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December 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Ten Years... So Little Progress

I just watched the 2005 game against Manchester United for only the second time and it was a real eye-opener. It’s over 10 years ago and all I remembered clearly were Duncan Ferguson’s great glancing, diving header for the goal and the two stunning red cards on Gary Neville and Paul Scholes.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that, despite the managerial changes, the millions spent on players, the generations of new academy players who have graduated since then, we were playing significantly better, technically more adept, faster-paced, physically more committed football then than now.

We had better central defenders and a more courageous, more creative midfield. I am talking about the standard of football on display. We did not pass back at every opportunity. We do not have a goalkeeper of Nigel Martyn’s positional or organizational sense. We do not have a player of Arteta’s quality. We do not have a player of Cahill’s courage and single-minded intent.

With all due respect to Romelu Lukaku, we do not have the striking options or threat we had then. We were playing a Man Utd side with Keane, Ronaldo, Rooney, Scholes and Van Nistelrooy and won deservedly. Yes, it was only one match (but what a match!) and we were thrashed a short time later, but it is still very discouraging to realize so definitively and with such clarity that there has been so little forward progress in the intervening years. The best team that Koeman puts out would be utterly humiliated by the 11 players who beat Man Utd that night.
Peter Fearon     Posted 27/12/2016 at 21:44:35

What does the future really hold?

As 2016 draws to a close, once again, Evertonians are left pondering as to the future, both short term and long term, for our great club. Perhap's in the aftermath of yet another disappointing derby defeat, now is not the time to be penning an article in the current gloomy atmosphere that pervades most fans, but I'm going to stick my neck out and try to offer some Christmas cheer to you all!!

I've been supporting Everton long enough to know that ultimately, it's the results on the field that matters most, and the last three months have been depressing to say the least. The early optimism of Koeman's appointment in the summer, seems to have vanished very quickly, and some some of our fan base are now questioning his methods and management style

Personally, I'm prepared to give him more time, the current team, by and large is NOT his, and until he has time to bring in at least four/five other player's, of his choice, only then can we judge him. The problem he has I believe, in the eyes of the fans, is his general passive demeanor, either pre-match, during a game, or post match, he's calm and collected in his comment's, he's simply not known exhibiting much emotion. This perhaps work's against him when results and performances start to fail. Don't bet against him being passionate though

This aspect aside, I believe he know's what he wants, and is as frustrated as us, when he see's player's in the team or squad, who simply don't have the ability to carry out what he wants on the field.

In the age of 'instant', that we live in now, we simply must give him, Steve Walsh and Moshiri, time to turn things around after decades of neglect both on and off the field. I believe we will see a minimum of three new players come in during the January 'window' and that they won't all arrive at 11:45pm on the 31st.

The role of Moshiri remains problematic in all this however,as being based in London, and preferring to adopt a 'low-key' role as the public face of Everton, simply makes the the more cynical of our supporters a little suspicious. Again, I believe something IS happening down on the docks, and we will move to a new stadium within a four-year timeframe.

God how that will piss the RS off, can't wait to see and hear their reaction when the first spade hit's the ground

What we desperately need now from the club is a real statement of intent including a specific timeframe and confirmation that we have actually purchased the land from Peel Holdings, and have applied for planning permission. Until this happens , supporters will continue to remain pessimistic after so many false dawns in the past

Clearly, Bill Kenwright has managed to convince the new majority shareholder that he is the 'figurehead' to take us forward, and this aspect worries me, particularly with his history of 'new ground' failure's in the past twenty years. However, his favourite son, Robert Elstone, despite retaining his position within the club, seem's to have been removed from any current dialogue with the city council, in particular the office of Joe Anderson, who it seem's will be crucial to assisting Everton obtain a 'smooth passage' in terms of not just planning permission for the new venue, but enabling the correct road and transport infrastructure to be constructed in and around the new stadium area.

Evertonian's are a pretty patient lot in general, and I would urge supporter's to stick with the new regime for the next six months. Changes are afoot I believe, we've already seen the new owner clear most of the existing burden of debt, which at one time threatened our very existence as a football club, by way of an 'interest free' loan, in the same way Abramovich did at Chelsea. He's also brought in a manager and director of football at a significant cost, got rid of the 'phenomenal one' at an even greater cost; let's give him a bit more time to try and complete the job

There, I hope that's given you all renewed optimism for the future; right time to get my tin hat on...

Steve Hogan     Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:07:01

Should we gamble on Rooney?

It was twelve years ago that we sold Rooney to Man United. Is now the time to bring him back?

Rooney still generates strong feelings amongst Evertonians. Some see him as a traitor who grabbed the cash, and walked out on his childhood sweetheart. Others view him as a realist, someone who saw what he wanted from his career and went out to get it.

One thing I feel is true is that, in contrast to other footballers like Gerrard and Lampard, we have the chance to buy him. Although he may have moved on career-wise, I think he would still be open to a move back home.

It would take a few more signings, I think. At the moment, the squad lacks quality, but if we bring a few more players in then perhaps Manchester United could be tempted by a bid of say twenty million. Rooney isn’t getting any younger and although he is on twelve million a year, if we put an offer in we might be able to get him while he still has a couple of years left in him.

On the other hand, we know his manager Mourinho is a big fan of him and wanted to sign him at Chelsea. At the same time, with Ibrahimovic, Man Utd have one too many strikers past thirty. Also should we be out looking for the next Wayne Rooney and taking a thirty million chance on a 18 year old who looks great and has scored a couple.

It’s all a gamble. Should we gamble on Rooney?

Gavin McGarvey     Posted 17/12/2016 at 20:44:30

Dying Passions

I wrote something here in summer about how I cannot get enthused despite the appointment of Ronald Koeman. My passion for football had died a lot.

That, for me, is unbelievable. My parents remind me how football-obsessed I was where, when I was a kid, we had to say the meanings of words. To the word 'bury', I wrote "Bury are a Lancashire football team". I got the question right but maybe not what they were looking for!

Like lots of us, I grew up playing football and would have given anything to play professionally. That was not for the money but to walk out at Goodison Park and represent and win for the team I love, that my Granddad loved, would have been the pinnacle.

Putting dreams asleep, there is unfortunately, with life, a reality to face. Football has changed – I feel lucky I was around to see our team in the '80s. All around it felt more honest and passionate. You could get sides come up from Division 2 and compete. Compare that with today and the gulf is huge!!

So bringing this back to the title of this article – my dying passion! I want players at Everton to care. I liked the 'Dogs of war' because they cared. I liked Moyes's sides because they would put the effort in. I liked Everton under Moyes because it felt stable and real. He achieved lots on little and in my view did a great job for the club. We have in reality gone backwards since he left!

So watching Everton now is shocking. The performances lack any heart or commitment. There is no style of play – we look so stale and abject.

So many people blame Martinez for where we are today but I totally disagree. Koeman has had a reasonable time to get his ideas across but he keeps blaming things in the past. We don't expect him to win the title but we need to beat some teams – like Crystal Palace, Swansea (at home) and at least draw away to Watford and Bournemouth!!!!

I do still care so much about Everton. I hate losing but hate it more when we are as abject as we are. I see players who don't seem to give a crap and feel the pain of true believers here. Maybe what hurts now is we were given hope earlier this year with a takeover.

Personally, I think the squad is 'okay'. I have doubts about Koeman – where is his passion!? I have never seen any from him! The players, the managers – none of them really care. It is now a job to them, not a privilege.

A plea to the first team! You are so privileged to wear our badge and our shirt. Show some bollocks and heart amongst that skill and restore my faith that you multi-millionnaire 20- and 30-somethings give shit!

Phil Hoyle     Posted 11/12/2016 at 23:31:58

Koeman – stick or twist?

I have followed this great club since 1963. There have been a few periods of sheer joy but an awful lot more of despair and I am sensing trouble ahead now. I was not keen on Koeman, preferring the guy from Sevilla or De Boer because of his reputation for trying younger players. I was tempted by Unsy supported by Joe but, when Ron was appointed I contented myself with the thought that most fans seemed happy and that he must be an improvement on the previous guy. Initially all seemed well- a decent start and the new players settling in well but the last ten games have alarmed me – not least because of the lack of any pattern of play, no idea of a settled team and our next two games! I see signs of what happened last season when the players seemed to down tools. It reminds me of Mike Walker or even (for the older readers) of Tommy Casey who sat in for Catterick when he was unwell. No pattern, no concept of a first choice eleven, no leadership, no fight, lack of effort, no pride, no-one playing for the supporters. Ron clearly blames Roberto but whilst he can point at not having the desired quality he should be able to patch things together a lot better than he has shown to date. Why can't he inject some energy and passion and will to win? Why can't he see that these players cannot play his desired pressing game so develop a style which is suitable pending the acquisition of proper pressing players? Why won't he play the better youngsters- Holgate and Davies have shown that they can play in this company and they can't do worse than this lot. Why can't he see that if we play a defensive midfield we will not retain the ball and our shaky defence will be exposed? Can't he see that Rom is isolated and Valencia showed signs last week of being half decent so why not try two up front? So many questions and I am getting really worried. If we lose our next two games badly ( seems pretty likely) then we could be the team which slides down the table and God help us if this group of players ends up in a relegation fight because none of them fight!! The big question is do we allow Ron time and trust him with what will hopefully be a decent war chest in January or do we get rid now and give Unsy and Joe a chance as they would at the very least unite the squad and get some youngsters in to help. I would see what happens in the next two games. Capitulate and embarrass us and I'd get rid. Show some fight and pride and I'd cross my fingers and allow him to get his own players. The problem is that, whilst so many refer to him as a top class manager, I don't see it. Marvellous player, big name but then so was Paul Gascoigne but you wouldn't put him in charge of a club would you? I see nothing in his managerial CV to suggest he is top class and nothing he has done so far suggests to me that it is likely to change. I really hope I am wrong.
Dave Williams     Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:03:23

Dyed-in-the-wool Blue

A memorable occasion for me was Dave Hickson’s heroics against Man Utd in, if I recall correctly, early 1953 when he finished the match carrying a blood-soaked handkerchief and with so much blood on his shirt that he looked like a Man Utd player.

He gave his all for the club. I have read that he said at one time, ‘I would break my bones for other clubs but I would die for Everton.’

Now this is a motto that I would like to recommend to the present Everton manager, players and staff. Do you concur?
David Peate     Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:45:54

Would we be doing better under Martinez?

I bet I'm the last person any Evertonian would imagine posing that question. But I've just got back from having a pint with a couple of guys who I haven't spoken to since I was home last year – and they tell me the feeling of disquiet over the dross Koeman is dishing up certainly begs the question!

Apparently, there is a growing number of our fans who feel the Catalan was 'let go' only because Moshiri had to show who was in charge. And, whilst 'bullshit' has been replaced with 'pragmatism', virtually every utterance by the Dutchman distances him from the fan base.

Certainly this season's playing record is nothing to write home about but it's''early doors' and we seem more likely to claim a top-half finish than the 11th spot Roberto tried to tell us was progress. But, as my friends kept telling me,the quality of our football is 'turd' and far worse than anything Moyes imposed on us during his lengthy spell in charge.

The other part of the surprise argument is that – had no change in manager occurred, Martinez would have spent the Stones money on far better footballers than the motley crew (Gueye excepted) assembled by his successor.

Of course, there is no mention to be made of Niasse although plenty of references to the £30M or thereabouts which the change has cost. Martinez has, they tell me, more than proved his mettle via the all conquering Belgium team.

Now I can't believe these views are widespread but I never expected to be 'called out' over my disdain for the Wiganmeister quite so quickly. What do others think of the situation? Did so many of us get it wrong?

Phil Walling     Posted 06/12/2016 at 19:01:44

Blame Game

Clear-out seems a bit of a buzzword on Toffeeweb over the last couple of weeks. Obviously, with the dip in form from both the club and a number of established players, fingers are being pointed at a variety of areas at fault. Koeman, Martinez, Moyes, Kenwright, Morishi, Jagielka and whoever else on the endless list gets on the fans crosshairs of anger.

It seems that everyone has been lumped with some portion of the blame. It's easy to pick out certain people to moan at, but the fact is, probably all have some contribution. It really is an overall problem of the club’s own making. It can perhaps be traced back to around the start of the Moyes era, maybe a little earlier.

Due to tighter finances, we’ve always had a small squad. Moyes always mentioned he liked working with a small group and having flexible players who could play in a number of positions. A culture has been created within the club over the years, with players becoming indispensable because they can play in 2-3 different roles. Players like Osman, Neville, Jagielka, Kilbane, Arteta plus numerous more all have fallen under this category. With years of living on a non-existent budget, it became harder and harder to allow players to leave. If one of these players left, you’d need 2-3 players to replace them.

With the lack of players leaving, we also had a lack of players coming into the squad. If you remember a while back, there was the ‘Everton Time Clock’ on the internet. The slightly embarrassing timer, which recorded the time period of the last player the club signed by spending actual money. Didn’t it go on for over 2 years? So with players not really coming and going, the squad never really changed. Even with Martinez, the squad size still stayed small, and apart from a few acquisitions, the core of the team who’d been there for years had stayed.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, Koeman signs 5 players, but basically, he’s just replacing the players who’ve left. This included Howard, Osman, Pienaar and Hibbert, all stalwarts of the club who’ve been around for around 10 years each. One thing that is great about the club is that we hold players who have been committed to the club in high esteem. Unfortunately, this has played into the issue. We don’t like to see criticism of ‘one of our own’, but players like Baines/Jags have been poor for a while and for many of us it’s difficult to call for changes.

The sad fact is that we are in the situation where a clear out is needed. If we had invested over the years, and built some depth in the team, we wouldn’t be in this problem. We all know what areas need extra bodies, but these are the same areas we’ve always needed players. We’ve been crying out for a playmaker probably since Arteta left, and we still are. Every year we’ve gone into a season understrength at right-back and centre-backand a lack of options for our forward line. Also, how many years did fans call for decent competition for Howard? Yet we are going into another transfer window, and still, we are looking for the same shopping list.

So who is to blame? It’s easy to throw names out there, with Koeman now getting much of the flack, but as already mentioned, it’s really it is the club as a whole, from top to bottom. Not enough forward planning and too much cost saving over the last 10-15 years have us in the situation we are in. It has created a squad that is lacking in most areas because key positions were never filled, or filled on the cheap. I hope Mr Moshiri has some deep pockets as this repair job is going to be expensive.
Kristian Boyce     Posted 06/12/2016 at 04:44:21

To Boo, or Not To Boo?

Firstly, let me say that nothing riled me more in the last couple of seasons than abuse and booing of individual players, especially Ross Barkley. But, when we witness such dross as we did against Swansea and Southampton, I think paying supporters have every right to let the players know what they think of their performances, and more importantly for me, lack of effort. It's a given that we all expect any player pulling on the jersey to give their all on the pitch, regardless of the millions they all receive for the privilege of playing for this great club. Professional pride alone should be enough motivation. I don't know if the Aston Villa squad were left in no doubt as to what their fans thought of the gutless performances they served up last season, but I do believe any Everton player should be held to high standards by us, the fans. The crowd applauding a 40-yard pass that dribbles out of play just seems a bit strange to me. (It happened twice against Swansea.) That may not mean booing the team off the pitch at every opportunity, but it's a slippery slope if we all just meekly accept sub-standard performances and effort levels we are watching creep into this current crop. If this team don't perform on Sunday, I don't think they will be left in any doubt whatsoever of what a quietly simmering fanbase think of them, and the manager. Or is quiet encouragement the answer?
Kevin Tully     Posted 01/12/2016 at 13:24:21

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