistakes, because they weren’t really mistakes. Rather, it was a case of Tim acting in line with the (inadequate?) coaching he’d received earlier in his career and continuing to do what he’d previously been shown to be correct, even though it results in him conceding cheap goals constantly.

Well, Tarzan was raised in the jungle and taught to eat monkey shit with his bare hands, but that didn’t stop it being considered the table manners of a right dirty bastard when he rocked up at the Greystoke estate and repeated the same behaviour. People didn’t just say "Carry on Tarzan lad. We’ll do our damnedest to put up with it and try and refrain from throwing up". No, they tried to correct his behaviour, by teaching him to use a fork and swapping simian arse droppings for a more socially acceptable shite substitute... such as a Fray Bentos Steak Pie.

So now, as well as not being permitted to bring up any goalkeeping errors (on the grounds of... err... it’s not his fault, honest), people are not allowed to make reference to anything he might ever say, or refrain from saying, because any such comments could be automatically elevated to a bit of a dig at his medical condition? Absolute bollocks.

The truth of the matter is, you’ve set your stall out as a staunch defender of Howard to such an extent that you’re seeing injustice and insult every time someone types his name and taking umbrage unnecessarily. You’re being needlessly over-protective of your favourite... compatriot... whatever.

Seriously, if me, you and Tim turned up at a meeting of ’The Munsters Fan Club’ and Tim suddenly started singing the theme tune from The Addams Family – dead loud like so everyone could hear – I (and I believe the vast majority of people) would just say "Tim! You’ve got your black and white sitcoms badly mixed up, son. You’ve made a MISTAKE". You, on the other hand, would probably come over all "I’m Spartacus!", start clicking your fingers and say "DUN DUN DUN DUN (snap, snap), DUN DUN DUN DUN (snap, snap) etc".

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 16/11/2015 at 11:19:48
Harold (26) keep posting your incredibley ridiculous notes I just love them.

Jim (27) your intelligent notes are breathtaking.

Paul Commons
42 Posted 16/11/2015 at 11:28:40
For all my reservations about Howard, we could have a lot worse – Guzan. He, not Tim, is by a long way the worst in the Premier League!
Finlay Robin
43 Posted 16/11/2015 at 11:40:53
I agree with John and Harold. Tim Howard was an above-average keeper for us at his peak. Now I’d say he is amongst the worst in the league. It’s crazy to see that most other teams have two better keepers than our first choice.
Gerard Carey
44 Posted 16/11/2015 at 12:22:59
John Daley 32, I have had to finish work for the day because of you. Best post that I have read for a long time, cant stop laughing, just love ToffeeWeb. What a way to brighten up a Monday morn.

Like or dislike him, our Tim is one of RM’s favoured few and is undroppable. Mistakes don't seem to matter, our Tim will be ever present for the season. I think that's more to do with our manager than Tim.

Andrew Ellams
45 Posted 16/11/2015 at 12:54:09
John Daley, I can't help thinking that you are massively overestimating Fray Bentos steak pies.
Michael Polley
46 Posted 16/11/2015 at 13:11:04
One game at a time. 3 pts against Villa will do for starters.
Tony J Williams
47 Posted 16/11/2015 at 13:26:08
"Martinez indicated that he expects his team to reach peak form in January to coincide with the heart of the Premier League season"

This shite again?

How's about having the fuckers ready for fucking August?

Oh and Jim, give it a fucking rest with you, Harold’s post has absolutely fucking nothing to do with Tourettes.

Mine, however...!!

Pete Edwards
48 Posted 16/11/2015 at 13:58:20
Dennis @#10, Ridiculous comment. He’s promoting the club, nothing to do with his own PR. It should be applauded that he’s spreading Everton’s name over there!
Jamie Crowley
49 Posted 16/11/2015 at 14:51:22
Top 4 is a realistic possibility IF we beat the teams we should beat in this run of 12 games.

Anyone with eyes and a brain could see that the start of our fixture list was challenging. We've come through it and now, and seven points off 4th place we are poised to make a run towards the top of the table.

Credit the manager for having the stones to aim high and say so publicly.

Also... for anyone who's not familiar with the Men in Blazers I highly suggest listening to their podcast. They are absolutely hilarious. Very cool Roger Bennett pulled his Blue strings and got Roberto there. Bennett is a massive Blue and has the "scouse wit" as I like to call it... Great duo, great product they put out there.

As an aside, I think Roger Bennett should have a "Blue Pod" and invite Kenrick, Lloyd, Eugene, John Daly, Glasstrodomus, and Paul Ferry as a six man round table. I'd project 6 million downloads...

Harold Matthews
52 Posted 16/11/2015 at 15:14:35
Cheers John, Finlay, Tony J, Dave and co. Much appreciated.

Jim H. My comments on your favourite keeper are not deliberately offensive but yours certainly are. Such disgusting thoughts and accusations do not belong on TW.

Paul Commons
53 Posted 16/11/2015 at 15:46:03
Jamie @ 43; I admire your optimism but the next 12 games are just that –12 games. Realistically, it will require the team to average over two points per game for THE REST OF THE SEASON to have a meaningful chance of a TOP FOUR finish.

Bear in mind we are 'starting ' that mission from NINTH spot so it will require one hell of a run to make up the leeway. Can it be done? Of course. Will it? Now that's a quite different question.

Graham Mockford
56 Posted 16/11/2015 at 16:24:09
Jim Hardin,

You really need to rein it in. Defending Tim flies against all reason in that he has been poor after a good start to the season. Personally I don’t mind him coming out all bullish, I’d rather a keeper with confidence even if it may be misplaced. I would even go as far as to say some of the criticism is over the top and I have been on here and defended him. But he has not been good enough recently and there’s only so long that can go on.

He will get longer to turn his form around, the manager's statements and actions show that. But he needs to.

Andrew Ellams,

I once discovered on a walking trip that Fray Bentos pies are very nice cold straight out of the tin. Mind you I’d been walking all day, the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down sideways so I couldn’t be arsed making a fire.

Shane Corcoran
58 Posted 16/11/2015 at 16:50:15
I think the last few of those twelve games include Spurs, Man City and Chelsea so the next eight should be the prime focus... or the next one maybe.
Jay Harris
59 Posted 16/11/2015 at 16:58:35
Another vote for Harold who has consistently put sensible posts on here.

Tim Howard WAS not as bad as some made out but, since the World Cup, he is not a keeper befitting a top 6 side and may well be the reason we don’t make top 6 anytime soon.

Dennis Ng
60 Posted 16/11/2015 at 17:37:55
I've been looking forward to the "easier" games but now this declaration makes me feel he's setting himself up for all those banana peels that the next 12 games can be.

Harold, I'm on the fence with Howard. I agree he's not playing well enough for us, but my question remains, who can we get? I doubt Martinez will dare to try and buy another GK without Howard retiring and it might cost an arm for a good one, unless we manage to steal another from Chelsea (Begovic).

On the same Howard-ish topic, I happened to have seen Croatia-Germany U17. That Semper kid looks good, too bad we're not going to be anywhere near getting him.

Patrick Murphy
61 Posted 16/11/2015 at 17:54:03
Whilst I understand Roberto’s thinking about the next dozen games, he is setting a bit of a trap for himself by articulating such notions. Does he not realise that speaking to a group of fans half-way across the world does not mean he is amongst a small group of people and as Everton FC manager he is always talking to the whole fan-base most of the time?

I am slightly unimpressed with people who make forecasts in general, but particularly in football, anything can happen on and off the pitch at any given moment and therefore looking too far ahead can often lead to missing important issues in the here and now. There is nothing wrong with stating that ’our aim is to win as many points as possible", "We hope to be competing for Champions League places at the back-end of the season" or "Each game is there to be won, no matter who the opponents, no matter which competition".

I assume that the next 12 fixtures take us up or near to the end of the January transfer window, who knows what may happen during the window if the results haven’t gone as well as we all hope? Mr Martinez should realise that his profession is one of the most precarious and if things don’t go well, he may not even be at Goodison in a dozen games time. I’m not advocating that he should be removed, merely reflecting the climate which surrounds football at the minute.

Please Roberto, get the players to play to the best of their abilities in each and every minute when you select them to play and the points etc will take care of themselves.

Brin Williams
62 Posted 16/11/2015 at 18:57:30
I won't hear a word said against Harold.

He is the most moderate, measured, knowledgeable and intelligent posters on TW.

He may be getting on in years but he is no-body's fool.

Stay in there Harold - tell it as it is mate!!

Darren Hind
63 Posted 16/11/2015 at 19:08:18
"But that didn't stop it being considered the table manners of a right dirty bastard when he rocked up at Greystoke estate."

I came very close to actually pissing myself when I read that.

Geoff Risebrow
64 Posted 16/11/2015 at 19:23:35
Harold’s comments were fair and I happen to agree with him. In no way were they meant to be offensive. Jim’s comments were strange and offensive.
Karl Masters
65 Posted 16/11/2015 at 19:26:47
I parked in a Disabled Bay at the Supermarket.

Quick as a flash, a man rushed over and said, "You can’t park there! What’s your disability?"

I replied, "Tourette’s, you cant! Now Fock off!"

Frank Crewe
67 Posted 16/11/2015 at 19:45:06
Exactly 1 year ago today we had exactly the same points we have now. We had won, drawn and lost exactly the same amount of games. Give or take a goal our season had panned out exactly as this season had at this point.

We all know how last season worked so let's hope history doesn’t repeat itself as it has so far.

Peter Mills
68 Posted 16/11/2015 at 20:43:48
Jim Hardin, I think you have found that whilst there is plenty of stick dished out on this site, if you attack one of the most knowledgeable and measured contributors you are going to be taken to task. Rightly so.
And by the way, Howard has been poor this season.
Andrew Laird
70 Posted 16/11/2015 at 22:23:01
Take your own advice and give it a rest, Jim Hardin. A pathetic and quite frankly disgusting twist and accusation on Harold’s written views. What a blinkered, uneducated and sycophantic view you have on all things Tim.

Here is a genuine question; do you regularly watch Tim Howard on a matchday in a Premier League stadium? Are you in earshot of him? If the answer to either of these is No, you should write a grovelling apology to Harold and then put your head firmly back in the sand.

Jamie Crowley
72 Posted 16/11/2015 at 23:15:29
Jim Hardin-

While not getting too confrontational regarding your points about Howard - and you as well as Harold are entitled to your opinions - Harold is like TW gold.

I personally read every single one of his posts in earnest as I know I’ll be blessed with seeing things in a different light; and if not different then still much better off having taken his points.

I call Harold the "Blue Magi of Merseyside". I’ve said this before and and been told by Harold himself to "behave."

But frankly there is no more intelligent, measured, and thoughtful contributor on this website.

If you take Harold to task, you’re going to find a lot of people jumping (rightfully so) to his defense.

Besides that he’s a closet Red Sox fan, so he should get a ton of leeway.


Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 16/11/2015 at 23:57:27
Roberto,you never seem to learn, I don’t know how we will perform over the next few games but what I do know is, if you don’t take the brakes off and play with some adventure and aggression we will not get as many points as we should.

For God's sake, Mr Martinez, let the team play attacking football, take the shackles off McCarthy for one, and let the players go forward from the off.

Give us something to cheer, stop boring us to tears. A lot of us have had enough of this boring play which tries to pass as football... Robbie, it it stinks and will never satisfy those of us brought up in the game the way it should be played.

Darren Hind
74 Posted 17/11/2015 at 00:54:49
Amen to that Dave.

In fairness, the boss has shown tremendous qualities in the short time he has been here. He has shown he is not to be fucked with and is not for bowing down to anybody. He has also shown on occasion that he does have the tactical nous to serve it up to the best, but like the last guy, he seems riddled with fear.

I think a lot bought into his "No fear" rhetoric – especially after years of Moyes managing expectation... but the facts, the stats, the performances and the results –especially away from home – show he has so far been unable to walk the walk.

Much as I enjoyed the victory at Old Trafford two seasons ago, we have to put the result into perspective. We were playing against possibly the worst Man Utd side since they were promoted nearly 40 years ago. We've beaten better Man Utd sides than that and Evertonians have got to stop allowing him to dine out on that one result.

Martinez is clearly a smart guy, but he's beginning to make TGT look like Kevin Keegan. He needs to start rolling the dice at match time, not just in his pre/post match interviews

Derek Thomas
75 Posted 17/11/2015 at 01:04:23
Jim Hardin; being in a minority doesn’t mean you’re wrong... but in this case, you are. At the moment you’re trending down along with the guy who shot Bambi’s mother.

Howard’s been crap and getting crapper for 2 years.

Jim Hardin
76 Posted 17/11/2015 at 01:17:19

I too like most of Harold’s posts but this one is ridiculous (red arrow me all you want). First, Martinez spoke about Howard’s leadership and presence in the dressing room (something no current or former Blue has criticized) in praise of his being a professional and a presence in the locker room (contrary to the posters who complain about him just taking the money and unlike Ferdinand and other dressing room cancers in other clubs). Why was this an opportunity to bash Howard for something only the players and the manager know anything about?

Second, the clenched jaws reference to Howard is absolutely, to my mind, a derogatory reference to his condition. Clenched jaw, grinding teeth etc are symptoms or manifestations of the syndrome. The reference and words from the sage or mage are deliberate. I don’t expect English posters to agree and I frankly do not care.

Criticize Howard for your opinion as to his play and technique if you must. Criticize him for not being a professional and fine servant of the club or for a condition he did not ask for and that is way over the line. Supporting such comments is too.

Peter Barry
77 Posted 17/11/2015 at 03:06:54
The most delusional think Ole Brown Shoes said was how SAFE he feels with Howard in goal. Now that really shows just how bad he is and what a TURKEY Boys Pen Billy brought us.
David Ellis
78 Posted 17/11/2015 at 03:09:48
Jim - I think if you read Harold’s original message again I think you would find that there is nothing in it about Tourette’s at all – here it is:

"I’m with Geoff and Paul T. One game at a time and let’s start playing like a fast tempo quality outfit which doesn’t keep giving the ball away.

Silly to think of Howard controlling Jags, Stones and Bainsey. His mouth always stays tightly shut till the action is over. I’d be more than pleased if he managed to control his six-yard area.

Howard has driven me crazy over the years but he has also played some great games. Unfortunately his days are now numbered. Klinsmann has put him on the bench but the people who gave him a long and lucrative Everton contract will try to justify their decision by praising him to the hilt and playing him every week. Happy days."

Tim keeping his mouth shut is a reference not to Tourette’s but his lack of control of the penalty area, particularly when dealing with crosses that most feel he should come out and claim. He’s a great shot stopper but needs to dominate (verbally as well as physically) a larger area in front of his goal.

Having said that, I agree he is a true professional and has been a great servant to the club and great advertisement for us in the US. Whether Robles is now a better option, I am not too sure, but I think this may be Howard’s final season as our No 1.

Rick Barnes
79 Posted 17/11/2015 at 04:18:57
I’ve read ToffeeWeb for years without posting but Jim Hardin’s last post has implored me to add a comment. Harold doesn’t make a ’clenched jaws’ reference at all – that’s all in your mind Hardin.

Harold is talking about keepers calling / not calling when coming for crosses. Numerous posters all saw the comment the same way, yet you still reiterated the accusation that it was related to Tourette’s. To repeat your accusation, even after being told it was not related to Tim's Tourette’s, is offensive.

We’re all Blues, and I enjoy reading all comments, whether I agree with them or not. I even enjoyed reading your comments on American keepers being taught to stay on their line – I don’t agree with that style, but I liked reading your perspective on it.

I, like Harold and many others, would prefer a keeper who controls the entire penalty box rather than just his line. You’re entitled to prefer a keeper who concentrates on blocking shots. But I think with a cooler head hopefully you’ll realise you read far too much into a simple comment.

Phil Sammon
80 Posted 17/11/2015 at 07:23:59

You seem to have entirely made up the ’clenched jaw’ comment, because it isn’t anywhere in Harold’s post.

Totally misguided and baffling rant from yourself, Jim. Seek help!

Brent Stephens
81 Posted 17/11/2015 at 08:07:51
I'm prepared to accept that Harold's post was not a reference to Tim's condition, and that Jim genuinely misinterpreted the post. Without reading all relevant posts in the thread, can we assume both have acknowledged that?
David Harrison
82 Posted 17/11/2015 at 09:37:24
I’m with Eddie #31. It is always "jam tomorrow" with Roberto but, just like with the Soviet 5-year plans, the goodies never quite materialise.

I hope we can go on a run over the next 12 games and then hit peak form but fear it will prove yet another empty promise / soundbite.

Ged Simpson
83 Posted 17/11/2015 at 10:28:57
David - so.... I was on TV talking about the company I work for.

"Nah - we’re shite. The owners are crap, corrupt liars. I am rubbish but get paid loads for saying optimistic things and .....I ignore our customers"

As I sat in my chair 2 weeks later, unemployed but with some lads on a forum saying they respect me, I wondered if I had been that clever.

Wise up!

Paul Andrews
84 Posted 17/11/2015 at 11:08:57
A big opportunity for the lads to push up the table starting this week. Martinez has improved the team no end since Moyes left the club.

We just need to take the next step now. Play at a high tempo from the off get the early goal and push it home.

Denis Richardson
85 Posted 17/11/2015 at 11:34:37
Have to say Tourettes never entered my mind reading Harold's post....not sure where that came from.

@Pete 42 – Martinez may well have had his pic taken with a few blues in the US but I’d much prefer our manager spend his time watching matches and/or our players training. It may be an international break but all of our players are playing somewhere, nevermind the ton of other scouting opportunities. He was also the only manager there.

From a pure football perspective, is this really the best use of his time? How about analysing recent Villa games in preparation for our upcoming match or watching a game involving some of the Villa players we’ll be up against?

Martinez loves being in the media (World Cup commentary, Monday night SS ’analysis’ etc) and can’t help himself when a microphone is in his face.

Call me petty but it’s not the off-season yet and there’s plenty that can/should be done during an international break rather than swanning off to the US.

Tony J Williams
86 Posted 17/11/2015 at 12:24:25
Jim, one of the most tenuous links I have seen on here.

Keeping his mouth shut = reference to Tourettes????

I just wish that our manager would have the team ready for the start of the season and not keep on spouting out how we will be in our stride come December, January, February... it’s a little late by then Bobby!

Hopefully McCarthy will get a boost from the qualification and start to get more adventurous, he certainly has been forward more this season. That blind pass to Kone was sublime.

Amit Vithlani
87 Posted 17/11/2015 at 12:59:25
Tony @ 41 your post reminded me of the line from John Emburey when he was asked how his thumb was after hurting it whilst taking a return catch in a county game for Middlesex:

"The faaacking faaacker's faaacking faaacked"

David Torpey
88 Posted 17/11/2015 at 13:27:29
Okay I reckon we give Jim a break, reminds me of a school playground. All of us are Blues - a misunderstanding, but great entertainment admittedly. Anyway, I don’t mind Bob’s visit to the US - it’s not like he’s gone hiking in the Himalayas. If nothing else it’s showing a presence and intent - he has belief, and I like that.
Brian Cleveland
89 Posted 17/11/2015 at 13:31:18

I was happy just reading other people's posts without commenting... but how you drew a parallel between keeping his mouth shut and Tourettes is beyond me. There is no way that remark was intended as a reference to his condition, it is merely your own paranoia. It is akin to saying that use of the word "blackboard" is racist.

I've never seen Harold be offensive to anyone, disagree yes, insult no.

So come on Jim, admit you made a MISTAKE!

Bobby Thomas
90 Posted 17/11/2015 at 13:31:41

Get a grip.

Dave Abrahams
91 Posted 17/11/2015 at 13:44:35
Jim (62), please read Harold's original post again, then read your own two following posts, they are not really what you are like, you are better than that.

Then read Brian at (73)and consider doing what he asked you.

Pete Edwards
92 Posted 17/11/2015 at 13:45:43
Dennis, imagine the uproar if he refused to attend or to refuse having his picture taken in case he offends you!!

I’m sure as well that there are TVs and DVD players for Martinez to watch as many Villa games as he likes over there, it’s not like he’s buggered off mid-week is it!

Andy Meighan
94 Posted 17/11/2015 at 15:03:34
I wish Howard controlled his penalty box like he controls the dressing room. Martinez does come out with some whoppers.

As for us challenging the top 4, forget it. Not every side will be as charitable as Sunderland, starting with Villa on Saturday who’ll come and park the bus. We’ll see what we’re made of then.

As others have said, let’s take it one game at a time and not worry what’s ahead. After all, when has a game ever been won on paper?

Raymond Fox
96 Posted 17/11/2015 at 15:45:01
Obviously we all want a successful team, be it top 4 or a Cup winner.

So what do you want the manager to say in reply to the question? "We’ve a few crap players and we’ll be lucky to get 10 points out of the next 12 games"? At least he sticks his neck out and doesn’t talk about, "Let's get to 40 points first and see where it leads to"!

As to talk about us playing boring football, I’m sure RM would much prefer to be playing open attractive winning football. One problem with that is we have not got one or two £30m- £40m class players in the middle of the park. The team we have at the moment isn’t a top 4 team; anyone thinking we are is kidding themselves, and laying themselves open to further disappointment. We are in the same position potential wise that we’ve been in for years: good but not quite good enough.

Let's face it, the money we can afford to spend on players we are fortunate to finish 5th - 8th’ish, in fact the majority of teams in the Premier League must wonder how the hell we consistently do it!

Martinez is going about attempting to make us a more successful side in the right way, in my opinion, by giving any young player that he deems good enough a chance in the 1st team, which in general has paid off big time.

Furthermore he’s been adamant that our best players are staying at Everton because he knows it's the only way, this club can become a winning one once more. Criticise his tactics if you must, which is a matter of opinion of course, but in general I think he’s doing a dam good job given the financial restrictions he’s working under.

Paul Cherrington
97 Posted 17/11/2015 at 16:02:59
Dennis @70 is right - the manager should be here at Goodison and Finch Farm preparing for this important run of games, not buggering off on a jolley as soon as he can get away with it. To suggest he can just watch a couple of matches on TV instead and we’ll be okay is daft.

If that’s the case, why does the manager even have to turn up in person at all? He could just watch Match of the Day on a Saturday and email his instructions for the next week’s game in. Mind you, with some of the performances in recent memory that’s maybe what’s happening!

Lyndon Lloyd
98 Posted 17/11/2015 at 17:31:31
Martinez’s comments about Howard seem to have been misconstrued. I’m fairly sure that his reference to when he sees Howard "sitting in the dressing room" were based on his confidence about how he (Howard) controls his defence when he gets on the field.

Incidentally, Jurgen Klinsmann (Howard’s manager at international level) says the same thing – both must be seeing qualities and influence that we supporters are not, although a good many match-going Blues are clearly mystified on that score.

Regarding Jim’s reaction to Harold’s comments let’s draw a line under that particular exchange. Further comments on that topic will be removed.

Hugh Jenkins
99 Posted 17/11/2015 at 17:42:40
I can understand why John Ruddy wanted to leave when he did.

However, if Norwich were to go down again this year does anyone think that it might be worthwhile making a bid for Ruddy?

Harold - your posts are very knowledgeable and full of experience and insight.

I thoroughly enjoy reading them so don't be put off by criticism, even of it is well meant, but misguided.

Ian Jones
101 Posted 17/11/2015 at 18:21:53
I think this year with Chelsea out of the title race and struggling at the moment, although they are bound to get better, and Man Utd doing okay but again not convincing, you would have to hope that tat least one Champions League place could be up for grabs.

Big 'if', but if we can get our defence in order, and if we can get a run of winning games together like we did in the 2013-14 season, anything is possible. Nothing wrong with those people who believe we should aim for 4th. Would we be ready to compete successfully in a qualifying round or two? I am not so sure.

As for Martinez going to the States, many of us complain that our club doesn’t do enough to raise its profile, so any publicity must be worth something.

Raymond Fox
102 Posted 17/11/2015 at 20:19:18
There’s no pleasing some folk, anybody would think he’s gone for 6 months.
I’m sure he’s buggered off without any instructions to his assistant manager and players.

Off course, he could be here and treat his staff like they're of no effing use... it's called delegating, don’t you know!

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