Club form could dictate Stones's Euro2016 hopes

, 28 March, 158comments  |  Jump to most recent

John Stones will get another chance to impress Roy Hodgson tomorrow but the England boss admits that it's important that the young defender wins his club place back in terms of his chances of making Euro2016.

Stones's star was on an unmistakably upward trajectory last year as his performances for Everton garnered national attention and a series of failed bids from Chelsea for his services during the 2015 summer transfer window.

Since then, however, he has struggled somewhat under the glare of the media and in a Blues defence that has shipped more league goals at home than any other club in Europe's top five leagues.

Individually, Stones's personal form has suffered as the season has progressed and a couple of costly individual errors during Everton's difficult winter period likely moved manager Roberto Martinez to withdraw him from the starting XI following his recovery from a hamstring problem last month.

Since his return to fitness, the 21-year-old has started just one game, the 3-2 defeat to West Ham in which he was substituted at half time to accommodate the readjustment following Kevin Mirallas's red card and it's his lack of game time rather than a shortage in confidence in his ability from Hodgson that could hinder his prospects of going to France with England this summer.

We believe in John Stones, there is no question of that, Hodgson said over the weekend.

He will get a chance on Tuesday to show what he can do, we believe he is the type of centre-half who could be very, very good for England going forward, but it is up to him.

First of all he has got to play well enough to break into his club side and there is nothing I can do about that.

Then he has got to make certain he is so good with us that we would consider moving the two we had and continue not to use Phil Jagielka because he is one of four centre-backs.

All I can do is give him encouragement and make sure he knows how much we believe in him and how much we think he is a very, very talented player.

Not so long ago he was being touted around as not only the best centre-back in the county, but a centre-back all the top teams would have. He was being touted for the reason because people said how comfortable he was on the ball, how composed he is, how good he is when he brings the ball out. Then a couple of games go and he makes a couple of mistakes and we want to throw that back on his head.

Hodgson last comment was, no doubt, a reference to criticism that Stones has received from certain quarters in the media and even some supporters at Goodison Park over his propensity to play himself into trouble at the back by holding onto the ball in dangerous areas/

Once incident in particular in the home draw with Tottenham in early January where Stones was barracked by some supporters in the Park End stand for executing a series of Cruyff turns in his own six-yard box and then telling a section of the Park End to calm down when he eventually got out of the situation unscathed was illustrative of his situation this season.

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle took up the case of the nervous reaction of the Goodison crowd when he elects to play it out from the back in comments of his own this weekend.

"There is a trend that has concerned me of late. John Stones has undoubtedly been going through a difficult period," Hoddle said in the Mail. "He has struggled in some games but it seems his mistakes are highlighted much more than those of other defenders.

"Stones is so unusual in the English game in wanting to play out from the back. And that's something about which we're inherently suspicious as a football nation. You can sense it even in the crowd at Goodison Park, where they appreciate good football.

"There is a frustration with Stones, especially if he tries something and runs into trouble."

Stones is set to start for England in the home nation's second friendly of the current international break against the Netherlands at Wembley, perhaps alongside his club captain, Jagielka.

It could also be a precursor to his return to the first team at Everton where Martinez's search for a resolution to his defensive problems, exposed again in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal nine days ago, could see him turn to Stones once more now that he has had a spell on the bench to reset.


Reader Comments (158)

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Andy Walker
1 Posted 27/03/2016 at 17:09:14
Fans abusing our players at Goodison Park is disrespectful in my opinion and ultimately counter productive as it only affects their performances in a negative way, particularly the younger lads like Stones and Barkley (Stones's actions on the pitch and his reported comments support this).

Of course, fans pay their money and have the right to do what they like, I know that, and it's no doubt a highly cathartic experience for the fan giving the abuse. Ultimately some self restraint (of the negative shit) can only benefit the team though. The classic frustration/aggression theory is alive and well at Goodison Park.

I await the abuse (just see it as another way to release those frustrations folks). But please, just give this some consideration, is it really that unreasonable?

Dave Ganley
2 Posted 27/03/2016 at 18:40:07
Ah, Andy – another one quite happy to point the finger at the Goodison crowd as to why players perform so badly. What came first, the poor performances or the so-called abuse?

John Stones and Ross Barkley have had amazing support from the Goodison crowd. What have they done to repay the crowd? Well Stones decided to try and play Hari Kari in front of the Park End in the last minute if a nail biter against Spurs, a game we had done surprisingly well to actually get back into. He actually got away with it that time, however there have been many occasions when he has been caught out with his overplaying.

That can be forgiven. What sticks in the throat is when he has the temerity to have a go at the Park End for being concerned he may have given a goal away. As I've pointed out, if this was an isolated incident, then it wouldn't have been a problem. As it was, he has been caught in possession many times with his casual nature and it was entirely understandable the crowd got edgy when he tried that.

If he can't understand why the crowd responded like that then god help him if he goes to the Mancs or Barca or Madrid and does that and is responsible for losing a game. It will make Goodison seem like kindergarten.

As for Barkley, he has had more leeway than most in the Everton team. He is lazy, gets away with not competing for 50/50 balls, and watches as defenders waltz out of defence with him in their wake.

Now this isn't a post to slaughter two young players. It is just to remind you, Andy, that we are meant to be a competitive team, striving to do our best. We see players either getting away with not putting a shift in or trying to be too clever and resulting in near heart failures when it leads to opposition goals or near misses.

Now none of that excuses abuse (however, where I sit at the ground, there is little or no personal abuse that I hear) but conversely, it also shouldn't mean the crowd should accept mediocrity or players more interested in trying to look like Beckenbauer rather than making sure no mistakes are made and conceding soft goals like we regularly do.

Stones's assertion that crowd abuse is stunting the players form is nothing short of ridiculous and you are more the fool for believing it. The Goodison crowd will extol any player willing to fight for the blue jersey. However, these bad performances haven't happened overnight. It has been happening for 2 years.

The crowd haven't all of a sudden decided to turn and show displeasure completely out of the blue. The crowd have been tolerant for a significant amount of time and finally enough is enough. If the players show they care and leave everything on the field and get beat then fair enough. Sadly they just don't do that and the crowd have every right to show annoyance.

Your generalisation that we abuse the players just goes to show you either don't go to the game and/or are prepared to believe an over-hyped player's poor excuse for playing consistently poor. We are the Neanderthals who don't know how to express ourselves without mindless abuse. How could the player be wrong when the scum in the stands are abusing this poor boy?

Oh sorry, Andy, have I dented your argument by disagreeing with you but not using a stream of 4-letter words? Jeez, we fans can never get anything right!!

Brian Williams
3 Posted 27/03/2016 at 19:08:25
Sounds to me like Stones is looking for excuses for a distinct drop in form after he didn't get what he wanted with regard to the transfer... If after what happened he expects everyone to completely forgive and forget then he's a very naive young man.

He's also very naive if, when he dicks about with the ball in the six yard box at a crucial time in an important game, he doesn't expect to hear something of the ilk of "just clear it you effing knobhead"...

That's football, that's supporters. If it's a bit too upsetting for him maybe he should consider a career in the theatre.

Getting a bit pissed off with some of the excuses coming in the wake of bad performances. Evertonians love their players, they show that love, and have done towards Stones in particular... but if they feel as though one of those players wants away and can't be arsed, or isn't giving 100%, then woe betide them...

As my old mother used to say! Man-up, Stones....(she didn't say that like).

Steve Hogan
4 Posted 27/03/2016 at 19:36:06
Dave Ganley

Never have I seen a player written off in three immortal words 'He is lazy'...referring of course to the best midfield player on our books, Ross Barkley. I'm not sure what makes a fan call a player 'lazy', but it seems that when he or she, gets it into their heads, heaven and earth isn't going to make them feel any different, no matter what that player achieves.

Some players can run all day, but offer the team very little else ie the vastly over rated James McCarthy, but because Ross doesn't have it in his locker to 'chase back' or be a real box to box player like Stevie G, he's then 'lazy'.

Do you recall a couple of season's back away at Newcastle, Barkley picked up the ball in his own half and ran the length of the pitch , beating a couple of player's before slotting it in the net, another 'lazy' example of Barkley.

I tell you what, if he ever becomes available for transfer, watch the number of clubs wanting to take him off our hands, despite being a 'lazy' player?

John Keating
6 Posted 27/03/2016 at 20:12:40

Well if you ever need a job, you'll get one as Martinez's PR guy. You can save Martinez making the excuses for him and his teams incompetence. Let's just blame the crowd this week.

At least with this week's international break you and Martinez can work on next weeks pitiful excuses.

No doubt you are happy to sit there during home games happy to watch the shite we see served up, some of us have greater expectations

Dave Ganley
7 Posted 27/03/2016 at 20:18:09
Steve, did I ever say in my post that I have wrote Barkley off? No not at all. We all know he is talented but the mere fact that you refer to a game 2 years ago to illustrate one moment of magic to justify your somewhat tenuous point just highlights that, for most part he coasts through games.

What on earth does "Ross just doesn't have it in his locker to chase back or be a real box to box player" actually mean? That he is incapable for some medical reason that he can't be fit enough to do that? Absolute nonsense.

Anybody who excuses his lack of workrate is just giving license to players to do what they want. Oh the defender is running out with the ball... oh let someone take care of that, I just don't have it in my locker to chase him!! I would much rather just do the fancy stuff, I can't be bothered to do the hard yards. Again, absolute nonsense.

Just to highlight this issue. Suarez, Neymar, Messi, even to use your example, Stevie me, all highly talented players who can change the game in a blink of an eye. Do they just canter round not bothering to harass the opposition and let defenders coast past them? No, they are all committed to the cause of getting the ball back off the opposition as soon as.

Now they are not the best tacklers in the world, but they don't have to. They just have to make the opposition make a decision to release the ball and not let them canter past them. Ross doesn't/wont do this on a regular basis. Now maybe its his fault, maybe its the managers fault for letting him get away with it or maybe he is just not fit enough (scandalous enough in itself given he is only 22).

However, the outcome is that when the opposition have the ball, the is a gaping chasm in the middle of the park where he goes missing. That is just too important a position to not do the hard yards. It allows the opposition the opportunity to build attacks without a commanding presence in front of them. Anybody who cannot see this is just putting the blinkers on. Lukaku gets plenty of stick for apparently being lazy, why should Barkley get away with it?

There is an immense player waiting to get out of Ross Barkley. Will he ever realise his true potential under Martinez? Very doubtful. I am desperate for a proper coach to get hold of him and actually get him to realise that potential, hopefully at Everton.

He can be as good if not better than Stevie me, no matter what you think of the RS twat, he was undoubtedly a quality player and a match winner. Letting Ross coast through games is doing nobody any favours, not the club and least of all the fans. I guess I must be watching a different game to you if you think Ross is at his maximum potential.

Don Alexander
8 Posted 27/03/2016 at 20:36:34
Dave Ganley hits the nail on the head.

Like him, I accept that every player cannot have the stamina of a Bally or whatever but there's a big problem when guys no older than 22 feel unable to get in the face of opposing players from the kick-off, and that's our unacceptable reality these days from just a few of our lads. It must infuriate those "lesser" (we're asked to believe) talents who strive to give their all for the entire match.

Stonesy at times seems to believe all he has to do is turn up this season and God knows the faithful have shown him and Ross, and Rom, and Del, huge support when they've been on the ball, literally and metaphorically, but there comes a time when the truth will out, and Rom coming out with his idea of the truth deserves to be countered by the truth others, with decades of football know-how, believe in.

In short, the team are insufficiently physically, and in some young cases, mentally, fit and it shows. They are under the sway of a consistently dire manager. It shows in performance and it shows in results. Rom's a young man with no such need as ours. He knows he's loaded for life whether he's the star in a soon-to-be "big" team or one of the many "stars" getting piles elsewhere sat on a bench most weeks........ask Christian, or Wilfried, or even our Kevin.

Steve Hogan
9 Posted 27/03/2016 at 20:40:19
Dave Ganley, could you point out where I said in my response 'Ross is at his 'maximum potential'? Think your making that bit up?

The guy is 22 years old,not sure I'm aware of any central midfield players who have reached the heady height's at 22 years old.

What I do know though, is that players of that age lack consistency throughout the season.

I still believe he isn't 'lazy' either, I just don't need to write 500-600 words to justify my opinion about an individual player.

Seems you have made your mind up already.

Dave Ganley
10 Posted 27/03/2016 at 21:13:14
No Steve, you just make an opinion based on an event that happened 2 years ago without justifying it in any way shape or form. I may be long winded and you may not be arsed to read it either judging from your response, that's your call, however, I make an opinion and back it up with examples. Now blind loyalty and turning a blind eye to what is actually happening on the pitch obviously works for you, however, I wont do that, I just say it like I see it.

You are right, you didn't actually say Ross has reached his maximum potential. I just read between the lines in your staunch blind defence of him and made an assumption.

How was Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Rooney, Stevie me, the all conquering Man Utd team of the 90s doing when they were 22 years old? Hmmm just a thought.

Steve Hogan
11 Posted 27/03/2016 at 22:10:39
Dave Ganley, it's easy to cherry pick some of the worlds best players, and use them as examples, I know this though, none of them were the 'finished articles' at 22 years old, check the records and see which clubs they were playing for at the time.

Just a thought...

Dave Ganley
12 Posted 27/03/2016 at 22:25:17 22 years old Messi at Barca, Neymar at Barca, Suarez at Ajax, Stevie me across the park, Rooney at United....all the United kids winning titles, whats your point apart from illustrating all of the aforementioned at top clubs doing it at 22 years old?

Barkley has the capability to do the same given a decent coach but seemingly just doing it once every blue moon is okay with you? If I didn't think Barkley is capable I wouldn't mention him in such company, but he is and he is wasting his talent at the minute by coasting through games.

If he ever has designs to be the top player that he should be then he needs to start putting in more effort than his meagre offerings currently. But I guess by your assessment, we just let him coast for the time being as, let's face it no one reaches any kind of excellence by the tender age of 22 do they? Hmmm... guess we shall have to agree to disagree on that one.

Steve Hogan
13 Posted 27/03/2016 at 22:41:50
Dave G

Your correct in the fact that all those players played for their respective clubs, but Suarez at Ajax won the dutch version of the FA Cup (big deal), and Stevie G never won the much coveted Premiership title, both players hardly were awash with trophies at 22 were they?

That's my point, player's of their calibre simply don't mature at that age. I'd like to know which current Everton players are constantly performing well, week in week out?

I'm simply defending Barkley because of your perceived perception, wrongly in my view, that he's simply lazy.

As I've said previously, the one consistent fact about young players is their inconsistency. I remember Houllier dropped Gerrard on many occasions in the early part of his career.

I remember the same label was put on Le Tissier many times, don't remember him chasing back and making too many last ditch tackles.

Don Alexander
14 Posted 27/03/2016 at 00:30:40
Like Dave Ganley, to me the arguments in defence of "but he's only 22", re any of our players, just don't wash.

There's little to come physically when a footballer is already 22. Some lesser footballers may develop significantly from there in a mental/psychological sense, but the "greats/goods" ain't generally amongst them (Ball, MotM in the 66 World Cup final at 21; Cruyff winning 3 European Cups from the age of 22; Messi, Pele, Maradona..... don't even ask – and I quote the last three because I really believe that Barkley and Stones have that sort of potential but for the muppet hampering their development).

If it's unfair to our lads, I apologise, but nobody with eyes can fail to appreciate, with the possible exception of Vardy alone, that top notch footballers have for decades not established themselves without years of grounding in top-notch clubs before they got there.

Of course our groundings are within the personal control of Bobby Bullshit.... Enough said.

Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 28/03/2016 at 05:09:38

Having just read a comment by Glenn Hoddle about John Stones mentioning how he is struggling because the Goodison crowd, although an audience that appreciates good football, are somehow affecting the young player's performances due to their anxiety. We should be willing to accept his mistakes as he learns his trade. I would have thought it was up to the player to make sure he does the right things at the right time but obviously I am a dinosaur in footballing matters.

Ernie Baywood
16 Posted 28/03/2016 at 05:23:04
Hang on a minute, Brian. Evertonians may have shown "that love" towards Stones, but that's a bit easy when he's in top form. How much love has he had during his dip in form?

I don't think anyone is looking for excuses with Stones. He plays a certain way - it's high risk but there are rewards too. The rewards are the reason that Chelsea were prepared to pay big money.

From what I've seen of Stones and his character, I think we'll see him back to his best and I hope he doesn't resort to hoofing it every time. Bringing the ball out could make him a great; hoofing it might not even elevate him to 'good'.

It's a real shame that Hoddle's views stopped him in his tracks. He's such a good thinker when it comes to football - could have changed the English game.

Brian Sephton
17 Posted 28/03/2016 at 05:23:31

Would like to see the Barca fans reaction on your comments as you seem to have the gist of what Everton fans want!

I would personally like him to leave and show what he really can do and how he really will improve, just like Romelu. Then you "fans" will have a real gripe.

Peter Larkin
18 Posted 28/03/2016 at 05:57:32
I'll make no bones about this point, a defenders job is to defend ffs. Sick of hearing this ball playing bla bla bla. Show me one benefit of stones dribbling from the back? Show me one assist? A defenders job is to DEFEND!!

You look at the top defenders in world football right now. Kompany, Hummels, Ramos, Pique, Silva. Now I cant recall all of the games I've watched of these guys, however I don't see them dribbling around there own six-yard box. If Stones is so good on the ball why isn't he a midfielder?

A defender's job is simple. Defend like your life depends on it. Give a simple ball to the midfielder then get back into position ffs simple simple stuff. But hey it must be our fault that the lad cant defend eh. Martinez got one thing right and that was benching him.

Anto Byrne
19 Posted 28/03/2016 at 06:29:34
What the fuck does Hoddle know anyway. Did he ever win anything? Shit manager and even worse pundit. If anyone is to blame for the way Stones plays its the management.
Helen Mallon
20 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:15:20
Hoddle our next manager, anyone?

On the Ross debate the lad has everything in his locker but he won't make it to the very top if he does not take control of this team. He should be taking all free kick-kicks, pens, running at defences driving the team on shooting at every opportunity, bringing others into the game and every now and then getting a yellow for a dodgy tackle.

That's the Ross I want but I just don't think it will happen hope I'm wrong.

Chris Williams
21 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:18:46
I think we'd all be prepared to accept the odd mistake by these young players in the context of a competitive, well organised, fit team that actually won games at Goodison Park, and didn't consistently throw winning positions away .

Because we appear to be run by an idiot who is coaching young players that it's alright not to do their jobs properly, these players errors are perhaps magnified by a dire team performance, and are bearing the brunt of a more general frustration.

Understandable in some ways maybe.

Helen Mallon
22 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:22:24
Brian Sefton and a few others, are you all happy with the contribution Stones has given this season? A few goals have been contributed byhim this season. We as fans have every right to get on his or any other player's back when they don't do the basics of their job correctly.

Messing around at the back when it should be in Row z is not acceptable. Gerry is as much to blame also, Chelsea game he should have ran that ball to the corner flag. Not piss about and cost us a goal.

Helen Mallon
23 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:23:37
Well said, Chris Williams.
Les Martin
24 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:25:23
The crowd react to what they see. If we know from experience that our defenders are in control, then no problem. However you have a defence that has conceded so many goals they will be wary.

Of course we want our defenders to play great football, but sometimes it means Row Z! A combination of the two will come to Stones as he matures.

Denis Richardson
25 Posted 28/03/2016 at 08:50:37
FFS, I'm getting really fed up of this 'the crowd' is at fault nonsense.

These are professional footballers who earn tens of thousands of pounds every week and have an army of advisers and PR agents telling them how to behave and what to say. Nevermind sports psychologists and other 'experts' at their disposal.

Message to John Stones, and any other pampered pre madonnas, man up and DEAL WITH IT. If they're crying about a little stick from the stands how the hell do they think black players feel when they get racist abuse! Do these players sulk? No, they try to play even better and don't let it effect them. (Please don't start with the 'he's just a kid' crap either. These 'kids' have been professionally advised since they were teenagers and he's been playing in front of large crowds for at least 4 years already.)

If you can't handle the heat get out of the fucking kitchen! If people play shit or start dicking about on the edge of the area, of course the crowd will let them know how they feel.

Sorry but if any player is feeling hard done by or 'put under pressure at home' then they can go and find another home IMO.

It's also not exactly coincidence that the crowd is a bit less forgiving with him when he put in a transfer request 6 months ago! We should have bitten Chelsea's arm off when they stupidly offered £37m – that golden train ain't going to come round again.

He may end up eventually being a top defender but it 100% guaranteed won't happen in the near future with Everton.

Sell in the summer and move on. Just fed up with this shite – if a player can't accept stick when he makes a mistake then he's in the wrong career.

Steve Davies
26 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:20:37
Personally I don't care what Hoddle has to say about one of our players. If Stones was playing for Spurs and his slack defending was giving away goals that threatened their title challenge then he would have a different mindset/opinion. Easy to comment on players when they are not at your club and you do not watch them, week-in and week-out.

Under a different manager, Stones would be a better player. He needs more discipline. He will not get that under Martinez.

Ray Roche
27 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:28:50
Denis, some good comments. Funny, 18-19-year-olds in Afghanistan don't get the same amount of slack, or money, do they? Pressure from some one in the Park End telling you to stop pissing about? Puhlease! At least there's no IEDs in the penalty area to watch out for.

They need to grow a feckin' pair and stop whinging.

Phil Walling
28 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:29:15
I think you've got something there, Helen. Hoddle's bullshit would appeal to The Conductor. That's if neither of the Nevilles, Harry, Stubbs or Weir don't fancy it.


Joe Clitherow
29 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:29:21
Glenn never liked the defensive side of the game much either which was probably why he is not regarded as a truly "great" player but an exceptionally good one. Spurs fans will disagree but I'll ask to see his medals.

As for Ross, I don't think he is lazy at all, I think he is playing to instruction and being ruined at a key stage of his development by no-marks who think they are football geniuses.

And lastly, on the crowd stick thing, it is more libellous, untrue, rubbish from armchair fans who couldn't find the ground with Google maps.

Stones may get the odd groan or shout from the crowd but that happens to all players all the time everywhere. There are 40,000 in the ground ffs, they aren't all going to agree. "Crowd against a player or the team" ie, en masse, is something I have witnessed before at Goodison and it isn't pretty. It isn't happening now and nothing like that has happened for years.

Hopefully the apathy will end soon against Martinez though, and the crowd can really let people know what they think, since our Chairman still seems to delusionally think he has employed a great manager rather than a total chancer who will destroy not only the club but also formative careers given enough time.

In my opinion, of course.

Paul Conway
30 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:30:18
Stones should knuckle down, concentrate on what he's good at and his form will return.

In the meantime, he should study the journey of a certain Joleon Lescott, and where it led to...

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:36:01
I think the main gripe fans had was in the game versus Spurs, when he beat a man three times in his own six yard area, it was unbelievable, that's when the crowd took off, never seen anything like it from any footballer in any game, for any team.

If Martinez didn't give him a telling off after that game he shouldn't be in charge of the club.

As for Barkley, in the Chelsea game after we had gone ahead, a Chelsea player put the ball over Barkley's head and run round him, amazingly Barkley just let him go away from him, his own pride and ego should have made him chase after him and put a strong tackle him.

Praise Barkley by all means, I do, but don't be blind to his faults, the people who criticise Barkley and Stones are helping them by pointing out their mistakes and lack of effort; they might just learn from them.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:38:06
I think when it comes to talking about defending, I would take more notice of Hansen than Hoddle. Hansen said that what Stones needs to learn is there is a time to carry the ball out of defence and there are times you shouldn't.

Problem is our manager isn't the one to help him make the right choices. Martinez's philosophy is play the same way no matter what the circumstances are.

Ian Bennett
33 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:52:24
FOUR home wins all season, FOUR!!!!! and three of them against the mighty Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle. The players, manager and coaching staff should be hugely embarrassed over this, and put in a level of performance to win the games. 14 points dropped from winning positions. The writing is on the wall. Lose at Man Utd, Liverpool and in the cup and he gets fired, and I expect nothing else. A talented bunch of players with no plan, and no fight.

Compare it to Leicester, 2 or 3 players get a licence, but still put a shift in. The rest know their jobs. Ours stroll around making it easy street for the opposition – McCarthy has been really poor, whilst the side has added in Cleverley and Lennon to up the work rate at the expense of guile. And still it doesn't work.

Barkley doesn't tackle and doesn't work back. He's a talented lad, but a complete passenger. Our manager can't see it, and why he continues to leave him on in the most of the last 10 when he disappears, rather than take him off and close up shop.

Can't really give Stones much of a comment. He's hardly played. He's is a weak link at set pieces like the rest of the team bar Funes Mori, but is a talented lad on the ball. Playing him in a back 3 might be an option, but he needs to be playing in the middle, not finding his way stuck at right back.

Allan Board
34 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:59:00
Hoddle was a good player and technically ahead of his time. He took risks when he played, regardless of where he was on the pitch, and frequently coughed the ball up, sometimes costing his team.

The key to coaching expressive players is to encourage their flicks and tricks – but EDUCATE them when and where to do it and play the game on its merits. This starts when they are juniors.

I never advocate "just get rid of it" and I ask parents and other coaches to refrain from using such phrases with my players. However, if they lose the ball and it costs us, I explain to the player why it happened and HOW to make sure it doesn't keep happening.

The best way, I've found anyway, is to get your team to play quicker ALL OVER the pitch as this gives you more room and players refrain from "dawdling" on the ball. There will still be mistakes, but the difference is your team will be in a better shape and more concentrated – thus 10 times more likely to win the ball back quicker after a mistake.

I have no issue with all outfield players being expressive and interchangeable, to a degree, but this is not enough to win games on its own. The muck and bones of the game must be addressed and as the old boys used to tell me often when I was a young lad playing senior football, "Use your noddle a bit there lad." Priceless advice and guidance from those who had been there and done it.

Our coaches are rubbish at Everton, talk in riddles and NEVER send the players out with clear instruction. They need a man in charge who gives it to them straight and helps them to eradicate their mistakes. I wouldn't trust our lot with my Under-9s!!

Martin Mason
35 Posted 28/03/2016 at 09:59:23
The players can hear all of the abuse heaped on them from the sidelines. Can anybody seriously believe that this has no effect on them? Can the boos, moaning and at times spit-flecked ranting have no effect on them just because they are paid good money?

Lots of teams are playing badly at home now; could it not be that sections of the crowds are irrational in what they expect? It's a fairly modern thing for me and stoked up by social media; I preferred it when we were supporters rather than amateur critics.

We can be the 12th man but we really aren't when it's needed, rather than the extra man at times we're like having a man sent off.

Phil Walling
36 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:09:26
Well, Martin, they haven't responded much to the encouragement they've received at home this season. It's not as though they get booed from the off, is it?

Or are you suggesting our match-going fans should suffer whatever is fed to them in silence? The players certainly don't hear me because I don't go anymore but I hope all who criticise those who do are regular attenders themselves... Some chance of that!

Joe Clitherow
37 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:13:00
Ernie (#15),

I don't really understand what "rewards" there are in game terms in defenders taking high risks in front of our goal? Sure I can see the point in attackers taking risks and losing possession for significant potential rewards but I don't see the same at all at the back when surely the whole point is to minimise risk at all times? Take risks in front of the opposition goal (by the way, we don't – we attempt to keep possession at all costs there) but don't dick around in front of ours. Pretty basic stuff in my opinion.

This is the main complaint I think about John Stones. He takes risks when it is inappropriate to do so. If it comes off, he makes an attacker look a twat for a brief moment, but if it doesn't, he looks a twat himself for a lot longer. It is one thing to showboat when 4 or 5 goals up, another thing entirely in the last minute when it can cost you the game.

I fail to see that that kind of decision is anything more than personal ego gratification and, if it failed, the team writes the cheque to pay for it. I applaud the raw arrogance and talent to be able to attempt and do so but that is a clear example of a failure in coaching around the decision-making process. Something I guarantee his next employer, whoever that is, will make a No 1 priority.

Absolutely clear further evidence to me of Martinez and his crew's inability to turn out a TEAM for a team game rather than a bunch of individuals.

Nick Armitage
39 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:16:17
Steve Hogan,

A player can get a balance between running all day and not running enough. True, McCarthy is vastly overrated but Barkley doesn't do enough like pressing which he should as part of a team.

Look at Messi and Suarez who understand that there is another side to the game in addition to all the Roy of the Rovers shit. This is why Hodgson is hard on him and maybe rightly so. He'll never be the player he can be until he adds that to his game and he probably never will with the idiot he's got managing him now.

Joe Clitherow
40 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:20:41
Martin (#34),

You're living in a Jumpers for Goalposts fantasy with rattles and blue and white hooped scarves if you truly believe your last paragraph.

Spit-flecked ranting terrified me as a small child in the early 70s and it was far far more apparent when there was standing as like minded individuals congregated and fed off each other.

Oliver Molloy
42 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:24:22
The way I see it regards Barkley, our current manager wants the team to play football in a way that does not allow for ANY player to get "stuck in" – simple.

Even with a change of manager with a "get stuck in" philosophy, I don't believe our Ross would be relishing that type of game plan. He just seems to have no stomach for the 50-50, and it must be a psychological problem from his leg breaks.

Stones will come good again because he is class, he's not a total defender, he's a sort of attacking defender in that he waltzes out with ball so gracefully. If we want players like Stones, we need to accept that sometimes these young players are going to get it wrong.

The Goodison faithful have been much more supportive of Stones and the likes than negative, and that will always be the case. However, when Stones moves on, we should be prepared that he will blame the crowd etc for his drop in form and I would say he is probably right. You can see he has lost a bit of confidence.

Patrick Murphy
44 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:29:58
Mostly it is silence that the Goodison crowd provides but that is mainly due to having little or no belief in the man who sends the team out and the regular mistakes and errors that the team has made over a period of going on TWO years.

I was at the Arsenal match and whilst I didn't boo an individual, I did voice my disapproval at some of the lacklustre performances, but I was told to shut up and get behind the team. I spent the remaining part of the game – most of it – sat in silence because there was nothing to cheer. It was in stark contrast to the previous week, where I and most of the Goodison faithful, were able to shout ourselves hoarse to roar the team on to victory.

Rule number one for anybody in the entertainment business: get the crowd onside. Rule number one for a football team: at least look as if you care about the result and don't give up at the first setback. It seems that the players and the supporters would prefer to be anywhere else rather than at Goodison Park, who's to blame for that?

At least we don't behave like Kopites, demanding and protesting at the drop of a hat, we are better than that aren't we? But here's the rub, by being so passive, we are not helping the club to realise that it has taken a wrong turn, which if it is allowed to continue could be catastrophic in the long-term, but hey who expects little Everton to win all but the odd game here and there?

We should be thankful that the club has knocked a few bob off the season ticket prices and accept whatever the manager and team provide with good grace and a doff of the cap. We should sit idly by, as our better players move on to clubs whose supporters are far more understanding and where they will increase their chances of winning trophies, which little Everton m– no matter how much money they have – are not worthy of.. mostly due to the unrealistic expectations of their supporters. Really?

John Crawley
45 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:44:06
Andy (#1) makes the perfectly reasonable point that being abusive to players is counter productive. Nowhere in his comment or other people's comments are they blaming the crowd for the poor performances of the team, that is surely down to the current manager.

The only person the crowd should be getting on the back of is the manager. I like to watch Stones play it out from the back and he should be encouraged to do so. Occasionally he overdoes this but I'm sure he will improve on his decision-making.

He has started a number of moves which have led to goals. I think his biggest problems are his positioning and his defensive discipline. Those are things the coaching staff should be drilling him on and improving on but I see little evidence of this.

Nick Armitage
46 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:47:26
Patrick Murphy

We should take a leaf of the kopite's book and start protesting. As a collective they have achieved a lot, as a collective we've done nothing other than tacitly accept the tenure of Kenwright and 3 years of garbage from Martinez.

We may not like them but do you think the kopites would accept what we put up with?

Paul Thompson
48 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:52:05
I went to a game in Santiago recently (one of the top clubs Universidad de Chile). Passionate crowd who did not stop singing and chanting the whole game. They were completely positive even when they went 0-1, then 0-2, then 0-3 in the first half-hour. I found it a bit weird. I was really missing the 'ffs', 'you dozy bastard' etc.

On the other hand, I've almost never booed the team or individual players at Goodison. I'm sure it's partly a personality thing, but getting on players' backs is ultimately counter-productive and I want to see us have the best chance of winning irrespective of the "I've paid my money and have the right to shout what I like" mantra.

Of course, spontaneous reaction to particular things (like Stones doing his defensive dribbling) is inevitable and often justified. But does anyone really think that getting on Barkley's back doesn't have a negative effect on his game?

By the way, the comment in the thread that Barkley has been 'a complete passenger' this season ranks as probably the daftest of the year (and the competition is stiff). That would not be counting his goals and assists then?

Jon Withey
49 Posted 28/03/2016 at 10:56:12
Maybe it's some desire to see the second coming of Dixie, or even Rooney but I don't like these ridiculous expectations heaped on one of our own, Barkley.

He's 22, doing very well and improving all the time. He also doesn't seem to have a big head that gets carried away with the odd wonder goal.

Stones has had a poor season in comparison and seems determined to show case his ball control in really daft, unnecessary situations. Yes, it makes the home crowd nervous because they've seen so many stupid goals conceded.

Talking of managers, what about Pellegrini?

Brian Harrison
51 Posted 28/03/2016 at 11:06:24
I think that some of the criticsm, although directed at an individual player, is really the frustration at the manager in not correcting their faults. The impression is that Martinez is quite happy for Stones to dribble inside his 6-yard box, and quite happy that Ross doesn't ever attempt to make a tackle. Does anybody believe if Alex Ferguson had this side for 2 years that Stones would be encouraged to dribble in his 6-yard box or Ross get away with refusing to make a tackle?

The games at Goodison are watched in large parts through silence, because only fleetingly do this team give us anything to get excited about. Even when we do go in front, most of us are thinking, "How long before we concede?" Even when 2 or 3 goals up, this team have done it so often that no fan is confident of winning even with a 2-goal lead.

Dave Abrahams
52 Posted 28/03/2016 at 11:13:34
Oliver (#41) I take your point about Barkley and how he feels after such a bad injury, you would think though if this the case that Everton would have brought a psychologist in to help him to try and sort it out.

I've said before over this problem that Bryan Robson broke his leg three times as a young player with WBA and was able to get over the problem, and I realise that everyone is different and react differently to the same problem.

When I first heard of Barkley, when he was 14 or 15, the coaches were going overboard about this kid, how he could run all day, up and down the pitch and come off at the end of training as though he had just started, so maybe it's still on his mind, the injury.

If he doesn't sort it out, he will never become the brilliant player he could be.

Martin Mason
53 Posted 28/03/2016 at 11:16:24
Refusing to tackle by Ross Barkley is another myth that needs firmly stamping on.
Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 28/03/2016 at 11:47:39
Martin, you may be right, but I think people are alluding that they want him to have that aggression and arrogance, that make him want to be the best. I've never seen Barkley play like this yet, although his performance at Swansea, early this season, was along those lines.

When he his on his game, Stones is the player I like watching the most for Everton. Agree that he's got to learn how to find Row Z sometimes, just like his forward passing has also got loads of improvement, in it as well.

But, when you do bring the ball out from defence, you definitely need movement in front of you, otherwise you dwell, and get caught out, and can be made to look very stupid.

I hope Stones regains his confidence, and stays at Everton, because if the right manager gets hold of him, you are talking about a kid who could become as good as anyone in his position.

We have some great young players at Everton, who are on the biggest learning curve of their lives. I think the biggest crime, is that after getting a chance to learn their trade, they will then be sold to other clubs.

I realise that football has never been any different, but hope that with Moshiri's money, things can change, because all the best teams, usually have a few kids of there own.

Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 28/03/2016 at 12:01:26
Martin (52) – let's just say that Ross doesn't tackle about 95% of the time, now there is no myth about that.
Charles Barrow
57 Posted 28/03/2016 at 12:43:12
With Stones I think part of the problem stems from the transfer debacle. He asked for a transfer – never a good way to cement good relations with the fans.

I think he is a fantastic player and I personally love the way he dribbles out of the box and tries to plays his way out of trouble but I think the relationship with the fans is too damaged for him to stay.

If he plays in the Euros I bet he won't try anything too fancy but will still look the most talented player in the England defence. And then leave by the end of August. What a shame it all ends in tears.

Martin Mason
58 Posted 28/03/2016 at 12:54:49
For midfielders like Barkley, Deulofeu and Lennon, the predominant mode of play is rarely to go into tackles, especially go-to-ground type but to close down, pressure the opposition, force them into low-risk areas and to pick up and distribute balls from broken play. Midfielders like Ross need to stay on their feet, eliminate mistakes, avoid giving away free kicks (as the vast majority of tackles result in them), avoid bookings and, most of al,l not to get their legs broken.

We say Ross doesn't tackle as though it's a weakness of his but it isn't and he can tackle. Dele Alli doesn't tackle as a major part of his game and neither does any other midfielder of their type. Ross will be doing exactly what he is told to by the management and coaches and the idea that he is somehow a big boy who daren't tackle or that tackling like Howard Kendall would improve his game is nonsense.

The game has changed since HK's days, in modern football even defenders and defensive midfielders tend not to tackle unless it is the only option. Tackling is contact and the people who run the game are committed to make it non-contact.

Criticise the lad by all means but not for the myth that not tackling is a serious weakness of his game. He's a magnificent player whose introduction against Germany won England the game. He is a key player for Everton in terms of assists and goals and he is quickly eliminating his genuine weaknesses such as poor decision-making as he nears the opposition goal.

Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 28/03/2016 at 13:05:20
Martin (#57),

Aaron Lennon does everything you say a player like him should and is expected to do. Ross doesn't even breathe on them, there is a big difference. If you are are happy with the way Barkley plays, good luck to you and him. I'll continue to say what I see.

If I was playing with Ross, I'd be down his ear throughout the game, praising and having a go at him in equal measure, the same as I do when I watch him.

Paul Andrews
60 Posted 28/03/2016 at 13:40:22

Dele Alli doesn't tackle?

I must be watching a different player with the same name.

William Cartwright
61 Posted 28/03/2016 at 14:19:24
Martin (#57)

Why do you say that, after his introduction, Ross won the game for England? I am curious for the following reasons:-

1. I haven't seen the match.

2. I'm a big fan of Ross.

3. I hate the BBC who are always putting Everton and their players down – no matter what shirt they wear.

4. Deli Alli is flavor of the month and can do no wrong... according to the media.

5. The ratings and press coverage of Ross's contribution were extremely poor (especially when compared to Alli.

6. What is being missed by the media.

I'm not being sarcastic here, I genuinely want to find out and what the game and the respective performances were like, but you can never believe what you read!

Leslie Thompson
62 Posted 28/03/2016 at 14:24:09
Ross Barkley is a superb player, and he is improving all the time. Let's support him, and let him be a Goodison Great, let him be great with us, instead of of some other team.
Alan Humphreys
63 Posted 28/03/2016 at 15:05:52
I get the sentiment but hold no credence in anything Hoddle utters since his disabled comments in 1999. They fact that others do is beyond me.

John Keating
64 Posted 28/03/2016 at 15:26:48
Those posters who support Martinez's excuse that in some way the supporters are to blame for the shite we watch every other week at Goodison.

Those posters that hear this apparent continual booing and slagging of the players.

Do you actually go to the games??

If so where do you sit??

It's all a mystery to me, maybe I'm deaf??

Ian Hollingworth
65 Posted 28/03/2016 at 15:54:45
Blaming the fans is laughable and not worth commenting on.

One major problem: The Manager.

Jay Harris
66 Posted 28/03/2016 at 15:59:21

When Barkley came on, the commentators had been raving about Delle Alli all game and for me he did little except for miss two glorious chances.

Ross came on, looked comfortable on the ball, and played simple passes including the build-up to the goal.

It looks to me like Delle Alli is believing his own hype because the lad definitely has an attitude problem.

Ross could do with a bit more bite to his game though, including being taught to press the opposition instead of letting them glide by and passed on to another player. This is symptomatic of the Martinez way where we allow other teams to have the ball instead of getting in their faces.

John Stones also needs to learn when to press a player and when to stand off. I think a large amount of the criticism of the youngsters stems from poor training and advice from our Wiganesque management.

John Daley
67 Posted 28/03/2016 at 16:11:35
Dave @2,

"Stones's assertion that crowd abuse is stunting the players form..."

And Brian @3,

"Sounds to me like Stones is looking for excuses for poor form..."

Am I missing something? What exactly has Stones himself said on the matter. I thought these comments came from Hoddle?

Alan J Thompson
68 Posted 28/03/2016 at 16:31:17
Martin Mason (#57), Well said. I don't particularly want to see Barkley or Lukaku performing slide tackles all over the ground but I would like the manager before the game to tell them how the opposition prefer to attack, ie, right wing, left wing, big hoof down the middle and to move to make that difficult or to hurry them into it.

Somehow I don't believe our manager bothers with this side of the game; it does not appear to be in the philosophy and woe betide any player bold enough to speak out. Do I know it for a fact? No, but does anyone here know for a fact it isn't?

Jay Wood
69 Posted 28/03/2016 at 16:48:19
Hoodle is bang on the money in his assessment of John Stones and what a special talent he is.

That said, I can understand the nervous reaction of the crowd for 'that' moment in the Spurs game when he took an unnecessary risk in his own 6-yard box, so close to the final whistle, with the game still in the balance.

However, I don't condone him as some do for his pretty harmless 'calm down' gesture following that play.

I'll repeat again, John Stones is destined for a mega career. I just hope for a few more years yet it will be with us.

Oh! And for any one continuing to pedal the nonsense that the home crowd is somehow responsible for our poor results, if anything they have been extremely patient and restrained and more often reduced to mute silence rather than continual booing as some claim.

On the question of the home crowd, Just recently, 4 Portuguese players who played their group matches at Goodison Park in the 1966 World Cup, made a return visit to our great stadium, 50 years on since playing there.

This very nice video reports on their visit. Pay particular attention to the words of Antonio Simoes describing the incredible 5-3 quarter-final game at Goodison Park against North Korea in which Portugal had to recover from trailing 3-0 after 25 minutes to the minnows.

Simoes speaks warmly of just how knowledgeable the Goodison Park crowd were in response to events unfolding before them. A trait, I believe, that continues to this day.


Evertonians in the city really took to Portugal in the '66 World Cup. The semi-final with England was scheduled to be played at Goodison Park, but the FA persuaded FIFA to switch it to Wembley.

I've always wondered, if the game had been played at GP, who the crowd would have supported as Portugal was kinda adopted as 'our team.'

Darren Hind
70 Posted 28/03/2016 at 17:06:42
Absolutely, John Daley.

John Stones is unique. English football has not seen his like before. The pace of the the Premier League means centre-halves dare not try to play. They know a Jamie Vardy will be breathing down their necks, so they are taught to find "Row Z". (What a fucking horrible phrase!) Or "Clear their lines". (Another horrible term.)

We've got a gem of a player, one who cannot only play, but who is brave enough to do it. Unlike every other big lump in the league, he does not do hoofball. He has probably seen our national side systematically turfed out of tournament after tournament because our defenders launch long balls straight down the throats of more sophisticated defenders who can play.

He's here – right here – not making a name for himself with San Paulo... and we have got people bleating???

I have to rub my eyes when I see some of the garbage written about this boy. He was the greatest thing since sliced bread earlier in the season, Goodison Park roared it approval as he dealt with top strikers with contemptuous ease... but since the exceptionally stupid Paul Merson tried to get a few cheap laughs when giving us his half-witted analysis, a tide of criticism has come Stones's way. How easily lead can you get?

Stones's mistakes have lead to all sorts of goals to listen to some – I would really love one of his critics to put up a list. He has played half a game in each of our last two league games and – although we concede five goals – none of them were conceded when he was on the pitch. If he's a liability, what does that make the rest???

I always believed Evertonians were proud of our tradition "The School of Science" we call ourselves... but some need to make up their minds: What is it they want? Do they want a big dependable solid lump who will hoof it all day? Or do we want a player who may get caught occasionally because he wants to play? Do they want football played to the highest scientific order?? Or the sort of percentage dross we have moaned about for the past 15 years???

Hoddle is basically branding our fans Philistines.... Unfortunately, in some cases, he would be right.

Colin Glassar
71 Posted 28/03/2016 at 17:28:12
Darren, can I just endorse your last post with a huge slap on the back? Once Stonesy leaves you'll hear all the crocodile tears, teeth gnashing and hair pulling under the sun.

Give me a team full of talented players like Stones, Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barkley any day over a team full of honest, hard working stiffs like Shawcross, Dann and Williams.

Mark Riding
72 Posted 28/03/2016 at 17:38:46
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The same Glenn Hoddle who used a Faith Healer when in charge of the national side and who got sacked for his shocking views on the disabled etc..

Yeah.. I really listen to your opinions Glenn.. Now kindly pipe the fuck down.

Oliver Molloy
73 Posted 28/03/2016 at 17:55:52
Dave @ 52,

Yes you would think, if there is a "fear factor" or whatever with Ross in tackling, the club would be addressing that; maybe they are already but, as I said, I think Martinez isn't the the type of manager who encourages that type of game.

I acknowledge your point regards Robson, but he had it in his DNA to play football and get stuck in at the same time.

I think we all have to accept that Ross just isn't going to be a player that will put himself about.

Minik Hansen
74 Posted 28/03/2016 at 17:56:24
"What came first, the poor performances or the so-called abuse?"

The question rather is why there is poor home performance, it's both players psychologically underperforming at home and the crowd helping drag down the squad. People/players both just waiting for something to happen rather than ignore frustrated people.

John Daley
75 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:30:58
"However, I don't condone him as some do for his pretty harmless 'calm down' gesture.."


Did you mean to say you don't 'condemn' him for making the gesture?

Phil Walling
76 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:32:19
Credit due to Roberto, he left Stones out of the line up in the cause of getting better defensive cohesion. At home, results have not improved so I guess he will be justified in bringing him back post haste.

He will also recognise that whilst his 'best ever' defender is out of the team, his value drops by the day. £25M would be a great price now.

It will be interesting to see how he plays for England. Too many errors in the international spotlight and no top team will be interested.

John Daley
77 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:39:05
"Some need to make up their minds, what is it they want? Do they want a big dependable solid lump who will hoof it all day? Or do we want a player who may get caught occasionally because he wants to play?"

Darren, it does seem at times that some people would willingly put one nut in Nickey Santoro's vice and scream "tighter, tighter" if it meant they might see a more solid, straightforward defender such as Ryan Shawcross or Robert Huth slothing their stuff in an Everton shirt.

Whilst the old fashioned 'get fucking rid' type certainly have their virtues, I wouldn't be looking to bring one in at the expense of a defender the very likes of which people have spent decades lamenting that the English game seems incapable of producing.

A big, brick shithouse prepared to put his boot through it is ten a penny. If the current manager really wanted that sort of player, he could pick one up with his eyes closed. Thing is though, he clearly doesn't... and even if he somehow, accidentally, did end up with one, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference. Martinez would soon have him falling about on his arse trying to play a style of football totally alien to his natural instinct.

Look at Jagielka. Whilst not the best in the air, he's still one of the most natural, no-nonsense defenders we've had at the club since Dave Watson departed. Yet, for the last couple of seasons he's looked nowhere near the pure defender he once was. Rather than being left to concentrate fully on the primary part of his game, he's instead forced to perform with the manager's 'possession is paramount' philosophy at the forefront of his mind. It must be like playing under a self-imposed handicap half the time.

With Stones it's slightly different. It's not that he is the 'wrong type' of defender, it's that he's a relatively inexperienced defender currently operating under instructions that amount to 'just do what you want, when you want'. It's not that Stones needs to stop looking to play his way out of trouble, but more that he needs to be coached to do so at the right moments.

His raw talent has been sufficient enough to attract strong interest from the giants of the game. The fact that talent has not yet been honed and expanded upon won't have those same suitors saying 'hang on a minute' and taking a wary step back. It'll just be giving them a little wet patch in their jeans while they rub their hands together at the thought of what a player he could become with some proper defensive coaching under his belt.

Phil Walling
78 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:42:05
How many of these ToffeeWebbers who salivate over the kid's 'pissing about' in the Spurs game were actually there to witness it?

It's one thing to see events on newsreel hours and days after the event and quite another to witness it up front and in person with your heart in your mouth!

It's only this season I've realised that as, after 50 years of match attendance, my overseas residence means that I am reduced to screenbites and the sacred Forum. The only thing that's improved is my blood pressure. I no longer 'live' the experience.

Oliver Molloy
79 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:44:21

I would think John Stones will cost more than £25 million if he moves.

Phil Walling
80 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:47:33
Whilst he's our RESERVE centre half, Oliver?

The money is why he will be soon back in the team.

Oliver Molloy
81 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:54:15
You could be right as to why he may be back in the team but, even not playing as a first choice, he would go for more than £25 million, in my opinion.

Paul Tran
82 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:57:09
Could someone please show me a quote or link that shows Martinez/the players actually blaming the crowd?

I've heard them talk about the atmosphere at Goodison, but to me that's a factually correct statement rather than apportioning blame. Of course, they'd all do themselves a favour by admitting that they would help the atmosphere by playing with pace and purpose.

The league table and quality of play on the pitch for the best part of two seasons is enough to warrant a change. This 2 +2 = 5 stuff won't convince anyone.

Darren Hind
83 Posted 28/03/2016 at 18:59:08

I was about 15 yards from the incident against Spurs, I'd have still enjoyed it if I was 15,000 miles away.

If your heart was in your mouth, maybe you should be seeking a milder form of entertainment.

Crown Green bowls doesn't look too stressful...

Darren Hind
84 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:03:13
Oh and Phil

As for credit due to Roberto for seeking better defensive cohesion... which one of the five goals and umpteen chances we gave up in our last two league games made you feel he deserves that credit?

Paul Tran
85 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:09:50
Darren, I was on my feet in my dining room when I saw it, and rose again when he told them to calm down.

I used to think we craved good football and footballers. I'm not so sure these days.

Patrick Murphy
86 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:15:56
Paul (82) Roberto may not have explicitly blamed the crowd but he did say in January 2016 that the players were having trouble playing at Goodison.

Roberto Martinez reckons his Everton players play with doubt and fear at Goodison Park and has suggested “we need to make it comfortable for our players”. Everton have only won three games at home all season, and when asked about their defensive mishaps against Swansea, he replied: “It happens at home more than anywhere else. I don't think we have that sort of doubt and fear [away from home].

“We're a team who knows exactly what it is doing. We've got really good individuals with fantastic character who care about what they do but our defensive record at home this season is not good enough.

“It doesn't go along with what we are as a team and doesn't go along with what we produce away from home. It's clearly something we need to work on.

“We have six games left at home and they're vital games for us. We need to make it comfortable for our players. We need to make sure we find a way to perform at Goodison.”

At the tail end of the 2014-15 season Roberto was asked if Goodison lost some of its fear factor earlier this season, Martinez told the Echo: “Yes, it is fair to say that and as a football club we need to understand what we are very powerful with and the atmosphere at Goodison is one of the biggest threats we have.

“Going through November and December we were so, so disappointed with our results that we started creating doubts as a football club and we weren't as hostile for the opposition as we should have been, but in 2015 we have changed that. “First, we got in a position where we all felt together and we all felt we were helping each other and now that fear factor has come back.

“We should never lose that because having that is the backbone of any successful team and to that type of home performance we have shown since the turn of the year.” Everton have lost to Crystal Palace and dropped points at home to Swansea, West Brom and Hull this term whilst also suffering a heavy defeat to Chelsea and letting a two-goal lead slip against Arsenal.

Even during a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers in December, the Goodison faithful were restless with Martinez's decision to substitute Mo Besic greeted by boos from the stands.

“Everything we do is to make our fans proud and sometimes you can understand the frustration,” Martinez added.

“The players and the staff are the first ones to be frustrated when the results are not coming through but the attitude and the character and the pride of representing Everton is in our dressing room. “I do feel there is something special building but we need to be patient and we need to help each other build that winning team."

I would say that Roberto knows that the supporters are important to the players but I also think that he doesn't know how to inform his players that the crowd responds to what they do on the pitch.

Martin Mason
87 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:16:22
William@61, I'm a big fan of Ross's too; I also recognise that he isn't yet the finished article but he is almost there.

Delle Alli had a great game Saturday (he is the real deal I think), as did all of the Spurs contingent, massive respect for their manager too. When Ross came on, he looked very good and, as was clear, he was the catalyst that changed the game and he slotted into the team smoothly and simply.

He will surely play Tuesday and be part of what looks like a very fine team. I see a lot of Paul Scholes in him how he distributes the ball and Scholes couldn't tackle to save his life.

As you say, for the mainstream media it will always be Delle Alli and Spurs but Ross is a true diamond. We have to remember that he came back from a terrible leg break; for sure he's not developed as fast as we'd wanted but he was messed about a lot by Moyes after his one mistake (disgusting for a manager) and Martinez would make Messi a squad player.

Dave@59, constructive criticism of any player is healthy. For me, it isn't about being happy how somebody is playing because they can always do better. I just don't like the insinuation constantly made by some that tackling is a massive weakness in his game. I tracked him all of the way through the Chelsea game; he made 6 or 7 good tackles and he is becoming a true box-to-box player with a very free role.

I will agree that closing down and tackling aren't his strongest point but then it isn't for many, many creative players. That doesn't make it a stick for us to beat him with. If I have a criticism of him, it is that he is prone to switch off for periods later on in the game and giving the ball away, that is a weakness but he is overcoming it.

I agree with you about Lennon by the way, he's one of our best buys ever but look how often Ross is threading almost perfect balls through to him.

Paul Tran
88 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:20:37
Thanks Patrick. I agree with your comments without finding anything in the quotes that blamed the fans. There's a difference between stating the obvious, not telling what they should be doing and blaming us.
Jay Wood
89 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:21:50
John @ 75 ... is right John.

That should read "I don't condemn' him for making the gesture.

Thanks for the correction!

Martin Mason
90 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:22:54
If Stones is make gestures to the crowd to calm down then obviously the feedback they are giving him is affecting him adversely.

We are very good away with a wonderful following that is supportive rather than critical and we are very vulnerable at home. There has to be a connection. My own feeling is that we need to be much more supportive at home.

Ian Smitham
91 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:25:18
Mr Martin Mason, Sir, I read many of your opinions on here and note that sometimes there is some controversy in the debates in to which you enter.

However, in fairness, you always appear to, at least, put forward your views and back them up. Have to say, I do not always see it how you do, but, hey ho, it is a forum.

Regards Ross, I unequivocally, support you. The days of the bone crunchers in no particular order, Souness, Keane, "Chopper" (I ask you, ffs) Harris, Bremner, even our Peter Reid are long gone and the resultant lack of injuries caused by these types is much reduced. People who live in those times need to stay there.

The modern, fast flowing game is different and though the tough guys have their place, I for one do not want Ross going at a hundred miles an hour into 50:50's with Henderson types unless it is absolutely necessary, and by that I mean in a defensive position, I hope that he is not even in that position. I much prefer he is more forward and doing his defensive duties by closing and harassing opponents, to be fair, from my seat, something he could improve on.

While I am at it, people who compare him to Stevie me, or Robbo, or whoever they have heard of, or seen on MotD, should support our player, our diamond, and appreciate that he is still learning.

Those that say he should stop learning need to have a think, nothing stays the same, you are either going forward, learning, or not, and going backwards.

He gets abuse, I mean abuse from the area of the ground I sit in. When I say abuse, the beauts who give it will know who they are.

I understand he supports Everton, great, like Stones the players will hear the abuse and it is not limited to "Ross you are rubbish", but once another team comes in and offers fame and glory along with the associated money, and he goes, then those honest enough on here will have to hold their hands up or will they turn to another player to pick on while they play the "keyboard warrior" games?

Thanks for reading and also, again, thanks Martin.

Kim Vivian
92 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:28:45
Darren Hind - well said. We need to keep hold of this guy.
Patrick Murphy
93 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:31:03
Martin (#90) FA Cup Sixth Round, venue Goodison Park, result home win, so the desire and passion of the Everton supporters hasn't disappeared entirely, but the passion and desire of the players has been largely absent at Goodison for a pretty long time.

I know who I blame for that, but it's only my opinion. I'm sure nobody among the 32,000 Evertonians at Wembley will be on the players' backs either and who knows they may just spark the team into a fantastic performance I hope so.

Ian Smitham
94 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:43:31
Martin, twice in one thread, I have to agree with you #90. I completely agree that there is a mismatch between the home and away support. Some while ago, I think Eugene fell out with me about my other view which is that there is a mismatch between those that go and those that do not.

Honest to God, every time I see our glorious "Away" fans on the tele, for example at Carlisle, it brings a tear to my eye, those people live and breathe Everton and also "support" the club in its truest sense, by spending their hard earned on the cause.

Cheers, Ian

Martin Mason
95 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:44:04
Patrick @93, the world is looking at us at Wembley, we will be perfect. I'm a bit concerned about how we're reacting at home now but I can see why; it doesn't alter the fact that we are still fantastic supporters.

Ian @91, many thanks. I try at all times to justify the points I make and I'm also happy to be challenged as long as it's fair and even to have my mind changed. I'm also very pleased to see that you understand the massive changes that have happened in football since 'Chopper' Harris. :-)

Patrick Murphy
96 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:52:12
Those people who travel from every corner of the globe to watch Everton are funnily enough also seen at Goodison Park on a regular basis. Goodison wasn't silent in Roberto's first full season, or maybe it was and I have forgotten.

Name me one set of supporters who would be happy watching their team win so few home games in an 18-month period? Moyes's record at Old Trafford was poor but his away record was better, does that mean that the fans at Old Trafford were responsible for his team failing to perform at that venue?

Likewise our neighbours this season have probably won more away from home than at their home ground – do their fans get the blame for it?

Martin Mason
97 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:54:40
Ian@94, I've watched Everton since the late '50s and I rate Everton fans as simply the best. I can't get to the games much now but, when I see our fans now in the televised away games, it's with massive pride.

Football has changed and the paying fan has become less important than TV revenue but, if anybody deserves their club to do well, it's our wonderful fans.

Andy Crooks
98 Posted 28/03/2016 at 19:55:32
Ian (#91), I believe that having Roy Keane at his peak in our side would have seen a vast improvement in our league position. As well as being a competitive winner, he drove others on and was a good footballer too.
Ian Smitham
99 Posted 28/03/2016 at 20:07:25
Andy, friend, #98, you are right, the "other" aspects to his game than those I highlighted would be of value. The traits he had were that of a winner, his record stands scrutiny, hope Jimmy Mac can learn from him.
Tony Abrahams
100 Posted 28/03/2016 at 21:33:30
Phil 76, I personally think that the criticism of Stones, really intensified after the semi final away to City. So rather than praise Martinez, for dropping Stones, to find a better defensive cohesion, I think the manager hung him out to dry that night. Especially when he brought on Kone, and took away the cover he had in front of him that night.

When Stones twisted and turned against Spurs, Phil, I was there, and never felt the kid was ever in real danger. I honestly think the Martinez tactics exasperate a lot of the crowd, but if no-one wants the ball, what should the kid have done? Kick it in the crowd, when he never really felt under pressure?

I left Goodison that day, and everyone was talking about it, but my only thought was that if Stones had played for Spurs that day, I'm sure Hugo Lloris, would have made a much better angle than Howard, who did absolutely fuck all to help the kid out.

Dave Ganley
101 Posted 28/03/2016 at 21:41:31
John (#67), if you read post #1, you will see I was responding to that. I used the term 'asserted' as I didn't know for certain whether Stones had made the comments or not or whether it was Hoddle just mud-flinging.

However, I stand by my other comments regarding Stones. We all know he is a talented young man and will probably go on to be a top player. It appears, reading some of the comments on here that he is an untouchable, someone who has so much talent that we should all just stand back, let him do what he wants and if he loses possession or gives a bad pass leading to a chance for the opposition then so be it. Don't say anything, he may leave!!

Regardless of Darren Hind's glowing assessment of young Stones, he has made many mistakes this season. Many have not lead to goals, some have. The incident against Spurs was a culmination of many mistakes by many players which has blighted us for 2 seasons now. We had done remarkably well to get back into that game and if Stones (and others on this site) couldn't understand why the crowd were edgy then god help us.

Allied to that young Stones told the crowd to calm down. Has he not been aware of the calamities that has befallen us this season? It was like he was taking the piss given how dire we had been and how many games we had given away.

There is also the assumption that a player is either a ball-player or a "hoof it into Row Z" player. That is very simplistic. On occasion, a player needs to understand when to just get rid of the ball. Think of all the great centre halves who could actually play, including one of our own, Kevin Ratcliffe. He knew when to play out yet he also knew when to get rid.

Now I understand that Stones is young and needs to learn, but our glorious manager is doing him no favours by not actually teaching him when these moments are. It's all very well for Hoddle, Ferdinand etc to spout utter nonsense saying that he needs to be allowed to play his normal game but they are just assuming that we are just a feeder club who will let him develop his playing side, making mistakes along the way, so a Man Utd or Man City or Madrid or Barca can come along and hone his talents when he is ready. Well to be honest that just doesn't sit well with me. I don't give a rats ass for any of the aforementioned clubs.

I expect each and every player to give their all for Everton. To learn from their mistakes and endeavour not to make them again. It's no wonder we never have any aspirations of troubling the top clubs anymore when fans are ridiculing any fans who have temerity to criticise any of our young players who seemingly don't learn and then take the piss when we get on edge in the last minute or so of a vital game when he fucks about with the ball in our own area. No player is bigger than the club that they have carte blanch to do what they want when they want. We are really struggling for any form, we have done for nigh on 2 years now. Is it any wonder the crowd is edgy?

As I have said earlier. None of this excuses any and all personal abuse he and the other players have suffered. I have not heard any of that from my seat but I guess it must happen given other posters opinions. To shout personal abuse at players is just not necessary. However, again that aside, it doesn't mean that players aren't immune from any kind of criticism just because they have talent.

The team and players have got off lightly considering how awful they have been for 2 years. The manager has, rightly, taken the lions share of the criticism. He has lead badly and done an awful job of guiding the younger players along. But if/when any of our younger players leave for pastures new, do you think any of the so-called big clubs and their fans will tolerate the mistakes and casual attitude shown by some of our players when they are making the same mistakes week after week? It will make Goodison seem sedate by comparison. It's all very well defending players to the hilt forgiving any and all mistakes, but just remember how awful we are. Remember that we are close to a record low points total at home ever in a season and also a record low number of wins at home ever in a season.

Let's start demanding some excellence from our team and players otherwise we shall get what we deserve, mid table mediocrity with players who only play when they feel like, pandered to death by supporters who feel we are so fortunate to witness them in a blue shirt. Shouldn't it be the other way round? Shouldn't it be that they feel so fortunate to actually wear the royal blue jersey? Well it was once upon a time!!

John Keating
102 Posted 28/03/2016 at 22:01:52
Every team's away support is exactly the same as Everton's. Look at Arsenal's last week! They made more noise in 90 minutes at our place than every one of their home games combined!

It's just the way it is. You are well outnumbered and that in itself brings out more togetherness than the masses of the home support. Win lose or draw, you just stick together.

Every away supporter is also a home supporter. Unless something happens during the game or someone says something before the game to get the home support riled, said home support will sit back.

There are obviously a few exceptions. This season Leicester fans are screaming from the first minute due to their position. If we were top of the league, guaranteed we would be the same.

I still don't know where these posters who reckon we are booing and continually getting on the players backs sit because I'm not hearing or seeing it. If the managerial clown we have got his team to give us something to shout about, Goodison wouldn't be the mausoleum it has become.

Paul Conway
103 Posted 28/03/2016 at 22:16:52
Martinez dictates the form of Everton players, he is the mastermind behind their poor form and failures. They go off on international duty and it's like ducks to water.They play for Everton and its the cat in the pigeon loft!

Get Martinez out and it will be like 'Leave them alone and then they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them!!'

Michael Penley
104 Posted 29/03/2016 at 00:09:32
I feel like we should have sold Stones for £35 mil. It's no good having a creative centre-back when we have such an uncreative midfield. He might be able to play the ball quickly but when the ball comes to McCarthy, who wants to play the ball sideways, it ruins the whole thing.

What I can't understand is why Martinez seems to love "ball-players" but insists on having McCarthy there, when he contributes nothing in that department.

Ernie Baywood
105 Posted 29/03/2016 at 00:40:49
Joe (#37). If it's simply to make a defender look a twat then I'm with you 100%. If it's because he wants to retain possession rather than just pump it long or out of play then I'm on board.

I won't defend Stones's worst moments except to say that mistakes are part of the learning process. They're still mistakes though, and he's made plenty of them.

He needs to show that he's improving his decision making. A couple of years ago that was the main criticism of Ross. This year it's not so obviously an issue. It's improvement by a guy in his early twenties. It can happen with John too and I hope he finds that right balance.

Lumping the ball every time is as much a sin as dicking about at the back. In fact it might be worse – with a mentality of "I've done my job, fuck what's right for the team, at least when we lose they can't point at me".

If we work on an assumption that Stones is trying to retain possession for the good of the team then he makes himself very accountable. That's not ego – that's bravery and leadership.

Barry Jones
106 Posted 29/03/2016 at 01:35:21
Dave Ganley, Dave Alexander, your observations about Ross are 100% correct. He is talented for sure but it is unacceptable, especially in today's game, to let players breeze past you with the ball while just watching.

Look at Dele Alli. Bags of talent and works his socks off. A quote from Danny Blind after watching the England vs Germany game;

"Dele Alli was very special. He's a good player, technical, has a good shot, but he's also aggressive, he will win a lot of tackles, so he's a special player."

As for Stones. He is great player who needs to be playing now. I feel that in a year or so he will be one of the best English centre-backs we have seen for some time, but not under Martinez.

Ian Hollingworth
107 Posted 29/03/2016 at 03:20:39
John Keating (#102) spot on, nail on head.

It is nonsense for posters on here to try and separate the home and away support. Read John's comment again as it is exactly how it is.

Martin Nicholls
108 Posted 28/03/2016 at 07:10:07
This article is specifically and only about John Stones, as is this response. Like most, my view is that Stones is a superb footballer who COULD become a top quality centre-back. At the moment, he is far from that.

Undoubtedly Martinez and his sub-standard management team bear some responsibility for this. Ultimately however, if Stones fails to make the England Euros squad/team he can blame no-one but himself.

After briefly seeming to have shrugged off the disappointment of being told to adhere to the multi-million pound contract that he himself had been only too willing to sign, he has subsequently betrayed us fans (who pay his wages) with his childish attitude and consequent poor performances.

Darren Hind
109 Posted 29/03/2016 at 07:44:56
Dave Ganley

My problem is most of the criticism levelled at Stones simply isn't true. "Stones`s assertions". were made by Hoddle – as John Daley felt the need to point out to you.

It's not about players being untouchable; if a player does something foolish (like Mirallas getting sent off) then he should be slaughtered... so should any player not giving his all... but what is Stones's crime? He told a few panic merchants to calm down?

Lets be very clear here, Stones did NOT make a mistake in the incident that has you frothing at the mouth, that`s another misnomer. He was cool and in command, so much so the frustrated Spurs player resorted to fouling him... pressure off.

I'm also a little tired of challenging people who say Stones has cost us all these imaginary goals to list them. Like you in post 101... they can't!

Funes Mori and Jagielka have been rinsed in our last two home games. Mistakes by one of them lead directly to five goals... so why aren't you exercising your fans-have-the-right criticism of those two???

Of course we have the right to criticise (I'd have been barred from Goodison 50 years ago if we didn't ) but we also have an obligation (especially to younger players) to make that criticism legitimate.

Helen Mallon
110 Posted 29/03/2016 at 07:52:54
Ian Smitham, we do have a great away support, yes... BUT they are not always sweetness and nice, believe me. They get just as frustrated as the crowd at home and are subdued at times as well.

Take Bournemouth FA cup game. They started fighting with themselves knocking a poor woman over...

I think the difference is the team play with more intensity away from home and as the away side are not really expected to get a result. Whereas at home we are.

Helen Mallon
111 Posted 29/03/2016 at 07:54:12
Martin Nicholls, well said.
Phil Walling
112 Posted 29/03/2016 at 07:56:54
Whoever is at fault – and I know we tend to blame all failings on Martinez – the figures show that, whatever the personnel employed, Everton's defence is sub-standard.

Now I know some of those failings can be attributed to players in other areas not putting in a shift but few of us have felt comfortable with things 'at the back', whoever was in goal and whether Stones was playing or not.

Darren Bailey
113 Posted 29/03/2016 at 08:29:24
Bity late to the party (Pal) and don't know if it's already been said but Hodgson's being a bit hypocritical there isn't he?

My first reaction was just that as he's said that he wants to take Wilshere to the Euros even though he hasn't played all season!
Obviously my second reaction was "too right, he does"... And that's how it should be. If you play well, week-in & week-out for your club, you get the chance to play for your country. It shouldn't be down to reputation (Cahill, Welbeck, Sturridge, Lallana) – it should be down to whether you're performing (Kane, Dier, Alli).

Stones hasn't been performing and hasn't been playing so shouldn't be considered at present so he needs to step it up. However, when Hodgson says things like he did about Wilshere and picks others that have been out injured or not performing, it makes the process a farce. After all he didn't pick Baines as he's been out injured even though Bertrand withdrew. Typical International football.

To have two of our defenders in the England squad with our defensive record is a bit of shock as it is...

Dave Ganley
114 Posted 29/03/2016 at 08:33:05
Darren, I'm not "frothing at the mouth" as you say, and I also didn't say a mistake was made. However, let's not start rewriting history to say he hasn't made mistakes which led to goals. Swansea and Man City away in the League Cup spring to mind. And also a couple of weeks ago against West Ham, consistently giving the ball away, Martinez took him off at half time.

Read my post properly and you will see the Spurs incident was a culmination of catastrophes by players this season; if you can't see why the crowd were edgy, then I guess we will never agree.

I have stated that all players have been making mistakes – not just Stones – so you can hardly say I am picking on Stones. However, this article is about Stones so no point illustrating every other players faults, of which there are many.

I also stated that I was replying to post #1 when asserting about alleged comments attributed to Stones and I only referred to it once, but I guess in your state of frothing at the mouth and perceived injustice about your favourite boy, in your haste to fire off a reply, you neglected to actually read previous posts properly, and you may see other points about Stones's failings and not "just the crime of telling the crowd to calm down".

Darren Hind
115 Posted 29/03/2016 at 09:45:42

I did not say Stones had not made mistakes and therefore I'm not rewriting history – you just made that up. What I didn't say is that he has played for two seasons and there is no "list". The fact that you can't even name one in two seasons of Premier League football kinda endorses that... some liability.

Martinez did not take Stones off against West Ham for "consistently giving the ball away". You've made that up too. In case you didn't notice, we had a man sent off and it was a tactical decision – a wrong one, as it turns out judging by the mauling Jagielka and Funes Mori took.

Stones is not my "favourite boy" – you made that up too. He's not even my favourite Everton defender. I just don't like the nonsense the people of a nervous disposition spout about him.

You go on to talk about "Stones's assertions" – not your own... you were one of those who were doing the alleging.

If the School of Science ever is reconvened, I'm guessing there will be a few empty spaces. The faint-hearted will probably have already enrolled in the School for No Nonsense and Agricultural Defending.

John Voigt
116 Posted 29/03/2016 at 09:58:13
Let's let young players develop. It's unfortunate they make mistakes, but they do. Stones needs to play more, but he's been dropped for now which isn't the worst thing. He's learning a lesson while sitting!

I prefer he stay at Everton and wish he'd be getting more support as a talented young player. How bout a little "Money Can't Buy Me Stones"!

Steve Hogan
117 Posted 29/03/2016 at 10:02:54
Dave Ganley, it would appear I'm not the only contributor to assert that 'you are making things up'. Why not just stick to the facts? That way your 'posts' would have more credibility?
Tony Abrahams
118 Posted 29/03/2016 at 10:05:33
I think that's what Stones needs next to him, Darren, The perfect mix!
Ian Burns
119 Posted 29/03/2016 at 11:01:42
Stones needs to be playing and he needs to be playing for a coach who can instill into him when to play and when to find touch or punt it long. In my opinion, he is being let down at Finch Farm and believing in the hype Martinez built up around him – far far too soon.

I will personally be very sad when both he and Rom leave this summer.

Dave Ganley
120 Posted 29/03/2016 at 11:04:56
Darren, you obviously have not read my post – otherwise, you wouldn't have writen what you did.

I can't name an incident? I just named two: in the Swansea and City (cup) games. Throw in the penalty against Stoke and the cast-iron penalty against he got away with against City in the league and you have a few... just off the top of my head.

Darren, you also asked what is Stones's "crime" and also asked what mistakes he made. Now I am not an overly educated person but by questioning people's criticism of Stones's mistakes then I was assuming you are of the opinion he doesn't make them; otherwise, I guess you would be listing them yourself.

Stones made a lot of errors against West Ham and you are summising that Mirallas was the only reason he was sacrificed. Many people at the game were glad he was taken off as he was a liability in the first half and it's still debatable why we lost that game. Yes Jags and Funes Mori had a dreadful last 10 minutes but the game was lost when Martinez brought on an attacker for Lennon, totally upsetting the balance.

You seem to think I'm anti-football. I'm not. I love football played the right way. Again if you had read the original posts you will have seen that I think Stones is a very talented footballer who, like others, is not being properly coached and, in my opinion, believes he is better than he is at this point in his career.

Again, I wasn't alleging, if you read the posts you would know I was responding to a previous post.

I like your opinions, Darren, and like the healthy debate but its a struggle when you don't read my posts correctly.

Steve Hogan, don't just jump on somebody else's post, if you want to have a dig read all the corresponding posts before you waste my time.

Raymond Fox
121 Posted 29/03/2016 at 11:56:04
I said sell Stones at the last window when Chelsea wanted him. Of course the response was that I'd flipped my lid. He's been hyped up too much too soon by all and sundry, and I'm including the manager in that.

Yes, he looks good on the ball, but he's a defender first and foremost, and he has failed to impress in that role. How many times has he and the other defenders been stood like lampposts and conceded goals when there's been dead-ball situations? That's where we've conceded a lot of goals, our defenders never seem to get off the ground.

As far as Stones is concerned, it's been a case of 'look the kings got no clothes' for a few months now... and, of the pair, I would much prefer to keep Lukaku.

I'm not down on the lad, he will become class, but I think too much was expected of a player that was thrust into the Premier League when he was very inexperienced.

Stones in a year or two will prove he's a star, I've no doubt; would I make him a first-choice centre back in our team? No, not at this time.

Phil Sammon
122 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:07:54
Raymond Fox

'I said sell Stones at the last window when Chelsea wanted him.
Of course the response was that I'd flipped my lid.'

'I'm not down on the lad, he will become class...Stones in a year or two will prove he's a star'

Talk about having your cake and eating it, Raymond.

The people who told you you'd 'flipped your lid' are those who were also saying he'd be a star in the future.

Frankly, we didn't need to sell Stones so we made the right decision. He has a lot to learn, but he'll come good under the right manager.

And you'll, of course, be back on here saying 'I told you he was gonna be a star'.

Raymond Fox
123 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:23:20
Phil, so where are you disagreeing with what I've said?

I'm saying at this time I wouldn't put him as first choice in our defence, would you?

Dave Lawley
124 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:25:40
Well it didn't seem to affect Henderson's chances, he gets a start ahead of the in-form Drinkwater despite an anonymous season for the RedShite, as did Welbeck (although he was back from injury) ahead of Vardy.

Vardy showed in 5 minutes why you should pick form over the perceived old faithful. Rooney should watch the Euros on TV, there is no place for him in that side.

David Pearl
125 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:35:29
To say that Stones and Barkley are not properly coached or haven't been is... absolute crap. Those two, along with Rom and Deulofeu – if we keep them and add to them, can win us the league. Under this manager? Maybe.

Trouble is that they are all still a bit raw and we need a sturdier supporting cast. Ultimately the stats don't lie... but I wouldn't write off Martinez just yet. Patience is nearing an end.

Don't be surprised if we revert to 3 at the back on the weekend so I expect Stones to get his chance... he needs to be playing. And the players need to learn to close down for the whole game while playing with the intensity require to win games and see them out.

Eugene Ruane
126 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:35:29
General point.

Imagine you were in a bar and heard someone (you don't know) say "You know what, I said years ago that Saville was iffy but no one believed me like."

Would you think 'that is obviously a perceptive man, a man who sees what the rest of us don't, a man I should listen to'?

Or would you shake your head, think 'as fucking if' and move to the other end of the bar?

For those (like me) who would respond with the latter, I'm guessing your response is something similar to every TW post that begins "Well I said at the time..."

Eg: '..sell Stones at the last window when Chelsea wanted him. Of course the response was that I'd flipped my lid,'

(Waves empty glass, belches – 'When you're ready Maureen!')
Raymond Fox
127 Posted 29/03/2016 at 12:52:11
Eugene, you know what they say about sarcasm!

So what's your opinion? Not your attempt to be a comedian.

Tony Abrahams
128 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:11:57
Eugene, I would have turned round to that fella, and said, "I think that Jimmy Saville, must have been an absolute genius, mate".

How the fuck could a man with so little talent get away with so fucking much? Un-fucking-believable!

James Stewart
129 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:14:24
For me, you only need look at Dier and Alli at Spurs. Now these two are playing out of their skin under Mauricio Pochettino but ability-wise they are no better than Stones and Barkley. If Pochettino was managing us, there is no way we would not be in the top 4 with this squad.
Amit Vithlani
130 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:29:37
Currently reading a book on Brian Clough and three things struck me about his philosophy (and that of Peter Taylor), during their zenith:

1 – If the team hit a bad run, go back to basics and keep clean sheets. Clough and Taylor loved ball players, and generally wanted defenders who could play, but if the team hit the buffers, they wanted the side to go back to basics, defend well, build a base and then go from there.

2 – They spoke of the importance of a good goalkeeper, who could earn a team as many points as a good striker.

3 – Having a reliable central defender could be a psychological boost to the team as a whole. The Forest fans had a chant "You will never beat Des Walker", which was often sung in the dressing room by his team-mates if Walker put in a particularly good display.

Pardon the pun, but Stones could be the rock on which the School of Science is built. He does, however, need to develop in his decision-making to become a great centre-back. Kicking it into touch when the team is under pressure or a meaty well-timed challenge can go down just as well as bamboozling the attacking team with Cruyff turns or catching them cold with a glorious cross-field pass from deep.
Jim Hardin
131 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:38:08

Dave gave you an example but here is another of not just one but two goals which can be attributed to Stones. Stoke in December and this is from our own matchday report, so not my words:

" Not for the first time Stones, who, frankly, had an uncharacteristically awful game, delivered a forward pass straight to the opposition and Bojan returned it with interest, a through-ball that dissected the home defence and put Shaqiri in the clear. The Swiss audaciously clipped a half-volley on the run that sailed over the hapless Howard, and spun almost in slow motion into the top corner of the American's goal."

(And:) "Stones looked to have got a decisive knick on the ball with his out-stretched leg to deny Arnautovic as he tried to power towards goal. Clattenburg initally seemed to agree but after a moment or two's hesitation he pointed to the spot and Arnautovic clattered it down the middle with Howard gambling to his right."

This isn't only about whether he should clear the ball or play it out but rather there are numerous other examples over the last two seasons where Stones left a huge gap by being too far forward or too wide, left his man, lost his man, or just plain didn't jump and contest the cross. You can look them up or just continue to ignore that they exist, because that suits your argument.

Whether he clears to Row Z every time is not the point; the decision-making and lack of other skills needed is. He doesn't mark well, doesn't clear the ball when he should, and (West Ham game aside) doesn't jump to contest crosses. In the same Stoke game, he actually pulled away and ducked from the ball and the Stoke player on a cross. Stones's best tackles are made like a midfielder coming back and making desperate slides. These look good but are the result of being out of position. They also lead to penalties (see above).

Currently, going forward he looks very good, like a midfielder with the ball at his feet, but he does not use the actual defending skills needed for a centre-back. Most of these are learned before you reach 18. If he learned them and is not using them, why? If he didn't learn them, then he is not a great defender and again one must ask, why he didn't learn them?

This is apart from the "defensive system" used by Martinez which puts additional pressure on the back four and further exposes Stones's deficiencies. He needs to move on or we need a coach that will make him play like a centre-back or move to midfield.

Ian Burns
132 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:46:39
Amit (#130) – please send a copy of that book to Martinez; leaving a mark on the three points you have illustrated!
Eugene Ruane
133 Posted 29/03/2016 at 13:47:34
Raymond - 'Eugene, you know what they say about sarcasm!'

Erm... that it's a much higher form of wit than slapstick?

Actually to answer your question properly, I suppose it depends on who 'they' are...

If it's an intelligent 'they', they'll probably think in the right hands it's a great way to make a point. Or that it gave Oscar Wilde his reputation. Or that many of the most memorable characters from politics, film, TV and literature are memorable because of their sarcasm.

Of course a less intelligent 'they' would be different. They would probably resort to a parrot-fashion repetition of some unproved, unfounded and lazy mantra along the lines 'sarcasm is the lowest form of wit' (an adage no doubt conceived by someone regularly unable to produce a comeback).

Anyway, never mind what 'they' say; what do you think?

As for my opinion on Stones, it's like my opinion on Martinez – I've already given it on other posts recently – Link – and don't feel the need to repeat it every 15 fucking minutes.

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 29/03/2016 at 14:02:47
Ian (#91) I think you would accept that, Keane, Souness, Bremner, and Robson were much more than "bone crunchers". I would have them in any era of football, and Everton would be very much improved by having any one of them in our present team. No-one would amble through the game with them in the team.
Eugene Ruane
135 Posted 29/03/2016 at 14:16:45
Dave – 'Ian (#91), I think you would accept that, Keane, Souness, Bremner and Robson were much more than "bone crunchers". I would have them in any era of football.'

Agree completely, although in the case of Robson, I always thought there was a lot of truth in a comment George Best once made (during a pundit period when he was cleared-eyed, sharp and off the ale).

'Robson has great energy, gets goals but he doesn't know how to tackle properly.'

I thought he was spot on, much of the last 5 years of his (Robson's) career, he seemed to spend recklessly flying at opponents with his studs on show (then he'd curiously berate them as they lay in a distressed heap).

Dave Abrahams
136 Posted 29/03/2016 at 14:27:19
Eugene (#135) – yes, I agree entirely that Robson didn't know how to tackle properly. I thought on many occasions he tackled with the wrong foot, maybe that's why he got injured so often? But, for all that, he was a marvellous, talented and very brave player as well as a terrific captain.
Raymond Fox
137 Posted 29/03/2016 at 15:05:46
Eugene, the thread is about Stones, I don't see any contribution on the subject from you. The link you gave was more about your views on our full backs!

Yes I see the one where your attempting to take the piss out of yours truly, plus the follow up. I did happen to post the views that Stones was not living up to the hype months ago and we should sell at the fees that where being quoted.

I'd say that view was correct at the time.

Sam Hoare
138 Posted 29/03/2016 at 15:13:26
Eugene (#133).

I always though that the sarcasm cliche did not refer to the quality of humour rather than the moral associations. Sarcasm is therefore 'low' because it is usually belittling – not because it is unintelligent or unhumourous.

Steve Hogan
139 Posted 29/03/2016 at 16:14:23
Dave Ganley, sorry if I touched a raw nerve (about wasting your time).

But can you not see a recurring theme here, ie a contributor stating that you don't quite tell the truth?

I just don't need a 600-word diatribe to recognise it.

John Daley
141 Posted 29/03/2016 at 16:28:34
"Yes he looks good on the ball, but he's a defender first and foremost, and he has failed to impress in that role."

So what role was he performing when he impressed enough to have Chelsea desperately trying to chuck over £30m Everton's way and a large number of supporters opposed to a sale at any cost?

If just 'looking good on the ball' is worth that much alone, then I'd love to know what those circus bears cost. They balance on the bastard whilst wearing cute little hats, shirts and even have a go at spinning plates and shit.

"Do you really think I give a toss if Ringmaster Robbie say's you're the best thing since Gentle Ben and you have to perform to his instructions in a big fucking circus? Bears should be out protecting their cave and going absolutely radge at people like the one out of The Revenant......Don't wave your paws at me in a clumsy 'calm down' gesture, you posing prick"

Dave Ganley
142 Posted 29/03/2016 at 16:36:19
Steve, as I've said before read all my posts before you make me out to be a liar. The post about Stones making comments was in reply to the original number 1 post who alluded to that. If taking that post as read makes me a liar then so be it.

As for touching a nerve, not really; I just don't have patience for people who want to take uneducated cheap shots without them reading each and all posts. I can quite happily have a healthy debate about differing views regarding our club but for you effectively call me a liar, "don't quite tell the truth" is a bit much as is criticism of how much I write. If you feel that superior then just bypass the post without trying to score cheap points.

Just a thought.

Raymond Fox
143 Posted 29/03/2016 at 16:51:25
John, I don't think any of us are saying that Stones won't be a top/world class player in the future.

My take on him is that, at this time, it seems foolish to make him a starting defender. His form prior to him being dropped was not good enough.

Its a tricky situation for Martinez, but I think for now he should stick with Jags and Funes Mori.

I appreciate that it's not doing his Euro chance or his valuation any favours... and, as I say, it's a difficult decision for the manager.

Darren Hind
144 Posted 29/03/2016 at 17:19:17

I did read your post, but you haven't read mine.

I said two seasons of "Premier League" football, I recognised you were talking about mistakes in cup games where weakened teams were played or when he moved out of position, but I'll give you those gladly... you clearly can't name any in the Premier League let alone a list.

I don't claim Stones doesnt make mistakes, he's a risk taker and has made hundreds. What I do refute is the constant claim from those of a nervous disposition that he has cost us lots of goals with his style of play and that he is a liability. It's utter nonsense.

Don't forget, Stones has played with Tim Howard behind him for his two seasons, seasoned internationals have struggled with that.

Your clam that many people at the West Ham game were "glad to see him taken off, as he was a liability" made me laugh out loud... did you not see what happened after that?

Jim Hardin

You need to take another look at the goals against Stoke. Stones did not pass straight to Bojan. He actually did what the faint-hearted are screaming for him to do – launched it. Bojan picked up the the defensive clearance from the edge of Stoke's area – a simple look at YouTube kinda makes a mockery of your claims.

Yours is exactly the sort of false claim I am talking about.

Wanna try again ?

Eugene Ruane
145 Posted 29/03/2016 at 17:36:32
Raymond – 'I did happen to post the views that Stones was not living up to the hype months ago and we should sell at the fees that where being quoted. I'd say that view was correct at the time.'

It wasn't 'correct', it was just your (to use your word) view and the fact that you believe your own view doesn't make it anymore correct than the view of the person who believes the complete opposite.

So to then add 'told you so' with the same certainty as one might had they informed us yesterday 'the sun will rise in the morning' is practically begging for a little gentle sarcasm.


Re my link, you add – 'Eugene, the thread is about Stones, I don't see any contribution on the subject from you. The link you gave was more about your views on our full backs!'

Yes, rather than mentioning any other player than Stones, I mentioned our full backs as (in a natural progression of a discussion starting with Stones) I believe them to be at least as problematic as our centre-halves. My (also stated) opinion was that, though a close decision, I'd go with Funes Mori (nb: over reintroducing Stones) until the end of the season as I believe/d there was a better chance of getting a couple of goals from him.

I realise that this opinion wasn't as insightful as 'he's up his own arse' or 'he believes his own hype' or 'sell the nob-head' but there it is.

Sam – 'I always though that the sarcasm cliche did not refer to the quality of humour rather than the moral associations. Sarcasm is therefore 'low' because it is usually belittling not because it is unintelligent or unhumourous.'

Moral associations?


Well ok maybe, but as the cliché doesn't come with terms and conditions attached, we'll never know for sure. So I'll go with my own notion that it originated from someone lacking the wherewithal to come up with a decent response to a point that had hit a nerve.

Anyway, I believe if you entirely remove sarcasm from the armoury, you might as well put down a mat with 'Dolts and poltroons welcome, please spout ill-considered opinions – guaranteed no comebacks.'

Alan Bodell
148 Posted 29/03/2016 at 18:14:59
He's had plenty of time to ponder what is right for Everton and for him; he's made a couple of mistakes but heh, who hasn't this season?

I hope he gets more game time and gets to play in the Euros, enhancing his value before he leaves.

Dave Ganley
149 Posted 29/03/2016 at 18:52:49
Darren, mate, I could have sworn Swansea, Man City (away) and Stoke games were in the Premier League.

I'm not trying to make out he rubbish – far from it; and as for constant claims that he is consistently costing us goals... well, this is the first time I personally have highlighted his mishaps and I'm certainly not of a nervous disposition.

We all want the Blues to do well and they clearly aren't and haven't done for a good while. Defensively they are a shambles and I'm afraid John Stones has to take a share of the blame along with Coleman, Baines, Funes Mori, Jags etc. The fact that this article is about Stones means that he, unfortunately is being highlighted. If we had this discussion about any of the other defenders, then I guess the tone would be somewhat similar.

The fact that a lot of people are trying to exonerate him (yeah I know you have said he makes mistakes) and the fact that people are vehement he hasn't cost us goals (imo he has... along with others with his overplaying) means that others like myself will refute that as I have spent so many weekends dismayed at how we have ballsed up so many games.

We will have to agree to disagree about the West Ham game and I put my reasoning in my last post.

John Stones, as I've already said, can be a fine player; however, given how frail we are defensively and how easily we give away goals, it is remiss of him to overplay when we should be more defensively aware, given our current malaise. A not unreasonable request from a concerned fan from a team that is wasting yet another league season.

Christy Ring
150 Posted 29/03/2016 at 19:08:35
I feel sorry for Stones; all the hype, the media, the Chelsea offer, went to his head. The people looking after him, especially his agent, have a lot to answer for, especially after submitting his written transfer request. They did him no favours, and should have kept his feet on the ground.

It affected his game, he made mistakes and his confidence suffered. <{P>He wasn't the only one: Howard should have been dropped earlier; Funes Mori against West Ham was abysmal; and Martinez's tactics, three-man defence, and playing him at fullback, was totally wrong, and he ended up as the scapegoat.

John Daley
151 Posted 29/03/2016 at 19:12:10
"Sarcasm is therefore 'low' because it is usually belittling not because it is unintelligent or unhumourous."

Interestingly enough, there was actually a study undertaken a while back, the findings of which indicated sarcasm makes you smarter. It was found to encourage creativity and stimulate the generation of ideas, whilst promoting insight and innovative solutions to problems.

This was so for both those using sarcasm and those on the receiving end. By comparison, a control group of cloth-eared gits and those participants who were privy to only 'sincere' comments, were found to be shockingly pish at problem solving.

So, rather than belittling and 'low', you could instead think of it as being 'beneficial' and a catalyst for cognitive growth. I mean, how the fuck else do you think Baldrick ended up on Time-Team?

Darren Hind
152 Posted 29/03/2016 at 19:15:31
Fair enough, Dave

We'll have to agree to disagree. I realise now you were talking about the penalty against Swansea. I blamed Howard myself for not moving toward the ball, but It was Stones who played the ball back to him so I guess that's open to interpretation.

I still think I Stones is getting very unfair criticism. I'm sure I can name more mistakes from just about every other defender, but people are going by perception when discussing Stones.

The safety-first approach other defenders have adopted has been far more damaging... IMO.

John Graham
154 Posted 29/03/2016 at 19:49:57
Just want to wish John Stones and Ross Barkley all the best for tonight. Two shining star who I believe have suffered through a lack of a good manager. They have shown many times that they have the talent needed but sometimes you need someone to take you to the top level.

Alli, Dier and Kane have all matured well this year under the advice and management of Pochettino at Spurs, and I think he would do the same for these two. To me it seems the only advice Martinez gives is go on the pitch and play.
Raymond Fox
155 Posted 29/03/2016 at 19:56:16
Eugene, so why has Stones been dropped? Why... because he's not proved to be the super defender that all the hype inferred he was. The lad is short on experience; he's bound to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean he can't be criticised.

I see you couldn't resist without a parting shot of reference to 'dolts and poltroons' as if you are some superior intellect. If you can't discuss a difference of opinion in a civil manner, I would suggest you don't bother.

Martin Mason
156 Posted 29/03/2016 at 20:11:51

I think he was left out to give him a break at a time when I believe he has been struggling mentally rather than there being any doubt about his ability. He is being blooded back but unfortunately we've played a back 3 as a result. We don't do back 3... just like Wigan didn't.

He is class and he'll make it to the very top. If you think about it, Martinez couldn't drop his skipper and Funes Mori is proving to be undroppable, even with a clown as coach.

Rather than brown shoes, I reckon Roberto should wear clown's shoes.

Dave Ganley
157 Posted 29/03/2016 at 20:39:16
Darren, as I say, all the defenders are culpable for the situation we are in, so I'm not trying to pick on Stones, but the thread is about him.

Maybe we should start a thread on the shortcomings of all the defence and not just one individual. I'm quite sure that others would get a far worse panning than Stones has had.

Mick Davies
158 Posted 29/03/2016 at 20:46:52
Christy (#150), You feel sorry for Stones? The man put in a transfer request to force a move from our beloved club to an obnoxious institution in West London for a salary which would probably equal our lifetimes earnings in a month.
Jim Hardin
161 Posted 29/03/2016 at 22:19:35

I did watch the game and went back again and if you are claiming Stones is not culpable, then you win the blind mouse award.

I said it at the beginning of the post. Not my words, but taken straight from the article. Still, I understand your superior ability now. Ignore all facts, dismiss others, and blame Howard (as I noted you did in your response to Dave) or someone else. When does the out-of-position, dicking-around-on-the-ball, centre-back get his share of the blame Darren? When?

To excuse Stones's performances is comical. You basically in a response indicated it is Howard behind the centre-backs that is causing them to make mistakes? Yet you then want Stones to play the ball back to Howard who isn't good enough in your expert opinion?

Does that make sense that, if the centre-back has no confidence in the keeper, that he would play the ball back to him when both are under pressure or would he then just kick the ball out to safety less than 15 feet away? which is it Darren, you cannot have it both ways?

The fact is when a centre-back fails to clear the ball, when and where he should, and it stays in the third and a goal gets scored, are they not at least partially to blame?

You asked for a list of games; I gave you one from just a few months ago. You then chose to blame Howard for the second goal. Take off the Stones-coloured glasses Darren. I will add another for you. England versus the Netherlands. The announcers called Stones's slip a catastrophic error. They seem to be under the impression that Stones falling or slipping was a cause of the penalty resulting in a goal. Not my words again.

Darren Hind
162 Posted 29/03/2016 at 22:55:21
Jim Hardin.

I can't help laughing whenever I read your posts. You didn't give me an example; you tried... but you failed. Anyone who can be arsed can take a look at the Stoke game and see how desperately you are clutching at straws. The ball was headed out of Stoke's defence and travelled 90 yards via Bojan... yet it was a "Stones mistake"?

Now just for a minute put down your "soccer" manual... stop reading about successful long-throws, and I'll educate you about proper football.

John Stones did slip tonight, he did what every centre-half in the world has done at some stage; luckily enough, he did his one in a meaningless friendly. However, there was one moment of sublime skill (besides the England goal which he was instrumental in). It was when Stones came sauntering out of defence down the wing, looked up and threaded the best pass of the match through 12/13 players right onto the boot of Walcott. A fully fit striker would have scored with his eyes shut.

How many centre-halves in world football could have done that ? ... Here's a hint – don't think plural.

BTW; I have never wanted anybody to give the ball to Howard... not ever. I didn't need an "announcer" to explain the consequences, I just kinda knew...

Sam Hoare
163 Posted 29/03/2016 at 23:01:44
Eugene (#145), didn't Oscar Wilde coin the cliche or have I got that wrong? If so then I'm not sure he could be described as someone unable to come up with good retorts.

Either way, I'm a fan of it like Oscar himself but do think it often has a cruelty to it.

Steve Hogan
164 Posted 30/03/2016 at 01:12:43
Oh dear, Dave Ganley, nobody is calling you a liar, that's your call, but you are being a little sensitive. The minute you post on ToffeeWeb, you leave yourself open to question and debate, that's what makes it so entertaining.

Don't you find it a little strange that at least two people have questioned the validity of your 'posts' in such a short space of time, both on the same theme, ie, misrepresenting people's views in order to prove a point or give your argument some legitimacy?

Just another thought.

Eugene Ruane
165 Posted 30/03/2016 at 01:32:42
Sam – actually the full Oscar Wilde quote is 'Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence' (second part always forgotten by those who grasp at the first part).

As to it having an element of cruelty to it, well maybe cruelty is slightly overstating things (certainly in the context of TW) but if it is the case, fine with me.

Certainly imo valid for people criticising players as though their criticism is fact, then getting all hurt and self-righteous when their criticism is criticised.

Paul Andrews
166 Posted 30/03/2016 at 06:27:21
A fantastic threaded ball from Stones into Walcott. One that any midfield player would be pleased with. He looked great when stepping into midfield. Not so great defensively.

Think of your all time favourite ball playing centre back.Would that centre back try to take the forward on when he was last man?

I have said it for a while now.John Stones does not,at the moment,have the defensive awareness and ability to be a top class defender. He would IMO make a top class holding midfielder.

Dave Ganley
168 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:19:20
Steve, maybe it's just me but when you tell me that I don't tell the truth, I would think that's tantamount to telling me I'm a liar.

Anyway, no matter. I will tell you one last time, so pay attention this time. Darren managed to pick it up so if you pay close attention you may too. I was responding to the first post who alleged that Stones had made comments. Just go back and have a read, all you need to do is hit the page up button!! Whilst responding to that I took it as read that Stones did make those comments. Maybe that was wrong of me? Possibly. However, it wasn't the main crux of my point anyhow. Maybe you should pull up the first poster and correct him? Oh wait a minute, that doesn't support your argument so bit pointless really.

So to your argument. Not entirely sure what it is. You like Barkley and Stones and they can do no wrong (I think given how much you've chased me on this post alleging I tell untruths) and erm that's about it. No reasoning, no healthy debate... ah yeah that's right, you can't be bothered to type more than a few words as you constantly have a go at the length of my posts.

Leaving yourself open to debate is what most people do on this site, that's why we have healthy DEBATES!! Well maybe if you had any kind of opinion other than just point-scoring then you may be able to join in at some point when you feel confident enough.

Just a thought.

Tony Abrahams
169 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:41:46
Dave (#157), I think if we'd done a thread on all the defenders collectively, then it would just turn into another anti-Martinez thread!
Steve Hogan
170 Posted 30/03/2016 at 11:55:24
Dave Ganley, you worry me when you finish off (every) article with 'Just a thought'

And despite your arrogance, I will try and pay attention.

Daniel A Johnson
171 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:11:38
Stones is a defender; his job is to defend and prevent teams from scoring.

This is what he needs to focus on, not beating 3 men bringing the ball out from the back or hitting a 50-yard worldy to set up the strikers.

He needs to get back to basics and stop believing his own bullshit.

You are defender, son, so bloody well defend.

Dave Ganley
172 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:37:12
No arrogance, Steve, just replying like for like. I put 'just a thought' so you may have think about a constructive reply as opposed to just having a go at me.

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