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April 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Fans as scouts?

I just had a crazy idea. Not for the first time. I was about to post something on one of the rumour threads when it occurred to me how many Everton fans there are who (like me) spend hours and hours watching football matches, other than Everton ones, and how this is potentially an untapped resource....

Obviously the club has a network of scouts, probably a huge network, but think how many games and matches they are physically unable to watch that other Everton fans may have witnessed. From club matches in far flung parts of the world to youth matches that someone's nephew or niece is playing in.

Anyway, I though that maybe the club (and perhaps all clubs) should set up some type of forum or website where fans could pass on their findings and opinions on players that could be brought into the club at whatever level. Now, your first thought, like mine, is probably "Can you imagine how much garbage they would have to wade through?" and that would almost certainly be the case. But surely it would be possible to grade contributors internally so that if 'scout reports' were well written, well argued and ultimately found to be of any use whatsoever then that contributor would be higher rated and their reports given more weighting. Obviously you would block all the RS scum and timewasters.

The first few months would probably be quite painful but after a while you might build up system of reliable and insightful contributors who are essentially acting as free scouts. Obviously no-one is going to be signed on this basis alone but it could become a useful resource that could notify the club of talents that they may possibly have overlooked or been unaware of. It could also be a useful conduit of who the real fans would like to see come into the club, something that may or may not be helpful for them.

Is there something in it? Anyone see what I'm envisaging or am I just going a bit mad at my desk? There must be some way to put the thousands of football loving blues and their thousands of football watching hours to use. I guess the juice would not be worth the squeeze....

Sam Hoare     Posted 28/04/2017 at 10:30:07

Ross for sale but not Rom?

Over the last 6 or 7 years, Everton have become a real “smoke and mirrors” outfit – we never quite know what’s real and what’s not. Of course there is a need for discretion and we were once renowned for the club’s stealth in signing new players, but the world has changed and mobile-phone cameras, social media and the insatiable demand for round-the-clock news make such discretion more difficult. Why then should the club go to such lengths to make life even more difficult for itself by being so opaque over things it can control – such as giving us real facts about our own players?

Look at the apparently similar situations regarding Lukaku and Barkley; there are some discrepancies here when really there should be complete transparency. Take for instance the fact that a salary figure is being bandied about openly in the press and social media regarding the new contract on the table for Lukaku.

Now compare that with the Barkley situation where, unless I’m missing something, the figure always shown is his reputed current salary rather than one that has been offered in the new contract. Both of these players are high-value assets and both are popular with the fans, but whereas a proven goalscorer is very difficult to replace, that is not necessarily the case with a creative midfielder.

So is someone trying to blur the lines here? Perhaps some players “are more equal than others,” or is there in fact a hidden agenda to sell one of these two without looking as though the club had much choice in the matter? One of the main things I hoped for under Moshiri was that he or his representative would put a stop to shenanigans like this. Unfortunately it is very much ‘as you were’ and the club continues its descent into amateur smoke-screening.

Call me old-fashioned but I just love players who want to play for Everton. I would say there is no doubt that Barkley is in that category while Lukaku, self-evidently, is not. In my world, Ross Barkley is the kind of player we build a team around; yes, he could improve his goals return but all his other stats bear extremely favourable comparison with any creative midfielder in the Premier League.

Mr Koeman may see this differently but if he believes that Sigurdsson, for example, would be better for Everton than Barkley, he should quietly explain that to Ross and let him find another club (there are about 19 others in the Premier League who would want him) where he can continue his development into probably a world-class player by the time he’s about 27. And once this is done, this Summer Koeman might share that explanation with us paying supporters as to why spending £35m to buy Sigurdsson to replace Barkley was a good idea.

In the meantime, while Barkley is being publicly chastised and warned that he will be sold despite never once having intimated that he wants to leave, Lukaku openly flaunts his preferences to move away from Everton. Bizarrely, Everton publicly warn him that he’ll NOT be sold. Is this sensible planning? I think not and personally, being old school again, I’d put a stop to this.

I’d be saying, "Thanks, Rom, for all the goals this season, especially in the key games where we really needed you to come up with the winner, but it’s time for us to plan ahead now. We know you want to win the Golden Boot but, in the greater scheme of things, that does not matter to anyone but you and we know you will understand, now that we will finish 7th, possibly even 6th, and qualify for Europe, that we need you to sit on the bench while we take a closer look at how Calvert-Lewin and Lookman gel together in these next 4 games, which are still meaningful to us as a club. So here’s your flip-flops and have some fun watching the Chelsea and Man Utd in-house TV channels that you seem to enjoy so much."

And planning ahead, Everton might even yet decide to keep on nurturing a special talent and decide to see how a maturing Barkley fits in just behind those two kids up front and provides the bullets for them to fire as well as continuing to have such a positive impact on Tom Davies alongside him.

Gerard McKean     Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:40:23

ESCLA event in London

ESCLA along with EitC present 'Everton in the Capital' Charity Casino

To thank our London-based blues, we at ESCLA have decided to have an event before our last London game every season beginning with our final league match of the 2016-17 season against Arsenal.

Saturday May 20th is the date... Make sure you put it in your diary as the next day will be the end of a very exciting season for us blues.

The event will be a Charity Casino function at The Horseshoe in Clerkenwell. We are very much hoping to see a former Toffee at the event but more will be revealed as soon as we know.

The tickets are priced at just £5 and will include a buffet along with chips to play Roulette or BlackJack.

Darren Griffiths and Graham Stuart will be onsite to chat with about Ronald Koeman's first full season in charge of the Super Toffees.

Fun is to be had by all and it will be great for us all to have a few drinks and chat about the season together along with planning our trips for the Europa League in July or August depending on how far up the Premier League table we finish.

Everton in the Community (EitC) is one of the UK's top sporting charities and firmly established on the world stage of community sports development. As the Blues' official charity it is considered one of the Premier League’s leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its various programmes.

Since 1988, Everton in the Community has been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside, not afraid to tackle issues which others shied away from.

We at ESCLA are very proud to once again work alongside EitC and try to hopefully make a difference through you are members.

We really hope to see you at the Horseshoe on May 20th.

To buy tickets please use this link:

Best wishes
Rob Madigan,
Social Secretary

Rob Madigan     Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:37:30

Where is Gana?

Having been substituted in the last 2 games you might think its only just come to my attention... but he seems to have lost his mojo since returning from the AFCON. It might be his partnership with Morgan. Perhaps he is missing Barry. Or is it that Koeman has yet to find a way to fit all his favourites into a side whilst retaining the kind of shape and flexibility that's required to win both home and away. Do we really need Gana and Tom Davies both doing the same job?

Next season is again going to be very interesting. I'm not overly keen on the 4-3-3 we play... in fact I'm not overly keen on the way we have played under Koeman all season. Though I do think he has superior man-management skills, ambition and potential than his predecessors.

Maybe we have to wait for him to stop holding his breath to get the funds he needs to play his way. Next season, a few more teams I'm sure will adopt this 3 at the back and 4 across the middle and that might spark Gana back to the player I loved from last year.
David Pearl     Posted 26/04/2017 at 03:42:56

Romelu Lukaku – Real Deal or the Cherry on the Cake?

With the astronomical and ever-increasing fee for Romelu Lukaku being touted in the press and Ronald Koeman’s stated desire to keep him at the club, I began to think about how important he is to the team.

I must confess, I began my musings thinking that he was absolutely vital to the continued progress towards forcing the media to acknowledging that there is a “Big Seven”... but, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think this might not be the case.

Now I am not for a minute saying he is not a very, very good player and my thoughts are not based on any statistical analysis, but as I went through the more recent games, it did occur to me that on many occasions his goal-scoring prowess is most prevalent when the game is already won or at least we are already winning and time is running out (eg, vs Burnley he got the 3rd goal after 74 mins when we were 2-1 up; vs Hull City the 3rd and 4th in injury time when already 2-0 up; and vs West Brom the third after 82 mins when already 2-0 up – all of these in the last 6 weeks).

I am perfectly happy to be told I am smoking the wrong stuff to be even speculating about Rom’s value to us (I do not get to many games these days and I am well aware of the limits of watching on TV), or for someone with the relevant stats to point out how his points-per-goal ratio is better than anyone else’s, or that the last few weeks have been a statistical blip, or even for someone to say, "For god's sake we have a player who is likely to win the Golden Boot for the first time in a generation so just shut up and enjoy it!" – but what would we have given for a striker to sniff out one goal in a poor game against West Ham instead of two in the dying embers of the Hull game?
Carl Waldron     Posted 24/04/2017 at 22:31:48

What happened to Easter football?

Remember them playing games Saturday and Monday during the Easter weekend?

I could just leave the article at that and let the message boards do the rest.Seriously, though, since 2007 we’ve only played a double-header at Easter once (in 2012). Who OK’d this? Why haven’t more fans kicked off about this?

To me, the Easter weekend is as big a tradition as playing on Boxing Day. A pivotal moment in the title race and relegation scrap, a real test of everyone’s squad, an unmissable weekend. Can you imagine if they scrapped the Boxing Day matches to have a much mooted winter break? There’d be uproar, especially in the media. The scrapping of the Easter weekend football seems to have gone unnoticed though.

One of the reasons for this may be that they didn’t actually announce that it wouldn’t happen anymore – they just didn’t put Easter Monday in the fixture list anymore and hoped no-one would notice. And the worst part is, it’s worked.

The first year of this, in 2008, I think it clashed with an international friendly so we kind of let that one go, but in the years that followed, there was no reason for it not to happen. So why have they done this?

I think the biggest reason is Europe. Teams playing mid-week games before and after Easter couldn’t be expected to play two games during the long weekend. For that to happen, though, it would mean at least one English club has reached the quarter finals of a European competition, so surely that would be a “good problem” for the Premier League to have as it would maintain their co-efficient with UEFA? Also, it would likely only affect a couple of clubs, so here’s a simple solution – re-schedule their games and allow everyone else to enjoy the Easter double header.

It might also be a matter of consistency – they can’t have it every year due to international games if Easter falls in March. That’s fine – just have it when you can. We don’t always play on New Years Day, it depends on how the calendar falls, but we still play on New Years Day when the calendar allows.

It could be that managers have been complaining about fixture congestion – you’ve seen Klopp crying 2 years in a row about having to play twice in 3 days over the Christmas period. Van Gaal used to moan about it too. But, although I’m going back 10 years, I don’t remember any complaints about playing twice in 3 days at Easter back then.

So the only other factor could be TV. Sky and BT wouldn’t be able to squeeze anywhere near as many games out of the “rounds” or “match-days” or whatever they call them if everyone was playing two games in the same weekend. In fact, until recently, showing live games on Easter Sunday was almost unheard of. Now, they treat Easter like any other weekend, even down to the fact that the Arsenal-Middlesbrough game is kicking off this evening when it could easily be played and shown in the daytime.

Also, with all the TV money being pumped in, clubs aren’t as dependant on gate receipts and so the Bank Holiday gate boost that used to happen at Easter maybe isn’t needed any more.

Whatever the reason, next time you’re traipsing out in inhospitable conditions and having to book time off work for a mid-week game in January, and are then spending Easter Monday in the garden centre or DIY store, remember, it shouldn’t be like this.I might re-do this article at the start of next season. Find and replace “Easter Monday” with “mid-week games in August”.

David Flint     Posted 17/04/2017 at 12:32:21

An Ideal Summer

With the season end fast approaching we start to wonder what we might need to take the next step and get into the Champions League.

If it wasn't for our poor run towards the start of the season we may of actually made it this year suggesting that we are not so far away. I feel that we could make massive leaps forward if we were to bring Champions League football to Goodison Park and really build our team, but failure could mean losing some serious assets.

To start with we need to build on this season and to do so we will want to keep our best players. The two main doubts are Barkley and Lukaku.

With Lukaku, he has said he won't sign a new contract for now, but his existing one has two years on it and he should be kept for another year to see if we can progress and if we do attain Champions League would he then reconsider. He has said he wants to create history and what better way.

Barkley has less time on his contract and has apparently been told to sign or be sold. A possible solution is to offer a one year extension so to have the same as Lukaku as Champions League is so important to both players, let's see if they can get us there!

Having tied these players down, we would then need to build a stronger squad. We had a decent clear out in January and can add at least Kone to the vacating list in the summer and need as much quality as possible.

I think we'll need a goalkeeper, backup Left and right backs, a centre back maybe two, a quality striker and maybe a few creative midfielders/wingers. So possibly about eight signings.

Being someone who reads transfer gossip and prematurely gets excited, I would be over the moon to see these players that have already been linked to Everton at some point.

GK - Hart £15m
RB - Trippier £8m
LB - ?
CB - Keane £25m
CB - Van Dijk £40m
MF - Sigurdsson £30m
MF - Tielemans £25m
CF - William Jose £28m
CF - Dolberg £15m

Although I can't see us splashing out in excess of £180m, I do believe these are all quality players and would be very happy to see them in an Everton shirt next season.

I am feeling very optimistic at the moment and as long as we maintain what we already have, including the manager, and can add a few quality signings we should be able to provide a strong challenge for the Champions League places.

Martin Clark     Posted 17/04/2017 at 06:48:17

Atletico's new stadium

Dear all, a Toffee since 1962, aged 8. I am definitely dead-set against an athletics track around our new stadium pitch. Never, ever... we are used to being close to the pitch, giving a great intimate intimidating atmosphere... I'd rather stay at Goodison.

However, take a look at this lot's new stadium, built for Atletico Madrid: Wanda Stadio Politicano, which opens in September.

70,000 seats for football, but for an Olympic bid for 2020 or 2024. Three tiers, the lower 20,000 tier seats they loose for the running track. A floor covers the pitch and the seats. They still get middle and top tiers, 55,000 seats.

If Mr Joe Anderson can deliver and pay for his extra 20,000 seats, and have a track in our stadium designed to watch football in, well I am up for it. It'd be a football stadium adapted for athletics a few weeks every few years. We get 70,000 even 60,000. But we want steeper seat terraces as close – if not closer than we got now. Over to you, Mr Joe Anderson, Dan Meis, Mr Moshiri, Mr Kenwright...

You would get everybody behind 70,000 a top tier available on big games. I'd rather have a top tier not open for 12 games if we had 55,000 in the lower tiers than be too far away, looking across the space temporary seats.

Adrian Evans     Posted 16/04/2017 at 16:13:00

The Barkley Dilemma

The yob who punched Ross Barkley in the face on Sunday night, in what was a completely unprovoked attack, might have just been enough to tip the player into thinking about a move in the summer?

The goldfish bowl that can be living on Merseyside at times, for footballers in particular, is often an unforgiving place but it was a little stupid of Ross to be in a bar or a club (I presume in the city centre) on a Sunday night.

If he leaves Everton, it will be a real shame; he offers us something different, aside from the wonder pass for Lukaku's headed goal against Leicester.

Nearly all of Everton's prompting and probing on Sunday afternoon came from Barkley and he gives us an element of control when things are tight. I suppose I stand accused of wearing rose-tinted glasses, and I understand some of his play can be frustrating at times, but I can never agree with the pundits who want us to 'get rid' in the summer, particularly those who write on the pages of ToffeeWeb that he will never 'make a great player', and we should cash in now.

Like all players, he suffers dips in consistency, and it was interesting to see Vardy get subbed on Sunday afternoon for Leicester – this same player was scoring for fun last season, and was subject of a big bid from Arsenal, who clearly recognised his ability.

I'm not quite sure why Barkley raises so much vitriol in our fan base; it wasn't too long ago that we had some real journeymen playing in his position, yet I don't recall them getting a fraction of the criticism this player gets?

If he decides to pack his bags and go, watch the stampede of clubs willing to bid for him. So much for people saying he'll never make it as a top player.
Steve Hogan     Posted 10/04/2017 at 14:45:49

Lukaku vs Rooney vs ??

Lukaku is not signing a new contract and is probably off to Chelsea at the end of the season. My initial opinion is if he doesn't want to play for us, sell him and spend the money on someone else. But who? Strong rumours that Rooney could be heading back to Goodison, heart says yes, head says no.

At the age of 23 Rooney had scored 80 Premier League goals, Lukaku has scored 81. In the last 3 seasons Rooney has scored a total of 22 goals, this season Lukaku has scored 21 (with 7 games to go)!

If Rooney does rejoin Everton (and I hope he doesn't), rumour is he would take a 50% wage cut and agree to $150k per week. Looking at value for money alone, it would better business to double Rom's wage, and get him to sign. Everyone has their price, just need to find his. There is no loyalty in football anymore, so it becomes purely a business transaction, a negotiation.

If he still won't sign, keep him for another season and sell him then.

Looking at the current "proven" strikers in the Premier League, who are comparable to Lukaku, none would be available to us. So that means buying a striker like Rooney, Costa or Aguero, who may be surplus to their respective clubs requirements at the end of this season. I am not keen on that.

So we are left we taking a risk on an "unknown", up and coming striker. It is a risk that I am not sure we can take as our main frontline striker. So, to conclude, break the bank to keep Lukaku, because there ain't many strikers who are as prolific as him, at the moment. Keep developing our younger strikers (Lookman, Calvert-Lewis) and buy a "risky" unknown, but keep Lukaku, for his goals.

Oh, for those who will reply that Lukaku doesn't run, can't control the ball etc etc etc, I don't care about that. If the club spends money on a striker, it wants to buy goals, and Lukaku scores goals. Simple.
Andy Osborne     Posted 08/04/2017 at 15:31:08


I am just wondering if we have possibly jumped the gun on getting rid of Niasse.

I do not for one minute mean as a replacement for Lukaku, but is he any worse than Valencia or Kone as our back-up striker?

It appears that having been given a run at Hull he is certainly playing his part in their mini-revival.
John Keating     Posted 06/04/2017 at 07:08:36

Stadium vs Squad

There has been a lot of talk this season about it being a period of transition, both on and off the pitch.

Off the pitch, naming rights for the training ground, the binding together of our loans into a single interest-free one by Moshiri, and the progress on the new stadium have all been positive. On the pitch, the rebuilding process has already started, with signings like Gana and Schneiderlin proving to be decent additions. A sprinkling of youth in Holgate and Davies have also given us a lift.

However, we have now come to an important stage in terms of kicking on, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, we need to come up with £30M to pay Peel Holdings for the site of our new stadium. We will probably need to also have a deposit in place prior to gaining any loan approval for the £300M needed to pay for the stadium. On the pitch, we need a couple of quality centre-halves, at least one creative midfielder, and at least one quality striker, maybe two, if Lukaku leaves in the summer. Easily £100M plus.

At present, even with Moshiri's money and contacts, Everton do not have the finances to adequately cover a stadium and a squad. Player sales and TV money in the summer may look easy on the eye right now. But take payments in instalments, tax, agents' fees, day-to-day running costs for the season ahead into account, and the huge sums of cash suddenly shrink.

So what should the club do? Sink the cash in hand into the stadium, guarantee its progress, and keep debt to a minimum? Doesn't give you much chance to buy top class players. Spend big in the transfer market and hope to somehow make up the cash for the stadium while waiting for planning permission? A big ask given our resources and revenue streams. Split the pot of money evenly and see what we can squeeze out of it? This could mean doing neither properly.

It's genuinely hard to say. Don't spend the money on the squad, we fall further behind the six teams above us in the table. Don't make proper progress on the stadium, it's groundhog day all over again and another golden opportunity lost.

My gut is telling me that the club will put the stadium first. I can see us pinning our hopes on Koeman staying a full three seasons and hoping that none of the teams below us overtake us for 7th place. We will probably spend big on one, maybe two players in the summer, and hope to hang on to Barkley. Cut-price deals for players like Luke Shaw, who has fallen out of favour at Man Utd according to reports today, will be the norm, and promoting youngsters, at the right pace or not, will continue.

Interesting times ahead.

Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 03/04/2017 at 11:38:20

A New Stadium – A New Era

It's easy to get caught up in the 'sentimentality' of our home of 125 years. Some people outside L4 love to wax lyrical and look upon Goodison Park as "The last proper football stadium."

Personally, no matter how many great memories I have of the place, it's become a symbol of a club reliant on trading on past glories. We were one of "the big 5" who voted for establishing a "Premier League" then waved that particular train goodbye as clubs who identified the commercial side of football left us trailing in their wake. It's taken us 20 years to even recognise we were becoming an also-ran, on a par with Stoke, or Southampton.

The opportunity to erect a new, world- class stadium can put us back amongst the so called elite. Not only will the publicity generated by this exciting project propel the club forward, it will make every other club in Europe take note of how big this club is. Make no mistake, no matter how much it hurts, we are irrelevant when it comes down to attracting top European talent.

The one constant that has kept us treading water over the past 20 years is the fantastic fanbase; without that support, I firmly believe we could have sunk into footballing obscurity. We mustn't forget the work of KEIOC, who should have a plaque at the entrance of any new waterfront stadium in recognition of the (unpaid) work they all did, saving the club making what could have been a fatal move to Kirkby.

I had an interesting chat at a match a few months back, a guy told me that most players want an executive box thrown in to entertain their family members on a match day, and that Everton lagged far, far behind their peers when it came to 'extras' on their contract such as this. A new world-class facility can attract players, fans, corporate sponsorships and publicity.

We mustn't let anything distract us from our goal of moving away for Goodison Park within three years. As sad as that may be for some, it will mean we can finally put this club back where it belongs. The days of "plucky little Everton" can be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Kevin  Tully     Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:45:24

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